WikiLeaks: Five more of the strangest stories to emerge
The WikiLeaks keep dripping out. Here are five more of the oddest stories that we've spotted so far.
4. Avast Xe mateys!
According to a February cable from the US Embassy in Djibouti, the US security firm Blackwater Worldwide obtained permission from the Djiboutian government to operate an armed ship to protect commercial interests from Somali pirates. Blackwater had obtained a 183-foot former NOAA vessel christened the McArthur, which they planned to crew with 33 US citizens and arm with .50-caliber machine guns. According to the cable, "Blackwater does not intend to take any pirates into custody, but will use lethal force against pirates if necessary" (translation: "Arrrr! Take no prisoners!").
The New York Times reports on allegations of abuse of the crew by the ship's drunken captain, noting that "Lawsuits filed later by crew members on the McArthur made life on the ship sound little improved from the days of Blackbeard."
Ultimately, Blackwater's venture failed to attract a single customer, and the plan was scrapped.
In February 2008, Blackwater changed their name to Xe. The official reason was that the name had become synonymous with trigger-happy security contractors in Iraq, particularly after the death of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. Of course, some speculated the name change was because too many employees kept getting that Doobie Brothers song stuck in their heads.