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Catholic Workers Arrested at Blackwater USA H.Q.

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Tuesday October 23, 2007 02:32author by Ellen - Ithaca (NY) Catholic Worker Report this post to the editors

Dear Friends,

Last night we received a call reporting on an action that Peter De Mott and other Catholic Workers from the East Coast were part of at the headquarters of Blackwater USA in the Great Dismal Swamp, NC. Below are photos of the action as well as their statement.

Six of the group are being held on a $1000. bail, Peter being one of them. They will go to court on Wednesday where they will be arraigned and possibly bail will be reduced. Right now they are being charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, and destruction of property. They are being held at the

Currituck County Jail:
413 Maple Rd.
Maple, NC 27956

It's said that a picture tells a thousand words, so instead of a thousand words

you can see pictures at:

The photos explain the action but for those of you that can't access the web... basically the group used an old car donated for the action, dressed it up with fake bullet holes, put red paint on it, wrote the words Nisour Square (the site of Blackwater's latest massacre) and drove onto Blackwater property to their headquarters sign. At that point the group got out of the car and a couple of them put bloodied (red paint) handprints on the signs (one is of a bear paw, Blackwater's logo) and "died in". The "die in" lasted about 45 minutes before they were arrested by the Currituck County Sheriff. Meanwhile there were about 50 folks supporting off property. They stood in vigil while the action took place.

I understand that all in the group are in good spirits. Please hold them in prayer.

In Peace, Ellen

Blackwater Protest Action Statement

As people of faith who wish to shed light and enkindle hope, we come today to the headquarters of Blackwater Worldwide in an act of nonviolent protest, appealing to Blackwater personnel to disassociate themselves from a corporation which:

• Operates in connivance with the U.S. Military to prosecute the illegal, unjust, aggressive war against Iraq in order to secure American imperial objectives in the Middle East;

• Reaps huge revenues amounting to billions of dollars, in effect robbing the American public of valuable resources needed for the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, health care, etc;

• Murders innocent Iraqi noncombatants, including children, women and the elderly;

• Performs these evil deeds without any accountability and operates with complete immunity;

• Works side by side and colludes with the world’s number one terrorist, the United States Govenment.

Steve Baggarly
Beth Brockman
Mark Colville
Peter DeMott
Laura Marks
Bill Streit

Related Link:
author by Patrick O'Neill - Raleigh Catholic Worker (North carolina)publication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 02:36author address Raleigh, North Carolina, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

On the fourth floor of the North Carolina State University student center, Jeremy Scahill steps to the podium to address the Peace Lunch Forum sponsored by Presbyterian Campus Ministry. For the next 45 minutes, there's barely a pause in his rapid-fire remarks. The 32-year-old author of The New York Times bestseller, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," is on a roll, no notes necessary.

Three years of impeccable research made Scahill "the face they love to hate" at Blackwater USA, Bill Sizemore wrote in The Virginian-Pilot on Sept. 27, the day Scahill arrived in Raleigh.

Scahill rolled into the Triangle in a beat-up old minivan, a ride he hitched from Tidewater with longtime Catholic Worker, Steve Baggarly. (His publicist did put him up in Durham hotel and fly him back to New York the next morning. A best seller isn't making him rich, Scahill reports.)

Among hundreds of corporate contractors in Iraq, "Blackwater is the elite," Scahill says, "because they have the most mission-critical task, which is to protect the occupation officials." Blackwater "operates in a climate where immunity and impunity go hand in hand."

More importantly, Scahill says Blackwater, which became a household word after four of its mercenaries were killed and their burned bodies strung from a bridge in Fallujah in 2004, is indirectly responsible for solidifying the Iraqi resistance to the US occupation.

Following those killings, President Bush ordered a full-scale bombardment of Fallujah. In a week, 37,000 air strikes killed more than 600 Iraqis; the entire "collective punishment" was broadcast to the world "because of the bravery of those un-embedded journalists" of Al-Jazeera television, Scahill said.

"The Iraqi resistance was absolutely inflamed and made in many ways by this event," he said. "This is a story that has not been filtered into this country yet because the US media won't touch it, and it has everything to do with why there are 3,800 dead US soldiers that have come back to Dover in body bags. But we don't talk about the historical context of this."

