Listening Post

Behind Dirty Wars

The Blackwater journalist on drone strikes and America's undeclared wars - or as he calls them, 'dirty wars'.

Last updated: 01 Dec 2013 14:46
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War reporting is a difficult and dangerous game. That is the case when those wars are declared and fought in the open.

Then there are the undeclared wars in countries like Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia  - fought through drone strikes and black ops teams, covert military operations that officials barely even acknowledge.

Those are the kinds of wars Jeremy Scahill covers.

Scahill made his name in 2007 with a book on Blackwater, the US military contractor that was paid big money by the Pentagon for its work, largely done in the shadows, in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has done more of that kind of journalism for The Nation magazine as its national security reporter.

This year Scahill published a book called Dirty Wars and this week the documentary version of the book opened in European theatres.

Scahill’s view is that those ‘dirty wars’ affect the lives of thousands, and that not enough Americans have heard their stories.

"My priorities have always been trying to tell the stories of others. I think there’s a valid criticism about me being in the film, itself. But the point of it was to try to make it digestible, to people in the United States. The experience and stories of people who have had their entire lives destroyed by these wars," he says.

Scahill is also one of the names, along with Glenn Greenwald, behind a new journalistic venture that will be bankrolled by an eBay billionaire.

We sit down with Jeremy Scahill in London to discuss the documentary, some of the difficulties he had in making the transition from print journalist to on camera reporter and what kind of journalism the new venture needs to produce.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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Al Jazeera
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