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Blackwater Keeps Rolling

Blackwater overstayed its welcome in Iraq, and wasn't wanted in San Diego County, but it's still raking in billions from the US government. Blackwater, now renamed Xe Services LLC (pronounced zee) presumably for public relations purposes, is a private military company that gained notoriety in Iraq after guards protecting a convoy opened fire in a busy Baghdad square in September 2007, killing as many as 17 civilians.

The company was kicked out of Iraq, and tried to open a training facility three miles north of Potrero in rural east San Diego County for military and law enforcement training. But that idea was widely opposed by everyone from surrounding residents to Congressman Bob Filner. Despite its increasingly negative image, Blackwater just receiveda $100 million contract from the CIA to secure its bases in Afghanistan, according to Foreign Policy in Focus, and the State Department recently awarded them $120 million to provide security for new diplomatic buildings, including consulates outside Kabul.


Meanwhile, this week Blackwater founder Erik Prince is being questioned in Abu Dhabi in connection with a widely reported fraud lawsuit filed by former employees who allege that Prince and companies he controlled defrauded the US government.