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October 8 & 11: from Bonagobugu, Mali - New York - Chiang Mai, Thailand

The oilman J. Paul Getty once said "The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights." But a new book says oil rights cause a lot of wrongs.

The Torture Report.Thousands of classified U.S. documents about torture and rendition are being pieced together on the Web.

Roosters, replenishment and repentance. How radio is bringing better farming to northwest Africa.

And, the story of Krong and the Elephant Lords. The black business that's pushed elephants out of the jungle and into the streets of Thailand.

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Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).


The Torture Report

Somewhere out there is a Canadian who alleges he was beaten and robbed by American soldiers during the invasion of Iraq.

Maybe you're reading this.

You say they threw you in a prisoner-of-war camp, scrawled the word "Canadian" on your shirt, and beat you.

When you protested, they told you to file a complaint. And when you did, you say they beat you again.

That fragment is one of many partial stories emerging from 130,000 once-classified documents the U.S. government was recently ordered to release. And the American Civil Liberties Union is making them available online, and trying to put them into context on a website it calls The Torture Report.

In time, it hopes to have a complete picture of the tactics of rendition, torture and interrogation used by the U.S. in its so-called "war on terror." Larry Siems is the lead writer on The Torture Report, and Rick spoke with him.

The Torture Report website

The American Civil Liberties Union website

Rango reborn

Next week on Dispatches: the Last Rango Master. Rango is a supressed form of African music that's played on an instrument made from dried gourds.

It became illegal in Egypt, but now is being revived by the last man on earth who knows how to play the Rango.

The tracks featured in this piece are from the band's debut recording "Sudani Voodoo" on 30IPS Records.

Click here to see their website.

Radio free farming

In Mali, northwest Africa, farmers learn better farming through radio programs like Mercy Simbi's farmer-to-farmer radio program.

One caller tells her how to keep bugs off tomatoes by soaking tobacco leaves in laundry water and sprinkling it on your plants.

Everybody it seems, has a homegrown tip. And radio seems a logical way to let everybody learn how to grow better crops.

But first, the farmers had to go to school to learn radio.

It's a story the CBC's David Gutnick first brought us last season; the story of how he found himself standing at the front of the class.

The Farm Radio International website

The Crude World of big oil

If you remember those pictures of U.S. marines hauling down that statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq back in 2003, you probably saw my next guest.

Peter Maass was the journalist seen jumping on to one of their military vehicles and hollering questions at the crew.

The next day, he watched looters sacking The National Museum of its Mespotamian treasures while American troops looked on. The only thing the military was interested in protecting, he says, was the Ministry of Oil.

For Maass, oil is a paradox. It brings more trouble than prosperity, and Iraq was just one stop in his effort to document it in his new book entitled Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, published by Random House.

Peter Maass spoke to us from New York.

Click here to view Peter Maass' website.

Elephant man

Krong with her mahout Duangkum Lanue. (Photo/Marion Warnica)

In Thailand, there was a time when the logging industry depended on the labour of elephants and their keepers.

But that time has now passed.

Elephant tourism is the only job open to them now. And sure, that sounds pretty laid back.

But turning two tons of working Asian elephant into a human taxi, that comes with complications -- for the animal and the handler. For a piece first aired last season, we joined Canadian journalist Marion Warnica at the start of a new day at the elephant station.

Mahouts demonstrate logging techniques in the Chiang Daoelephant show. (Photo/Marion Warnica)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some recent emails from listeners

Claudette D. Shaw in Calgary wrote about Alexa Dvorson's encounter with a group of Canadian medical volunteers she ran into in Mali...

I am busy pecking away on my keyboard, when I suddenly hear a voice I recognise.

I listen carefully and yes. It is definitely Tyler Belgrave.

I was very happy to attend his first fundraiser towards raising the money for his dream of a clinic in that area...

And because I know that Tyler does not like to use the connections he has developed in the oil patch on his personal mission...I make it a point to let people he and I both know in the patch what he is trying to do.

Our interview with fair-trade coffee pioneer Francisco Van der Hoff, and his warning that corporate connections have created a crisis in the movement, brought this from Bob Jowett of the Barrie, Ontario Fair Trade Working Group:

This is a disturbing concern but maybe not one that stands up to further scrutiny...

Companies such as Nestle, Walmart and Starbucks do indeed sell Fair Trade Certified products - products that have been produced by small scale farmers who have received at least the minimum price for their produce.

I too am uncomfortable with the involvement of the likes of Nestle - however if Fair Trade is to truly make a difference the demand for Fair Trade products has to continue to grow.

In entering the mainstream markets Fair Trade products have to be sold by large companies - how this is handled is going to be a real challenge for the movement.

However, it is a challenge to be relished because it indicates that the movement is succeeding.Consider, if all products were Fair Trade it would be akin to a world minimum wage..

Thanks for your emails. Please, keep them coming


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall and Alison Masemann. With technical producers Victor Johnston and Greg Fleet, senior producer Alan Guettel and intern Nadia Shahbaz.
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