Jeremy Scahill visited DeKalb and Jo Daviess County last week to talk about his book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Video News Service put together a short video for YouTube, Blackwater Invades Illinois, of Scahill’s hourlong talks at these venues, the Jo Daviess turnout estimated at 120-150 people. Blackwater recently opened controversial paramilitary training camp Blackwater North near Mt. Carroll, probably in violation of zoning laws there.
Highlights from Scahill’s talk in DeKalb, which I attended:
Formed in 1996, Blackwater found traction for growth in a series of tragedies starting with the Columbine massacre.
The idea for the first Blackwater base, in North Carolina, was sold as a hunting lodge concept.
Blackwater is not the largest of the security firms, just the most elite. They got that reputation in part by keeping alive the most hated man in post-war Iraq, Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
“Contractor” casualties in Iraq–deeply secret so this is just an estimate–run to at least 770 dead and over 7,000 wounded.
More than 300 of the 435 registered voters of tiny Potrero, CA, are fighting a similar installation called Blackwater West near their community, which lies southeast of San Diego.