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Cronyism, FOX-Style: O'Reilly Plugs Private Security Company

Reported by Marie Therese - October 5, 2005

Lt. Col. Bill Cowan (USMC-Ret) is co-founder and CEO of a security company, WVC3, that along with Raymond Associates LLC, does business with Advanced Training Services (ATS Tactical). The other founder of WVC3, Carlton Sherwood left the company in summer 2004 in order to produce Stolen Honor, a piece of celluloid trash aimed at promoting the lies told by the Smear Boat Vets in their despicable and scurrilous campaign to discredit John Kerry's Vietnam war record. During the O'Reilly Factor last night [10-4-05], host Bill O'Reilly said that ATS is Cowan's company, so it may be that the Colonel has branched out and invested elsewhere.

According to Cowan, ATS has been hired by a large public utility company in New Orleans to provide security. During his appearance on the Factor, Cowan's company, ATS Tactical, got a whole lot of free publicity, courtesy of Bill O'Reilly and FOX News Channel. Never mind that Cowan had to perpetuate the myth about New Orleans looting. Never mind that he went right along with the GOP party line, praising the state and local governments of Texas and Missisippi yet poor-mouthing Louisiana. Who cares about the truth when there's business to be had, more clients to cultivate, lots of money to fill the coffers? Certainly not the Bloviating Billster and Calculating Colonel. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Yesterday, it was all over the news that NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin has to lay off 3,000 city workers due to lack of money to pay their salaries. It looks as though the private security concerns are salivating at the prospect of taking up the slack. According to an online discussion at www.officer.com, ATS Tactical and other security companies are recruiting former military and law enforcement for New Orleans jobs.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bill O'Reilly was one of the loudest proponents of prosecuting the despicable criminals rampant in the city. He went on day after day yapping about professional crime rings that had infiltrated NOLA, widespread looting, gun violence, rape and anarchy. As we all know now, virtually all of those horrific media reports of murder and mayhem were rumors. Yet the cowardly Red Cross and the even-more-cowardly FEMA refused to enter New Orleans, so fearful were they of the black savages whom they believed to be running amok.

Shouldn't Bill O'Reilly and a host of other talking heads apologize to the citizens of New Orleans for their lack of fact-checking? You can bet that won't happen - hell will freeze over first. In fact, as we witnessed last night, he and his good buddy Bill Cowan are back at it again, spreading more stories of looting and professional robbers entering New Orleans to pillage and plunder.

It was a sad exercise to watch. At one time, the Colonel had some integrity. It would seem that now, in pursuit of the great god mammon, he's compromised what's left of his principles, preferring to bend the truth to advance the bottom line of his company.

O'Reilly started the interview by stating that "We're never gonna get the truth from the politicians" and asked Cowan to enlighten his audience about the real situation on the ground in NOLA.

COWAN: It's still a tough environment down there, Bill. Security is a big issue. Thankfully, we're working for one of the big public utilities who's takin' the security problem seriously but not only that, I just had a couple of my guys transverse from Mississippi, Texas to Louisiana and they report back that, while Texas and Mississippi are realy doin' a good job at the state level of organizing things and keepin' the process movin', Louisiana still continues to be a pretty humble place.

[COMMENT: What does being a " pretty humble place" have to do with "organizing things"? This is a complete non sequitur.]

O'REILLY: But, when you say there are security issues, or security problems, what exactly does that mean? There's not still looters running around with guns ..

[NEWS FLASH, Bill. Recent reports indicate that there were hardly any "looters running around with guns." As witnessed by testimony from people like Charmaine Neville, there were some people shooting alligators that were eating bodies and threatening lives. There were people shooting in the air to try to attract National Guard helipcopters who were routinely ignoring people stranded on roofs. But very little of the kind of savagery you expostulated on day in and day out during the hurricane!]

Cowan dragged out the spectre of the "professional looters."

