BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

God Help Us All

There's so much craziness today...I'm not sure where to start.

Please dig in: Dense material.

Definitely wanna talk about the MERCENARIES IN NEW ORLEANS.

And the "truth" about the TOXIC CLEAN-UP.

And the MERCENARIES IN NEW ORLEANS.

But first, news that hits close to home...via ABC.com:

Tape Released: American Al-Qaeda Member Warns Against Attacks

"Names LOS ANGELES and Melbourne as NEXT targets"

Excerpt:
Sept. 11, 2005 — In an apparent Sept. 11 communiqué broadcast on ABC News, an al Qaeda operative threatens new attacks against cities in the US and Australia.

"Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, LOS ANGELES and Melbourne, God willing. At this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion," the tape warns. "We are Muslims. We love peace, but peace on our terms, peace as laid down by Islam, not the so-called peace of occupiers and dictators."
Yada yada...standard Al-Qaeda lingo...threats against the US...blah blah blah.

Here's where the story gets weird:
American intelligence officials believe the man who appears on the tape to be ADAM GADAHN OF ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.
Whachutalkingbout, Willis?
Last year, Gadahn delivered a similar taped communiqué for al Qaeda. That tape was later deemed authentic.
Adam Gadahn of Orange County?!
Only a few years ago, Adam Gadahn was a southern California TEENAGER with interests in the environment and heavy metal music.
You've got to be kidding me.

Adam is not an "American member of Al-Qaeda."

HE'S A DORK WITH A COMPUTER AND A MISSION: To make an authentic looking Al-Qaeda tape that will fool "the man."

(Love the thinly veiled attack on "environmentalists" and "heavy metal fans," natch "lefties." So, so lame.)
On the new tape, delivered to ABC News, Gadahn's message contains a very pointed Al Qaeda threat against Los Angeles and Melbourne.

*

The taped diatribe lasts 11 minutes. Like past tapes, it appears to include the SAME GRAPHICS AND PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES recognized by U.S. officials as part of al Qaeda's standard propaganda production.
Which Adam has on his iMac.

Jesus.

The headline got me thinking, though. I mean...not to be facetious...but...if "they" wanted to hit Los Angeles, where would "they" start?

A terrorist would have the same problem a tourist does: Where to go and what to do?

"God! Everything is, like, 100 miles apart! Allah be praised."

Disneyland? That's in Anaheim. The Rose Bowl? Pasadena. City Walk? Universal City.

"Plus, it costs $50 to park there."

The Grove? You don't know about "The Grove" if you're a first time visitor to Los Angeles City.

Santa Monica? It'll take you 5 hours to get there if you're staying in some cheap motel on Vermont.

Long story short, you're putting some miles on your Alamo rental car.

And...at the end of the day...you're totally freaked out from all the driving.

So you're too tired to visit/blow-up the "Ripley's Beleive It or Not Museum" at Highland & Hollywood.

*

Enough bad schtick...it's Merc-time!

From the Washington Post:

Private Security Contractors Head to Gulf

As in...NEW ORLEANS.
Companies in the Gulf Coast area hit by Hurricane Katrina are turning to an unusual source to protect people and property rendered vulnerable by the storm's damage -- PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES that specialize in supporting military operations in war-torn countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Uh oh.
The mission is to guard against LOOTERS, not fend off coordinated insurgent attacks. But the presence of the highly trained specialists represents an unusual domestic assignment for a set of companies that has chiefly developed in global hot spots where war, not nature, has undermined the rule of law.

North Carolina-based BLACKWATER USA, for example, has 150 security personnel in the Gulf Coast region.

The company, which provided personal security for the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority and continues to have a large presence in Iraq, began by donating the services of a helicopter crew to help the Coast Guard with rescue efforts.

But it since has added commercial clients that either have buildings in the region, such as hotels, or are sending employees there to help with the reconstruction.
Google "Blackwater." Visit their site. Check out their list of "services."

Happy that Blackwater provided helicopters to the disaster.

Freaked out that they're providing "security" in the French Quarter.
ArmorGroup International, a British company, has about 50 employees in the Gulf Coast. Most of the work came from existing clients that wanted SECURITY quickly as LOOTERS ran rampant through New Orleans last week, according to George Connell, president of the firm's McLean-based North American division.
Okay.

Here's the key passage from the article:
Although it's not likely to become a major source of business, private-sector firms that specialize in rapid response to dangerous situations probably can have more of a role in a domestic disaster's wake, said Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group.
International Peace Operations Association.