Scahill's very radical presentation goes over surprisingly well with this group of honor students who Scahill teases twice because they're getting credit for attending the forum. After taking a few questions, Scahill makes a jittery move for the exit. "I started smoking again," he says. "But I run every day." Later, in between seemingly endless calls and E-mails on his Blackberry, Scahill admits he hasn't run even once since Sept. 16 when Blackwater made international headlines again after its soldiers of fortune blew away 11 Iraqi civilians on a Baghdad street.

Since then, Scahill's life has been a whirlwind of media madness. From CNN, to the US Senate, to Comedy Central, timing has been everything for the journalist-turned-celebrity with GQ-good looks who seems to know more about Blackwater than anyone else on earth except his nemesis, the company's right-wing Catholic founder Erik Prince, a 38-year-old conservative and former Navy SEAL who has an "ideological commitment to the foreign policy of the Bush Administration."

Stuck in traffic on I-40 in Cary, en route to another speaking engagement at NC Central. Scahill is talking to Baggarly -- or so it seems. Physically, they're in the same confined space, but Scahill is clearly in two places at once -- one in body, another in mind. The activist, who once lived with the late-peace activist Philip Berrigan, Scahill has answered a vibration, and he's on the phone with a congressional staffer who has a question about Blackwater's campaign contributions.

The "very far right" Prince gives plenty to candidates, Scahill says, telling the staffer the information he wants is easily accessible on the Internet at ", and you search Erik Prince. It's Erik with a 'K' and it's going to pull up his entire campaign contribution history," basic information Scahill has come to realize most legislators and their staff don't even know how to access.

"You probably have to do the legwork on that," he finally tells the staffer.

A regular contributor to The Nation, Scahill, who was raised in an activist family with ties to Dorothy Day and the New York City Catholic Worker, said he was "lucky" when "by chance" he met Berrigan at a 1995 Washington, DC peace rally.

Berrigan invited Scahill to visit Jonah House, the "resistance community" Berrigan and his wife, Elizabeth McAlister founded in inner city Baltimore.

Scahill went to Jonah House for the weekend, and stayed a year. "Look at the incredible education you get from spending a year painting houses on a ladder next to Phil Berrigan. It had a profound impact on me."

Once an activist, Scahill, now devotes his life to journalism. "I think that being alive in the times that we live in means to be a
resister," he said. "For me, media is a nonviolent weapon in that struggle."

Mike Scahill, who lived at the New York Catholic Worker in the late 1960s and early 1970s, said he and his wife, Lisa, raised their three children to respect each other and be worldly.

Mike Scahill said his oldest son showed promise as public speaker when in the 6th grade Jeremy volunteered to call bingo at Milwaukee's St. Rose Catholic Parish. "He just had this tremendous gift for impromptu, spontaneous speaking. It was truly a remarkable gift."

Jeremy Scahill dropped out of college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison after one year.

"He just kind of up and went out East and the rest is history," Mike Scahill said. "He just got restless here."
In addition to the year at Jonah House, Jeremy lived at the same Catholic Worker House on Manhattan's E. 1st St. as did his father.

It was his prewar trips to Fallujah as an independent journalist that led Scahill to look more deeply at why Bush chose to attack the city in the wake of the deaths of the Blackwater guards.

It begged the question, Scahill said: "How on earth were the lives of four corporate personnel worth the death of an entire city?"

Later, Scahill encountered armed Blackwater soldiers patrolling the streets of new Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and he began his research that became the book.

"He's literally invested years of his life investigating this," Mike Scahill said.

The Sept. 16 shootings led Iraq to temporarily oust Blackwater from the country, a short-lived threat Scahill said proves Iraqis don't call the shots when it comes to the US occupation. After the smoke cleared, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Iraqi officials that "Blackwater would remain put."

Scahill says Blackwater doesn't even have an active operating license in Iraq. It expired in 2005. "So essentially Blackwater's been operating without any kind of oversight from the Iraqi Government," he said.

Blackwater's first Iraq contract was early in the war when the company was charged with providing security for then-US envoy Paul Bremer.

Partially as a "thank you gift" for a job well-done, Scahill said Bremer issued Order 17 before he left Iraq in June 2004. The order gave all private contractors immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law. All this while Bremer was allegedly handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi Government, Scahill said.

