Friday, September 25, 2009

Scandal exposer calls on Congress to defund Blackwater


The House and Senate voted to end funding for ACORN in the wake of a video sting. Now some are asking why the same treatment isn't being given to corrupt defense contractors.

Huffington Post's Ryan Grim noted that attempts to defund ACORN were worded so broadly that it could do the same for defense contractors charged with fraud.

"The amount of money that ACORN has received in the past 20 years altogether is roughly equal to what the taxpayer paid to Halliburton each day during the war in Iraq," Rep. Alan Grayson told Salon's Glenn Greenwald. Halliburton is alleged to have misused millions of dollars in over-charges for food and services in Iraq.

"You see, regardless of what you think of ACORN, it is laudable to stop taxpayer money from going to organizations that commit fraud against the government," Grayson said in a statement. "So as per the bill's text, I'm going to put into the Congressional record a list of organizations who have committed fraud against the government or employs anyone who has."

Thursday, Greenwald targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill who voted to defund ACORN to make his point. "If you're really so angry, why don't you support de-funding those [defense] contractors the way you did with ACORN?" Greenwald asked McCaskill on Twitter.

Jeremy Scahill, author of the award-winning book Blackwater:The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, also chimed in:

Here is a question for those Democratic lawmakers that voted in support of the Defund ACORN Act: How do you justify making this a major league legislative priority while Blackwater continues to be armed and dangerous across the globe on the US government payroll? Where is the Defund Blackwater Act?

For the massacre of Iraqi civilians, five Blackwater guards were arrested and charged with manslaughter. A sixth guard flipped and agreed to testify against the others. Government informants later claimed the company tried to gather up and destroy weapons involved in the slaughter.

The State Department announced last January that it would not be renewing Blackwater’s contract for security services in Iraq when it was set to expire in May, however the Obama administration decided to extend it through Sept. 3, according to The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill.

-- David Edwards

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