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Bob Filner added to the Blackwater protest event, Oct. 6-7

Citizens Oversight (2007-09-27) Raymond Lutz, Carol Jahnkow

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More Info: Blackwater, Blackwater West, Stop Blackwater Rally

Citizens’ Oversight Projects

CONTACT: Raymond Lutz, COPS Coordinator 619-820-5321

Carol Jahnkow, Peace Resource Center
760-390-0775 /

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2007

As Blackwater USA Comes Under Increasing Fire for Actions in Iraq, Locals Turn Up the Heat to Stop Blackwater West

Residents Organize Largest Protest to Date at the Gates of Planned Blackwater West Site Near Tiny Border Town

Weekend of Saturday, October 6th – Sunday, October 7th

Rep. Bob Filner Included Among Special Guest Speakers

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA (Sept. 24) – – As US Congress and Iraqi government officials probe recent killings of civilians by the notorious private contractors in Baghdad, local opponents to the expansion of Blackwater USA will stage a major rally and encampment at the gates of the proposed “Blackwater West” site in Potrero, a tiny town in east San Diego county on Saturday, October 6th - Sunday, October, 7th.

The event is scheduled the same week Blackwater chairman Erik Prince is invited to testify before the US House Oversight Committe.

Blackwater USA plans to build a training facility “Blackwater West” in Potrero, California, a small community in San Diego County 45 miles east of the City of San Diego. Residents of Potrero and San Diego have been organizing and began fighting this facility earlier this year on a number of issues.

This past Monday, Congressman Bob Filner (CA-51) introduced legislation that would require that mercenary training, including paramilitary-style training by federal contractors, be conducted only on property owned by the federal government.

Blackwater USA, a private military security contractor, already operates two private paramilitary-style training facilities: one in Moyock, North Carolina and the other in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Blackwater USA is also seeking to open a third facility in Potrero, California, which is located in Congressman Filner’s district.

Local opponents also point to the environmental impact which they believe will be enormous and long-lasting, including loss of sensitive habitat, depletion of an already fragile and shrinking water table, groundwater pollution and more. In addition, people living in Potrero will be exposed to noise, traffic and disruption of their quiet way of life.

Blackwater USA, known as one of the most powerful and secretive forces to emerge from the U.S. military-industrial complex and one of the greatest beneficiaries of the “global war on terror,” is increasingly underfire for acting above the law. The recent killing and wounding of at least a dozen innocent Iraqi civilians underscores the dangers this company poses to the community.

“There is no place for companies like Blackwater in a democracy," said Carol Jahnkow, key organizer and Executive Director, Peace Resource Center of San Diego. “Destroying communities for profit at the expense of the environment must stop. Profiting from war and human suffering must stop!”

“The public is waking up to the atrocities attributed to Blackwater and to the private mercenary soldier industry now staring us in the face," said Raymond Lutz, coordinator of Citizens’ Oversight Projects (COPS) and Stop “The intimidating nature of these mercenary boot camps has kept locals from speaking out but, the tides have changed, when Blackwater USA tried to put in a jungle training camp in the Philippines they has to pull out after fierce public outcry. We can do the same here in San Diego County, we are resisting the further expansion of corporate mercenary armies and unregulated training of U.S. Armed Forces in residential areas.”

The two-day educational encampment and walk to the gates of the site are expected to draw hundreds of opponents of the project and to the expansion of Blackwater West.

The event will start on Saturday, October 6th at 9am with a hike to visit the Hauser Wilderness which abuts the project site conducted by the Sierra Club. From 2-5pm, educational seminars will be conducted at the Potrero Regional Park (see locations details below) and then an evening of music and spoken word at the rally site from 7-9pm. Attendees will camp at the Potrero Regional Park campground.

On Sunday, the special guest keynote speakers will make their presentations starting at 1pm and then the rally will proceed to march to the gate of the site and to an viewpoint that overlooks the valley.


DAY 1 – ENCAMPMENT AND EDUCATION DAY: Saturday, October 6th Camping at Potrero Regional Park.

9AM – 2PM: Sierra Club-led Hauser Wilderness Hike – Begins at Potrero County Park.

2-5 PM: Educational Workshops and displays on the environment, Blackwater West impacts on Potrero and the San Diego region, Potrero area Wildlife, Militarization of the Border and more (Potrero Regional Park) Speakers include Raymond Lutz (COPS), Jeanette Hartman (Sierra Club) and Jan Hedlun (Sole member opponent on the Potrero Planning Group.)

7-9 PM: Music and spoken word gathering celebrating peace, the environment and safe, livable communities (will be held on private property at corner of Round Potrero Road & Yerba Santa. The “Rally Site.”)

DAY 2--RALLY AND MARCH, Sunday, October 7th

NOON: Music and gathering at the rally site.

1 PM: Special Keynote Speakers (to be announced)

2:30 PM. One Mile Walk to gates of proposed Blackwater site Location of the Rally is on private property, (corner of Round Potrero Road & Yerba Santa;)

Sponsored by: the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, the San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice, Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPS), San Diego Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Activist San Diego, San Diego SUN, San Diego Puppet Insurgency, North County Coalition for Peace & Justice, San Diego Renters Union, and endorsed by the Green Party, the Democratic Party of San Diego County, and the East County Democratic Club.

DIRECTIONS: Potrero Regional Park: From San Diego, East on 94. North on Potrero Valley Rd, Right on Potrero Park Rd. to the end. Rally Site: 23975 Yerba Santa Rd. From San Diego, East on 94. N on Potrero Valley Rd, Left on Round Potrero Rd. to 23975 Yerba Santa Rd.) --

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Title Bob Filner added to the Blackwater protest event, Oct. 6-7
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Raymond Lutz, Carol Jahnkow
Pub Date 2007-09-27
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Keywords Blackwater, Blackwater West, Stop Blackwater Rally
Media Type News Release
Author Name Sortable
Topic revision: r2 - 14 Nov 2008, RaymondLutz
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