Blackwater Preps for Hurricane Gustav
New Orleans is being evacuated once again, as Hurricane Gustav lumbers toward the Gulf Coast. Everyone from the U.S. military to the British Royal Navy to Blackwater is gearing up to respond.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tells The New York Times that “with 1,500 to 2,000 National Guard troops coming to New Orleans, the city would have twice as much law enforcement protection as it had in the days after Hurricane Katrina. In all, 7,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard were mobilized Friday.” Coast Guard Air Force units based in Florida are on standby. U.S. Northern Command has set up a command post for the military response at England Airpark, in Alexandria, Louisiana. And they’ve begun airlifting up to 16,000 people from New Orleans to Nashville, Tennessee; San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; and Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Additional staging areas have been set up at Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Benning, Georgia; Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi.
U.S. Navy ships like the USS Bataan have been told to stand by for possible disaster relief missions. Canada has sent one of its four enormous transport planes, Boeing C-17 Globemasters, “to the region to assist with medical evacuations,” according to Canwest News Service. And Canadian Forces medical personnel [are headed to Louisiana to] conduct a mass evacuation and assist U.S. medical personnel with any medical issues over there.” Even the British military’s “Royal Navy Warship HMS Iron Duke and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Wave Ruler have now arrived in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands, ready to render assistance if required in the wake of Hurricane Gustav,” according to Cayman Net News.
But perhaps the most startling call for forces comes from Blackwater, the controversial prviate security contractor. The firm — which famously patrolled New Orleans after Katrina — is “compiling a list of qualified security personnel for possible deployment into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav,” according to an e-mail obtained by R.J. Hillhouse.
They’re looking for current sworn law enforcement officers, with “arrest powers” and “armed status (must indicate Armed and/or Semi Auto. Revolver only not accepted).” The firm is also looking for “current/active/licensed/registered armed security officer[s],” but “only from the following states: OR, WA, CA, NV, NM, AZ, TX, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, IL, OK.”
Applicants “must be US citizens,” the e-mail notes. “Contract length is TBD.”
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