Behind the War on the Congo

12 11 2007

repris de et Zmagazine:

(Photo: Uraguayan special forces MONUC hunting FDLR in Kahuzi Beiga National Park under Operation Falcon Sweep.)

Behind the Numbers

Untold Suffering in the Congo

By Keith Harmon Snow & David Barouski, CCA 26/10/06
Oct 30, 2006, 11:28

The British medical journal Lancet recently took greater notice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) than all western media outlets combined. A group of physicians reported that about 4 million people have died since the “official” outbreak of the Congolese war in 1998 (1). The BBC reported the war in Congo has claimed more lives than any armed conflict since World War II (2). However, experts working in the Congo, and Congolese survivors, count over 10 million dead since war began in 1996—not 1998—with the U.S.-backed invasion to overthrow Zaire’s President Joseph Mobutu. While the western press quantifies African deaths all the time, no statistic can quantify the suffering of the Congolese.

Some people are aware that war in the Congo is driven by the desire to extract raw materials, including diamonds, gold, columbium tantalite (coltan), niobium, cobalt, copper, uranium and petroleum. Mining in the Congo by western companies proceeds at an unprecedented rate, and
it is reported that some $6 million in raw cobalt alone—an element of superalloys essential for nuclear, chemical, aerospace and defense industries—exits DRC daily. Any analysis of the geopolitics in the Congo requires an understanding of the organized crime perpetrated through multi-national businesses, in order to understand the reasons why the Congolese people have suffered a virtually unending war since 1996.

Some people have lauded great progress in the exposure of illegal mining in DRC, particularly by the group Human Rights Watch (HRW), whose 2005 report “The Curse of Gold” exposed Ugandan officials and multi-national corporations smuggling gold through local rebel militias. The cited rebel groups were the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) and the People’s Armed Forces of Congo (FAPC). The western companies targeted by HRW were Anglo-Ashanti Gold, a company headquartered in South Africa, and Metalor, a Swedish firm. The HRW report failed to mention that Anglo-Ashanti is partnered with Anglo-American, owned by the Oppenheimer family and partnered with Canada-based Barrick Gold described below (3). London-based Anglo-American Plc. owns a 45% share in DeBeers, another Oppenheimer company that is infamous for its near monopoly of the international diamond industry (4). Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a director of Anglo-American, is a director of Royal Dutch/Shell and a member of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Advisory Board (5). The report also suppressed the most damning evidence discovered by HRW researchers—that Anglo-Ashanti sent its top lawyers into eastern DRC to aid rebel militia leaders arrested there.

Several multi-national mining companies have rarely if ever been mentioned in any human rights report. One is Barrick Gold, who operates in the town of Watsa, northwest of the town of Bunia, located in the most violent corner of the Congo. The Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) controlled the mines intermittently during the war. Officials in Bunia claim that Barrick executives flew into the region, with UPDF and RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) escorts, to survey and inspect their mining interests (6).

George H.W. Bush served as a paid advisor for Barrick Gold. Barrick directors include: Brian Mulroney, former PM of Canada; Edward Neys, former U.S. ambassador to Canada and chairman of the private PR firm Burston-Marsteller; former U.S. Senator Howard Baker; J. Trevor Eyton, a member of the Canadian Senate; and Vernon Jordan, one of Bill Clinton’s lawyers (7).

(Photo: Rape has been used as a systematic means of instilling terror in the
people all over DRC. This girl (20) fled Eastern DRC and crossed the
country on foot to find some refuge in Western DRC.)

Barrick Gold is one of the client companies of Andrew Young’s Goodworks International lobbying firm. Andrew Young is the former Mayor of Atlanta, and a key organizer of the U.S.-Uganda Friendship Council. Young was chosen by President Clinton to chair the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund in October 1994. Goodworks’ clients—or business partners in some cases—include Coke, Chevron-Texaco, Monsanto, and the governments of Angola and Nigeria (note weapons transfers from Nigeria cited below). Young is a director of Cox Communications and Archers Daniels Midland—the “supermarket to the world” and National Public Radio sponsor whose directors include Brian Mulroney (Barrick) and G. Allen Andreas, a member of the European Advisory Board of The Carlyle Group.

Barrick Gold’s mining partners have included Adastra Mining—formerly named America Mineral Fields (AMFI, AMX, other names), formerly based in Hope, Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s hometown. Adastra had close ties with Lazare Kaplan International Inc., the largest diamond brokerage firm in the U.S., whose president, Maurice Tempelsman, has been an advisor on African Affairs to the U.S. Government and has been the U.S. Honorary Consul General of the Congo since 1977 (8).

Maurice Tempelsman accompanied Bill Clinton during his African tour in 1998, and he sails with the Clintons off Martha’s Vineyard. He serves on the International Advisory Council of the American Stock Exchange, and is a director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, a
”scientific” front for his offshore diamond mining—raking the seabed into oblivion.

