Scahill in 2013
Jeremy M. Scahill
October 18, 1974
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army|
Jeremy Scahill (born October 18, 1974) is an American investigative journalist, writer, the founding editor of the online news publication The Interceptand author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army , which won the George Polk Book Award. His book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield was published by Nation Books on April 23, 2013. On June 8, 2013, the documentary film of the same name, produced, narrated and co-written by Scahill, was released. It premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Scahill is a Fellow at The Nation Institute.Scahill learned journalism and started his career on the independently syndicated daily news show Democracy Now! . He lives in Brooklyn, New York and publishes a podcast titled Intercepted.
Scahill was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, by "social activist" parents, Lisa and Michael Scahill, both nurses.He graduated from Wauwatosa East High School in 1992.
Jeremy attended a few University of Wisconsin regional campuses and a local technical college before deciding that his "time would be better spent by entering the struggle for justice in this country." After dropping out of college, Scahill spent several years on the East Coast working in homeless shelters. He started his career as an unpaid intern at the nonprofit news program Democracy Now! of the Pacifica Radio network. While he was at Democracy Now!, Scahill learned the technical side of radio, and learned "journalism as a trade, rather than an academic study".
Discussing the roots of his activism, Scahill said: "I think we all have to remember something that Dan Berrigan, the radical Catholic priest, said about Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement. He said she lived as though the truth were true." And: "Victory is relative when you listen to the powerful. But we have a victory in our midst, because the entire world is on our side. So I say that we call for an end to the death penalty in this country, and we call for an end to the collective death penalty being meted out on the rest of the world by this criminal government."
He also worked in 2000 as a producer for Michael Moore's TV series The Awful Truth on Bravo.
Scahill became a senior producer and correspondent for Democracy Now! and remains a frequent contributor to the program. Scahill and his Democracy Now! colleague Amy Goodman were co-recipients of the 1998 George Polk Award for their radio documentary "Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship", which investigated the Chevron Corporation's role in the killing of two Nigerian environmental activists.
In 1998, Scahill traveled to Iraq for Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio, where he reported on the impact of the economic sanctions on Iraq and the "No-Fly Zone" bombings in Northern and Southern Iraq.An article in AlterNet has described Jeremy Scahill as a "progressive journalist".
In October 2013 Scahill joined with reporters Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras to establish an on-line investigative journalism publishing venture funded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.The idea for the new media outlet came from Omidyar's "concern about press freedoms in the US and around the world". The Intercept , a publication of First Look Media, went live on February 10, 2014. The short-term goal of the digital magazine is to publish reports about information contained in documents disclosed by Edward Snowden concerning the NSA. According to editors Greenwald, Poitras, and Scahill, their "longer-term mission is to provide aggressive and independent adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues, from secrecy, criminal and civil justice abuses and civil liberties violations to media conduct, societal inequality and all forms of financial and political corruption."
On November 30, 2013, Scahill refused to participate in a Stop the War Conference in London unless Syrian nun Mother Agnes was dropped from the symposium. Mother Agnes eventually pulled out.In February 2017, Scahill canceled his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher after finding out that Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to appear on the same day.
Scahill criticized the government's decision to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in the 2010 publication of a trove of Iraq War documents and diplomatic cables. Scahill tweeted: "This is about retaliation for publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes and other crimes by the most powerful nation on Earth. It's a threat to press freedom."
On May 9, 2019, intelligence analyst Daniel Everette Hale was arrested for whistleblowing.The reporter Hale leaked to wasn't explicitly named, but a book-signing where they met was identified, and reporters concluded Hale leaked to Scahill.
In 1999, he covered the Kosovo conflict, reporting live from Belgrade and Kosovo itself.In an article in the International Socialist Review, Scahill accused the United Nations Mission in Kosovo UNMIK of being complicit in Albanian atrocities against Serbs.
After Slobodan Milosevic's death in 2006, Scahill accused the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of practicing "victors' justice" and being "a poor substitute for a true international court."
Between 2001 and 2003, Scahill reported frequently from Baghdad for Democracy Now! and other media outlets. As the Iraq invasion began, Scahill appeared frequently on Democracy Now!, often co-hosting with Amy Goodman.
Scahill has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia,post-Katrina Louisiana, and elsewhere across the globe. Scahill is a frequent guest on a wide array of programs, appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show , Real Time with Bill Maher , and Democracy Now! He has also appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, The Daily Show , CNN, The NewsHour, MSNBC, " Bill Moyers Journal ", and NPR. In addition, Scahill has written for The Times , The Sunday Telegraph , the BBC, The Indypendent , The Los Angeles Times , Z Magazine , Socialist Worker , International Socialist Review, The Progressive , In These Times , and The Guardian . In addition, Scahill has posted material to the websites Alternet and CounterPunch.
