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I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t paid all that much attention to the growing brouhaha over private security giant Blackwater USA’s proposed training camp in Potrero in East San Diego County.

A few months ago, when I started back at voiceofsandiego.org, I had a couple of e-mails beseeching me to take a look at the company’s plans to expand its training facility at the tiny rural community. Unfortunately, lots of other stories came up and I never got round to it.

After this happened earlier this month, I wish I’d been able to devote more time to covering Blackwater’s expansion.

Now, residents are planning a weekend-long protest at the proposed site of the expanded training facility on the weekend of Oct. 6 and Oct. 7.

Here’s what a press release, issued by the Citizens Oversight Project has to say about the planned demonstration:

Opponents point to the environmental impacts which 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 under fire 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 weekend, which will conclude seminars and a speech by special keynote speakers (yet to be announced) starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6.

WILL CARLESS

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