Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Pentagon, FBI investigating Defense contractor for Iranian ties

Gov Exec  April 4, 2012

A new watchdog report finds that the FBI and the Pentagon are quietly investigating whether military contractor Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Co. has illegal ties to Iran, despite assurances from the Defense Department that there is no indication the company’s business dealings ever violated U.S. law.

The report by the Project on Government Oversight finds that the contractor, known as KGL, continues to hold $1 billion worth of contracts with the U.S. military as the FBI and the Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service probe allegations that it deals with Iranian shipping interests, ports, and front companies despite sanctions meant to derail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. “No contractor to the U.S. military has ever been debarred for doing business with Iran, so KGL could emerge as a test case,” POGO’s Adam Zagorin writes.

The investigation is at least a year old, according to documents and interviews, and appears to remain active. POGO writes that federal agents at Dulles airport pulled aside a senior KGL executive trying to enter the country and questioned him for hours about the firm’s ties to Iran.

Ashton Carter, currently the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, wrote a letter to Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., on July 15 saying that the U.S. found “no indication” KGL ever “violated U.S. law.” Kirk had provided internal company documents to the Pentagon that apparently indicated KGL had illegal ties to Iran and asked for an explanation. Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Miss., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. — as well as Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., and former Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla. — have all asked “pointed” questions and received similar assurances from Carter, according to POGO.

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April 4, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor, Iran, Pentagon | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran respects all international demining treaties

Press TV  April 4, 2012
The Iranian Defense Minister says the country respects the content of all international treaties and conventions on demining and is planning to join them, Press TV reports.

“There are international treaties on demining and we respect their content. There is the Ottawa Convention and we are mulling accession to that convention,” Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi told Press TV on the sidelines of an international conference on demining.

The international conference on demining kicked off at Tehran’s permanent International Fairgrounds on Tuesday along with an exhibition of modern demining methods and a demining robot competition.

The three-day event is attended by Iranian and foreign military and civilian officials whose main goal is to find practical solutions for removing landmines and decreasing injuries and deaths caused by them.

According to some participants, there are around 120-140 million mines planted worldwide and for every mine removed, six mines are planted.

Mohammad Hossein Amir-Ahmadi, head of the Iran Mine Action Center, said the center was established in 2006 and 85 of the people working for it have lost their lives demining since then

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April 4, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Demining, ERW, Federal Workers, Iran, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Military Cutback We Can’t Afford: Fighting Tropical Diseases

Leishmaniasis at The Iraq Infections

“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”

Barbara Herwaldt CDC on Leishmaniasis

 Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively.   Diagnoses normally occurs long after they’ve had contact with their families.

Peter Hotez & James Kazura at The Atlantic

In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.

One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.

WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.

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January 21, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Africa, Bug Watch, Central America, Civilian Contractors, Columbia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Marine, Civilian Contractor, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati hires US Attorney

CNN’s Security Clearance  January 10, 2012

The family of an American ex-Marine sentenced to death on charges of espionage has hired a high-profile attorney with success in negotiating with Tehran to seek his release, CNN has learned.

An Iranian court convicted Amir Mirzaei Hekmati of “working for an enemy country,” as well as membership in the CIA and “efforts to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism,” the semi-official Fars news agency reported Monday. Hekmati’s family and the U.S. government deny the allegations.


The family has hired Pierre Prosper, a former ambassador-at-large for war crimes under the Bush administration and a prosecutor for the Rwanda tribunal at The Hague, to work for his release, Prosper told CNN.

Prosper, currently a senior adviser to the presidential campaign of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, successfully negotiated with the Iranian government for last year’s release of Reza Taghavi, an Iranian-American businessman detained for more than two years in Iran.

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January 10, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractors Arrested, Iran, Legal Jurisdictions, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran: American spy suspect faces death penalty

(CBS/AP)

TEHRAN, Iran – An American man accused by Iran of working for the CIA could face the death penalty, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

In a closed court hearing, the prosecution applied for capital punishment, the report said, because the suspect, identified as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, “admitted that he received training in the United States and planned to imply that Iran was involved in terrorist activities in foreign countries” after returning to the U.S.

The prosecutor said Hekmati entered Iran’s intelligence department three times.

The report said Hekmati repeated a confession broadcast on state TV Dec. 18.

Iran broadcasts alleged U.S. spy’s confession

Under the Iranian law spying can lead to death penalty only in military cases.

The Fars report said Hekmati’s lawyer, who was identified only by his surname, Samadi, denied the charges. He said Iranian intelligence blocked Hekmati from infiltrating, and under the Iranian law, intention to infiltrate is not a crime.

The lawyer said Hekmati was deceived by the CIA. No date for the next court hearing was released.

Hekmati, 28, was born in Arizona. His family is of Iranian origin. His father, who lives in Michigan, said his son is not a CIA spy and was visiting his grandmothers in Iran when he was arrested.

Because his father is Iranian, Hekmati is considered an Iranian citizen

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December 28, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , | Leave a comment

Mine explosion kills 7 Iranians along border with Iraq: report

 

 

 

The Tehran Times  June 18, 2011

TEHRAN – The Iraqi Kurdish forces spokesman has claimed that seven Iranian soldiers were killed when they strayed into a minefield laid along Iran’s border with Iraq’s Kurdish region. Jabar Yawar told Reuters on Thursday the Iranian troops were new to the area and had accidentally entered a minefield. However, Iran’s consul-general in Arbil, the capital of Kurdistan region, said he was not aware of the incident

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June 17, 2011 Posted by | Iran, Iraq, Landmines | , , , , | Leave a comment

Finnish Security Firm Still Hoping to Work For Iranian Government

YLE.fi March 31, 2011

A project in which a Finnish company is to provide security services in Iran is facing resistance, slowing progress. Political turmoil has kept Iran’s security and political leadership on their toes. The Finnish project is historic, because western security companies have not previously worked in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The security firm’s fixer Auvo Niiniketo says that the project has met resistance in Iran.

”The project is still alive, but Iran is going through big changes,” says Niiniketo. “We believe in the project, but local decision makers don’t quite dare to make decisions like this.”

Private security contractors are almost unknown in the country, making the Finnish project a groundbreaking concept. The politically sensitive project has been approved at a high level in the country’s security apparatus. There are, however, elements in Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s government that are opposed to the deal and have slowed down implementation.

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March 31, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment