“Blackwater can run, but it can’t hide’

Dan Kenney has a message for Blackwater, the controversial private security firm that just changed its name to try to escape its bloody past:

“Blackwater’s new name is Xe, the symbol for an odorless, colorless gas. But the smell from its actions won’t go away, and the company will never be invisible,” said Kenney, who will speak in Milwaukee on Friday, Feb. 20.

Kenney is the director of Clearwater, a DeKalb, Illinois-based organization opposing Blackwater’s operations and the privatization of US security.

Blackwater announced last week that it was changing its name and logo from Blackwater to Xe (Pronounced “z”) in hopes of escaping from its bloody past.

“The renaming of Blackwater’s 26 companies under the Xe banner is part of their rebranding campaign launched a year and a half ago when Blackwater contractors were involved in the shooting of 17 innocent Iraqi citizens in a busy Baghdad square. As it was then that they first changed their name from Blackwater USA to Blackwater Worldwide, now to Xe,” Kenney said.

The Associated press reported that Blackwater officials acknowledged the need for the company to shake its past in Iraq. “Its not a direct result of a loss of contract, but certainly that is an aspect of our work we feel we were defined by,” said spokesperson Anne Tyrrell.

Several times since September of 2007 Erik Prince, Blackwater’s owner, has said that security is one part of their business; they hope to become a “one stop shop” for the Pentagon. They are still involved in Mexican Border patrol, their intelligence division is still providing CIA type services to Fortune 500 corporations, and they are seeking contracts to provide security to ships against so called “pirates.” They are also heavily involved in training both military and civilian personnel, such as municipal police

In the periodic table of the elements, Xe represents an odorless, colorless gas. So, it’s a perfect name for a group that is trying to hide from public scrutiny. But Blackwater cannot hide their odor and their crimes from an awakened citizenry. Clearwater will follow Blackwater and the Prince private army, maritime division, air force, and CIA wherever they go, no matter how many names they try to use. Because no matter what they call themselves they will continue to be a threat to democracy everywhere they go. They may take the name Xe, but they will never be invisible.

Kenney will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, in Room 001, Cudahy Hall, 1313 W Wisconsin Ave., on the Marquette University campus.

His talk is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Iraq Moratorium, Peace Action-Wisconsin, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Progressive Students of Milwaukee, U.S. Labor Against the War, and the Marquette Center for Peacemaking. The event is free and open to the public.

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