Adastra also purchased a diamond concession on the Congolese-Angolan border from the Belgian mercenary firm International Defense and Security (1998), and currently has cobalt and copper concessions in Congo’s Katanga (Shaba) province (9). Adastra is a member of the Corporate Council on Africa, along with Goodworks, Halliburton, Chevron-Texaco, Northrop Grumman, GE, Boeing, Raytheon, Bechtel and SAIC—the latter two being secretive intelligence and defense entities involved in classified and supra-governmental “black” projects.

In April 1997, Jean-Ramon Boulle, a co-founder of Adastra (then AMFI), received a $1 billion dollar deal for mines in the Congo at Kolwezi (cobalt) and Kipushi (zinc) from Laurent Kabila’s Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire (ADFL) before they were even officially in power. The ADFL were even allowed to use Boulle’s private jet (10). Meanwhile, directors of Adastra are also former directors of Anglo-American (11). Other Clinton-connected founders of Adastra include Michael McMurrough and Robert Friedland—both involved in shady, criminal, offshore businesses in Indonesia, Africa, Burma and the Americas (12).

Barrick sub-contracts to Caleb International, who has also partnered with Adastra in the past. Caleb is run by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s half-brother Salim Saleh, the former acting General of the UPDF. When Uganda withdrew from the Congo in 2002 following a so-called “peace” agreement, Saleh began training paramilitary groups to act as Ugandan proxies to sustain the flow of minerals into Uganda (13).

Salim Saleh is a shareholder in Catalyst Co. of Canada, who has a 100% interest in Uganda’s Kaabong gold fields (14). He is a part owner of Saracen, a private military company created by the mercenaries-for-hire firm Executive Outcomes (15). The U.N. Panel of Experts on Illegal Exploitation of Congo’s Mineral Resources recommended Salim Saleh be put on a travel ban and have his assets frozen, but nothing was done.

Recent interventions by the armed U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Congo (MONUC) have concentrated on disarming or eliminating the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group that opposes Rwanda, and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group that opposes Uganda. (Note that the Rwanda military has partnered with its erstwhile “enemies”—the FDLR—when necessary to secure resource plunder while Uganda has its own pattern of complicity with its “rebel” enemies. Rebel alliances are to perpetually shifting.) The removal of these rebel groups will effectively clear the eastern Congo for large–scale multi-national mining. The Mai-Mai militia, whose stated goal is “to protect Congo from Rwandan and Ugandan invaders,” has committed documented human rights abuses, yet they appear to be off the agenda for MONUC. The Mai-Mai operate in northern Katanga (Shaba) province and in the Kivus.

Katanga’s militias and racketeering are connected to criminal networks of businessmen, including Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Billy Rautenbach, John Bredenkamp, and Marc Rich. U.S. diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman has profited from Katanga concessions since the Kennedy era. Lawrence Devlin, the old CIA station chief of Lubumbashi under Eisenhower, maintained Tempelsman’s criminal rackets with direct ties to Zaire’s former President Mobutu, and was subsequently employed by Tempelsman (16).

The Forrest Group has the longest history of exploitation in the Congo, gaining its first mining concessions before the Congo declared independence from the Belgians. The group, which includes the Ohio-based OM Group, has numerous concessions in Katanga (Shaba). Chairman George Forrest is the former chairman of the Congo’s state-owned mining firm GECAMINES, and owner of the New Lachaussee weapons manufacturing company.

Coltan ore is widely used in the aerospace and electronics industries for capacitors, superconductors and transistors after it is refined to tantalum. The U.S. is entirely dependant on foreign sources for tantalum, an enabling technology for capacitors essential to aerospace weaponry and every pager, cell phone, computer, VCR, CD player, P.D.A. and TV. U.S. import records show a dramatic jump of purchases from Rwanda and Uganda during the time they were smuggling tantalum and cobalt out of the Congo.

Sony dramatically increased their importation of coltan following the release of their Playstation 2, while Compaq, Microsoft, Dell, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Nokia, Intel, Lucent, and Motorola are also large-scale consumers (17). Sony’s current Executive Vice-President and General Counsel Nicole Seligman was a former legal adviser for Bill Clinton through the D.C. firm Williams and Connelly, LLP, whose clients included Bill Clinton and Oliver North (18). Sony Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Wiesenthal is a former banker with First Boston, a supporter of Refugees International’s “humanitarian” relief efforts at Rwandan refugee camps in Eastern Congo, just before the fall of Mobutu in 1995; Wiesenthal was also financial adviser to Cox Communications, OM Group, Time Warner and The New York Times (19).

(Photo: FDLR « genocidaires » — children with guns — in eastern DRC.)

Walter Kansteiner, the son of a coltan trader in Chicago, is the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and former member of the Dept. of Defense Task Force on Strategic Minerals. Kansteiner’s speech at The Forum for International Policy in October of 1996 advocated partitioning the Congo (then Zaire) into smaller states based on ethnic lineage (20). Ironically, while the speech was given, Laurent Kabila and his ADFL were beginning their march to overthrow Mobutu with the aid of Rwanda, Uganda, and the U.S. (21). Kansteiner is a trustee of the Africa Wildlife Foundation—another euphemistic front for resource acquisition in Congo.