He has been a vocal critic of private military contractors, particularly Blackwater Worldwide, which is the subject of his book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army .The book received numerous accolades, including the Alternet Best Book of the Year Award, a spot on both the Barnes & Noble and Amazon lists of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2007, and notable mention in The New York Times.
Scahill's work has sparked several Congressional investigations. In 2010, Scahill testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the United States' shadow wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere:
As the war rages on in Afghanistan and—despite spin to the contrary—in Iraq as well, US Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency are engaged in parallel, covert, shadow wars that are waged in near total darkness and largely away from effective or meaningful Congressional oversight or journalistic scrutiny. The actions and consequences of these wars is seldom discussed in public or investigated by the Congress. The current US strategy can be summed up as follows: We are trying to kill our way to peace. And the killing fields are growing in number.
In July 2011, Scahill revealed the existence of a CIA-run counterterrorism center at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, and reported on a previously unknown secret prison located in the basement of the U.S.-funded Somali National Security Agency, in which—according to a U.S. official—U.S. agents interrogated prisoners. [ citation needed ]
When the public became aware of President Obama's "Kill List",Scahill was frequently cited as an expert on the topic of extrajudicial killings. In 2019, he argued that Donald Trump probably represented "the best hope that we've had since 9/11 to end some of these forever wars."
Scahill's first book, The New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army ,thoroughly revised and updated to include the Nisour Square massacre, was released in paperback edition in 2008. Blackwater depicts the rise of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, now called Academi.
Scahill exposed the presence of Blackwater contractors in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and his reporting sparked a Congressional inquiry and an internal Department of Homeland Security investigation.
Scahill's book published by Nation Books,Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, released on April 23, 2013. The main premise of the book is Obama's continuation of Bush's doctrine that "the world is a battlefield" and relying on missiles and drone strikes, JSOC to carry the bulk of the covert operations and targeted killings of suspected terrorists. Scahill expands on this theme by covering topics such as the assassination of U.S. citizens, namely Anwar Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, and the lack of accountability of U.S. special forces, such as the Gardez massacre, where U.S. special forces killed two males, including the pro-U.S. local police commander, as well as three females, two of whom were pregnant. An Afghan investigation found signs of evidence tampering, such as bullets being removed from the wall where the women were shot. Several family members of the victims alleged that the special forces subsequently used their knives to dig the bullets out of the bodies and cleaned the resultant wounds to purge any evidence of the U.S. raid.
The book was later made into a 2013 American documentary directed by Richard Rowley based on a screenplay written by Scahill and David Riker. Scahill both produces and narrates the film. Dirty Wars premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013. It was released in four theaters on June 7, 2013. The film was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, ultimately losing to 20 Feet from Stardom .
Scahill has been an advocate for imprisoned Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye. Scahill's March 13, 2012 article in The Nation states that President Obama leaned on Yemen to keep Shaye in jail because of his reporting on the 2009 Al Ma'jalah bombings—Shaye described remnants of U.S. Tomahawk missiles, although the United States initially denied involvement.Subsequent English-language reports on the issue have relied on Scahill's journalism.
Scahill has won numerous awards, including the prestigious George Polk Award (twice),numerous Project Censored Awards, and the Izzy Award, named after investigative journalist I. F. Stone. He was among the few Western reporters to gain access to the Abu Ghraib prison when Saddam Hussein was in power and his story on the emptying of that prison won a 2003 Golden Reel Award from The National Federation of Community Broadcasters. In 2013, he was awarded the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world.
A private military company (PMC) is a private company providing armed combat or security services for financial gain. PMCs refer to their staff as "security contractors" or "private military contractors". Private military companies refer to their business generally as the "private military industry" or "The Circuit".
Amy Goodman is an American broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter, and author. Her investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement and Chevron Corporation's role in Nigeria. Since 1996, she has been the main host of Democracy Now!, a progressive global news program broadcast daily on radio, television and the Internet. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Thomas Merton Award in 2004, a Right Livelihood Award in 2008, and an Izzy Award in 2009 for "special achievement in independent media".
Democracy Now! is an hour-long American TV, radio and internet news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman, who also acts as the show's executive producer, and Juan González. The show, which airs live each weekday at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, is broadcast on the internet and by over 1,400 radio and television stations worldwide.
