Author speaks May 16 about Blackwater book

Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee will host Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Wednesday, May 16. Scahill will speak at the JustGoods meeting room, 201 Seventh St., starting at noon.

The program is free (with a free-will offering) and open to the public.

Scahill is the author of the New York Times best-seller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute.

Meet Blackwater USA, the powerful private army the U.S. government has made its praetorian guard for the “global war on terror.” Blackwater has the world’s largest private military base (and a new facility in Jo Daviess County), a fleet of 20 aircraft, and 20,000 contractors at the ready. Run by a multimillionaire Christian conservative who bankrolls President George W. Bush and his allies, its forces are capable of overthrowing governments, and yet most people have never heard of Blackwater. For more about the book, visit

This book is the unauthorized story of the epic rise of one of the most powerful and secretive forces to emerge from the U.S. military-industrial complex. It traces Blackwater’s beginnings in 1996, with visionary executives opening a private military training camp “to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing”; to its secret deployment in Afghanistan following 9/11; to the blood-soaked streets of Fallujah and a fierce gun battle in Muqtada al-Sadr’s stronghold of Najaf. The story races from Blackwater’s expedition to the oil-rich Caspian Sea to set up a military base miles from Iran; to New Orleans, where its forces patrolled the hurricane-ravaged streets; to the chambers of power in Washington, D.C., where Blackwater executives are welcomed as new heroes in the war on terror. The administration hails Blackwater as a revolution in military affairs; others see its rise as nothing less than a dire threat to American democracy.

For more information, contact Stanley Campbell at (815) 964-7111.

Rockford from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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