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Apple

On behalf of Apple, students from the New School in New York, adovocacy group Friends of the Congo, and the Yes Lab, launched a fake Apple website announcing an exciting new ethical product from the hip computer giant: the iPhone4-CF.

"CF" stands for conflict-free, which "Apple" promised its new phone would be. The new phone bested the old version by making sure its minerals weren't sourced from conflict-ridden regions like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where battles over mining rights have fueled countless atrocities and massacres.

Apple's iPhone4-CF received a splashy product launch in the streets of New York, in front of the company's flagship Midtown Manhattan store.

Apple, normally conflict-averse, was not amused. At their behest, the NYPD showed up en masse and attemped to barricade the students into a holding pen. The activists also called for the arrest of John Paulson, founder of a New York-based hedge fund that heavily invests in the sort of Congo mining that fuels conflict.  (The NYPD did not respond with as much vigor to that request.)

In a subsequent press release by "Apple," the activists called for the enforcement of a law, introduced by then-Senator Obama, to take clear steps towards the resolution of the Congo conflict—steps that have still not been taken.

Selected press:

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This was a fake attack by Apple against the perpetrators of the iPhoneCF hoax, in which Apple—while condemning the hoaxsters' silliness—called for various real and effective measures to stop conflict mining and the atrocities in the Congo.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 16, 2010

Contact: Caroline Hemmerskjold, Apple
Tel. (408) 676-7923
Email: caroline@apple-cf.com

CONFLICT-FREE IPHONE HOAX TOUTS FALSE, FACILE CONSUMER-BASED "SOLUTION"

Apple wishes to inform the public that the so-called "conflict-free" iPhone, promoted today outside the Apple Store at Fifth Avenue in New York City, featured on the non-Apple website www.apple-CF.com, and noted in a spoofed media advisory to numerous New York City reporters, is fraudulent and fictitious, and entirely the imagination of the group of pranksters who created it.

To be perfectly clear, this product does not exist, and Apple has no connection to the group that promoted it. Furthermore, although Apple does have plans to certify its materials as conflict-free, this will by no means be any sort of solution to the situation of conflict in the Congo, nor in any way help bring an end to that conflict. Rather, the solution must be based in diplomacy.

In this regard, there is a law on the books - the "Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act," Public Law 109-456, introduced by then-Senator Obama in 2005 - that demands, among other things, the appointment of a special envoy to the Great Lakes region. As of now, four years later, this has still not happened, and the Congolese continue to die by the tens of thousands.

There are various possible solutions to this problem, but it is up to you, not Apple, to accomplish them. Here are some things you can do:

  • Report the violation of Public Law 109-456 to the FBI. Visit tips.fbi.gov to do so, or call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Culpable parties involve not only the President and the White House, but the Secretary of State, who is in charge of enforcing that portion of this law that demands the withholding of aid to destabilizing nations.
  • You might consider performing a citizen's arrest against the above parties. Any citizen can arrest someone committing a crime, if the crime is sufficiently grave. Millions of deaths in the Congo are, Apple believes, a very grave crime.
  • You might also consider performing a citizen's arrest against shareholders and officers of the mining companies that have been implicated in pillaging the resources of the Congo and fueling the conflict in the Congo over the past 14 years. Why not start with John Paulson, the majority shareholder of AngloGold Ashanti, the mining company most responsible for financially supporting rebel groups and furthering the Congo conflict. His office is located at 1251 Avenue Of The Americas (at 50th Street), Floor 50.

We at Apple have acknowledged in the past that the conflict in the Congo, which has claimed many millions of lives, is fuelled in part by the provision of minerals that go into consumer electronic products, and not only Apple's. However, so-called "conflict-free" certification is not a real solution, merely a very tiny part of a real solution. Regardless of whether Apple or other companies produce "conflict-free" products, the Congo conflict will not end until the U.S. government chooses to enforce its own laws.

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