11.16.2008

Blackwater’s Terrifying Reach

Important piece that needs attention. Bottom line: Blackwater must be destroyed.

Blackwater doesn’t need Iraq anymore. It got what it needed from Iraq—a bad-ass reputation and a billion dollars in government contracts.” That’s the assessment of investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, the leading civilian expert on Blackwater, the controversial private security firm that pops up in the world’s most dangerous areas, from the Green Zone in Baghdad to the streets of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Scahill has followed Blackwater’s trail around the world, even before it made global headlines last September, when its contractors shot dead 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. That massacre shone a spotlight on the private security contractor—along with Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, which was published last spring.

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“Every aspect of our lives is being increasingly privatized,” Scahill said. “We see the effect of it in Iraq, and if we don’t pay attention and learn from it, we’re doomed to allow it to take complete hold over us here at home.”

Scahill said Zeidler, in contrast, was a firm believer in public support of public institutions. “Zeidler was the antithesis of what Blackwater and the Bush administration stand for,” Scahill said. “Frank Zeidler believed in public institutions, public education, public media, public health care, public parks.”

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