Tags: Blackwater, Private security, Triple Canopy
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In what does not entirely come as a shock, instead of hundreds of former Blackwater securtiy contractors flooding home the United States or to their home countries upon the completion of their former contracts, it looks like many will simply stay under contracts with rival contractor Triple Canopy. Blackwater recently lost most of its Iraq related security contracts with the US Government, in large part due to significant bad press in the United States stemming from several shootings of civilians in Iraq.
I first read this news in a New York Times article titled “Ex-Blackwater Workers May Return to Iraq Jobs” The topic is newsworthy on its own, but this article contained an unusual quote from a Blackwater spokeswoman:
An unresolved question is whether Blackwater, recently renamed Xe (pronounced zee), or any affiliated company will profit from the deal. Speculation inside the industry and the Iraqi government has focused on whether Triple Canopy might hire as a subcontractor a company called the Falcon Group, identified in a lawsuit brought by Ms. Burke as a Blackwater affiliate.
A Blackwater spokeswoman, Anne Tyrell, said that Blackwater had no relationship with Falcon Group, whose Web site describes it as an Iraqi-owned company with interests in security and reconstruction. “The people who provide security services abroad are independent contractors,”Ms. Tyrell said. “When their 60- to 90-day contracts with us expire, they can seek employment with whomever they choose.”
That statement is ironic because Blackwater has defended themselves from wrongful death lawsuits by former employees arguing against their classification as independent contractors. So publicly, these contractors are independent contractors whom Blackwater has no control over, but in court they are direct employees when it suits them to limit benefit/liabilities. Maybe this spokesperson was uninformed, but these words do mean things, and you can’t have it both ways.