Blackwater's Repositioning, Real and Imagined

As investigations into its shootings of Iraqi civilians continue, the private military contractor Blackwater USA is softening its public image. "The company's roughneck logo — a bear's paw print in a red crosshairs, under lettering that looks to have been ripped from a fifth of Jim Beam — has undergone a publicity-conscious, corporate scrubbing," reports Paul Von Zielbauer. Blackwater says the redesign was planned before September 16, when its employees killed 17 Iraqis, but "the new logo did not appear" on the company's website until afterwards. Gone are "the rifle-scope crosshairs," and the paw print and logo lettering also look less menacing. One graphic designer commented, "The old logo suggests that they're targeting people. The new logo is a more ambiguous, safe corporate logo." The company is also changing its name to Blackwater Worldwide. But it's not forming a "Department of Corporate Integrity," as a spoof press release from the peace group Code Pink claimed. CBS, Politico and other news outlets were fooled by the satirical release, which also claimed that Blackwater was working to "put the mercy back in mercenary," reports Editor & Publisher.