War Crime Doesn't Pay

Stunning Statistics About the War Every American Should Know
A year from now, we will likely see more than 220,000 US-funded personnel on the ground in Afghanistan.
The US has spent more than $23 billion on contracts in Afghanistan since 2002. By next year, the number of contractors will have doubled since 2008 when taxpayers funded over $8 billion in Afghanistan-related contracts.
The private security industry and the US government have pointed to the Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) as evidence of greater government oversight of contractor activities. But McCaskill’s subcommittee found that system utterly lacking, stating: "The Subcommittee obtained current SPOT data showing that there are currently 1,123 State Department contractors and no USAID contractors working in Afghanistan." Remember, there are officially 14,000 USAID contractors and the official monitoring and tracking system found none of these people and less than half of the State Department contractors.
As for waste and abuse, the subcommittee says that the Defense Contract Audit Agency identified more than $950 million in questioned and unsupported costs submitted by Defense Department contracts for work in Afghanistan. That’s 16% of the total contract dollars reviewed.
US Attacking Yemen After All

Cruise Missiles Hit Multiple Sites in Concert With Yemeni Govt
by Jason Ditz, December 18, 2009
Just one day after a very public denial that American forces were in the process of attacking sites in Northern Yemen, President Barack Obama ordered multiple cruise missile attacks on sites across the tiny, coastal nation.
CIA working with Palestinian security agents
US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank
A diplomat in the region said "at the very least" US intelligence officers were aware of the torture and not doing enough to stop it. He added: "There are a number of questions for the US administration: what is their objective, what are their rules of engagement? Do they train the GI and PSO according to the manual which was established by the previous administration, including water-boarding? Are they in control, or are they just witnessing?"
Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade
$500 Million in Aid Also to Go to Palestinian Authority

by Jason Ditz, December 18, 2009
U.S. Oil Companies Lose Out in Iraq Oil Auction
European and Asian bidders were the big winners in this weekend’s auction of Iraq’s lucrative oil field auction while U.S. companies were left out in the cold.
According to a report in the Financial Times, European companies Royal Dutch Shell, Gazprom, and Lukoil, and Asian companies China’s CNPC and Malaysia’s Petronas were the big winners. This was the second auction of Iraq’s oil reserves, and reportedly the largest in history. The reserves auctioned off total more than the reserves of Mexico, the U.S. and the U.K. combined.
China’s Hu unveils landmark Turkmenistan pipeline
By Anton Lomov (AFP) – 5 days ago
Hu, together with the presidents of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, turned a symbolic wheel at a refinery in Samandepe in Turkmenistan’s vast Karakum desert which opened the pipeline to start the first gas flowing.
"China is positive about our cooperation and the opening of this gas pipeline is another platform for collaboration and cooperation between our friendly nations," Hu told reporters.
World’s fastest train unveiled in China
China now has the fastest train in the world. It runs from the central city of Wuhan down to the south coast, at a speed of more than 380km/h.
China Builds Bridge to Link Southern Cities
According to Chinese state media, the bridge will have a total length of about 50 kilometers, which would make it the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. The report cited the total cost of the bridge at about 73 billion yuan (US$10.7 billion), and the Hong Kong government said in a separate statement that it would contribute 6.75 billion yuan to the funding.
Deep South calls in Iran to cure its health blues
Miller, a consultant based in Mississippi, was called in to advise a rural hospital in financial difficulty. He was shocked to find that the state had the third highest medical expenditure per capita, but came last in terms of outcome.
Miller, managing director of Oxford International Development Group, remembered a conference in Europe where Iranian officials had explained how their country had revolutionised its healthcare system.
Facing shortages of money and trained doctors at the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, the new government launched a system based on community “health houses”, each serving about 1,500 people.
Locals were trained as health workers known as behvarz, who would travel their area, dispensing advice about healthy eating, sanitation and contraception as well as monitoring blood pressure and conditions such as diabetes.
It was a stunning success, reducing child mortality rates by 69% and maternal mortality in rural areas from 300 per 100,000 births to 30. There are now 17,000 health houses in Iran, covering more than 90% of its rural population of 23m.


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