"It was a strange definition of sovereignty to say, 'You're a sovereign country now, except your courts are worthless when it comes to prosecuting criminal activities, acts of murder or other abuses and misconduct,'" Scahill said.

By waging a war with corporate soldiers, the US is changing the face of warfare. Alongside 170,000 active duty US troops "there are an incredible 180,000 private contractors on the US Government payroll," Scahill said. "This is a staggering development in the history of warfare in this country because now you don't have a coalition of willing nations that are occupying Iraq. You have a coalition of billing corporations.

"So the US military is actually the junior partner in the so-called coalition that now occupies Iraq; junior partner to a corporate army."

Not all contractors are armed, Scahill said. Some are truck drivers and cooks, others do the laundry for the US military, but "tens of thousands of them are armed mercenaries like those that work for Blackwater USA."

While Blackwater touts itself as an "All-American operation," Scahill said the company recruits foreign nationals for its private army. Blackwater's paid soldiers include employees from nations that do not support the US occupation of Iraq.
Despite Chile's stand against the Iraq war, Blackwater hired a former soldier who served under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to recruit Chilean commandos who are now working in Iraq.

"So what the Bush Administration was able to do was to subvert the sovereignty of Chile, subvert the democratically elected government that is recognized by the Bush Administration, and hire soldiers from Chile through Blackwater to go and occupy Iraq," Scahill said.

" Š We're seeing a total blurring of the line between the corporate army and the nation state, and it really poses a significant threat to global order."

Blackwater sits on 7,000 acres in the northeast corridor of the state amidst the Great Dismal Swamp. With millions of dollars in contracts with the US Government, Blackwater is among a growing group of private contractors who receive 70 percent of the US Intelligence budget.

While the light is being focused on Blackwater amidst accusations of misconduct, Scahill stays on the phone and travels to speaking engagements to push his unambiguous agenda calling for an immediate US withdrawal from Iraq with reparations for reconstruction.

"We need to own what's being done in our name, and the United States needs to get out of Iraq," Scahill says as he sits on a wall outside the NCSU student center.

author by Ellenpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 02:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Watch the protest action @ Blackwater headquarters on Youtube.

Video / Blackwater: Shadow Army - Jeremy Scahill

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Blackwater must be exposed and held responsible for their killings. Your actions have been an inspiration. Peace to you all

author by Updatepublication date Sun Nov 11, 2007 19:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A new campaign to place the Iraq war in the center of Iowa's
presidential caucus races kicked off in Des Moines yesterday. But as
often happens, it wasn't so much the protest that made the story as
the reaction to it.

"Seasons Of Discontent--A Presidential Occupation Campaign," or
SODAPOP as its organizers dubbed it, targeted the
campaigns of Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, taking over their
offices in the Iowa state capital and disrupting both campaigns for
several hours before a total of 19 people were arrested.

The "law and order" Giuliani campaign waited only about two hours
to call on the suburban Clive, Iowa police to arrest 10 activists. The
Clinton campaign appeared more reluctant to remove the protesters,
waiting almost eight hours before requesting the Des Moines Police
Department remove nine activists. The last two hours of the Clinton
occupation generated reactions from young staffers that typically send
a candidate's damage control unit into overtime, especially when that
candidate is trying to appeal to rock-solid Democratic voters.

The nine, along with a handful of supporters, called on Clinton's
Ingersoll Ave. office at 1:30pm, telling staffer David Barnhart that
they had come for the Senator's response to a letter they had sent her
a month earlier, asking her to publicly pledge "to take the necessary
concrete steps to end the Iraq war, to rebuild Iraq, to foreswear
military attacks on other countries, and to fully fund the Common Good
in the U.S."

Barnhart ended a brief exchange with Catholic Peace Ministry
director, Brian Terrell by saying, "Look, nobody wants to end the war
in Iraq more than Hillary Clinton. We love to hear a diversity of
opinion, but we are asking you to leave now."

Ignoring Barnhart's request, the occupiers spent until 8:00pm
reading the names of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers killed in the war,
taping "End the Iraq War" flyers onto Clinton campaign signs, taking a
brief turn calling registered voters to inform them of Clinton's war
votes before the phone was disconnected, having limited success
engaging staffers and volunteers in discussion, and making enough
racket doing so to make it difficult to continue business as usual. In
twos and threes throughout the afternoon, all the campaign volunteers
and most of the staff departed.

