No credence in Blackwater revival

The recent name change by the company once known as Blackwater, one of the biggest private security contractors in the US, has led to speculation as to whether the company is returning to Iraq, from where it was expelled after a shooting in 2007.

­The company adopted the name Xe Services soon after the shooting incident in Baghdad, which left 17 civilians dead. On Monday it announced another new name, Academi, claiming that the changes represent more than just a change of name.

RT talked to Jack Rice, a lawyer and former CIA officer, who thinks that the company now will certainly try to re-establish itself in Iraq and that it has every chance of succeeding. 

They have very deep pockets and they also have very very good connections. You can call this company anything that you like, whether it is Blackwater, whether it is Xe, whether it is Academi, whether it is John Smith, it does not make any difference if there is a lot of money and there are connections, there are opportunities,” Rice said.

Commenting on the name change, Rice said that Blackwater/Academi was unlikely to bring any other changes.

There is a certain culture that Blackwater has and you can change a couple of the guys at the top of the heap, but they are hiring the same kinds of people, they are doing it in the very same way, they are doing much of the same work – and the leadership comes from the same places with the same connections,” he said, adding that “the failures of the past, which have been dramatic, will continue into the future.”

Rice believes, however, that the problem with contractor companies extends further than Blackwater, saying that the main flaw of the system is the lack of a controlling mechanism.

According to him the contractor companies have become “independent companies that you hire to do things you don’t want to do” and the real problem “is controlling them and Americans did not do it very well.

­Peace activist Puneet Dhaliwal of the group “War on Want” also believes that with American troops withdrawing from Iraq it is quite likely the notorious company will be able to return to the country despite its bloody record and government ban.

Private military security companies are likely to play an increasingly important role in an unstable Iraq,” says Dhaliwal. “But the problem is not with Academi – formerly known as Blackwater – alone, it is the issue of the whole industry.

It is one thing to say there needs to be stability in some sort of area. These companies face a situation when there is no accountability for the way they act,” Dhaliwal told RT. “It is systemic: the whole industry faces no serious restrictions.

We have seen a lot of outsourcing in conflicts. That allows moral responsibility to be shifted away onto private companies, where there is simply no such scrutiny as there would be for conventional armies,” added Dhaliwal.