Last month, The Daily Caller revealed that Saudi Arabia has used a public relations firm to recruit military veterans to oppose the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows citizens to sue governments in 9/11.
Now the veterans have spoken out and are less than thrilled that the Saudi government used them as pawns.
Some of these veterans spoke with The New York Post:
“I joined the Marine Corps as a direct result of 9/11, so to be wined and dined by the very people I joined to fight against, that was sickening,” said Timothy Cord, who served as a Marine sergeant in Iraq.
Saudi Arabia recruited Qorvis MSLGROUP to “solicit them to go on all-expense-paid trips to Washington – including lodging at the posh new Trump hotel near the White House.”
But Qorvis MSLGROUP has not told these veterans “that the Saudi government is funding the trips through some 75 paid foreign agents it’s hired across the US to oppose the law.”
From The New York Post:
Vets felt shock and anger when they found out they were duped into doing “the Saudis’ dirty work,” as one put it.
Thomas J. Hermesman, who was deployed in Afghanistan as a Marine sergeant, joined the Jan. 23-26 trip to Washington flown out of Durango, Colo.,with nearly 50 other vets. “The organizers were definitely keeping stuff from us,” Hermesman said. “We didn’t get the full story. It was pretty shady.”
He said organizers told the vets if they ever traveled again in Iraq or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, they could be stopped at a checkpoint and taken into custody as a terrorist thanks to JASTA.
A briefing paper for the DC meetings drew some suspicion. In tiny print at the bottom of the second page, it reads: “This is distributed by Qorvis MSLGROUP on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.”
Former Sgt. Cord told the Post that his trip’s leader Jason E. Johns brushed aside the accusations. Johns, the president of No Man Left Behind Veterans Advocacy Group, is also listed under federal records “as a registered Saudi agent making $100,000 to mobilize vets to lobby against JASTA.”
Listed on his disclosure form as the primary registrant? None other than Qorvis MSLGROUP.
“It really pisses me off that vets are being lied to by other vets that are in the Saudis’ pocketbook,” said Cord, who says he wants to alert others in the veteran community that they’re being targeted and set up by the Saudi government. Johns did not respond to requests for comment.
Cord calls the trips to Washington a form of bribery. All travel expenses were covered for his group’s four-day trip — including airfare and taxis, as well as meals and rooms at the $560-a-night Trump International Hotel, where the vets were welcomed with a “reception in The Patton Room.” Even “complimentary drinks will be provided,” the itinerary states.
In exchange, it says, vets were expected to storm Congress and “make members fully aware that veterans have serious concerns regarding JASTA and convince them that JASTA needs to be amended.”
Marine Sgt. David Casler also spoke out against the scam. He told the Post that the vets had to concentrate on the House Armed Services Committee, who welcomed the vets with open arms. Casler said, “Who is going to turn down a vet?”
Of course, Qorvis denies the accusations:
“My understanding is everything is fully above board and everyone is fully informed of the issues,” Qorvis Managing Director Michael Petruzzello said.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.