Gold, tantalum, tungsten, tin -- gold and the three Ts, the essential guts of electronic devices, amps. receivers, circuitry, chips, amalgamated into mobile electronic devices like cellphones, I-Pads, I-Pods, cutting edge trade name devices that everyone is prompted to lust after by tantalizing trade shows and lead ons of the up and coming next device that knocks the device you just purchased seconds ago into obsolescence.
Where do these component guts, the gold, the three Ts, come from?
Africa: The Congo, for one.
“Kony 2012″ is sweeping the country, compelling Americans to confront an international criminal known as Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord who abducted children into his militia and is believed to be hiding in the jungles of central Africa. We hope this successful campaign will also help shine a light on a new effort by K Street lobbyists to avoid accountability for another human rights scandal — abuses in the brutal mines of eastern Congo.Native militias armed to the teeth earn hundreds of millions of dollars every year by trading conflict minerals. Government troops and militias fight to control the mines, murdering and raping civilians to fracture the structure of society.
Enslaved locals in mining communities are forced to take part in the illicit mining economy to earn huge amounts of money for the personal profit of conflict mineral warlords and to fund further violent conflict to keep civilians under control.
Your mobile phone, your computer, your portable music player, and your gaming system all fuel fighting in eastern Congo.
Add to the warlords a group of powerful CEOs from major American firms like Procter & Gamble and JPMorgan Chase & Co., joined in with lobbyists, to present President Obama and leaders in Congress with a list of demands. Not only do they want massive corporate tax cuts, the CEOs and lobbyists are asking for a rollback of recently-enacted regulations concerning “conflict minerals” in Africa. These minerals continue to fuel human rights abuses and violence.
The Business Roundtable, one of the most influential lobbying federations with around a $24 million dollar advocacy budget, is led by former Governor John Engler. Composed of CEOs from corporations like Apple, 3M Co, Motorola Inc, Intel Corp, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Best Buy, Rio Tinto, Qualcomm, Hewlett-Packard, and Bose Corp., among the many corporations that have lobbied on the conflicts mineral rule in the past.
As the public discusses the Kony 2012 campaign, newly energized human rights activists should be aware that the Business Roundtable is using its considerable political weight to water down the conflict minerals rule.
These powerful corporations argue that the SEC rules enormously underestimate the costs of conducting the required due diligence, that achieving compliance is extremely difficult, if not impossible. They demand rules that are "cost-effective and workable."
The disputed rules as of October 16, 2011:
The Securities and Exchange Commission is six months behind schedule in finalizing the rule that is required by last year's Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.
The rule, which was tucked into the legislation at the last minute, will require companies to disclose whether they use tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.