Indigenous Activists Fight Climate Change

Immunto (Change)

Island Reach Foundation (2020)

Film Review

This is a documentary about indigenous activism against climate change and growing collaboration between Third and First World activists to minimize and mitigate catastrophic climate change.

The indigenous communities featured are from Vanuatu, Morocco, Uganda, and Vietnam.

Owing to rising sea levels and a loss of protective coral reefs, the islands of Vanuatu are facing flooding of coastal homes and loss of crops due to salinization* of their soils. They also face more frequent and devastating tropical storms. Their climate activists are working to regenerate their reefs via a process known as “coral gardening.” They are also replanting forests and trying to strengthen ties with first world activists.

Morocco and Uganda are experiencing increased desertification due to decreased rainfall. In Morocco, activists are trying a new technology called “fog harvesting.” They use finely woven nets to trap rainwater, which they collect and pipe to local villagers.

Vietnam is experiencing record heatwaves, droughts, and floods, in addition to salinization of their ground water.

Climate activists there have launched a campaign against international banks seeking to fund a new Vietnamese coal plant.

The film also looks at successful climate action campaigns undertaken by Scottish XR members (eg when they occupied the Scottish parliament to hold their own citizens assembly) and climate activists at Standing Rock and in Boston and various Dutch cities.

The filmmakers finish by highlighting an international campaign to pressure the UN to declare ecocide** an international crime subject to International Criminal Court jurisdiction.


*Soil salinization (salinisation) refers to increasing salt concentrations in soil. It’s most often caused seawater contamination (due to rising sea levels).

**Ecocide is criminalized human activity that violates the principles of environmental justice, such as causing extensive damage or destroying ecosystems or harming the health and well-being of a species.

How the US Recycles Child Soldiers as Paid Mercenaries

Child Soldiers Reloaded: The Privatisation of War

Al Jazeera (2017)

Film Review

This documentary explores the hidden history of the private mercenaries (aka “contractors”) who have been fighting the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When Bush invaded Afghanistan (in 2001) and Iraq (in 2003), unbeknownst to the American public, he deployed nearly as many private mercenaries as enlisted troops. Although they cost at least ten times as much as GIs, using private mercenaries was far more palatable to taxpayers. For several reasons.

When the media reports “boots on the ground” in any given conflict, they never include private mercenaries. Likewise, deaths and injuries of mercenaries are never reported in casualty figures.

Besides the enormous expense of using mercenaries to fight US wars, an even bigger drawback is their failure to engage in “hearts and minds” operations that are essential in winning civilian support for US military occupation. For the post part, US-funded mercenaries are despised in Iraq and Afghanistan because of their arrogance, recklessness and lack of accountability for civilian deaths. The filmmakers depict this cocksure flamboyant swaggering quite brilliantly.

Initially a second major drawback was a total absence of coordination between number private companies providing mercenaries in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon “solved” this problem by hiring yet another private company, the London-based firm Aegis, to coordinate all the other private companies.

When Bush finally withdrew US troops from Iraq in 2007-2008, the private mercenaries remained. However owing to the massive unpopularity of the war, the Defense Department significantly reduced their budget. Whereas mercenaries from the US and other developed countries are paid $1,000 a day, Peruvian and Columbia mercenaries are paid $1,000 a month (see America’s $33 Mercenaries).

Initially Aegis cut costs by switching to Ugandan mercenaries they paid $800 a month. Then they hit pay direct in Sierra Leon, with former child soldiers willing to fight in Iraq for $250 a month.

All the former child soldiers kidnapped to fight in Sierra Leone’s civil war (1991-2002) have been deeply traumatized. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars western countries have pumped into rehabilitating them, many remain too impulsive and aggressive to integrate into society. There are no jobs for them in Sierra Leone: thus their willingness to fight and die in Iraq for $8.30 a day.

The Pentagon keeps no official record of the number of mercenaries it deploys in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor the number killed there, nor the number who are former child soldiers.

 

The CIA and Congo’s 20-Year Civil War

The following presentation by Friends of the Congo Executive Director Maurice Carney provides an elegant but horrifying summary of the CIA’s 50-year assault on the Republic of Congo. The Congo has the distinct misfortune of having amazingly rich mineral resources (uranium, gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt and especially coltran*). The result has been a single minded determination by Wall Street and the CIA to destroy democratic rule in that country. I was well aware of the importance of CIA and US State Department in destabilizing Latin America, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. Until recently I was less aware of their aggressive machinations in Africa.

According to Carney, their first president Patrice Lumumba became a high priority CIA target it due to joint efforts with Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana to establish a United States of Africa. This presumably would have granted the continent total independence of US corporate rule.

After briefly summarizing the county’s ruthless colonization by Belgium, Carney describes the Congo’s struggle for independence under Patrice Lumumba in 1960, the first and only legitimately elected president. After assassinating Lumumba, the CIA installed a 30 year dictatorship to ensure US corporations continued access to Congo’s resources on their terms.

In 1996, the people of Congo had just overthrown the dictatorship and installed democratic government when the CIA instigated puppet sociopaths ( Paul Kagami of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda) to invade and instigate a 20 year civil war in Congo. In addition to providing them military aid and training, the US government actively covers up Kagami and Museveni’s war crimes, resulting in millions of civilian deaths.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has recently ordered to Uganda to pay millions in reparations to Congo. As Rwanda doesn’t belong to the ICJ, Spanish courts (under the authority of universal jurisdiction) have indicted 40 top Rwandan officials for war crimes

Current Congo president Joseph Kabila, also handpicked by the CIA, who succeeded his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila (1997-2001), maintains power by way of a US-rigged election in 2006 and massive electoral fraud in 2011.

See also The US Rape of the Congo


*Coltran is a rare earth mineral essential in the manufacture of cellphones and computers.