New Statesman has a new article, No limits to the law in NoLa, which is at the same time fascinating and horrifying. For example:
Henry Glover, a 31-year-old African American, was shot by a police sniper as he picked up goods behind a shopping mall during Katrina. He was taken by his brother, a friend and a passer-by to a nearby school that police were using as a special operations centre. There a Swat team let Glover bleed to death and beat his rescuers. Another policeman took the body in the rescuer’s car to the levee and torched it, putting two shots into the body (he later called that “a very bad decision”). The incinerated car with Glover’s remains inside it lay a block from the police station for weeks.
Last December, three policemen were convicted for the crime: one of manslaughter, one of burning the body and one of falsifying evidence. Eleven other officers who admitted they had lied in testimony or withheld knowledge were reassigned to desk duty or suspended.
This is but a small taste of what happened during and after the disaster. Residents were treated like they were trapped in some nightmare Nazi movie.
I know what you’re thinking. I just invoked Godwin’s law. I’m not. How can one read passages like this and not think of the Nazi’s? It refers, ironically, to a conversation that Scahill had with a veteran of the Israeli special task forces:
He wrote in his notebook at the time: “Both say they served as professional soldiers in the Israeli military and one boasts of having participated in the invasion of Lebanon. ‘We have been fighting the Palestinians all day, every day, our whole lives,’ one of them tells me. ‘Here in New Orleans, we are not guarding from terrorists.’ Then, tapping on his machine-gun, he says, ‘Most Americans, when they see these things, that’s enough to scare them.’ They were helicoptered in by powerful businessman James Reiss, who serves in Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration as chairman of the city’s regional transit authority.” As Scahill told me: “Reiss was talking openly of the need to change the ‘demographics’ of NoLa [New Orleans, Louisiana] after the hurricane.”
Think about that. An Israeli sniper who was part of a militia that indiscriminately kills blacks, at the behest of his employer, to change the demographics of the City of New Orleans. Sounds like systematic extermination to me.
I remember, a short time after Katrina, about these rumors of horrific treatment of the locals. Make that local Afrian-Americans. At the time, I remember thinking the stories were just too far fetched to be true. This was year 2005, after all. People in authority couldn’t act like animals without the acts being pushed into the light. So, I wrote it off as lies created for some unknown purpose, perhaps no purpose at all. Well, apparently many of the things I heard were true. For a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg, read the article.
Apparently the DoJ has had enough, too, and will put the New Orleans police department (NOPD) under the supervision of a federal judge. The article goes on:
Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Reagan, who wrote recently: “Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the American public.”
The WSJ and Reagan administrations are not bastions of liberal thought. This is undoubtedly a conservative saying this. So, this is deadly serious.
My only personal connection to New Orleans is that my late step Mother was the victim of a hit-and-run by a commercial van while on a business trip there. She or a bystander did write down the license plate, however the NOPD were completely uninterested in finding the driver. This was in the 90’s and my father, who is not easily dissuaded by bureaucracy, was unable to get anywhere with them.
It occurred to me more than once while reading the article: unless I have to for business, I will not visit the southern US, and New Orleans in particular, until problems like these are a thing of the past.
Read the article to get your daily dose of outrage.