At 6:30, Terrell and Farah Mokhtareizadeh, a 24 year-old peace
activist from Philadelphia, followed by two reporters, drove across
town to Clinton's Second Street office. Through the building's glass
doors they saw a group of about 25 people but found the door locked.
First Terrell, and then the reporters, asked to come in. One reporter,
told earlier in the day that all statements for the Clinton campaign
had to come from press secretary Mark Daly, asked unsuccessfully to
speak with him. Staff members ushered the knot of volunteers into an
interior room, leaving a half-dozen of their colleagues in the outer
area who proceeded to ignore not only Terrell and the reporters, but
over the next half hour, more than a dozen volunteers and paid staff,
all surprised to see the doors locked and unable to get anyone's
attention from inside.

At one point the reporters went to a side window to try and
observe what was happening, only to have a large "Hillary" sign placed
to block their view. At that, the four drove back to the Ingersoll
Avenue office.

Shortly after they returned, Mokhtareizadeh began reading the
famous speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave on April 4, 1967
at Riverside Church in New York, titled "Declaration of Independence
from the Vietnam War." The most frequently quoted lines in it are, "A
nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military
defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual
death," but it also contains a prophetic warning from the Buddhist
leaders of Vietnam.

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the hearts of
the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct.
The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their
enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully
on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the
process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat."

Moments after those lines were read, a booming guitar riff
thundered from the open door of a work room adjoining the space held
by the occupiers, drowning out King's words. Mokhtareizadeh picked up
a bullhorn and continued King's speech, overpowering the music.

Shortly thereafter, the decibel battle ended in success for the
occupiers and King's speech continued at a humane level. A reporter
went to the office from which the music had emanated and asked the
staff member if he wanted to give a statement about the odd
juxtaposition posed by a speech of Martin Luther King's being drowned
out in a prominent Democrat's Iowa campaign headquarters. The
unidentified staff member declined and referred the reporter to Mr.

At the conclusion of the King speech, Robert Braam, a 51 year-old
cabinetmaker from Manhattan, Illinois took up reading the names of
Iraqis killed in the war until through the main door strode an
assertive, middle-aged woman who went about the office introducing
herself with a firm handshake to every protester, as Teresa Vilman of
the Hillary Clinton campaign. "I'll give you three minutes to leave
and then I'll call the police," she said, smiling, "which I guess is
what you want anyway."

With that, Vilman directed the remaining staffers to take down the
numerous "End the Iraq War" flyers and remove all traces of the
occupation. She cheerily asked the protesters, "If you don't mind,
would you please take the empty water bottles with you?"

No one objected to her request, but David Goodner, a senior at the
University of Iowa, retorted, "If you don't mind, would you please get
Mrs. Clinton on the phone for us?" And Des Moines resident, Mona Shaw,
56, added, "And if she doesn't mind, ask her to keep from invading

Within minutes, five police cars and over a dozen officers began
rolling into the campaign office's parking lot. At Captain Bob Clock's
request, Vilman went up to every activist and the reporters, asking
each to leave. Supporters of the occupiers who did not intend to be
arrested, and the reporters exited the office. Not long afterward, Des
Moines police officers led nine handcuffed occupiers out of the
Hillary Clinton campaign office and into a waiting paddy wagon. The
ninth was Mokhtareizadeh, who, throughout the day was not planning on
being among the arrestees. As she returned inside the office to submit
to the police, she said, "After reading that whole speech from Dr.
King, I just had to get arrested with the others."

The other SODAPOPers arrested at the Clinton campaign office were
Renee Espeland, 46, a Des Moines chimney sweep; Chris Gaunt, 51, a
third-generation Iowa farmer from Grinnell; and Chrissy Kirchoefer,
30, from Marseilles Illinois.

