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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Irony of Irony Blackwater Saves Congressman Alan Grayson's Butt

Florida Congressman and national embarrassment, Alan Grayson made a fortune as a plaintiffs' attorney specializing in whistleblower fraud cases aimed at Iraq war contractors. For example, employees of one contractor Custer Battles, were found guilty of making fraudulent statements and submitting fraudulent invoices on two contracts in 2003 Grayson disclosed his attorney fees and costs for the case exceeded $4 million, and that's just one case.

In 2006, a Wall Street Journal reporter described Grayson as "waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq" and as a "fierce critic of the war in Iraq" whose car was "emblazoned" with bumper stickers such as "Bush lied, people died".

Since he arrived in Congress, Grayson has kept up his attacks. "We're not going to let the defense contractors use our money to bribe our government and take it over," he once said. And he has singled out Blackwater (now known as Xe) for special criticism: "We can't let, basically, Blackwater take over the entire government here. We have to draw the line somewhere."




That's why it is ironic that when the clown prince of congress got caught in Niger during last weeks coup, it was former Iraq war contractor Blackwater that saved his sized 3x butt
.. did Blackwater contractors come to his rescue last week, when Grayson was traveling in Niger and a military coup erupted? It certainly seems that way, considering the prepared testimony of Xe executive vice president Fred Roitz, who will testify later today in connection with a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Blackwater subsidiary Paravant. In his remarks, he stated: "Xe Services, through its subsidiary Presidential Airways, provides aviation support and medevac services to Defense Department personnel in Africa. Just last week, our personnel evacuated a congressman from Niger during civil unrest."
The description certainly seems to fit the dicey circumstances Grayson found himself in last week. As CNN reported:

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, narrowly escaped harm earlier this week after being caught up in a military coup in the African country of Niger.  Grayson's press secretary, Todd Jurkowski, confirmed to CNN that Grayson was close to the action. "He heard the gunshots. They were literally in the building next door."
I am surprised that Grayson didn't blame Dick Cheney or President Bush for the gun shots.
When the situation began to unravel, Grayson was taken to the residence of the United States Ambassador to Niger, where he was placed under armed protection.
Roitz offered his remarks in defense of Xe's personnel, who he described as "good corporate citizens," who "support numerous charitable and civic organizations in the region, including the Special Olympics, the USO, the Boy Scouts, and local nonprofit food service organizations."
... "The flight was arranged through the State Department," Todd Jukowski, Grayson's spokesman, told me. "The Congressman did not know, and frankly did not care, who owned the plane.” Later, Jurkowski followed up with an email confirming that Grayson was flown out of the country on a "Xe helicopter."

I also asked Jurkowski whether the experience had changed Grayson's thinking on the use of private military firms. Jurkowski replied: "The Congressman does not deny that there is admirable work being done by some employees of private contractors. However, he stands by his criticism of companies who have been found to cheat the American people, defraud our government, and unnecessarily risk the lives of members of our military, all in the name of making a profit."
 Because according to Alan Grayson he is the only one in the world allowed to make a profit. And he made a huge one.

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