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Blackwater Worldwide Faces Opposition to Training Center in Otay Mesa

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge: This week, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said Blackwater Worldwide will not be allowed to open a Navy training facility in Otay Mesa without the approval of the city council. Blackwater had received a permit from city staff to create a training center in an industrial building. But, questions were raised as soon as it became clear that Blackwater would be running the center. Would the company be training mercenaries? Why did Blackwater use the name of an affiliate company when it applied for the permit? Can the company operate a firing range without council approval?

Earlier this year, Blackwater backed down from plans to open a large training center in East County, near Potrero, when public opposition flared up. The North Carolina-based company is controversial for its work in Iraq, where it has been hired by the American government to provide security. Last fall, a Blackwater employee shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians, an act Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki called a massacre.

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