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Fifth Edition – Saturday February 12th, 2011

Pro Publica – Without Competition, Private Firm Reaps Millions in Autopsy Work
Roll Call – Former Members get Millions from Pensions
Spot.us – The Homeless Triangle: San Francisco, Los Angele and Prison
Human Rights Watch – Egypt: Investigate Arrests of Activists Jounalists
Bretton Woods Project – At Issue: The World Bank as a new Global Education Ministry?. . .
Ngex! – America Is Friend, Ally of Dictators and Tyrants Worldwide
Center for American Progress – Tax Expenditure of the Week: Deductions for Charity
Economic Policy Institute – Labor Market Moving in two Directions at the Same
AlterNet – The Outragerous Ways Your Phone Company May be Stealing from you
The American Prospect – Making Good on the Cairo Speech

Readers Bonus’s
Market Watch – Wealth of Black Families has Disappeared
(HOT BLOG) UK Uncut Blog – UK Uncut, The Start of Something Beautiful
Psychology Today – Reality TV: Harmless Entertainment or Bloodsport?
(Report) Human Rights Watch – Gold’s Costly Dividend

Check out all These Stories and more at the sites listed above!
For More Information on Truly Independent News Organizations visit www.fair.org (no affiliation)
Contact me at thetenmagazine@gmail.com
Pro Publica – Without Competition, Private Firm Reaps Millions in Autopsy Work

Roll Call – Former Members get Millions from Pensions

Spot.us – The Homeless Triangle: San Francisco, Los Angele and Prison

Human Rights Watch – Egypt: Investigate Arrests of Activists Jounalists

Bretton Woods Project – At Issue: The World Bank as a new Global Education Ministry?. . .

Ngex! – America Is Friend, Ally of Dictators and Tyrants Worldwide

Center for American Progress – Tax Expenditure of the Week: Deductions for Charity

Economic Policy Institute – Labor Market Moving in two Directions at the Same

AlterNet – The Outragerous Ways Your Phone Company May be Stealing from you

The American Prospect – Making Good on the Cairo Speech

Readers Bonus’s
Market Watch – Wealth of Black Families has Disappeared

(HOT BLOG) UK Uncut Blog – UK Uncut, The Start of Something Beautiful

Psychology Today – Reality TV: Harmless Entertainment or Bloodsport?

(Report) Human Rights Watch – Gold‘s Costly Dividend

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Without Competition, Private Firm Reaps Millions

in Autopsy Work
by Ryan Gabrielson, Special to ProPublica Feb. 6, 2011, 12:01 a.m.


Forensic Medical Group Inc. has faced little competition in growing into Northern California's largest autopsy

Founded in 1975 by a Vacaville forensic pathologist who has since retired, the private firm has filled a niche in
a part of California starved for autopsy services, where sheriff-coroners often ruled on deaths of undetermined
cause based solely on medical records and death scene reports.

Forensic Medical Group expanded from serving three counties to more than a dozen during the tenure of Dr.
Brian Peterson, who led the firm for nearly 15 years before joining Milwaukee's medical examiner's office in

The firm's total revenue is proprietary, but invoices show it had more than $3 million in autopsy billings in
2009, up about 30 percent from 2006, records show.

Peterson said he expanded the firm's reach by casting it as a more-professional, higher-capacity alternative to
solo practitioners. Several of the group's biggest contracts were awarded without competitive bidding because
no other vendor could provide the necessary services.

When Sutter County's in-house forensic pathologist left to become Alaska's chief medical examiner,
administrators couldn't find a replacement and turned to Forensic Medical Group.

In August 2010, the Sacramento County Coroner‘s Office fired its chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Mark Super,
for unspecified reasons. Then, left with just one in-house forensic pathologist to handle more than 1,000 cases a
year, the county hired Forensic Medical Group – where Super is a part owner and works full-time – to pick up
the slack.

At one time, Sacramento's well-respected coroner employed four doctors full time.

"Coroners don't have nearly the resources that we did just three or four years ago," Coroner Greg Wyatt said.

Forensic Medical Group has little overhead, aside from its doctors' salaries. Dr. Arnold Josselson, the firm's
vice president, said each doctor made more than $100,000, but declined to provide more exact numbers.
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Its clients provide examination facilities and tools and pay for death scene investigators, toxicology testing and
technicians to assist with physical labor. Its headquarters, a generic gray office building in Fairfield, is little
more than an invoice processing center.

The group charges a la carte for a list of services: full autopsies, including an outer assessment of a body for
markings and injuries as well as a dissection and inspection of internal organs; external examinations, which
involve no cutting; and records reviews. There are additional fees for travel time, court testimony and
responding to death scenes.

Forensic Medical Group also performs an unknown number of autopsies for hospitals and relatives who want a
medical examination outside a coroner's or medical examiner's office.

The firm currently has five doctors, each of whom handle 300 cases a year or more [1] (PDF), well above the
annual workload the National Association of Medical Examiners recommends for forensic pathologists.

The firm lost Marin County's business in 2008 when Ken Holmes, then the county's elected coroner, saw
indications its work was slipping.

Holmes said he received a call from a grieving husband. In reading over his wife's autopsy report, the husband
told Holmes, he noted the document described her ovaries as "unremarkable." In fact, the husband said, his
wife's ovaries had been removed 30 years earlier.

Forensic Medical Group, in a written response, said Holmes never informed the company about the alleged
mistake. The firm added that it believed Marin County severed ties over autopsy scheduling complaints, not
quality concerns.

Marin has since merged its coroner and sheriff offices. It now contracts with a certified forensic pathologist who
retired from the Riverside County Sheriff's Office last year.

Invoices show Forensic Medical Group has increased its rates substantially [2] (PDF) in the past five years,
collecting as much as $1,250 for a full autopsy, up from $650 in 2006. Its price for external examinations has
doubled from $300 to $600.

Although its prices are lower than those of smaller private autopsy companies, some of which demand $2,500
or more per autopsy, the firm still may not be a bargain for agencies that can attract doctors. Its largest
customers appear to pay more per death investigation than comparable counties with in-house staffs.

Contra Costa and Sonoma paid the company an average of more than $800 per death investigation in 2009,
records show. Alameda County, which has a full-time chief pathologist and two contractors, paid about $650
per death investigation.
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Former Members Get Millions from Pensions


By Jennifer Yachnin Roll Call Staff Feb. 9, 2011, Midnight

Taxpayers are likely to foot the bill for at least $26 million in pensions for former Members of Congress this
year, even as Congress embraces austerity by curbing its annual pay raises and voting to slash office budgets.

That estimate, drawn from data published by the Congressional Research Service, is based on payments to 455
former Members as of October 2009 and doesn‘t include potential payouts to dozens of newly retired
lawmakers who are eligible to draw their pensions.

While Members have taken aim at Congress‘ internal spending habits in recent months — lawmakers voted
against an automatic pay raise in the current fiscal year and the House voted last month to cut its office budgets
by 5 percent — the Congressional pension program is rarely mentioned on Capitol Hill.

―Along with the franking privilege, pensions represent a valuable perk to both political parties that lawmakers
don‘t want to touch,‖ National Taxpayers Union spokesman Pete Sepp said.

Aside from passing a measure in 2007 to strip Members convicted of certain felonies while in office of their
Congressional pensions, neither the House nor Senate has pursued major changes to their retirement program
since the mid-1990s.

Rep. Howard Coble, among the leaders of a 1995 effort to overhaul the pension program, acknowledged that he
eventually abandoned his legislative effort, although he continues to oppose the retirement plan.

―It was tilting at windmills. Nothing was going to happen,‖ the North Carolina Republican said Tuesday. ―I
think it would have been perceived to be showboating, to go to the well of the House two or three times a year.‖

Coble said he does not anticipate reviving his legislation to end the pension in the new Congress: ―In order for it
not to be an exercise in futility, you‘d have to have some reasonable chance of passage, and the media at large
would have to weigh in.‖

While both freshman Reps. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) and Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) have publicly announced they will
not participate in the pension program, neither has introduced legislation proposing changes to the retirement
plan for their colleagues.

It also remains unclear whether Schilling and Walsh will actually be able to decline the retirement benefits.

Congress last reformed its pension program in the mid-1980s. Members elected after 1984, like other federal
employees, are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System, which comprises Social Security
payments, a monthly pension based on tenure and pay history, and the Thrift Savings Plan, which is similar to
private 401(k) accounts.
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Members were able to decline to participate in the program until 2003, according to the CRS, when Congress
prohibited lawmakers from opting out.

Coble said he believes he is the only Member to decline both the pension benefit and the TSP.

―Those were not my most brilliant financial decisions, I might admit,‖ Coble said, stating that the decision to
decline a pension will prevent him from being able to continue his health care coverage when he retires. ―But I
felt like the taxpayers are paying my salary, and I don‘t know that they need to contribute to the pension.‖

Under the FERS — which covers all federal employees — Congress, as the ―employer,‖ and Members each
contribute funds to the pension plan.

According to the CRS, in 2011, Members covered by the FERS will contribute 1.3 percent of their salaries to
the pension program, and Congress will pay another 17.9 percent of salary costs. Members also pay another 6.2
percent of their earnings to Social Security.

Members may also contribute up to $16,500 in pre-tax dollars to their TSP accounts in 2011, and they may
receive up to 5 percent in matching funds from their ―employer.‖ Each Member receives 1 percent in matching
contributions from Congress, regardless of whether they contribute.

Members elected before 1984 may participate in a different pension plan: the Civil Service Retirement System.

Each retirement plan requires Members to remain in Congress for five years before they are eligible to receive a
benefit at retirement age. Both plans allow Members to take full retirement at 62, but ex-lawmakers may qualify
for a full or reduced pension as young as 50 depending on their length of service.

As of October 2009, of the 455 former Members drawing federal pensions, 275 retired under the CSRS and
received an average income of $69,000, while another 180 retired under both programs or the FERS alone and
received an average pension of $40,000, according to the CRS.

A Roll Call review of Members who left Congress during or after the 111th Congress found more than three
dozen lawmakers who could immediately begin to draw their full pensions and more than a dozen others who
could potentially draw a reduced pension at an earlier age.

There is no public data on actual pensions paid to individual ex-Members, although payments are sometimes
made visible when lawmakers are elected to state offices and are required to disclose personal financial data.

Former Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D), now the governor of Hawaii, reported in January that he draws a federal
pension for his service in Congress that paid $25,000 to $50,000 in 2010. Abercrombie resigned in February
2010 and was sworn into the governor‘s office in December.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in November that former Rep. and now-Gov. Nathan Deal (R) of
Georgia will receive a Congressional pension of $52,000.
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The Homeless Triangle: San Francisco, Los Angeles

and Prison
By R. Jan Gurley


Homeless Triangle - Part I

If you work as a doctor in a clinic for the homeless, you see all kinds of simmering panic. There‘s the ―God,
someone‘s got to help me‖ panic of the person who lost their house to foreclosure. There‘s the fatalistic panic of
a street person with a hard, bone-rattling cough who senses, deep inside, that this might be the infection that
kills her.

But this time, when the man stopped me in the hallway between exam rooms, grabbing my upper arm a little too
tightly, there was a different kind of panic in his eyes.

―I don‘t know how to find the bathroom,‖ the man said, terror-stricken. ―Curtis,‖ with salt and pepper hair, was
in his late 50s.

―It‘s just around the corner - through those doors and to the right.‖ I hoped to speed-walk past him, but his grip
on my arm only tightened.

―I can‘t do that,‖ he said, his voice rising to a near-shout.

His upper lip was shaky with emotion. The only clue that his problem wasn‘t some type of unusual neurological
defect was the fact that he had way more muscles than you‘d expect to see on a man his age. ―Just got out of
prison?‖ I said.

He gave a sharp nod. ―Twenty years in a cell. I walked down one corridor. That‘s all. For over 20 years.‖ He
said it again, this time shouting it: ―I can‘t find the bathroom.‖

My mind struggled to grasp his last 20 years. All the changes in the world. All the ways in which we maneuver
through our lives – simple things that he‘d never done. He‘d become a man no longer able to even follow an
easy task like going through the doors and turning right. At his age, to have been so restricted for so long in
prison, he‘d undoubtedly committed a truly vile and violent act against another person.

But now he is, as we say in the healthcare business, ours.

He is a man who is unemployable, with multiple chronic health problems, and most likely – even without being
confronted with all he cannot do - with serious anger management and impulse-control issues. He is in our town
with nowhere to stay, nowhere to go and no ability to get there.
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―I‘ll walk you there,‖ I said, and wondered, as we walked the few feet to the bathroom doors, which way he
would go when he left the clinic.

He wasn‘t mentally ill. He didn‘t have HIV. He had high blood pressure and diabetes and high cholesterol and
prostate problems that might turn out to be prostate cancer. He had no idea what tests had been done in prison,
or what pills or doses he‘d taken for the last many years. After 20 years in a prison with years of treatment for
chronic health problems, he had no summary -- not even a health card or a discharge print-out.

We did what we could. We picked random pills and doses to start him on, since he‘d been without medicines
for several days already. He had no money for a co-pay so we gave him what we could out of our medicine
closet. We told him to come back in two days so we could check how he was doing.

But as he left to sleep on a sidewalk in San Francisco, we all – myself, the nurse, the staff – wondered the same
thing. He had no food, no place, no ties to anyone, no way to get money. At all. So how long would it be before
he hurt someone, just so he could get back to prison?

Because, odds are, he will.

Prison Churn and Homeless Churn
California incarcerates more of its population than any other state, with roughly one in 1,000 Californians sent
to prison each year. As of August 2009, there were 166,569 Californians in prison. And these numbers exclude
jail. Prison is very different from jail. Jail is local, for smaller offenses, or as a holding place until verdicts are
handed out. Prison is for felons, more serious offenses, and, generally, for much longer sentences. But our
state‘s prison system is far from static. Except for a very tiny minority, every single prisoner eventually will
come back to our neighborhoods. Generally speaking, more than 100,000 people are released, and more than
100,000 people are incarcerated every single year. Our prison system released in excess of 130,000 people into
our neighborhoods in 2009 alone.
The logistics represented by those numbers is mind-boggling. That‘s basically the same number of people as the
entire population of Humboldt County, or the entire city of Concord. Here‘s what getting out is like. You‘re not
told exactly when you‘ll be able to leave. Your family – if you still have any relationships left – can‘t know
either. No one can know. For security reasons, no one is told, ever, an exact date of release.
One day, the door is unlocked. Only if you have certain designated types of mental illness, or have HIV that‘s
being treated, are you given any pills when you leave. And even then you‘re only given a 30-day supply as you
The California prison system is now the largest provider of mental health care in the state. Despite that, most
studies show that a large number of seriously mentally ill prisoners are not diagnosed and treated while
incarcerated. But the prisoners who are being treated for mental illness are now mandated to be given a case
management assessment and an appointment for follow-up prior to release. The prison system‘s own study
shows that just one visit from a case manager prior to release is highly effective at reducing recidivism and
increasing compliance with follow-up appointments. But the very same study also showed that no visits at all
are being done in almost 50 percent of cases, even though staff were hired to perform them, and it‘s mandated
by state law. No one knows why they‘re not being done.
The California prison population has aged, with four out of 10 age 40 or over, with one in seven prisoners 50 or
older. Many have multiple health problems. As the healthcare costs for prisoners have soared, there have been
reports of expedited releases for prisoners with complex medical problems.
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But no matter what your age, even if you‘re a person with diabetes requiring insulin, or if you usually take
many pills, or recently had surgery, or are being treated for an infection - you‘re not given even one dose when
you leave. You‘re not given any appointments, or even any chance to make an appointment. Even if you‘re a
diabetic, you may not be allowed to eat breakfast. Despite prison health services, collectively, commanding a $2
billion annual budget, no one, not even the people with mental illness or HIV, is given even a piece of paper on
release with any medical information on it.
And, of course, when you leave prison, you don‘t have health insurance.
After release, all your health issues will be, without a doubt, sooner or later the problem of whatever county
you‘re headed toward. Why the county? Even if you had a permanent disability, and federally paid or
subsidized Medi-Cal or Medicare coverage for reasons of poverty or disability, when you are imprisoned, all
your coverage is automatically canceled. Clearly, no one thinks a prisoner should be drawing benefits while
behind bars. The problem, however, comes when a person is released. There is no automatic restoration of that
same coverage, even for permanent disability. The county alone will bear the burden of your medical care upon
your release. And, often the county may wind up paying for it forever more. Having your coverage re-instated is
almost always a long and complex process, requiring multiple visits, and a high level of literacy and persistence.
And the reinstatement process, it goes without saying, requires an address.
There is no reason why the prison system cannot be as efficient at reinstating coverage as it is at canceling that
same coverage. If there are doubts about whether qualifying conditions still exist, there is also no reason why
coverage could not be reinstated upon release for a probationary period of, say, six months. It would then lapse
unless the released prisoner was seen and assessed by an outside provider. Such a process would be a powerful
incentive for released prisoners to maintain preventive care. And for counties to be able to provide care instead
of post-release crisis-level, unreimbursed emergency room visits.
PART II: Get on the bus

Each year, for 130,000 Californians, the prison door is unlocked one day and the question now becomes - where
do you go? And how do you get there? Do you get any money? If so, how much? It is remarkably hard to find
an answer to those basic questions, even if you‘re a concerned family member trying to find out.

Nowhere on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation‘s (CDCR) website could I find a
description of the release process, or how a destination is chosen, or how much (or little) financial aid or
transportation help a prisoner might get upon release. If you are the mother of a son with disabilities, impulse
control disorders, and mental illness and you‘re trying to find out exactly when he‘ll be released – you can‘t
know. And if you‘re trying to find out where he might be headed, or how much money the prison system might
give him – you can‘t know.
Recently released prisoners often tell me in clinic that they got ―nothing.‖ After 10, or two, or 15 years, the door
is unlocked and they take a bus somewhere with no medicine, no appointments, no place to stay and not a penny
to their name. After being unable to verify this process on the CDCR website, but finding references in news
articles to ―$200 and a bus pass,‖ I decided to call CDCR and find out what was true. Eventually, I spoke to the
highly professional and extremely helpful officer Joanne Duroncelet. She was a bit surprised that she couldn‘t
find the information on the website either. But she proceeded to explain that decisions about what you‘re given,
and where you can go on release can be highly variable. The maximum someone can get on release is indeed
$200 – but you‘re not guaranteed it. And there is no adjustment for length of time behind bars. And, if you need
a bus ticket, and/or clothes, those come out of that same amount.
But you may indeed arrive in a neighborhood without a penny. There is something called a ―parole hold,‖ which
is when a parole officer decides to keep whatever is left of your potential after-bus-ticket-and-clothes money. A
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parole officer may choose to do that to encourage you to comply with the conditions of your parole (such as
checking in). How does a parole hold decision get made? It depends on the parole officer, I was told.
Officer Duroncelet also later sent me the link to the written policy, which is here:
When it comes to the choice of destination, many prisoners may have contraindications that prevent them from
returning to within 35 miles of the place they previously lived. Reasons can include a stay-away order, history
of domestic violence, restraining orders or sometimes as a condition of parole. No data exists on where those
people go, or how many of them become homeless in a different community‘s neighborhoods. But generally
speaking, most prisoners are expected to return to their county of incarceration. If you have relationships to rely
on, that‘s where you are expected to go. Back where it all began.

Set up to fail
So you‘ve got no food, no place to stay, no money, no pills, no appointment, no health insurance. But you can
still work, right?
Unfortunately, many prisoners are released without at least one ingredient crucial to getting hired: an I.D.
Forget about skills, or education, or the depressed economy. If you‘ve got no driver‘s license, no passport and
no social security card, you can‘t get a job. At least not a legal one.
And if you have nothing to prove who you are, how do you prove who you are?
The bottom-line step that is required to cut through the circular bureaucracy is to obtain a notarized birth
certificate. Just being able to figure that out is quite complex – even if you have no issues with literacy, access
to technology or a disabling mental illness. Unfortunately, you must go to your county of birth to obtain it. Even
after you‘ve figured out what is required, without an address, a vehicle, or money, how are you going to achieve
that step, the first one required just to be able to start the process of obtaining I.D.?
At Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco, the line in front of the booth for assistance obtaining an I.D. is
consistently huge. Lack of identification is a large barrier that many, many people cannot overcome without
assistance – particularly for those living on the street.
If there is any division in the entire state that is in an excellent position to certify a prisoner‘s identification, it
would be the Department of Corrections. They, more than any other, should be able to issue the same state
identification to any and all people being released from prison. Not a correctional I.D. – that is a form of
identification that would not be acceptable for employment for many reasons - but the very same state
identification that the DMV issues. It‘s hard to imagine why this isn‘t done prior to release, even if you may not
be out for long.
The news is full of the overwhelming difficulty finding a job in our current economy. Even for people with
highly marketable skills and extensive contacts, unemployment can be prolonged – and can become a semi-
permanent state. Add to that backdrop the reality of a felony conviction. Felony convictions render applicants
not only undesirable, but also bar them from many types of work, such as getting a contractor‘s license.
Added to that is the well-documented fact that felony convictions don‘t occur evenly across populations. If you
grew up in an environment with poor educational and employment levels, your chances of being incarcerated
are higher. Your chances of being employed at any job, once released, without marketable skills or education,
are quite small. How do you even look for a job without an address, money, a phone, a change of clothes or
And what are you going to do for food during the time you‘re looking for a job?
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The brutal fact is, once you‘re sent to prison and released, the majority of people don‘t stay out of prison.
California also has the highest recidivism rate in the nation – 70 percent. Only 25 percent of prison admissions
are actually a new prisoner. By far the largest majority of admissions are people sent back to prison for parole
And among the group of people returned to prison for what might be called a ―fresh felony,‖ important
differences emerge. The types of crimes committed differ between those who are sent to prison for the first
time, versus those who were in prison before, and are now being incarcerated for a new felony court
In 2009, of the more than 63,000 first time prisoners sent to prison, about a third committed crimes against
people, about a third committed property crimes, and about a third committed drug-related offenses. But of the
18,000-plus former prisoners who were sent to prison for a new court commitment, only 18 percent committed
crimes against people. About 30 percent again were committed for drug offenses. Property crimes rose to
approximately 40 percent - of which the largest sub-groups were second-degree burglary and petty theft with a
prior. The remaining crimes fell into the category of ―other‖ (12 percent), of which possession of a weapon was
by far the highest subgroup. What do these changing numbers tell us? In a best-case scenario, these numbers
might imply that prisoners learn something from their imprisonment – and are much less likely afterward to
commit violent crimes against people.
A more cynical view might be that, as a group, after release, as time passes, even if they don‘t want to re-
commit a violent crime, ex-offenders become increasingly economically desperate.
Although a different state, data from Massachusetts supports that interpretation. Researchers did a random-
sample survey of 17,565 prisoners to determine their rates of homelessness in the year prior to incarceration.
They found that 9 percent of inmates had been homeless – a rate 4 to 6 times the rate in a comparably matched
adult population (matched for age, race/ethnicity and gender). They also found that ―In comparison to other
inmates, these homeless inmates were more likely to be currently incarcerated for a property crime, but also to
have had previous criminal justice system involvement for both property and violent crimes, to suffer from
mental health and/or substance abuse problems, and to be more likely to have been unemployed and with a low

Carried across state lines

Prison erodes and eventually can destroy even the strongest of relationships. Those effects can occur in a
relatively short time, but are more likely the longer the term of incarceration. Our recent attempt at cost-cutting
the $49,000 per year that California spends on our lowest-level inmates has led to shipping prisoners out of state
to private facilities.
Given the fact that people who are incarcerated disproportionately come from economically deprived
communities, sending prisoners out of state will most often mean that families, even if they wished to, cannot
afford to travel to see inmates. Extended time apart, and extensive geographic distances, fracture already
strained relationships.
California may be saving money in the short run, but sending prisoners out of state may mean we are sentencing
a higher number of released prisoners to homelessness when they are returned to us after release.
PART III: Sentenced to indefinite homelessness
It is universally acknowledged that the first wave of homelessness occurred when the mental health system was
abolished. Many would argue that a second wave of homelessness occurred when vast amounts of affordable
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housing were eliminated. I would argue that a third wave of a more desperate, intractable, and frequently violent
phase of homelessness has been created by our vast prison system.
How many people enter the prison system homeless? How many leave our prison system with no fixed
destination? What subset of the 70 percent of ex-felons who return to prison are homeless?
Just for public safety reasons, you might assume the correctional system would want to know those numbers. A
homeless person, by definition, is a wild card. You cannot know where they are at any point in time – much less
immediately after a crime has occurred in the vicinity.
Surprisingly, according to both California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation‘s (CDCR) research
division and the voluminous reports on its website, the prison system does not explicitly track that information.
A well-funded assessment tool (COMPAS), which has the goal of predicting the inmates likely to become
higher-risk parolees, was begun in 2008. A preliminary assessment of its data shows that 39% of inmates are at
high risk of ―residential instability.‖
The research branch of the CDCR also provided a summary list of the total number of parolees at one point in
time, and the numbers among those whose address is listed as either ―transient‖ or ―homeless.‖ This is a very
narrow definition of homelessness, since even listing a shelter‘s street address, or your mother‘s address
(despite the fact that she won‘t let you stay there), would remove you from the homeless category.
Even within this relatively narrow definition of homelessness, the figures provided by CDCR show that 1,193
released prisoners are homeless in Los Angeles County with no identifiable address. Using their own provided
denominator of the total point-in-time parolees in Los Angeles County, that translates into approximately one in
25 parolees in Los Angeles County being homeless. Looked at another way, using instead as the denominator
the total number of people homeless in L.A. (from L.A.'s 2009 point-in-time Annual Homeless Count), one in
50 homeless people in L.A. is a released prisoner.
San Francisco has similar numbers. Although only 199 felons are listed as homeless, that represents 13 percent,
or nearly one in seven released inmates. Using San Francisco‘s 2009 point-in-time Homeless Count, those
numbers mean that one in 33 homeless persons on the sidewalk is a parolee.
In the 2009 San Francisco Homeless Count survey, 4.5 percent of street-living respondents stated that they were
homeless because of incarceration, and that same number (4.5 percent) reported their criminal record as the
reason why they could not obtain permanent housing. Those survey numbers translate into roughly that one in
20 of San Francisco‘s street-living homeless became homeless, and stay homeless, due to their incarceration.
A felony conviction will ban you from almost all forms of transitional, subsidized or supportive housing; sex-
offender status restricts options even further, with service providers reporting that more and more sex offenders
are living on the streets.
For the Bay Area as a whole, although the numbers are small, Napa County has by far the highest percentage of
listed homeless parolees (17 percent, or roughly one in six). Conversely, San Mateo and Solano counties were
tied for the highest estimate proportion of released felons in their homeless counts (6 percent, or roughly one in
17 homeless being a parolee). And, state-wide, 388 released inmates on active parole had ―blank‖ listed as their
From the relatively small numbers of studies done on this subject, and from reports from people working in this
field, the CDCR numbers – as high as they are – likely represent not an over-estimate, but, instead, an extreme
undercount. A cross-sectional survey of 360 California prisoners in 2004 all aged over 55 and within two years
of release from prison found that the ―Mean age was 61 years; 93.8 percent were men and 56.5 percent were
white. Nearly 40 percent were veterans, of whom 77.2 percent reported likely VA service eligibility…Overall,
79.1 percent reported a medical condition and 13.6 percent reported a serious mental illness.‖ In our California
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prisons in 2004, older inmates (who make up nearly one in seven inmates) soon to be released had extremely
high rates of health problems, and 1 in 12 reported a risk factor for homelessness.
And even those high rates of homeless risk, given our markedly depressed current economy, have likely only

Sick and on the streets

Inmates released from California prisons often have no food, no place to go, no money, no change of clothes, no
pills, no identification, no phone, no strong family ties, and little to no hope of employment. One third were
originally incarcerated for drug-related reasons. They‘re older, and frequently ill. They‘ve been stripped of
qualified coverage and have no appointments or ongoing care. Without an address or a phone, obtaining those is
nearly impossible for many. Even if a parolee had a sound education, and is extremely motivated to change,
with no history of mental illness, impulse control, or disabilities of any kind, our current release-process from
prison is a perfect storm of conditions to create and perpetuate homelessness, even among the most motivated
and self-disciplined. And 130,000 Californians a year are experiencing this. What‘s remarkable is that even
more of them are not on our sidewalks.

