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America’s war in Central Africa

March 28, 2009

Unpacking Western whiteness, war and propaganda

by Keith Harmon Snow

Tears run down the face of a Congolese man grieving his wife’s death at the hands of a militia in North Kivu, DRC. He is one of millions of innocent people struggling to survive amidst the ongoing catastrophe in Congo. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
Tears run down the face of a Congolese man grieving his wife’s death at the hands of a militia in North Kivu, DRC. He is one of millions of innocent people struggling to survive amidst the ongoing catastrophe in Congo. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
Backed by the Obama administration and its Clinton appointees, Rwandan troops marched into eastern Congo in January 2009, barely a month after a scathing United Nations report revealed that they were already there, and coincident with Ugandan military operations on the Congo-Sudan-Uganda border. The U.S. Pentagon supported these military operations, and the subsequent “arrest” of Gen. Laurent Nkunda merely provided cover for the Pentagon’s proxy warriors in Rwanda (Kagame), Uganda (Museveni) and Congo (Kabila).

Meanwhile, the recent UNHCR “Gimme Shelter” campaign uses the iconic Rolling Stones song and Hollywood star Ben Affleck’s video of suffering in Congo as a propaganda tool to peddle the international catastrophe of Western aid, intervention, plunder and depopulation in Central Africa – hidden by the propaganda of virtually every news venue in the West – from the New York Times and the Nation to Democracy Now and Anti-War.com.

On Dec. 17, 2008, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) unveiled their latest fundraising campaign in pursuit of charity donations “for Congo War Victims.” Set to the iconic song by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, the four-minute “Gimme Shelter” video filmed and produced by Hollywood star Ben Affleck is an advertisement for UNHCR.[1]

A Congolese insider said of Ben Affleck: “He was not really interested by the position of Congolese people and his heart was in Rwanda during all the time he was here … He didn’t want people to know he came from Rwanda."
A Congolese insider said of Ben Affleck: “He was not really interested by the position of Congolese people and his heart was in Rwanda during all the time he was here … He didn’t want people to know he came from Rwanda."
Since 2007, Ben Affleck has repeatedly traveled to Rwanda and Congo, but his ties to Rwanda run deeper than tourism. While presenting himself as an independent agent on a humanitarian mission in Congo, Affleck has closely affiliated himself with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his military government.

“My hope in being here is primarily to bring attention to the fact that there’s a real lack of (aid agencies) here,” Affleck said. “There’s a real lack of money going to these folks.”

However, in eastern Congo, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates 126 organizations, including 10 U.N. agencies, 50 international NGOs, and Congolese governmental officials and donors. The annual OCHA budget alone hovers around $US 680-700 million. The 2008 budget for the World Food Program in DRC was about $430 million, with 56 percent of all food resources designated for North Kivu.[2] From 2000 to 2007 the UNHCR’s global expenditures grew from $US 800 million to $US 1.2 billion, and UNHCR delineates hundreds of millions annually for DRC and Uganda, where they count some 1.1 million and 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) respectively.[3]

“These international NGOs are all here for the same reason as every other foreigner in Congo – to make money,” reports a newly arrived NGO volunteer from eastern Congo. “I came here to help the folks and seek work, but the more I learn the more FUBAR this place appears to be. It has evolved into a highly efficient corrupt system.”[4]

“I was thinking there was something wrong with [Ben Affleck],” reports a Congolese insider, who said that U.N. officials were telling Congolese people that Ben Affleck wants to build a hospital in North Kivu. “He was not really interested by the position of Congolese people and his heart was in Rwanda during all the time he was here … He didn’t want people to know he came from Rwanda. Our problem will never reach an end.”[5]

At least 10 million people have died in the Congo Wars since 1996, yet official statistics and body counts are misrepresented by politically motivated interest groups like the International Rescue Committee, CARE International, Save the Children and the UNHCR. Current “humanitarian” campaigns by OXFAM, Raise Hope for Congo, Amnesty International and the International Crises Group, for example, are merely window dressing on structural violence and they serve to channel popular public concern and genuine caring into actions that support predatory capitalism and private profits for the multinational corporations disguised as “non-government” organizations.

A Congolese child suffering from malnutrition waits to die in a clinic in North Kivu, DRC. Such images are perpetually used to provoke Western media spectators to donate to corporate relief operations. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
A Congolese child suffering from malnutrition waits to die in a clinic in North Kivu, DRC. Such images are perpetually used to provoke Western media spectators to donate to corporate relief operations. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
A recent United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study reported that nearly half the population in the DRC may not live to 40 years of age, that 75 percent of the population lived below the poverty line – on less than one dollar a day – while more than half the population (57 percent) had no access to drinking water or to basic health care (54 percent), and three out of every 10 children are malnourished.