They were joined in the Polk County Jail by the ten arrested at
Giuliani's Iowa headquarters, Kathy Kelly, Co-director of Voices for
Creative Nonviolence, Chicago; Suzanne Sheridan 31, photo assistant
and artist model, Francis of Assisi Catholic Worker House in Chicago;
Ron Durham, 26, bike repair and handyman, Francis of Assisi House,
Chicago; Elton Davis, 45, proprietor of Sweet Bee Infoshop, Des
Moines; Ed Bloomer, 60, Dingman Catholic Worker House, Des Moines; Joy
First, 53, of Madison, Wisconsin; Nick Kinkel, 19, Des Moines; Mickey
Davis, 16, Waukee, Iowa; Jeff Leys, 43, and Dan Pearson, 26, both
Co-directors of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Chicago.

Organizers say the protests in Iowa will continue, with more
occupations slated for December 29 to January 3, 2008 as the caucuses
take place. They hope peace activists will generate similar actions in
other states as the presidential primary season develops, and
challenge candidates "as they make public appearances around the state
without regard for arbitrary 'free speech zone' restrictions that may

Ten Minute Youtube video of Nov 8 SODaPOP Occupation of Rudy
Giuliani's Des Moines Election Offices. Ten people were arrested by
Rodger Routh

Ten minute Youtube video of Kathy Kelly's talk Nov 7th in DM for Pre
SODaPOP occupations programs in Des Moines by Rodger Routh

author by Court Update - Norfolk (Virginia, USA) Catholic Workerpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 05:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Here's the local piece on yesterday's trial. There is also an
article at called "7 Blackwater
Protesters Found Guilty" by John Henderson. It lists all of our home
addresses which is interesting and may result in our recieving some

Now we wait for a date for a jury trial (every case in NC can be
appealed and go to jury after the initial bench trial). In Currituck
Co. that court is only in session once every 3 months, and our case
likely won't be given priority. It could be a good while before we

By clearing the court during our trial the judge was consistent with
the national censorship of the war in Iraq where, since the US
invasion and occupation, millions of Iraqis have been killed, maimed, forced from their homes, and driven mad by the war. We see and hear just about none of that here. Our stance is that we are all responsible as Americans for virtually destroying an entire nation
that has never done anything to us. Blackwater and the whole US
military apparatus must leave today, and tonight we must begin massive reparations.

We'll let you know the next court date when it comes.

In Advent hope,
Steve Baggarly
Norfolk CW

author by Sentencingpublication date Sat Jan 26, 2008 06:40author address Currituck County , North Carolina, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors


The seven of us arrested in October at Blackwater USA headquarters
for reenacting the Nisoor Square massacre had a day long trial on
Wednesday, January 23, and were sentenced yesterday morning to time
served (we did five days right after the arrest). We were also told
not to return to Blackwater property. The judge said he had to ensure
to peace of Currituck County (home to Blackwater HQ), and that law is
needed to protect the vulnerable. He never mentioned the violence
Currituck County exports to Iraq in the form of Blackwater operatives,
or the vulnerable Iraqi civilians they kill and maim with impunity.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive in so many ways during
this time!


Steve Baggarly
Norfork CW

Friday, January 25, 2008
The Daily Advance, the Elizabeth City, NC paper:

Blackwater protesters freed, told to stay off firm's property
Judge: Protesters are 'kind and gentle people'

Staff Writer

CURRITUCK — Seven anti-war activists convicted of trespassing at
Blackwater Worldwide's headquarters in Moyock walked out of a
Currituck County courtroom free Thursday. Superior Court Judge Russell
Duke of Pitt County issued sentences that will result in the
protesters serving no more jail time than the days they were
incarcerated after their arrests in October — unless they go back on
Blackwater property.

The protesters were facing between 60 to 80 days in jail based on
their previous arrest records. Several were repeat offenders, with one
having five convictions.

Duke sentenced five of the seven protestors to the five days that each
of them served following their arrests in October, and they were
ordered not to go back on Blackwater property.

They included:

Steven John Baggarly, of Norfolk, Va.;
William Mathias Streit, of Trevilians, Va.;
Mark Peter Colville, of New Haven, Conn.;
Peter Johns DeMott, of Ithaca, N.Y.; and
Mary Terese Grace, of Wolftown, Va.

The remaining two protestors — Laura Lee Marks, of Ayden, and
Elizabeth Velkey Brockman, of Durham — are expected to serve no more
than the day they spent in jail after their arrest. That is because
Duke also sentenced them to a five-day jail sentence, but
suspended the sentence as long as the two don't trespass again on
Blackwater property.