But is this a public health problem?

Once a person loses their home, their life expectancy plunges. People on the streets die at rate four to 32 times
that of people living behind a wall. Additionally, people struggling without a home often churn between states
of street-living (called ―sleeping rough‖), transitional or sheltered living, and stints in marginal transient
housing often called SROs (single room occupancy hotels). The reality of the homeless churn again points to
the likely extreme undercounting of the true numbers of homeless released prisoners.
Once a person is living homeless, people often become trapped in a complex web of violence, mental illness
and substance abuse. Starvation is not unusual, and homeless people increasingly learn to ignore physiologic
signals that something is wrong. Head trauma is shockingly common (with reported rates of more than 70
percent), severe, and often results, short and long-term, in a loss of ―executive functioning.‖ Executive
functioning encompasses such abstract abilities as long-range planning, and goal-setting, and the loss can result
in impulse control problems, depression and rage disorders.
Those struggling on the street often die of preventable and treatable illnesses. And when the health hit of living
on the streets begins to take its toll, homeless people tend to access our safety-net public health systems in
sporadic, ineffective and very expensive ways. All of these factors together converge into a profile of early
mortality, immense suffering and high cost.

Changing the prison-homeless churn

There are many simple, relatively cheap institutional changes that can dramatically alter the barriers facing
Californians released from prison, and decreasing their risks of homelessness. They include:
Prior to release, automatically re-enrolling inmates who were stripped of their Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage
at the time of incarceration, at least on a probationary basis

 Providing a California identification card to each released inmate who does not have one
 Printing for each inmate a one-page summary of their medical history and medications
 Creating and implementing sanctions and penalties for whenever the prison system fails to perform
mandated case-management visits prior to the release of mentally ill inmates
 Collecting, tracking and analyzing homeless rates (based on any widely acceptable definition among the
many that exist) of admitted, released, and reincarcerated prisoners
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 Either reducing out-of-state prison transfers, or, at minimum, being highly selective about which
prisoners are chosen for out-of-state incarceration based on the vulnerability of their relationship ties
 Arranging an identified post-release medical home and appointment for inmates with recent surgeries,
on-going treatment for infections and a selected list of chronic conditions requiring uninterrupted
medication compliance – not just mental illness and HIV.

There are more complex and highly effective ways to address the link between incarceration and homelessness.
The good news is that the CDCR as a whole seems to be moving toward a much more rehabilitation focused
approach. Models that have been developed for jail inmates could serve as a useful template for dealing with
some of the most high risk and mentally ill inmates where appropriate. Mental health courts have been
implemented in a number of cities, including San Francisco. Results of their effectiveness, from the CDCR
website, include: ―prior to program enrollment, a total of 887 bookings for new offenses were reported; post-
program, only 126 bookings - an 86 percent reduction. With the exception of two counties, it appears programs
are having a positive effect on reducing the severity of new offenses by 5 percent.

The number of days in jail also decreased significantly; there were 45,611 jail days pre-enrollment but only
2,320 jail days post-enrollment, a 95 percent decrease. Note: clients participating in programs with a mental
health court spent less time in jail post-enrollment than clients not participating in a mental health court.
The number of individuals homeless for any amount of time decreased by only 65 percent although the number
of days these individuals have been homeless post-enrollment has decreased significantly; 212 participants
previously reported being homeless for an average of 72 days - these same individuals have now reported being
homeless an average of less than seven days, a 97 percent decrease.
Those are impressive results.
So is it worth investing the kind of multi-system effort that creating, legalizing and setting up a mental health
court for prison-level parole violations and convictions would require?
Recognizing the role that the prison system plays in creating, concentrating and condemning ex-offenders to a
lifetime of homelessness may allow us to create effective interventions and change the culture on our streets. It
might also buffer the long-term public health costs and consequences we all must bear from the complicated
mix of homelessness, violence, substance abuse and mental illness. Prison churn certainly can explain at least in
part the frustrations cities and communities feel of never making a dent in homelessness despite devoting large
amounts of efforts to do so. Prisons will continue to release people at higher rates than they can be rapidly
housed and reintegrated. Even if you ignore the toll in terms of human suffering, the economics cannot be
sustained. Devoting $10 billion a year of our state‘s dollars to incarcerate one in 1,000 people when a
significant proportion will inevitably end up on our sidewalks dying premature, preventable deaths at additional
exorbitant cost – that is a price too high to bear.
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Egypt: Investigate Arrests of Activists,

Military's Arbitrary Arrests, Beatings Are Trademark of Interior Ministry Repression
February 9, 2011
(Cairo) - The Egyptian government should order military police, army officers and State Security Investigations
officers to cease arresting journalists, activists, and protesters arbitrarily, Human Rights Watch said today.
Army officers and military police arbitrarily detained at least 119 people since the army took up positions in
Egyptian cities and towns on the night of January 28, 2011, and in at least five cases tortured them. The
government needs to ensure the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the illegal detentions and
torture and ill-treatment which have occurred, Human Rights Watch said.

In the cases Human Rights Watch has documented, those detained, who have since been released, said that they
were held incommunicado, did not have access to a lawyer, and could not inform their families about their

"Arrests by military police of journalists, human rights defenders, and youth activists since January 31 appear
intended to intimidate reporting and undermine support for the Tahrir protest," said Joe Stork, deputy director of
the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. "These arrests and reports of abuse in
detention are exactly the types of practices that sparked the demonstrations in the first place."

Egyptian army forces deployed on the streets of Egyptian cities and towns late on January 28, after the police
withdrew. Since then, military police and army officers arrested or detained at least 97 journalists, activists, and
protesters, according to the Front for the Defense of Egyptian Protesters (FDP), a coalition of Egyptian human
rights organizations. The group has documented a list of 69 people arrested so far and has confirmed the release
of only 29 to date. Most of these arrests have been short-term, lasting under 24 hours; some have lasted as long
as two days.

Arrests of Protesters

Since January 31, Human Rights Watch has documented the arbitrary arrest by military police of at least 20
protesters who were leaving or heading to Tahrir Square. Most of these arrests occurred in the vicinity of the
square or in other parts of Cairo from where protesters were taking supplies to the square.

One protester told Human Rights Watch that on January 31, he and a friend bought some blankets to take to
protesters who were spending the night in the square. They said they put the blankets in their car and were
driving through the Boulak area, not far from Tahrir. An informal neighborhood patrol of civilians set up when
the police withdrew from the streets of Cairo on January 28, stopped them at 9.30 p.m. and summoned nearby
military police when they saw the blankets. The military police arrested the two men and took them to the
military camp in Abbasiyya, in Cairo, they said, where they detained them for two days, along with 20 other
detainees, who were not detained in connection with the protest. The two said they were not ill-treated but one
of them told Human Rights Watch that he saw military officers beating and using electroshocks on at least 12
other detainees on February 1. All 20 were held in the same room and one detainee told Human Rights Watch
that when they spoke to each other, they found that the military had not given any of them an official reason for
their detention and beyond some initial questioning, did not formally charge them.
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In another case, four protesters were arrested apparently because they appeared to be foreign or accompanying a
foreigner. On February 4, three Egyptian young men accompanied by a young European woman were walking
from Tahrir Square to their home in nearby Garden City, one of them told Human Rights Watch. A
neighborhood patrol stopped them, he said, asked for their IDs, refused to believe that they lived in the area, and
voiced suspicion of the foreigner in the group. The patrol handed the group over to the military, he said, who
detained the four in a room near a military checkpoint on Kasr Aini Street for 12 hours. The military
blindfolded them and made them sit on the floor, he said. Another one of the group told Human Rights Watch
that there were at least 10 other people detained in the same room and that he saw a military officer kick and hit
several of them, although the four were not beaten themselves. The military officers told them that the group
had broken the curfew, although they initially did not give this as a reason for their detention.

Torture and Ill-treatment

Human Rights Watch and the FDP have documented five cases in which persons say that military police
tortured them in detention. One protester and civil society activist told Human Rights Watch that he was
walking to Tahrir Square along Talaat Harb Street at 3:30 p.m. on February 4 when he encountered a gang of
pro-Mubarak young men who took him to a police station off Maa'rouf Street, in downtown Cairo. There, he
said, the police beat and interrogated him for around an hour about his political affiliations, why he was
protesting and who had recruited him. Uniformed and plainclothes military officers then walked him over to a
military post next to the Ramses Hilton for further interrogation before releasing him, he said.

When he went back out on to the street another military officer stopped him, checked his bag, and found some
notes and activist documents, he told Human Rights Watch. The protester told the soldiers that he had just been
interrogated and released, but they surrounded him, pushing and kicking him, he said, and then took him to a
building near the Ramses Hilton. He said that they tied his hands behind his back, slapped him, beat him with
sticks and rifle butts, kicked him, and threatened to torture him, accusing him of wasting the time of the military
with "useless protest tactics" that were "destroying the country." The soldiers interrogated him yet again about
his political affiliations, demanding to know which country was "sponsoring" him and the other protesters.

At this point a higher-ranking army officer said they would take him to a hospital, he said, and then two soldiers
put him in an ambulance with his hands tied behind his back, continued to slap him and drove him to the
Egyptian Museum grounds. He said that a different officer there ordered him to lie on his stomach and kicked
him, along with two other soldiers. They threatened to torture him with electro-shocks and by sticking bottles
up his anus as they continued to interrogate him. He said there were five others detained with him - an
American journalist, an Egyptian photographer, and three Sudanese nationals. He told Human Rights Watch
that the interrogation had lasted for around two hours, focusing on leaflets and documents he had collected in
Tahrir Square. The military finally released him later in the evening, and called friends to pick him up and take
him to a hospital.

Another protester told Human Rights Watch:

At about 2 a.m. on Friday, February 4, as I was going to my friend's apartment, I was stopped by a soldier in his
neighborhood. He first asked to check my ID card, and then opened my bag. Inside, he found a political flyer
from the protest and my laptop, which had pictures of the protest. Political flyers, manshura, are banned in
Egypt. So the soldiers started shouting at me, ‗You traitor!' and ‗You are the ones who are ruining our country!
You are destroying Egypt!' They started beating me up in the street, with their rubber batons and an electric
device, shocking me. Then they took me to Abdin Police Station. By the time I arrived at Abdin station, the
soldiers and officers there had been informed that a ‗spy' was coming, and so when I arrived they gave me a
‗welcome beating' that lasted some 30 minutes. Then I was put in a cell and given a blanket and some juice and
told to stay quiet until the interrogator came.
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When the interrogator came, he took me to a room and told me to undress. Then he started whipping me with an
electric cable, and brought out an electric shock machine. He shocked me all over my body, leaving no place
untouched. It wasn't a real interrogation; he didn't ask that many questions. He tortured me twice like this on
Friday, and one more time on Saturday.

Targeting of Activists and Human Rights Defenders

Military police arrested at least 37 human rights defenders and activists since January 31 and held them from
periods ranging from 12 to 48 hours. On the afternoon of February 3, military police, accompanied by a
uniformed policeman and plainclothes security officers, raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC), a
human rights organization, and arrested 28 Egyptian and international human rights researchers, lawyers, and
journalists. The HMLC also houses the FDP, which provides legal support to arrested protesters and document
the violations against them. The coalition set up emergency telephone numbers ahead of the planned January 25
demonstration so that they could dispatch lawyers when people called in to report that they had been arrested.
The HMLC premises were also used for meetings by the April 6 Youth Movement.

Those arrested included Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams, HMLC founder and prominent
lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam, two researchers from Amnesty Internationa,l and two journalists from a French
agency. The military detained and interrogated the group at Camp 75, a military base, before releasing the
foreigners around midnight on February 4 and the Egyptians on the morning of February 5. The group was
detained incommunicado and did not have access to lawyers.

Later on February 3, military police accompanied by a State Security Investigations officer arrested nine young
activists who were on their way back from a meeting with opposition figure Mohamed El Baradei, on Faisal
Street, in Giza. The nine included Amr Salah, a researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies,
Ahmad Douma, and Shadi Ghazali Harb, all of whom have been previously arrested for peaceful activism. One
of the nine told Human Rights Watch that the officers walked the group through the crowded street, held a gun
to the head of one of the group, and told the crowd that they were "spies," prompting some in the crowd start
hitting them and shouting at them. He said that the officers then held the group in a military van for more than
10 hours and then drove them to military intelligence headquarters for interrogation before releasing them at
around 7 pm on February 4.

Targeting Foreign and Egyptian Journalists

Human Rights Watch has compiled a list of 62 Egyptian and international journalists arrested by the military
police since February 2, drawing on cases documented directly by Human Rights Watch and by the Committee
to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. Many of these arrests were short-term and all related to
their status as journalists; all have since been released.

One Egyptian journalist told Human Rights Watch that at 6 p.m. on February 1, as she was leaving Tahrir
Square, she explained to officers at an army checkpoint that she did not have her national ID with her because
her wallet had been stolen and that she was a journalist. The army officers arrested her and took her to a room in
a building outside the Egyptian Museum for interrogation, she said. They asked her about her involvement in
the protest and whether she was connected to Israeli journalists they said they had arrested at the same place,
she said. They detained her for 12 hours before releasing her the next morning.

Most of these arrests occurred at points of exit and entrance to Tahrir square, but there are also cases of people
arrested from their homes. A group of two journalists and three protesters told Human Rights Watch that at 9:00
p.m. on February 4 military police, accompanied by ministry of interior officers, arrested them at their
apartment in Giza and questioned them about their participation in the protests. They said that an officer took
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them to Haram police station, handcuffed and blindfolded them, and interrogated them for seven hours about
their political affiliations and whether they were funded by foreign governments.

The officers detained them in police cells for 13 hours and then moved them to military police custody,
traveling in the back of a jeep, they said. They told Human Rights Watch that the soldiers slapped them and hit
them with the butts of their rifles while in the car. At one point, one of those arrested told Human Rights Watch
that the officer asked all of the soldiers to prepare their rifles (as if preparing to shoot) and told the blindfolded,
handcuffed captives to keep their heads down between their legs, or they would be shot.

"Protesters initially greeted the military as their protector from the abuses of the interior ministry," said Stork.
"While the military may have promised not to shoot protesters, it must also respect their right to freedom of
assembly and their right not to be arbitrarily detained."
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At issue: The World Bank as a new global education

ministry? Proposed education strategy lacks a focus
on human rights
At Issue|Zoe Godolphin|21 January 2011|


In early 2011 the World Bank will approve a new education sector strategy amid trends that mean that
international goals on education will not be met. Zoe Godolphin of the University of Bristol argues that the
Bank’s proposed approach fails conceptually because it does not accept that education is a human right. It also
fails pragmatically because it continues to advocate a template approach instead of supporting genuinely
country-driven priorities in education planning.

Since early last year, the World Bank has been working on its ―Education Strategy 2010‖, which will guide the
role of the Bank in education for the next ten years (see Update 70). In a May 2010 consultation on the draft
strategy in Washington, the Bank‘s director for education Elizabeth King summarised the main points of the
strategy for the audience. That she could present clearly defined roles for the Bank in education development,
prior to eight months of consultations and board approval, and that these have not changed through the
subsequent consultation process, is emblematic of the Bank‘s approach.

There may, however, be a clear logic to the Bank‘s thinking. The education strategy is, in effect, a global
vehicle for the commercialisation of education, which creates tension with the key principles of a right to
education. According to the UN these principles are availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability. i
Furthermore, the Bank draft strategy is not committed to allowing space for countries to design their own
policies. Instead, it appears comfortable with using its financial products and its considerable influence to push
policy outcomes, despite the Bank claiming a politically neutral mandate.

What does the strategy look like?

The new draft strategy signals a shift in the Bank‘s focus on education towards a ―systems approach‖ (see box
for a history of the Bank‘s education work). An education system is defined as ―the service delivery
relationships‖, including the regulatory environment. The strategy marks a shift from the donor-led education
for all (EFA) approach, adopted in the 1990s, explicitly excluding any reference to EFA targets. The Bank‘s
approach is more informal and labelled a ―learning for all‖ approach (supported through market dynamics). It
targets people from birth to twenty-four years of age in fragile countries, low-income countries and middle-
income countries (according to Bank country classifications).

The Bank argues that learning is a broader concept than education because it includes ―broad competencies‖ –
not merely literacy and numeracy skills – and non-formal and non-public methods and sites for learning.
―Effective‖ learning environments, according to the Bank, include supply-side inputs (teachers and equipment)
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and processes of ―transformation‖ that can direct inputs to outcomes such as capacity building at local, national
and regional levels. The final draft strategy implies that outcomes will be measured in terms of service delivery
against indicators promoted by the Bank, within the context of greater self-management by providers.
According to the draft strategy: ―students (and other stakeholders) also have a political voice [via the market] to
advocate for more accessible and better learning opportunities‖ because this logically follows from an education
system designed around inputs and outputs and autonomy at ―provider level".ii

The Bank‘s draft strategy maintains that technological and skills development lead to greater productivity that
will alleviate poverty. The reasons for a new strategy include the need to master new technologies, respond to
increased demand for education given population changes, and to harmonise education plans with donor efforts.

A history of the Bank’s approach to education

The Bank‘s approach to education has generally been determined by human capital theory.iii This economic
approach prioritises investment returns on education in the form of greater productive ability of individuals as a
result of education. The Bank started with a project focus in the 1960s, before moving to a sectoral focus in the
1970s. Under structural adjustment policies in the 1980s, the Bank‘s education team moved to the human
resources department and educational funds for countries diminished in the context of reducing the role of the
state and the substitution of state funding by the payment of fees by students.iv This affected the availability of
and access to education, because as fees were introduced, students dropped out under pressure to contribute to
family welfare.v In the 1990s, the Bank promoted decentralisation of education whilst promoting education for
knowledge economies, which led to greater provision of private education, particularly through the involvement
of the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank‘s private sector arm).vi

Problems with selectivity in access to education were exacerbated by the IFC‘s efforts to guide the creation of
investment and regulatory environments for education.viiDecentralisation was also heavily promoted by the
Bank, as devolving oversight was viewed as a means to control and manage recurrent costs, without providing
additional financing.viii Education also became embedded in Country Assistance Strategies and Poverty
Reduction Strategies, further reducing policy space because countries became locked-in to the Bank‘s
promotion of one path to development under the Comprehensive Development Framework. Discussions about
investment in education focussed on expenditure for the Millennium Development Goalsix after their
introduction in 2000, rather than public investment for education more broadly.x

Missing human rights framework

Within the education field the Bank has promoted a commercial approach to education, including calling it a
tradable service.xi This has undermined the efforts of the UN to promote education as a human right – despite
the fact that the Bank is nominally a specialised agency of the UN. The Bank, however, claims that it cannot
directly protect human rights due to its supposedly politically neutral position.xii

The need for education is universal and thus primary and secondary education is often made compulsory,
demonstrating that it clearly falls under governmental responsibility. As there are no rapid monetary returns to
investment in primary education at the aggregate level, it is not profitable for private investment and public
funding is required. Private provision of education can put payment burdens on families and may result in more
children involved in child labour instead of going to school. Education is not only an end in itself, but also has
a multiplier effect by facilitating the provision of and access to other basic rights such as women's rights, clean
running water, food, shelter, health and livelihoods, not to mention the ability to participate in political and
community affairs. The former Special Rapporteur for the UN on the right to education has thus argued that free
primary education is so essential to individual well-being and the political security of a nation that it must be
considered compulsory under human rights law.xiii
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There are three main ways that the Bank‘s approach is undermining the right to education. First, the Bank has
not adequately used its influence to ensure full funding to achieve the EFA goals. Until the 1990s, the Bank was
actively encouraging the charging of fees for primary education, in direct contradiction to the notion that all
children have a right to education irrespective of wealth.xiv While the Bank has formally moved away from
promoting user fees, there are worrying signs that the failure to meet the gap between available finance for
education and developing country needs could lead to reversals on free education provision. The draft strategy,
however, fails to address how countries can become self-sustaining in education investment. The Bank should
support flexible funding modalities which can cover the core costs of the public education system,xv rather than
leaving countries dependent on private-sector provision of education. Country capacity needs to be developed to
ensure that countries‘ education systems and infrastructure are not vulnerable to the needs of private investors
who are motivated to minimise costs to enhance profits, and who may not have a focus on ensuring rights and
meeting social goals.

Second, the promotion of private investment and provision of education by the Bank downplays – and
undermines – the role of public provision. The IFC policy on education argues that there is no reason why
primary education should necessarily be publicly provided.xvi However, public provision, which is publicly
accountable, has proved to be the essential element in all efforts to achieve education for all.

Third, the rationale that education should be valued as a means of accumulating human capital to increase
labour productivity has meant that education has been valued for the development of skills for work. This is in
stark contrast to the holistic rights-based view of the role of education, which recognises the value of the other
outcomes that education can support, such as individual well-being and social cohesion. The Bank‘s approach
risks allowing education content to be dictated by investor demands, instead of driven by a country‘s own

Undermining ownership

On top of the failure to recognise and support the human right to education, the proposed education strategy
puts the Bank in a central and highly political role in education reform across the globe, making a mockery of
its claims to be ‗politically neutral‘. The Bank has nominated for itself the roles of policy-maker (in the range of
policy choices offered to countries), regulator (in the participation and supervision of the design of national
education policy), and enforcer (through loan conditionality and availability of technical assistance). It is
arguable that the Bank is now positioning itself as a new global education ministry.

While the Bank argues that it will use ―differentiated priorities according to need and capacity‖ to guide its
work, it still takes a template approach for categories of countries. One-size-fits-all policies are crafted for the
three categories: fragile states, low-income countries and middle-income countries. Loan conditionality needs to
be addressed in the draft strategy to ensure that educational opportunities are not tied to private investor

The Bank‘s proposed policy of education decentralisation and facilitation of school autonomy have been
identified as adversely affecting country ownership of national development plans. These policies weaken
government responsibility for education policies and foster a lack of political will.xviii A regulatory environment
that relies on decentralisation and privatisation to meet basic needs may be less costly for the Bank and its
clients to establish but does not address the issue of the impact of funding for recurrent costs. A lack of
centralised control may mean that the provision of basic needs is then susceptible to unpredictable financing and
a lack of systematic coherence in a country‘s developmental vision.