Academi is an American private military company founded in 1997 by former Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince as Blackwater, renamed as Xe Services in 2009 and known as Academi since 2011 after the company was acquired by a group of private investors. The company received widespread notoriety in 2007, when a group of its employees killed 14 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad for which four guards were convicted in a U.S. court.
Allan Nairn is an American investigative journalist. He was imprisoned by Indonesian military forces under United States-backed strongman Suharto while reporting in East Timor. His writings have focused on U.S. foreign policy in such countries as Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, and East Timor.
Joseph Edward Schmitz is an American lawyer, former inspector general of the United States Department of Defense and a former executive with Blackwater Worldwide. After working as a watchdog at the Pentagon for three and a half years, Schmitz resigned to return to the private sector. Although allegations questioning his stewardship of the inspector general's office surfaced nine months after his resignation, a high-level review board, the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, cleared him of all wrongdoing in 2006. He was named one of Donald Trump's foreign policy advisors for his 2016 presidential campaign.
Glenn Edward Greenwald is an American journalist, author, and former attorney. He is best known for publishing a series of reports detailing previously unknown information about American and British global surveillance programs. These reports were based on classified documents provided by Edward Snowden.
Erik Dean Prince is an American businessman, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, and the founder of the private military company Blackwater USA, now called Academi. He served as Blackwater's CEO until 2009 and as its chairman until its sale to a group of investors in 2010. Prince now heads the private equity firm Frontier Resource Group and is chairman of Hong Kong-listed Frontier Services Group Ltd. He is the brother of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army is a book written by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, published by Nation Books in 2007, as a history and analysis of Blackwater USA, now called Academi. It won one of the 2007 George Polk Awards.
The Nisour Square Massacre occurred on September 16, 2007 where employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, a private military company contracted by the US government to provide security services in Iraq, shot at Iraqi civilians, killing 17 and injuring 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad, while escorting a U.S. embassy convoy. The killings outraged Iraqis and strained relations between Iraq and the United States. In 2014, four Blackwater employees were tried and convicted in U.S. federal court; one of murder, and the other three of manslaughter and firearms charges.
Dahr Jamail is an American journalist who was one of the few unembedded journalists to report extensively from Iraq during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He spent eight months in Iraq, between 2003 and 2005, and presented his stories on his website, entitled "Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches." Jamail has been a reporter for Truthout and has also written for Al Jazeera. He has been a frequent guest on Democracy Now!, and is the recipient of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. In 2018, the Izzy Award of the Park Center for Independent Media was awarded to Jamail, and shared by investigative reporters Lee Fang, Sharon Lerner, and author Todd Miller.
Eli Jon Lake is an American journalist and the former senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast and Newsweek. Currently, he is a columnist for the Bloomberg View. He has also contributed to CNN, Fox, CSPAN, Charlie Rose, the I Am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast and Bloggingheads.tv. He is known for his correspondence from both the US and abroad, including such war zones as Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza.
Nick Turse is an American investigative journalist, historian, and author. He is the associate editor and research director of the blog TomDispatch and a fellow at The Nation Institute.
Abdulelah Haider Shaye, or Abd al-Ilah Haydar Al-Sha’i, is a prominent Yemeni investigative journalist best known for his reporting of the December 17, 2009 U.S. cruise missile strike on al-Majalah in southern Yemen, his interviews with al-Qaeda leaders, and the controversial nature of his arrest and imprisonment in 2011.
Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki was a 16-year-old American of Yemeni descent who was killed while eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Yemen by a drone airstrike ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama on October 14, 2011. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's father, Anwar al-Awlaki, was alleged to be an operational leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Anwar was killed by a CIA drone strike also ordered by Obama two weeks prior to the killing of his son.
Barbara Starr is an American television news journalist for CNN. She is the network's Pentagon correspondent, based in Washington, DC.
Dirty Wars is a 2013 American documentary film, which accompanies the book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill. The film is directed by Richard Rowley, and written by Scahill and David Riker.
The Intercept is an online news publication of First Look Media, owned by Pierre Omidyar. Its editors are Betsy Reed, Glenn Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill. It also publishes two podcasts, Intercepted hosted by Scahill and Deconstructed hosted by Mehdi Hasan.
Betsy Reed is an American journalist and editor. Since January 2015, she has been editor-in-chief of The Intercept.
Nawar "Nora" al-Awlaki was an eight-year-old American of Yemeni descent who was killed on January 29, 2017 during the Raid on Yakla, a commando attack ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The indictment does not identify the reporter by name. But it says the reporter made a documentary about the U.S. military's use of drones and was a scheduled speaker at "a Washington, D.C. restaurant/bookstore" on or about April 29, 2013.