Bechtel, a U.S. aerospace & construction company, provided satellite maps of reconnaissance photos of Mobutu’s troops for the ADFL invasion of Congo in 1996; they also created infrared maps of the Congo’s mineral deposits (22). The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Paul Kagame, the current Rwandan President graduate of the U.S. Army officers school at Fort Leavenworth, used Bechtel’s NASA maps to locate Rwandan Hutu civilians that fled the cataclysm in Rwanda in 1994. An estimated 800,000 refugees were hunted down and killed in the Congo’s forests (23). Bechtel’s friends in high places include former Secretary of State George Shultz (Board of Directors), former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger (Bechtel Counsel) and retired U.S.M.C. general Jack Sheehan (Senior Vice President), who is also a member of the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon (24). Riley P. Bechtel is on the Board of J.P. Morgan (25). Bechtel’s Nexant Company is the prime contractor on the Uganda-Kenya pipeline project, believed to ultimately facilitate petroleum transport out of the Semliki Basin of Lake Albert.

The U.N. Panel of Experts named New England-based Cabot Co. for conducting unethical business practices (26). Cabot is one of the largest tantalum processors in the world. The current Deputy Director of the U.S. Treasury, Samuel Bodman, was CEO and chairman of the board for Cabot from 1997-2001 (27). Current Director John H. McArthur is a Senior Advisor to Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank (28).

Private Military Contractors (PMCs) are also big business in Africa. Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, helped build a military base near Cyangugu, Rwanda just next to the Congo-Rwandan border. ”Officially,” Brown and Root was there to clear land mines, but instead housed mercenaries from Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) who trained the RPF and Laurent Kabila’s ADFL for invasion of the Congo in 1996, and the Rwandan army’s re-invasion in 1998, after
Laurent Kabila threw out the Rwandans, Ugandans, Bechtel and the IMF (29). The French intelligence service reported that U.S. Special Forces and mercenaries from MPRI participated in the murder of Rwandan Hutu refugees on the Oso River near Goma in 1996 and even claims to have turned over the bodies of two American soldiers killed in combat near Goma (30). The circumstances surrounding the unofficial recovery of these two U.S. soldiers remain very mysterious (31).

MPRI is based in Arlington, Virginia and is staffed and run by 36 retired U.S. generals. It is contracted by the Pentagon to fulfill the African Crisis Responsive Initiative (ACRI). This program includes the Ugandan military, and it supplied military training in guerrilla warfare to Ugandan officers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in July 1996. During the invasion of the Congo in 1998, Ugandan soldiers were found with ACRI equipment while Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have implicated Ugandan battalions trained by ACRI in rapes, murders, extortion, and beatings of Ugandan civilians (32).

Executive Outcomes founder Tony Buckingham has established other Private Military Companies that operate around Africa. Buckingham’s Heritage Oil & Gas works closely with his PMC Sandline International to manipulate the petroleum options around Lake Albert, and is believed to have signed concession deals with warring armies and governments on both sides of the Uganda-Congo border. Branch Energy is another Buckingham affiliated company operating in the Great Lakes region.

Investigations of illegal weapons sales to Rwanda last year, in violation of the U.N. arms embargo on the region, have been hampered by the Rwandan government’s refusal to provide a list of serial numbers of the 5000 AK-47s delivered there. The shipping country, Bulgaria, also refused to provide serial numbers, and would only confirm that the weapons were sold legally to a non-embargo country, Nigeria, en route to Rwanda and DRC. The governments of Uganda, Congo, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea—a major U.S. petroleum protectorate—are equally culpable in supporting the clandestine arms sales to the region (33).

Weapons shipments arriving by boat from Tanzania, and the Government of Tanzania’s role in supporting war in DRC, are never questioned. This may have something to do with Barrick Gold’s mining licenses in Tanzania’s Masaai territories. Aircraft flying between Tanzania, DRC, and from Kenya, are allowed to do so without proper documentation, record-keeping or customs oversight.

Another shady “untouchable” arms dealer operating behind the scenes in the region is an Indian-American named Mr. Kotecha. Kotecha’s interests in South Kivu are substantial, and he is openly fingered as dealing in money laundering, arms, coltan and diamonds. After the first U.S.-sponsored invasion of the Congo in 1996, Kotecha is known to have repeatedly boasted of being the “United States Consulate” in South Kivu. Kotecha holds a U.S. passport and owns a mansion in California.

When an outspoken local defender of human rights working for a small NGO (Pascal Kabungulu of Heritiers de la Justice) was assassinated during the summer of 2005 in Bukavu, the alleged killers, including a local Congolese military commander, were identified but MONUC and the international “community” took no action. The killing revolved around his role in exposing the Congolese commanders’ involvement in contraband smuggling (which continues today).

