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Only the company’s not really called Blackwater any more. After an almost Anthony Weiner-esque run of bad press and Q scores that were probably lower than a snake’s armpit, the PR megaminds at the company changed the company’s name to the incomprehensible Xe (zhe? zee? eksee?) Services. A makeover was probably in order because, as puts it, “under its old ownership, employees killed Iraqis at Baghdad’s Nisour Square and Afghans on the roads of Kabul; abused cocaine and steroids; and set up shell companies to ensure none of the controversies would prevent the firm from losing lucrative government contracts to guard diplomats in warzones.” When that re-branding effort proved almost as successful as New Coke, they rolled the identity dice again, this time coming up with the more intellectually oriented, professorial moniker, Academi. Whatever, they seem doomed to be referred to in just about every press account as “the company formerly known as Blackwater.” And the latest name change hasn’t improved their luck in the PR arena much . . .

That’s because two former employees, Robert Winston and Allen Wheeler, are suing the security contractor claiming they were fired after blowing the whistle on the company for letting employees slide on their firearms qualification tests administered in Afghanistan. Seems their Columbian recruits couldn’t manage to hit water if they fell out of a boat if they were holding shotties or machine guns.

On March 26, ten days after the first falsified weapons test and three days after the second, Winston and Wheeler alerted their superiors in Afghanistan about the misconduct. The lawsuit states that they were thanked for bringing it to their attention. Two days later, they were informed of their termination. The stated cause: waiting so long to report the suspected malfeasance. They say, they spent the intervening days verifying that Enlow submitted the false reporting to a State Department database. Enlow [the employee who allegedly falsified the qualification reports] has since been fired as well.

And Academi isn’t denying the details of the report at all.

A spokesman for Academi, John Procter, did not dispute the factual contentions in Winston and Wheeler’s suit when asked by Danger Room. Procter said the two were fired for taking 10 days to report the first falsified weapons qualification report — even though it was Winston and Wheeler who alerted Academi to the falsification in the first place.

“The company took swift and appropriate action to address a violation of its Code of Conduct and disciplined all those involved,” Procter tells Danger Room. “The response underscores the company’s commitment to the highest caliber of ethical conduct and business practices.”

No pun intended on that caliber comment, we’re sure. Winston and Wheeler subsequently found out they’d been placed on the State Department’s ‘do not use’ list, making it hard to get another job in the mercenary biz any time soon. At least with a US-based firm. Rumors that the Academi name will soon be tossed to the side in favor of Enron Security Services appear to be false.

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  1. i’m kinda fuzzy on how these companies save the taxpayer money. instead of using regular soldiers we contract the services out. this saves us money how? these guys make less money than a pfc? and their company has to turn a profit. i don’t see it.

    • Yeah, they kinda don’t, but if you consider that its several million dollars to train one of these guys when they’re enlisted and now working privately; they don’t have to retrain someone else or some one new. Its skill sets not everyone has, and most of the guys enlisted with those skills already have a their dance cards full.

    • Its not about saving money its about not having to say 20 US soldiers died today. 50 of them could get killed and it wont be reflected toward the US soldier death rate.

    • PMCs can be less expensive than regular armies, primarily because they require less logistics than regular army units and operate in smaller teams.

      yes, their death tolls are also omitted because they are private companies (not publicly traded stock companies generally, though there are some).

      Now were the PMCs less expensive in iraq and afghanistan? i seriously doubt it. Many of them subcontract and hire ex-soldiers from Uganda and other third world nations (they make a tiny fraction of what a american makes).

    • Using Private Security Contractors like XE or whatever they’re called is all about ROE, Rules of Engagement, as in they have none!

      These thugs literally have licenses to kill and carry out all the Black Ops dirty work for the CIA or whatever Government/Group is paying them. This gives the whoever is actually contracting these guys plausible deniability.


  2. Usually, when Blackwater terminates someone, it’s done with extreme prejudice. I’m thinking that the “whistleblowers” got off easy.

  3. “The response underscores the company’s commitment to the highest caliber of ethical conduct and business practices.”

    That sounds much like Holder stating they are going to hold people accountable for the deaths resulting from Operation F&F gun walking.

  4. Since when did anyone expect better of mercenaries to be paragons? At least they’re honest about fighting for pay instead of the BS “War On Terror” rhetoric.

  5. They almost do save money when you look at the structure of the regular Army and take into account the massive support structure required to field a single fighting soldier in todays military.

