Socialist Worker

Iraq round-up

Issue No. 1962

Troops in new abuse claims

Some 23 US soldiers serving in Iraq have been charged with mistreating detainees while on operations in the Baghdad area.

The soldiers are from a National Guard unit, the 184th Infantry. They are part time soldiers based in California and on their first deployment to Iraq.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper has reported that the troops used a stun gun to administer electric shocks to a suspected resistance fighter.

The paper also reported that members of the same unit had been investigated for allegedly extorting money from Iraqi shopkeepers in return for “protecting” them from insurgents.

Halliburton are making a killing

The US multinational Halliburton has announced that its KBR division, responsible for carrying out contracts for the Pentagon, experienced a 284 percent increase in profits during the second quarter of 2005.

The increase in profits was primarily due to the Pentagon’s payment of “award fees” for work done by KBR for the US military in the Middle East.

The Pentagon handed $70 million in “award” fees to the company.

Halliburton’s announcement comes on the heels of new reports showing the Iraq and Afghan wars have already cost US taxpayers $314 billion, and that another ten years of war will cost $700 billion.

Life gets worse in the new Iraq

Living conditions for the people of Iraq have deteriorated significantly under the US occupation, according to a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation.

The study is based on a survey of 21,000 households and shows that the Iraqi people are suffering widespread deaths and war related injuries, high rates of infant and child mortality, chronic malnutrition and illness among children, low rates of life expectancy and significant setbacks with regard to the role of women in society.

Nearly 25 percent of Iraqi children now suffer chronic malnutrition, and 8 percent suffer acute malnutrition. Illness levels among Iraqi children are also high, which is partly the result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.

The UNDP study found that infant and child mortality rates remain high.

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Sat 6 Aug 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1962
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