Nationwide Events Commemorate 17 Innocent Lives Lost in Blackwater's Nisour Square Massacre -- "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday"

For Immediate Release

Stop Blackwater
Contact: 

Carol Jahnkow Director, Peace Resource Center of San Diego http://www.prcsd.org prcsandiego@igc.org / 760-390-0775

Raymond Lutz Coordinator, Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs) http://www.StopBlackwater.net http://www.CitizensOversight.org raylutz@CitizensOversight.org / 619-447-3246

Nationwide Events Commemorate 17 Innocent Lives Lost in Blackwater's Nisour Square Massacre -- "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday"

Citizens Protest Blackwater Mercenary Training Centers in California, North Carolina, Illinois and Idaho.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Activists in California, North Carolina,
Illinois, and Idaho, opposing Blackwater mercenary training operations
in their states, will protest Blackwater and commemorate the first
anniversary of "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday," a shooting spree carried out
by Blackwater in Baghdad's Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007 where 17
innocent civilians were cut down by Blackwater gunfire without
provocation.

The Protests will occur in four separate locations, where Blackwater
has expanded their operation past training and extensive operations in
Iraq to set up mercenary training centers.

In California, the rally will also 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.

In Illinois, Blackwater just expanded their training facility by adding
a shooting range, dodging public scrutiny.

FOUR PUBLIC EVENTS TO STOP BLACKWATER AND COMMEMORATE "BAGHDAD'S
BLOODY SUNDAY"

Blackwater Opponents Announce Nisour Square Commemorative Rally to
occur at four locations:

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
WHEN: Sept. 13, 3-5pm (PT)
WHERE: 7685 Siempre Viva Rd, San Diego, CA 92154.
INFO:  www.StopBlackwater.net;
619-263-9301 or  info@prcsd.org
DIRECTIONS: 805 South to 905 East, Turn right at Britannia (just
opposite Brown Field Control Tower), Turn left on to Siempre Viva
(third light).
SPEAKERS: Rep. Bob Filner (CA-51), Mexican American Political
Association President Nativo Lopez, StopBlackwater.net activist, Ray
Lutz, American Friends Service Committee Border Action Project
Director, Pedro Rios, San Diego Veterans for Peace, David Wiley, Peace
Resource Center Director, Carol Jahnkow, and many more!

WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA
WHEN:  Sept. 13, 2008 4-6 p.m. (ET)
WHERE: North Carolina, at Headquarters of Blackwater's Lobbyist
Firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice at One West Fourth Street,
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
INFO: BlackwaterWatch, Christian Stalberg 919-801-0734
admin@blackwaterwatch.net

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
WHEN: Sept. 14th, 1:30 to 4pm (CT);
WHERE: Downtown Chicago, joining with war protestors at the The
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603
INFO: 847-742-1406
 
COEUR D'ALENE, IDAHO
35 miles from Jeremy Scahill's visit on Sept. 30, and home of
Blackwater's digital training company. The group will be calling into
the San Diego event and addressing the crowd by cell phone. Contact
Bonnie Douglas for more information -- 208.664-5659 

On September 16, 2007, Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 Iraqi
civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. Almost a year later, no one has
been charged or prosecuted for the murders. Blackwater, a private army
and mercenary headquartered in Moyock, NC with over $1 billion in
federal contracts (primarily no-bid) since 2001, operates with
impunity, not subject to either military or civilian law. Blackwater is
associated with tax evasion, gun running, weapons stockpiling,
recruiting death squad paramilitary personnel from Latin America and
defrauding US taxpayers. Blackwater operates without oversight,
transparency or accountability.

The public is invited to attend all events to commemorate the Sept. 16,
2007 massacre and to express their views about the miscarriage of local
laws, the inappropriate use of mercenaries for public security
training, and the desire to have facilities shut down in Otay Mesa,
California, North Carolina, and Illinois.

"We were successful in blocking Blackwater's attempt to build
'Blackwater West,' an 824-acre paramilitary facility in Potrero," Carol
Jahnkow said, Executive Director, Peace Resource Center of San Diego,
referring to the proposed facility about an hour east of San Diego,
California. "Blackwater's expansion across our nation must be stopped,
and we can do it."

