Controversial Blackwater Worldwide Using Guitar Hero, Xbox 360 in Recruiting Efforts

Recruiters for controversial Blackwater Worldwide, which provides "paid contractors" (i.e. – mercenaries) to supplement United States forces in Iraq, apparently distribute consoles and popular video games to spread good will among American forces.

That’s likely because former military personnel make up the bulk of Blackwater employees. An Associated Press profile on the company notes:

[Blackwater exec] Bill Mathews… said during a recent interview with The Associated Press. "This is sort of the quintessential veteran-owned, -operated and -managed company. Almost everybody is a former U.S. serviceman…"


Blackwater recruiter James Overton is working on packing a Microsoft Xbox video-game console, modem, TV projector and "Guitar Hero" video game into a kit that can be kicked out of a Blackwater cargo plane and dropped to troops in Afghanistan.


"When I was in Baghdad, we’d bring soldiers over to our camp over there, and we’d play this thing for hours on end," Overton said. "Every (military) place I’ve ever been to overseas, they’ve got like backgammon and Parcheesi and chess, and they’re all gathering dust. But this is the stuff they play at home. And any semblance of home we can give them is best."


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Blackwater and the United Service Organization (USO) recently entered into a Worldwide Strategic Partnership, through which Blackwater pledged $2million in donations.

    This project is part of that initiative and is not being used as a Blackwater recruitment tool. 

  2. T5 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    people do not like the word because the UN defined it as something negative, also under that same def (see a few posts above you) Blackwater would not be a mercenary outfit. 

  3. Azhrarn says:

    People are up in arms because the word mercenary is associated with all kinds of bad imagery.
    Imagery Blackwater is very keen to avoid since they’d rather not have the press go after them like the pack of wolves/vultures the press usually is.
    They’re doing important work and freeing up soldiers in the process which is the important thing, not the term used. But that’s just my opinion.

  4. Azhrarn says:

    I don’t think you’re seeing my post clearly. Yes they are guarding/securing locations/maintaining the peace. Those are military tasks being performed by a corporate civilian outfit to free up actual military personal for the combat missions. In other words, they are hired to replace military personel, because those actual soldier are of better use elsewhere in the combat zone.
    That in itself makes them mercenaries, granted it’s for relatively low-key tasks, but it’s still stuff that the military would have had to do if they didn’t have the option of hiring blackwater to do it for them.

  5. Razor210 says:

    Why are people up in arms over the word mercenary?  It’s a term.  Blackwater provides mercenaries (soldiers paid to fight).  End of discussion.

  6. Jdun says:

    No it isn’t. Which part of "Arms Guards" do you not understand? They do not go out and engage enemies combatents. They are like Secret Service. They have the right to defend themselve if attacked.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh yes gassing our own troops is a means of support. Theres been more than "one accident" just because one actually got into the mass media doesnt mean its the only one.

  8. ecco6t9 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I love how alot of you like the blame Fox News for everything wrong.

    Keep in mind that it wasn’t Fox News’s main anchor who was fired for reporting a lie about the president as fact.

  9. Azhrarn says:

    Essentially the article is correct, the Blackwater security forces are non-military personel paid (quite well I presume) to provide security in locations and to persons where otherwise Military Personal would be required to be deployed. That military personal would then be unavailable in locations where they could do more good.

    By doing so they are indeed essentially mercenaries. (ie. Paid non-military personel performing limited military roles to free up military personel for use elsewhere.)
    The main problem is that people have many negative images attached to the word. Hence your own use of "Protective Security Detail" which is basically the same thing, just without the negative imagery.
    Let them use the word mercenary, let them prove that these people are doing good and are being deployed in roles where they can do good. Decreasing the negative imagery associated with the word "mercenary".


  10. PyroHazard says:

    To put it simply, mercenaries do not abide by certain international treaties and international law that security firms like Blackwater do. All this recent Blackwater hub-bub was the result of a few gun happy idiots employed by BW who made the errorneous assumption to shoot up a car full of neutral civilians in Iraq, making the presumption that they were hostile targets. It was also a massive PR disaster and put a dent in the reputation of Blackwater.

    With that said though, I’ll only start shitting bricks if they start injecting BW employees with nanomachines. 😉

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here we go, the Internet Tough Guy brigades and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are all up in arms over calling a spade a spade.  Blackwater == MERCENARY OUTFIT.  Full stop, period, end of file, you can shut up now.