  6. The employes said they were fired after blowing the whistle on a problem. The incomprehensible Xe (zhe? zee? eksee?) Services agrees, however the company states that they were not fired BECAUSE of their whistle blowing, but because they waited too long to report the problem.

    I agree that they should be fired for that reason.

    Since they waited until false information had been reported to their customer, the company had to explain their problem to the customer, and the customer would require that they approve the solution. If the whistle blowers had reported the problem much sooner, then the company could have solved the problem internally (fired the ones involved and fixed the company policies which allowed or caused the problem) without the major embarrassment in front of their customer. If the two whistle blowers had done that, and the company still did not address the problem, then maybe the whistleblowers should have gone more public with their reporting of the problem. Reporting a problem in such a way that it has to be shown to the customer should never be your first option, and you should be fired for doing that as your first option.

    • You can’t consort with a snake and accuse said snake of being a snake without being bit by the snake you done laid with. I feel for the killers that have to shocking learn how wicked is the world of said killers. This ain’t no game.

  7. I guess nobody understands what a mercenary is or why US personnel supporting the US government are by definition not.

    • absolutely right. But it sells more newspapers to say we have “evil mercenaries running amok”.

      Btw, i dont know why “mercenary” is such a derogatory word. the Swiss Guard were mercenaries that defended the papal state and they are still well known as highly professional and competent soldiers, like their ancestors. The Hessian mercenaries that fought for Britain during the American Revolution were also professional and extremely competent fighters. such a fascinating history.

      • its not semantics, do your homework.

        there is a difference between a private military contractor and “mercenary”.

        These “hired guns” are loyal americans that have a very specialized skill set, which they use for a private company. They are not just lawless hordes doing whatever they want.

  8. They are ex-military who are hired as body guards for high profile people in a combat zone. They are paid very well and they are prepared to do anything to protect their client. Technically they’re not mercenaries, but actually they are, even if they are only used in a limited defensive capacity.

    • the term is Private Military Contractor. There is a huge difference.

      The PMCs i have had the privilege of fighting alongside are loyal to America, which technically contradicts the definition of a mercenary (ex-soldiers fighting for a foreign army, with no loyalty, for monetary compensation).

  9. It is an interesting coincidence that this post should arise the same day as the one I pasted below. It’s entirely possible that anyone who is concerned about the domestic actions of US military should be WAY more concerned about the private army Blackwater could field on US soil.

  10. PMC, Mercenary, Soldier… it makes no difference what you call it. War is always conducted for profit. It matters not who, specifically, is making the money… the important point is that money is being made off of death and destruction.

    “War is a racket.” -Major General Smedley Butler

    • You should read “Betrayal” by San Francisco crime-n-courts novelist John Lescroart (who incidentally is a whole lot better than Grisham, et al at the genre) – it’s a great read about a OIF reservist with TBI/PTSD who is on trial for a murder he has no idea if he committed or not. But the backstory leading up to the trial (most of the book) is a great, infuriating, and well-researched expose of “security outsourcing.” Lord, what a racket… Gen. Butler had no idea.

    • henry, you are absolutely correct. War is a racket.

      Major General Smedley Butler, United States Marine Corps, was one of the most underrated heroes in American history. I didn’t learn about him in high school or college, and read “war is a racket” when i found it in a library.

      I have people accuse whistleblowers of the status quo as “conspiracy theorists”. Its funny because Im sure General Butler, dual medal of honor recipient and career Marine Corps officer, would give into some nut’s conspiracy theory lol.

      There is money to be made destroying things and selling the machines to destroy, and then there’s money to be made rebuilding. Dick Cheney was one smart mofo…

  11. We should start the American Foreign Legion based on the French model. Ironically with about one-third of the people in America having been born elsewhere we can recruit from within America’s borders.

    • No need. If someone is an appealing enough candidate, some services would sponsor them for citizenship. One of my uncles became a citizen that way- he was a Canadian who wanted to be an American badly enough to sign up with the USMC and be sent to Viet Nam.

      Not sure if the services are still doing that, but I’d rather have someone who is willing to fight to earn citizenship than someone who’s highest ambition is collecting welfare.

  12. Cool slander bro.

    FBI already investigated Nisour Square.

    They came to the conclusion insurgents gunned down the civilians creating their own little Boston Massacre.

    If your question about why would they do such a thing, you aren’t worth my time because you apparently know nothing about the Iraq war.


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