Red Reading: Spectrezine's latest picks from recent publications

EU-funded Research Programmes: Controversy Over AIDS Vaccines

Several AIDS vaccines are caught up in controversy as the most promising new candidate has been halted mid-way through its phase II trial. Yet potentially more damaging vaccines are in the pipelines, funded by the Framework Programme 6 of the European Union at the taxpayer’s expense, according to Dr Mae Wan-Ho of pressure group Science in Society, whose arguments can read on the SiS website.

Congo: European corporations "involved in the illegal arms trade in the DRC"

"....in its presidential statement dated 2 June 2000 (S/PRST/2000/20), the (UN) Security Council requested that the Secretary-General establish a Panel of Experts on the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the DRC. The objective was to research and analyze the links between the exploitation of the natural resources and other forms of wealth in the DRC and the continuation of the conflict. In its four reports, the UN Panel of Experts has named senior Ugandan and Rwandese armed forces officers and senior government officials and their families, who are allegedly responsible for illegal exploitation of the DRC's natural resources and other abuses. It has also proposed that measures be taken against the states, individuals and companies most implicated in the exploitation, including travel bans, financial penalties and reductions in aid disbursements. In January 2003, in response to complaints raised by companies and some governments, the Panel's mandate was extended to 31 October 2003. In its final report from October 2003 the Panel largely documented the nexus of economic exploitation, arms trafficking, and armed conflict, stating that illegal exploitation remains one of the main sources of funding groups involved in perpetuating conflict. The Panel of Experts also listed companies based in Belgium, China, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, the UK, and the United States, that were allegedly involved in the illegal arms trade in the DRC."

Read the rest of Joseph Yav's article

Burma: European firms keep junta in power, EU refuses to act

"In contrast to 1988, the current crisis in Burma has a high profile in the international media. This has shown to what level of hypocrisy the governments and international organisations have stooped. The United Nations, the European Union and the United States reacted promptly to the repression of the demonstrators. Bit appeals to "restraint" and "the use of peaceful means to restore stability" are nonetheless cynical. Who can believe that one of the most ferocious dictatorships in the world, headed by a paranoid madman, Than Shwe, will be intimidated by such timorous words? Big European firms, like Total .... have been present in Burma for too many years. Their activities directly enrich the ruling military, in complete legality, the European Union having placed no ban on trade in the strategic sectors (rare wood, precious stones, minerals, fuels), which bring money to the junta and help keep it in power. The people are condemned to forced labour." Read the rest of "Burma- Enough hypocrisy, action!" by Danielle Sabao the website of International Viewpoint