To overcome this issue, the self-determination of states and the human rights entitlements of people affected
should be recognised by the Bank. This would entail the Bank supporting genuinely country-driven national
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education plans in a collaborative manner and supporting the development of a country‘s vision for education,
rather than taking the lead and claiming a role in microeconomic matters such as teacher selection.xix This is an
ideal opportunity for the Bank to implement the "open data, open solutions" approach introduced by Bank
president Robert Zoellick in his September 2010 speech ‗Democratizing Development Economics‘xx and thus
escape the Bank‘s own Independent Evaluation Group‘s criticism that the Bank follows a one-size-fits-all

Furthermore, the draft strategy promotes the idea of ―political capital‖ accumulation through a systems
approach,xxii but the reliance on narrow economically-defined Bank assessment models (such as parts of the
IDA country ranking model and the System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Resultsxxiii),
minimises the political value of education as a human right. Side-stepping current rights-based approaches to
education in favour of a systems approach, based on cost-benefit analysis, brings extra costs by forcing
countries to realign their policy environments. The policy and financial guidelines of the Bank in relation to
education systems strengthening should reflect compliance with human rights standards and the right to an
education. The recent efforts by the UN Special Rapporteur on transnational corporations should be applied to
external corporate investors in a country‘s education. Efforts should be made to clarify and secure the human
rights obligations of philanthropists.xxiv


The draft strategy advocates a role for the Bank in promoting an ―enabling environment‖ but avoids
acknowledging a right to education as an enabling instrument. The promotion of development goals in
education, rather than an explicit human rights focus and cooperation with UN human rights organs, reduces
human rights to a policy choice, despite – for example – former UN high commission for human rights Mary
Robinson arguing that human rights are not political.xxv

The Bank seems to be casting itself as a global education ministry, adopting a political role in the regulation of
education according to economic values. The Bank has designed an education system under a harmonised
global economic framework that reduces the value of education to a productive service and depoliticises the role
of government in education, learning and development.xxvi The Bank and its board should re-examine its
proposed strategy to open up space and allow time for developing countries to articulate their own education
plans. Finally, the Bank should accept the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), and acknowledge the right to education.
UN ECOSOC The right to education (Art.13) (8 December, 1999) UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/10; The right to
education – Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Mr Vernor Munoz Villalobos
(Commission on Human Rights, Sixty-First Session) UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/50 (17 December 2004).
Learning for all: investing in people’s knowledge and skills to promote development’ World Bank Education
Strategy 2020: draft (November 2010): http://go.worldbank.org/DTQZ9EKJW0 (accessed 16 November 2010),
para. 18.
World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next generation (World Bank; Washington, D.C.:
2006); Blaug, M., A Cost-Benefit Approach to Educational Planning in Developing Countries Report No. EC-
157 (World Bank Economics Department; Washington D.C.,: 1967).
Jones, P. W., Education, Poverty and the World Bank (Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, 2006); Williamson , J.,
‗Democracy and the ―Washington Consensus‖, World Development Vol. 21, No. 8 (1993), pp. 1329-1336.
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Heyneman, S.P., ‗Educational investment and economic productivity: the evidence from Malawi‘,
International Journal of Educational Development 4 (1984), pp. 9-15.
The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty: A Multi-Country Participatory Assessment of Structural
Adjustment (SAPRIN; Washington, D.C.: 2002).
The Evolving Regulatory Context for Private Education in Emerging Economies (IFC/World Bank Group
Discussion Paper, May 2008).
Mason, E.S., Asher, R.E., The World Bank Since Bretton Woods (The Brookings Institution; Washington
D.C.,: 1973), p300.
UN GA Resolution United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000) UN Doc. A/res/55/L.2.
Tomaševski, K., The State of the Right to Education Worldwide – Fee or Free: 2006 Global Report
(Copenhagen: August 2006), pxx.
Gauri, V., ‗Social Rights and Economics: Claims to Health Care and Education in Developing Countries‘ in
Alston, P., Robinson, M., (eds.) Human Rights and Development – Towards Mutual Reinforcement (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2005); The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education
(IBRD/World Bank, March 2009); Cammack, P., ‗What the World Bank Means by Poverty Reduction‘, New
Political Economy 9:2 (June 2004), pp. 189-211.
Danino, R., ‗The Legal Aspects of the World Bank‘s Work on Human Rights: Some Preliminary Thoughts‘
in Alston, P., Robinson, M., (eds.) Human Rights and Development – Towards Mutual Reinforcement (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2005).
Tomaševski, K., ‗Six reasons why the World Bank should be debarred from education‘, at
http://brettonwoodsproject.org/art.shtml?x=542516; Tomaševski, K., The State of the Right to Education
Worldwide – Fee or Free: 2006 Global Report (Copenhagen: August 2006).
Supra note iii.
Bermingham, D., ‗Reviving the Global Education Compact: Four Options for Global Education Funding‘,
Centre for Global Development Essay (February 2010):
http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/1423802 (accessed 16 November 2010).
IFC, Investing In Private Education: IFC’s Strategic Directions (June 2001).
For example, see: http://www.ed-invest.com/
Education Rights: A guide for practitioners and activists (Action Aid for the Global Campaign For
UNICEF/UNESCO, A Human Rights-Based Approach to Education For All (2007).
Democratizing Development Economics (September 29, 2010), at: http://go.worldbank.org/N58SCW9BW0
(accessed 16 November 2010).
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From Schooling Access to Learning Outcomes: An Unfinished Agenda (An Evaluation of World Bank
Support to Primary Education), (World Bank: Washington D.C., 2006).
Learning for all: investing in people’s knowledge and skills to promote development’ World Bank Education
Strategy 2020: draft (November 2010): http://go.worldbank.org/DTQZ9EKJW0 (accessed 16 November 2010),
para. 21.
For example, see: Liberman, J., Clarke, M., Draft Review of World Bank Support for Learning Assessment
Activities in Client Countries (World Bank Group, January 5, 2011).‖
Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational
corporations and other business enterprises, John Ruggie (9 April 2010); Stabilization Clauses and Human
Rights – A research project conducted by the IFC and the UN Special Rapporteur to the Secretary-General on
Business and Human Rights (March 11, 2008) UN doc. A/HRC/14/27; Center for International Environmental
Law, Bank Information Center, BankTrack, Oxfam Australia, World Resources Institute: The International
Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards And The Equator Principles: Respecting Human Rights and
Remedying Violations? Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur (August 2008).
Robinson, M., Miller, M.A., Expanding Global Cooperation On Climate Justice (BWP Update 69, Jan/Feb
Tarabini, A., ‗Education and poverty in the global development agenda: Emergence, evolution and
consolidation‘, International Journal of Education 30 (2010) pp. 204-212.

Related articles

 Education strategy review: has the Bank learned its lessons? News|Bretton Woods Project|16 April
2010|update 70|url

The World Bank launched a review of its education strategy in January with a concept note setting out
key challenges and principles for a sector where its activities have come under sustained criticism. read
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America Is Friend, Ally of Dictators and Tyrants


Author: Paul I. Adujie | February 08, 2011

President Barack Obama it was, who once stated that Africa need strong institutions and not strong men. But
now we know these statements are mere deep end platitudes, in view of the fact that America, Israel and Europe
etc prefer strong man dictator, tyrant president for life authoritarian Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
President Obama now engages in ambivalence and equivocation regarding democracy and Egypt.

American, European and Israeli apologists for Hosni Mubarak‘s 30 years dictatorship and absolute power
insistently talk about stability, what stability? Hosni Mubarak is now said to have sponsored and paid thugs in
efforts to intimidate, frustrate and truncate legitimate peaceful protests by Egyptian citizens demanding
democracy and freedom, and the Egyptian Army is said to have refused and neglected to prevent these
Mubarak's thugs from killing and maiming peaceful protesters.

Where are unequivocal denunciations and condemnations of these egregious Human Rights violations? Where
is the outrage?

There are also these nonsensical talks about anti Mubarak protesters causing chaos, even though it is quite clear
to all reasonable persons that Egypt has been in a constant and continued state of chaos for 30 years. Hosni
Mubarak has an abysmal track record of making promises of reforms and he has never kept any such promises.
Allowing Mubarak to stay until September 2011 is the equivalent of another blank check for Mubarak

Alienating citizens of Egypt and supporting a dictator and turn blind eye to repressive Hosni Mubarak. There
are now attempts by Hosni Mubarak and his friends to use thugs to orchestrate a counter demonstration or
protest in support the unraveling dictatorship in Egypt. There is this unreasonable insistence that Mubarak kept
peace and maintained peace, and that Egypt is the cornerstone of Israel Middle East policy, but how has that
furthered the best national interests of Egyptians?

There are these unreasonable self-serving fears by some, a new government after Mubarak departs will cozy-up
to extremists and will ignore Israel -Egypt peace agreements and that such new government would reopen and
disregard blockades by Egypt and Israel against Palestine; by re-opening of Gaza Crossing, Egypt will stop
assisting Israel in blocking people and goods into Gaza. And so, some in America and Israel say supporting
Mubarak at all costs is a good policy!

Israel now monitors, Jordan, Syria and Yemen, America, Israel and their allies are terrified at the mere prospect
of Muslim Brotherhood becoming a measurable part of Egyptian political process and these fears are
completely unjustified! Mubarak is American Israel stalwart, but he in the process neglected to be stalwart for
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Muslim Brotherhood have been demonized and maligned as extremists and violent demagogue, even despite
evidence to the contrary. Muslim Brotherhood have no record or history of violence, these false labeling have
been employed often by Hosni Mubarak as a camouflage and cover to shield himself as he retained an ossified
authoritarian, dictatorial and tyrannical power for thirty years

Reports are that over 300 people killed in Egypt already, in 10 days of political upheaval and yet, America has
shown ambivalence, equivocal, muted response to the peaceful demand for democracy, freedom and liberty by
Egyptians in their millions! America, Israel and some European nations are insouciantly practicing expediency
as a policy, a myopic and shortsighted policy which has incubated hatred and terrorism in the Egypt, Palestine,
Arabian and Persian worlds.

America, some European nations and Israel are thoroughly implicated in the dictatorship in Egypt with
diplomatic, financial and military support for 30 years. But why prop-up puppets and dictators and tyrants while
proclaiming the high ideals and tenets of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and due process? What an
oxymoron is that? These double standards and hypocrisies are so glaring for world to see.

America, Europe and their allies must cease and desist from supporting and protecting authoritarian and
tyrannical regimes in worldwide, but more particularly so, dictators in the Middle East and Africa. An Arab
American has compared Hosni Mubarak to the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989, she says, when Hosni Mubarak falls,
democracy will dawn in the rest of Arab world and Middle East. It is unreasonable, it is counter intuitive, it is
illogical and it runs against the grain, for self-proclaimed democrats to support the obscene dictatorship for
which Hosni Mubarak have been known.

Israel have been making very condescending comments on Egyptian crises, Israel saying it is in the interests of
America, Israel and western nations of Europe to keep Hosni Mubarak where he is, in power. America, Israel
and others are nervous about the revolt and possible snowball effects in the entire Middle East from Kuwait to
Saudi Arabia, to Jordan, to Yemen, Syria etc. A successful peoples revolution in Egypt, will reverberate and
have sundry ramifications, hence, enemies of the peoples of these nations are worried that their arrogant neglect
and constipated complacency over the Palestine-Israel peace process is about to be disturbed by responsive
governments in the region, borne of the people, by the people, for the people

A myopic and parochial policy is being planned by the Americans is the contingency plan is to ensure that
Mubarak survives long enough, then install a pro-American successor, preferably, the hierarchy of the Egyptian
Army. The idea that America and her allies are advocating, a military takeover or coup in Egypt, with winks
and nods to the Egyptian military with a view to truncating democracy, will make the head of true democrats
and true lovers of freedom spin! President Barack Obama of the United States once famously said that that
Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men. But in recent days, every American official commenting on
the political upheaval in Egypt have stated a clear preference for an Egyptian strongman known as Hosni
Mubarak, who represent for the Americans and Israelis, a symbol of stability in Egypt, the Arab World and the
entire Middle East.

American officials and journalists have for several days now, been aggressively promoting Egyptian Army as
respected institution with individuals inside of it as wonderful friends of the United States! Americans are
aggressively promoting the Egyptian military as successor to Mubarak. The Egyptian military is now being
touted as preferred substitute. It is the case that America is behind the curve and quite clearly ambivalent in
connections with what is happening on ground in Egypt. An Egyptian political earthquake is unfolding

Egypt and Hosni Mubarak have been an anchor, a bulwark and an epicenter for America, Israel and the rest of
western world, which desperately wish to continue to use Hosni Mubarak Egypt as a wedge against Egyptians,
Arabs and Persians national and regional interests, while the American, European and Israeli interests are given
primacy. During the past several days, we were just regaled with the high ideals and tenets of democracy and
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the strength of American idea, but is America willing to see Egyptians taste freedom, democracy and idea?

Hosni Mubarak is president for life, the symbol for one-sided peace for Israel, at the expense of Palestine,
Arabs, Persians and all Middle Easterners. Americans and other westerners have during these several days of
political revolt and public demonstrations and protests by the people of Egypt, stated preferences for stable,
stable, stable Egypt, even in the face of economic and political stagnation. There is this pervasive attitude in
which not much is said or expressed by way of what Egyptians want, but instead, what stability and a strong
Hosni Mubarak‘s fall could mean for America, Israel and other westerners! But why is it that not many
westerners stop to consider what Egyptians want?

It cannot be argued that there is no one else among more than 80 million Egyptians, only Hosni Mubarak can
govern Egypt. First of all, he is 82 years old and he will not live forever and secondly, there are qualified,
seasoned Egyptian administrators and technocrats who would manage Egyptian politics and resources more
creatively than Hosni Mubarak have done I 30 years

Hosni Mubarak have perennially used scare tactics and blackmail with his insistence that only absolute power
wielded by him, would guarantee peace and stability and maintain Egypt as a secular state. Hosni Mubarak has
forever pretended, without proof, that Muslim Brotherhood is violent and it is a terrorist group, even though
there are Muslim Brotherhood members of Egyptian parliament. Hosni Mubarak and his friends, supporter and
allies have forever pretended that every Muslim Brotherhood is a violent Ayatollah with extreme theocratic
worldview, intent on imposing a theocracy.

All this flies in the face of Egypt being a plural society with left, right, liberal, conservative, Muslims, Christian
citizens. Muslim Brotherhood was established in 1928 as a mainstream revivalist movement and they are not
different from evangelicals, religious rights and Christians. After all, Strum Thurmond and other segregationists
were elected to the United States congress from the so-called American Bible Belt or the bible wielding
American south of the Dixie line. The National Rifle Association or NRA wield great political power and clout
in the USA and NRA only promotes gun and not bread, butter or books, whereas Muslim Brotherhood have

Egypt is gatekeeper and enforcer for the US and Israel, and, demonstrates stability and civility says Israel, says
Egypt is a representative government as with Jordan… he arrogantly asks whether Egyptians can be trusted with
democracy to be managed on their own, when Hosni Mubarak leaves. America, Israel and western Europeans
have gambled and squandered resources propping up Hosni Mubarak and sundry dictatorships

General Omar Suleiman the intelligence chief who was appointed vice president by Hosni Mubarak in response
to demands for democracy is known to be a pro American pro Israel Egyptian, who has supervised American
outsourcing of torture also known as Extraordinary Rendition, is unfortunately being touted now as likely
successor to Hosni Mubarak. A complete army takeover is also being suggested, all these, because, American
and Israel military have for decades interacted with the Egyptian military in most intimate ways.

30 years probationary period for Mubarak, he can initiate reforms now, and orderly transition thereafter… and
the rest of mere mortals are only entitled to 3 to 6 months probationary periods on our jobs! We should also
factor in, the cause and effect of "sit-tights" rulers and their enablers or facilitators

we ought to also ask, why it is okay, to support Hosni Mubarak for peace, stability and as gatekeepers.... after
30 years of brutalities, extreme political repressions against opponents... and after 30 years of entrenched state
of emergency with unmitigated arbitrariness and yet, neither America, France/other western nations are
demanding that Egypt be invaded in order to dethrone Hosni Mubarak

Yet, Nigeria, ECOWAS, African Union were being pressured by America/France to invade the Ivory Coast in
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order to dethrone Laurent Gbagbo in complete disregard for the political independence, territorial integrity and
sovereignty of Ivory Coast. We should be alert to these double standards and utter hypocrisies!

Give me democracy, give me freedom and ensure that these high ideals have UNIVERSAL application etc. All
reasonable persons should have zero tolerance for dictatorship and detesting and disdaining dictators should not
be a selective. It is quite revealing that the same nations which are currently demanding and insisting on the use
of force through military invasion to unseat Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, are the same nations who are
unfortunately very accommodating and comfortable with 30 years of Hosni Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, with
30 years state of emergency

Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, a tyrant with record of ruthless repressions and brutalities. Mubarak has repeatedly
used arbitrary authoritarian powers, but, thank God, Mubarak is a friend and ally. Mubarak has for 30 years
used brutal extreme repressions against his own people, but, thank God, Mubarak is a staunch ally and friend of
America and Israel and some Europeans!

Mubarak has sponsored and paid thugs to attack peaceful protesters. Mubarak has used his political party
members, and his armed forces against peaceful demonstrators American journalists with NPR, ABC, CNN and
NBC, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Christianne Amapour and Garcia-Navarro respectively, Human Rights
workers etc are being attacked agents of Mubarak, but, all these are acceptable overhead costs of doing business
and thank God, Mubarak is our friend and ally. Mubarak is the surety and guarantor of stability and peace in the
Middle East

Mubarak is 82 years old and after 30 years of absolute power and 30 years of a forced state of emergency in
which civil liberties have been circumvented and completely denied every Egyptian, Mubarak is still unwilling
to yield to democratic demands by millions of Egyptians, but thank God, he is friend and ally of America, Israel
and some European nations and that is all that matters! Mubaraka‘s friends and allies, America, Israel and
European nations must determine the political outcome for Egyptians!

It is a fact, that Egypt is recipient of the second largest foreign aid from the America other than Israel! It is also
a fact, that Egyptian military is heavily reliant on America and Israel for money, hardware and other resources...
We all must note the facts of origins of even the teargas being used against protesters are MADE IN USA by an
American company in Tennessee. America is largest arms supplier to Egypt. But America is not similarly
deeply involved with Egyptian agriculture and food production sectors. President Obama sent a diplomatic
emissary to Hosni Mubarak in the middle of this continuing revolution by the people of Egypt, but the emissary
never met with representative of the political opposition across the spectrum.

It is clear therefore, that America has only one dog in this fight, and it is Hosni Mubarak, not the Egyptian
people. There so much poverty, unemployment and desperation in Egypt, and yet, Egyptian military has more
arms than 10 developing nations put together. I am surprised though, that when Israel is discussed, debated or
lightly, ever so lightly admonished, there is never a mention that Israel, a nation of less than ten million people,
receives the highest foreign aid from America more than all the over 50 nations of Africa combined!

Americans, Israel and some Europeans are aggressively advocating and promoting the Egyptian military as
successor and best substitute to Hosni Mubarak. It is clearly the case that all these three groups of pretenders to
true democracy, are behind the curve and the citizens of Egypt inspired revolution which is currently unfolding
on ground in Egypt. President Obama on February 3, 2011 held a national prayer forum in which he prayed for
the people of Egypt and we are sure that from now on, this will be standard policy, to pray for democracy
activists in China, in Tibet and Iran etc in place of forthright statements of support for all those who seek
democracy and freedom from oppression?

The Egyptian military allowed Mubarak thugs to attack peaceful protesters unhindered. These thugs who have
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been identified as members of the police and the military, acting at the behest of the dictator and apparatuses,
were allowed to attack, murder and maim peaceful protesters, but, thank God, Mubarak is friend and ally of
western nations! Mubarak reign of 30 year is hallmarked by broken promises of reforms and his extreme
repressions against millions of Egyptians and as Mubarak‘s house of cards collapses, his allies and friends are
now belatedly, at the eleventh hour, insisting on merely urging Mubarak to initiate reforms as salutary effect?

In 10 days of protests against Mubarak, he has spoken twice to his nation and President Obama have merely
parroted Mubarak asinine platitudes!

The Truth About Foreign Aid; Where It Really Goes & Not To Africa

1. What is good for Egyptians and Arabians and Persians, as opposed to western nations?
2. Why the fixation on what is good for you and America?
3. Why are supposed "democrats" afraid of democracy in the Middle East/Persian/Arab World, and particularly
in Egypt?

4. Why MUST democracy be acceptable to us, only when our puppet is in-charge?

The Americans are insisting on peaceful transition in Egypt, despite thirty of unfettered state of emergency, and
despite thirty years of authoritarianism, dictatorship and tyranny by Hosni Mubarak, thirty year during which
there were brutal repressions of every shade of political opponent to Hosni Mubarak, a man who refused to have
a constitutionally mandated vice president in Egypt.

But instead, Mubarak planned to have his son, Gamal Mubarak as his successor, as if Egypt were a monarchical
system of government and as if a Mubarak is the last man standing capable of governing Egypt? These same
Americans and their western allies, have been demanding and insisting a military intervention, military invasion
of Ivory Coast to unseat President Laurent Gbagbo, in order to install another western puppet Alsance Gbagbo.

America should urge the African Union or Organization of Arab States to invade Egypt and overthrow Mubarak
and his dictatorship after 30 years or why set such dangerous and terrible precedent in Africa‘s Ivory Coast?
Why should America, and its European allies protect Mubarak, an anti democratic with an extremely brutal
repressive regime spanning 30 years, while hounding Laurent Gbagbo, who was duly re-elected according to
the highest constitutional court of Ivory Coast?

Supporting dictatorship is bad business and bad for all those nations with pretensions to democracy. In
Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan‘s supported the Mujaheedeen who were named Holy Warriors by Ronald
Reaganin a proxy or surrogate war against the USSR, for hemispheric and hegemonic influence and geo-
strategic advantages, then, the Mujaheedeen were fortified with tons of American sophisticated weapons
Mujaheedeen subsequently were abandoned by the US and they eventually morphed into the Taliban which the
US had to now fight. The fear of Islam as represented by Muslim Brotherhood is the foundation of most asinine
America policy towards Egypt

Hosni Mubarak foisted stagnation, desperation, hardship and suffering by citizens of Egypt should not be
replaced by another dictatorship, military or civilian. Egyptians military is funded and equipped by the United
States and as have been revealed during these several days of protests by Egyptians, even the teargas used by
Egyptian police and other militia, are made in USA, so are other military hardware, fighter jets and Apache
helicopters etc

All reasonable persons would have thought that the United States have by now learned painful lessons in the
unpleasant repercussions for supporting the Shah Palavi of Iran against a democratically and constitutionally
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elected government of Iran, when CIA engineered a usurpation of Iranian democracy in 1953, the unsavory
history is the same in the role of Americans in support of dictatorship in Iraq, the US supported Saddam
Hussein, then invaded Iraq to dislodge him, when Saddam ceased to be a full time puppet or when chickens
came home to roost?

America similarly supported dictatorships of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Augusto Pinochet in Chile
and the list of American support for anti democratic forces worldwide is legendary. America and its western
allies regularly squanders and wastes what ought to be its democratic credentials and moral authority, by their
support of anti people governments across the world. America and other western nations must know that it is
bad investment, a shortsighted investment, to be strange-bedfellows with dictators and tyrants or operators of
authoritarian regimes.

Why? Why is America Friend, Ally of Dictators & Tyrants Worldwide?

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Tax Expenditure of the Week: Deductions for

Counting Down the Country’s Biggest Tax Breaks, Week by Week

This is part of a new CAP series called the ―Tax Expenditure of the Week.‖ The series aims to explain the often-
confusing constellation of tax breaks in a way the average taxpayer can understand. Every Wednesday we will
focus on one tax expenditure, explaining what it is, what purpose it is intended to serve, and whether it is
effective toward that purpose. We will also review relevant reform proposals.

Subjecting these dozens of tax breaks to greater scrutiny is part of our broader focus on making government
work better and achieving better results for the American people, which is the goal of CAP’s ―Doing What
Works‖ project.

This week we‘re looking at the IRS rule that allows taxpayers to deduct amounts they contribute to charity from
their income for tax purposes. This tax break, the country‘s fifth largest, will cost the U.S. Treasury $315 billion
over the next five years.

What is the charitable deduction?

The tax code allows people to deduct from their income contributions to charitable organizations, including
churches, schools, universities, hospitals, social services charities, and other nonprofit organizations. Give a
donation, get a tax break.

The deduction functions as a federal ―matching‖ contribution to charities. If a taxpayer in the 25 percent tax
bracket contributes $100 and claims a charitable deduction, it reduces his taxes by $25. The government has
essentially made a $25 match to the taxpayer‘s charity of choice.

The charitable deduction is largely intended to subsidize charities, though it is also justifiable under a theory of
tax fairness. An income tax system that is based on people‘s ability to pay arguably shouldn‘t tax them on
income they give away rather than consume for their own benefit.

Why is it a “tax expenditure?”

The charitable giving deduction is considered a tax expenditure because personal expenditures and gifts are
generally not deductible. It is a special exception from that rule.

Special tax breaks are considered ―expenditures‖ because they are essentially government spending programs
that give out tax breaks instead of direct payments.
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Who qualifies for the charitable deduction?

The charitable deduction is claimed only by taxpayers who elect to itemize their deductions rather than take the
standard deduction. (Other limits also apply. See this IRS page.) The standard deduction ($5,800 for single
filers and $11,600 for couples in 2011) spares taxpayers from having to document each of their expenses while
also simplifying administration for the IRS. But an odd effect of the standard deduction is that the majority of
taxpayers who claim it have no marginal tax incentive for charitable giving. The tax incentive for charitable
giving is therefore targeted mainly at households that have other substantial itemized deductions that exceed the
standard deduction, such as mortgage interest payments, or state and local taxes.

Who benefits from this deduction?

By matching charitable gifts, the tax code subsidizes the vast array of activities performed by the charitable
sector, especially by charities that rely on such donations.

These institutions serve such wide-ranging purposes—serving the poor, sustaining faith and religious life,
providing public and private schooling, supporting civic and cultural activities, performing medical research—
that the benefits to society of encouraging donations are impossible to quantify.

The direct benefits to taxpayers are easier to gauge. They are enjoyed largely by givers in top tax brackets.

As with other itemized deductions like the one for mortgage interest payments, the value of the charitable
contribution deduction rises with income levels. For a taxpayer in the 35 percent tax bracket, making a $100
charitable donation means paying $35 less in taxes. That same $100 gift is worth only $10 in potential tax
savings to a family in the 10 percent bracket (if it itemizes).

The federal match-like quality of the deduction essentially permits people to direct a small portion of federal
resources to their favorite charities. This fosters a diverse and pluralistic charitable sector. As critics have noted,
however, structuring the incentive as an itemized deduction tends to favor the charitable preferences of the
wealthy (opera houses and elite schools are stereotypical examples) over those of lower-income givers.

The deduction also creates a special tax benefit for people who donate assets that have risen in value: Not only
do donors get to deduct the current value of the property rather than what they paid for it—this is subject to
certain limits—but they also permanently avoid paying tax on the gain. This results in a double tax benefit. (See
example below)
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Should the charitable deduction be reformed?

Proposals to reform the charitable deduction must balance any design flaws against the deduction‘s positive
effects, which include promoting charitable giving and support of the charitable sector.

The president‘s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recently proposed transforming the tax
deduction for charitable giving into a tax credit, which would give all donors the same level of tax benefit
regardless of tax bracket. Under this plan, the credit would only be available for donations worth more than 2
percent of a taxpayer‘s ―adjusted gross income.‖

A recent proposal by the Bipartisan Policy Center would also turn the deduction into a tax credit but without an
income limit. The center predicts that its proposal would ―broaden the pool of people who donate to charity,‖
and potentially benefit religious organizations and those serving the poor because those categories are generally
preferred by low- and moderate-income donors.