For many, Blackwater represents the ultimate expression of the worst
decisions made by the Bush administration and their extreme
privatization agenda. "The way the Blackwater convoy shot into the
crowd of civilians is symptomatic of a company that is out of control,"
Ray Lutz said, coordinator of Citizens Oversight Projects (COPs). "They
strong-armed their way into this Otay Mesa facility, avoiding the usual
public hearings and community oversight, mistreating the community just
like the Iraqis in Nisour Square who were murdered just one year ago."

North Carolina has the largest facility, over 6,000 acres, near the
small town of Moyock. The locals recently turned down the request by
Blackwater to operate dozens of shooting ranges until midnight, and are
now pushing against a new proposed runway. In Illinois, Blackwater just
installed a 3,600 sqft shoot house, sneaking past public scrutiny. In
Idaho, locals stopped an agreement between the Peace Officers Standards
and Training (POST) Council that would make them a tenant in a
Blackwater facility.

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 appear on
Sept. 30 in Spokane, WA, only 35 miles from the Idaho protest site.

Scahill, whose book inspired the movement against Blackwater, is
currently on a national tour to launch the fully updated paperback
edition of his bestseller, featuring an exposé on the Nisour Square
shooting incident.

"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."

Lobbyists retained by Blackwater, like Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge &
Rice, insured that Blackwater's contracts with the US State Department
were renewed this past April. This, despite the Iraqi government having
ordered Blackwater out of its country and the stonewalled investigation
into the Nisour Square massacre. Although
media reported the contrary, Blackwater has confirmed that it has no
intention of leaving the security contracting business. Blackwater is
expert at using influence peddling professionals like Womble Carlyle
and its connections with the White House administration to remain free
from harm and open for business.

A Bush administration appointed federal judge recently forced the city
of San Diego to allow a shell company created by Blackwater to open a
training facility inside the city limits, within blocks of the Mexican
border. The Bush administration has hinted at militarizing our border
with Mexico, and Blackwater is positioning itself for future federal
contracts to provide border security.

Info: 619-263-9301, info@prcsd.org or www.prcsd.org

SPONSORED BY San Diego Peace Resource Center, Activist San Diego,
CitizensOversight.org, StopBlackwater.net, San Diego Veterans for
Peace, Blackwater Watch, North Carolina Stop Torture Now, Clearwater
(IL)

About Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs)
Citizens' Oversight Projects was founded in 2006 to promote involvement
by citizens in their government. In a democracy, it is the duty of each
citizen to oversee the entire government. Unfortunately with our
government now being so large, this task is essentially impossible,
unless the citizenry works as a team. Each "COP" should select a board,
council, commission, or elected official to watch and attend meetings
as a representative of the public. COPs was heavily involved in
activating locals in Potrero to resist the Blackwater facility in that
quiet rural town. More information is available at
www.CitizensOversight.org
and www.StopBlackwater.net
Ray Lutz, coordinator for COPs is also a candidate for the California
State Assembly, 77th District. See www.LutzForAssembly.com for
more
information.
About BlackwaterWatch

BlackwaterWatch exists to shine a light on Blackwater Worldwide
specifically, and private armies/mercenaries generally. We represent a
growing contingent of concerned individuals and groups including, but
not limited to, human rights and peace activists, people of faith,
civil libertarians, and veterans. BlackwaterWatch is primarily
concerned about human rights violations and the absence of
accountability for Blackwater Worldwide and others like them. We
support the passing of legislation to ban private armies on U.S. soil,
as well as the regulation of private contractors operating in a war
zone, placing them under either civilian and/or military law. For
further information visit http://blackwaterwatch.net

About Womble Carlyle
Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Womble, Carlyle,
Sandridge & Rice is the third lobbying firm hired by Blackwater
since October 2007. Womble Carlyle lobbyists representing Blackwater
are: John Mashburn, former general counsel and policy director for Sen.
Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who is the top Republican on the Senate Budget
Committee; and Mark Harkins, who was chief of staff to Rep. Brad
Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the Investigations and Oversight
subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee.

 

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