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October 20, 2011: from - Blue Nile, Sudan - New York State - Democratic Republic of Congo - State College, Pennsylvania - Dublin

From our correspondents around the world...

He may be a wanted man in Congo, but Bosco Ntaganda doesn't bother to hide. Nobody has the will to arrest him. Photo/freeuganda.com

The sweet life of Bosco Ntaganda: wanted for war crimes but swanning through the salons of central Africa.

The fearsome voice of Antonov aircraft. Sudan bombs Blue Nile rebels and our reporter witnesses the "next" civil war, already underway.

From Ireland, a bogman's lament. How cutting peat became a matter of national sovereignty.

And the fracas over fracking. There's enough natural gas under the northern U.S. to supply safe energy for years to come. But how safe is the means of extracting it? It's a political fight now, in upstate New York.

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Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by everyone but those who are in a position to arrest him.  Photo/T.J Kirkpatric/AP

War crimes?  Whatever.

When you're wanted for war crimes in Congo, you can do worse than hide in plain sight, apparently.

It doesn't work for everybody, but it's been working for Bosco Ntaganda since 2005.

That's when the International Criminal Court charged him with conscripting child soldiers into his rebel movement fighting the Congolese Army.

Now that they've reconciled, he's a member of the national armed forces.  Living it up in a new uniform while allegedly behaving much worse.

Everyone from the court to the UN to the Congolese government knows where he is.  But no one's doing much about it, says reporter Mac McClelland.  She's went looking for him and published her findings in a profile published this month in Mother Jones Magazine. 

Her talk with Rick

Mac McClelland is the Human Rights Reporter for Mother Jones Magazine, in San Francisco.  Her article on Bosco Ntaganda appears in this month's edition

 

Hawa Jundi in a temporary camp where she sheltered after her village of Sally was bombed from the air. Photo/Jared Ferrie

       Blue Nile bombers

Bosco Ntaganda's not the only person wanted for war crimes that's enjoyhing a free pass these days.

Malawi this week refused to honor its obligation to arrest a visiting president, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who's accused of genocide in Darfur. 

In Malawi, a spokesman said it was a matter of "brotherly co-existence."

Now, as it did in Darfur, Sudan started an aerial bombing campaign against rebels in its southern border area.

President al-Bashir denies his government is bombarding the Blue Nile State. But Dispatches contributor Jared Ferrie hears different on the ground... 

Jared's dispatch

  

A man gathers peat bricks, known as turf, on a bog in County Kerry, south-west Ireland.  Heating homes by burning peat is a popular alternative to oil. Photo/Eamonn Keogh / Mac Monagle

       Peat bog soldiers

Voters in the Republic of Ireland cast ballots October 27th to elect a new president, a largely ceremonial office though it pays more than Obama makes.

The race became a little more intriguing with the entry of former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, running to re-unite the north and south.

But underground an issue buried in Ireland's peat bogs also has currency, as we hear in this week's guest essay from Irish journalist Joe Kearney.

Joe's essay

Joe Kearney is an Irish author and broadcaster who teaches creative writing in Dublin.

 

Protesters in New York State opposed to gas fracking, mostly over concern of what it will do to ground water. Photo/Hans Pennink-Reuters

  The fracas over fracking

There's this little county in central New York State, better known for home runs than horizontal drilling, but it's sitting on an energy bonanza.

There's natural gas right below it. A motherlode - the kind that of echoes that story 'bout a man named Jed.

Contracts are being waived in front of hardscrabble farmers. And the energy companies want to tap this supply with a controversial technique known as "fracking". 

Fracturing the rockbed using water, sludge and chemicals to release the gas.

But it's also fracturing a small community currently facing a high-pressure courtship from the energy industry, as we hear from Maria Scarvalone, in the heart of a rural American landscape.

Maria's documentary

Communities in New York, like elswhere, are split between supporters and opponents of extracting gas by fracking. Photo/Maria Scarvalone

We know the side-effects of fracking are not all swimmin' pools and movie stars.  But there's still more to it. For example, about its relationship to academia and the environment. 

Sarah Koenig is here to enlighten. She's a contributing producer to Public Radio International's This American Life program.

She recently did her own documentary examining fracking issues in Pennsylvania, which sits atop the same Marcellus Basin gasfield that's under Otsego County, New York. 

She looked into the work of pro-fracking scientist Terry Engelder from Penn State University, and Dan Voltz, formerly of the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, who arrived at very different conclusions.

Sarah Koenig, from State College, Pennsylvania

This American Life airs on Sunday nights at 11-pm on CBC Radio 1.  You can hear Sarah's full show documentary called Game Changer here.

UPDATE:  The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will issue rules for the treatment of waste water from fracking.   Read more here

 

Does the U.S. State Department listen to Dispatches?

Last week Rick interviewed Peter Van Buren , a U.S. diplomat whose new book, We Meant Well, is highly critical of the American reconstruction effort in Iraq.

He mentioned he was taking flak from the State Department higher-ups who initially approved it.  But since that interview, they've yanked his Top Security clearance and Diplomatic Passport.  This is how State puts it in the letter suspending him after 23 years of service:

"...your judgement in the handling of protected information is questionable.

"..you have shown an unwillingness to comply with Department rules...regarding writing and speaking on matters of official concern...including by publishing articles and blog posts...

you're "...assigned to a position that does not include sensitive duties."

"...turn in your building ID card and Diplomatic Passport."

How do we know all this? Van Buren put their letter on his blog.

 
Coming up...

A word about an interview we'll hear next week.

Alexandra Fuller is the author of the new book Cocktail Hour Under The Tree of Forgetfulness.

It's a memoir about growing up in colonial Africa in the reflected madness of her mother, defender of all things British in spite of the racial inequality it fostered.

Here's an excerpt from the book, read by the author, talking about her mother. Fuller also describes her armed existence living in white-ruled Rhodesia


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally with technical producers Tim Lorimer and Steve Russell, and senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

 We'll bring you the world.

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