Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Blackwater 3.0: Rebranded ‘Academi’ Wants Back In Iraq

by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room   December 12, 2011

So much for naming your mercenary company after an obscure element from the periodic table.

Say goodbye to Xe. The company formerly known as Blackwater — the world’s most infamous private security corporation — has jettisoned the name it chose in its 2009 rebrand. Now the “security solutions provider” wants to wash away the taint of the 2007 Nisour Square shootings by adopting the new name “Academi.”

But the company is changing its name — not its core business. And it even wants back into the country where it ran its brand through the mud: Iraq.

“Our focus is on training and security services. We’re continuing that,” new CEO Ted Wright tells Danger Room. “We’re not backing away from security services. The lion’s share of our business today is providing training for security services and [providing] security services.”

If Blackwater — sorry, Academi – was a sports franchise, you’d consider 2011 its rebuilding year. A consortium of investors close to the family of founder Erik Prince bought the company in late 2010, and spent 2011 putting together its new leadership team. It brought on board former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Bill Clinton consigliere Jack Quinn and Suzanne Folsom from the insurance giant AIG. Wright came from military-services giant KBR. Notice a pattern? All have deep experience with crisis management.

Notice another pattern: all of those hires either worked in senior government positions or worked closely with those who did. That signals confidence in the company’s traditional business — getting big government contracts to protect diplomats, aid workers and even the military in dangerous places. On its new website, Academi says providing “stability and protection to people and locations experiencing turmoil” is its “core” business. New name; same wheelhouse.

Please read more at the Danger Room

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Iraq, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Xe | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burned by the Boss: How To Tell We’ve Been at War Too Long

by Mark Thompson  at Time’s Battleland

There are lots of signs the nation, now amid its longest war ever in Afghanistan – and just finishing up a second lengthy military campaign in Iraq – has been fighting too long. Sure, the budget deficits are one sign. So is the human carnage, both among innocent civilians in both lands, but also among the 2.4 million U.S. troops who have fought there. Beyond the 6,300 Americans killed and 40,000 wounded are the broken families, PTSD and suicides the wars have triggered.

But here’s a new one: 28 firefighters who went to work in the war zones for private contractors KBR and Wackenhut claim they were shortchanged by their employers.

They have filed a class-action suit on behalf of some 2,000 firefighters and maintain they routinely “were required to provide 24/7 fire protection” but paid for only 12 hours. When the firefighters complained, they allegedly were told “that they were lucky to have jobs, that they would be fired and sent back to America, and that many were waiting in line for their jobs,” their suit alleges. “Various phrases were used as shorthand for threats to fire if the Plaintiffs continued to complain, such as `chicken or beef,’ which referred to the dining choices one had on the flight home from Iraq.”

It’s a safe bet the contractors will deny wrongdoing, and it’s a safe bet the firefighters’ claim for $100 million is excessive. But what’s also clear is that any war that generates a need for private firefighting forces – and then drags on so long that the firefighters become aggrieved enough to believe they have a case that they were underpaid – is a war that has gone on too long for the firefighters, the contractors, the military and the country. Not to mention the taxpayers

Please see the original post at Time’s Battleland

More on the Class Action Lawsuit against Wackenhut at www.scottblochlaw.com

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, KBR, Private Military Contractors, Wackenhut | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blackwater gets an even bigger makeover “ACADEMI”

By Suzanne Kelly, CNN

Suzanne Kelly Simons is a CNN Senior National Security Correspondent and author of Master of War: Blackwater USA’s Erik Prince and the Business of War

The company once known as the world’s most notorious private security contractor, Blackwater, is changing its name and its look once again in a bid to prove that it has outgrown its toxic reputation.

Renaming the company “ACADEMI” tops a number of changes that have been made by a private equity consortium that purchased the company from former owner Erik Prince last year.

“The message here is not that we’re changing the name,” said Ted Wright, who came on as the new company CEO in June. “The message is that we’re changing the company, and the name just reflects those changes. We have new owners, a new board of directors, a new management team, new location, new attitude on governance, new openness, new strategy – it’s a whole new company.”

Blackwater was dogged by controversy as it rose from a training facility in Moyock, North Carolina, in the late ’90s, to a private security powerhouse at the height of the war in Iraq. But as business boomed, so did the demand for growth, and rules regarding issues like compliance and governance were sometimes not followed. There were also accusations that some Blackwater guards operating in Iraq’s virtually lawless environment were heavy-handed, and then a deadly shooting in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007 was the beginning of the end for the company

Please read the entire post at CNN

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment