Fracking Hell: The True Cost of America’s Gas Rush

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An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?

Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.

Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.

Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells — waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium — is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York’s Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.
New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.

 

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Dispatches - Iraq's Secret War Files - U.S. Killing Innocent People (Full Version), 4.7 out of 5 based on 12 ratings
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Dispatches – Iraq’s Secret War Files – U.S. Killing Innocent People (Full Version)

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2010 – Dispatches exposes the full and unreported horror of the Iraqi conflict and its aftermath. The program reveals the true scale of civilian casualties, and allegations that after the scandal of Abu Ghraib, American soldiers continued to abuse prisoners; and that US forces did not systematically intervene in the torture and murder of detainees by the Iraqi security services.

The program also features previously unreported material of insurgents being killed while trying to surrender.

Channel 4 is the only UK broadcaster to have been given access to nearly 400,000 secret military significant activities reports (SIGACTS) logged by the US military in Iraq between 2004 and 2009. These reports tell the story of the war and occupation which the US military did not want the world to know.

Initially, the Americans claimed that they were not recording casualty figures and President Bush stated that America would do its utmost to avoid civilian casualties. In the files, Dispatches found details of over 109,000 deaths; 66,000 of these were civilians; 176,000 civilians and others were reported as wounded.

Under rules of engagement, known as escalation of force, anyone approaching the US military was warned to slow down and stop. The analysis reveals more than 800 people were killed in escalation of force incidents: 681 (80%) of these were civilians; a further 2,200 were wounded. Thirteen coalition troops were killed during these incidents. Dispatches found 30 children had been killed when shots were fired near civilians by US troops at checkpoints.

Over a six-year period, the data records the imprisonment of 180,000 Iraqis: one in 50 of the adult male population. Dispatches found more than 300 reports alleging abuse by US forces on Iraqi prisoners after April 2004.

The Americans effectively ignored the torture and murder of many detainees by Iraqi security forces. Dispatches has found evidence of more than 1,300 individual cases of the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqis in police stations and army bases: witnessed or reported on by American troops. Dispatches reveals that US troops were ordered not to investigate Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence.

The data shows that the Americans were aware of the horrific level of violence inflicted by Iraqi sectarian militias: over 32,500 murders; more than 10,000 shot in the head; nearly 450 decapitated; over 160 were children.

One of the reasons given for the invasion of Iraq was the suggestion of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The US told the UN Security Council in 2003 that Iraq ‘harbored’ the terrorist network. However, in the leaked data there are only seven reports mentioning Al Qaeda in 2004, and none of these refer to Al Qaeda killing anyone. By 2008, there are 8,208 reports mentioning Al Qaeda attributing to it the deaths of 45 coalition soldiers, 486 members of the Iraqi Security Services and 1,291 civilians.
 

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