Modern day slavery is rampant on Western-owned and Western-controlled enterprises in the Congo’s interior – on logging concessions, mining tracts, plantations for luxury chocolate, coffee, rubber and palm oil and in areas where the people are forced off their own lands for Western so-called “wildlife conservation” enterprises. Diamond cartels out of Tel Aviv, Antwerp and Brussels, New York and London are raping the country in collaboration with both rebel groups and with official government sanction. Every diamond out of Congo – or anywhere else in Africa – remains a blood diamond.

Yet Congo’s greatest exploiters – like Maurice Tempelsman, George Forrest, Louis Michel, Dan Gertler, Walter Kansteiner, Sam Jonah, Philipe De Moerloose or John Bredenkamp – are never mentioned by the Western establishment, even when they operate in plain sight of media, human rights groups and government commissions of inquiry.

The perpetrators behind the propaganda

Ben Affleck has now become the top establishment mouthpiece on Congo (and Sudan), saying nothing of substance about the roots of the conflict or the beneficiaries of the exploitation, in everything from Sundance documentary films to TIME magazine features. Such productions whitewash the chaos created by foreign interventions, covert operations and white-collar organized crime, and they render structural violence equally invisible. Multinational corporations involved in the exploitation are obliterated without a trace of their ever being there and, in many cases, they are offered up as the perfect as yet untried solution.

One of the multinational corporations affiliated with UNHCR is PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PWC), a New York “accounting” firm that earned $US 28.2 billion in revenues in 2008. PWC is also a shareholder involved in the niobium/tantalum (pyrochlore) mine at Lueshe, North Kivu, at the heart of the Rwandan “Tutsi rebel” occupation in eastern Congo.[6][7] PWC was the dominant majority shareholder of Somikivu s.c.a.r.l., a company established in Congo (Zaire) in 1984 and controlled in North Kivu for numerous years past by troops under the command of Rwandan warlords Laurent Nkunda and Jules Mutebusi, both wanted war criminals.[8]

“The crimes and war crimes committed by the management of the PricewaterhouseCoopers company Somikivu since the year 2000 up until now will not be quoted here,” wrote the authors of a 2006 letter calling on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to address PWC for violations of OECD guidelines for multinational corporations.[9]

In budget year 2008, PWC offices worldwide collectively “donated” $US 1,511,982 to UNHCR.[10] PricewaterhouseCoopers has also served as the “chartered accountants” for Canadian Banro Corp.[11]

Banro is a gold company with four wholly owned properties that operates only in eastern DRC and was “awarded” gold concessions comprising 5,730 square kms (2,212 square miles). Banro personnel are ferried over the remote and blood-drenched South Kivu landscape by private helicopters. From Dec. 31, 2005, to Sept. 31, 2008, Banro – always declaring a loss – increased its assets from $US 100 million to $US 121 million. In the same period, more than 1,000 Congolese people died daily – roughly 1,000,000 victims. Banro Corp. identifies some 9 million ounces of gold on “their” properties, concessions valued at over $US 7.63 billion – and this is just one of the many foreign companies pillaging Congo.

How does a Canadian mining company come to “wholly own” land in blood drenched eastern Congo? Banro advertises itself as one of Congo’s great benefactors “well-positioned to benefit from the timely economic, social and political recovery of the DRC.”[12] In reality, the ongoing white-collar business operations of Banro Corp. amidst the massive depopulation are crimes against humanity.

The upside down genocide

The Kagame military machine – backed by factions from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Israel – is one of Africa’s greatest enemies. Kagame was one of the original 27 soldiers to launch the guerrilla war in Uganda in 1980, alongside now president-for-life Yoweri Museveni. Kagame then headed Museveni’s dreaded Internal Security Organization, responsible for massive state organized terror during the Museveni regime’s consolidation of power.

George W. Bush greets Paul Kagame in the Oval Office at the White House.
George W. Bush greets Paul Kagame in the Oval Office at the White House.
In October 1990, Kagame returned from training at the U.S. Army base at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to lead the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces’ (UPDF) illegal invasion of Rwanda. The U.S. military and its partners backed the invasion, just as they backed the invasion of Congo in 1996 and also the recent invasion of Congo launched in parallel with the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration of Barack Obama.