In an innovative twist, the Bipartisan Policy Center would send the tax credit directly to the charitable
institution rather than to the taxpayer. This is how charitable incentives work in the United Kingdom, and it
might be a more administrable way of delivering a federal matching payment. In the United States, however,
direct government payments to churches may present thorny constitutional issues.

Like all tax expenditures, the deduction for charitable contributions should be assessed periodically for
effectiveness alongside other government programs.

Seth Hanlon is Director of Fiscal Reform for CAP's Doing What Works project. We hope you’ll find this series
useful, and we encourage your feedback. Please write to Seth directly with any questions, comments, or

The Pew Charitable Trust’s Subsidyscope project has assembled additional background and data on the
charitable deduction, available here.

Next week: A closer look at the tax-privileged treatment of capital gains on assets held until death.
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Labor market moving in two directions at the same

Heidi Shierholz
February 4, 2011


This month‘s Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the labor market moving in two directions at the same
time, with employers reporting disappointing payroll job growth of only 36,000, but households reporting large
employment gains (after removing the effect of new population weights). Some of the lack of payroll jobs
growth can be chalked up to unusually cold weather in January and snowstorms in the Midwest and Northeast
during the reference week. Given the confounding nature of this report, we will have to wait at least another
month to see if the labor market is rebounding strongly.

Aside from today‘s muddled picture, one thing is crystal clear: the U.S. labor market started 2011 with half a
million fewer jobs than it had 11 years ago in January 2000. Today‘s numbers are a testament to both the
enormity of the current labor market crisis as well as the very weak job growth of the 2000-07 business cycle.

Unemployment and the labor force

After accounting for the effect of new official population weights, the labor force held steady in January. The
new population controls, however, show that the labor force is around half a million workers smaller than
previously thought. In January, the labor force participation rate was 64.2%, the lowest point of the recession.
Astonishingly, the labor force is three-quarters of a million workers smaller than it was before the recession
started. It would have been expected to increase by roughly 4.1 million workers from December 2007 to
January 2010 given working-age population growth over this period. Thus, as the Figure shows, the pool of
―missing workers,‖ that is, workers who dropped out of (or didn‘t enter) the labor force during the downturn,
numbers 4.9 million. If just half of these workers were currently in the labor force and officially counted
among the unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 10.5% instead of 9.0%. None of these workers is
reflected in the official unemployment count, but their eventual entry or re-entry into the labor force will
contribute to keeping the unemployment rate high going forward.

Demographic breakdowns of labor force participation

Except for older workers, essentially all major demographic groups have experienced substantial decreases in
labor force participation over this downturn. Men, racial and ethnic minorities, workers with lower levels of
schooling, and young workers have experienced the largest declines.

 Since December 2007, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) has decreased by 2.7 percentage points
among men (dropping to 70.4%) and by 1.1 point among women (to 58.3%).
 Since December 2007, the LFPR has decreased by 1.7 points among black workers (to 61.7%), by 1.4
points among Hispanic workers (to 67.1%), and by 1.9 points among white workers (to 64.5%).
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 For workers age 25 or older, high-school-educated workers saw a decrease in LFPR of 2.4 points to
(60.3%) since December 2007,, and those with a college degree saw a drop of 1.6 points (to 76.4%).
 Since December 2007, the LFPR has decreased by 4.0 points among workers age 16-24 (to 55.2%), by
1.4 points among workers age 25-54 (to 81.7%), and it has increased by 1.0 points among workers age
55 and over (to 39.9%).

Long-term unemployment

Starting in January 2011, respondents are now able to report unemployment durations of up to five years (prior
to this, the Current Population Survey only recorded unemployment durations of up to two years). This change
does not affect the share of the unemployed who have been jobless for more than six months or the median
unemployment duration, but it does affect the mean unemployment duration, as people who have been
unemployed for longer than two years report higher numbers. The mean unemployment duration in January
was 36.9 weeks (up from 34.2 weeks in December), and the median was 21.8 (down slightly from 22.4 weeks in
December). The share of unemployed workers who have been without work for over six months decreased in
January, from 44.3% to 43.8%, but still remains one of the highest on record. In January, a total of 6.2 million
workers have been unemployed for longer than six months.

Hours and earnings

The length of the average workweek declined in January to 34.2 hours, though that decline may have been
weather-related to some degree. At this point, the workweek has seen no net growth since May (its low point of
the downturn was 33.7 hours in June 2009, but it is still below its 2007 average of 34.6). Average hourly wages
grew little in January (by eight cents), and have grown at a 1.6% annualized rate over the last three months.
Weekly wages increased by only 46 cents, from $781.35 to $781.81, and have grown at a 0.4% annualized rate
over the last three months.

Industry sectors
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The public sector again reflected state and local budget problems, with state government employment losing
2,000 jobs and local government employment dropping by 10,000. Since their employment peak in August
2008, state and local governments have shed 426,000 jobs (69,000 state jobs, 357,000 local).

The private sector added 50,000 jobs in January. Of these gains, 32,000 were in private service-providing
industries, and 18,000 were in goods-producing industries. Manufacturing gained 49,000 jobs, positive news
after adding just 8,000 per month on average in the fourth quarter of 2010. Construction declined significantly
in January, dropping 32,000 jobs, after declining an average of 9,000 per month in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Construction employment was likely affected by an unusually cold January and snowstorms during the
reference week in the Midwest and Northeast.

Leisure and hospitality had a disappointing January, shedding 3,000 jobs. This sector may also have been
affected by the snowstorms, but the decline was actually smaller than the average decline of 13,000 in the fourth
quarter of 2010. In what also may be at least partially a consequence of the nation‘s inclement weather,
transportation and warehousing was down 38,000 after increasing an average of 24,800 per month in the fourth
quarter of 2010. Retail trade increased by 28,000 in January, as consumer spending is reviving somewhat. This
growth, however, came on the heels of a disappointing end to 2010, where retail trade added just 5,000 per
month, on average, in the fourth quarter of 2010. Health care added 11,000 jobs, a decline over the 26,000
average over the prior three months. Temporary help services declined by 11,000 after adding an average of
31,000 per month in the fourth quarter of 2010. The decline in temporary help services does not bode well for
future hiring.


The underemployment rate (i.e., the U-6 measure of labor underutilization) is a more comprehensive measure of
labor market slack than the unemployment rate because it includes not just the officially unemployed but also
jobless workers who have given up looking for work and people who want full-time jobs but have had to settle
for part-time work. (Note, however, it does not include people who are underemployed in the sense that they
have had to take a job that is below their skills, training, or experience level.) This measure improved in
January, to 16.1%, due in large part to a substantial decline (524,000) in the number of involuntary part-time
workers. The number of marginally attached workers, on the other hand, increased by 151,000. In January,
there were 25.1 million workers who were either un- or underemployed.

Data revisions

Revisions to the establishment data, including annual benchmark adjustments, showed that the country had
483,000 fewer jobs last December than previously estimated. The data now show that the country lost 8.7
million jobs from December 2007, the start of the Great Recession, to February 2010, the revised employment
trough. Today‘s report caps off 11 months of private-sector job growth, with the labor market adding 1.0
million jobs over that period. However, the labor market remains 7.7 million payroll jobs below where it was at
the start of the recession three years and one month ago. Unfortunately, this number vastly understates the size
of the gap in the labor market by failing to take into account the fact that simply keeping up with the growth in
the working-age population would have required the addition of another 3.7 million jobs over this period. In
essence, the labor market is now 11.4 million jobs below the level needed to restore the pre-recession
unemployment rate (5.0% in December 2007). So, despite the job growth of the last year, we remain near the
bottom of a very deep hole. To achieve the pre-recession unemployment rate in five years, the labor market
would have to add 285,000 jobs every month for the next 60 months in a row.

—Kathryn Edwards and Andrew Green provided research assistance.

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The Outrageous Ways Your Phone Company May

Be Stealing from You
By David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick, AlterNet
Posted on February 9, 2011, Printed on February 10, 2011

Cramming, slamming and ramming are three of a growing number of scams being perpetrated on unaware
telephone, wireless and Internet customers.

In simplest terms, the major scams are defined as follows:

 Cramming is the illegal practice of placing unauthorized charges on your local, long-distance or wireless
telephone bill, usually by a third party not known to the customer.
 Slamming is the illegal practice of switching a telephone customer’s long-distance service provider to another
carrier without the customer’s permission.

These scams have been around for years but continue to be replayed on unwitting telephone customers.
However, the newest scam, ramming, adds a new dimension to the game:

 Ramming is the illegal practice by which a phone company‘s customer is put on a service plan or package s/he
did not need or want or cannot even use. It includes the “gimme” when the advertised price is 20-50 percent
less than what a customer is actually charged.

An estimated 80 percent of phone company customers have been overcharged or are on plans they did not need
or even order. These and other scams can cost residential customers $20 or more a month extra and small
business customers up to thousands of dollars a month.

Can you easily identify these charges on your phone bill? Good luck. Your bill is designed to be unreadable and
most people just pay the total charge and go on with their lives. Is there any better way to rip off consumers?


Cramming has been getting some attention recently. Early in January 2011, the attorney general of Minnesota,
Lori Swanson, sued a Pennsylvania company, Cheap2Dial Telephone LLC, for illegally billing more than 2,500
Minnesota consumers since 2008 for long-distance services they didn't authorize or use. According to Swanson,
a monthly charge of about $17 went mostly unnoticed on phone bills of these people. For three years, the scam
totaled more than $1.5 million.

Last September, Willoughby Farr, of West Palm Beach, FL, received a 21-year federal prison sentence for
cramming. From April 2003 to December 2005, while Farr was incarcerated in the West Palm Beach County
Jail he used three West Palm Beach companies -- Nationwide Connections Inc., Access One Communications
Inc., and Connect One Communications Inc. -- to defraud telephone customers of approximately $35 million in
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collect calls. Because the charges typically appeared on the last page of consumers‘ telephone bills, people
automatically paid the charges.

The charges often involve such non-basic services as voice mail, a one-time charge for entertainment services,
or a non-recurring monthly charge.

Cramming has long attracted scam artists. In 2004, two alleged Gambino crime-family members were busted
for running a cramming scheme that ripped-off phone customers for an estimated $200 million through bogus
charges. The scam suckered consumers responding to ads offering free trials for dating services, adult chat lines
and psychic consultants. Once the respondent‘s name and number were captured, they were charged as much as
$40 a month on their phone bills for services they didn't order and never used; the charges were billed under
innocuous terms like "voice mail."

―Modem hijacking‖ is a variation on cramming. It takes place when software, typically delivered via a pop-up
ad or free screensaver, is downloaded onto a computer via an Internet connection, and uses connecting software
to illegally reroute the computer connection to a different service provider. However, online fees associated
with the new connection are often far more expensive.

Slamming, the practice of switching a telephone customer‘s long-distance service provider to another carrier
without the customer‘s permission, has also attracted sophisticated scam artists. While the Federal
Communications Committee (FCC) and state regulators have helped curb the practice, it still persists.

In May 2010, Silv Communications, a Los Angeles based interexchange carrier that routes and processes
Internet telephone services for small businesses, was fined $1.4 million for deceptive practices. According to
the complaints submitted to the FCC, Silv telemarketers, who claimed to represent AT&T, offered respondents
a deal they couldn‘t refuse -- they only had to switch to another long-distance provider.

In 2008, the FCC imposed a $5.1 million forfeiture action against Las Vegas-based Horizon Telecom for
slamming. Earlier, in 2005, Sprint agreed to a $4 million FCC consent decree to resolve a slamming

―Sliding‖ is a form of slamming. It takes place when a phone company uses a customer's request for a change in
service to add, change or ―slide‖ the customer to an unauthorized telephone service. For example, a customer
may request to change their long-distance service provider. When the customer receives their telephone bill,
they discover that their regional toll service was also changed, but without the customer‘s permission.


Ramming, a term coined by Bruce Kushnick, is the biggest and most unknown of these scams. It takes place
when an existing phone company customer is put on a package that s/he did not need or want or cannot even
use. The customer is usually offered a special price discount that has nothing to do with the actual costs a
customer pays. Three examples from New York small businesses who are Verizon customers illustrate how the
scam works. (The companies‘ phone bills were audited by Teletruth.)

 A local fruit and vegetable grocer was put on an international calling plan along with unlimited local and long
distance calling plan, but made no calls. The overcharging came to $750 annually.
 A 24-hour grocery store with only one phone line was put on a plan promoted as an “unlimited toll call” package
that included caller ID and voice mail. Unfortunately, the grocer did not have a caller ID-capable phone (and
didn’t order the package), nor did the grocer know what a “toll call” meant. The store only needed “basic” POTS
(i.e., plain old telephone service) and was overcharged $52 a month.
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 A local deli has a two-line service. One line is dedicated to an ATM machine but was bundled with four different
transaction packages, including two “Centrex” services with features that were never turned on and couldn’t be
used on an ATM line. The second line was an unlimited package for local, long distance and toll calls as well as
two packages of calling features. The customer never ordered any of these services and the overcharge was $72
a month -- and this racket went on for six years!

Ramming is not limited to small businesses. Larger companies, non-profits, school boards and municipalities
are systematically ripped-off up to $20,000 to $50,000 a year. An audit of a Washington DC
telecommunications firm found over $10 million in missing lines and other overcharges.

Be wary of the too-good-to-be-true gimme, as it usually is a come-on for ramming. One of the more annoying
features of a gimme is when the customer orders a service and they learn they were not told the truth about the
total costs. On an average advertised plan, the difference can be 20-50 percent more money for the service in
addition to a litany of one-time charges that were not discussed in detail or itemized when the customer
purchased the plan.

Another annoying feature takes place when the customer purchases something offered as a special promotional
offering and doesn‘t realize that it expires in 30 days to one year. Most often, such a special comes with
unstated price hikes up to 50 percent that kick in when the offer expires. One of the newest scams is shifting
customers from traditional ―month-to-month‖ plans to ―contracts‖ that obligate them to one-, two- or three-year
agreements; if one ―breaks‖ the contact, one incurs exorbitant penalties.

One would think that Congress, the FCC or even state public utility commissions (PUCs) would have addressed
some of these egregious acts. They have, sadly, abdicated their obligations, only serving the interests of the
telecom companies. The FCC, for example, doesn‘t even use actual phone bills in its creation of the rate
information, relying instead on self-serving corporate ―data.‖

For more on cramming, slamming and ramming, visit Teletruth‘s Web site, www.teletruth.org.

David Rosen is a regular contributor to CounterPunch and Z-magazine. Bruce Kushnick is a

telecommunications industry analyst who serves as the broadband and telecommunications expert for Harvard
Nieman’s Foundation for Journalism’s Watchdog, and a founding member of Teletruth, a customer advocacy
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Making Good on the Cairo Speech

The United States must now develop a coherent approach to the fact of political Islam.

Matthew Duss | January 31, 2011 | web only


The protests currently gripping Egypt caught everyone, including President Barack Obama, off guard. While it's
been good to see the Obama administration coming out more strongly behind the protesters' democratic
demands, warning longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak away from a violent crackdown, and having no less than
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for an orderly ―transition to democracy‖ (a welcome sign the
administration is thinking seriously about a post-Mubarak Egypt) -- it is imperative the administration provide a
more robust and strategic response to these events, given what a new Egypt could portend for the entire region.

President Obama himself provided a blueprint for this new approach in his June 2009 Cairo speech. Many
progressives, this writer included, were thrilled by what we saw as that speech's promise to move away from a
Middle East policy in which political freedom was subordinated to the perceived imperatives of counter-
radicalism, and toward a more measured opening of political systems to greater participation and accountability.
Progressives have likewise been disappointed at the lack of follow-through. These continuing uprisings offer
the president an opportunity to make good on that promise.

A significant element of the Cairo speech was what many saw as Obama's message to Egypt's Muslim
Brotherhood, members of whose affiliated parliamentary bloc (the party itself is officially outlawed) were in
attendance, at the administration's request, and to Islamists across the region.

"America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we
disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments -- provided they govern with
respect for all their people," Obama said. He then laid down this marker:

There are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless
in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people
sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you
must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place
the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these
ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Even though the Brotherhood has not been very much in evidence in the protests, by most accounts, it remains
the best-organized political opposition in Egypt, a situation carefully maintained by Mubarak himself to justify
his continued rule by presenting himself and his regime as a bulwark against Islamic extremism.
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Founded in Egypt in 1928 by schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna as a populist social movement aimed at returning
Egyptian society to its Islamic roots, the Muslim Brotherhood is the seminal Islamist organization in the Middle
East, influencing groups from al-Qaeda to Iraq's Shia Da'wa Party. While it supported the Egyptian revolution
of 1952, the organization soon fell out with the new government of Gamal Abdel Nasser. An attempt on
Nasser‘s life by a member of the Brotherhood in 1954 led to the organization being outlawed and to a prolonged
period of repression.

Though still officially outlawed, the Brotherhood has continued to play a role in Egyptian society as a social-
religious movement, eschewing violence and condemning terrorism. Its affiliated representatives scored
significant victories in Egypt's 2005 parliamentary elections, though they lost many of those seats in the most
recent elections, whose fairness was heavily criticized.

Concern over the Brotherhood's influence in any new government is palpable in Washington. Conservative Fox
News has, unsurprisingly, been covering the events almost exclusively through the lens of a looming Iranian-
style radical Islamist takeover of Egypt. Appearing on Thursday, former ambassador John Bolton gave voice to
these fears. "I think the question is whether and to what extent the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamists
have infiltrated the leadership," Bolton said. "I don't think we have evidence yet that these demonstrations are
necessarily about democracy."

National Review's Victor Davis Hanson similarly warned against Islamist influence. "Islamists may eventually
hijack the popular outrage against authoritarianism,‖ Hanson wrote, but "there will probably be no such popular
violent unrest in Iraq where an elected and popular government is legitimate."

The evocation of Iraq here is ironic, given that the Iraq War helped create the region's first Islamist-dominated
government. Though undertaken as part of an effort to stem the growing influence of political Islam, the Iraq
War resulted in a government dominated by Shia Islamist parties like the Da'wa, the Sadrists, and the Islamic
Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI). Notwithstanding the rather humorous attempts of some neocons to argue that
the Egyptian protests vindicate the Iraq War, the one area in which the new Iraq could plausibly provide a
model for the region -- enabling Islamists to govern -- is one that the war's architects absolutely did not intend.

The inability to develop a coherent approach to the fact of political Islam was a big part of what
discombobulated the Bush administration's "freedom agenda." Both the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and
Hamas -- the Brotherhood‘s Palestinian affiliate -- effectively exploited the U.S. war in Iraq for political profit,
achieving substantial electoral gains in 2005 and 2006. The Bush administration responded by reversing its
tentative steps toward democracy promotion in the region, standing by as Mubarak once again jailed opposition
figures, and supporting a disastrous coup attempt in Palestine that resulted in Hamas taking over the Gaza Strip.

Getting our approach to Islamism right will be a key element of our relationship with the changing region.
"Political Islam is the single most active political force in the Middle East today," wrote the Brookings
Institution's Shadi Hamid in a January 2010 report. While noting the variety of approaches and doctrines cast
together under the heading "Islamist," according to Hamid, "The future of relations between Western nations
and the Middle East may be largely determined by the degree to which the former engage non-violent Islamist
parties in a broad dialogue over shared interests and objectives."

Given the amount of right-wing energy being spent scaring Americans about extremist Muslims under their
beds and "creeping Sharia" phantoms in their closets, such a shift in posture toward engaging with Islamists is
far easier talked about than implemented. But this is a policy fight that the administration must take on. Casting
"Islamism" writ large as inherently violent and irretrievably hostile to democracy is not only incorrect; it also
strategically short-sighted. It deprives us of a potentially valuable tool for isolating and dividing violent
Islamists like al-Qaeda, with whom we have nothing to talk about, from nonviolent ones like the Muslim
Brotherhood, with whom we very possibly do.
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The events in Egypt should be seen as more than simply a moment of crisis for a U.S. ally -- they represent an
opportunity to begin to rethink America's relationship with the peoples of the Middle East. Political Islam will
continue to play a part in that relationship, like it or not. President Obama seemed to recognize this in his 2009
Cairo speech, and it's time that he acts upon it. To be clear: We should be under no illusions that Islamists are
merely liberals in disguise. They hold many views that many Americans (and many Egyptians) find retrograde,
but they are a fact of political life in the Middle East. The U.S. doesn't have the ability to make Islamism
disappear, but we can choose to help develop pluralistic systems that can accommodate religiously oriented
political actors while securing all peoples' basic rights. If we're serious about democracy, there's no other option.
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Rex Nutting

Feb. 9, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EST

Wealth of black families has

Commentary: Progress of a whole generation is just gone

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Great Recession has been hard on almost everyone, but it‘s been really
tough on black households, who have seen much of the economic progress of the past generation disappear.

Despite high-profile success stories such as Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey, the typical black family is poorer
by some standards today than it was nearly 30 years ago. In a country where access to capital is everything,
most blacks have nothing.

Part of the story of the recession is a story about jobs. The unemployment rate for most demographic groups
essentially doubled during the recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For blacks, the jobless rate
rose from 7.7% to 16.5%, while the jobless rate for whites went
from 3.9% to 9%.

Those disparities in employment are well known. What‘s not fully

appreciated is how deeply the recession cut into the incomes of
black households, and how the recession devastated the wealth of
black families.

Median household income for blacks fell 7.2% from 2007 to

2009, significantly more than the 4.2% decline for whites or the
4.9% drop in Hispanics‘ income, according to the Census Bureau.
(The median means half of households had more, half had less.) See the data on median income at the Census
Bureau‘s website.

It‘s not until you look at the figures for net worth — assets minus liabilities — that you can understand just how
marginalized blacks are in our capitalist society.


Most blacks really don‘t have any capital at all. The average black person leaves his or her heirs just enough to
pay the undertaker, with the typical black household‘s net worth totaling just $2,200, according to the latest

Let‘s be clear: The vast majority of wealth in this country is owned by a few people, mostly white. It‘s
estimated that about 80% of all wealth is owned by 20% of the people, while about a third is owned by the top
1%. About 40% have no wealth at all.

What little wealth the typical black family has is mostly tied up in the house. With housing prices falling for the
past five years, black wealth has been wiped out.
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The typical black family had about three times as much wealth in 1983 than it did in 2009 — $6,300 in
inflation-adjusted terms in 1983 compared with just $2,200 in 2009, according to an analysis of the Federal
Reserve‘s Survey of Consumer Finances. Read more about the survey on the Fed‘s website.

The figures are shocking. In 2001, the median net worth of a white family stood at $124,600. For blacks, the
median wealth was $12,500. For every dollar of wealth owned by the typical white family, the typical black
family had 10 cents. Remember, these are figures for middle-class families.

By 2007, the median wealth for white families hit $143,600, thanks to the housing bubble and a stock-market
rally. But blacks were left behind. They don‘t own many financial assets, and they missed out on the housing
bubble almost completely. Their net worth fell to $9,300. For every dollar of capital owned by middle-class
whites, middle-class blacks had 6 cents.

Then things got even uglier. By 2009, the typical white family had $94,600 in wealth, compared with $2,200 for
blacks, according to an analysis by economist Edward Wolff. Blacks had 2 cents on the dollar.
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Guest post: UK Uncut, the start of something beautiful

Posted on Sat 29th Jan 2011, 4:46pm

This is a guest post by Nicholas Shaxson, a journalist, writer, consultant, and author of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and
the Men Who Stole the World.


A few days ago Ben from UK Uncut requested a blog piece, asking for some thoughts about the movement and
where it might be headed. ―We don't have any money, little expertise and we're kind of winging it,‖ he said.
―But it seems to be going well and we seem to have hit a nerve.‖ Absolutely - and it has hit the right nerve. This
is, for me, the most exciting, original and well-aimed street protest movement I‘ve seen.

But UK Uncut probably can‘t keep shutting shops forever. Is this a beautiful firework display that temporarily
lights up the night sky? Or is this the start of something bigger, stronger and more enduring?

It has to be the latter. It has to be. And it can be.

The whole world needs you I am not exaggerating when I say that the whole world – not just Britain - needs
UK Uncut. Britain is ground zero for the biggest part of the global offshore system. Here‘s a very brief
overview of how it all works. First, ordinary Britons are losing billions to tax havens through the legal and
illegal dodges of wealthy individuals and corporations. Corporations and wealthy individuals get poorer British
people to pay their taxes for them, and money effectively flows out. Second, Britain is a tax haven in its own
right too. It controls a network of tax havens around the world – from Jersey to the Caymans – which hoovers
up money from around the world and funnels it into the City of London.

But the offshore money flowing into Britain does not compensate for the outflows. The inflows have created
too-big-to-fail banks, crowded out manufacturing; boosted inequality; blown wasteful property bubbles,
corrupted markets, provided secrecy to cover up all manner of crimes, and put our politicians ever more in hock
to a rampant City. Some of Britain‘s finest minds are wasted on designing complex offshore tax strategies and
the dangerous financial activities associated with ‗light touch regulation.‘

Then there is the harm Britain‘s tax havens wreak on other countries around the world – which is an even bigger

This is the great untold story of globalisation. My book Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who
Stole the World lays all this out in organised detail for the first time The key point here is that tax avoidance by
big multinationals is just a part – albeit a very important part – of a bigger and even nastier picture: tax havens
and the global offshore system. This is massive. Tax havens and offshore finance have been metastatising
through the global economy since the 1970s: the unseen component of financial globalisation. They lie at the
heart of the global economy. Half of all world trade passes through tax havens.

This is not about a few celebrity tax-dodgers, spivs and mafiosi: as UK Uncut has recognised, this is also about
multinational corporations – and, most importantly, about banks. Recently the Mail on Sunday found that
Barclays, Lloyds and RBS have over 550 tax haven subsidiaries between them.
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If UK Uncut wants to become a big, enduring movement then it is important to see how the jigsaw fits together.
UK Uncut is tackling one important part. It can now widen its perspective to encompass the rest. Then the
possibilities for creative protest – and many other forms of action – begin to proliferate.