A U.N. Panel of Experts in a forthcoming report will challenge many airlines and companies for undertaking illicit flights (illegal, secret, unregistered or falsely registered) into and out of DRC. One of many notable companies apparently connected to Victor Bout’s arms trafficking networks is Simax, an Oregon-based company using an address in Sierra Leone. However, the U.N. Panel of Experts has once again ignored certain western agencies—with histories of illicit activities—whose flights remain equally surreptitious and unaccountable. At the top of the list is the International Rescue Committee (IRC)—directors include Henry Kissinger —whose flights in and out of Congo, and internal flights to and from isolated airports in eastern DRC, are completely unmonitored by MONUC arms embargo inspectors. In Bukavu, for example, all light aircraft are subject to MONUC arms embargo inspections, but IRC flights are not within the MONUC mandate. As one MONUC Military Observer admitted, “The IRC should be subject to the same standards as everyone else; otherwise we have to assume they are shipping weapons, because they do not let us confirm they are not.”

Similarly, while the U.N. Panel of Experts have investigated and reported on certain illegal criminal networks and activities in Congo, they never attend to the top-level deals brokered behind closed doors by executives from Adastra, Anglo-American, the companies of Sweden’s Adolph Lundin (a close friend of George H.W. Bush), who have control of mining concessions in Lubumbashi, Kolwezi and Mbuji Mayi areas in the Katanga (Shaba) and Kasai provinces. U.S.-based Phelps Dodge is partnered in Katanga copper/cobalt mining projects with Lundin’s Tenke Mining. Phelps Dodge director Douglas C. Yearly is also a director of Lockheed Martin, and the World Wildlife Fund—partnered with USAID and CARE in “conservation”—read: acquisition—projects all over Congo while CARE’s “humanitarian” agenda is also funded by Lockheed Martin.

“Conservation” interests provide the vanguard of western penetration in Central Africa: USAID, WWF, AWF, and Conservation International lead the charge. Evidence from USAID cases all over Congo quickly contradicts all fanfare about USAID bringing “sustainable” or “community development” projects. Most notable are the Central Africa Region Partnership for the Environment (CARPE) and Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), two programs pressing hidden military, intelligence and economic agendas. Notably, National Geographic is involved in furthering the mythologies of conservation, democracy, community development, or the lip service paid to respecting and supporting indigenous people.

Some people have suggested the reason that there isn’t greater awareness and equitable intervention in the Congo is because “we simply don’t know what to do” to remedy the situation. However, it is fairly clear what needs to be done, the West is just unwilling to do it because of powerful economic and geopolitical reasons.

1. U.S. Military Training programs must have an oversight committee and total transparency. Western governments must end their hypocritical stance and ensure they don’t train any “rebel” or ”dissident” groups, especially if they are against a democratically elected government (provided the elections weren’t fraudulent), even if the elected government isn’t politically aligned with the western ideology and/or economic ideals. To do otherwise would refute claims that the west is intervening to “spread democracy.”

2. In parallel with number 1, a committee must be set up to ensure the same doesn’t occur for the private military companies. As multinational corporations, these firms aren’t subject to obey laws of warfare as an established country’s armed forces are supposed to. The U.N. must pass resolutions mandating the World Court and International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute such corporations. Lastly, when such companies are exposed for conducting illegal activities, such as aiding coups or trafficking human slaves, the corporations who conduct these activities must be blacklisted from receiving government contracts, domestic or international, and the guilty individuals must be prosecuted (34).

3. In the arms arena, more substantial efforts must be created to intercept and prosecute “embargo busters,” illegal brokers, and arms sellers. Furthermore, those selling, transporting, brokering, funding, or wiring arms transactions for weapons specifically intended for children should receive the harshest of the penalties (certain ”small weapons” are modified to reduce their weight to make it easier for a child to carry). Firms that participate in arms shipments, transport and/or the movement of the flow of the money generated from these sales with countries, people or organizations that are embargoed or act against national or international law should be held accountable for their crimes. Assets can be frozen, travel bans imposed, and all government and economic business ties with such firms severed. These penalties must also have an assurance of enforcement.

4. Debt relief is essential, but ways must be found to protect IMF and World Bank loans from being used for military expenditures. The motivations of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz are suspect. Dr. Wolfowitz is a former Deputy Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, a former ambassador to Indonesia under Ronald Reagan, a PNAC member, and dual citizen in Israel. Likewise, the World Bank and IMF must shift their policy of privatization as a stipulation for loan approval in order to stimulate business growth within the state instead of having the business sector growth be almost entirely from multinational corporations. The World Bank and IMF must also provide debt relief to the counties that need it most according to economic indicators. Some countries receiving debt relief, like Uganda and Rwanda, are among the biggest spenders of their loans in the military sector (35). It must be ensured that a majority of spending occurs on infrastructure and public services, and that this does not benefit the standard set of “embedded” western corporations. It must also be ensured the loan money is used in areas that need development the most. For example, in Uganda, the loan money Museveni has used for development has focused in the south in Kampala, the capital, and in Mbarra, his hometown. Meanwhile, the Acholi people, who always vote against Museveni’s party in the polls, are ignored and the situation in the Lira, Gulu, and Kitgum districts continues to deteriorate. In addition, individual countries must examine the aid they give to countries that spend a high percentage of capital on military, as well as commit human rights abuses. Lastly, debt relief doesn’t harm banks that gave the loans in the first place and collect on some of the interest rates, not to mention the American businesses that make profit on the privatized businesses as part of the loan deal. The debt is transferred to the taxpayers, so transparency is needed to insure that costs are also incurred by the firms granting the loans (if they want credit for their “humanitarian” debt relief).