Since Jan. 20, 2009, the Pentagon has stepped up its military presence in eastern Congo, including military advisers for the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC), military legal experts focused on those defined by the self-interested Pentagon and U.S. State Department as war criminals, and other specialists, all in the Kivu provinces. The Pentagon backed the Ugandan military intervention in northeastern Congo in December 2008 and January 2009, a bloodbath for local people where atrocities involving Ugandan troops (UPDF) were universally blamed on the “mysterious” guerrilla forces of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

From 1990 to 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), comprised most heavily of Ugandan soldiers and led by Ugandan citizens like Paul Kagame and James Kabarebe, committed atrocity after atrocity as they forced their way to power in Kigali, always falsely accusing their enemies – the power-sharing government of then President Juvenal Habyarimana – of genocide.[13]

On Dec. 18, 2008, after the protracted “Military I” trial, the judges at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) ruled that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide by former Rwandan military leaders of the Habyarimana government. It was a war, and the actions – far from a calculated genocide – were found by the ICTR judges to be “war-time conditions.”[14]

“The media reports of the Dec. 18 judgment [Military I] at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda focused primarily on the convictions of three of four former top military leaders, who were the supposed ‘masterminds’ of the Rwandan genocide,” wrote ICTR defense lawyer Peter Erlinder. “But, as those who have followed the ICTR closely know, convictions of members of the former Rwandan government and military are scarcely newsworthy.”[15]

Given the historical bias of ICTR in favor of the Kagame regime and its backers, it is no surprise that the former top military leaders of the Habyarimana government – Col. Theoneste Bagosora and Major Aloys Ntabakuze – were sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.[16]

“The real news was that ALL of the top Rwandan military officers, including the supposedly infamous Col. Bagosora, were found not guilty of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide,” writes Erlinder. “And Gen. Gratien Kabiligi, a senior member of the general staff, was acquitted of all charges! The others were found guilty of specific acts committed by subordinates, in specific places, at specific times – not an overall conspiracy to kill civilians, much less Tutsi civilians.”[17]

Between 1990 and 1994, the Ugandan-Rwandan guerrilla forces waged a systematic, pre-planned, secretive but highly organized terrorist war aimed at eliminating the largest number of Rwandan people possible – bodies were hacked to pieces and incinerated en masse. From 1994, once the RPA violently seized power, a terror regime was created and developed and a criminal structure parallel to the state was set up to pursue pre-determined kidnappings; torturing and raping of women and young girls; terrorist attacks (both directly and by simulating that the same had been perpetrated by the enemy); illegal detention of thousands of civilians; selective murdering; systematic elimination of corpses either by mass incineration or by throwing them into lakes and rivers; indiscriminate attacks against civilians based on pre-determined ethnic categories for the elimination of the predominant ethnic group; and also to carry out acts of war in Rwanda and Congo. [18][19][20][21]

Further contradicting the establishment’s portrayal of the RPA as a “disciplined” rebel force that “stopped the genocide” is the buried U.N. report by Robert Gersony, a UNHCR consultant, describing “calculated, preplanned, systematic atrocities and genocide against Hutus by the RPA … a plan implemented as a policy from the highest echelons of [the Kagame] government.”[22]

In contradistinction to the establishment narrative accusing the “Hutu leadership” of an “organized” genocide were the countless acts of genocide committed through a spontaneous uprising of the masses – people who had been brutalized, disenfranchised, uprooted and forced from homes; people who had witnessed massacres and rapes of family members; people who were themselves the victims of brutal atrocities. These were more than a million people, mostly Hutus, who had been terrorized by the Rwandan Patriotic Army from October 1990 to April 1994, as it butchered its way into Rwanda.

After more than 15 years of massive Western propaganda proclaiming an organized, systematic elimination of the Tutsi people by the Hutu leaders of the former Rwandan government, the official Rwanda genocide story has finally collapsed.

The Kagame and Museveni governments, with their foreign backers, have pursued identical strategies in Congo as they did in Rwanda, 1990-1994: Destabilize the region, manufacture chaos, sue for peace while pursuing war and use the U.N. “peacekeeping” mission to aid their predatory agenda. The final solution is to permanently criminalize the Hutu majority, entrench economic and political relations between the Kivus and Rwanda and between Orientale and Uganda, and balkanize Congo – exactly as proposed by President Bill Clinton’s national security insider Walter Kansteiner (1996).[23]

Walter Kansteiner III was assistant secretary of state for Africa under G.W. Bush and former member of the Department of Defense Task Force on Strategic Minerals under Bill Clinton. Kansteiner is today a director of Moto Gold, a multinational corporation operating in northeastern DRC.

The present Moto Gold mining “lease” covers an area of approximately 1,841 square kilometers and the infrastructure is being linked to Uganda by road. The project is billed as a joint venture with Congo’s Office of Kilo Moto Mines, but OKIMO officials have explained the myriad ways that foreigners from Europe, Israel and Texas, for example, have controlled the Kilo Moto mines since their initial exploitation under Belgian colonization. USAID also supports the OKIMO/Moto project, and the mine is expected to be Congo’s largest gold producer by 2012. But Moto Gold operations amidst the bloodshed in Congo are also crimes against humanity.

Like Banro Corp., Moto Gold has ties to the Anglo-American mining conglomerate from South Africa, firmly involving the Anglo-American Oppenheimer/De Beers cartels in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide since at least 1996.

