Saturday, September 17, 2005
Associated Press, Sept. 6:
ST. MICHAELS, Md. -- This Eastern Shore retreat town is used to famous people. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld owns a weekend estate here. Vince Vaughn dropped in recently when filming a movie nearby.
And now, maybe the most famous resident so far: Vice President Dick Cheney.
That's according to rumor, anyhow, with St. Michaels abuzz that the nation's second-in-charge may buy a $2.9 million waterfront home not far from Rumsfeld's home.
The purchase couldn't officially be confirmed, but according to locals sitting down to breakfast recently at the Carpenter Street saloon and restaurant, Cheney's as good as moving in.
"I'd heard it was going to close either [today] or Wednesday of this week," said Carroll Hurley, a funeral home owner.
Police Chief Ed Henry -- who ate with Hurley -- even referred to the lot in question as "Cheney's house." It's a 9-acre estate with ornamental pools and extensive gardens. ...
Sunday, September 11, 2005
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."
Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as 2 weeks ago.
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.