The time for change is now In the past year or so, something in the zeitgeist has changed in Britain. The
government‘s shocking austerity programme – to which UK Uncut is offering a clear and unambiguous
alternative – is part of the reason. But there is more. Some obscure history might help identify the opportunity
now at hand.

In 1986 John Christensen, a native of the British tax haven of Jersey, returned to Britain after working overseas
and resolved research the tax havens. He combed libraries and asked all the experts. ‗There was no useful
information anywhere,‘ he remembers. The offshore system was invisible.

Going home to Jersey, he went under cover. He worked first in an accountancy firm then became the tax
haven‘s Economic Adviser, (and started a family). He left in 1998, worked in a private firm in London while
doing more tax haven research, until 2002 when three Jersey dissidents visited him at home, and asked him to
―rescue our island‖ from its capture by the offshore finance industry. By November 2002 he and a few others
agreed to found the Tax Justice Network, with the aim of taking on the tax havens. They soon joined up with
highly effective campaigning chartered accountant Richard Murphy.

It was hard to start with. ―In 2005 were were treated as radical eccentrics,‖ Christensen remembers. ―I got a
strong sense of ‗oh, not them again, wittering on about tax havens: go away, we‘ve got important work to do.‘ ‖
In the media, in academic circles, in the wider public, the issue was dead. But, bit by bit, the lights began to go
on in people‘s heads. I began working with them in 2007, and have watched as the network‘s profile has risen
steadily. We were all elated to see UK Uncut emerge, spontaneously, late last year. For us it marks the start of a
new phase of public interest and engagement.

There is a whole new field of economic and political analysis being developed here, and a whole new way of
looking at the world. We have discovered that you can kill the defenders of offshore finance, with the force of
our arguments. Until organised resistance to tax havens appeared in the last three or four years, the lobbyists
could spout the most fatuous arguments, and nobody stood up to point out the idiocy of their positions. That has
now changed. Intellectually, the defenders of tax havens haven‘t a leg to stand on – though some of their
arguments are admittedly a bit slippery. Watch Christensen debating against City lawyers and financiers: it is a
joy to behold. (The Tax Justice Network has a whole elaborate website and blog dedicated to this; I dissect most
of the basic tax haven arguments here; and next week we start a new project in earnest, to start to make our
materials more accessible to a wider public.) It‘s hardly surprising that a senior (anonymous) company
executive recently confessed that "This [UK Uncut] is the most difficult communications issue I have ever

Few members of UK Uncut, I imagine, understand the full details of the multinationals‘ deliberately complex
tax shenanigans. But all grasp the basic point: that these corporations are using tax havens to wriggle out of
paying taxes, and the rest of us must pay their taxes for them or see our public services crumble. That this is an
alternative to austerity.

My humble advice to UK Uncut, then, if I may, is this. Keep at it: this is an issue whose time has come. The
arguments are on our side. One step at a time, keep learning, never lose sight of multinational tax avoidance, but
expand the focus beyond that, to understand the whole system of tax havens.

We in Britain have a special responsibility: our lawyers, our bankers, our accountants and our politicians have
led the way in creating the modern global offshore system. This is probably the biggest single reason why poor
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countries remain poor, and why Britain is so unequal. If we don‘t do something about this, we are all complicit
in what I would argue is the biggest crime in modern economic history.
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Reality TV: Harmless Entertainment or Bloodsport?

Is Reality TV Harmless or Bloodsport?

Social Dependence and Independence
by C. Nathan DeWall, Ph.D.
Published on January 27, 2009

What do Brett Michaels and Julius Caesar have in common? At first blush, nothing. Whereas Michaels
conquered stadium rock, Caesar conquered entire civilizations. Michaels dons his head with scarves, whereas
Caesar preferred a lite leaf setting on his cranium. Yet these two men share a great deal of similarity. They both
inflict pain on others publicly.

People have many basic motivations that play strong roles in shaping their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Many reality television programs involve situations in which one
particular motivation-the need for positive and lasting relationships-is
thwarted. People vote others off the island ("Survivor"), kick unwanted
roommates out of the house ("Big Brother"), or, in the case of Mr.
Michaels ("Rock of Love") and other celebrities in search of love (Flavor
Flav, Tila Tequila, and several others), reject potential romantic mates
from lavish rental homes. Millions of viewers watch with bated breath as
the host informs the unwilling participant, frequently with pregnant
pauses, that they have been rejected.

Julius Caesar did something similar with gladiatorial bouts. Just like the basic desire to have nice and lasting
relationships, people have a natural instinct to have physical safety. Caesar organized a forum in which a
multitude of viewers watched gladiators try to avoid mortal injury. Crowds quieted to a hush as Caesar gave the
final order to deliver the final blow or to grant the gladiator a stay of execution. Sound eerily similar to reality

The similarity between reality TV and ancient bloodsport is compounded when considering neuroscientific and
psychological evidence showing quite a bit of similarity between socially painful events like rejection and
physical pain. At a purely linguistic level, people tend to describe their rejection experiences using words
commonly associated with physical pain. Rejected people say their feelings were "hurt," that they felt "crushed"
or even "broken-hearted." This similarity extends beyond mere metaphor. Experiencing rejection activates the
same brain regions that become activated when people experience physical pain. And severe exclusionary
experiences cause humans and non-human animals to experience physical numbness in the same way as severe
physical injury does.

The link between social rejection and physical pain creates further problems for reality TV. A growing body of
literature demonstrates that exposure to physical violence causes people to experience aggressive emotions, to
think hostile thoughts, and to behave aggressively. Playing violent video games, listening to songs with violent
lyrics, or watching violent movies all lead to these sorts of aggressive outcomes. If the body responds to social
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rejection in the same manner as physical injury, then witnessing another person experience rejection might have
a similar impact as watching a person experience unwanted physical pain.

The purpose of this post is not to condemn reality TV as the bane of all media. Others have done that. Viewers
should realize what goes into the media they're consuming. Reality TV thrives on the need for social
connection. Thwarting that need through rejecting contestants illustrates an outcome that people love to watch,
but an outcome that they're fundamentally motivated to avoid. And so the next time you see Brett Michaels, Jeff
Probst from Survivor, or Julie Chen from Big Brother begin the sequence that will ultimately result in another
person's demise from the show, ask yourself why you're drawn to watch-and whether the pain is worth it.
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Gold’s Costly Dividend

Human Rights Impacts of Papua New Guinea’s Porgera Gold Mine



Many of Papua New Guinea‘s most intractable problems are inextricably bound up with the country‘s most
promising sources of wealth. Mining, gas, timber, and other extractive industries are the most productive sectors
of Papua New Guinea‘s otherwise ailing economy. But exploitation of these resources has also led to violence,
human rights abuse, corruption, and environmental damage.

The Porgera gold mine—the subject of this report—is a potent symbol of both the perils and the financial
rewards that extractive industries hold for Papua New Guinea. The mine is 95 percent owned and solely
operated by Barrick Gold, a Canadian corporation that is the world‘s largest gold mining company. It has been a
central part of Papua New Guinea‘s economy since it opened in 1990, but its operations have consistently been
mired in controversy and tarnished by allegations of abuse.

This report is, first and foremost, an attempt to set the record straight on one of the world‘s most
controversial—and most misunderstood—mining ventures. The following pages describe a pattern of violent
abuses, including horrifying acts of gang rape, carried out by members of the mine‘s private security force in
2009 and 2010. They also recount Barrick‘s history of angrily dismissing human rights and environmental
concerns that the company should have treated more seriously and dealt with more transparently. On the other
hand the report also describes how more recently, Barrick has taken some meaningful steps—and promised
others—to address some of the mine‘s most serious human rights problems.

Porgera sits in a remote part of Papua New Guinea‘s restive highlands that the government had largely ignored
until the mine‘s development. Because of the mine, Porgera has gone from being a forgotten backwater to one
of the primary engines of the national economy. Since 1990 the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) has produced more
than 16 million ounces of gold and accounted for roughly 12 percent of Papua New Guinea‘s total exports.
Barrick acquired the mine in 2006 when it took over Placer Dome, the Canadian company that had developed
the mine and operated it from the time it opened.

The Porgera mine has always been controversial. For years, local activists have alleged that mine security
personnel carry out extrajudicial killings and other violent abuses against illegal miners and other local
residents. The mine has also been widely condemned for discharging six million tons of liquid tailings (mine
waste) into the nearby Porgera River each year, a dangerous policy that is not consistent with industry good
practice. The relationship between the mine‘s management and its most prominent local critics is deeply
dysfunctional, with both sides often more focused on attacking one another than addressing issues of mutual
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In spite of all the wealth it generates, Porgera still suffers from poverty and a dearth of basic government
services. Government authorities have also failed to address new local problems that are directly related to the
mine‘s development, including the health impacts of mercury use by small-scale and illegal miners in the area.

Violent insecurity is a chronic problem around Porgera, in part because the mine has attracted economic
migrants, a diverse group including men, women, and children. Many engage in illegal mining and some
participate in violent crime and other activities that destabilize the area. For most people this amounts to a
dreary and non-violent routine, chipping away at discarded bits of rock on the mine‘s vast waste dumps for a
paltry income. But some illegal miners organize daring, violent raids on the mine‘s open pit, underground
tunnels, or stockpile areas, often clashing with mine security personnel. These raids occur almost every night.

The government has consistently failed to maintain law and order in the face of these security challenges. There
is widespread public distrust of police in Papua New Guinea due to the force‘s reputation for violent abuses and
incompetence. Only a handful of poorly equipped regular police officers are deployed to Porgera, where they
are not just responsible for the mine, but also for policing a region plagued by violent crime and frequent tribal
fights. Largely for this reason, Barrick employs nearly 450 private security personnel under PJV‘s Asset
Protection Department. It is also an important reason why, in 2009, Barrick agreed to bear most of the cost of a
government deployment of mobile police squads to Porgera. Both courses of action have led to serious
accusations of abuse against the company.

After acquiring the mine in 2006 Barrick took a number of steps intended to make the security force it inherited
from Placer Dome more disciplined and in line with international norms like the Voluntary Principles on
Security and Human Rights, which Barrick joined in October 2010. But as this report shows, those steps were
inadequate and failed to prevent serious abuses including abuse of people in custody, excessive use of force,
and even gang rape.

Human Rights Watch‘s research found that mine security personnel were generally well-disciplined when faced
with the most challenging situations they have to deal with, violent nighttime raids by illegal miners on the
central areas of the mine. But when operating further afield—and under less rigorous supervision by
superiors—some security personnel have committed violent abuses against men and women, many of them
illegal miners engaged in nonviolent scavenging for scraps of rock. The abuses investigated by Human Rights
Watch all occurred on or near the sprawling waste dumps around the mine.

Human Rights Watch documented five alleged incidents of gang rape by mine security personnel in 2009 and
2010, and a sixth in 2008. We believe these incidents represent a broader pattern of abuse by some PJV security
personnel. Subsequent investigations carried out by Barrick and by the Papua New Guinea police in response to
Human Rights Watch‘s allegations have discovered other alleged incidents of rape by PJV security personnel,
separate from those documented by Human Rights Watch. In January 2011 PJV announced that it was firing 6
employees for involvement in, or failure to report, alleged incidents of sexual violence. Some of those
individuals were subsequently arrested by the police.

Some of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch described scenes of true brutality. One woman told
how she was gang raped by six guards after one of them kicked her in the face and shattered her teeth. Another
said she and three other women were raped by ten security personnel, one of whom forced her to swallow a
used condom that he had used while raping two other victims.

Several women said that after arresting them for illegal mining on the waste dumps, guards gave them a
―choice‖ of submitting to gang rape or going to prison to face fines and possible jail time. But in some of those
cases the women said that guards raped them even after they pleaded with their assailants to take them to jail.
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In Porgera, rape survivors have few options for assistance or redress. The women that Human Rights Watch
spoke to said they feared reporting abuses to the authorities given the fear of retribution, the threat of
punishment for illegal mining, and the social stigma that affects rape victims around Porgera. These fears are
heightened in a country where abuses by the police are endemic and complaints of sexual harassment and
violence by police officers is common. Furthermore, Barrick did not establish safe or accessible channels for
community members to report abuses by Barrick employees directly to company authorities.

Human Rights Watch also interviewed people who said that mine security guards beat them up or threatened
them after they were already in custody, or that guards used excessive force to apprehend them. Some people
alleged that they were kicked or punched while lying handcuffed on the ground or on the floor of security
personnel‘s cars. Others said that they were tear-gassed or shot with less lethal projectile weapons without any
warning or chance to surrender. One 15-year-old boy told us that security guards threatened to unleash an attack
dog on him after he had already been detained and handcuffed.

In addition to all of this, Barrick has come under considerable fire for abuses carried out by mobile police
squads that have been deployed to Porgera since 2009 to improve the overall law and order situation in the area.
The company houses and feeds the mobile squads and provides other material support to them. Some critics
argue that Barrick should withdraw this support, but company officials say the government would not sustain
the deployment if it did so. Overall, the mobile deployment has contributed to a sharp reduction in violent crime
and insecurity around Porgera that is welcomed by most local residents. But its members have also been
implicated in serious abuses, most notably the 2009 destruction of a community called Wuangima and the
forced eviction of its residents.

Too often, Barrick has responded with dismissive hostility to concerns about its human rights record at Porgera.
But more recently the company appears to be making substantial efforts to engage more constructively and
transparently with these issues. Human Rights Watch carried on a sustained dialogue with company officials
regarding the allegations in this report. Barrick retained former Commissioner of Police and Ombudsman Ila
Geno to investigate Human Rights Watch‘s allegations and then conducted an in-depth internal investigation of
the entire PJV security force. Company officials ultimately acknowledged that there are abusive members of the
PJV security force and vowed to remedy the situation. Barrick also committed itself to specific measures that
could improve accountability and reduce opportunities for abuse. The company has also provided material
support to a criminal investigation into the allegations of sexual violence.

One of Barrick‘s most glaring failures at Porgera has been its inadequate effort to monitor the conduct of mine
security personnel working in the field, especially on relatively isolated parts of the waste dump. Another has
been the company‘s failure to establish a safe and accessible channel that people can use to complain about
alleged abuses by security guards or other company employees. Barrick has committed itself to taking steps
designed to address both failings, described in detail in the pages that follow. Human Rights Watch welcomes
these moves, but their ultimate value will depend entirely on whether they succeed in preventing abuse and
ensuring accountability for abuses that do occur.

Barrick has also committed to providing Human Rights Watch with copies of its most current environmental
reports when they are finalized, along with other documents. In Human Rights Watch‘s view, the company
should have made these public long ago. Doing so now will allow informed independent scrutiny of the likely
downstream impacts of the mine‘s practice of riverine tailings disposal, which local communities and
international campaigners alike have criticized.

There is one essential component of adequate management of the situation at Porgera that is still completely
lacking: responsible government regulation. The Papua New Guinea government exercises no meaningful day-
to-day oversight over the Porgera mine‘s private security force, and it is not clear that it has the capacity to do
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so. In fact, the government has often appeared more interested in quashing community objections to lucrative
extractive projects than regulating those projects effectively.

Since most of the world‘s international mining and exploration companies—including Barrick— are Canadian,
one might expect the Canadian government to exercise some oversight over its corporate citizens abroad. This
could have particular impact in poorly regulated environments like Papua New Guinea. But this is not the case;
Canada has thus far chosen to exercise little oversight of Canadian companies operating overseas, including
those in the extractive industry. Legislation that would have empowered government ministries to exercise a
modest degree of scrutiny over the human rights records of extractive industry companies was defeated in
Canada‘s House of Commons in October 2010. The bill was fiercely opposed by the mining industry, including
Barrick, which vocally opposed the bill‘s passage. This missed opportunity challenges Canada‘s government,
and the industry itself, to champion new legislation capable of redressing very serious abuses that can and have
happened under the watch of Canadian companies operating abroad.


To Barrick Gold:

 Reduce the possibility for violent abuses by security personnel at the Porgera mine by following through
on stated commitments to:
o Create safe and easily accessible channels that community members can use to complain about
allegations of abuse by Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) employees, including through the means
described in this report:
 Improving existing complaints channels based at least in part on independent expert
 Improving public outreach to explain complaints mechanisms and acceptable conduct by
PJV personnel;
 Consulting and responding to independent expert advice on obstacles that prevent women
from reporting incidents of sexual violence.
o Implement more rigorous monitoring of PJV security personnel, including through the means
described in this report:
 Installing a new tracking mechanism and control center to allow for closer monitoring of
all active APD personnel in the field;
 Expanding a network of infrared security cameras to allow visual monitoring of APD
personnel on remote parts of the mine‘s waste dumps;
 Installing cameras on all APD vehicles to help prevent abuses from taking place in or
near the cars.
o Improve channels that whistleblowers can use to safely and anonymously report any abuses by
their colleagues at the Porgera mine.
 Make public the results of Barrick‘s ongoing investigation into allegations of rape and other abuses by
PJV security personnel including any disciplinary action that results.
 Ensure that trainings for APD personnel and mobile police squads on human rights principles and the
Voluntary Principles include specific sections on prevention and response to sexual harassment and
 Increase recruitment, training, and support of female security personnel, particularly in supervisory
roles, among the security staff patrolling the waste dumps and among those staffing the mine‘s on-site
detention facility.
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 Monitor and make public the number and nature of complaints received through grievance mechanisms
at Porgera, the time required to resolve each case, and their outcomes.
 Ensure that newly established ―women‘s liaison‖ office is provided with adequate training, staff,
financial resources, and institutional support.
 Make public the study commissioned by Barrick in 2007 to examine alternatives to riverine tailings
disposal at Porgera.
 Follow through on stated commitments to release the company‘s 2009 and 2010 environmental reports,
and make those reports publicly available moving forward as a matter of routine company practice.
 Press the government of Papua New Guinea to thoroughly investigate abuses by mobile police officers
during their eviction of residents of Wuangima.

To the Government of Papua New Guinea:

 Establish a viable institutional mechanism to oversee the conduct of all private security actors in Papua
New Guinea, including the security force at the Porgera mine.
 Make public the results of the police investigation into allegations of rape by PJV security personnel.
Ensure that any perpetrators are fully prosecuted for their crimes.
 Permanently increase the regular police presence at Paiam town to a number and capacity adequate to
deal with the area‘s many security challenges. Until this is done, commit resources adequate to sustain
the mobile police deployment at Porgera without material support from Barrick.
 Improve access for victims of violence to medical, legal, counseling, and other support services. Health
services should include access to post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV and emergency contraception.
 Launch an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse by mobile police squads deployed around
Porgera, focusing especially on the forced evictions at Wuangima in 2009. Make public the results of
that inquiry.
 Make public the final report of the government-sponsored 2005 inquiry into killings at the Porgera mine.
 Identify an independent group qualified to carry out a rigorous epidemiological study to assess the likely
current and long-term health effects of mercury use by small-scale and illegal miners around Porgera.
Seek assistance from international donors to move this process forward.
o Release all past environmental reports submitted to the government by PJV since 1990.
o Carry out a sustained effort to educate the population around Porgera on the health effects of
mercury, as well as safer methods of mercury use than those currently employed by most small-
scale and illegal miners in the area.
 Provide the hospital in Paiam town with the equipment it needs to screen patients for possible mercury
 Withdraw government support from efforts to amend the Environment Act and to restrict the powers of
the Ombudsman Commission, and explicitly oppose those efforts moving forward.

To the Government of Canada:

 Introduce legislation to implement the full range of recommendations from the 2007 National
Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing
Countries, including the creation of an independent ombudsman‘s office to investigate allegations of
abuse. As part of this, introduce a regulatory framework sufficient to give the government power to
sanction and publicly report on Canadian companies that fail to meet minimum human rights standards
in their overseas operations.
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To the Governments of Canada, Australia, and other Donor States:

 Offer to fund an independent group to carry out a rigorous epidemiological study to assess the likely
current and long-term health effects of mercury use by small-scale and illegal miners around Porgera.
 Provide financial support for the long-term development of local groups in Papua New Guinea with the
capacity for independent monitoring of violence by the police or private security squads, for women‘s
rights and health organizations providing support services such as emergency care and legal aid, and for
helping victims to navigate the public complaint process.


This report is based primarily on a three-week research mission by a Human Rights Watch researcher to
Porgera and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Human Rights Watch carried out 92 interviews with Porgeran
landowners, victims, and eyewitnesses of abuse at Porgera, people who had been detained by PJV security
personnel, local activists, company officials, medical personnel, illegal miners, current and former PJV security
personnel, Porgera Environmental Advisory Komiti (PEAK) officials, independent analysts, and police and
judicial officials.

We also carried out interviews with experts on extractive industries and policing in Papua New Guinea at The
Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Human Rights Watch consulted with former PJV
employees and with independent experts on mine tailings disposal and related environmental and health issues.

The names and other identifying details of some interviewees—including all victims of or witnesses to human
rights abuses at the Porgera mine—have been withheld at their request or to prevent possible reprisal against
them. Interviews referenced in footnotes as having taken place in ―Porgera‖ took place either in Porgera Station,
Paiam Town, Laigam, on or near one of the waste dumps surrounding the mine, or in one of the communities
scattered around the mine‘s Special Mining Lease or Lease for Mining Purposes area.

After the research in Papua New Guinea was complete, Human Rights Watch engaged in an extended dialogue
with Barrick officials. Barrick provided a 20-page letter in response to a series of questions about the
company‘s human rights and environmental practices and the allegations in this report. Company officials also
hosted a day-long meeting at Barrick‘s Toronto office on September 9, 2010, to discuss the report‘s allegations
and measures the company is taking to address them. In December 2010 Barrick sent Human Rights Watch
another letter explaining actions the company has taken in response to Human Rights Watch‘s allegations of
violence by PJV security guards. All of Barrick‘s input was fully incorporated into this report, and the
December 2010 letter is attached as an annex.

Human Rights Watch also participated in a second day-long meeting between Barrick officials and NGO
representatives in connection with Barrick‘s application to join the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human
Rights. That meeting, which was off-the-record, dealt with human rights concerns that largely overlapped with
many of the issues discussed in this report. In November 2010 Human Rights Watch carried out a one-week
follow-up visit to Porgera, meeting with company officials to discuss Barrick‘s efforts to address Human Rights
Watch‘s concerns and with local community members to discuss important human rights issues.

I. Background and Context

Papua New Guinea is a poor country that possesses a wild abundance of natural resources.[1]Mining in
particular has long been one of the country‘s most important economic engines, as of 2002 the industry
accounted for 75 percent of exports and 21 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).[2]And the country‘s
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extractive industries sector continues to grow: an ambitious liquefied natural gas project led by ExxonMobil,
now in its early stages of development, could double Papua New Guinea‘s GDP over the next three decades.[3]

Many Papua New Guineans believe that these industries are their country‘s best—and perhaps only—realistic
avenue to economic development. But as is true in many developing countries, Papua New Guinea‘s extractive
resources have proved to be as much a curse as they have a blessing. Extractive projects and the economic
resources they represent have fueled violent conflict, abuse, and environmental devastation in Papua New
Guinea. [4] Government revenues from extractive industries are often dissipated through official corruption and
mismanagement, without having any positive impact on ordinary citizens‘ lives. [5]

The Porgera Joint Venture

The Porgera gold mine is in many ways emblematic of both the promise and the pitfalls of Papua New Guinea‘s
extractives sector. Located in a remote corner of Papua New Guinea‘s highland Enga province, the mine is
owned by a company called the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV). PJV in turn is 95 percent owned by Barrick Gold,
a Canadian company that is the world‘s largest gold producer.[6] The remaining five percent stake in PJV is
held by Mineral Resources Enga, a company that is jointly owned by the Enga Provincial Government and the
landowners of Porgera.

Barrick acquired the Porgera mine in 2006 when it purchased Placer Dome, the company that had developed the
mine and operated it since it began production 1990.[7] Barrick was already a large international company
when it purchased Placer Dome, but it came of age as a company with that acquisition, increasing dramatically
in size and taking on board several complex and troubled operations, including the Porgera mine.[8] Since 2006
Barrick has been the mine‘s sole operator.

Gold mining was not entirely new to Porgera when PJV arrived on the scene; small-scale alluvial mining
downstream from the modern mine had long been an important part of the local economy. Still, prior to the
mine‘s development, Porgera was one of the most remote, impoverished, and marginalized areas in the whole of
Papua New Guinea. Geographically isolated by a dramatic landscape of steep valleys and rain-soaked
mountains, the area lacked good road or air connections to the rest of the country. For years the government had
essentially left Porgera and its Ipili-speaking people to fend for themselves.[9]

The sprawling mine has brought dramatic change to surrounding communities, especially for landowners on the
Special Mining Lease (SML) and Lease for Mining Purposes (LMP) where the mine‘s operations take place.
PJV employs some 2,400 people and has paid out more than 280 million kina (K), or US$106 million, in royalty
payments to local landowners and the Enga Provincial Government. [10] These benefits are tremendously
important; as one expert noted, many Porgerans have always seen the mine as ―their only possible chance to
catch up to the rest of Papua New Guinea after years of neglect.‖ [11] But the mine‘s development has also led
to many destructive changes, including increased levels of violence, prostitution, alcoholism, sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs), economic inequality, and other social ills. [12]

Since becoming operational in 1990, the Porgera gold mine has produced well over 16 million ounces of gold,
an amount that would be worth more than $19 billion at 2010 prices. [13] In 1992 the mine was the third largest
gold producer in the world. [14] Productivity has declined since then with the exhaustion of the mine‘s highest-
grade deposits, but the PJV mine remains a tremendously important part of Papua New Guinea‘s national
economy. In 2009 the 572,595 ounces of gold it produced was valued at K1.5 billion ($570 million)—12.6
percent of the country‘s total exports that year. [15] The mine is currently projected to operate through 2023.
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Box 1: An Altered Landscape

The Porgera mine has had a dramatic impact on its environment. The operation has largely obliterated a peak
called Waruwari hill by creating a massive open pit whose stepped rock walls fall hundreds of feet from the
pit‘s upper reaches to its floor.[17]The pit bustles around the clock with workers and heavy equipment. Human
Rights Watch‘s researcher observed rocks the size of cars crashing down unstable portions of the pit wall.

