Doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are calling attention to a spike in birth deformities, which are up to 15 times higher than before the American invasion in 2003. The city was also the site of a fierce campaign to oust militants two years later. Some doctors say that depleted uranium used in artillery is the likely cause. A group of British and Iraqi medical experts alerted the U.N. last month of the upswing in birth deformities. They said that 24 percent of children born at the city’s general hospital in September died within seven days. Three-quarters of them had deformities such as two heads, no head, a single eye or missing limbs. During August 2002, only one of 530 children born there died, and only one had deformities. The group urges that toxic materials used by occupying forces be cleaned up, including the depleted uranium and white phosphorus. Î¦
â€œEarthweek,â€ The Oregonian, Nov. 21, 2009
Photos courtesy of www.the7thfire.com/…/Depleted-Uranium.htm.
Kaufman Bill to Hold U.S.
Contractors Overseas Accountable
Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) has introduced legislation to ensure accountability under U.S. law for American contractors and employees working abroad. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) will close a gap in current law to make certain that American government employees and contractors are not immune from prosecution for crimes committed overseas.
Sen. Kaufman, a member of the Judiciary Committee, noted recent examples that further highlight the need for his legislation: the violent rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, a contractor with Halliburton, while stationed in Iraq, and the killing of unarmed civilians in Baghdad by private security contractors with Blackwater.
Stunning Statistics About the War
That Everyone Should Know
By Jeremy Scahill
A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskillâ€™s Contract Oversight subcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it.
Overall, contractors now comprise a whopping 69% of the Department of Defenseâ€™s total workforce, “the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel in U.S. history.” Thatâ€™s not in one war zone — thatâ€™s the Pentagon in its entirety.
U.S. Currently Has 189,000
Personnel in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, the Obama administration blows the Bush administration out of the privatized water. According to a memo released by McCaskillâ€™s staff:
“From June 2009 to September 2009, there was a 40% increase in Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan. During the same period, the number of armed private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan doubled, increasing from approximately 5,000 to more than 10,000.”
NRC Looks to Technology to Cut Energy Use
Efficiency technologies could slash U.S. energy consumption more than 30 percent if all cost-effective technologies were deployed, according to estimates in a National Research Council report released Dec. 9. U.S. energy usage, which totaled 99 quads last year, could be reduced by 30 to 36 quads by 2030 through adopting technologies in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors, the report said.
If cost-effective efficiency technologies were fully deployed in buildings, the U.S. could largely avoid building new power-generation capacity, the report said. Residential and commercial buildings consume about 40 quads of energy today. Barriers to deploying efficiency technologies, however, are “formidable,” the report cautioned.
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