Duke delivered the sentences after arguing the importance of obeying
the law in order to maintain a stable society.

"The law cannot be ignored because you just don't like it," the judge

The protesters' charges emanated from an Oct. 20 re-enactment at
Blackwater's main entrance of a Sept. 16 shooting incident involving
Blackwater contractors in Baghdad, in which 17 Iraqi civilians died.

On Wednesday, a Currituck County Superior Court jury found six of the
protesters guilty of second-degree trespassing and of resisting,
obstructing and delaying a law enforcement officer.

The seventh protester, Grace, was found guilty only of trespassing.
That's because she did not participate with her fellow defendants in
the re-enactment of the fatal shootings, but crossed onto Blackwater
property after being warned not to by an officer and kneeled and

Anne E. Tyrrell, director of public affairs for Blackwater Worldwide,
issued this following statement following the outcome of Thursday's

"Many of the extraordinary professionals currently working for
Blackwater are veterans who served their country in support of — among
other things — the right to free speech and to peacefully protest in
accordance with the law. We respect every person's right to speak
out in support of his or her beliefs, but if laws are violated it is
the court system's responsibility to hold them accountable."

The protesters, who gathered in a circle to pray outside of the
courthouse before the sentencing Thursday, were expecting a trip to
the Currituck County Detention Center. They also seemed to have
agitated Duke when they walked into court and declared they would not
pay a fine or do community service as part of their punishment. They
said their protest at Blackwater was a community service.

"It grieves me that thoughtful people would say, 'We don't respect the
law, and we don't respect the law giver,'" Duke said.

But in the end, he did not come down hard on the protesters.

"You're kind and gentle people for the most part," Duke said.

The judge told the protesters that their case was not about the war in

"We're here about the peace and harmony of this particular county,"
the judge said.

The protestors came to court with prepared statements explaining why
they participated in the re-enactment in October.

"The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an
orderly and peaceable world, while, in fact, U.S. law and courts stand
idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater
have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis," protestor Steve Baggarly said.

The trial was the second for the protestors, who represented

In a non-jury trial in December, District Court Judge Edgar Barnes
tried Baggarly in open court, but then for reasons still unexplained,
closed the courtroom to spectators and tried and convicted the other
six behind closed doors. The trial Wednesday resulted from the
defendants' appeal of those convictions.

Barnes' decision to close the courtroom has drawn a formal complaint
from the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a protest to the N.C. Judicial Standards Commission, the group
claims the judge violated the protesters' constitutional right to a
public trial by closing the courtroom.

author by Counterpunchpublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 07:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jeremy Scahill is the author of the New York Tmes bestseller "Blackwater - The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army". On the link below he covers the court case Catholic Workers whtook nonviolent direct action at Blackwater HQ in North Carolina, USA

Related Link:
author by Radio Interviewpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 22:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interview with Mark Colville,
Amistad Catholic Worker activist
Conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Last November, seven peace activists traveled to the rural North
Carolina headquarters of Blackwater USA to re-enact the Sept. 16
Nisour Square massacre, in which the private military contractors'
employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians. They have faced no legal
consequences for what many witnesses say was an unprovoked attack. In fact, private contractors -- of whom there are more than 100,000 working in Iraq -- appear to be immune from prosecution, based on current U.S. and Iraqi law.

The group of protesters was convicted of minor crimes -- such as
trespass, passively resisting arrest and destruction of property --
for parking cars on the grass outside the headquarters. Five of the
protesters were sentenced to time served, which was the five days they had spent in jail after their arrest. Two were given five-day
suspended sentences.

Between The Line's Melinda Tuhus spoke with Mark Colville of the
Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven, Conn., who participated in the Blackwater protest. He describes the unusual opportunity he and his co-defendants had to discuss issues of international law during their trial, and the meaning of such actions as the media and presidential candidates marginalize the anti-war movement.


Related Link:
author by Pakistanpublication date Thu Nov 26, 2009 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan

by Jeremy Scahill November 23, 2009 -

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blac kwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus...

Read the full article

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author by Black Ops - The Nationpublication date Sun Sep 19, 2010 21:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article.


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