Walter Kansteiner is also a director of the Titanium Resources Group, a company deeply tied to Sierra Rutile Ltd. and the bloodshed in Sierra Leone. Sierra Rutile director Sir Sam Jonah reportedly helped finance Rwandan rebel groups in DRC; Jonah is also a director for Moto Gold. Sierra Rutile is owned by Robert Friedland and Max and Jean-Raymond Boulle – “Friends of Bill” Clinton linked to clandestine networks of organized crime from Burma to Congo to Mongolia.[24]

A Vangold Corp. map showing the extent of gold concessions in northeastern Congo, with an arrow denoting the Vangold property on the DRC-Uganda border, making it clear why there is so much bloodshed in DRC’s Orientale Province. – Image from Vangold website
A Vangold Corp. map showing the extent of gold concessions in northeastern Congo, with an arrow denoting the Vangold property on the DRC-Uganda border, making it clear why there is so much bloodshed in DRC’s Orientale Province. – Image from Vangold website
One Friedland connected company operates in Rwanda and Uganda today as the Canadian company Vangold Resources.[25] Vangold copper, cobalt and gold mining operations proceed in Uganda’s western border districts and Vangold operations can be linked to the Ugandan government’s genocide against the Acholi people.[26] Vangold also operates in Kenya, and holds a 1,631 square km (630 square mile) petroleum concession bordering Congo in northeastern Rwanda.[27]

The Canadian publisher of a book called “Noir Canada” is currently being sued by Barrick Gold (G.H.W. Bush-connected) in Quebec as well as Banro Corp. in Ontario for a total of $11 millions, even though the book is exclusively an analysis of multiple publicly released sources (1,213 footnotes).

The latest U.N. report on plunder in the Great Lakes, released December 2009, documents a few of the many agents backing rebel factions, criminal networks and mining operations in eastern Congo. However, the country is vast and the list of exploiters involves all kinds of mining, petroleum, private military, agribusiness and pharmaceutical corporations and so-called “conservation” and “humanitarian” organizations involved in the latest forms of imperial intervention and expropriation of lands and resources.

The euphemistically named guerrilla army – National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) – lorded over by Gen. Laurent Nkunda, has maintained direct personal communications with the office of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame and was always Kigali’s proxy army in Congo. Laurent Nkunda has a long history of criminality and mass murder in Central Africa, and Rwanda has for years dispatched military personnel into Congo, recruiting and arming child soldiers, and they are involved in minerals plunder, racketeering, extortion and war crimes.[28] President Museveni’s government has also collaborated with Gen. Laurent Nkunda, training and arming CNDP and other factions involved in war crimes. It is these guerrilla factions that pave the way for corporate exploitation.

Emboldened by former Clinton officials now entrenched in the Obama administration, the Kagame regime openly sent more than 1,500 troops into North Kivu using weapons recently delivered to Rwanda for their equally illegal terrorist operations in Darfur, Sudan. The Pentagon sent a U.S. military “team” to support the Ugandan-Rwandan-Congolese operation and on Jan. 22, 2009, the “rebel” Nkunda was “arrested” – and shipped safely back to freedom and luxury in Rwanda.

It is these guerrilla factions, such as Gen. Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP, that pave the way for corporate exploitation.

The recent Rwandan and Ugandan incursions into Congo were coordinated with Congolese forces, and the notorious Rwandan Gen. James Kabarebe met with Congo’s President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Congo’s capital, openly flagging Kabila’s long time but clandestine relations with Kagame. Nkunda, a self-declared Christian preacher, is linked to a shadowy U.S.-based Pentecostal group called the “Rebels for Christ.” Nkunda is also an open admirer of George W. Bush.[29]

The Western establishment universally attributed recent massive atrocities in Congo to the Lord’s Resistance Army and Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda, exonerating Ugandan and Rwandan forces for their clear and obvious involvement in the latest war crimes. Recent propaganda proclaiming Nkunda to be the victim of international rivalry and a positive force for eastern Congo serves the prerogatives of certain corporate factions and is a stepping stone to exonerating Kagame, Museveni and other Black ringleaders of organized crime behind Central Africa’s inhuman tragedies.

But the recent massive collateral damage against tens of thousands of innocent Congolese people has now involved the Obama administration in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The misery industry

Western expatriates take a break from humanitarian relief operations to practice “aquatic yoga” at a plush club swimming pool off limits to ordinary Congolese people. Just one of the many perks of relief work in “exotic” foreign war zones. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
Western expatriates take a break from humanitarian relief operations to practice “aquatic yoga” at a plush club swimming pool off limits to ordinary Congolese people. Just one of the many perks of relief work in “exotic” foreign war zones. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
The 1996 Rwandan Patriotic Army invasion of eastern Congo – then Zaire – began with military attacks against refugee camps in the North and South Kivu provinces where more than 2 million Rwandan refugees were amassed. These death camps were created by the “humanitarian” business sector and they revolved around massive profits for the corporate agencies involved, many of which are deeply tied to the Western military-intelligence apparatus.

