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  1. #1
    Gong Shooter
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    Default The Long Shadow Of Katrina: Military Snipers Engaging U.S. Citizens?

    If real...

    https://sofrep.com/19314/american-sn...ns-circa-2005/

    In early 2012, I had an unexpected conversation with my friend Chris Kyle (author of American Sniper) about the Katrina debacle. I had heard rumblings about Special Operations snipers being deployed to New Orleans to support the effort to restore order. He confirmed the rumors and shared his own intimate knowledge that close contacts of his, many active duty Spec Ops snipers (some Navy SEALs), took leave to work for the controversial PMC (Private Military Company), Blackwater.

    Chris went on to tell me that the bulk of the guys he knew directly had racked up over thirty kills between them. I asked him about Rules of Engagement, and asked, “Who were they shooting at,” and he just gave me a big Texas shrug and smile. I figured out really quick that it was 180 grains of due process (usually to the head at 200M).

    We carried on with our own personal conversation on the morality of it all over many beers, and into the early San Diego morning. It clearly bothered him, and it still bothers me. It’s obviously a very uncomfortable topic. However, if we continue to ignore what really went down, history has taught us that it will come back and bite us in the ass. I personally don’t like repeating my mistakes: make them, learn from them, and move on.

    The problem with Katrina is that an important lesson wasn’t learned, and it’s continuing to be ignored. The morality of what went down when Martial Law was declared is an important topic of discussion. Private Military Contractors (PMCs), police units, and military had an impossible job, no argument there. However, killing fellow American citizens with Iraq-style ROE, all in the name of restoring order, should be looked at and learned from. Unless, of course, we are ok with putting due process and the Constitution on the back burner in these situations. I personally would not like to continue down a path towards Oceania.

    In 2005, the most destructive hurricane, Katrina, struck the Atlantic coast. It would turn out to be one of the most costly natural disasters in U.S. history. A part of that cost is the unspoken toll on the American soul. This is what we will focus on, it is the stuff people want to put under the bed and forget.

    Many lessons learned have come out of the U.S. response to Katrina, but most of the expensive government studies have dealt with streamlining command structure and logistics. Apparently, nobody wants to tear off the scab and have a philosophical conversation about the morality of what really went down when Martial Law was declared. A quick search on Google relative to Katrina will bring up the New Orleans horror stories: racial profiling, murder, rape, police cover up, and rogue private military contractors a la Blackwater’s poor hiring practices (I’ve witnessed this first hand in Iraq).

    Why wasn’t this a bigger deal in the media at the time? Because press coverage was extremely limited. So now all we are left with is rumor and a few courageous individuals who are slowly coming out of the shadows to tell the truth.

    Boots on the Ground

    Two weeks after returning from my contract work I was sent down with 19th SFG to the 4th Ward. We took over a school that had been abandoned and that’s where we set up shop for the next 29 days. They wouldn’t let us do 30 days because then they would have to pay us BAH. The first night we got there someone dumped an entire mag of AK-47 into some guy’s car, killing him. From there it was an all out shit show. We operated with locked and loaded M4s and M9s with body armor, and in no way did I feel over dressed. While we only had one time when any of our vehicles were shot at, and we didn’t smoke anyone, we were the general law in the area. We would drive around, stop any person we felt needed to be stopped, search them and then move on. We entered any house we felt needed to be entered and searched it if needed. –US Army Special Forces Soldier

    Just spoke to one of my buddies. He was deployed with SWAT immediately after the storm and worked New Orleans for a month straight. Once the storm cleared, the massive crime spree began. Looting, robberies, shootings, rapes, etc. It was chaos. He remembers specifically running into what he thought were Army operators, he wasn’t sure if ODA team or Delta, but he said they were definitely Army SF and they were geared for war, even frag grenades for the 203 (gold tipped?). They were on their way to a hot area where gun fire was coming from a school building for days without ending. It ended after he heard they got there. He said he observed numerous personnel in non de script uniforms, private contractors for sure, but he did not see any SEALS, although I don’t think they would be operating in the open and his SWAT team was never attached with any government personnel. He did say on day 4 he ran into another Trooper who told him he heard the SEALS were there and had been doing some work off a bridge, but he did not have specifics, just rumor. He did see a lot of bodies with gun shot wounds, but in typical New Orleans tradition, no investigation to speak of.

