Strange Events at the Danziger Bridge
Mid-afternoon today, around 3:30 pm EDST, a dramatic AP dispatch reported that 6 contractors to the Army Corps of Engineers, said to have been armed, were shot dead by police on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. This bridge spans the Industrial Canal and provides a crossing for the Chef Menteur Highway.
The AP story cited three souces in its original dispatch: Deputy Police Chief W.J. Riley, Disaster Relief Coordinator Mike Rogers with the Army Corps of Engineers and John Hall, a spokesman for the Corps. The dispatch relayed that a group of 14 US Army Corps of Engineers contractors were crossing the bridge on foot to make repairs on the levee breaches at 17th Steet and on London Avenue when they were fired upon. No other details were provided but the shootings occured after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said troops had secured the city and that full relief operations were underway.
An hour later an updated dispatch was released, this time saying that the group of contractors was being escorted by police when it came under fire. Police then opened fire on the unidentified gunmen, killing six of them. Again, no information clarifying the event was provided. For certain, the Danzinger Bridge is nowhere near the breaches nor should the industrial area be a magnet for looters looking for television sets.
Two hours after that, a dispatch hit the wires saying that a Coast Guard rescue helicopter had been downed--near the Danziger Bridge, injuring the pilot and his passenger. Then along came an update, saying the helicopter was civilian, with no connection to the rescue effort. There are now suggestions that the helicopter was shot down.
The implication is that something is occuring on and near the Danziger Bridge which is both extraordinary and alarming. A simple mind says the helicopter was a news aircraft gone out to follow up on the shooting and was forcefully not permitted to photograph. A dull person could think that 3:00 pm in the afternoon is an odd hour to be on foot in the hot Gulf sun and rather late in the day to be getting around to starting repairs on breached levees. A disinterested so-and-so might wonder about the police escort after having heard press accounts of the reduction of New Orleans police to skeleton crew on the point of exhaustion.
Events are disquieting in a way that suggests dissimulation.
Meanwhile, FEMA remains absent from St. Bernard Parish where Parish President Junior Rodriguez said his people are at "end of the line."