by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 12, 2011
The US security firm formerly known as Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, renamed itself a second time Monday.
USTC Holdings, the investor consortium that acquired ex-Blackwater firm Xe Services in December 2010, announced ACADEMI as the new name and brand for Xe Services.
The rebranding came as President Barack Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Monday, marking America's exit from a war launched to oust Saddam Hussein.
"We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company," ACADEMI president and chief executive Ted Wright said in a statement.
"I know that everyone at ACADEMI shares in this commitment to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct, compliance and integrity in all of our activities.
"We are already the best operationally. We are going to become the best at governance," Wright said, adding "we still have much work to do."
ACADEMI said it had trained more than 50,000 personnel and had conducted more than 60,000 protective security missions around the globe during the last seven years.
"Not a single protectee has been lost or critically injured, a record of excellence that no other company in the industry can match," said the company, based in a Virginia suburb of Washington.
Obama held talks with Maliki at the White House as the last US troops in Iraq prepared to leave this month, ending a nearly nine-year presence following the US invasion.
Several hundred civilian contractors will remain in Iraq to help train Iraqi forces under the authority of the US embassy in Baghdad.
Part of the troubled legacy of the war was a deadly 2007 incident involving the US security firm then known as Blackwater.
Blackwater renamed itself Xe after Iraq announced in January 2009 that it would not renew its operating licence due to a September 16, 2007 incident in which guards protecting a US diplomatic convoy opened fire in Baghdad's busy Nisur Square, killing at least 14 civilians.
After that announcement, the US State Department did not renew its contract with Blackwater for security services in Iraq.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Monday, Wright said he would like to take ACADEMI's business back to Iraq and the firm had hired an outside company to help it apply for an operating license there.
"I think eventually, we're going to get a license; we're going to do business in Iraq," he said.
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Austria balks at selling 2nd hand tanks to Canada: report
Vienna (AFP) Dec 12, 2011
Austria is in talks to sell 40 second-hand Leopard 2A4 tanks back to their German manufacturer after Vienna balked at the Canadian military buying them, a press report said Monday. Austrian defence ministry spokesman Michael Bauer confirmed only that talks with the firm, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, were "going well, although nothing has been signed yet." The Austrian daily Kronen-Zeitung said ... read more
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