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Intro: "You've heard about the scandals; now re-live them from the comfort of your sofa. That's the big idea behind Blackwater, a new video game named after the shadowy US security company accused of some of the worst rights violations of the Iraq war."

Under license from Erik Prince, 505 Games will soon launch Blackwater, a first-person shooter video game, 09/08/11. (inage: 505 Games)
Under license from Erik Prince, 505 Games will soon launch Blackwater, a first-person shooter video game, 09/08/11. (inage: 505 Games)

Blackwater Video Game Triggers Rage

By Guy Adams, The Independent UK

08 September 11


Iraq mercenaries' boss triggers rage with Blackwater video game.

ou've heard about the scandals; now re-live them from the comfort of your sofa. That's the big idea behind Blackwater, a new video game named after the shadowy US security company accused of some of the worst rights violations of the Iraq war.

In a move that has outraged representatives of the trigger-happy firm's victims, a software developer called 505 Games will shortly launch the "first-person shoot-em-up" in which players adopt the persona of mercenaries protecting UN officials in what reviewers have called "a hostile north-African territory."

It was produced under licence from Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder and former Navy Seal who stepped down from day-to-day management of the firm two years ago, having gained more than $1 billion in contracts from the Bush administration.

"[Players] are going to be shooting, moving and communicating through very difficult, unknown, uncertain situations," Prince told USA Today's gaming correspondent. "And they are going to be active." The game's release marks the first effort by Mr Prince to leverage the Blackwater name. He wants to license the firm's brand for use on a variety of products, including high-end travel gear.

All of which prompts disbelief from critics of the company, which was renamed Xe Services following a string of controversies which culminated in the killing of 17 civilians in Nisoor Square, Baghdad, in 2007. They have long accused it of abuses, noting that employees were responsible for more than 200 shootings in Iraq.

Jan Schakowsky, a Democratic Congresswoman and prominent critic of Blackwater, told The Independent that the game was "appalling."

"Blackwater is a company of mercenaries who have operated in a way that compromises the safety, reputation, and lives of Americans and Iraqis, and whose employees have been guilty of killings," she said.

"The notion of playing a game in which they are the hero is wrong on almost every level."

If Mr Prince had not emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US, he too would now be facing prosecution, the Congresswoman said. "His company has caused the death of innocent people without any accountability. It is inconceivable and appalling that a video game should celebrate his tough-guy image."

Susan Burke, a lawyer based in Washington who has represented the families of Blackwater's victims, said that the decision to release the game was "terribly offensive."

A UK-based spokesman for 505 Games said: "The video game is a fictional action first-person shooter, without any political agenda, and is being published to let gamers experience the challenging missions Blackwater operatives have experienced." your social media marketing partner


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+17 # John Gill 2011-09-08 22:51
Forget about the challenging missions. Do I get to play the missions where I shoot teenage kids off the back of a motorbike? What about the one where I get to machine gun women and kids crammed into the back of a little 2 door economy vehicle? Now that's the Blackwater we've come to know and hate. What about the screams of anguish and horror? Can I hear them in stereo? Come on guys, get real!
+13 # frdboesl 2011-09-08 23:44
Thank you w & Cheney for the monsters you created with your manufactured wars.
And the debt and destruction you have put on a country you were suppose to have been leading. But you used it as a vehicle to reap obsine profits for you and your pals. After the death and destruction you have created history will judge you as the lowest of low that led our country. I pray that we can recover from the evil deeds you have done to harm our country!! You should both be in Gitmo.
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-09 09:15
The Pentagon is funding these games with our tax dollars. It was probably cheney's idea. No wonder we can't afford bridges, Social Security, or NPR.
+7 # Villon 2011-09-09 00:43
We should just come back with a video game called Fallujah, where you can play the part of an occupied and oppressed person who kills the agents of your oppression, burns their bodies and hangs them over bridges for the world to see. Score incredible points for killing more mercenaries than anyone else, especially those figures who resemble Eric Prince. Be as corrupt and morally bankrupt as Eric Prince himself, all from the comforts of your own couch.
+2 # tedrey 2011-09-09 05:49
Do you get to play the other side, and set IEDs to blow the mercenaries into tiny bits? That might be fun! (And then I remember that I myself am at least trying to be a human being.)
+10 # Billy Bob 2011-09-09 06:27
I'm still waiting for "S.S. Stormtrooper 2012", where, hopefully we can act out our Nazi war criminal fantasies.

