Say goodbye to Blackwater and hello to Xe

Blackwater was so mustache-twirling evil of a name, but Xe (pronounced “zee”) has no punch to it.

Blackwater Worldwide is abandoning its tarnished brand name as it tries to shake a reputation battered by oft-criticized work in Iraq, renaming its family of two dozen businesses under the name Xe.

The parent company’s new name is pronounced like the letter “z.” Blackwater Lodge & Training Center — the subsidiary that conducts much of the company’s overseas operations and domestic training — has been renamed U.S. Training Center Inc., the company said Friday.

The decision comes as part of an ongoing rebranding effort that grew more urgent following a September 2007 shooting in Iraq that left at least a dozen civilians dead. Blackwater president Gary Jackson said in a memo to employees the new name reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security.

“The volume of changes over the past half-year have taken the company to an exciting place and we are now ready for two of the final, and most obvious changes,” Jackson said in the note.

In his memo, Jackson indicated the company was not interested in actively pursuing new private security contracts. Jackson and other Blackwater executives told The Associated Press last year it was shifting its focus away from such work to focus on training and providing logistics.

“This company will continue to provide personnel protective services for high-threat environments when needed by the U.S. government, but its primary mission will be operating our training facilities around the world, including the flagship campus in North Carolina,” Jackson said.

What was Obama’s quote?  You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.

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