With the support of his friends in the RPA, Ugandan scholar and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani traveled to the Kivus shortly after the 1996 invasion of Congo (Zaire). Mamdani and RPA backer Jacques Depelchin produced a report that documented the genocidal RPA campaign against Hutus, and the devastating effects of the AID enterprise on eastern Congo.[30] Mamdani described the “dollarization” that destroyed the local economy, how rents were driven up by the influx of an army of “AID” workers and how local people found basic needs increasingly beyond their reach.[31]

“To talk to civil society leaders in Kivu about the experience of hosting 2 million plus refugees resourced through international NGOs,” Mamdani reported, “is to listen to a litany of troubles – criminality, ill health, increased prices, lowered production, mounting insecurity – all traced to that single experience.”[32] Mamdani’s own past is linked to protagonists in Central Africa’s wars and thus his “scholarship” is compromised.

The eastern Congo never recovered from the combined devastation wrought by the post-1994 Rwandan Patriotic Army terror regime in combination with the Rwandan refugee influx. Then as now, the enterprise spawned one disaster after another and the situation today can only be explained as a manufactured disaster.

A MONUC financed cricket and football (soccer) field constructed by the Pakistani MONUC brigade near the Bukavu airport, South Kivu. Indian and Pakistani troops regularly hold competitions complete with marching bands. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
A MONUC financed cricket and football (soccer) field constructed by the Pakistani MONUC brigade near the Bukavu airport, South Kivu. Indian and Pakistani troops regularly hold competitions complete with marching bands. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
The United Nations Observers Mission for Congo (MONUC) supported Ben Affleck’s visit to eastern Congo, but the MONUC Public Information Office (PIO) might best be described as a “disinformation” office for the false information that they have provided on many occasions regarding MONUC realities.

“In La Potentiel today,” wrote Great Lakes analyst David Barouski in January 2008, “U.N. civilian sector spokesman Mr. Kemal Saiki reported that the [Rwanda Defense Force] is not present in Congo. This is not the truth and I cannot imagine that Mr. Saiki is so poorly informed that he honestly does not know they are there. Such an act degrades MONUC’s credibility with the Congolese people and the international community, who already know the RDF is there.”[33]

MONUC PIOs have also supported the establishment claims about Ugandan military (UPDF) withdrawals, and they have refused to report UPDF incursions in the Orientale region. MONUC makes it possible for Western mining companies to loot Congo, and MONUC contingents have participated in illegal minerals plunder.[34]

The annual MONUC budget is $US 1.13 billion, of which approximately 40 percent is annually spent on air transport in and between DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.[35][36] MONUC also rents properties and facilities in Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (valued at approximately $US 370,000 annually) and pays some $US 93 million annually to oil companies.[37]

MONUC (U.N. Observers Mission for Congo) makes it possible for Western mining companies to loot Congo, and MONUC contingents have participated in illegal minerals plunder.

One of the primary providers of air support services for MONUC is Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), a subsidiary of the U.S. aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. These are but a few of the many interests involved in plundering and depopulating Central Africa.

Take me out to the ball game

After one of Ben Affleck’s visits to Rwanda to explore investment opportunities with Kagame’s ministers, Francis Gatare, director general of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency, quoted the Oscar winner to say: “[I]t’s very easy to think that the Rwanda you saw on CNN in 1994 is still the same. Seeing is believing, and I am happy to have come to Rwanda to witness how the peace and security in the country is real and should be communicated to the world.”[38]

Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch, presents a lecture on genocide in Rwanda at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch, presents a lecture on genocide in Rwanda at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2007
Rwanda’s “peace” has come about through a campaign of absolute terror against the people and depopulation of the Rwandan countryside.[39] One of the principal agents responsible for covering up the truth about genocide in Rwanda was Alison Des Forges, the Human Rights Watch activist killed in a plane crash in New York on Feb. 12, 2009.

But Rwanda pimps its sanitized image through numerous celebrities and business leaders, including Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Mia Farrow and Daryl Hannah. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Jane Goodall Institute are two big profit-based “conservation” NGOs directly tied to militias involved in extortion, land theft and other organized crime in Congo’s North Kivu province. Jane Goodall is currently a United Nations Messenger of Peace, but she is so busy giving “Save the Chimp” lectures worldwide that she doesn’t know what she is talking about and is blind to the crimes that the Jane Goodall Institute is committing, in her name, in Congo.

A number of other big international names, including Quincy Jones, and the CEOs of Starbucks, Microsoft, Google and CISCO, have previously visited Rwanda on business missions. Kagame’s strategy of surrounding himself with big business to shield his regime against criticisms or indictments for war crimes and acts of genocide has paid off. Business web sites and public relations campaigns the world over describe Paul Kagame as “the entrepreneur president.”[40] President Obama’s right-wing evangelist Christian fundamentalist Rick Warren has also gotten in on the Kagame game.