5. Western countries must end the impunity for those responsible for looting minerals from Congo. Firms that purchase smuggled minerals, and/or purchase concessions from illegitimate rebel groups must be prosecuted. The World Court recently made a start by convicting Uganda and fining the government, but Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe remain unaccountable for their direct pirating, as are the Western firms that purchased the minerals, and Western individuals supporting them. (The Kimberly Process, established with the support of academic and intelligence experts at Harvard University, is a perfect example of the gatekeepers policing their own gates: the huge, entrenched, but secretive interests like the Oppenheimer/DeBeers and Maurice Tempelsman owned companies are legitimized as dealers of “clean” diamonds; while the other, far less connected competitors and challengers of the status quo, including Congolese children sneaking into mines and being shot for “stealing” the diamonds off their own starving families’ former lands, are demonized as dealers of “blood” diamonds.)

6. The World Court and International Criminal Court must hold all military and civilian leaders—African, U.S., European—that are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable for their actions. The West must not be allowed to shield criminals from prosecution by virtue of their economic and political alliances with Western governments. Governments that harbor these criminals should be subject to prosecution. Economic sanctions may not be proper, as poor nations generally suffer severe civilian casualties as a result; specific involved individuals in government and the military must be held accountable.

7. “Peacekeeping” forces, in particular MONUC, must be examined to ensure that the mission is being conducted with the interests of promoting stability in the country. As illustrated, elements of MONUC have used the mission as a cover to further the agenda of the West and its corporate sponsors under the banner of “peacekeeping,” causing the death of civilians in the process: those responsible should be tried and prosecuted. It must also be ensured that the investigations don’t stop at individual soldiers or brigades committing crimes, but to examine the chain of command and their allegiances to uncover the motivations behind MONUC operations. There have been reports of MONUC troops looting ivory, gold, and animal skins in National Parks. Villagers say that they have seen murders occur right in front of MONUC soldiers and they didn’t act to prevent the killings (36). MONUC soldiers have raped Congolese women (37). When pro-Rwandan rebel leaders Laurent Nkunda and Jules Mutibusi, both war criminals wanted by the U.N., took over Bukavu by force in May 2004, MONUC provided them with weapons and vehicles. Nkunda himself has stated the head of MONUC, William Swing, personally gave him a telephone to use during the raid. (38)

8. The international media is completely silent on virtually every major issue of significance with respect to war in DRC—and the international and criminal networks behind it. Misinformation about Africa prevails due to a concerted effort by the mainstream media to blackout the truth. A boycott of key publications is imperative, and must include the most offensive: Boston Globe, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, US News & World Report, USA Today, New York Times, the New Yorker (Conde Nast Publications), Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly (highly subsidized by Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman) and, especially, National Geographic.

9. The fog of war needs to be cleared away from so-called ”humanitarian” and “human rights” programs, organizations and individuals currently aligned with the Western corporate enterprise. Notables in this category include: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, CARE, USAID, Norwegian People’s Aid, International Crises Group, International Rescue Committee, Refugees International, the Genocide Intervention Fund, and many U.N. bodies, but especially UNHCR. Most of these agencies appear to exist merely to perpetuate their own survival. Doctors Without Borders also deserves scrutiny for their recent actions in DRC.

10. The peace and justice community remains unaccountable for its failure to take any significant actions to mitigate war in Congo and expose the true reasons behind it. A first step should be open up the spaces to alternative voices currently excluded by major social justice media venues. Second is to declare a total boycott on diamonds and gold, and an organized campaign to protest and economically castigate diamond stores where Lazare diamonds are sold. A third action is the commitment of meaningful funds—both from individuals and from organizations—to support the vibrant grass roots organizations and individuals working for human rights, women’s health, disarmament, education, food security, rainforest and environmental defense in Congo. Fourth, people need to break through their fear (inculcated by the western media) of taking action to help people in the Congo: there is no reason—except the unacceptable—that westerners cannot establish a “Witness for Peace” program situated in the Congo.

11. Rights groups with missions pertinent to Congo’s need must expand their missions to include Congo. Rape is endemic in the Congo: a source of psychological and physical trauma, it contributes to the spread of HIV, Ebola and other sexually transmitted diseases. Survivors often give birth to HIV positive children with no prospects for medical or financial help. This has lead to an insurmountable need for aid to care for the orphans. Mothers of children conceived of rape are often disowned by their village and families. Western feminist and women’s rights activists and organizations must get involved and provide resources for the victims of rape in Congo. Those responsible for rapes must be tried and punished as per the law if guilty. Indeed, evidence from rape cases in rural DRC shows that sexual violence is significantly reduced simply by holding military officers accountable for their troops’ actions, but this is not happening.

12. MONUC’s Radio Okapi is the lifeline of news in DRC today, but programming is largely comprised of U.N. programming. The United Nations needs to be pressured to open up the Radio Okapi network, eliminate the “fluff” pieces, and diversify and deepen its programming and reportage. As a simple example of how things could easily be improved in DRC, programs that sensitize the public o the issue of rape, and sensitize the military to the punishment for it, could easily be implemented; such programming is never considered.