COWAN: No, the professionals are in there now. The regular looters are gone. The real hardcore guys have moved in from up north. Crime on a major level. Experienced, sharp guys. We had one of our fellow get shot last week, unfortunately - at nighttime, fortunately only with a pellet gun, but shot nonetheless. Our guys are reporting shooting on a regular basis. Our guys who are providing security for a utility company are frequently asked by other commercial entities around them if they will come and help them also, because there's a general fear - still civil unrest to some order or degree and certainly today we see 3,000 more people without jobs...

O'REILLY: Well, that's interesting. So, professional thieves have come into New Orleans, set up shop to break into homes and businesses and that's what they're doing?

Cowan, in a masterful example of misdirection and muddy language, responded: "Well, our guys have seen some of that, Bill, and they're certainly hearing reports about that. I mean, the professionals are in town now. The common, off-the-street looters are pretty much done. The professionals are down there lookin' at what they can get and how they can get it out."

[COMMENT: I have a question for our insurance underwriters out there. Wouldn't it be better for NOLA businessmen that lost inventory in the flood to declare to their insurance companies that their merchandise was looted and their property vanadalized than to make a claim that the stuff was damaged by flood waters?]

COWAN: There are still [National] Guard, Bill, and the federal people are down and there a number of security companies, much like our own. ...

O'REILLY: And most people are still not back, so the homes are unattended, and these guys can break in and they can take - it all makes sense. Now, the Red Cross says it needs security, too, because it's in there tryin' to distribute - um - relief to people, not only in New Orleans, but in the surrounding areas and what's the Red Cross security problem?

COWAN: Well, listen, a lot of credit to them because they've taken this security and safety issue on head on. We've been workin' with them from day one to try to provide that - that security to them. They in fact have asked the feds to put us under contract to support it, but we see the feds are gonna go somewhere else right now and give that work to somebody else, unfortunately from our persepctive.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but the Red Cross should their own, because they've got all of these millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars. They should hire you because they've got the money to hire security to do their work anbd that should be part of the the whole process.

COWAN: But, Bill, the federal response plan does allow for the feds to pay for security in issues like this so that the Red Cross can continue to use that donated money to help victims and to help relief efforts out there so there is a federal way for contractors to [indecipherable]

O'REILLY: Who makes that decision? The FEMA chief? Or Chertoff? Or who's makin' that decision?

COWAN: Well, in this particular case, it's ICE - Immigrations & Customs Enforcement people - contracting officers - working for the Department of Homeland Security.

[COMMENT: Now there's a case of strange bedfellows. Why on earth would Immigration and Customs Enforcement pay for a private security company for the Red Cross?]

O'REILLY: OK. Um, so you're down in there. You're seeing organized crime go in to basically break into homes and businesses that are unattended. The Guard is still in there. Are people filtering back or are you havin' trouble - are they having any trouble getting back into their businesses and homes as far as you know?

COWAN: No, not that we've seen, Bill. I think some areas are still controlled - our guys last week going into a couple of areas had to get permission to move on into 'em, which they did reasonably well, but, you know, it's just like the border issue. If somebody wants to get into an area, they're gonna get there, whether somebody wants to stop them or not.

COMMENT

What a masterful snow job! Talk about creating straw men and then knocking them down!

I entered several search parameters using the words "New Orleans" and "organized crime" and most of the results were old stories about corruption in the casino business. None of them were currently dated. And did you catch Cowan's implication that the 3,000 laid-off city employees would add to the crime rate?

Cowan never revealed the name of his employer in New Orleans. The major public unility company in New Orleans - Entergy - recently filed for Chapter 11 bankrupty as a result of losses suffered in the aftermath of Katrina. Is Entergy Cowan's employer? And, given his commets about the Red Cross, is the public utility company footing the bill for his services - or is the federal government?

Inquiring minds want to know.

For more on the employment of private security concerns in NOLA, I suggest you go to Democracy Now's website and read their report on the deployment of Blackwater Security mercenaries in that city.

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