Andrew Young, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and former mayor of Atlanta, has promoted Rwanda through his corporate consulting firm Goodworks International. Young is also a close sponsor and partner of the U.S.-Uganda Friendship Council, a multinational corporate organization involving and protecting Yoweri Museveni. In 2007, Young’s perception management firm produced the pro-Kagame whitewash titled “Rwanda Rising.” Billed as a documentary and entered into film festivals, the promo starred Paul Kagame, William Jefferson Clinton and musician Quincy Jones.

Andrew Young is reportedly building a mansion on Lake Muhazi in Rwanda, where Kagame also owns a mansion, and next to exclusive multi-million dollar lakeside resorts and golf courses. Quincy Jones has bought an island on Lake Muhazi.

In 2005, Kagame was awarded the annual Andrew Young Medal for Capitalism and Social Progress by Georgia State University. In 2007 Kagame received the “Abolitionist of the Year Award” after Rwanda abolished the death penalty, a rather ironic result given Kagame’s role in mass death in Congo and Rwanda. But Kagame’s award for being a capitalist couldn’t be more apropos, given the predatory nature of Western capitalism as practiced by Kagame’s gang in the Great Lakes region.

Tony Blair, Britain’s prime minister (1997-2007) at the time of the first and second Anglo-American invasions of Congo, has been a personal advisor to Kagame since January 2008. Michael Porter, a Harvard professor and “intellectual entrepreneur” from Brookline, Mass., is another of Kagame’s primary economic advisers.[41]

Harvard University’s Dr. Paul Farmer moved his family to Rwanda in 2008 and became a citizen. Farmer’s Partners in Health project has received millions of dollars from the Clinton Foundation and Clinton HIV/AIDS programs – money rinsed from African blood diamonds and indigenous genocides.[42] Maurice Tempelsman, the Clinton/Kennedy family diamond broker, Democratic Party sponsor and an architect of covert operations in Africa, is the chairman of the board of Harvard University’s euphemistically named AIDS Institute; HAI is partnered with the U.S. Military HIV Research Program.[43][44] Farmer is also linked to the Kagame regime’s network in Boston, where a Rwandan intelligence cell works to identify, criminalize and extradite any Rwandan people in the USA who in any way challenge the criminality or injustice of the current regime.[45]

Paul and Jeanette Kagame are regular visitors to Boston – Ben Affleck’s home town – and their influence is peddled through Mayor Thomas Menino and former Gov. Mitt Romney, the Jewish community and others. The Tutsis are seen as the “Jews of Africa” and Rwanda as the “Israel of Africa,” according to the efficacious mythology perpetuated by New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch and Israeli officials.[46] Israel also fuels the holocaust in the Congo.[47]

At Boston College in 2005, Kagame was joined by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Pierre-Richard Prosper, a Boston College trustee who has visited Rwanda since 1995. Prosper neutralized the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), and helped derail the attempts by ICTR prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to prosecute the RPA/F for war crimes.[48] Prosper and Kagame both gave speeches that echoed the big lie about a systematic genocide committed by the Hutus, the usual criticisms of the international community for “failing to act” and accused the U.S. media of failing “to explore the genocidal machine that was under full operation in Rwanda.”[49] In reality, the U.S. media facilitated the RPA coup d’etat and turned the genocide upside down.

Paul Kagame’s children attend school in Boston, sheltered by an extensive network, and Ben Affleck has taken them to Boston Red Sox baseball games – exemplifying Affleck’s intimate relationship to an internationally renowned war criminal and conflict of interest in Congo.[50]

In Congo they call it MONUC AIR. Seen here is a jetliner leased by MONUC on a flight from Bujumbura, Burundi, to Kinshasa, Congo’s capital city, filled to about 10 percent capacity. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
In Congo they call it MONUC AIR. Seen here is a jetliner leased by MONUC on a flight from Bujumbura, Burundi, to Kinshasa, Congo’s capital city, filled to about 10 percent capacity. – Photo: Keith Harmon Snow, 2005
The “Gimme Shelter” campaign is but the latest smokescreen by the Western propaganda systems deployed to protect private profits, hidden agendas and white-collar war crimes in Central Africa. In this equation, the actors and actresses themselves are being used like brand names. UNHCR has the Angelina Jolie brand. UNICEF has the Mia Farrow brand. Save the Children and UNHCR share the Ben Affleck brand name. Lauded for “helping to shine light on the world’s trouble spots,” celebrity actorvism is more like a cop shining a bright light in your eyes so that you are disoriented, confused and blinded.

In eastern Congo, it is clear that the goal is to create chaos, to mobilize and dispossess millions of people of their lands and their agency, to herd and intern them in “refugee” concentration camps, where they die of starvation and disease, where they become test populations for pharmaceutical corporations, where every justification is used to exploit them and justify predacious capitalism. But most of all, the goal is to create a hopeless and destitute people, who don’t know if they are coming or going, who are traumatized, shattered, apathetic, afraid of everyone and everything, where even the most vile forms of corporate exploitation can appear, almost magically, as promising solutions.

