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The book launch for Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, edited by Alain Denault and the Collectif Ressources d'Afrique out of Montréal, was a cancelled yesterday when the authors and publishers (Édition Écosociété) received letters from a law firm representing Barrick Gold.
The letters alledgedly refer to apparent inaccuracies in the book, more particularly around the representation of Barrick's role at Bulyanhulu, in Tanzania, where more than 50 small scale miners were buried alive in 1996.
Barrick has also sued The Guardian and The Observer over articles that they published about the Bulyanhulu massacre.
Noir Canada is about the role of Canadian companies in Africa, which operate with the "unfailing help of the Canadian government."
The list of corporate abuses is long: advantageous mining contracts in the DRC, partnerships with arms dealers and mercenaries in the Great Lakes region, miners buried alive in Tanzania, an "involuntary genocide" by poisoning in Mali, brutal expropriations in Ghana, using people from the Ivory Coast for pharmaceutical testing, devastating hydroelectric projects in Senegal, the savage privatization of the railway system in West Africa...
I sure hope that Écosociété goes ahead and releases the book...
UPDATE: Is it a SLAPP suit that was filed by Barrick (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) against the members of Collectif Ressources d'Afrique, Édition Écosociété and their editorial board.
From a press release which came out Saturday, April 12th from the Collectif: "It is understood that the finacial means of a powerful mining company, compared to that of the researchers who prepared the book, permits the company to proceed by intimidation."
UPDATE 2: Écosociété announced today that they will release the book, the launch has been rescheduled for Tuesdcay, April 15th.
Dominion Weblogs compiles the weblogs of Dominion editors and writers. The topics discussed are wide-ranging, but Canadian Foreign Policy, grassroots politics, and independent media are chief among them.