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Despite Ongoing Federal Probe, Pentagon Asserts Big Contractor Has No Iranian Ties
A Whistleblower Alleges Death Threats
Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), a major U.S. military contractor, is facing renewed allegations that it is working with Iran, possibly violating U.S. sanctions. In the political climate where sanctions on Iran are one of the few things people can agree on, KGL may become a test case for what happens when a U.S. contractor violates those sanctions.
Adam Zagorin – (POGO) – April 4, 2012 – If there’s one thing most Americans support in foreign policy, it’s sanctions against Iran to halt its alleged drive for nuclear weapons. From President Obama to Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, leading candidates all want to put the economic squeeze on Tehran and to signal their support for Israel. President Obama recently announced he will ratchet up sanctions on the country’s oil exports and declared a “national emergency” to deal with the Islamic Republic. The Senate will try to iron out its differences over anti-Iran measures in coming weeks, as bus stations around Washington, DC, are studded with advertisements questioning the President’s resolve on the issue.
In this politicized environment, the last thing any candidate or legislator would countenance is gobs of U.S. taxpayer money going to a military contractor caught doing business with the Islamic Republic. Indeed, Congress specifically addressed that possibility in 2010, when contractors were required to certify in writing that they have no ties to Iran’s sanctioned enterprises.
MATTHEW MOSK and RICHARD ESPOSITO
(ABC News) – June 21, 2011 – A Kuwaiti shipping company that has done more than $1 billion in business with the U.S. military has also had ties to one of the men indicted in New York Monday for his alleged role in an international conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Members of Congress have for months been asking the Pentagon if the defense contractor Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport (KGL) may be secretly doing business with Iranian front companies, and those questions took on fresh urgency Monday with the 317-count indictment (PDF). Among those indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance was Moghaddami Fard, an Iranian man whose name appears on dozens of emails with top KGL executives, and who sat on the five-member board of directors of a company that was partially owned by KGL.
“I am deeply concerned by information that suggests the U.S. Army and Defense Logistics Agency may be contracting sensitive military logistics services to an entity tied to Iran’s primary shipping company,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told ABC News Monday.
“We must come down hard on this company so others realize they will pay a price for doing business with Iran,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “Our sanctions must have sharp teeth.”
U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran
The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.
That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.
For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.
But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.
Many of those companies are enmeshed in the most vital elements of Iran’s economy. More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran’s energy industry — a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the increasingly powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a primary focus of the Obama administration’s proposed sanctions because it oversees Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
Other companies are involved in auto manufacturing and distribution, another important sector of the Iranian economy with links to the Revolutionary Guards. One supplied container ship motors to IRISL, a government-owned shipping line that was subsequently blacklisted by the United States for concealing military cargo. Read the remainder of this entry »
This is Part II of The Rocky Baragona Act continued from The LTC Rocky Baragona Act (Part 1)
Foreign Contracting and Human Trafficking
Working to uncover the truth behind Rocky’s death, we learned that KGL truck drivers often complained of being trafficked; forced to deliver goods, against their will, to US troops in Iraq. Some had been kidnapped, others arrested for smuggling on the black market. A former KGL employee spoke of insurance fraud and falsification of documents in order to win Army contracts; however, fear has kept him silent. Through our own investigating we learned that KGL had been banned in India for recruiting scams. These scams included bringing in untrained drivers to drive trucks on a promise that the driving would be in country, only to find out that they would be driving into Iraqi war zones. With no passport, no money, and the threat of breach of contract, these drivers were forced to drive into Iraq with little to no experience. The US Army looked the other way when a contractor like KGL used questionable hiring practices. There was simply no oversight. I was appalled by the apathy of our military to do nothing about it.
Allowing foreign contractors to perform contracts in violation of the Fars and International Law to support a war fought for democracy was everything my brother was against. It was clear however, forced labor in defense contracting is an acceptable way of doing business and we were not going to get any support.
Getting In The Ring
Undeterred with the “behind the scenes” of foreign contracting, Rocky’s Justice moved us back to the Hill to use diplomatic measures through Senator DeWine, the Kuwait Ambassador and the Prime Minister…The answer- KGL is untouchable.
Them were some fighting words!!
So we jumped in the ring and hit them in the jaw with a wrongful death suit in the U.S. Northern Georgia Courts. Read the remainder of this entry »