How about a new "Torturer Extreme" series, where we can turn thumb screws on Salem "witches" and the mentally handicapped, then perform experiments on people at Auschwitz or Dachau, THEN refine it to an art form in Abu Graib, and a thousand unnamed "black sites" all over the un-free world?

How patriotic! Can we all join in singing our new, more truthful national anthem now?:


I can't wait until the Boy Scouts turns this into merit badge! Then, who knows? Maybe a reality show like, "America's Got War Crimes", or "Attrocities: The Series (in3-D)"

Where is Jeffery Dahmer when our country needs him?

I can't wait until the Middle-East runs out of oil, and since the U.S. did nothing to encourage solar, wind or hydro-electric, our whole country is S.O.L. But don't worry, just then, BLACKWATER CAN COME TO THE RESCUE HERE AT HOME, by patroling our streets and doing the very things they've been practicing on the 3rd World.
0 # Glen 2011-09-09 07:35
What an imagination you have, Billy! Dang, and you are able to predict a not impossible future. Kinda makes me yearn for the good ole days of cowboys and indians.
+2 # Glen 2011-09-09 06:59
Yes, John, and how about being dragged through the streets of Falujah after starting a major slaughter by the U.S. Airforce and others. Do we get to see that? Do we get to video tape ourselves doing some of this stuff? Do we get to experience a lowered payday while patrolling the streets of New Orleans, looking for bad guys to shoot and wishing we were back in the real action? I hope we get to sneak around or at least shoot rescue workers from a helicopter.

Gosh, we could all truly benefit from learning these skills, and I know some little girls who would get into it as well. Gotta toughen them up.
+5 # lightsout 2011-09-09 07:32
The book, Blackwater, by Jeremy Scahill is an excellent read.
+2 # Glen 2011-09-09 08:53
Yes it is, lightsout, and also lends insight into the dark side of the federal government. Not that we need much more of that dark side.
+2 # Bill Clements 2011-09-09 08:53
Xe has proven itself to be a canker (or scrofula) on the body politic that the Obama administration refuses to excise. No doubt, considering their utter lack of ethics, this game was conceived not only to "leverage" the Blackwater name and rake in yet more money, but as a blatant recruitment tool.

Xe was sold to International Development Solutions recently. You won't believe where their first contract took them? Jerusalem! Yes, they're under contract to guard the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and provide protective security in the West Bank. Really?


Guarding diplomats and aid workers used to fall under the purview of the U.S. military, but I guess they didn't want that job anymore?
+4 # davidhp 2011-09-09 10:12
From war profiteers to corrupting the youth, these guys ought to go on trial at the Hague as war criminals.
+1 # Adoregon 2011-09-09 11:21
Bit by bit we edge toward a final blurring of reality and virtual reality.

Fear and violence become a chicken and egg proposition.

Hunting other humans becomes an activity of daily life for us as it has become for our client states.

All is illusion and desire.
+3 # ABen 2011-09-09 12:00
Just what we need for a more civil and peaceful society-- a video game promoting the idea that "war is cool." Didn't George Orwell try to warn us about this type of brainwashing?
-2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-09 13:27
I agree. The people who think "war is cool", aren't interested in a more civil or peaceful society. People who like that sort of thing are the ones these corporate whores want to shoot.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-09-09 12:09
& here I thought it was illegal to profit from your crimes. How grotesquely obscene; & this from bully-boy Prince (!), who fled justice post-haste....

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