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Seeking solutions and other news

… Of course, military contracts, “makes jobs.” So do automobile wrecks, dope traffic, prostitution, abortions, frivolous lawsuits, arson, wars and, perish the thought, social programs. It just happens to be hard to appropriations for such activities if undifferentiated job creation is your objective. Military contracting is another matter; it is downright unpatriotic even to question it. ~ Dina Rasor, Truthout

United States Sues Jacintoport International for False Claims in Connection with the Delivery of Humanitarian Food Aid
(DoJ) – October 19, 2012 – The United States has filed a complaint against Jacintoport International LLC under the False Claims Act in connection with a warehousing and logistics contract for the storage and redelivery of humanitarian food aid, the Justice Department announced today. Jacintoport is a cargo handling and stevedoring firm headquartered in Houston.

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Your U.S. tax dollars at work supporting Iran’s nuclear program

U.S. Enriches Companies Defying Its Policy on Iran

By JO BECKER and RON NIXON

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 »

David Isenberg: Qarmat Ali AND KBR, Redux

Holy KBR, Batman. Will this fiendish clown prince of corporate cupidity ever cease and desist?

Excellent question, Boy Wonder. I fear that as long as there is a U.S. taxpayer supported government LOGCAP program to be plundered KBR will always be with us.

Well, okay, Adam West never really had that exchange with Burt Ward. And, after my post yesterday on KBR I really didn’t intend to write on KBR again.

But that was before I saw today’s press release from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Read the remainder of this entry »

Not so fast KBR – Lawmakers demand answers from Pentagon

Lawmakers challenge Army decisions on KBR

By Andrea Shalal-Esa – 7:31pm EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday questioned the Army’s continued use of KBR Inc for logistics work in Iraq in the face of confirmed reports of poor past performance.

Representative Edolphus Towns, who heads the House Oversight Committee, wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates to question the Army’s decision to award KBR a new contract valued at up to $2.8 billion despite a wide array of problems.

Towns, citing problems with KBR’s maintenance of electrical systems at bases where U.S. troops were fatally electrocuted and “numerous allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse,” asked Gates to provide the committee with a wide array of documents about the KBR contract by March 17.

“It seems inconceivable to me that the Defense Department would award this new contract to KBR in Iraq,” Towns said, citing the company’s “poor past performance.”

“When multiple deaths of service men and women are not enough to preclude the award of a new contract, it makes me wonder what it takes for a contractor to be fired.” Read the remainder of this entry »

Army decision to deny millions in bonuses to KBR is “Right call, but only fist step”

American Chronicle – Congressional Desk
February 26, 2010

Former Task Force SAFE Electrical Subject Matter Expert James Childs testifies before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee about the shoddy electrical work performed by KBR. Cheryl Harris, SSG Ryan Maseth's mother, sheds a tear as she listens to why her son was electrocuted and died in his shower in Baghdad on January 2, 2008.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), who chaired Senate hearings on electrocutions of soldiers in Iraq resulting from shoddy contracting work by KBR, said Thursday the Army´s decision to deny million of dollars in bonuses to the firm for its 2008 work in Iraq “is the right call, but it is only a first step.”

Dorgan chaired two Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) hearings in 2008 and 2009 on KBR´s shoddy electrical work in Iraq. The hearings revealed widespread problems with KBR´s electrical work there including countless electrical shocks including one that killed Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, and perhaps others, and injured dozens more on their own bases as they showered and engaged in other routine activities.

Following the hearings, Dorgan and Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) wrote the Army asking that it review KBR´s work and the electrocution death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth. They also asked the Army to re-evaluate the millions of dollars in bonuses it has routinely awarded KBR for supposedly excellent work, even when the Army´s own evidence made clear it was highly questionable.

The Army´s investigation of Maseth´s January 2008 death found that KBR´s work exposed soldiers to “unacceptable risk.” A theatre-wide safety review that resulted from the Dorgan-Casey request — Task Force SAFE — also found widespread problems with KBR´s electrical work that exposed soldiers to life threatening risks. Read the remainder of this entry »