How the West Steals Congo’s Mineral Wealth

Congo My Precious

Directed by Anastasia Trofimova (2017)

Film Review

This documentary exposes the shocking reality that the standard of living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DAR) hasn’t improved since it was the personal property of Belgian King Leopold II.

As of 1960, when Congo first declared independence, the country provides 60% of the world’s uranium, 70% of its cobalt, 65% of its coltan (essential for manufacturing cellphones, laptops and nuclear reactors), 70% of its industrial diamonds, as well as substantial quantities of cassiterite and gold.

Following independence, the CIA assassinated the country’s first president Patrice Lamumba, and Belgium, determined to protect its monopoly on the country’s precious minerals, launched a four-year mercenary war.

Between 1967-83, the country enjoyed a brief period of relative wealth when CIA-installed dictator Mobutu Seko Sese was on good terms with the US and Britain. In 1973, he made a UN speech condemning Western powers for brutally exploiting his country for its mineral wealth. In response, the West cut off all aid to Zaire (DAR was known as Zaire between 1971-97). In 1997, the US supported a joint Kenyan/Rwandan effort to invade DAR and remove Mobutu from power.

DAR has been in a continuous state of civil war ever since. Both the CIA and British intelligence provide weapons and other aid to the rebel groups that control access to important mines. See The CIA and the Congo’s 20-year Civil War

Exporters pay mineworkers $6/kg for coltan and cassiterite (which is insufficient to cover their living expenses). Which they on-sell to Western markets to for $120/kg.

The Western-sponsored civil war (efforts to disarm various rebel groups are ongoing – see DR Congo Ituri Rebels Disarmament), makes it virtually impossible for workers to organizer for better pay.

Urban Mining: Reclaiming Gold from Dead Cellphones

Urban Mining: Gold in Our Trash

VPRO (2015)

Film Review

Urban Mining is about a program in Belgium that collects dead cellphones from Africa and ships them to Umicore, a Belgian mining company. At present, the price of gold is so high that it’s cheaper to retrieve it from old cellphones than from new mines. At present a gold mine yields 2-3 grams per metric ton on average – on average cellphones yield 300 grams per metric ton.

Umicore also recovers other metals and rare earth minerals from cellphones, including silver, palladium, copper, lead nickel, thulium and europiam. The company separates the metals in a special smelter heated by burning the plastic in the phones.

The Belgian NGO responsible for collecting the phones is called Close the Loop. They pay Africans 0.25 euro for their phones and sell them to Umicore for 1 euro. They also recycle secondhand European cellphones to Africa (the average European cellphone user keeps their phone for 18 months).

The filmmakers also visit a German gasplasma plant that re-mines landfills to recycle discarded computers. The plant melts down the plastic to produce plasma rock, an environmentally friendly alternative to cement and lightweight insulating tiles. The gasplasma plant also produces energy as heat, biogas and hydrogen.

In 2010 Swindon England opened a gasplasma plant that produces enough electricity to power 15,000 homes. Germany is also providing technical guidance to China, India, Croatia and Greece in building their own gasplasma plants.



How Manufacturers Conceal Cellphone Risks

The Secret Inside Your Cellphone

CBC Marketplace (2017)

Film Review

This is a Canadian documentary about deliberate efforts by cellphone manufacturers to conceal the health risks of cellphones. By law, every cellphone carries a warning somewhere in its menu to keep your cellphone more than 5-15 mm away from your body. The warning is so hard to find that 81% of Canadians have never seen it. In fact, 70% of Canadians carry their cellphones in their pants pockets or bra.

The Berkeley City Council is the only governmental authority in North America to pass legislation requiring this warning to be made public – they require it to be prominently posted in every electronics store that sells cellphones. Using the same lawyer who defended the tobacco lobby against smoking-related health claims, the telecommunications lobby has sued Berkeley to have the law repealed. The case is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

The documentary also reviews ongoing research into the health hazards of cellphones. Epidemiologists remain deeply concerned about the dearth of studies in children. The Canadian brain tumor registry shows a clear increase across the board in brain tumors in young people. Anecdotal evidence, as well as animal studies, strongly suggest the trend relates to growing cellphone use. In addition, young women who carry cellphones in their bras are presenting with (highly unusual) multiple separate breast cancers.

The most well established correlation is low sperm counts and poor quality sperm in men who carry cellphones in their pants pocket.




Berkeley Votes Unanimously on Cellphone Danger


As reported in Mother Jones, Berkeley city council voted unanimously on Wednesday to require cellphone retailers to warn customers about the potential health risks associated with radio-frequency (RF) radiation emitted by cellphones. RF is also known as Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF).

The notice, which must be posted in stores that sell cellphones reads (in part):

If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.

Despite continuing denials from the the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer society about any cancer risk from Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR), numerous epidemiological studies show a link between cellphones, wi-fi and brain and other cancers. See The Cellphone Controversy and Electrosmog

The insurance industry is well aware of of the link between EMF (produced by cellphones, wi-fi and smart meters), which is why new life insurance coverage excludes coverage for EMF-related deaths. See Natural News

The Berkeley vote comes a day after an open letter from 195 scientists from 39 countries raised “serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices.” The scientists called on government agencies to impose “sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF.”

At present the Federal Communications Commission requires phone companies to disclose the minimum distance from the body that users should carry their phones—yet these guidelines are typically buried deep inside phones’ menus and sub-menus, or in the fine print of user manuals. A survey conducted in April by the California Brain Tumor Association found that 70 percent of Berkeley adults did not know about the FCC’s minimum distance rule.

