Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blackwater (we better wake up )

On 6/9/08, Jeremy Scahill, for Courage Campaign
I've got some bad news.
My friends at the Courage Campaign asked me to convey it to you
personally by email, given this community's activism against
Blackwater over the last year.
 
Last Thursday, after a federal judge cleared the way, Blackwater
opened a large training facility in San Diego, just three blocks from
the border that separates California and Mexico.
As you may know,
 I wrote a book ("Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most
Powerful Mercenary Army") chronicling how this dangerous private
security corporation leveraged over $1 billion in taxpayer dollars in
Iraq and Afghanistan to build an elite Praetorian Guard for
the "global war on terror." Now, Blackwater is setting its sights on
the so-called "war on drugs" and recently opened its own private CIA,
called "Total Intelligence Solutions," marketing "CIA-type services"
to Fortune 500 companies.
 
Blackwater is aggressively building up a parallel infrastructure to
the U.S. national security apparatus as its owner, Erik Prince,
promotes Blackwater as the "Federal Express" of the military
industrial complex.
And now Blackwater has set up shop in California a stone's throw from
the Tijuana International Airport. But this battle with Blackwater is
not over. Grassroots activists in San Diego, led by relentless local
groups like Citizens' Oversight Projects, Activist San Diego, and the
Peace Resource Center of San Diego, are ramping up their campaign to
shut down Blackwater's base of operations on the border.

This Wednesday, June 11, from 3-5 p.m., these local groups are
organizing a major protest outside the Blackwater facility at 7685
Siempre Viva Road in Otay Mesa. I will be there and I hope you will
as well, even if you do not live in the San Diego area. After all,
Blackwater's beachhead on the border threatens everyone's security in
California.
 
The Courage Campaign has also invited me to join you on a special
statewide conference call this at 4 p.m. this Thursday, June 12. On
this "Courage Campaign Conversation", you can talk with me directly
about the San Diego situation, Blackwater's ominous contract renewal
in Iraq, and how the outsourcing of our security to these mercenaries
threatens our democracy. Please reserve a phone line now by RSVP'ing
at:
 
http://www.couragecampaign.org/JeremyScahill
 
Chris Hedges, the former Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York
Times, brilliantly captures the threat that Blackwater represents to
us in this excerpt from his review of my book:
"These hired guns... appeared on the streets of New Orleans following
Hurricane Katrina. They operate, at home and abroad, beyond the
bounds of legal constraints and are controlled by secretive puppet
masters, such as Erik Prince, who have close ties to the radical
Christian right.
 
Should our nation enter a period of instability following another
terrorist attack on American soil, an economic collapse, or a series
of environmental disasters, the tyranny that groups such as
Blackwater impose on others could become the tyranny they impose on
us. The rise of this unchecked mercenary force... could presage the
final stage in the collapse of American democracy."
 
Those are harrowing words, I know. But this is not hyperbole -- it's
reality. And that's why we need to spread the word that Blackwater
has just opened a base of operations inside California. If we don't
act soon to push these mercenaries out of California, the nightmare
scenarios described above could be realized right before our eyes.
 
I'll be talking more about what it will take to stop Blackwater on
Thursday's "Courage Campaign Conversation" as well as during my book
tour across California this week. By clicking here, you can RSVP for
Thursday's 4 p.m. conference call now, submit your questions, and
review a list of my appearances in Los Angeles, San Diego, San
Francisco and Berkeley:
 
http://www.couragecampaign.org/JeremyScahill
 
If you know any friends who would like to join us at 4 p.m. on
Thursday's call -- or at any of this week's events in Los Angeles,
San Diego, San Francisco and Berkeley -- please forward this message
to them. Space is limited on Thursday's Courage Campaign
Conversation, so please hurry to RSVP before lines fill up.
 
Thank you for taking time to read this message and send it to your
friends. I'm looking forward to talking with you on Thursday.
Jeremy Scahill
 
P.S. If you are interested in reading more about Blackwater, and
would like to buy my book, please consider making it a two-for-one
action by making a donation to my good friends at the Courage
Campaign.
 
If you contribute at least $50 to the Courage Campaign, I'll sign a
copy of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary
Army" and Courage will send it to you as soon as possible:
http://www.couragecampaign.org/JeremyScahill

The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network empowering
nearly 100,000 members to make this a new era for progressive
politics in California. In 2008, the Courage Campaign will work with
grassroots and netroots activists to increase California's importance
in the race for the White House, hold our elected officials
accountable, and defeat the November initiative that would ban
marriage equality.
 
Please consider making a contribution to the Courage Campaign:

"every question, if it's a truthful question,can be answered by
askin' it."
Bob Dylan
 
"Henty Berry Virginia House of Delegates 1832,
 "We have, as far as possible, closed every avenue by which
light may enter their (the slaves) minds.
 If we could extinguish the capacity to see the light, our work
would be complete;

"He who can lead you to believe an absurdity,
can lead you to commit an atrocity." Voltaire


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