WikiLeaks releases a collection of documents that open up a corrupt multi-billion dollar war by Western and Chinese companies that grab uranium and other mining rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and escape paying for the environmental consequences. Among the hundreds of pages in this publication are detailed maps of mining rights, mining contracts with illegal kickbacks and secret investigative reports. The documents have been long sought by fraud investigators. In December 2015 a case was filed against Areva, alleging corruption related to the €1.8 billion purchase of three uranium mines in 2007.
Effective oversight process by the local authorities is subverted either by duping state officials with deceiving front companies, such as the UN registered World Sports Alliance (WSA), now recycled into a cover for mining companies, or by corrupting them through the payment of ‘cash bonuses’. After a profitable exploitation of resources, companies such as Areva – a French multinational group specializing in nuclear power – abandon the country, leaving behind nuclear contamination without having launched any of the promised investments.
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Uranium occurs naturally in the earth’s crust-yet holds the power to end all life on the planet. This is its fundamental paradox, and its story is a fascinating window into the valor, greed, genius, and folly of humanity. A problem for miners in the Middle Ages, an inspiration to novelists and a boon to medicine, a devastating weapon at the end of World War II, and eventually a polluter, killer, excuse for war with Iraq, potential deliverer of Armageddon and a possible last defense against global warming – Uranium is the riveting story of the most powerful element on earth, and one which will shape our future, for better or worse.
In an element low on the periodic table, Zoellner discovers the focus for events at the top of the world’s list of troubles. Having traveled extensively through the savannas of Africa, the mountains of Eastern Europe, and the deserts of Utah, Zoellner knows well what uranium looks like, why peril pulses in its every atom, and how scientists exploit its nuclear volatility. But most readers will find the drama not in the science but in the weaponry uranium has spawned—terribly demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In pursuit of this raw power, the U.S. let Navajos die extracting needed ore and let southwestern cities sicken beneath clouds from reckless testing. The Soviet Union sentenced tens of thousands to lethal gulag mines. Israel diverted ore through deception on the high seas. Pakistan stole European refining technology. Alive with devious personalities, Zoellner’s narrative ultimately exposes the frightening vulnerability of a world with too many sources of a dangerous substance and too little wisdom to control it. A riveting journey into perilous terrain. —Bryce Christensen
“A fascinating conversation with one of the most far-sighted thinkers in technology. Assange is consistently ahead of the curve.” -Edward Snowden” Assange has one of the sharpest technological brains there is; the Schmidt transcript demonstrates how much stronger his grasp of the web is than even Google’s executive chairman.” -Rosie Kinchen, The Sunday Times (London)In June 2011, Julian Assange received an unusual visitor: the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, arrived from America at Ellingham Hall, the country residence in Norfolk, England where Assange was living under house arrest.For several hours the besieged leader of the world’s most famous insurgent publishing organization and the billionaire head of the world’s largest information empire locked horns. The two men debated the political problems faced by society, and the technological solutions engendered by the global network-from the Arab Spring to Bitcoin. They outlined radically opposing perspectives: for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with US foreign policy objectives and is driven by connecting non-Western countries to American companies and markets. These differences embodied a tug-of-war over the Internet’s future that has only gathered force subsequently.When Google Met WikiLeaks presents the story of Assange and Schmidt’s encounter. Both fascinating and alarming, it contains an edited transcript of their conversation and extensive, new material, written by Assange specifically for this book, providing the best available summary of his vision for the future of the Internet.
100 Documents that Changed the World: From the Magna Carta to Wikileaks
– A tour of the history of the world through the declarations, manifestos, and agreements from the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence to Wikileaks. This fascinating collection gathers the most significant written documents that have influenced and shaped the way we think about the world and the course of history. From the Magna Carta (1215) to the Gettysburg Address (1863) to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (1963), the documents showcased here chart dramatic high points of world history.
In addition to official charters and famous treaties, there are also less well known yet nonetheless interesting items included, such as the Apollo flight plan, Apple’s 1976 incorporation documents, and the check with which the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia. Equally interesting are Watson and Crick’s scrawled notes leading to the discovery of DNA, Darwin’s journal, and the annotated manuscripts for Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and Orwell’s novel 1984.
Beautifully illustrated in full color, this book not only informs but also entertains as it demonstrates how the power of the written word has shaped, changed, enhanced, and even revolutionized the world.