Much of the excitement over the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law this summer, focused on the boost it should give to the sales of electric vehicles. Sadly, though, manufacturing and driving tens of millions of individual electric passenger cars won’t get us far enough down the road to ending greenhouse-gas emissions and stanching the overheating of this planet. Worse yet, the coming global race to electrify the personal vehicle is likely to exacerbate ecological degradation, geopolitical tensions, and military conflict.
The batteries that power electric vehicles are likely to be the source of much international competition and the heart of the problem lies in two of the metallic elements used to make their electrodes: cobalt and lithium. Most deposits of those metals lie outside the borders of the United States and will leave manufacturers here (and elsewhere) relying heavily on foreign supplies to electrify road travel on the scale now being envisioned.
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In the battery business, the Democratic Republic of Congo is referred to as “the Saudi Arabia of cobalt.” For two decades, its cobalt — 80% of the world’s known reserves — has
— source tomdispatch.com | Priti Gulati Cox, Stan Cox | Oct 13, 2022
During a recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), King Philippe of Belgium made a speech to the national parliament in Kinshasa expressing his “deepest regrets” for the exploitation and oppression of Belgian colonialism.
The European nation ruled the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1908 until 1960. Before that, it had been a personal colony of Leopold II, Philippe’s great great grand uncle, for more than 25 years.
Philippe also addressed students at the University of Lubumbashi, in the capital of the Southeastern province of Katanga. “Today, let’s look towards the future,” he urged. Philippe declined to expand on his regrets, and only mentioned the colonial past, “our shared history,” in veiled terms.
His exhortation to dissipate colonial memories is particularly problematic in Lubumbashi. It is only a few kilometers away from where Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first prime
— source theconversation.com | Pedro Monaville | 21/Jun/2022
The Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing to soon hold three days of national mourning for slain independence leader Patrice Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1961. On Monday, Belgium, the former colonial power, handed over a tooth that a Belgian police officer said he took as a trophy after he helped cut up Lumumba’s body and then dissolved it in acid. The tooth is believed to be the only remains left of Lumumba, who was killed a year after he became the first elected prime minister of the Congo in 1960. The CIA had ordered his assassination but could not complete the job. Instead, the United States and Belgium covertly funneled cash and aid to rival politicians who seized power and killed Lumumba. A coffin holding Lumumba’s tooth is expected to fly from Brussels to Kinshasa today.
— source democracynow.org | Jun 22, 2022
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.
Ever since Belgium’s King Leopold II (1835-1909) established the Congo Free State in 1885, international powers have exploited the region’s vast resources. Leading a regime that went on to kill an estimated eight million people to plunder their gold, ivory, and rubber, Leopold reportedly described Congo as “a magnificent African cake.”
More recently, US President Biden’s International Trade Administration declared: “With total mineral wealth estimated in the tens of trillions of dollars,” what is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) “offers opportunities for American firms with a high tolerance for risk.” The role of the Africa Command is to reduce that risk. The US Department of Defense says that Africa “has a plethora of strategic materials, such as cobalt, chromium, tantalum and more. African resources are critical to 21st century progress” (read: US corporate dominance).
From the late-1990s to the present, Euro-American mining, processing, and financial corporations have relied on the slave-labor of miners and the muscle of armed gangs to export
— source thegrayzone.com | T.J. Coles | Nov 30, 2021
For those who believe Africa was decolonized decades ago, it’s time to wake up from dream-world. True, colonial European powers no longer impose direct rule on African nations, which are nominally “independent.” But those European countries, beaten back from their African colonies in the second half of the twentieth century, had no intention of losing their investments or access to Africa’s vast mineral wealth. So, with the help of groups like the CIA, Europeans and Americans covertly recolonized the continent, with bribes, murders, loans, privatizations (aka looting) and the installation of western-friendly regimes.
The latest and most noxious of these colonial iterations is the U.S. military’s AFRICOM, although a French oligarch “controls 16 West African ports through bribery and influence peddling,” as Margaret Kimberley recounted in Black Agenda Report, December 1. “Canadian companies control gold mining in Burkina Faso, Mali and D.R.C.…British soldiers are still stationed in Kenya.” So the west never stopped strangling African nations. In this effort, the vile 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba was key. Needless to say, the CIA was involved up to its eyeballs.
As Congo’s first freely elected leader after the Belgian rout, Lumumba made the honest mistake of trusting western democratic ideals. Then, when he discovered they were phony,
— source counterpunch.org | Eve Ottenberg | Dec 31, 2021
The sun was rising over one of the richest mineral deposits on Earth, in one of the poorest countries, as Sidiki Mayamba got ready for work.
Mayamba is a cobalt miner. And the red-dirt savanna stretching outside his door contains such an astonishing wealth of cobalt and other minerals that a geologist once described it as a “scandale geologique.”
This remote landscape in southern Africa lies at the heart of the world’s mad scramble for cheap cobalt, a mineral essential to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles made by companies such as Apple, Samsung and major automakers.
But Mayamba, 35, knew nothing about his role in this sprawling global supply chain. He grabbed his metal shovel and broken-headed hammer from a corner of the room he shares with his wife and child. He pulled on a dust-stained jacket. A proud man, he likes to wear a button-down shirt even to mine. And he planned to
— source washingtonpost.com | Todd C. Frankel | Sep 30, 2016
An appeals court has ruled the Securities and Exchange Commission cannot force companies to disclose whether minerals in their products come from the war-torn country the Democratic Republic of Congo because the mandatory labeling would violate the companies’ freedom of speech. Human rights groups have long pushed for mandatory labeling of so-called “conflict minerals” in order to allow consumers and investors to avoid fueling the bloody conflict through the purchase of their products. The mandatory labeling became law as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. But this week, a court ruled in favor of corporate trade groups seeking to overturn the measure.
human dont have freedom of speech. only companies have that.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act itself got repealed. thats what act means.
Joe Emersberger interviewed Justin Podur regarding his new book about a conflict few understand thanks to, among other things, “Africanist” scholars.
Joe Emersberger: Your book is aimed at understanding the war in the DR Congo that killed an estimated 5 million people since 1998.
Justin Podur: I see it as about a fifteen year event that began in 1990 when the RPF [led by Paul Kagame] invaded Rwanda. That ended, arguably, sometime from 2003 to 2006. It was the same people fighting for the same general reasons. There were breaks, never very long breaks, in the fighting.
JE: Your book spends a lot of time refuting “Africanists” – the supposed experts who are like the Middle East specialists whom Edward Said called “Orientalists”.
Podur: Said didn’t coin that term. That’s what those people called themselves – the tradition started with a group of scholars whom Napoleon brought to Egypt when he invaded. That tradition continued of Western scholars being the ones to explain and interpret the East. In recent decades, scholars from
— source counterpunch.org | Jul 31, 2020
On Jan. 17 1961, the African leader and first head of government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Patrice Lumumba was brutally murdered in a heinous crime that after almost 60 years remains unsolved; yet his legacy endures spreading across free peoples in Africa and the world.
Lumumba led the Democratic Republic of the Congo to independence on Jun. 30, 1960 after more than half a century that the country became “private property” of Belgium’s King Leopold II since 1880 and then a Belgian colony since 1908.
The African leader wanted the decolonization of his country but even more, he wanted to totally eradicate the European colonialist power present in Africa, pushing out the abuse and plundering that the continent had suffered for centuries.
— source telesurenglish.net | 17 Jan 2020