Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In God's Country

This item made the news here on Monday night. Apparently US diplomats are insisting that the rules of the Vienna Convention be vigorously applied. Of course the rules of the Geneva Convention are also being vigorously applied, except to criminals who aren't lawful combatants. So they get charged with crimes rather than be held as Prisoners of War. Except they don't.

Last night a PBS Frontline World documentary was shown about the Yanacocha Goldmine in Peru. It was originally a joint venture between two of its current owners - Newmont and Buenaventura and a French State owned company. To cut a long story short a row over ownership ended up in Peru's notoriously corrupt courts.

The American company suspected the French of bribing officials and they, in turn, enlisted the help of the US State Dept. to help, eh, look after their interests. The man they dealt with, Peru's secret police chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was videoed bribing the judge into reaching a favourable decision and this tape, along with others, helped bring down the government of Alberto Fujimori.

The State Dept. official who dealt with Montesinos now works as a consultant for Newmont. Today's New York Times runs a print article containing all the detail and intrigue of a fascinating story. For the tree-huggin' hippy view on the gold mining industry go to No Dirty Gold.

The simmering resentment between me and Lenny finally blew up today. Part of the reason for my documenting the facts / online bitching (whichever you prefer) has been that it has been pretty Mick Mc-Cathartic and has mostly stopped me flying off the handle. Well we're going to New York on Friday night for the weekend, taking in the Giants v Redskins game on Sunday.
Now I don't want to plan ahead too much because I've never been to New York and I just want to breathe it all in and take it at my own pace. I'm also sure that doing all the things the damn guidebook says will take a helluva long time. Lenny, on the other hand, is talking about 5th Avenue, Central Park, The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, shopping and going to a Comedy Club on Saturday night. I'm pretty sure we'll do well to manage two of those things in the time we have.
So when he said "Awww, we must get to Growwwwnd Zeeerohhhh and get some good photos, d'y'know", and I replied (in an admittedly exasperated tone) that I'd rather not be the Ultimate Rubbernecker and treat the scene of a mass murder as a tourist attraction, he flipped. Then I flipped back. So now he's not talking to me, just looking at more golf clubs on 'eee-bay' (he only got irons y'see). It's heaven really.
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