Notes

[1] Howard Lesser, “UNHCR Unveils ‘Gimme Shelter’ Campaign for Congo War Victims,” Voice of America, Dec. 18, 2008.

[2] World Food Program, DRC, http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/indexcountry.asp?country=180#Facts%20&%20Figures.

[3] United Nations General Assembly, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Program, U.N. Doc A/AC.96/1040, Sept. 12, 2007, http://www.unhcr.org/excom/EXCOM/46ea53192.pdf.

[4] “FUBAR” is an acronym, coined by U.S. military during the U.S. war in Vietnam: “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.” Private communication from Bukavu, DRC, Jan. 6, 2009.

[5] Private communication, DRC, January 2009.

[6] http://www.unhcr.org/partners/PARTNERS/483c14692.pdf.

[7] “Conflict and Development: Peacebuilding and Post-conflict Resolution; Sixth Report of Session 2005-06,” Parliament Great Britain International Development Committee, 2006, pp. 247, 251.

[8] You will find an unconscionable propaganda piece favorable to Rwanda’s Gen. Laurent Nkunda published as an “exclusive interview” in the Huffington Post by this writer’s former colleague. See Georgianne Nienaber’s “Congo Rebel Leader Accused of War Crimes Tells His Story,” Huffington Post, Jan. 9, 2009.

[9] Letter titled “Violation of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises Through
PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. New York” by Mag. Thomas Eggenburg, Vienna, March 27, 2006. It is important to recognize that the interested parties who brought the PricewaterhouseCoopers crimes to light are themselves corporate competitors interested in controlling the Lueshe mine: Kroll Associates.

[10] Donations often occur in the form of tax write-offs that provide significant and expeditious benefits to the “donors” due to their timing and amounts, http://www.unhcr.org/partners/PARTNERS/483c14692.pdf.

[11] Banro Corp., SEC Form 6-K 2006; and http://infoventure.tsx.com/TSXVenture/TSXVentureHttpController?GetPage=CompanySummary&PO_ID=1062237&HC_FLAG1=on.

[12] Banro Corp., “Why Africa and the DRC?” http://www.banro.com/s/WhyCongo.asp.

[13] See Wayne Madsen, “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” Mellen Press, 1999; and “Discredit the Hutu Population Forever: Analysis of the social, political, economic, military, geostrategic and diplomatic aspects of the crises in Rwanda before, during and after the outbreak of the crisis on April 6, 1994,” report by Dr. Helmut Strizek, Case No. ICTR 2000-56-I, Bonn, Aug. 3, 2008; Keith Harmon Snow, “Psychological Warfare, Embedded Reporters and the Hunting of Refugees,” Global Research, April 12, 2008.

[14] See Peter Erlinder, “Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning … No Genocide?” Jurist, Dec. 23, 2008, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2008/12/rwanda-no-conspiracy-no-genocide.php.

[15] See Peter Erlinder, “Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning … No Genocide?” Jurist, Dec. 23, 2008, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2008/12/rwanda-no-conspiracy-no-genocide.php.

[16] “International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR): Bagosora, Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva given life sentences; Kabiligi acquitted,” African Press Organization, Dec. 18, 2008, http://appablog.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/international-criminal-tribunal-for-rwanda-ictr-bagosora-ntabakuze-and-nsengiyumva-given-life-sentenceskabiligi-acquitted/.

[17] See Peter Erlinder, “Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning … No Genocide?” Jurist, Dec. 23, 2008, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2008/12/rwanda-no-conspiracy-no-genocide.php.

[18] Decision of the National Pre-Trial Examining Court No. 4 (Juzgado Central de Instrucción nº 4) of the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish National Court) issuing international arrest warrants, “Sumario 3/2008 – D,” Order of Indictment, Madrid, Feb. 6, 2008. This is a confidential document outlining the indictment delivered by Spain’s high court against the 40 architects of the terrorism in Rwanda and Congo, who are all members of the former Rwanda Patriotic Army. Courtesy of the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

[19] See Mark Prutsalis, SITREP #10 Refugees in Tanzania, Refugees International, May 17, 1994.

[20] See Mark Prutsalis, SITREP #10 Refugees in Tanzania, Refugees International, May 17, 1994.

[21] See Mark Prutsalis, SITREP #10 Refugees in Tanzania, Refugees International, May 17, 1994.

[22] Shaharyar Khan, “The Gersony ‘Report’ Rwanda,” Outgoing Code Cable, United Nations, Oct. 14, 1994.

