CBS ought to be commended for covering the “resource” aspect of the Congo conflict. It is a limited sign of progress for the corporate media that have been silent on the more than decade-long scramble for precious and strategic minerals in the heart of Africa. The broadcast left casual followers of the Congo perplexed because of the gross omissions regarding the resource war that has ravaged the country since 1996.
After 13 years, an estimated 6 million dead, hundreds of thousands of women and children systematically raped as a weapon of war, and widespread pilfering of Congo’s resources, CBS and proponents of the conflict mineral approach were deadly silent on the Western corporate exploitation of Congo’s riches. An orgy of looting and corporate plunder has occurred in the Congo at the expense of the Congolese people. Antonio Guterres, Chief of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights said to the world in a 2008 Financial Times interview, “The international community has systematically looted DRC and we should not forget that.”
The companies at the root of the supply chain responsible for pillaging the Congo have been well documented. The United Nations identified some 85 in four studies from 2001 – 2003 and the Congolese government began a review of 61 in 2007. Below is a limited sample of some of the companies:
Amalgamated Metal Corporation
Blattner Elwyn Group
Eagle Wings/ Trinitech
El Nino Ventures
George Forrest International
International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group
How is it that after 13 years of witnessing the grotesque carnage playing out on the bodies of Congolese women and not one of these companies was mentioned, referenced or even called to account in the 60 Minutes piece? How is it that proponents of the conflict mineral approach omit ALL of these companies? (Visit http://conflictminerals.org/us-canadian-companies-involved-in-congo/ to obtain comprehensive listing of companies that CBS and the conflict mineral campaigners omit)
The above companies have been identified as either contributing to the fueling of the conflict, illegally exploiting the natural riches of the Congo or involved in odious contracts to the detriment of the Congolese people. They exploit strategic minerals such as coltan (key to cell phone and electronic devices), gold, copper, cobalt, diamonds, tin, tungsten and many more minerals that are vital to the function of modern society.
CBS traveled all the way to the Congo and did a major broadcast on exploitation of minerals (gold) in the Congo but none of the above companies was mentioned in its broadcast, in spite of their being chaperoned by two Western experts intimately familiar with the Congo.
Reference was made to a study by Human Rights Watch but neither the study nor the company (AngloGold Ahsanti, partly owned by Barrick Gold of Canada) identified in a 2005 Human Rights Watch study “The Curse of Gold,” was mentioned in the broadcast. At the end of the broadcast, viewers were left to believe that Walmart was the culprit in the Congo.
A plethora of studies and institutions have identified the sample of companies referenced above as either fueling the conflict or exploiting the Congolese people. Institutions such as the United Nations, the Congolese Parliament – Lutundula Report, Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, Rights and Accountability in International Development, Greenpeace, Duncan and Allen, Carter Center, Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NIZA), Belgian Senate, Southern Africa Resource Watch and the list goes on; have identified the companies. There is no shortage of studies or reports on this matter. Why the silence? Why no mention of the companies?
It is time that the conflict mineral proponents and the corporate media join Dan Rather (see former CBS Anchor Dan Rather’s Emmy nominated investigative report (http://blip.tv/file/1850129/) on American mining company, Freeport McMoRan in Congo) and others in Breaking the Silence on the systematic looting and exploitation of the Congo, its resources and its people.
Click here to take action to end the conflict in the Congo!
Other useful analysis:
Show Me The Data
Three Problems With 60 Minutes
By Dr. Dan Fahey
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