A trade group...promoting "private security companies."

God, are these people good.

Clean Air. No Child Left Behind. International Peace Operations Association.

"Well, we can't call it the 'International Kicking Ass, Taking Names & Making Boo-Koo Do-lores Association.'"

Why not?

More:
"I think a lot of people are complaining about how long it took the federal government. But certainly these private companies are always ready to go," he said.
Republicanism 101.

Federal government bad, private companies good.

No matter what the "service."

Wow.

Remember: If you're in the business of war...

"You need war for business!"
Blackwater's Taylor said local authorities are notified when company employees move into an area. So far, he said, none of his workers has had to take any action; the idea is that their presence should be enough. "We're saying to potential looters, 'This is a place you don't want to be right now,' " he said.
No.

You're saying, "Get the fuck down, you fucking asshole, or I'll fucking blow your fucking head off!!!"

Add your own colorful words to that last sentence and you'll get a better idea of what "they're" saying.
Connell said that unlike in Iraq, where armed security is a necessity, private security in the New Orleans area is mostly needed to make people "feel better with a linebacker-sized guy with you."
Comedy.

*

More on the Mercenaries from Democracy Now's Jeremy Scahill.

PLEASE, PLEASE READ:
New Orleans - HEAVILY ARMED paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans.

Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use LETHAL FORCE.

Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former US ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.

"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq."

*

We were talking with 2 New York Police officers when an unmarked car without license plates sped up next to us and stopped. Inside were 3 men, dressed in khaki uniforms, flak jackets and wielding automatic weapons. "Y'all know where the Blackwater guys are?" they asked. One of the police officers responded, "There are a bunch of them around here," and pointed down the road.

"Blackwater?" we asked. "The guys who are in Iraq?"

"Yeah," said the officer. "They're all over the place."

A short while later, as we continued down Bourbon Street, we ran into the men from the car. They wore Blackwater ID badges on their arms.

"When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?,'" said one of the Blackwater men.

He was wearing his company ID around his neck in a carrying case with the phrase "Operation Iraqi Freedom" printed on it.

After bragging about how he drives around Iraq in a "State Department issued level 5, explosion proof BMW," he said he was "just trying to get back to Kirkuk (in the north of Iraq) where the real action is."

Later we overheard him on his cell phone complaining that Blackwater was only paying $350 a day plus per diem. That is much less than the men make serving in more dangerous conditions in Iraq. Two men we spoke with said they plan on returning to Iraq in October. But, as one mercenary said, they've been told they could be in New Orleans for up to 6 months.

"This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."
One more time:
"This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."
My god.
What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments.
Doing the stuff the National Guard used to do.

"At half the price?"

Rrrriiiigggghhhhtttt.

*

Question for you, dear reader: Are you cool with this?!

*

Finally, from the UK's Independent:

Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade'

Wait.

What?!

But...Drudge said there'd be a special Mardi Gras in 90 days.
Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.

In an exclusive interview, HUGH KAUFMAN, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health.
"Hugh Kaufman? Who he?!"

"We're on it, sir."

"Check for drugs, girls. History of mental illness. A boyfriend. You know, standard procedure."

"Yes, sir."
The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analysed. "Inept political hacks" running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income MIGRANT WORKERS by getting them to do the work."
Low-income migrant workers?

You mean...independent contractors!
No one knows how much pollution has escaped through damaged plants and leaking pipes into the "toxic gumbo" now drowning the city. Mr Kaufman says no one is trying to find out.
"Goddammit. Who is this guy again?!"
Few people are better qualified to judge the extent of the problem.

Mr Kaufman, who has been with the EPA since it was founded 35 years ago, helped to set up its hazardous waste programme.

After serving as chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman, he is now senior policy analyst in its Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response.

He said the clean-up needed to be "the most massive public works exercise ever done", adding: "It will take 10 years to get everything up and running and safe."
"Bullshit! The new stadium will be ready by next season!"
Mr Kaufman claimed the Bush administration was playing down the need for a clean-up: the EPA has not been included in the core White House group tackling the crisis.

"Its budget has been cut and inept political hacks have been put in key positions," Mr Kaufman said.
Where have we heard that charge before?

"Its budget has been cut and inept political hacks have been put in key positions," Mr Kaufman said.
Huh?!

I have a headache.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

More later...

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