Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy scahill at the sanctuary 4 16 10 3
is the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and author of the international bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, which won the George Polk Book Award.

Hosted AMAs

Highest Rated Comments

jeremyscahill50 karma

I think that Bradley Manning is a person of conscience. He has been smeared in a despicable way in the media and portrayed as a scared degenerate. If you listen to the leaked audio of his testimony from several weeks ago, you will hear a calm, principled man who understood what he was doing and why he was doing it. Because of the publication of the Wikileaks cables, we gained great insight into the covert and overt actions of the US government. Ultimately, I believe it was an act of conscience that motivated him. The significance of the Snowden leaks is already manifesting itself. We are living in a hyper-secret society where those in power--Democrats and Republicans--put a premium on withholding information from the broader public. This has to be confronted. When the state is acting against the interests of its own people, it is the responsibility of those with access to the truth to speak up. And it is the role of journalists in a democratic society to provide the public with information that is not just the official party line. Snowden and Manning are both indicative of how out of control the government has become.

jeremyscahill40 karma

I always cringe when I'm asked this question. I know a lot of journalists around the world who take serious risks everyday. They are in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere. Record numbers of journalists have been killed in recent years and most of their deaths go unreported in the US media because they aren't "famous," or because they aren't Americans. I think all of us who do this kind of reporting meet challenges--at times serious--from various forces. I try to keep focused on my work and not let any assholes get to me. As for my beard... maybe I should give it a twitter account ;)

jeremyscahill31 karma

I think it is really important to do a tremendous amount of research before going to any country to report. I often will write the equivalent of a thesis-type document about what I know before going somewhere new. You also need to review security issues and talk to as many reporters who cover the area as possible before going. As for advice, I think internships are fine, but my advice would be to get any job you can, save up money for several months or a year--enough to live on for 3 months in whatever country you are interested in covering--and then take yourself seriously as a journalist even if you don't have an assignment. Give yourself an assignment and develop a discipline of filing stories--even if it is just to your friends and family at first. Nothing can replace hands-on experience in the field. Many of the best journos I know never took a J-school class. They decided to do it.

jeremyscahill31 karma

I was devastated by the loss of Michael. He was an epic shit disturber who was the perfect antidote to the caviar correspondents who populate the White House press corp. He never--never--bowed before the throne of the powerful. He was part Hunter S Thompson, part IF Stone mixed with a great war correspondent. He will be sorely missed.

jeremyscahill30 karma

I think that President Obama was trying to have it both ways. He tried to sound like he is bringing the kill program under control and said that he feels bad about the killing of civilians. But, at the end of the day, his speech was a forceful defense of American exceptionalism and a rather bold declaration that the US will take military action--wherever, whenever--if it is deemed to be in the US interest. His administration is currently building the infrastructure for the kill program to continue in perpetuity. And liberals are going to be on really shaky ground next time a Republican is in office when they try to criticize the same policies. There's no such thing as Republican or Democratic cruise missiles.

jeremyscahill29 karma

Bill is actually a really nice guy in person. One little nugget: the Real Time set is also the set of The Price is Right. So, I've played some Plinko after hours...

jeremyscahill28 karma

There isn't any one member of Congress that speaks for me. On certain issues, I agree with certain members. But I am not a Democrat or Republican.

jeremyscahill28 karma

Amy Goodman was the person who taught me journalism. I will always consider her my mentor.

jeremyscahill26 karma

I was banned from Pakistan, so I wasn't able to travel there for the film or book. My understanding was that my reporting on Blackwater was not popular with the government in Islamabad. As for Somalia, we spent months preparing for that trip, working out the logistics and security. I give great credit to my Somali colleagues for their incredible planning. In every country you travel to for this kind of work, you need to study the situation before you go. Sometimes it makes sense to travel with a bunch of armed guys. In others, it is better to try to roll light and not draw attention. Everything is a negotiation.

jeremyscahill24 karma

I get detained pretty regularly at airports when I come back home. And it always sickens me because I am often released from a room where I was the only white person detained, leaving behind other people who have been pulled aside. And I have seen many frightened looking people from the Middle East and Africa--at times with their families--waiting and not knowing what will happen to them.