The upper reaches of the nearby Porgera river run red, stained by 16,000 tons of tailings (liquid mine waste)
that PJV discharges into the river every day.[18] The mine has also spawned three vast dumps of waste rock—
stone with such low quantities of gold ore that it is not economical to process— and these have buried huge
tracts of bush, forest, and farmland as they grow. Two of the dumps are designed to be erodible and have
advanced down the mountainside like glaciers of mud and rock, consuming everything in their path.[19]

Poor Living Conditions and Demands for Relocation

Mining operations at Porgera have lasted longer and grown larger than originally expected.[20]The expansion
of the mine and its sprawling waste dumps has greatly reduced the amount of land available to adjacent
communities for cultivation and living space. At the same time the population has soared from roughly 6,000 to
somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000, largely due to economic migration from other parts of Enga province
and beyond. Young people in particular often complain that they have seen no benefit from compensation
agreements negotiated with their elders, and that the scarcity of land means that they can neither build houses of
their own nor turn to the soil to earn a living.

Largely because of these issues, the vast majority of landowners believe Barrick should relocate all of them to
new land away from the mine.[21] ―We want to move out where there is a bigger place and where we can move
around,‖ one landowner told Human Rights Watch, ―instead of living like rats.‖[22]

In 2007 Barrick hired a firm to develop a plan to relocate most or all of the Special Mining Lease population,
but the idea was ultimately abandoned, angering many local community leaders. Barrick maintains the plan was
conceived as a prerequisite to a planned expansion of the mine that never took place, robbing the hypothetical
exercise of its intended purpose.[23] But a draft copy of the relocation plan‘s social impact assessment stated
that ―resettlement is driven by the need both to secure the land required for expansion of PJV‘s operations and
to improve living conditions in PJV‘s host communities.‖ In addition the draft impact assessment found that:

As a result of the development of mining operations and significant population growth since 1987, SML
communities are currently living in over-crowded, unsanitary and potentially dangerous conditions, and have
limited available land for family subsistence … Resettlement would have a generally positive impact by
removing SML communities from existing difficult and potentially dangerous living conditions; by improving
their quality of life; [and] providing access to essential services and opportunities to develop sustainable
livelihoods in relocation areas.

The report also noted that 84 percent of surveyed SML landowners believed that life was much worse than it
had been five years before.[24]

Barrick acknowledges that in the next few years it will have to relocate several hundred households that are
―impacted by mining activities to an unacceptable degree, specifically, where there is a risk of geotechnical,
health or other safety impacts.‖ Indeed the company has ongoing plans to relocate several hundred households,
and has budgeted $40 million for ―relocation activities‖ between 2010 and 2014.[25] But Barrick maintains that
wholesale relocation of the population immediately surrounding the mine is unnecessary. It also argues that past
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efforts to explore its feasibility revealed that the exercise would be so complex as to be impossible in practical

Some former PJV employees and consultants disagree, arguing that it could be possible to gradually relocate all
mining lease area landowners before the projected closure of the mine sometime after 2023.[27] One former
PJV employee told Human Rights Watch, ―The test should be, ‗Would this be acceptable if it were in my own
back yard?‘ ... That‘s clearly not the case for many people [around Porgera].‖[28] On the other side of the issue,
one optimistic Barrick official speculated that if the mine closes in 2023, most of Porgera‘s problems will
automatically resolve because at that time ―the [economic migrants] will all leave. The locals will have their
education and the other dividends of PJV having been there.‖[29]

Poisonous Local Politics: Barrick and the Porgera Landowners Association

One serious barrier to addressing contentious issues related to the mine is Barrick‘s mutually antagonistic
relationship with the Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA). The PLOA was conceived as a representative
body with a mandate to speak for landowning communities and advocate for their collective interests. It was
established to represent landowners in negotiating important issues with the company or liaising with relevant
government institutions.

The PLOA leadership and Barrick generally behave less like negotiating partners than mortal enemies. PLOA
leaders have been consistently and vocally critical of PJV—often in vitriolic terms—and long-serving PLOA
Chairman Mark Tony Ekepa regularly travels to Canada to protest at Barrick‘s annual shareholder meeting.[30]
Barrick officials, for their part, try to cut the PLOA out of their dealings with local communities as much as
possible. In interviews with Human Rights Watch, Barrick officials described the PLOA‘s leadership as focused
on exploiting local grievances for their own financial gain rather than acting in good faith as intermediaries
between the company and local communities.[31]

The essence of the allegations leveled against the PLOA by Barrick officials and aggrieved community
members is that the organization‘s leaders are lining their pockets with royalty payments that might otherwise
flow to ordinary landowners. The PLOA is a well-resourced institution: in 2009 it received K3.6 million ($1.4
million) in royalty payments, a figure comparable in scale to the K4.5 million ($1.7 million) in royalties paid
out in direct distributions to all of the SML‘s landowners that year.[32]But there is no transparency as to how
the organization spends its money. None of the landowners interviewed by Human Rights Watch—including
several people on PLOA‘s board—had ever seen a detailed accounting of how the organization uses its financial
resources. Some said that they had spent considerable energy trying to get this information, without success.[33]

When Human Rights Watch asked for a copy of the PLOA‘s budget, the deputy chairman of the PLOA
maintained that only the organization‘s chairman had access to it (the chairman was out of the country when
Human Rights Watch carried out our research in Porgera). Asked to describe generally how the PLOA spends
its money, the deputy chairman mentioned ―staff such as computer operators and so on‖ for each of the
landowner representatives on the PLOA‘s board. In fact, none of those representatives have any staff at all, let
alone ―computer operators.‖ [34] If the PLOA does produce an end-of-year expenditure report, none of the
PLOA officials or landowner representatives interviewed by Human Rights Watch knew about it.

Many Porgeran landowners—including some of the very people who serve on the PLOA‘s board—express deep
concern and even outrage at the opacity surrounding the PLOA‘s finances. One landowner on the PLOA‘s
board told Human Rights Watch that he and other board members had repeatedly asked for expenditure reports,
only to be rebuffed.[35] Landowners have become divided into factions who support and oppose the PLOA
leadership, and political infighting between the two sides has consumed considerable energy and resources, to
no productive end.
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One does not have to look far to see how things could be handled better. For example, the Lihir Mining Area
Landowners Association—the equivalent of the PLOA around the Lihir gold mine on Papua New Guinea‘s
Niolam Island—published an audited report of its 2008 expenditures in a local newspaper.[36]

The PLOA‘s executive leadership did not respond well to questions about the organization‘s finances. Instead
of responding to substantive concerns about financial mismanagement, PLOA Chairman Mark Tony Ekepa
merely asserted to Human Rights Watch that all the people complaining about the PLOA‘s lack of financial
transparency were ―paid by the company‖ to discredit him. PLOA official Anga Atalu echoed this absurd
allegation, saying of the PLOA‘s many critics that ―their words have been fed to them by Barrick.‖ Then,
becoming visibly angry, he demanded that Human Rights Watch stop pursuing the issue: ―This is not among the
issues you are investigating! It is not your interest to know what we are doing on this! It is not relevant and we
do not wish to respond to these allegations.‖[37]

In recent years PLOA leaders have exerted considerable energy trying to force PJV to negotiate relocation
packages through them instead of directly with individuals and communities who need to be moved from their
homes. Ekepa and his supporters maintain that this is a principled position designed to force the company to
deal with the broader issue of relocation, and prevent it from isolating small groups of landowners and
pressuring them to accept bad deals.[38] On the other hand, Barrick officials and some landowners allege the
PLOA leadership is mainly concerned with steering cash payments through their own hands.[39] ―We are never
going to negotiate with the PLOA on benefit packages or give them to them to channel,‖ one company official
said. ―If we do, the benefits will never get to where they are supposed to go.‖[40]

II. Violence and Illegal Mining: PJV’s Security Challenges

Porgera, like many other parts of Papua New Guinea‘s notoriously restive Enga province, is plagued by diverse
forms of violence ranging from tribal warfare and armed robbery to widespread domestic violence.[41] The
presence of the PJV mine has exacerbated this long-standing problem.[42] The mine has attracted thousands of
migrants from other parts of the highlands, which has helped the local population surge from roughly 6,000
people in 1989 to somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 today.[43]This runaway growth has exacerbated
social problems, including widespread violence, alcoholism, and grinding poverty.[44]

Porgera has at times approached true lawlessness. A joint PJV/government report noted that ―[v]iolent crimes
against the person, in particular, have increased in recent years, with reported rates of murder, assault, sexual
assault against women and violence against children all rising over recent years‖, and that tribal fighting
―increased dramatically in Porgera district‖ in the years leading up to 2007, with an estimated 70 people killed
in such conflicts that year.[45] One scholar, working with local magistrates, documented 59 separate incidents
of clan warfare around Porgera between 2006 and 2009.[46]

The Papua New Guinea government has failed to install an adequate regular police presence around Porgera. As
of May 2010 there were only 17 regular police officers posted to the police station in Paiam town and they did
not possess a functioning automobile.[47] More than 12 years ago the government agreed to increase the
number of regular police officers stationed at Porgera to ―a minimum of 30,‖ but this never happened.[48] The
police have generally failed to maintain any semblance of law and order in local communities, let alone deal
with the complex security issues facing the mine.

This state of affairs poses immense challenges to PJV‘s operations. In the absence of any meaningful regular
police presence, the mine is forced to maintain a large private security force.

The most serious security problem this force confronts on a routine basis is widespread illegal mining on PJV
property. Almost all of the abuses described in this report occurred in the course of PJV security personnel‘s
efforts to confront illegal miners and other trespassers on mine property. But while all illegal mining entails
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trespassing onto mine property to illegally obtain ore, there are two very different kinds of illegal mining taking
place at Porgera every day. Paradoxically, the victims of almost all the abuses described in this report were the
illegal miners who pose the least threat of violence or danger to the mine.

Illegal Mining on the Waste Dumps

Every day hundreds of illegal miners trespass onto the mine‘s sprawling Anjolek, Anawe, and Kogai waste
dumps, searching for scraps of rock that contain salvageable quantities of gold. They are a diverse group that
includes men, women, and children of all ages. Almost every day—and often well into the night—it is possible
to see people working alone or in groups scattered across different parts of the dumps, squatting on the ground,
and chipping away at bits of rock with chisels and hammers. Their efforts to grind a living out of the mine‘s
fields of discarded rock generally yield a paltry but fairly steady income. Most miners interviewed by Human
Rights Watch said that they took between K50 and K70 ($25-35) worth of gold from the waste dumps in an
average week.[49]

Most of the illegal miners also said that they viewed the mine, including its waste dumps, as their de facto
―garden,‖ a place they had no choice but to harvest as best they could.[50] One man living near the site told
Human Rights Watch, ―I get up there early at six o‘clock, just like the people who work at the mine. If I‘m
lucky I can come back with enough to buy a packet of rice or some other food. Otherwise, I stay down there
until I find something.‖[51]

The waste rock is of no value to PJV, and the illegal miners on the waste dumps are for the most part engaged in
a dreary but entirely nonviolent routine. But company officials told Human Rights Watch that if left unchecked,
illegal mining activity would draw vast numbers of people, posing serious security threats to the mine and to
PJV personnel dumping rock on the dumps.[52]For those reasons, PJV security patrols regularly try to chase
away or arrest illegal miners they find on the waste dumps, and violent clashes sometimes follow.

Organized Raids on the Mine

In sharp contrast to the monotonous routine that characterizes illegal mining on the waste dumps, a much
smaller number of illegal miners organize violent raids on the mine‘s open pit operation, stockpile, or
underground areas. The raids typically occur late at night and happen almost every day.Dozens of illegal
miners—and in some cases well over 100—rush into the pit or rappel down its steep rock walls and then try to
fight off or elude any PJV security personnel sent out to repel them. Many are armed with bush knives
(machetes). The goal of these raids is often to push into areas where rock newly blasted from the pit walls
bearing high concentrations of valuable ore is heaped on the floor of the open pit.

Human Rights Watch interviewed several illegal miners who frequently participate in these raids. None
attempted to conceal the violent nature of their tactics. One young man described the raids this way:

We go in teams and meet at the pit. We fight with the security every time. We throw stones at them and they
will shoot us with tear gas or rubber bullets. We just scare them and throw stones at them. But we could kill all
of them, it‘s no problem for us. If we are lucky we get thousands [of kina]. If we are unlucky we are caught.[53]

These violent raids are an enormous threat to the security of the mine and its employees. From the perspective
of many PJV security guards, they are a terrifying spectacle. One PJV security officer described the encounters
this way:
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You will be sweating all over your body. You will find it hard to talk. Your throat will dry up. I feel that. I
think, why did I come and work here?... When we are at the bottom of the pit, illegal miners can throw stones
down at us, one of these can break your skull.[54]

Criminalization of Illegal Mining and its Limitations

Under Papua New Guinean law, illegal mining is punishable by up to four years in prison or a K10,000 ($3,800)
fine.[55] The magistrate judge in Paiam town who tries and sentences illegal miners told Human Rights Watch
that many people view these penalties as draconian when applied to people working peacefully on the waste

Illegal mining is not a big crime compared to rape, murder, manslaughter, or robbery. But because of the money
involved the government passes this law, maybe without considering the impact on the people who are
committing the offense…. Most of these illegal miners only go in there for survival purposes, to get food.[56]

Despite the harsh penalties, criminalization has proved ineffective as a means of dealing with the problem.
According to local judicial officials, 476 people were convicted of illegal mining under the Mining Act in 2009
and another 143 between January and April 2010.[57] But Paiam‘s magistrate told Human Rights Watch that
this had little meaningful effect as a deterrent and that many convicted illegal miners were openly defiant. ―In
court they will tell you, ―I will come back! That is my garden!‖ he said.[58] According to Barrick, illegal
miners staged more than 25,000 recorded incursions onto mine property (including the waste dumps) in 2009,
and 9,600 during the first eight months of 2010.[59]

Human Rights Watch interviewed many people who had been arrested and fined or imprisoned for illegal
mining: almost all said they intended to continue with the activity, often because they felt they had no
choice.[60] In some cases the primary impact of harsh criminal penalties for illegal mining around Porgera has
been as a different kind of deterrent. Some PJV security personnel have used the threat of fines or jail time to
dissuade illegal miners from complaining about violent human rights abuses.

III. Gang Rape and Other Abuses by PJV Security Personnel

The PJV Security Force

PJV employs a private security force to protect the mine and its employees, which is run by the company‘s
Asset Protection Department (APD). As of September 2010 the APD force consisted of 443 personnel divided
into three broad categories—279 ―local hires‖ who are recruited from around Porgera, 153 ―national hires‖
recruited from across Papua New Guinea, and 11 expatriates in training and supervisory roles.[61] APD
maintains an investigations unit that is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse and breaches of
company policy by APD personnel. PJV‘s budget for security was $10.2 million in 2010.[62]

APD personnel patrol and guard the mine site, including the waste dumps around the mine. They also
apprehend and detain illegal miners, but in theory PJV rules do not permit them to detain people on the waste
dumps unless they are engaging in illegal mining or other criminal activity. For example, many people use the
waste dumps as a shortcut to walk between their communities and Porgera Station or other communities, and
APD personnel are instructed not to arrest them.[63]

PJV maintains a detention facility on the mine site, and illegal miners caught by APD personnel often spend a
night there before being transferred into police custody in neighboring Paiam town.[64] Barrick states that APD
personnel also assist with filing a complaint against the accused and testify against them in court if needed.[65]
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APD‘s local hires generally have no background in security work and do not carry firearms; PJV uses them
primarily to carry out relatively straightforward tasks like guarding fixed positions and acting as points of
contact with illegal miners and other community members. According to Barrick, the local hires ―do low risk
activities—manning gates and other fixed positions, or [taking on] negotiation roles where they are the second
point of contact behind Community Relations guys with illegal miners and so on.‖[66] In contrast, many of
APD‘s ―national hires‖ have a police or military background. Some are police reservists, and at least a few are
regular police officers who have taken extended leave from their jobs to accept better-paid positions with
PJV.[67] The national hires do the heavy lifting; they are assigned the most dangerous duties, including
confronting illegal miners in the open pit, and they constitute the bulk of APD personnel who carry firearms.

A Legacy of Abuse?

When Barrick acquired the Porgera mine in 2006, it inherited a security force that local activists had long
accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings and other violent abuses. The alleged victims were people caught
trespassing on mine property, most of them illegal miners.

A 2005 report by a local organization called the Akali Tange Association (ATA) alleged PJV guards had shot
and killed at least nine people between 1996 and 2005 under circumstances that were impossible to justify, and
injured several others. [68] In November 2005, Placer Dome—then the mine‘s operator and majority owner—
publicly acknowledged that police and PJV guards had shot and killed eight people between 1996 and 2005
(including seven since 2000), but maintained the killings were all carried out in self-defense. [69]

The ATA report also accused PJV personnel of killing several other people by pushing them into the mine‘s
open pit or crushing them with heavy rocks, but provided little evidence to support the latter allegations. [70]
PJV allegedly paid cash compensation in some cases to relatives of people killed or injured by PJV security
guards in return for agreements barring the recipients from pursuing legal action against the company. [71] In
April 2010 a former PJV guard was convicted of murder for a shooting death that took place on the mine site in
2002. [72]

The ATA report was controversial in part because its authors negotiated agreements with the families of
deceased individuals that empowered the organization to seek monetary compensation for the alleged killings,
and then gave ATA officials the right to divide any eventual payments between the families and the
organization however they saw fit.[73] By 2010, some families whose agreements had also required them to
provide a ―non-refundable sum‖ of K2000 (US$ 780) to the ATA so the organization could pursue their claims
were highly disgruntled because, years later, they had received nothing in return.[74]

The Papua New Guinea government commissioned an inquiry into killings around the PJV mine in 2005, but its
results were never made public. The government has never given a reason for its decision not to publish the
results.[75]Barrick officials said they could not confirm that abuses took place prior to the company‘s purchase
of Placer Dome.[76]

Box 2: Replicating Broader Patterns of Abuse

Many APD personnel are former police officers, police reservists, or police on extended leave from their jobs.
These personnel come to PJV with links to an institution well on its way towards what one expert described to
Human Rights Watch as ―advanced institutional collapse.‖[77]Violent abuses have become a routine part of the
police‘s interactions with the public, and police personnel regularly engage in widespread abuses, including
torture and rape.[78]
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In May 2010 the UN special rapporteur on torture traveled to PNG and documented police abuses, including
routine beatings of criminal suspects that often rise to the level of torture, as well as extortion of sex from
female detainees in exchange for their release. The special rapporteur noted that, ―Some officers also appear to
frequently arrest women for minor offences with the intention of sexually abusing them.‖[79] Fear of sexual
harassment and violence by police inhibits effective functioning of the justice system since victims are often
afraid to report crimes to the police.

In addition to these patterns of police abuse, rape—and in particular gang rape or ―pack rape‖ as it is called in
Papua New Guinea—is a disturbingly common crime throughout the country.

All of this means that Barrick should have been well aware of the serious potential for violent abuses to occur
and could have prioritized setting up effective systems to prevent and respond to such abuse when it took over
the Porgera mine in 2006. In fact, the patterns of abuse by APD personnel described in this report largely mirror
broader patterns of abuse by PNG police.

Ongoing Patterns of Abuse by PJV Security Guards

Human Rights Watch‘s research revealed that some APD personnel at Porgera engaged in violent abuses with
impunity in 2009 and 2010. Human Rights Watch investigated several alleged cases of gang rape by APD
personnel, as well as instances where APD personnel have allegedly beaten people in their custody or used
excessive force apprehending them. None of these abuses took place during violent raids by illegal miners on
the mine‘s central open pit, where APD personnel are under the direct scrutiny of their superiors. Rather, they
all involved APD personnel patrolling relatively isolated expanses of the mine‘s waste dumps.

Gang Rape by APD Personnel

Human Rights Watch investigated five incidents of alleged rape by PJV security personnel in 2009 and 2010,
and one in 2008. Human Rights Watch interviewed women who were among the victims of five of these
incidents and one woman who provided a detailed eyewitness account of another gang rape. Five other women
interviewed by Human Rights Watch alleged they were threatened or taunted with the prospect of rape after
APD personnel arrested them.

Human Rights Watch believes that the incidents of sexual violence we investigated are part of a broader pattern
of abuse. We heard of other alleged victims we could not locate or who declined to speak with us. In addition,
the powerful stigma attached to rape survivors in PNG (discussed below) means that many rape victims keep
their ordeals to themselves. Barrick and the Papua New Guinea police both launched investigations into alleged
acts of sexual violence by APD personnel in response to the allegations put forward by Human Rights
Watch.[80]Those investigations, both ongoing as of November 2010, uncovered alleged incidents of sexual
violence separate from those investigated by Human Rights Watch.[81] In January 2011 Barrick announced that
it had fired 6 employees for involvement in, or failure to report, alleged incidents of sexual violence. Some of
those individuals were subsequently arrested by the PNG police.[82]

The allegations of rape documented by Human Rights Watch shared several key elements:

· All of the incidents were gang rapes by APD personnel.

· All of the incidents took place on or near the waste dumps surrounding the mine. Most victims were
women who were illegally mining on the waste dumps.
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· Many of the victims said their attackers told them they would face large fines or prison time if they
tried to complain after the fact, because they had been carrying out illegal mining on PJV property. Some
women said that APD personnel presented them with a ―choice‖ of going to prison or submitting to gang rape
and then being set free—but then still gang raped some of the women who insisted on being taken to prison.

· Most of the victims said that they were brutally beaten in addition to being raped. Most were kicked
or punched by their assailants; one woman was kicked in the face just before being raped and lost several teeth.

· None of the victims reported the incidents to either police or company officials. All said either that
they did not know where they could safely complain to, were afraid that they would suffer reprisals if they did
report the crimes, or both. Some women said that their attackers said they would be imprisoned or fined for
illegal mining if they tried to complain about what had happened.

One woman in her early 30s told Human Rights Watch that around the end of September 2009, she was gang
raped by five APD personnel who caught her on the Kogai waste dump. She was not an illegal miner herself but
had gone to the dump in hopes of selling betel nut to the illegal miners working there:

At that time there were a lot of people looking for gold. I wanted to sell my betel nut to them. At that time three
security guards came. They chased the people away. I am a fat woman so I was trying to run away but because I
am fat and had my boi [betel nut] bags the security came and held me. They said, ―Don‘t talk, just stay quiet. If
you talk we‘ll smash you.‖

The APD personnel forced her into the back of their land cruiser and took turns raping her. When they had
finished they took her out of the car, threw her on the ground, and kicked her several times. Then they left, but
not before warning her that she would be punished for trespassing if she tried to report the crime:

They … said, ―If you want to take us to court you will have to pay a fine of K1,500 ($570) so go ahead….
―Then I walked home. All these five men raped me so I found it really hard to walk. It took me [about five
hours] because I had no strength. If I was strong it is only a one-hour walk.

She never reported the crime.―I was scared to go to the hospital or police station,‖ she said. ―I was afraid they
would say, ‗There is one of the people who go up there to steal,‘ and lock me up.‖[83]

Another woman told Human Rights Watch that five APD personnel gang raped her after catching her on the
same waste dump around February 2010. She said that she and her husband were arrested together. The guards
put her husband into a car and drove him away, while she was raped in some bushes near the edge of the dump:

One security came and held my clothes and ripped it. Another held me very tight—and these are not women but
men so I could not fight them. They made me fall on the ground and tore all of my clothes. One of them
covered my eyes with his hand while he was raping me…. Each of them raped me two times.

After the guards finished raping her they let her go. ―After they raped me I was lying on the ground for about
two hours,‖ she recalled. ―Then I went into a stream [near] there and washed myself and I walked home.‖ She
did not report the crime. ―I thought of doing that but since my husband was taken to jail I had no one to support
me in going there so I just left it that way. I was scared they might just lock me up in the cell.‖[84]
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Box 3: Another Investigation at Porgera

In 2009, a research team from Harvard and New York University (NYU) law schools submitted evidence to the
Canadian parliament that APD personnel had been involved in numerous incidents of rape targeting women
caught on mine property.[85]

The team reported on ten alleged incidents of sexual violence (all separate from the incidents described in this
report), including eight rapes, and stated that ―the accounts generally share[d]‖ several characteristics: the rapes
occurred on mine property; the victims were gang-raped by groups of PJV security guards; they were beaten in
addition to being raped; some were threatened with imprisonment if they did not submit to being raped; and
women generally did not report or file complaints about the incidents.‖[86] These traits largely mirror those of
the incidents of gang rape investigated by Human Rights Watch.

Barrick issued a formal response to the Harvard/NYU allegations, stating that ―to our knowledge, there have
been no cases of sexual assault reported to mine management involving PJV security personnel while on duty,
since Barrick acquired its interest in the mine in 2006.‖ It urged anyone who had information about such an
incident to report it to the proper Papua New Guinea (PNG) government authorities but did not commit to
action itself.[87]

The Harvard/NYU research team also reported on several alleged killings by APD personnel or police around
the mine since 2006, and numerous instances of beatings and other forms of physical abuse, both before and
after Barrick acquired the mine.[88]

A third woman told Human Rights Watch that APD personnel gang raped her on the Kogai waste dump in
January 2009. ―The people together with me saw the security and ran away,‖ she said. ―I was also trying to run
away but I tripped on a stone and I fell down. Six security [personnel] held me.‖ She said:

Their reaction was not to take me to jail but they were trying to rape me and holding on to my skirt and pulling
it like they wanted to take it off. I bent down holding my skirt and one security kicked me in the face. I lost my
five bottom teeth and three top teeth. After that, these security raped me.