13. The transitional government in Congo is comprised of military leaders and government officials who must be held accountable for their crimes. Like the individuals, organizations, corporations and governments that have supported them, all are responsible for crimes against humanity. The current profiteering in DRC is enabled by these key players, who hold the highest levels of the DRC government, and whose crimes remain hidden by the western press. The transitional government must not be allowed to appoint war criminals to cabinet or parliamentary positions, as well as local governor positions in the provinces.


(1) “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Nationwide
Survey.” Benjamin Coghlan, Richard J. Brennan, Pascal Ngoy, David
Dofara, Brad Otto, Mark Clements, and Tony Steward. The Lancet, 7
Jan. 2006. Number 367 pp. 44-51

(2) “Thousands’ dying in DR Congo war,” BBC News, 6, Jan. 2006: .

(3) “Depopulation & Perception Management Part 2: Central Africa,”
keith harmon snow. Pioneer Valley VOICE, Feb. 2001: ;”Congo: Capitalist Mineral Lust Fuels Bloodshed,” Direct Action:

(4) “The Lost World War,” Erik Vilwar, Corporation Watch Newsletter,
Issue 13, March-April 2003:

(5) “Depopulation As Policy, or, How the Despair and Death of Millions
of African People is Daily Determined by the Lifestyle of Ordinary
Americans, in Small Town USA, With Nary a Word of Truth In the US
Press, If Anything At All, And Why Most of Us Know Nothing About It,
And Do Nothing To Stop It When We Do Know,” keith harmon snow, 2003:

(6) Private interview, keith harmon snow, Bunia, 2005.

(7) “Central Africa: Hidden Agendas and the Western Press,” Pioneer
Valley Voice, keith harmon snow:

(8) “Genocide and Covert Operations In Africa 1993-1999,” United
States One Hundred Seventh Congress. Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. First Session. 17 May 2001. comp. Centre for Research on Globalization. .

(9) Ibid.

(10) “Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo,” Dena Montague, SAIS Review, vol. XXII no. 1
(Winter-Spring 2002); “Congo: Capitalist Mineral Lust Fuels
Bloodshed,” Direct Action:; “Congo: The Western Heart of Darkness,” Asad Ismi, The Canadian
Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor, October 2001.

(11) “Depopulation & Perception Management Part 2: Central Africa,”
keith harmon snow, Pioneer Valley VOICE, Feb. 2001: .

(12) “Proxy Wars in Central Africa: Profits, Propaganda, and Luxury
Goods for the White World—Pacification, Rape, and Slavery for the
Blacks,” keith harmon snow, World War 3 Report, Issue No. 100, 19 July 2004: .

(13) “Named and Shamed,” Ruud Leeuw: .

(14) “Uganda, Sanctions, and Congo-K: Who is Who in Uganda Mining,”
Africa Analysis, 5 June 2001: .

(15) “Corporate Soldiers: The U.S. Government Privatizes Force,” Daniel
Burton and Wayne Madsen: .

(16) David Gibbs, “The Political Economy of Third World
Interventions,” University of Arizona Press; and Wayne Madsen,
”Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” Mellen Press,

(17) “The Lost World War,” Erik Vilwar, Corporation Watch Newsletter,
Issue 13, March-April 2003: .

(18) “Sony Corporation of America: Executive Biographies,” Jan. 2006.

(19) “Proxy Wars in Central Africa: Profits, Propaganda, and Luxury
Goods for the White World – Pacification, Rape, and Slavery for the
Blacks,” keith harmon snow, World War 3 Report, Issue No. 100, 19 Jul. 2004: .

(20) “Genocide and Covert Operations In Africa, 1993-1999,” United
States One Hundred Seventh Congress, Subcommittee on International
Operations and Human Rights, First Session, 17 May 2001, comp. Centre
for Research on Globalization: .

(21) “The U.S. (Under)mining Job of Africa,” : .

(22) “Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo,” Dena Montague, SAIS Review, Vol. XXII, No. 1,
(Winter-Spring 2002).

(23) “A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa,”
Howard French, 12 April 2005, Vintage, New York, NY.

(24) “The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Polititians, War
Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them,” Amy Goodman, David Goodman,
2004, Hyperion Press, New York, NY.

(25) See: “Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story.”

(26) “Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo,” Dena Montague, SAIS Review, Vol. XXII, No. 1,
(Winter-Spring 2002); Named and Shamed, Ruud Leeuw: .

(27) “Rwanda’s Secret War: U.S.-Backed Destabilization of Central
Africa,” keith harmon snow, 12 December 2004: .

(28) “Proxy Wars in Central Africa: Profits, Propaganda, and Luxury
Goods for the White World – Pacification, Rape, and Slavery for the
Blacks,” keith harmon snow, World War 3 Report, Issue No. 100, 19 Jul. 2004: .

(29) “The U.S. (Under)mining Job of Africa,” .

(30) “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” United
States One Hundred Seventh Congress. Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. First Session. 17 May 2001. comp. Centre for Research on Globalization. .

(31) Private interview, keith harmon snow, eastern DRC, July 2005.

