Monday, October 16, 2006

intentionally hiding the number of dead American contractors in Iraq.

As I mentioned recently, I used to track the number of dead american contractors in Iraq - but I haven't had much luck this past year finding the numbers.

Now we get this from Reuters:
Oct 10 (Reuters) - The war in Iraq has killed at least 647 civilian contractors to date, according to official figures that provide a stark reminder of the huge role of civilians in supporting the U.S. military.

The contractor death toll is tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor on the basis of claims under an insurance policy, the Defense Base Act, that all U.S. government contractors and subcontractors working outside the United States must take out for their civilian employees.

In response to questions from Reuters, a Labor Department spokesman said there had been 647 claims for death benefits between March 1, 2003, and Sept. 30, 2006. The Defense Base Act covers both Americans and foreigners, and there is no breakdown of the nationalities of those killed.

That's odd, because in July 2005, Bloomberg said:
Based on death and injury claims filed with the U.S. Labor Department, 217 non-U.S. contractors and 113 U.S. contractors have been killed since the March 2003 invasion
How to reconcile the two?

a) the
Labor Department spokesman for the current Reuters report is lying.
b) the Labor Department has changed it's reporting requirements in the middle of a war.

Either way, I can only conclude that they are intentionally hiding the number of dead American contractors in Iraq.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I had 'hoped' to resurrect this blog as we crossed the (total) 3000 number, but I couldn't find the employee mortality numbers anywhere, and the reporting of the dead contractors seemed to disappear.

Last week, Eli from Left I on the News wrote:
If you read the newspapers or listen to the broadcast media in the United States, you'll think that the number of deaths in Iraq on "our side" (very strong quotes on that one) is 2710, and you'll think that it's approaching, but won't surpass for a few months, the "3,000" killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
In March, 2005, when the media was reporting the 1500th American death, I noted that the actual total was more than 2,000. When the supposed death toll hit 2,000, I notedthat 428 contractors had to be added to that total. That number 428 comes from the Department of Labor, and as far as I can tell it isn't an openly public number (i.e., I can't find it on a website), but seems to be obtainable by reporters. I think it includes only American contractors, making it far short of the real total, but I can't be sure of that.

And now a report on ABC News (not online) says that number is up to 643 (with the attribution again to the Dept. of Labor). 643 members of... privatized occupations. Bringing the real number of coalition fatalities to 3353, well-above the number killed on 9/11.
In other words, the actual American deaths in Iraq is much higher than your silly corpmedia actually tells you - according to Eli's numbers, 24% higher.

For the record, from memory, those Dept. of Labor numbers actually record employee deaths of American companies in Iraq, which includes non-American employees (not that I particularly care about the nationality of dead people.) Also from memory, the only reason the Dept. of Labor actually records these deaths is for insurance purposes.

For more on war-profiteering, Robert Greenwald's Iraq For Sale opens on Sunday