Coltan, anyone?

The little boy  on the right is smiling for one reason only: someone’s taking his picture. But that’s all.

And that  isn’t food in his tin plate.  It’s coltan,   columbite–tantalite AKA tantalite,) ,a  “dull black metallic ore from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted,”  says the Wikipedia.

It’s also the inspiration for #OpColtanCongo, proposed by  the Anonymous non-group

From the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), coltan is sold to  “multi-million dollar companies to make tantalum capacitors that finds its way in our homes via electronic devices,” says the  post.

Now, “Members of Anonymous recently hacked the Web site for AVX Corporation, and published thousands of user names, passwords and e-mail addresses online,” says  Jeff Goldman in  e security planet, going on.

 “The attack was intended to publicize AVX’s activities in the Congo in 1998.

“It seems that in 2001 the United Nations accused AVX of extracting Columbite-tantalite (coltan), a black metallic ore used in the construction of consumer electronics such as smart phones, computers, DVD players, etc., during a civil war in the Congo in 1998,” writes Death and Taxes’ DJ Pangburn. “‘Warring groups within the Congo had apparently been smuggling coltan out of the region with the help of neighboring Rwanda and Uganda. The coltan ultimately ended up in the hands of US manufacturers such as AVX in the form of tantalum. (Profit first, ask questions later.)’

“According to a post on Pastebin, hackers in the Anonymous collective found a SQL injection vulnerability on the company’s website and used it to extract information from a corporate database,” writes SecurityWeek’s Brian Prince.

“The hacktivists accuse other companies as well of being involved in dirty games to gain access to the precious resource,” writes Softpedia’s Eduard Kovacs. “These organizations — Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens, Sony, Intel, IMB, HP, Samsung, Nec, Motorola, Apple, Dell, and many others — can at any time become the victims of OpColtan and OpGreenRights.”

The likes of Nokia, Sony,Apple,Siemens,Philips, etc., ndirectly buought large quantities of coltan and other minerals  and they’re still using it,  as well as  “a lot of coltan and ores”, says an Anonymous press statement.

 States Goldman:

“Hackers say they have hit the website for electronics manufacturer AVX as part of an an attack campaign dubbed #OperationGreenRights, going on on,

“According to a post on Pastebin, hackers in the Anonymous collective found a SQL injection vulnerability on the company’s website and used it to extract information from a corporate database. The purported data has been published online and can be viewed here.

AVX did not respond to a request for comment on the situation, says Goldman, adding based in South Carolina, AVX manufactures components for a number of products, including cell phones and copiers. In the Pastebin post, minds behind the attack however say it is the company’s interest in extracting the ore coltan from the Congo that triggered the attack.

“A civil war has grew up in Kivu, east Congo, in 2012 and it’s due to the warlord Mr. Ntaganda formerly involved in 1998 war for coltan,” the group said. “We underline that Kivu in very rich in coltan mines. So we know that AVX was directly involved in Congo’s war in 1998 but no one force them to pay for their crimes and in 2012 no one can guarantee that AVX is not taking coltan from Congo’s war areas.”

Coltan is one of several minerals often referred to as ‘conflict minerals’, which are mined in war-torn areas and sometimes sold by rebel groups and militias to finance their activities.

For its part, AVX has said it is committed to a conflict-free supply chain, and has worked to develop industry standards for the supply of tantalum, which is extracted from coltan. According to the company, since Dec. 1, 2011, it has exclusively sourced tantalum and wire used to manufacture its tantalum capacitors from smelters verified to be in compliance with the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative Conflict-Free Smelter (GeSI) program.

“Employing only EICC/GeSI independently validated, conflict-free smelters, in addition to our own supply chain assessment activities has allowed us to assure our customers of our compliance with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, due diligence guidelines as well as with the provisions detailed in the Dod-Frank law,” said Bill Millman, director of quality and technology for AVX’s  tantalum division, in a statement Aug. 16.

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