    The rumors of SEALS being down there were floating around but no one from LSP SWAT saw or worked with any. Another friend who worked in the command post the entire time said he never saw any SEALS or SF, but after throwing out the scenario you mentioned, he said there were so many people whom everyone assumed were government “contractors.” They had no identifying characteristics and their “assignments,” unlike everyone else’s, were not run out of his command post. He did say there were a lot of bodies with unexplained gun shot wounds. Ones that were not already documented as NOPD or LSP shootings. Never were solved. –Anonymous NY State Police Officer who assisted in New Orleans

    In an hour-long conversation I had with four Blackwater men, they characterized their work in New Orleans as “securing neighborhoods” and “confronting criminals.” They all carried automatic assault weapons and had guns strapped to their legs. Their flak jackets were covered with pouches for extra ammunition.

    When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, “We’re on contract with the Department of Homeland Security.” Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, “He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary.” The man then held up the gold Louisiana law enforcement badge he wore around his neck. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Duke also said the company has a letter from Louisiana officials authorizing its forces to carry loaded weapons.

    “This vigilantism demonstrates the utter breakdown of the government,” says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal.” -From a CBS report and column by Jeremy Schahill

    Rumors persisted while we were in New Orleans, things ranging from the crazy (some Cops were killed and skinned last night) to the lame (I hear we are here till Christmas). Like any deployment, we hated being in the rear. Every minute spent at the Naval Annex was another minute you could get screwed just for being there. One instance comes to mind, when the commanding general flew in and saw us practicing battle drills and glass houses. He freaked out and demanded that we tear that stuff down and don’t do it. Well, as soon as his bird took off we had those things set right back up. I was exposed to government agencies and it made me realize something, this was their “Iraq.” There were rumors of DEA, US Marshals and ATF getting into OIF style engagements. I personally didn’t see or hear of anything like that, but these dudes rolled around like it was Baghdad/Ramadi/Normandy. -82nd Airborne Soldier

    Conclusion

    Our goal at this point should not be about pointing fingers and conducting witch hunts. As a country, we should admit the errors that were made and learn to not make the same mistakes next time. Because there will be a next time, and I expect it will be sooner rather than later.
    (Got a story of U.S. Spec Ops or private military contractors in New Orleans after Katrina? We’re interested. Send It to SOFREP!)
    Last edited by buckeye4rnr; 04-15-2013 at 07:23.

  2. #2
    Zombie Slayer Aloha_Shooter's Avatar
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    Sounds like BS to me. He supposedly had this conversation with Kyle in early 2012 but waits to write about it until after the guy is dead and in the ground and can't refute it?

    Think about this one -- as much as Dems wanted to impugn Bush over Katrina -- to the point of making shit up -- and they DIDN'T unveil this garbage? We do know NOPD went on a rampage, seizing private citizens' guns and invoking martial law, but just how do you think something like a huge violation of the Posse Comitatus act and willful murder of US citizens didn't make the liberal mass media if it were true?

  3. #3
    Gong Shooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloha_Shooter View Post
    Sounds like BS to me. He supposedly had this conversation with Kyle in early 2012 but waits to write about it until after the guy is dead and in the ground and can't refute it?

    Think about this one -- as much as Dems wanted to impugn Bush over Katrina -- to the point of making shit up -- and they DIDN'T unveil this garbage? We do know NOPD went on a rampage, seizing private citizens' guns and invoking martial law, but just how do you think something like a huge violation of the Posse Comitatus act and willful murder of US citizens didn't make the liberal mass media if it were true?
    He explains it here...
    Why wasn’t this a bigger deal in the media at the time? Because press coverage was extremely limited. So now all we are left with is rumor and a few courageous individuals who are slowly coming out of the shadows to tell the truth.
    I'm no Posse Comitatus expert but wouldn't using a PMC get around that?


    I definitely hope it's BS but thought I should share it here anyway.

  4. #4
    Zombie Slayer Aloha_Shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye4rnr View Post
    He explains it here...

    I'm no Posse Comitatus expert but wouldn't using a PMC get around that?


    I definitely hope it's BS but thought I should share it here anyway.
    No because his claim is that active duty troops were involved -- or they wouldn't have worried about a 29 day limit to avoid paying BAH. I've approved leave so someone could get more hours at Home Depot before Christmas (DC area so the E-6 with wife and two kids qualified for food stamps but preferred to work part-time at HD over collecting food stamps and I was all for anything I could do to help relieve the stress on his home life) but I've never heard of granting leave for something like full-time employment by a PMC -- admittedly, I'm not and never have been SOF but the story just stinks.

    And let me see here ... an anonymous "82d Airborne" soldier says they contravened a direct order from the CG and rebuilt a battle drill area after he had it torn down? Yeah, I'm not buying that one either.

  5. #5
    Varmiteer Inconel710's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloha_Shooter View Post
    Sounds like BS to me. He supposedly had this conversation with Kyle in early 2012 but waits to write about it until after the guy is dead and in the ground and can't refute it?