All six guards raped her on the ground in a relatively isolated area near their car. Afterwards they left her lying
on the ground. Although in great pain, she walked up to a road where she could catch a public bus. ―Someone
just held my hand and helped me to walk up,‖ she said. She did not report the crime to anyone; her attackers had
said that if she did, she would be arrested for stealing gold from the waste dump. ―When these security raped
me they said I could go to prison for two to five years,‖ she said, ―and that‘s why I was afraid to tell

Box 4: Retaliation at Home

Fear of imprisonment and mistrust of the authorities is not the only thing that prevents women from reporting
incidents of rape. The social stigma that attaches to rape around Porgera is strong enough to ruin lives and lead
to further violence in the home.

One woman told Human Rights Watch that she was gang raped by a group of PJV guards and did not tell
anyone, including her husband. Nonetheless, he found out about the attack one week later and promptly
divorced her. ―We were only married one year when I was raped,‖ she recalled. ―He said, ‗You should have
informed me because I don‘t want you to be my wife after all these five security men had their chance with you.
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I don‘t want this kind of woman to be my wife.‘‖ She added that she thought many rape victims keep their
ordeals to themselves ―because of things like what happened to me.‖[90]

Several women told Human Rights Watch that they had heard stories of APD personnel arresting women and
then offering them a ―choice‖ of submitting to gang rape or going to prison. Several women said that for this
reason, when they were apprehended they immediately began insisting that the guards take them directly to

One woman was cutting grass for a wealthy landowner‘s pig near one of the waste dumps in June 2009 when
she saw APD personnel apprehend several female illegal miners, drag them into nearby bushes, and begin
raping them. Afraid that she too would be raped, she fled across the dump, but ran into another APD officer. ―I
asked them to just arrest me,‖ she said. ―I lied to that man and told him, ‗I have a small baby in the house so
don‘t rape me, it would not be good.‘ … [But] he asked me, ‗Do you want to go home or do you want to go to
jail?... If you want to go home, I‘ll [have sex with] you.‘‖ She responded emphatically she wanted to go to jail,
and was ultimately taken there without being hurt. She spent six days in prison at Paiam, was released on K500
bail, and was ultimately not convicted of an offense.[92]

Other women relayed similar experiences. One woman said APD personnel apprehended her on one of the
dumps in April 2010 and began walking her towards an isolated area:

They said, ―Oh, we‘ll let you go, but before we let you go we‘ll rape you.‖ I said, ―I don‘t want that! I want to
go to the jail.‖ They said, ―If you want to go to jail you will have to pay a lot of money so it‘s better if we let
you go. I said no, I very strongly said, ―no!‖ and so they took me to the car [and from there to the detention
facility on the mine site].[93]

Another woman, in her fifties, was caught working on one of the waste dumps around September 2009 and was
put into an APD car with several APD personnel:

They were saying, ―We will rape you and let you go. They will charge you big money, or you can go home, but
you have to let us [have sex with] you…. ‖ After they said that, I said, ―I am an old woman, you should have
mothers like me! How could you want to have sex with me?‖ They said, ―Well, you have to go to the jail then.‖

They did not say anything else, and took her to the PJV detention facility.[94]

Some women found that there was no ―choice‖ between going to jail or submitting to rape. One woman
described how she was raped after being caught looking for ore-bearing rock at the Kogai waste dump around
March 2008:

I was with a lot of people but the security chased us. Everyone ran away but I kicked a stone and fell down and
they came and held me and raped me. When they held me I said, ―I want to go to jail….‖ I heard that they give
you a choice of going to jail or being raped. That‘s why I said that. But they refused and they raped me.

They [kicked] me and threw me on my back and even kicked me on my forehead when I was on the ground. I
was beaten up and I kept saying, ―I want to go to the jail,‖ and they kept saying, ―No, you are not going to jail.‖
One of them covered my mouth with his hand.

They all had their chance. Some of them were trying to come for a second round but others said, ―No, let‘s
leave her.‖
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She did not report the crime. ―I thought of going there to make a complaint,‖ she said, ―But I was afraid the
police would say, ‗You deserved it because you were going into that dump area.‘‖ [95]

Box 5: A Gang Rape Survivor Tells Her Story

One young woman told Human Rights Watch that she was brutally gang raped by a group of PJV security
guards who caught her and three other women on the mine‘s Kogai waste dump in February 2009:[96]

They dragged us all into the bush. One of them said, ―No talking, don’t talk! Just remove your trousers.‖

One security [guard] had a bush knife [machete] and he hit me on the back with the flat of it…I got mad and I
bit him with my teeth on his shoulder. Then he got mad and cut me with his knife [above the left elbow]. Then he
said, ―Oh, you are tough lady,‖ and then he ripped off all my clothes and I was completely naked.

After that, six security [personnel] raped me. One would pull my left leg, one would pull my right leg wide, one
would hold each of my hands and one would rape me. Then they would change places.

The security that cut me with the knife raped two of the other girls and used a condom. And then he came to me
and opened my mouth wide and pushed his penis with the condom into my mouth. After he released … he made
me swallow the condom. But the condom went only halfway down my throat and I pulled it out.

I felt really sick and I tried to vomit and then I was unconscious. In the evening my relatives came looking for
me and found me lying there.

They security [had] said, ―If you go and lay a complaint at the police station we will lock you up in the jail—
you ladies came to steal here so you will go to jail and pay a very big fine.‖ I was scared to lay a complaint—I
did not know if they are doing this on the order of the company. Maybe if we go there to complain they will just
lock us up.

When people asked me how I was cut I said oh, I just accidentally cut myself with my own knife. But my parents,
I told them I had been raped. They could not do anything, so I told them and we just left it like that.

I have lost a lot of weight—I wasn’t like this before, I used to be a fat woman. Even when I see good food I think
of the condom that was used on other ladies pushed into my mouth and I do not feel good about eating.

I really got a bad name from that. [People who] saw me spread the news that I was raped and was chewing
condoms. That really made me feel low.

I can still remember the faces of those six security [officers]. If I see them again I will cut them with a bush
knife or an axe and I don’t care if I go to prison. As long as I live I will think of this thing that happened to me.

Treatment of Detainees in APD Custody

Human Rights Watch interviewed more than two dozen people detained by APD personnel. Aside from the
alleged rape victims, a large majority said their captors treated them fairly and without abuse. But Human
Rights Watch did hear of several cases where APD personnel allegedly committed abuses against people in
their custody. As is the case with the gang rapes described above, almost all these incidents occurred on or near
the mine‘s waste dumps, the areas where APD personnel operate furthest from direct scrutiny by their superiors
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within the force. People arrested by PJV security guards often spend the night detained in a company-run
detention facility inside the mine site before being transferred to police custody in Paiam town. Almost all of
the former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that they did not suffer abuse while in detention
there, although a handful alleged that they had.

One young man told Human Rights Watch that he was looking for rocks on the Anawe waste dump with his
father when both were surprised by a group of PJV security guards who fired tear gas at them without warning.
―When I saw them I tried to run away and they shot me with tear gas,‖ he said. ―I fell down on the hard rocks.
My father also fell down on the rocks.‖ He said the guards caught him and that six stood around him and his
father, kicking the pair in the ribs, stomach, and back with steel-toed boots as they lay helpless on the ground.
He was imprisoned and then released after paying a K1,500 ($570) fine.[97]

A 15-year-old boy told Human Rights Watch that PJV security guards caught him on the Anawe waste dump
after he had walked across it to collect firewood. He tried to run away but tripped. ―I fell down and one of the
security [personnel] came and held me,‖ he said. ―One just landed his fist on my face—I stood up and he
punched me in the face.‖ He said that the guards handcuffed him and then—after he had already been cuffed—
repeatedly threatened to let their security dog attack him. ―They were trying to let the dog bite me and I was
scared of the dog,‖ he said.[98] Yet another young man said that after arresting him, APD personnel held him
down and sprayed him repeatedly in the face with a small aerosol canister full of pepper spray that burned his
eyes and face.[99]

A female illegal miner told Human Rights Watch that a PJV guard kicked her repeatedly as she lay on the floor
of a land cruiser after she had been arrested. ―It was a man who kicked me so it really hurt,‖ she said. She also
said that she was thrown to the ground and kicked by an APD security guard at the mine detention site who
asked her, ―You people coming to this area, why do you keep coming to this place?‖[100] A woman arrested on
the Anawe dump in July 2009 said she was subjected to sexual harassment while in custody at the mine site:

The security guards brought a box of condoms and put it on the ground between us and said, ―What is this?‖ I
was a bit confused. All the condoms were in the box so I did not know what they were—I only know what they
look like in their own wrappers. So I thought it was a camera box or something and I said, ―It‘s a camera.‖ They
just laughed and laughed and laughed … We were scared when they opened the box and we saw condoms
inside. We thought that they were going to rape us.

She said that the guards ultimately left her and the other women detained with her unharmed. She was
transferred into police custody the next morning.[101]

Excessive Use of Force

Human Rights Watch interviewed 21 people who said that they had been beaten, shot at, or tear gassed by APD
personnel in 2009 and 2010. As discussed above, APD personnel often face violent situations that justify
responding with force.[102] But in some cases they appear to have used force in circumstances that are not
permitted by international principles that form the basis for their own rules of engagement.

Barrick says that its policies on the use of force by APD personnel are ―aligned‖ with key sources of
international standards: the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the UN Basic Principles on the
Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials.[103]Generally speaking, accepted standards allow for the use of force in a wide array of
circumstances—including if necessary to apprehend a criminal suspect—but require that law enforcement
officials ―shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms.
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They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the
intended result.‖[104]

However, Human Rights Watch interviewed several illegal miners who described being shot with drag-
stabilized beanbag projectiles (which they described as ―rubber bullets‖) or tear gas without warning or any real
chance to surrender.[105] A few said that PJV security guards had fired tear gas at them while they were either
fleeing or still scouring the dumps for rocks, not having yet seen the guards.[106]

IV. Barrick and the Mobile Police Deployment to Porgera

In February 2009 increasing levels of violent insecurity around Porgera led the government to deploy four
police mobile squads to the area.[107] This move came with a significant catch, the government was unwilling
to bear the costs of the operation, so Barrick agreed to assume most of the responsibility for supporting the
mobile squads while they were in Porgera, including by housing and feeding them on PJV property.[108] The
deployment remained in place as of September 2010, though it had been reduced to two squads, or about 70

The close relationship between PJV and the mobile police deployment was a cause of concern from the outset,
police mobile squads have a long history of violence and abuse directed at ordinary citizens.[109] Then, in
April 2009, the mobile squads attacked and burned a village adjacent to the mine called Wuangima and
destroyed homes in another village called Kulapi as well. In February 2010, Amnesty International published a
report documenting the widespread violent abuses involved in these operations and condemned them as illegal
forced evictions. Amnesty called for an independent inquiry into the abuses, appropriate remedies for the
victims, and prosecution of those responsible.[110]When Human Rights Watch visited Porgera in May 2010,
Wuangima was a deserted hillside littered with trash and the foundations of ruined homes.

Barrick initially maintained that Wuangima was not a permanent community at all but merely a collection of 35
―crude structures‖ inhabited primarily by transient criminals and illegal miners.[111] In fact, while Wuangima
was often used as a staging point for raids on the open pit by illegal miners, the community had many longtime
residents and permanent structures including a church.[112] The company also made the astonishing assertion
that, ―There is no evidence that the PNG police who carried out the actions in question used excessive or
disproportionate force, or, indeed, that they used any force,‖ even though PJV employees in Porgera told
Human Rights Watch they watched Wuangima burn from inside the mine site.[113]Barrick has since partially
backed away from its initial, untenable position and acknowledged that homes were destroyed.[114]The
company still maintains that none of its personnel knew about any police plan to destroy Wuangima until they
saw smoke rising from the burning houses.[115]

Barrick has engaged Ila Geno, a respected former commissioner of police and ombudsman, to make occasional
trips to Porgera to monitor the conduct of the mobile squads there. His reports to Barrick are not public. While
Geno‘s engagement is a positive step, there is still need for an independent investigation into the forced
evictions of 2009. Geno‘s mandate does not include such an investigation.[116]

A mobile squad section commander interviewed by Human Rights Watch in May 2010 claimed that the conduct
of the deployment had improved since the 2009 forced evictions. ―We are trying to work with people so the
people know we are here to help them and not to chase them or harass them,‖ he said. ―We no longer bash
[beat] people around like that.‖[117] But abuses did not halt altogether. In July 2010 a group of mobile police
allegedly kidnapped three teenage girls whom they kept overnight at their quarters on the mine site and raped.
Police officials in Port Moresby took the unusual step of investigating the incident and suspended three officers
it identified as responsible. Barrick officials told Human Rights Watch that they had urged police officials to
take the incident seriously and believed the perpetrators would be prosecuted.[118]
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One fundamental question looms large in light of these abuses: should the mobile deployment in Porgera
continue, and if so, under what terms? Amnesty International has called for Barrick to withdraw
accommodation and other support to the mobile deployment in light of the 2009 forced evictions and the
impunity enjoyed by those responsible.[119]

Human Rights Watch agrees that in principle the forces should not be housed and fed on the mine site, this
creates the appearance of company control over the police, as well as the possibility that inappropriate collusion
could occur. But it is also true that the mobile deployment would probably end if Barrick stopped providing that
support; the government has consistently refused to commit the resources necessary to maintain law and order
around Porgera.

The mobile deployment has by all accounts greatly reduced violence and crime around Porgera. Almost all local
residents and officials interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they wanted the mobile deployment to
continue in Porgera. The ranking police officer at Paiam police station said that in the months prior to the
deployment, Porgera resembled ―some kind of Wild West area where nobody cared for anybody.‖ He said the
police were confronted with 10-15 rape cases and 5-6 murders every month, along with numerous armed
robberies and tribal fights. ―I know for sure this lawlessness will come again after this police operation is
withdrawn,‖ he asserted.[120] The head doctor at the hospital in Paiam town told Human Rights Watch that on
a typical day in the months before the mobile deployment began, the hospital would treat three to four serious
injuries resulting from highway robberies, tribal fighting, or domestic violence, and that such injuries were far
less common since the deployment began.[121]

Human Rights Watch urges Barrick to do more to keep the mobile deployment at arm‘s length from company
operations, including by pressing the PNG government to provide room and board for the deployment off
company premises. But we also recognize the need to balance this goal against the importance of avoiding a
return to the dismal situation that prevailed before the deployment.

Barrick officials told Human Rights Watch they believe that the only viable long-term solution to the chronic
insecurity and violence around Porgera is for the government to bolster the capacity of the area‘s regular police
presence and justice sector institutions. In partnership with the national and provincial governments, the
company has launched an initiative that aims to increase the number of police deployed to Porgera from 16 to
66 and improve the quality of the infrastructure the force and the local courts rely on. Barrick has agreed to
build or pay for much of the necessary infrastructure, including a new police barracks that should be completed
in September 2011, but the government will have to follow through on promises to supply the
personnel.[122]As Barrick‘s vice-president for security and crisis management put it, ―Problem one is getting a
permanent police presence of the right nature. Problem two is influencing that police presence to operate in an
appropriate way.‖[123]

V. Barrick’s International Human Rights Obligations

Although governments have primary responsibility for promoting and ensuring respect for human rights,
corporations also have a number of responsibilities, as increasingly recognized by international law and other
norms. These norms reflect an expectation that corporations should have policies and procedures in place that
ensure human rights abuses do not occur and that they undertake adequate due diligence to identify and
effectively mitigate human rights problems.[124]

This approach has been elaborated by John Ruggie, the United Nations special representative of the secretary
general on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. Ruggie has
developed a framework known as the ―protect, respect and remedy‖ approach to business-related human rights
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issues that in part outlines the basic steps that companies should take to respect human rights, avoid complicity
in abuses, and adequately remedy them if they occur.

Barrick is a member of the UN Global Compact, a voluntary initiative which incorporates human rights
commitments. Under the compact companies pledge their adherence to ten ―universally accepted principles in
the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption‖ that derive from the Universal Declaration
on Human Rights and other texts.[125]One of the 10 principles is that companies should ―make sure that they
are not complicit in human rights abuses.‖[126]

Of most direct relevance to the abuses discussed above, Barrick has formally subscribed to the Voluntary
Principles on Security and Human Rights (Voluntary Principles). The Voluntary Principles are a framework that
brings together a range of multinational extractive companies, home governments, and civil society
organizations around a set of principles on the relationship between extractive companies and the public or
private security forces they rely on for protection. They focus on how companies should seek to prevent human
rights abuses by those security forces as well as on how companies should respond when abuses do occur. [127]
While the company only joined the Voluntary Principles in October 2010, the company accepted them as ―a
basis for the operation of all of Barrick‘s mines … incorporated into a number of different company policies‖
even before it formally joined the process. [128]

Of particular relevance in the context of Porgera, the Voluntary Principles ask companies, inter alia, to:

 Maintain the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respect for human
 Ensure that private security forces act in a lawful manner and act in line with international guidelines
such as the UN Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the UN
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials;
 Ensure that private security forces do not include individuals credibly implicated in human rights
 Ensure that the conduct of private security forces are adequately monitored;
 Ensure that allegations of abuse are properly investigated and that disciplinary measures are in place that
are sufficient to prevent and deter such abuses;
 Report allegations of abuse by private security forces to local law enforcement authorities where
 Record and report any credible allegations of human rights abuses by either private or public (for
example, government) security forces, and urge investigations into alleged abuses where

As described below, Barrick has taken steps to implement the Voluntary Principles since acquiring the Porgera
mine in 2006. However, those steps fell short in a number of key respects, and failed to prevent or deter the
abuses described above. More recent steps—many of them taken since mid-2010 in direct response to Human
Rights Watch‘s allegations—could do much to remedy these deficiencies if implemented in good faith.

VI. Barrick’s Response to Human Rights Concerns at the Porgera Mine

Local and international activists have criticized Barrick over alleged human rights abuses and environmental
damage at operations around the world. In fact, one small group of international activists—ProtestBarrick.net—
has led a permanent campaign specifically aimed at calling attention to alleged human rights abuses and
environmental destruction at Barrick‘s worldwide operations, including at Porgera.[130] This has contributed to
a siege mentality among some Barrick officials.
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Some allegations leveled by critics of Barrick have been exaggerated or incorrect.[131] But too often in the
past, Barrick has responded to legitimate human rights and environmental criticisms of the Porgera mine with a
―shoot the messenger‖ approach, attacking the company‘s critics while failing to address important substantive

To cite two recent examples:

 When Amnesty International published a report on forced evictions by mobile police squads around
Porgera in 2009, Barrick‘s public response focused largely on vague allegations about the ―adequacy
and objectivity‖ of Amnesty‘s research.[132] In a May 2009 letter to Amnesty, Barrick stated that,
―Virtually every ‗fact‘ recited by [Amnesty] was either without foundation or unfairly painted a picture
of this action by PNG police and Barrick that, is fundamentally misleading.‖ Far from addressing the
very serious human rights abuses that took place during the evictions, the company‘s initial response
refused even to concede basic contextual elements that were obviously true, such as the fact that the
police used force, or that they destroyed peoples‘ homes.[133]
 When the Norwegian government pension fund‘s Council on Ethics investigated the controversial
practice of riverine tailings disposal at Porgera (discussed in more detail below), Barrick‘s response to
the council‘s inquiries was dismissive and hostile. The company complained that the council‘s draft
recommendation ―mixes allegations, data, unattributed hearsay and other information into single
sentences and paragraphs,‖ and that ―it is difficult to dissect the document, separate the facts from the
errors and respond to the individual points.‖ And so the company didn‘t bother. The council complained
that Barrick‘s response neither addressed key concerns with PJV‘s practice of riverine tailings disposal
in any detail nor provided any substantive data that would allow anyone to corroborate its insistence that
the practice is unlikely to cause serious long-term harm. [134]

More recently Barrick has shown signs of a tangible shift toward more serious engagement with human rights
concerns. One senior company official told Human Rights Watch that ―Our approach has changed. We want to
be more open. There are a lot of good things this company does … but we need to be more open to talking
about the bad things as well.‖[135]

Over the course of several months beginning in May 2010, Barrick has engaged in a frank and substantive
dialogue with Human Rights Watch about all of our concerns regarding the Porgera mine. The company has
also taken or promised to take several meaningful steps to address the most serious human rights abuses
described in this report. The following pages describe those steps, as does the letter from Barrick that is
published as an annex to the report. [136]

Human Rights Watch welcomes Barrick‘s commitments to act, but it was not yet possible at the time of writing
to determine whether they would be implemented effectively and in good faith. And even highly effective
efforts to prevent and respond to abuse in the future cannot obviate the need to ensure accountability for abuses
that have already occurred.

Long Term Company Efforts to Implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Since taking over PJV in 2006, Barrick has taken a number of steps to incorporate the Voluntary Principles on
Security and Human Rights into the operations of the APD force at Porgera. The company has funded external
assessments of some of its operations, including Porgera, to determine what needs to be done in order to align
the operation with the Voluntary Principles. It has also produced a ―Voluntary Principles Standard‖ that
―defines the company‘s interpretation and detailed requirements for implementation of the [Voluntary
Principles], including responsibilities and accountabilities.‖ Barrick also says that it ―seeks to have the
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Voluntary Principles recognized in any relevant dealings and agreements with Government agencies.‖[137]
More specifically, the company says that it:

 Carries out trainings on human rights principles and the Voluntary Principles for APD
 Has facilitated human rights training for mobile police squads based on international norms
including the Voluntary Principles. In 2007 the company facilitated this training for mobile police
squads deployed to the Porgera valley. Company officials say that since 2008 the PNG police have
integrated that training into regular training for existing mobile squad members and new recruits.[139]
 Investigates every incident involving use of force by APD personnel. APD personnel are required to
account for and justify every discharge of their weapons.[140]
 Carries out rigorous investigations of alleged incidents of abuse by APD personnel . APD maintains
an investigations unit that is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse or breaches of company
policy by APD personnel. At least a handful of APD personnel have been fired because of abuses
carried out against illegal miners in their custody, including at least two in 2010. [141] The company
states that ―reports are investigated and appropriate action is taken resulting in human resources
disciplinary proceedings, terminations and police charges where justified by the evidence….Termination
is always the preferred option in cases of assault or human rights abuse, along with escalation to
RPNGC [police] and criminal charges, depending on the evidence.‖ [142]
 Implemented policies regarding the use of force that the company says are ―aligned with‖ the
Voluntary Principles. Barrick says that its procedures draw on the norms explicitly referenced in the
Voluntary Principles, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law
Enforcement Officials and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.[143]
 Has equipped APD personnel with a range of less-lethal weaponry. Before 2006 APD personnel
relied on firearms using live ammunition as a primary mode of force. Barrick has made what senior
company officials describe as a ―very significant drive to get the munitions types at Porgera morphed
into exactly what you‘d see in the first world‖ to the greatest extent possible.[144] Barrick has equipped
the APD force with shotguns that can be used to fire less-lethal projectiles (or ―soft munitions‖) as well
as live ammunition (or ―hard munitions‖). The force now employs drag-stabilized beanbag
projectiles,[145] batons, hand- and launcher-deployable tear gas and a hand-held pepper spray
equivalent.[146] Hard munitions (buckshot) are meant to be employed only as a last resort when there is
―an imminent danger of death or serious injury to any person.‖ Barrick asserts that ―the vast majority of
discharges by PJV security force personnel are ‗soft‘ munitions.‖[147]

Falling Short

While the measures described above are positive, PJV‘s efforts have fallen short of what is required by the
Voluntary Principles, and have failed to prevent violent abuses by APD personnel or ensure accountability for
abuses that do occur. In April 2010, Barrick‘s country director for Papua New Guinea responded to a question
about alleged abuses by APD personnel by saying:

Illegal miners, in my view, give more abuse to the local communities then they receive. They steal gold, sell it,
get drunk and become violent. So if he gets belted up in the course of getting processed through the right
channels then that is less serious than the abuse he himself has done.[148]

Such statements hardly accord with the company‘s policy of taking all alleged abuses seriously. In general,
though, the problem has lain not in the company‘s response to allegations of abuse by APD personnel but in its
failure to detect abuses in the first place through internal channels, coupled with a tendency to regard external
sources of allegations as not credible. In Human Rights Watch‘s view, the company‘s efforts have fallen
woefully short in two key respects:
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 PJV’s monitoring mechanisms for APD personnel are inadequate. PJV senior management initially
maintained to Human Rights Watch that they were entirely unaware of any alleged incidents of sexual
violence abuses involving APD personnel.[149] And a December 2010 letter stated that prior to Human
Rights Watch‘s investigation, ―PJV has heard rumors and received general allegations of wrongdoing,
and made attempts to investigate them, but the limited information received was insufficient for PJV or
the police to conduct meaningful inquiries.‖[150] This indicates a disastrous failure on the part of the
company to ensure that the conduct of APD personnel was adequately monitored. The company
monitors APD personnel through a variety of means including radio networks, CCTV visual monitoring,
and physical site inspections.[151]But not all of these means are available in all of the areas where APD
personnel operate.[152] PJV appears to do a good job of monitoring APD personnel in the open pit,
stockpile, and underground areas, as well as other central parts of the mine. None of the abuses
described in this report took place in those areas. But the company has failed to adequately monitor APD
personnel operating on and around the waste dumps, far from the immediate proximity of their
 There is no viable channel that victims of abuse can use to lodge a complaint. Barrick says that
members of the communities around Porgera can approach PJV‘s Community Affairs section to
complain about misconduct by APD guards or other grievances. The fact that no one has used this
channel to report any of the abuses described in this report indicates that it does not work. PJV has failed
to establish a complaints channel that community members perceived as safe, and failed to adequately
inform community members about the channels that did exist.

In the past Barrick has blithely stated that if incidents of sexual violence involving APD personnel did occur,
either the victims or international organizations compiling their accounts should refer the matter to the police.
This was not only a deplorable abdication of responsibility on the part of the company, but also unrealistic. The
police enjoy little public confidence to begin with due to their reputation for violent abuse and incompetence,
and many victims fear retaliation since they suffered abuse after being arrested for criminal activity. As
discussed in detail above, this is a fear that some abusive APD personnel have effectively played upon to
dissuade their victims from reporting abuses to the police.

