Jeremy Scahill

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Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill at Chatham House 2013.jpg
Scahill in 2013
Jeremy M. Scahill

(1974-10-18) October 18, 1974 (age 44)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Investigative journalist
Notable work
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 Intercept [1] and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army , which won the George Polk Book Award. [2] 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. [3] [4]

Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Practitioners sometimes use the terms "watchdog reporting" or "accountability reporting".

<i>The Intercept</i> US online newspaper

The Intercept is an online news publication dedicated to what it describes as "adversarial journalism". It is supported financially by First Look Media, owned by Pierre Omidyar. Its editors are Betsy Reed, Glenn Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill. Former editor Laura Poitras left the publication to work on non-fiction films. The Intercept also publishes two podcasts: Intercepted hosted by Scahill and Deconstructed hosted by Mehdi Hasan.

<i>Blackwater: The Rise of the Worlds Most Powerful Mercenary Army</i> book by Jeremy Scahill

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.


Scahill is a Fellow at The Nation Institute. [5] 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.

The Nation Institute is a nonprofit media organization associated with The Nation magazine. It sponsors fellows, hosts forums, publishes, and is involved in awards for journalism. Orville Schell worked for The Nation Institute. David Weir is a member of the group's editorial board. The Nation Institute fellows have included Wayne Barrett, Chris Hedges, David Moberg and Jeremy Scahill. The group has also funded documentaries by Habiba Nosheen. Chris Hayes was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute from 2006 through 2007.

Broadcasting syndication is the license to broadcast television programs and radio programs by multiple television stations and radio stations, without going through a broadcast network. It is common in the United States where broadcast programming is scheduled by television networks with local independent affiliates. Syndication is less of a practice in the rest of the world, as most countries have centralized networks or television stations without local affiliates; although less common, shows can be syndicated internationally. The three main types of syndication are "first-run syndication", which is programming that is broadcast for the first time as a syndicated show and is made specifically to sell directly into syndication; "off-network syndication", which is the licensing of a program that was originally run on network TV or in some cases, first-run syndication ; and "public broadcasting syndication".

<i>Democracy Now!</i> American TV, radio, and internet news program

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 08:00 ET, is broadcast on the internet and by over 1,400 radio and television stations worldwide.

Early life

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. [6] He graduated from Wauwatosa East High School in 1992. [7]

Wauwatosa, Wisconsin City in Wisconsin, United States

Wauwatosa is a city in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 46,396 at the 2010 census. Wauwatosa is located immediately west of Milwaukee, and is a part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It is named after the Potawatomi Chief Wauwataesie and the Potawatomi word for firefly.

Milwaukee Largest city in Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the third-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago and Detroit, respectively .Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.

Wauwatosa East High School

Wauwatosa East High School is a comprehensive four-year public high school in the city of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It is part of the Wauwatosa School District. The school was originally known as Wauwatosa Senior High School until the opening of Wauwatosa West High School in September 1961. The first graduating class of Wauwatosa East High School was in June 1962. Today, the school is often colloquially referred to as Tosa East.

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". [8]

University of Wisconsin System

The University of Wisconsin System is a university system of public universities in the state of Wisconsin. It is one of the largest public higher-education systems in the country, enrolling more than 174,000 students each year and employing approximately 39,000 faculty and staff statewide. The University of Wisconsin System is composed of two doctoral research universities, eleven comprehensive universities, and thirteen freshman-sophomore branch campuses.

Dropping out means leaving high school, college, university or another group for practical reasons, necessities, or disillusionment with the system from which the individual in question leaves.

Homeless shelter Service agency which provide temporary residence for homeless people

Homeless shelters are a type of homeless service agency which provide temporary residence for homeless individuals and families. Shelters exist to provide residents with safety and protection from exposure to the weather while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact on the community. They are similar to, but distinguishable from, various types of emergency shelters, which are typically operated for specific circumstances and populations—fleeing natural disasters or abusive social circumstances. Extreme weather conditions create problems similar to disaster management scenarios, and are handled with warming centers, which typically operate for short durations during adverse weather.

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." [9]

Daniel Berrigan American Catholic priest, peace activist, and poet

Daniel Joseph Berrigan was an American Jesuit priest, anti-war activist, Christian pacifist, playwright, poet, and author.

Dorothy Day American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert

Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert. Day initially lived a bohemian lifestyle before gaining public attention as a social activist after her conversion. She was a political radical, perhaps the best known radical in American Catholic Church history.

He also worked in 2000 as a producer for Michael Moore's TV series The Awful Truth on Bravo. [10]

Michael Moore American filmmaker, author

Michael Francis Moore is an American documentary filmmaker and author. He is best known for his work on globalization and capitalism.

The Awful Truth (1999–2000) is a satirical television show that was directed, written, and hosted by filmmaker Michael Moore, and funded by the British broadcaster Channel 4.

Journalism career

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. [11]

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. [12] An article in AlterNet has described Jeremy Scahill as a "progressive journalist". [13]

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. [14] The idea for the new media outlet came from Omidyar's "concern about press freedoms in the US and around the world". [15] The Intercept , a publication of First Look Media, went live on February 10, 2014. [16] 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." [17]

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. [18] 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. [19]

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." [20]


Kosovo conflict

In 1999, he covered the Kosovo conflict, reporting live from Belgrade and Kosovo itself. [21] 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. [22]

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." [23]

War on Terror

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. [24]

Scahill has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia, [25] post-Katrina Louisiana, [26] and elsewhere across the globe. Scahill is a frequent guest on a wide array of programs, appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show , [27] Real Time with Bill Maher , [28] and Democracy Now! [29] He has also appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, The Daily Show , [30] CNN, The NewsHour, MSNBC, [31] " Bill Moyers Journal ", [32] and NPR. [33] [34] [35] In addition, Scahill has written for The Times , The Sunday Telegraph , the BBC, The Indypendent , [36] The Los Angeles Times , [37] Z Magazine , [38] Socialist Worker , [39] International Socialist Review, [40] The Progressive , [41] In These Times , [42] and The Guardian . [43] In addition, Scahill has posted material to the websites Alternet [44] and CounterPunch. [45]

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 . [46] 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. [47]

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. [48]

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", [49] Scahill was frequently cited as an expert on the topic of extrajudicial killings. [50]


Scahill's first book, The New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army , [51] thoroughly revised and updated to include the Nisour Square massacre, was released in paperback edition in 2008. [52] [53] Blackwater depicts the rise of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, now called Academi. [54]

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. [55]

Dirty Wars

Scahill in 2014 Jeremy Scahill (12555919523).jpg
Scahill in 2014

Scahill's book published by Nation Books, [56] Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, released on April 23, 2013. [57] 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, [58] 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. [59] 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. [60]

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 . [61]

Abdulelah Haider Shaye

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. [62] Subsequent English-language reports on the issue have relied on Scahill's journalism. [63] [64] [65]

Awards and recognition

Scahill has won numerous awards, including the prestigious George Polk Award (twice), [66] numerous Project Censored Awards, and the Izzy Award, [67] 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. [68] In 2013, he was awarded the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the world. [69] [70]

Selected writings

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