    Just because you Faux-Nooz watching idiots have had this bullcrap beaten into you doesn’t mean the rest of us have.  You think they’re so all-fired great?  Go sign up.  Then you can come back from profiting from war and be tried for treason like you ought to be.

  12. Jdun says:

    I would have assumed game politics have done there research on the matter before putting a loaded word like mercenaries. Morons leading morons.



    It is plain stupid to called Blackwater "mercenaries". Do you know what Blackwater does? They are a PSD (Protective Security Detail) company. What they do is protect VIP and guard buildings. In others words they are armed guards. They do not go out attack enemies. They have clear rule engagement. They never lost a VIP or building in Iraq under attack. The majority of employees are ex military that have saw combat. They are well disciplined and are well like by US military personnel. Other jobs that Blackwater do are built and repair vehicles and equipments for the military.


    Blackwaters has been supporting US forces in Iraq for some time. They donated a lot of money toward entertainments such as video games, sports equipments, etc.. It gets extremely boring in Iraq.



  13. Pizzª_کLﮞT says:

    Which is bullshit btw.  and I’ve met PMC’s that called themselves mercenaries,  I don’t know why people suddenly feel the need to point the Politically Correct gun at the oldest profession in the book.  Killing people for compensation.

  14. Anonymous says:

    it looks the same except for the part he italicized.  if they’re US residents, they aren’t mercenaries under that definition.

  15. Pizzª_کLﮞT says:

    looks the same to me, they keep mentioning private gain.  hence Mercenaries. it doesn’t matter where they come from,  if they are there to shoot people in the face for money they are a Mercenary.

  16. JimK says:

    The only troll here is the anonymous person submitting ad hominem insults and not making ANY reasonable contribution to the conversation.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wow.  An incredulously stupid troll talking down to another incredulously stupid troll.  Love this site.

  18. Jdun says:

    Here the deal. It’s morons fellow morons. Most people get there facts from the liberal news media. At best they don’t know what the hell they are reporting. At worst they outright lied. Blackwater guard Obama because that is what they do. They are the best that money can afford.

    Blackwater are armed security/body guards that do go out looking for fights. That’s the US military job.

  19. JimK says:

    Here’s a neat fact: Barack Obama hires mercenaries.  How?  Blackwater provided his security in Afghanistan.

    Are all hired security guards now called "mercenaries?"  If not, why not?

  20. SS says:

    According to the defination of mercenary Blackwater consists partly of mercenaries because many of their employees are recruited from other countries.  Since they are from a foreign country not party to the war they are considered mercaneries.  So i guess you could call it a mercenary company.  So Gamepolitics is just stating the facts. 

    "Blackwater recruiter James Overton is working on packing a Microsoft Xbox video-game console, modem, TV projector and "Guitar Hero" video game into a kit that can be kicked out of a Blackwater cargo plane and dropped to troops in Afghanistan."  Read that and tell me if you think the headline is appropriate or not. 

  21. Jim says:

    Eh, he’s right though. To call Blackwater Bodyguards Mercenaries is controversial enough, let alone calling all members of Blackwater mercenaries. The whole article is written with a tone along the lines of “These guys are assholes, ignore any good thing they do for anyone, even though that’s what this piece is referencing”.

    Also, the title of using it as a recruiting tool is off-base as well.

    Written with a very notable bias. To be honest, I don’t mind bias in a blog, that’s what a personal blog is supposed to be. But Game Politics has reached a level where I think we should hold them to at least a tad more journalistic integrity than your average dorm-room blogger.

    Calling a person who disagrees with you a troll is also wrong, by the way. It’s possible to have a disagreement and have neither of the two involved be trolls.

  22. JimK says:

    And I’m allowed to believe I can’t trust that sort of dishonest reporting.  It’s wrong when Fox does it, and it’s wrong here as well.


  23. Anonymous says:

    Sorrry Jim, but that’s just a load.  The article says they provide mercanaries, they do. And that is why they’re controvertial.

    They may also provide toothpaste.  If they do so in as irresponsillbe of a way as they handle their private soldiers I’m sure it will be noted.

  24. thefremen says:

     QUOTE: Recruiters for controversial Blackwater Worldwide, which provides "paid contractors" (i.e. – mercenaries).


    They provide mercs in Iraq. The story is about Iraq and thier band-aid for having prior scuffles with our armed services so given the context that makes sense.  This is a blog, and just like Cable Network News it is expected that there is some commentary added within the news item. If you can’t accept the very nature of the world wide web then I suggest you go back to listening to phonographs.’