(32) “Corporate Soldiers: The U.S. Government Privatizes Force,” Daniel Burton and Wayne Madsen: .

(33) Confidential report, received, February 2006.

(34) “The Controversial Commando,” Pratap Chatterjee, 14 Jun. 2004: ;
”CSC/DynCorp.” Corporation Watch: ;
”Crossing the Rubicon,” Michael Ruppert, 2004, New Society
Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: p. 79-80.

(35) “The Use of Rwanda’s External Debt (1990-1994): The
Responsibility of Donors and Creditors,” Michel Chossudovsky, Pierre
Galand, 30 March 2004: .

(36) “Rwanda’s Secret War: U.S.-Backed Destabilization of Central
Africa,” keith harmon snow, World War Four Report, 12 Dec. 2004: .

(37) “Proxy Wars in Central Africa: Profits, Propaganda, and Luxury
Goods for the White World—Pacification, Rape, and Slavery for the
Blacks,” keith harmon snow, World War 3 Report, No. 100, 19 Jul. 2004: .

(38) “Report on Events in Bukavu, South Kivu: May 26 to June 9, 2004,” Network of Women for the Defense of Rights and of Peace,

Génocide d’indigènes en Argentine

29 09 2007

texte repris d’amerikenlutte, (pulse aquí para un texto en española):


Le Chaco, province du nord-est de l’Argentine, fait l’objet de l’attention de certains médias en raison de la mort de dénutrition de plusieurs indigènes, morts utilisées avant les élections. En fait la situation est beaucoup plus dramatique que les quelques images montrées. Le Chaco est la cible d’entreprises de culture de soja (transgénique) qui sont en train de faire disparaître les forêts chaqueñas et les indigènes tobas qui y vivent. Ci dessous un article de Mempo Giardinelli. amerikenlutte


Ces derniers temps, la province du Chaco attire l’attention de tout le monde. Presse et télévision globale viennent surveiller les dommages de la malnutrition qui affecte des milliers d’aborigènes dans les forêts qui sont connues – maintenant improprement – comme L’Impénétrable (El Impenetrable »).

Ma collègue et amie Cristina Civale, auteure du blog Civilisation et Barbarie, du quotidien Clarin, m’invite à l’accompagner. Ce n’est pas la première invitation que je reçois, mais c’est la première que j’accepte. J’ai refusé de m’y rendre avant les récentes élections, parce que toute impression écrite est interprétée, évidemment, comme dénonciation électorale. Et je suis convaincu, depuis longtemps, que l’effroyable situation socio-économique dans laquelle se trouve les peuples originaires du Chaco, et son détournement socio-culturel, n’est le fait d’aucun gouvernement en particulier de ceux des 30 ou 40 dernières années (il y en a eu des civils et militaires ; des péronistes, dictatoriaux et radicaux) mais de tous.

D’abord nous nous sommes arrêtés à Sáenz Peña, la deuxième ville du Chaco (90 mille habitants), pour une visite clandestine – non demandée ni autorisée – à l’Hôpital Ramón Carrillo, le second le plus important de cette province. Civale prend des notes et interview des patients indigènes dans les salles, tandis que je parcours les couloirs mouillés sous les infinies fuites des plafonds, et regarde les parois défaites, dépeintes et sales, les cours sordides et un puits noir ouvert avec de l’eau stagnante près de la cuisine.

Bien que la devanture de l’hôpital ait été peinte récemment, il y a derrière une décharge d’ordures à ciel ouvert au milieu de deux pavillons. Du verre et des meubles cassés, des déchets, des radiographies, des décombres et des déchets chirurgicaux encombrent les salles où les patients sont seulement des corps absorbés par des maladies comme la tuberculose ou le mal de Chagas. Je suis impressioné par la quantité de gens allongés sur les sols, je ne sais pas s’ils sont des patients ou des familles, c’est pareil.

Un heure plus tard, sur le chemin jusqu’à Juan Jose Castelli – population de 30 mille habitants qui s’autoqualifie « Vestibule de l’Impénétrable » – l’amertume et la colère se perfectionnent en observant ce qu’il reste du Chaco boisé d’autrefois. Ce qui fut l’empire de quebrachos centenaires et d’une faune merveilleuse, sont maintenant des champs brûlés, des sols sablonneux et désertique, avec des racines attendant les pelleteuses qui prépareront cette terre pour le festival de soja transgénique qui dévaste notre pays.

Nous entrons – à nouveau par derrière – dans l’Hôpital de Castelli, qui est supposé s’occuper de 90 ou 95 pour cent des aborigènes de tout l’Impénétrable. Ce que je vois là moi frappe la poitrine, les tempes, les yeux : au moins deux douzaines d’êtres dans des conditions définitivement inhumaines. Ils ressemblent à des ex personnes, avec à peine de la peau sur les os, des corps comme ceux des camps de concentration nazis.