These are crucial—and inexcusable—omissions. But Barrick does appear to have acknowledged these failures
and to be taking serious measures to address them. As the company itself put it, ―The fact that these incidents
may have occurred, that the PJV‘s inquiries failed to reveal them, and that women did not raise these incidents
with the PJV but openly spoke of them with Human Rights Watch, tells us in clear and unmistakable terms that
we have not met the standards and expectations we set for ourselves in this regard.‖[153]

Barrick’s Response to Human Rights Watch’s Allegations

Human Rights Watch provided Barrick officials in Porgera and Port Moresby with a general overview of the
allegations and concerns described in this report in May 2010. We also attended an eight-hour meeting with
senior Barrick officials in September 2010 to discuss these issues. In June 2010, at Barrick‘s request, we
provided a more detailed written summary of the incidents of sexual violence described in this report. As
described above, Barrick responded to that information by retaining Ila Geno, a respected former commissioner
of police and ombudsman, to look into the allegations. [154] After initial inquiries in communities around
Porgera, Geno recommended the police launch a criminal investigation, which they ultimately did. [155] Geno
told Human Rights Watch: ―I came to a point where there was cause for concern and I advised the
commissioner of police very strongly that there should be a police investigation.‖ [156] Barrick officials agreed
to provide logistical and other support to a team of police investigators who then traveled from the capital to
carry out the investigation. The company also says that it proactively urged the police to dispatch experienced
senior investigators and to ensure that the investigating team included a female officer. [157] In addition,
Barrick says that the company‘s own internal investigation into the allegations saw a team of 15 investigators
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carry out more than 650 interviews with company employees over the course of several months. [158] ―This is
being approached in the way that you would approach a major, systematic criminal event,‖ said Barrick‘s vice-
president for security and crisis management. [159]

By November 2010, senior company officials appeared to have reached the point of accepting that there was a
pattern of sexual abuse by some APD personnel.[160]The inquiries by Barrick and the police uncovered at least
13 ―potential crimes‖ by APD personnel, apparently separate from the cases investigated by Human Rights
Watch.[161] ―We‘ve got some bad eggs and we‘re going to get rid of them,‖ Mac Grace, Barrick‘s Papua New
Guinea security manager, told Human Rights Watch, adding that ―processes were in place but some of those
processes weren‘t working.‖[162]

In January 2011 Barrick fired six employees who PJV mine manager Mark Fischer said were ―credibly
implicated in criminal activity, are alleged to have misled investigators, or were aware of these alleged crimes
and did not come forward.‖[163] The company provided records of 30 of those interviews to police
investigators.[164] The police subsequently arrested three current and former Barrick employees, charging two
of them with rape.[165] At the time, the police stated that additional arrests were likely to follow.[166]

Human Rights Watch welcomes the above steps, but emphasizes that investigations should focus on unearthing
broader patterns of abuse, as well as ensuring accountability for the incidents described in this report.

Barrick has taken several measures that could make it easier for community members to complain about alleged
abuses. These are laid out in detail in the annex to this report. Key measures include the following:

 The company has retained a consultant to examine ways of improving the channels available to
community members to complain about alleged abuses. The consultant was to ―review the grievance
mechanism and recommend ways to improve and strengthen the current system.‖ The company noted
that ―issues such as security and anonymity of complainants will be considered as part of this
review.‖[167] This work was slated to take place in early 2011.
 The company has acknowledged the need for greater public outreach to improve ties with local
communities and, in particular, to explain what conduct is acceptable on the part of PJV employees and
how aggrieved community members can complain about misconduct.[168]
 Barrick has announced plans to create a women’s liaison position. This would be supported by the
company but kept at ―arm‘s length‖ from it in ―affiliation‖ with the Porgera District Women‘s
Association, to serve as a safe and independent point of contact for women in the community. The office
would be located in Porgera Station—the town closest to the mine—rather than on the mine site itself, to
ensure community members could gain easy access.[169] As of January 2011 PJV had recently filled the
position, but its impact remained to be seen.[170]
 Barrick has hired a prominent anthropologist with experience working in Porgera to ―look at
sexual assault and violence against women and focus on understanding these pervasive problems within
Porgera society and to report on these matters, including identifying barriers to the reporting of
crimes.‖[171] The company says that it will share research findings and consult with both community
members and government authorities on the best way to address these broader issues.[172]The company
also hopes to help address ―the problem of sexual violence and recourse to justice‖ through its Restoring
Justice program, which aims to support government efforts to improve the capacity of the police and
judiciary around Porgera.[173]

Barrick says that a project has been underway since early 2009 to ―improve security infrastructure and oversight
at PJV.‖[174] In December 2010 the company acknowledged that ―The results of the internal investigation have
made clear to us that further changes to the security function at Porgera must be undertaken.‖[175] Barrick has
committed itself to several new measures that should strengthen its ability to prevent, monitor, and respond to
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abuses by APD personnel at Porgera if implemented effectively and in good faith. Those commitments are
spelled out in detail in the letter attached as an annex to this report. Key points include the following:

 Company officials said that they recognize the need to make procedures for investigating the
conduct of APD personnel more proactive. ―Our guys do a pretty good job,‖ one senior company
official said. ―But I don‘t disagree [with you] that there‘s a large internal focus to how that is done. We
want people completely external to any operation to come in, and not just on a reactive basis. In line
with modern methods of law enforcement, we also need people going in proactively and looking for red
flags.‖ [176] The annex to this report lists a range of measures the company plans to implement in this
regard. [177]
 As of September 2010, the company says that a review of the supervisory model for APD field
operations was underway. As a temporary measure, Barrick said that PJV assigned expatriate staff
normally tasked with training and supervisory duties to accompany APD personnel on field operations,
including on the waste dumps. The company has also reduced the range of scenarios where security
personnel operate on their own without other officers present.[178] PJV also plans on introducing
frequent random field visits by APD supervisors to ensure that personnel in the field cannot predict
when supervisors are likely to visit a particular area.[179] The annex to this report lists these and other
measures in additional detail.[180]
 The company says it is installing systems that will allow it to better monitor—and keep records
of—the exact whereabouts of on-duty APD personnel at all times. The system will allow supervisors
in a command and control center to see the location of all on-duty APD personnel and vehicles at all
times. This data will be archived—at the time of writing it is not clear for how long—in part so that
supervisors can later use it to help identify APD personnel implicated in any alleged abuses.[181]
 The company says it will greatly expand a planned network of infrared cameras to not only
improve the mine’s security but also to allow for better monitoring of APD personnel in the field.
Originally conceived as a security measure to help protect the mine‘s perimeter, Barrick says the
planned network of sophisticated cameras will be expanded to cover as much of the area of the mine‘s
waste dumps as possible. Two of the cameras will be installed at Paiam town and have the ability to
survey a large part of the Anawe waste dump; they will be powerful enough to identify the face of a
person standing on one of the faraway dumps.[182]
 Barrick says it will install cameras on all APD vehicles to prevent abuses from taking place inside
or near the cars. The cameras will be located both inside and outside of the cars, ensuring that
everything APD personnel do in or near their vehicles will be recorded. The cameras will have both
audio and visual recording capability.[183]
 The company has indicated that it intends to examine ways to improve mechanisms APD
personnel can use to safely report misconduct by their colleagues.[184]The company currently
maintains a 24-hour phone hotline that Barrick employees anywhere in the world can use to report
misconduct by other company employees.[185] However, Barrick officials acknowledged that this
hotline was not conceived as a way to report human rights abuse and that employees have not used it for
that purpose.[186] In general APD employees are ―encouraged‖ to report abuses to the Security
Manager at the mine site or the Country Security Manager, rather than internally through APD.[187]
 The company says that it will increase monitoring of APD’s on-site detention facility to ensure
that detainees are not maltreated. The company will request frequent police visits to the facility each
day in addition to internal monitoring.[188] It also plans to ensure that all female detainees are overseen
by at least one female APD staff member.[189]

Barrick also states that it is pursuing ―other substantial internal changes outside of security.‖ These include
appointing an independent Director to its Board of Directors with expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility
and enhancing company human rights compliance programs.[190]
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Human Rights Watch welcomes these measures, but at time of writing many had not yet been implemented so
their effectiveness was impossible to gauge. Ultimately their value will depend entirely on whether they succeed
in preventing serious abuses and in bringing abuses to the company‘s attention if they do occur.

VII. Health and Environmental Concerns Regarding Riverine Tailings Disposal at Porgera

A ton of ore-bearing rock yields only a tiny amount of gold. The remaining material is processed into tailings, a
waste product made up mostly of rock, heavy metals, and trace elements of chemicals like cyanide that are used
to extract the gold. PJV produces roughly six million tons of liquid tailings every year; in 2008 the mine
generated almost 9.5 tons of tailings for every ounce of gold produced.[191]

PJV discharges its iron-rich tailings into the nearby Porgera River, staining its upper reaches a rusty red color.
The Porgera River‘s water ultimately flows into the Strickland River system, one of Papua New Guinea‘s
longest and most important. Many locals refer to the tailings, and to stretches of the Porgera River itself, as ―the
red water‖ and regard it with considerable fear and apprehension.[192]

The long-term environmental and health impacts of PJV‘s riverine tailings disposal have been hotly debated for
many years.[193] Critics fear that the build-up of heavy metals downstream could have unpredictable and
potentially dangerous consequences for the environment and human health. Before the mine even opened,
PJV‘s plans to employ riverine tailings disposal were publicly rejected by Papua New Guinea‘s minister of
environment and conservation as ―totally unacceptable.‖[194] But the Papua New Guinea government
ultimately approved the plan in spite of those objections.

Barrick maintains that, due partly to unique characteristics of the Porgera River and its surrounding
environment, there is no reason to believe the practice of riverine tailings disposal at Porgera has or will have
any serious negative health or environmental impacts downstream from the mine.[195] ―Is there an
environmental impact? Sure, you‘re not going to hear us say there isn‘t,‖ acknowledged Bill Williams,
Barrick‘s vice-president for the environment. ―But it‘s manageable and it appears to be reversible.‖[196]

Critics vehemently disagree, arguing that PJV‘s tailings send potentially harmful heavy metals flowing
downstream in quantities that far exceed anything that would be permissible under the water quality standards
of developed countries, and that the long-term negative effects of riverine tailings disposal in any given context
are difficult and perhaps impossible to accurately predict.[197] The Norwegian government‘s pension fund
excluded Barrick from its investment portfolio in March 2009 on the recommendation of its Council on Ethics,
which found that PJV‘s practice of riverine tailings disposal carried unacceptable risks of harm to human health
and ―long-term and irreversible environmental damage.‖[198]

The weight of industry good practice is firmly and clearly against the practice of riverine tailings disposal.[199]
In fact, Porgera is one of only three large mines in the world run by international companies that still dispose
their tailings into river systems; all three are on the island of Papua.[200]

In July 2010, more than a dozen people went to the hospital in Paiam town suffering from chemical burns.
According to the hospital‘s chief doctor, they said they had been panning for gold in the mine‘s tailing
discharge and had been burned by it.[201] Barrick later said it was investigating whether the tailings had not
been diluted properly over the course of several days owing to a lack of adequate water during a dry spell.[202]
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Box 6: The Ok Tedi Disaster

Papua New Guinea has a painful history with riverine tailings disposal gone awry. The country‘s enormous Ok
Tedi copper mine also employs the practice. In 1999 that project sparked an international scandal when data
revealed that tailings had overflowed river banks downstream, destroying gardens and killing large swathes of
vegetation. BHP Billiton, the company that owned and operated the mine at the time, pulled out in 1999. Then-
Managing Director and Chief Executive Paul Anderson publicly stated that the mine was ―not compatible with
our environmental values and the company should never have become involved.‖[203] BHP Billiton has since
publicly committed not to become involved in any project that employs riverine tailings disposal.[204]

PJV has also drawn fire for the way it measures compliance with water quality standards. The company asserts
that levels of dissolved metals downstream from the mine are consistently within the range that Papua New
Guinean law prescribes.[205] But the company measures this at a ―compliance point‖ that is 165 kilometers
downstream from the mine. By this point the mine‘s tailings have been considerably diluted; more than two-
thirds of the river‘s flow at the compliance point comes from sources untouched by PJV‘s operations.[206]

Barrick maintains that the 165 km between the tailings discharge point and the compliance point constitute a
―mixing zone,‖ a defined area around an effluent discharge point where water quality standards do not apply.
Mixing zones are standard practice in the mining industry but they generally constitute much smaller areas,
sometimes measured in square meters rather than kilometers. The Norwegian government Council on Ethics,
recommending that the pension fund divest itself of Barrick stock due to the risk of severe environmental harm
at Porgera, stated that, ―In the council‘s opinion, Porgera‘s mixing zone does not constitute a mixing zone in the
internationally accepted sense of the term.‖[207]

Barrick defends the size of its mixing zone as legitimate and says that the Papua New Guinea government set
the compliance point, not PJV. At the same time, the company acknowledges that the current mixing zone is a
―large area‖ and says that it may relocate the compliance point further upstream, but only if it is certain the
mine will remain within acceptable water quality standards if it does so.[208]

This report does not seek to evaluate the likely impact of PJV‘s riverine tailings disposal on human health or the
environment. But concerns about the practice are certainly legitimate, and Barrick has displayed a troubling
lack of transparency in addressing those concerns that it should immediately remedy. Recently, the company
has expressed some willingness to do just that, agreeing to make public its environmental reports to the
government. If honored, this commitment will make it more feasible for independent experts to evaluate the
likely health and environmental impacts of tailings disposal at Porgera.

Transparency Concerns

In recommending that Norway‘s pension fund divest itself of all Barrick stock, the fund‘s Council of Ethics
cited among other things a ―lack of openness and transparency in the company‘s environmental reporting.‖[209]
In Human Rights Watch‘s view, that criticism was directly on the mark.

Until September 2010, Barrick consistently refused to make public key data that could allow for independent
assessment of its claims regarding the likely impacts of riverine tailings disposal at Porgera especially its
periodic environmental reports to the Papua New Guinea government. Alternative independent sources of data
do not exist.

PJV has facilitated the production of a ―Strickland River Report Card‖ by the Porgera Environmental Advisory
Komiti (PEAK), a nominally independent body, entirely funded by Barrick, mandated to monitor the
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environmental impact of PJV‘s operations. The report card contains basic data about overall levels of heavy
metals at various points along the river. This is a first step in the direction of greater transparency—the first and
so far only report card was produced in 2009—but it is only a brochure, with color-coded graphics distilled
from the hard data in the company‘s environmental reports.[210]

Barrick monitors potential health and environmental impacts downstream from the mine. The company has
commissioned a Health Risk Assessment by an outside consultant that should be completed in early 2011,
which it has agreed to make available to Human Rights Watch. It is also undertaking a new study of mercury
levels downstream from the mine, which should be completed in late 2012 or early 2013.[211]

In September 2010, Barrick agreed to provide Human Rights Watch with a copy of PJV‘s 2009 environmental
report once it has undergone peer review, and to provide a copy of the 2010 report when it is completed as
well.[212] At the time of publication the company said that neither document had yet been finalized. Company
officials also said that they were in the early stages of developing an initiative to regularly publish a broad range
of environmental data relating to all of Barrick‘s operations, probably on the internet.[213] Human Rights
Watch welcomes all of these commitments as important steps in the direction of meaningful transparency
around the Porgera mine‘s possible environmental and health impacts.

Barrick has also not been transparent about its basis for another key assertion, its claim that in the case of the
Porgera mine there is no viable alternative to riverine tailings disposal. PJV has long argued that tailings dams
(permanent structures that store and isolate mine tailings) are too dangerous to use around Porgera because of
high seismicity, frequent landslides, illegal miners, and other factors.[214] It is true that safe construction and
maintenance of on-land tailings retention facilities in Papua New Guinea is both technically daunting and
expensive.[215] But it is not clear whether it is true that no safer methods of riverine tailings disposal are
feasible at Porgera.

Barrick commissioned a US$5 million study in 2006 to examine potential alternatives to riverine tailings
discharge—including construction of a large tailings storage facility—and says that the study‘s findings
indicated that ―[Tailings storage facility] engineering had not advanced sufficiently since the mine was
originally permitted to address these significant risk factors and that the operation should not be
reconfigured.‖[216] But Barrick has refused to make the study itself public; Human Rights Watch urges it to do
so in order to make independent evaluation of its claims possible.[217] The company asserts that cost has not
been ―the principal factor in determining tailings options at Porgera,‖ but it is not clear exactly what that means,
or how much of a factor cost actually constituted.[218]

VIII. Mercury Use by Small-Scale and Illegal Miners

Small-scale and illegal miners around Porgera routinely employ an extremely dangerous method of extracting
gold from ore-bearing rock using mercury. This exposes them, their families, and the communities around them
to a very high risk of mercury poisoning.[219]

The method small-scale miners around Porgera usually employ to process ore-bearing rock is to crush it into a
dust, wash as many undesirable rock particles out of the dust as possible, and then pour mercury into the
remaining material. The mercury binds to any gold present in that material, creating a gold-mercury amalgam
that excludes everything else. Miners then cook this amalgam over an open flame, causing the mercury to turn
into vapor and escape into the air.[220] The miners are left with pure gold, which they can sell on the open

This is an extremely dangerous practice that can damage the brain, central nervous system, kidneys, and lungs,
as well as lead to psychiatric problems including wild mood swings and loss of memory and
concentration.[221] Unborn fetuses and children can suffer developmental problems if exposed to
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mercury.[222] The chief doctor at Paiam hospital said that although his institution lacks the equipment
necessary to test for mercury poisoning, they regularly diagnosed cases of mercury poisoning from the severe
symptoms of many illegal miners. He said that many patients resembled ―zombies‖ by the time they reached the
hospital and added that, ―some will recover, some will not.‖[223]

Making matters worse, around Porgera this dangerous method of separating mercury from gold is often carried
out inside people‘s homes, in some cases using the same utensils families use to prepare food. Human Rights
Watch‘s researcher observed this taking place in several communities all around Porgera.

The widespread use of these dangerous practices is primarily due to two factors. First, there is widespread
ignorance regarding the dire health consequences of current methods of mercury use and the availability of safer
alternatives. Many illegal miners interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had heard that mercury could
be dangerous but believed they had been working with the substance for so long they were no immune to any
negative effect it might normally have. Most interviewees were not aware of safer methods of cooking their
amalgam, such as using simple retorts that trap mercury vapor and condense it back into liquid so that it is not
inhaled, or else declined to use such methods because they believed that they yielded less gold.[224]

A second problem is that many people are loath to work with gold outside their homes because they do not want
their neighbors to know how much they have. Having broken the law to obtain gold-bearing rock from PJV
property in the first place, many illegal miners also do not want police or APD personnel to see them working
with gold.[225]

Shops in Porgera station sell vials of mercury openly. It is not clear that banning the sale of mercury is feasible
given the overall lack of law and order in the area, and in any case, many local people depend on small-scale
mining to feed their families. But even if Porgera‘s mercury problem has no easy or straightforward solution,
clear first steps must be taken as a matter of urgency:

 The Papua New Guinea government or an independent organization should carry out a public
health survey of communities around Porgera. The survey would seek to determine the extent of
exposure to dangerous levels of mercury and identify an appropriate response. The government should
also make funds available to outfit Paiam hospital with the equipment and staff it needs to screen for
cases of mercury poisoning. The hospital presently lacks the equipment needed to conduct such tests.
 The Papua New Guinea government should embark upon an intensive public education campaign
around Porgera regarding the dangers of mercury use and the availability of relatively safe
techniques such as use of retorts. If the government is unable to do this, it should identify partner
organizations that are willing and able to do so. The Papua New Guinea government reportedly
possesses educational materials designed for this purpose but has not put them to recent use around

IX. The Need for Canadian Government Regulation

Canada is arguably the mining industry‘s most important global hub. The country is a leading producer of
several key minerals and home to many of the world‘s largest multinational mining companies. [227] But no
Canadian law provides a mechanism to allow Canadian authorities to exercise meaningful scrutiny and
oversight of the human rights impact and compliance of Canadian extractive companies operating overseas. On
these issues, Canadian companies operating overseas generally only have to comply with the laws and
regulations of the countries in which they work. This often means the bar is set far too low.

Since gaining independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea has struggled—and largely failed—to build functional
institutions of governance. The government is continually mired in allegations of corruption and
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mismanagement, while key public institutions such as the police have grown consistently more dysfunctional
and abusive over time.[228]

The Papua New Guinean government also has a long track record of failing to adequately regulate the
operations of foreign extractives companies, whose operations dominate the national economy. For instance in
the timber industry political power and corruption have long combined to ensure the country‘s environmental
laws are ignored and rural communities are exposed to abuse.[229] Rather than address legitimate concerns
around these issues, the government has increasingly focused on quashing objections that might stand in the
way of new extractive projects.

In March 2010 people living near the Chinese-owned Ramu nickel mine filed a lawsuit challenging the legality
of the project‘s plans to construct a pipeline that would deposit mine tailings in the ocean.The plaintiffs won a
temporary injunction halting construction of the pipeline.[230]Parliament responded by passing amendments to
the country‘s Environment Act that would strip citizens of their right to challenge the legality of large,
government-sanctioned extractives projects in court.[231] The move triggered widespread public outrage and as
of September 2010 the changes had not yet been signed into law.

Box 7: No Oversight of APD in Porgera

The PNG government‘s failure to establish any coherent mechanisms of oversight for private security forces
like the APD force in Porgera is emblematic of its broader shortcomings. To the extent that there is any
government oversight of the APD force, it rests with police officials in the faraway capital of Port Moresby. In
practice this means that there is no meaningful, regular government oversight of the APD force at all.

The police station commander in Paiam town has no oversight role over the force. Asked whether his officers
could investigate allegations of abuse or criminality by APD personnel, he replied, ―They would not allow us
permission to enter the premises…. The company paid for it. They have the right to protect their property. I will
never enter the company premises without their permission.‖[232]

Ila Geno, the respected former commissioner of police and ombudsman whom Barrick retained to monitor the
conduct of mobile police squads deployed around Porgera, told Human Rights Watch that in his view the
theoretical oversight of the APD force by police officials in the capital was ―impracticable and very loose.‖ He
advocated that the police give the station commander in Paiam town more responsibility for oversight of the
APD force, but he also said that such a move would be useless or worse unless the token police presence in
Paiam was bolstered with the capacity it would need to do the job correctly.[233] Barrick officials told Human
Rights Watch that the PNG government is working on legislation that would install mechanisms to oversee
private security forces in the country, and that the company views that effort as positive.[234]

The lack of meaningful government regulation and oversight in countries like PNG creates a void that could be
filled by sensible regulation by multinational companies‘ home governments. Canada‘s parliament recently
considered and disappointingly rejected a bill that could have been a good first step in that direction.

Bill C-300: A Missed Opportunity

Human Rights Watch believes that mandatory rules by companies‘ home governments obliging them to respect
human rights are an essential safeguard that most governments have yet to implement. Although voluntary
initiatives like the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights are supported by governments and some
key industry players, they are not mandatory rules and compliance with them is limited.
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In Canada, an opportunity for progress was lost in October 2010 when the House of Commons narrowly
rejected a modest bill called C-300 that would have obliged the Canadian government to monitor whether
Canadian oil, mining, and gas companies complied with basic human rights and environmental standards in
their overseas operations. [235] While the bill included no criminal penalties, companies that refused to comply
with its guidelines would have faced public government investigations and the loss of some limited forms of
government financing and consular support. [236]

Many companies, including Barrick, claim they already adhere to many of the standards incorporated into C-
300. But the mining industry lobbied heavily against the bill, and Barrick vocally opposed its passage.[237]
Some industry representatives indulged in fanciful scare tactics about the bill‘s supposed potential to eviscerate
the country‘s mining industry.[238]Conservative members of parliament opposed the bill, and C-300‘s
prospects also suffered because of the ambiguous position taken by Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff, who leads the

Canadian oil, mining, and gas companies should have welcomed C-300 rather than treat it as a potential
catastrophe. By setting clear standards based on international norms that many Canadian companies already
claim to respect, the bill could have saved companies the laborious and complicated task of developing those
rules on their own.

Canada‘s government must now go back to the drawing board. In theory, a consensus already exists as to what
the Canadian policy on these issues ought to look like. A 2007 roundtable process that included representatives
of both industry and civil society arrived at a series of recommendations about the way forward. Those
recommendations should all be adopted. The roundtable participants recommended, among other things, the
creation of an independent ombudsman office to examine complaints against Canadian companies and sanctions
for non-compliant companies similar to those set down in C-300.[240]

In human rights terms, the recommendations of the roundtable advisory group are modest, but they represent a
good place to start. Unfortunately though, the ―consensus‖ that appeared to have emerged from the roundtable
process may be an illusion. The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done little to implement the
roundtable recommendations, and in particular, has not created the ombudsman position. Instead, the
government created a corporate social responsibility counselor that has been widely criticized as ineffectual.
Moreover, the fact that industry representatives treated provisions of C-300 that were largely based on the
roundtable report as anathema has reinforced many analysts‘ fears that the industry now intends to undermine
the consensus it helped forge.

The only way to clarify this murky picture is for both of Canada‘s major political parties to spell out in detail
where they stand on implementing the roundtable recommendations, and what they think a government-led
framework to oversee the human rights records of oil, mining, and gas companies should look like. As of late
2010, neither the Liberal nor the Conservative party had done this.

X. Acknowledgements

This report was researched and authored by Chris Albin-Lackey, senior researcher in the Business and Human
Rights Division. It was reviewed and edited by Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director; Phil
Robertson, Asia Division deputy director; Joseph Amon, health and human rights director; Zama Coursen-Neff,
deputy director of the Children‘s Rights Division; Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women‘s Rights
Division; Aisling Reidy, senior legal adviser; and Danielle Haas, program editor. Additional editorial and
production assistance was provided by Kristina DeMain, business and human rights coordinator. The report was
prepared for publication by Grace Choi, publications director; Veronica Matushaj, creative director; Anna
Lopriore, creative manager; Jose Martinez, production coordinator; and Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager. Human
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Rights Watch thanks all of the organizations and individuals interviewed in Papua New Guinea for this report
for their invaluable assistance and insight.