First it was Blackwater USA. Then it was Blackwater Worldwide. Now, it's "Xe" (pronounced "Zee"). The private military company has repeatedly tried to re-brand, after numerous controversies from the killing of civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad; to its no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, post-Katrina; to its hiring troops with ties to repressive regimes, like that of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The company says its latest name change is meant to reflect a new focus. Blackwater / Xe spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "We've taken the company to a place where it is no longer accurately described as Blackwater." Its subsidiaries also have new names: Blackwater Airships is now Guardian Flight Systems, Blackwater Target Systems is GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge and Training Center is the U.S. Training Center. The company has also shed its famous (or infamous) bear-paw and crosshairs logo. The new head of Blackwater / Xe, Gary Jackson, told employees, "Xe will be a one-stop shopping source for world class services in the fields of security, stability, aviation, training and logistics," reports the Wall Street Journal.
By Diane Farsetta on February 16, 2009