According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Blackwater has changed its name to Xe. As the article says:

Company officials announced Friday that the group of businesses formerly called Blackwater Worldwide will now be known as "Xe," pronounced like the letter Z.

I had always gotten a bit of an internal smirk at the Blackwater name. Since I spend a lot of time taking my kids to horse shows, more than once I’ve seen a "blackwater" label on dumping stations where people dump sewage from RV’s and horse trailers that have living quarters built in. By changing their name to Xe, Blackwater prompted an even louder guffaw from me. Xe is the chemical symbol for Xenon, a noble gas. Somehow, I don’t think anything "noble" will rub off on them from this name change.

The linked article above continues:

The attempt to rebrand itself comes as six former employees face manslaughter charges for a shooting that killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. The company has also faced intense scrutiny since four of its employees were massacred and two of them hung from a bridge in Fallujah in 2004.

In January, the Iraqi government denied Blackwater a license to operate there, and its workers are expected to leave the country this spring.

Company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the new name reflects a new focus.

After earning more than $1 billion in federal contracts from the Bush administration, mostly for providing security to U.S. diplomats in Iraq, she said the company will no longer pursue new security contracts. She said it will now work mostly on training law enforcement officers and military troops in such areas as weapons handling and hostage rescue.

And then, there is this from the parent of one of the Blackwater employees killed in Fallujah:

Kathryn Helvenston-Wettengel, whose son Scott Helvenston was one of the Blackwater employees killed in the massacre, said Friday that the name change made sense.

"I’m not surprised at all," she said "They’ve become so corrupt, I don’t think they could get a contract under Blackwater’s name. So, good luck."

In a sidenote to the article, the News & Observer also notes that Xe is the name of a currency exchange in Canada and that their Xe.com is a very popular website, ranking between 250th and 380th for traffic.

According to their CEO, Steven Dingler:

"Why on earth they’d want to name themselves the same thing as such a well-established brand, I don’t know," Dengler said. "We just think they made a bad mistake."

/snip/

"We have our trademark registered all over the world, but we certainly don’t have anything registered under ‘mercenary army,’ " he said.

Nope, Blackwater can change their name, but they forever will be liquid sewage to me.

Jim White

Jim White

Follow me on Twitter @JimWhiteGNV

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