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Locals Continue Battle Against Blackwater on the Border

by San Diego Peace Resource Center, Sunday, Jun. 08, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Blackwater Opponents Announce Two Upcoming Public Events Community Forum on Tuesday, June 10th and Wednesday, June 11th Rally Outside Front Door of Blackwater's New Site Jeremy Scahill, Renowned Author of International Bestseller "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" Special Guest Speaker Community Groups Charge Blackwater Misused Federal Court to Muscle into Cal-Mex Border Site and Call for Facility Including Shooting Range to Be Shut-Down "No to Baghdad on the Border" New Facility 500 Yards From International Border Will Exacerbate the Potential for Increased Human and Civil Rights Violations to Both Migrants and Members of Border Communities

MEDIA ADVISORY

Peace Resource Center of San Diego

http://www.prcsd.org

Activist San Diego

http://www.activistsandiego.org

Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs)

http://www.StopBlackwater.net

http://www.CitizensOversight.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2008

Locals Battle Blackwater on the Border

Blackwater Opponents Announce Two Upcoming Public Events

Community Forum on Tuesday, June 10th and Wednesday, June 11th Rally Outside Front Door of Blackwater's New Site

Jeremy Scahill, Renowned Author of International Bestseller "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" Special Guest Speaker

Community Groups Charge Blackwater Misused Federal Court to Muscle into Cal-Mex Border Site and Call for Facility Including Shooting Range to Be Shut-Down

"No to Baghdad on the Border" New Facility 500 Yards From International Border Will Exacerbate the Potential for Increased Human and Civil Rights Violations to Both Migrants and Members of Border Communities

SAN DIEGO, CA (June 8) – - San Diego locals continue protest against Blackwater's new foothold on the West Coast, only blocks from the Cal-Mex border in Otay Mesa, California. Blackwater opened the facility under clouds of subterfuge and obvious circumvention of local laws, finally using temporary restraining order issued by Federal Judge, a President Bush Sr. appointee, to muscle their way into the facility and avoid public hearings, environmental review and traditional public scrutiny.

TWO PUBLIC EVENTS TO STOP BLACKWATER

WHEN: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 7 p.m.

WHAT: Community Forum on Stopping Blackwater Featuring Jeremy Scahill, Author

Bestseller "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army"

WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front Street, San Diego

AND

WHEN: Wednesday, June 11, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHAT: Locals Rally Outside the New Blackwater Training Facility, speakers include,

Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Author and others TBA

WHERE: 7685 Siempre Viva Rd, San Diego, CA 92154.

The public is invited to both events where community members will express their views about the miscarriage of local laws, the inappropriate use of mercenaries for public security training, and the desire to have the facility shut down in Otay Mesa, California. For many who were successful in blocking Blackwater's attempt to build a more than 800 acre para-military facility in Potreo, California, Blackwater represents the ultimate expression of the worst decisions made by the Bush administration and their extreme privatization agenda.

Jeremy Scahill, author of the International and New York Times bestseller and the winner of prestigious Polk Book Award, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" will speak to the community at both events. Scahill, whose book inspired San Diego's local movement, is currently on a national tour to launch the fully updated paperback edition of his bestseller, featuring an exposé on "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday," a shooting spree carried out by Blackwater in Baghdad's Nisour Square on September 16, 2007 where 17 innocent civilians were cut down by Blackwater gunfire without provocation.

"Despite the deadly events of the past year, Blackwater's business has never been better," said Jeremy Scahill. "Amidst the scandals, controversies and allegations of killing innocent civilians, Blackwater continues to be rewarded with lucrative, multi-million dollar contracts from the federal government, all the while expanding its reach inside the US and now into California. The residents of Potrero and their allies were right to confront Blackwater as it attempted to open shop in their community on the US-Mexico border and the people of San Diego are justified in their deep concerns about Blackwater's facility in Otay Mesa."

On April 25, 2008, Rep. Bob Filner (CA-51) held a press conference at the same site about the project. "This is a private company that would profit from instability and insecurity at the border," said San Diego City Councilmember Ben Hueso, who represents the 8th District where the project is located and who spoke at event. "It's their motive and it's their interest that we have conflict and that we have problems at the border. The more there are, they more they'll profit. This is why we do not want private companies engaging in national security objectives. It is a complete conflict of interest when you mix corporate profits with community benefit."

"The people of Potrero and San Diego is delivering a strong message to Blackwater," said Carol Jahnkow, Director of the San Diego Peace Resource Center and lead organizer for the rally. "You are not wanted here!. Blackwater, with its lack of transparency and accountability, is bad for San Diego and why private companies like Blackwater who profit from war, suffering, insecurity and civil unrest undermine our democratic values."

"Any Navy training should be handled internally by the Navy itself and not by war profiteers who seek to by-pass public scrutiny," said Martin Eder, spokesperson for Activist San Diego. "Blackwater has a history of running roughshod over the interests of civilians, whether it is in Iraq and Potrero and now Otay Mesa. What they did in Otay in blatant disregard to the rights of government and citizens to know the truth about this so-called 'vocational training facility'. Blackwater is known for shooting first, and asking questions never – San Diego has good reason to fear Blackwater on our sensitive international border."

Reacting to the audit report of the Blackwater permits provided by the City of San Diego on June 6, Ray Lutz, coordinator for Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs) said, "The audit report completely sidestepped the most important issue: how Blackwater used the various permits and multiple identities to allow processing of the mercenary-type training facility under rubber-stamp 'Ministerial' review instead of allowing the public to review and approve their plans under 'Discretionary' processing. Finally, suing the city in federal court to force the permits to be issued steps far over the line of propriety, a blatant violation of traditional local control traditions. The character of Blackwater can be seen in these actions. This is not the sort of operation we want in this county, whether it is in Potrero or in Otay Mesa."

DIRECTIONS: 805 South to 905 East, Turn right at Britannia (just opposite Brown Field Control Tower), Turn left on to Siempre Viva (third light). Info: 619-263-9301, info@prcsd.org or www.prcsd.org

SPONSORED BY San Diego Peace Resource Center, Activist San Diego, CitizensOversight.org , plus others.

###



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