According to the Mother Jones article, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association plans to sue to prevent the ordinance from being implemented. They claim the law “violates the First Amendment because it would compel wireless retailers to disseminate speech with which they disagree. The forced speech is misleading and alarmist because it would cause consumers to take away the message that cell phones are dangerous and can cause breast, testicular, or other cancers.”

photo credit: Spitzgogo_CHEN (Nokia 6230i) via photopin cc

The Tyranny of Opinion Polls


In many western democracies, the corporate media has become extremely sophisticated at using opinion polls to manipulate both public sentiment and election results. These polls are made out as a scientifically valid representation of voter sentiment. Pollsters choose a small sample (between 500 and 10,000) of phone numbers at random, ring them and question the people who answer about their political views and/or candidates they support. The results are tabulated and paraded by the media as representing the population at large.

Unbeknownst to the public, these voter surveys are neither scientific nor representative of the public at large. Even more sinister is the secondary purpose they serve in discrediting anti-corporate, so-called “extremist” candidates and parties. Because all opinion polls exclude young, low income and minority voters, conservative candidates and parties always achieve more favorable poll results than they actually enjoy.

The Prevalence of Cellphone-only Homes

Opinion polls become less and less reliable as more and more young and low income people opt for cellphone- only households. The Center for Disease Control estimate that landline-free homes are increasing between 3-5% a year.

The most recent CDC study (2013) shows that 39.4% of all US households have no land line. Young people and low income and minority families the most likely to live in cellphone only homes:

  • 65.6% of adults aged 25-29 live in homes with no land line.
  • 59.9% of adults aged 30-34 live in homes with no landline
  • Hispanic adults (50.5%) are more likely than non-Hispanic adults (32.9%) to live in cellphone only homes.
  • 59.7% of adults renting their home have no land line, more than twice the rate (25.4%) for home owners.
  • 54.7% of adults living below the poverty line have no line line.

Excluded from Opinion Polls

A four-year-old Pew Research Center study found that Democrats ranked 7% lower in public opinion polls that excluded cellphones. With the estimated 20% increase in cellphone-only households in the last four years, that percentage will have grown proportionately.

Gallup, to their credit, now includes some cellphones in their political polling. Even so, cellphone polling introduces a variety of logistical problems affecting its validity. There are no standard directories of cellphone numbers, and many states ban randomized computer generation off cellphone numbers. Cellphone users (especially those whose plans bill them for receiving cellphone calls) are also far more likely to reject a call from an unknown phone number.

Opinion Polls in New Zealand

The percentage of cellphone-only households (estimated at 12-14%) is still quite a bit lower in New Zealand than the US. Even so, Kiwi pundits are beginning to question the validity of voter surveys that exclude specific demographic groups by refusing to ring cellphones.

Why, I wonder, is it still a total non-issue in the US, where an estimated 40% of households are routinely excluded from opinion polls?

photo credit: JR_Paris via photopin cc

The Cellphone Controversy

(The first of four posts on research linking cellphones and Wi-Fi to cancer and other severe health problems – and to the die-off of honeybees)

Predictably, the Food and Drug Administration has declared cellphones, Wi-Fi and cellphone towers safe, along with water fluoridation, fracking and genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The FDA based their findings on the Interphone Study. This series of multinational, case-controlled studies funded by the UN and the cell phone industry was published in the May 2010 International Journal of Epidemiology in May 2010.

Study Shows Cell Phones Prevent Brain Tumors

You wonder how any reputable scientific journal could publish a study showing that cellphones reduce the risk of brain tumors. But these industry whores have no shame. A detailed analysis of the Interphone study by Dr Magda Havas, Associate Profession of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University in Canada, reveals the study was deliberately designed to minimize adverse effects. When frequent cellphone users came out with a high risk of brain tumor (meningioma), they concealed this in two appendices in the back of the journal that weren’t released to the press.

Examples of bias in the study design:

  1. A “regular” cellphone user was defined as someone who made one cellphone call a week – Havas compares this to looking for lung cancer in people who smoke one cigarette a week.
  2. Cordless phone users (who experience the same EMR exposure as cellphone users) were included in the control group (the non-exposed group) instead of the experimental group – whereas in a proper study, a genuine control group would have no EMR exposure at all.
  3. The Interphone studied excluded two important age groups – those under 30 (those most vulnerable to carcinogens) and those over 60 (the age group with highest numbers of brain tumors).

Even more troubling the Interphone study relates to cellphone use between 2002-2004, when overall cell phone use (particularly among children) was quite low compared to current use. Moreover, it also excludes any data from US cellphone users.

At November 2010 San Francisco conference “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields,” Dr Joel Moskovitz presented a larger meta-analysis of independent cell phone studies that points to an average of 18,000 preventable glioma (a highly malignant tumor) deaths directly related to cellphones.

To be continued.

Cellphones and Brain Tumors

 Insurance Companies Cease Coverage for Cellphone-Related Cancer


Check out the video below to see why cancer patients are filing class actions lawsuits against cellphone manufacturers. Why brain tumors have overcome leukemia as the most common childhood killer. And why cellphone manufacturers have invested billions of dollars to keep this information from the American public.

photo credit: Spitzgogo_CHEN (Nokia 6230i) via photopin cc

Originally published in Veterans Today