May 28, 2003
Breaking News: Weapons of Mass Destruction Found!!!....in Maryland. According to the article: "The US germ warfare programme at Fort Detrick was officially wound up in 1969, but the base has maintained a stock of nasty bugs to help maintain America's defences against biological attack." "Maintenance of defences" apparently includes the development of the most successfully weaponized anthrax we know about, including the strain used in the attacks on the corporate media and the Congress in October of 2001.
May 27, 2003
You've Forsworn "Blood Diamonds"
Now How About those "Blood Cell Phones?"Going largely unnoticed in the corporate media, an on-again off-again civil war in the Congo is threatening to escalate to the same genocidal scale witnessed in Rwanda, after which the "international community" rhetorically swore never again. A major reason for the lack of attention is the racist attitude that there is something inherent in Africa that spawns these kinds of conflicts, an attitude that pervaded reporting about Rwanda and will likely characterize reporting on the Congo if the situation gets too bloody to continue to ignore. But, as always in these situations, there is a larger story. Congo, like far too many countries in modern times, is impoverished mainly because it is rich. As Paul Harris notes over at YellowTimes.org:
DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] is said to be the most mineral-rich territory on earth. It has about 60 percent of the world's supply of cobalt and about 20 percent of its copper (it is the largest supplier of high-grade copper), along with lots of gold, one third of the world's volume of diamonds, lots of cadmium, uranium, manganese, tin, and zinc. It also has large stocks of timber, oil, coffee and one other product that is of paramount importance: coltan. This variant of tantalum is used to make cell phones, night vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitors which maintain the electrical charge in computer chips. It should be obvious why coltan is so highly prized.This wealth is in large part both the source of Congo's poverty and its violence. In coming days, I'll try to locate articles summing up the various outside interests that continue to stoke the Congo conflict, not the least of which are some of the conspirators involved in the assassination of Congo's first independently elected Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba (i.e. the U.S. Government).