  25. BlackIce, Not Logged In ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    But with Blackwater, they are all evil bastards. If I ever get the chance to have another shot at them, i’m taking it with a fury.

    And this is a blog. Opinions and bias are allowed.

  26. JimK says:

    Interesting.  Blackwater offers a huge list of services – all of which are listed at the site linked in this story –  but the "reporting" here simply calls them mercenaries.

    It’s hyper-charged language intentionally designed to push the reader into accepting the position that everyone who works for Blackwater is bad or evil or a murderer.  It adds nothing to the story and was an add-on simply to show (and drive) bias.  That is lazy, terrible reporting from a site we are supposed to be able to trust to at least be fair if not unbiased.

    My $0.02.  YMMV


  27. spastkid says:

    Well, considering that Blackice should be a millitary man IIRC.. Friendly fire seems like a possibility..

  28. T5 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

     Article 1
         For the purposes of the present Convention,
    1.   A mercenary is any person who:
         (a)  Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an
    armed conflict;
         (b)  Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the
    desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party
    to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that
    promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed
    forces of that party;
         (c)  Is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of
    territory controlled by a party to the conflict;
    (d) Is not a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict; and (e) Has not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces. 2. A mercenary is also any person who, in any other situation: (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad for the purpose of participating in a concerted act of violence aimed at: (i) Overthrowing a Government or otherwise undermining the constitutional order of a State; or (ii) Undermining the territorial integrity of a State; (b) Is motivated to take part therein essentially by the desire for significant private gain and is prompted by the promise or payment of material compensation; (c) Is neither a national nor a resident of the State against which such an act is directed; (d) Has not been sent by a State on official duty; and (e) Is not a member of the armed forces of the State on whose territory


  29. Pizzª_کLﮞT says:

    Lets put all the whining about the definition on what a mercenary is to bed:


    mer·ce·nar·y noun, plural -nar·ies. –adjective

    1. working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.
    2. hired to serve in a foreign army, guerrilla organization, etc.


    3. a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army.
    4. any hireling.


    BlackWater hires a lot of Former US Soldier, but they also hire many people not from America.  And I would go so far to say that if BlackWater was giving a good chunk of money to fight for another country, they would.


    I would say that quailifies them as Mercenaries.  You can’t really blame the Soldiers though, they get paid an ass load more money and have way less to deal with in terms of the chain of command.

  30. BlackIce says:

    Never played Army of Two. Know what? I’ll drop it now.

    ~You Could Be Mine, But You’re Way Out Of Line..~

  31. T5 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mercenaries is not technically correct if you are going by the UN def. also the US did not sign the UN Merc. Treaty anyway. 

    Of course gamers are all experts on PMCs after playing Army of Two (looking at you BlackIce, unless you are being sarcastic then)


  32. BlackIce, Not Logged In ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I wouldn’t want to meet any of those wankers. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against PMC’s. It’s that one however. The one that killed a good few of my men.

  33. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good for Blackwater. I’ve worked with them before when I was in the Army, and was offered a job when I exited the service, but turned it down. Blackwater gets a lot of negative press, but they perform an essential job, and they have a very good calibre of contractors. "BlackIce" doubtfully ever met anyone who worked with Blackwater, and is just offering up the same tired crap that the media portrays. "Mercenaries". What a crap word.

  34. King of Fiji ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah it was at the Nintendo Store in New York City and it was found in the wreckage of of the Gulf War I think… may of not been the Gulf War but still it survived a bomb so your are right about that.  xD

  35. Fedule mk II says:

    Forget the ‘cube, the original Game Boy (alongside the original iPod) are officially the sturdiest gadgets ever. Did anyone else see this exhibit of what must be the world’s most beaten-up Game Boy still running Tetris? The Game Boy can just soak up punishment.

  36. King of Fiji ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Even though its from a past generation and it was the least popular out of the three systems I say this is exactly what Gamecube was intended for……suicide air drop missions into Iraq.

    And I only say this because apparently a gamecube can take a licking and still work. 

  37. Unruly ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Foam packing peanuts or the air-filled plastic bags. If you make a thick enough buffer it would work, but its probably not the most feasable way of doing it. Especially not the packing peanuts.

  38. Zero Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Eh, servicemembers often do get bored as hell when they’re not cleaning the base.  The only downside is that I’m not sure there is a way to make a 360 air-droppable.  It’s fun and all, but it’s not really sturdy.

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