Une femme de 37 ans qui pèse moins de 30 kilos paraît en avoir plus de 70. Elle ne peut pas lever les bras, elle ne comprend pas ce qu’on lui demande. Cinq mètres plus loin une ancienne (ou cela y ressemble) est à peine un petit tas d’os sur un lit déglingué. L’odeur rance est insupportable, les mouches grasses paraissent être la seule chose saine, il n’y a pas de médecins en vue et il règne un épais silence, lourd et accusateur, comme celui des parents qui attendent près des lits, ou assis sur le sol du couloir, aussi ici, sur des couvertures crasseuses, calmes comme celui qui attend la Mort, cette condamnation qui, en plus, ici tarde à venir.

Je sens une nouvelle et croissante fureur, une impuissance absolue. Je demande à une jeune infirmière qui nettoie un meuble si c’est toujours ainsi. « Toujours », me répond elle en se relevant avec un chiffon sale dans la main, « bien que dernièrement ils en ont sorti beaucoup, depuis qu’a commencé à venir la télé ».

Elle est mince et un visage de bonne personne : on lui voit davantage de résignation que de ressentiment. Ils sont 44 infirmiers dans tout l’hôpital mais ils ne suffisent pas pour les trois tours. Ils travaillent huit heures par jour cinq jours par semaine et les universitaires perçoivent autour de mille pesos (250 euros) , et les contratuels moins de 600, comme elle. Les jours de pluie, celle-ci entre par les plafonds et ceci est un enfer, dit elle et indique les machimbres putréfiés et les puits noirs saturés qui débordent d’excrément dans les toilettes et les cours. Et tout est lavé avec de l’eau, rien de plus, parce que « nous n’avons pas de javel ».

Je marche par un autre couloir et j’arrive à Obstétrie et Pédiatrie. Là, ils sont tous tobas (indigènes). Une gamine pleure devant son fils, un petit sac d’os bruns avec deux yeux énormes que l’on regarde avec douleur. Un autre jeune dit qu’il ne sait pas ce qu’a sa fille mais il ne veut pas qu’elle meure, bien qu’il soit évident qu’elle est en train de mourir. Il y a une vingtaine de lits dans le secteur et dans touts la même chose : malnutrition extrême, crasse dans les draps, milliers de mouches, désolation et peur dans les regards.

Ensuite nous voyageons une heure et le tableau se fait de plus en plus grotesque. Nous nous arrêtons à Fortin Lavalle, Villa Rio Bermejito, les terres au-delà du Pont La Sirena, les endroits El Colchon, El Espinillo et plusieurs autres. Il y a des dizaines de baraques de boue et de paille, réduits infâmes où s’entassent des familles de l’ethnie Qom (tobas). Toutes, sans exception, dans des conditions sous-humaines.

Ces terres – plus de trois millions d’hectares – ont été vendues avec les aborigènes à l’intérieur. Ils sont plusieurs milliers et sont là depuis toujours, mais ils n’ont pas de titres, de papiers, ni ne savent comment les obtenir. Les amis du pouvoir, eux, oui les ont, et les font valoir. Le résultat est la dévastation de l’ Impénétrable : quand on coupe la forêt, les espèces animales disparaissent, elles s’éteignent. Les êtres humains aussi.

Et bien que quelques bonnes âmes urbaines disent le contraire, et que se scandalisent certains dirigents, dans le maintenant ex Impénétrable du Chaco des mots durs comme extermination ou génocide sont en vigueur.

Défilent devant nos yeux des malades de tuberculose, de Chagas, de lesmaniasis, des enfants qui ont seulement mangé de la farine mouillée dans de l’eau, entourés des chiens maigres et osseux comme leurs maîtres. Ils s’appellent Margarita, Nazario, Abraham, Maria et c’est la même chose. Ils disent presque tous être évangélistes, de l’Assemblée de Dieu, de l’Eglise Universelle, des « pentecopistes » ou des « anglicains ».

Involontairement ironique, j’évoque Yupanqui : « Par-ci, Dieu n’est pas passé ».

À la tombée de la nuit je suis cassé, brisé, et je ne peux que griffoner ces notes, indigné, conscient de leur inutilité. En repartant je vois dans un hameau une affiche déchirée sur le sol : « Avec la force de Rozas, votez liste 651 ». Et sur le mur d’un ranch de boue, sûrement infesté de vinchucas (insectes qui transmettent le mal de Changas, NdT), je vois un coeur rouge comme celui des pasteurs médiatiques brésiliens de « Arrête de souffrir ». En dessous il est écrit : « Le Chaco mérite mieux. Votez Capitanich » (en septembre on eu lieu les élections à gouverneur de la province, NdT).

À environ 400 kilomètres de là, le scrutin final des élections avance lentement, nerveusement. Dans un bureau le ministre de la Santé de cette province continuera de nier tout cela, tandis que le gouverneur se prépare à être sénateur et à vivre à Buenos Aires, bien loin d’ici, comme presque tous les législateurs.

Jamais auparavant, le Chaco ni ce pays ne m’avaient fait mal autant.

Mempo Giardinelli, Pagina/12, 25 septembre 2007. Traduction:

Pour plus d’info sur le soya en Argentine voir ce vidéo .

Image du jour

29 09 2007

Pour plus d’info sur le soya en Argentine voir ce vidéo .




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