The logo and the company name change, but business stays the same. The mercenary syndicate formerly known as Blackwater has raked in more than half a billion dollars from U.S. contracts to thoroughly fail at stemming the terrorist-supported trade in Afghan opium, according to a new government report.
That report, part of a larger investigation by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on how the U.S spent an allocation of $66 billion in Afghanistan, notes that Academi—Blackwater's latest name, after a series of changes to rehabilitate its public image—has racked up hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to train, equip, and coordinate an Afghan counternarcotics force that's spun its wheels as the country's farmers continue to pump out more opium than any other nation on earth.
Between 2002 and 2013, Academi received $569 million from the Pentagon for counternarcotic operations—a sum that accounted for 32 percent of all money spent on contractors involved in drug interdiction.
Other major defense and security companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon also did counternarcotics work in Afghanistan but none won bids worth half the value of the contracts secured by Academi.
Despite the national security investments, Afghanistan is still the world's leading producer of opium. In a report released last December, SIGAR said that "Afghan farmers are growing more opium than ever before."
Here's SIGAR's rundown of who else profited from the failed drug war:
On the plus side, SIGAR did not report that Blackwater's contemporary soulless husk in Afghanistan shot and killed any civilians, bribed any local officials, billed any government agencies for hookers, or held any homoerotic orgies at its headquarters. It appears the new corporate entity has joined the pantheon of respectable, mature defense contractors who limit their crimes to being minimally ineffective for maximum profit.
[Photo credit: Getty Images]