    Think about this one -- as much as Dems wanted to impugn Bush over Katrina -- to the point of making shit up -- and they DIDN'T unveil this garbage? We do know NOPD went on a rampage, seizing private citizens' guns and invoking martial law, but just how do you think something like a huge violation of the Posse Comitatus act and willful murder of US citizens didn't make the liberal mass media if it were true?
    I'm with you - doesn't pass the smell test. Media would have FOUND this story and crucifed Bush for it if true. You could not keep this story quiet. Too many people involved.

    In my 20+ years with the Navy, I've never heard of taking leave to work with a PMC. I've known guys with outside jobs, but they were approved by the command to ensure it didn't conflict with active duty. When you go on leave, you're still subject to recall and I seriously doubt any SF commander would allow his men to take employment with Blackwater while still on active duty. What if he gets hurt? Tricare is going to pay his medical bills and the team is going to be down a member? I don't think so.


    "You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." R.A.H.

  6. #6
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    A few things about New Orleans:

    1. EVERYONE there was told to evacuate the city 3 days before Katrina hit. Their dumb asses decided to stay.
    2. Guns were necessary because about 10% of the people there were robbing, looting, raping, and killing their neighbors
    3. The laws in effect were being ignored by the vast majority of the populace. Cops needed a security detail because they were getting mugged in the streets they were trying to protect.

    It's retarded that everyone wants to point fingers (even though they say "were not pointing fingers") after the fact yet none of the reporters did a damn thing to help out. I never saw a single reporter pulling security while I was pulling dead bodies out of the water.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inconel710 View Post
    In my 20+ years with the Navy, I've never heard of taking leave to work with a PMC. I've known guys with outside jobs, but they were approved by the command to ensure it didn't conflict with active duty. When you go on leave, you're still subject to recall and I seriously doubt any SF commander would allow his men to take employment with Blackwater while still on active duty. What if he gets hurt? Tricare is going to pay his medical bills and the team is going to be down a member? I don't think so.

    It happens. I had reserve SF guys on my last team.

  8. #8
    Varmiteer Inconel710's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coloccw View Post
    It happens. I had reserve SF guys on my last team.
    Reserves is different. I've known reservists that work for PMCs when they're not pulling reserve duty as well. The implication in the story is that ACTIVE duty SF personnel were taking leave to work with PMCs. Maybe I misunderstood it.


    "You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." R.A.H.

  9. #9
    Gong Shooter
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    Some on the sofrep site are stating it might have fallen under the Insurrection Act?


    The Posse Comitatus Act
    Section 1385 of Title 18, United States Code (USC), states:
    “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
    The PCA does not apply to the U.S. Coast Guard in peacetime or to the National Guard in Title 32 or State Active Duty status. The substantive prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) were extended to all the services with the enactment of Title 10 USC, Section 375. As required by Title 10 USC, Section 375 the secretary of defense issued Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, which precludes members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps from direct participation in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.
    The PCA generally prohibits U.S. military personnel from direct participation in law enforcement activities. Some of those law enforcement activities would include interdicting vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; conducting surveillance, searches, pursuit and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.
    The United States Congress has enacted a number of exceptions to the PCA that allow the military, in certain situations, to assist civilian law enforcement agencies in enforcing the laws of the U.S. The most common example is counterdrug assistance (Title 10 USC, Sections 371-381). Other examples include:

    • The Insurrection Act (Title 10 USC, Sections 331-335). This act allows the president to use U.S. military personnel at the request of a state legislature or governor to suppress insurrections. It also allows the president to use federal troops to enforce federal laws when rebellion against the authority of the U.S. makes it impracticable to enforce the laws of the U.S.
    • Assistance in the case of crimes involving nuclear materials (Title 18 USC, Section 831). This statute permits DoD personnel to assist the Justice Department in enforcing prohibitions regarding nuclear materials, when the attorney general and the secretary of defense jointly determine that an “emergency situation” exists that poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and is beyond the capability of civilian law enforcement agencies.
    • Emergency situations involving chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction (Title 10 USC, Section 382). When the attorney general and the secretary of defense jointly determine that an “emergency situation” exists that poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and is beyond the capability of civilian law enforcement agencies. DoD personnel may assist the Justice Department in enforcing prohibitions regarding biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction.

    Military support to civilian law enforcement is carried out in strict compliance with the Constitution and U.S. laws and under the direction of the president and secretary of defense.

    http://www.northcom.mil/About/histor...ion/posse.html

  10. #10
    Pinche Gringo brokenscout's Avatar
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    At this point I wouldn't doubt it. Next Katrina they'll be using drones..
    Red,White & Blue means Freedom, until its flashing behind you.

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