Monday, December 03, 2007

Resisting Blackwater Sprawl

You may remember a few months ago a post here on Subtopes about the private military contracting firm Blackwater USA moving in on a rural neighborhood outside San Diego called Potrero. From what I gathered at the time the company was planning a massive base and training facility there near the border and had been using local political players to ramrod the project through hurrying past proper environmental and political process.
Well, Alternate Focus, a non-profit educational media group based in San Diego, has put together a documentary called Blackwater in Potrero, that will be airing all this week on television if you subscribe to Dish Network, and get the Free Speech Channel. If not, it is also available online here.

Andy Trimlett of Alternate Focus tells me "there is a recall election taking place right now in Potrero to recall all of the pro-Blackwater people from the Potrero Planning Board," which sounds like a major move to not only force Blackwater to go through a proper and unbiased legal process with the project (which would reek considerable havoc on the small community) but also to wring out the bureaucratic corruption that has been trying to approve this despite public protest. Here is a description of the documentary. It looks great, so be sure to check it out.

"In late 2006, Blackwater USA, now known as Blackwater Worldwide, submitted a proposal to build a training facility called Blackwater West in the rural San Diego County town of Potrero. This documentary tells the story of what followed. Features interviews with Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater: the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army as well as Brian Bonfiglio, the vice president of Blackwater West; Gordon Hammers, Jan Hedlun, Mary Johnson, Jerry Johnson, and Thell Fowler of the Potrero Planning Board; Raymond Lutz of Citizens Oversight Committee; Rep. Bob Filner, and many others. Producer: Andy Trimlett; Associate Producers: John Odam and Aaron Seeley."

For those who want to watch it on Free Speech TV here is the schedule beginning tonight:

(all times EST):
Mon Dec 03 @ 05:30, 09:30, 15:30
Wed Dec 05 @ 11:30, 17:30
Thu Dec 06 @ 05:30
Fri Dec 07 @ 23:30
Sat Dec 08 @ 10:30
Sun Dec 09 @ 02:30

Otherwise, watch this YouTube piece and pass it on.


Blogger nathan said...

Don't forget that during/after the recent fires in SD county, BW "donated" a tent city for housing displaced persons-

Trying to make nice with the locals? Dulzura is about ten miles from Potrero...

2:21 PM  
Blogger The Hook said...

If only the culture for respecting private property rights still reigned in this country such an abomination wouldn't be occurring.

Sadly, some of those against BW in this case find it completely just to subvert private property rights in the case of environmental concerns they may have.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heavily doubt your first comment. Rights of "private property" are problematic at best.

Heavily-armed Blackwater was hired by New Orleans hoteliers to protect private property, in the chaos after Katrina. They are embedded in the culture of "respecting private property" and I imagine that culture was their bread and butter before the second Iraq war.

Protecting environmental assets against the public damages private owners commit, often in flagrant violation of the law, is usually the best long-term investment for communities like Potrero.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Resisting Empire said...

Jeremy Scahill will be touring nationally this summer and visiting San Diego June 11th to talk about new developments regarding Blackwater; and to launch the fully updated paperback edition of his expose on the company:

11:35 PM  

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