Cobalt, A Key Metallic Element Used In Lithium Batteries And Other “Green” Technology, Is Sourced From Slave Labor In The Democratic Republic Of Congo. As The West Points The Finger At China, The US Africa Command Is Indirectly Policing Mining Operations That Profit US Corporations.
The deal between former President Joseph Kabila and his coalition, Front commun pour le Congo (FCC) and current President Felix Tshisekedi and his Coalition, Cap pour le changement (CACH), has come to a predictable head. The country is in gridlock due to the internecine battles of the two coalition partners. The political blocks of the two prominent figures on Congo's political scene have repeatedly bumped heads. Since the formation of their coalition, they have been at logger jam, a product of the fraud-riddled 2018 elections.
2019 had her fair share of protests from North, West, East and Southern Africa. The reasons for these protests were largely political, followed by economic and then demand for human rights in some instances not to forget issues of ethnic tensions and insecurity. The protests toppled two long serving presidents, Sudan’s Omar al Bashir and Algeria’s Abdul Aziz Bouteflika. Two dogged movements swept away a combine 50-years of presidential rule. We look back at how these protests were started, what they achieved and their current statuses.
In its most recent report to the UN Security Council, the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) blandly recounted “progress” in service to their mission, but what is their mission? Up until 2013, MONUSCO had no combat mandate; they were somehow expected to keep the peace amidst a war for Congo’s resources without one. In 2013, however, as the M23 militia was ravaging North and South Kivu Provinces, the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported that M23 answered to the command of Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe...
Since 2014, militia groups have killed over 1,000 civilians in the Beni territory in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Civilians, including children have been abducted, disappeared, injured and assassinated. An overall climate of terror has blanketed the area. As our spokesperson, Kambale Musavuli shared earlier this Fall, the people have had enough and are beyond outraged. His grandfather initiated a hunger strike in Beni, which led to his death. This past week, the local population rose up in anger over the lack of security and protection by the United Nations Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese government. The people set ablaze MONUSCO offices and demonstrated against the local police. Unfortunately, the demonstrators were fired upon by Congolese security forces killing several civilians.
I would like to tell you something about human depravity and illustrate just how widespread it is among those we often regard as ‘responsible’. I am going to use the Democratic Republic of the Congo as my example. As I illustrate and explain what has happened to the Congo and its people during the past 500 years, I invite you to consider my essential point: Human depravity has no limit unless people like you (hopefully) and me take some responsibility for ending it. Depravity, barbarity and violent exploitation will not end otherwise because major international organizations (such as the UN), national governments and corporations all benefit from it and are almost invariably led by individuals too cowardly to act on the truth.
The numbers are hard to fathom. Nearly two million people driven from their homes in 2017 alone. The worst cholera epidemic of the past 15 years, with over 55,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths. Countless others killed, maimed or sexually assaulted. The human costs of the ongoing crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo are borne disproportionately by women and children, whose homes have been pillaged and burned, who are not in school and thus vulnerable to soldier recruitment, and who have now been left with almost nothing. ‘’Farmers who fled due to conflict have missed three consecutive planting seasons. This has left people with almost nothing to eat. Food assistance is failing to fill the gap. Only 400,000 out of the 3.2 million severely food insecure people in Kasai received assistance in December. More than 750,000 are still displaced,” FAO, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a statement.
The United States has a long history of intervention in Africa that is not widely discussed. Africa is a continent with tremendous resources that has been colonized and exploited by Western countries for more than 100 years. True to the practices of colonizers, the United States and its allies have made sure that African governments are controlled and the population is kept in poverty. These efforts expanded with AFRICOM (Africa Command) after its creation in 2008. We discuss AFRICOM with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report and the Black Alliance for Peace. Then Maurice Carney, co-founder of Friends of the Congo, digs deep into the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and U.S. involvement, which continues today.
The Congo crisis is now one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the world and the most underreported. An average of 5,500 people a day flee violence and insecurity, even more than in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Unlike Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, however, the Congo wars are undeclared and there’s no front line. There are instead many wars over many concentrations of resource wealth in this immensely resource-rich country, especially in the eastern provinces. For more than 20 years the most rapacious and destabilizing aggressors have been US allies and military partners Uganda and Rwanda. The US is the top bilateral donor to both. Uganda has been led by dictator Yoweri Museveni since 1986, Rwanda by dictator Paul Kagame since 1994.
By Staff of News 24 - Kinshasa - Nineteen pro-democracy activists arrested during a protest against the Democratic Republic of Congo's president Joseph Kabila were released on Tuesday, their organisation and a UN official said. "Lucha confirms that 18 comrades arrested during a sit-in in Goma (in eastern DRC) on December 21 ... were released on Tuesday," the opposition movement's Ghislain Muhiwa said. "Another Lucha activist, Gloria Senga, who had been kidnapped on December 18 in Kinshasa, has also been freed," he said. Seven other Lucha activists are still behind bars, he added.
By Dan Wright for Shadow Proof - The Democratic Republic of Congo has been thrown into another political crisis after Congo President Joseph Kabila refused to leave office after his second term expired on Tuesday. The country has never had a peaceful transition of power in its post-colonial history. Demonstrators protesting Kabila’s refusal to respect the constitutionally-mandated term limits and leave office have been killed and arrested. The current estimate is that security forces loyal to Kabila have killed at least 34 protesters, with hundreds believed to have been arrested (and likely facing mistreatment by authorities).
By Maud Jullien for BBC - Political opponents and activists say that everything is in place for President Joseph Kabila to extend his stay in power, thus violating the constitution and potentially precipitating the continent-sized central African country into chaos. "What we need is to have a specific action plan for the elections," says Serge Syvia, a doctor and activist. "Because theirs (the government's) is already being implemented." In a small wooden house that was built, like much of the eastern city of Goma, on dried lava rocks, members of a youth group called Lucha (struggle for change) are holding a meeting.
By KiMi Robinson for Truthdig. The Democratic Republic of Congo is paying the price for being the world’s largest producer of raw cobalt, a vital ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, smartphones, laptops and other rechargeable devices. As Congolese search for the valuable mineral—cobalt is the most expensive part of lithium-ion batteries—they are suffering a surge in child labor, poverty, pollution and rare birth defects. An investigation by The Washington Post unravels the complicated cobalt supply chain from mines in Congo to the world’s largest cobalt producers in China to the products that dominate Americans’ everyday lives. Reporter Todd Frankel found that companies such as Samsung, BMW and Apple buy batteries containing cobalt mined in Congo but declare that their products are free from materials related to human rights abuse.
By Mnar Muhawesh for Mint Press News - MINNEAPOLIS — A recent Amnesty International report sounded the alarm on a “blood mineral” mined by Congolese children as young as seven and used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries found in laptops, smartphones and even electric cars. The mineral is cobalt, and more than half of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, including at least 20 percent which is mined by so-called “artisanal miners” in the southern part of the country. The report, titled “This Is What We Die For,” explains the conditions these miners work in...
One dramatic change in the last 50 years is the consistent opposition of the American public to such interventions. This was perhaps best illustrated in the 1980’s when U.S. solidarity movements undoubtedly prevented greater bloodshed in South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and possibly other places. One striking feature were the thousands who travelled to work alongside Nicaraguan peasants as well as to serve as a human shield, knowing the U.S. backed contras were less likely to murder Americans. The intelligentsia here, if it ever reported this remarkable phenomenon, surely prefers to forget; people in Nicaragua and the rest of Latin America, not to mention the Washington planners of contra terror, most definitely have not.