Friday, February 13, 2009

Blackwater Going All Prince On Us (But You Can Pronounce The Name)

Who knows, if Prince (the musician) had picked out an esoteric, but pronounceable, name, how many more albums would he have sold?

And, I am quite sure the irony, of changing your company name, to that of a 1969 film of the same pronunciation, one about political murder, a government overthrown, with the rightwing across-the-board working to cover it up, is totally lost on them.

But that is exactly what Blackwater USA is doing

Meet the new company - "Xe," pronounced "zee."

From Noah Shachtman, at Wired's Danger Room;

For the last year or so, Blackwater Xe has been moving away from its core business of diplomat protection, and into -- well, just about everything else, it seems. Firm CEO Erik Prince has put together teams of spies-for-hire. The company is pushing ahead with plans to protect commercial ships, traveling through pirate-packed seas. And in case that doesn't work out, the company is making custom rifles, marketing spy blimps, assembling a fleet of light attack aicraft, and billing itself as experts in everything from cargo handling to dog training to construction management. It's even training pro athletes.
Shachtman was also a bit disappointed, that Blackwater, err, I mean Xe, didn't take his advice, as to changing their logo to his "Hello Kitty-style logos".

From USA Today's "What's in a name? Blackwater aims to bury its past with a new brand"
The company was founded in 1997 by chief executive Erik Prince and former Navy SEAL colleagues. They named it for the swampy black streams around Moyock, in northeastern North Carolina.

Wonder what the folks who run XE — "The World's Favorite Currency Site" — think about Blackwater's name change?

Xe is also the chemical symbol of Xenon, a colorless, ordorless, heavy "noble gas" used in powerful lamps.

Final note: Wikipedia tells us that "xe" is a gender-neutral pronoun, neither male nor female.
Hmmmm ... I don't know about this, we all remember the "New Coke" fiasco.

Zachary Roth, over at TPM Muckraker notes also;
They've also renamed Blackwater Lodge & Training Center, the subsidiary that does much of their controversial overseas operations. It's now the "U.S. Training Center Inc." (Which doesn't exactly mesh with "Xe," but whatever.)
And reminds us;
It's not hard to guess why Blackwater (or wait, Xe) wants to get out of the private security business. In 2007, Blackwater guards opened fire in a Baghdad square, killing 17 Iraqis. Five ex-Blackwater guards were charged with voluntary manslaughter and are awaiting trial.

And recently, thanks largely to that incident and other cases where Blackwater has been accused of using excessive force, the Iraqi government declined to renew the company's contract to operate in the country. Soon after, the State Department announced that, in any case, it wouldn't renew Blackwater's contract to operate in Iraq.
Now, I suspect all the subscriber's to Mercenary Illustrated probably have boners, a new whiff of mystique, about this, even if they do have trouble pronouncing the new name.

But I don't know ...

This may very well turn into the Military-Industrial Complex's version of "Who's On First"

Who's On First?

Bonus Blackwater, errr, Xe, Riffs

"They will have flies walking across their eyeballs"

They Another "I'm Shocked ... Shocked To Find Gambling Going On Here" Moment ...

Top Ten Cloves: Ways The Iraqi Government Can Get Blackwater USA Out of The Country

All You New Iraq Diplomats, Don't Forget To Pack Your Brooms

Breaking News! Burma Junta Contracting Blackwater For Internal Security ...Could Mean Exit From Iraq For Embattled Mercenary Firm; Radio's Limbaugh Charges "Phony Monks" Stirring Up Trouble

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