[23] Walter Kansteiner, the son of a coltan trader in Chicago, is the former assistant secretary of state for Africa and former member of the Department of Defense Task Force on Strategic Minerals. Kansteiner’s speech at the Forum for International Policy in October of 1996 advocated partitioning the Congo (Zaire) into smaller states based on ethnic lineage. Ironically, as 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.

[24] See, e.g., Wayne Madsen, “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” Mellen Books, 1999.

[25] See Wayne Madsen, “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” Mellen Press, 1999, and Vangold web site: http://www.vangold.ca/s/Home.asp.

[26] See Vangold Uganda maps: http://vangold.pubco.net/s/Uganda.asp.

[27] “Vangold Announces Airborne Survey over Rwanda Oil Concession,” July 9, 2008, http://www.oilvoice.com/n/Vangold_Announces_Airborne_Survey_Over_Rwanda_Oil_Concession/37691a71.aspx; see also http://vangold.pubco.net/s/Rwanda.asp.

[28] “Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” U.N., S/2008/773, December 2008.

[29] Wayne Madsen Report, “Critic of murderous Kagame regime in Rwanda killed in crash of Continental Flight 3407,” Online Journal, Feb. 17, 2009, http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_4373.shtml.

[30] Jacques Depelchin is today one of the founders of the pro-Rwandan Ota Benga Alliance, a non-governmental organization based in San Francisco. One advisor of the Ota Benga Alliance is Berkeley scholar Adam Hochschild, author of the acclaimed book “King Leopold’s Ghost.”

[31] Mahmood Mamdani, “Understanding the Crisis in Kivu: Report of the CODESRIA Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo September 1997,” Centre for African Studies University of Cape Town, Nov. 20, 1998.

[32] Mahmood Mamdani, “Understanding the Crisis in Kivu: Report of the CODESRIA Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo September 1997,” Centre for African Studies University of Cape Town, Nov. 20, 1998.

[33] David Barouski, Press Release, World News Journal, Feb. 8, 2008.

[34] On the MONUC support for international mining giant AngloGold Ashanti in Mongwalu, see Renzo Martens, “Episode III: Enjoy Poverty,” International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, http://idfa.nl/en/festival/schedule/film.aspx?id=781e5666-0d52-43d5-ba66-67c6815ce198; on MONUC involvement in minerals plunder, see United Nations, Office of Internal Oversight Services Investigation Division, ID Case No. 0151/06, July 2, 2007.

[35] MONUC Budget: http://www.monuc.org/News.aspx?newsID=11533&menuOpened=About%20MONUC.

[36] See 2007-2008 Acquisition Plan, U.N. Procurement Division, http://www.un.org/Depts/ptd/2008_monuc.htm.

[37] See 2007-2008 Acquisition Plan, U.N. Procurement Division, http://www.un.org/Depts/ptd/2008_monuc.htm.

[38] James Munyaneza, “Rwanda: Hollywood Star Ben Affleck Here,” The New Times, December 18, 2007.

[39] See: Decision of the National Pre-Trial Examining Court No.4 (Juzgado Central de Instrucción nº 4 ) of the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish National Court) issuing international arrest warrants, “Sumario 3/2008 – D,” Order of Indictment, Madrid, February 6, 2008. This is a confidential document outlining the indictment delivered by Spain’s high court against the 40 architects of the terrorism in Rwanda and Congo, who are all members of the former Rwanda Patriotic Army. Courtesy of the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

[40] See, e.g., the video: “The Entrepreneur President – Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Technocrati,” http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhS8ltTR6WYU.

[41] Biography of Michael Porter, Alumni Association of Princeton University, http://alumni.princeton.edu/main/feature/trustees2008/.

[42] See Keith Harmon Snow and Rick Hines, “Blood Diamond: Doublethink and Deception Over Those Worthless Little Rocks of Desire,” Z Magazine, June and July 2007; and Wayne Madsen, “Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999,” Mellen Press, 1999.

[43] http://www.aids.harvard.edu/people/iac.html.

[44] Since publication of the Blood Diamond article, the page outlining the Harvard AIDS Institute links to the U.S. Military HIV Research Program has been removed and the HAI web site sanitized.

[45] Private interviews, Rwandans in the Diaspora, USA, December 2008. See also Keith Harmon Snow, “The U.S. Sponsored Rwanda Genocide and Its Aftermath: Psychological Warfare, Embedded Reporters and the Hunting of Refugees,” Global Research, April 12, 2008.

[46] See Dr. Helmut Strizek on the Jerusalem Post article where David Kimche, Israel’s former director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, praised Paul Kagame and compared him to David Ben-Gurion. “Discredit the Hutu Population Forever: Analysis of the social, political, economic, military, geostrategic and diplomatic aspects of the crises in Rwanda before, during and after the outbreak of the crisis on April 6, 1994,” report by Dr. Helmut Strizek, Case No. ICTR 2000-56-I, Bonn, Aug. 3, 2008.

[47] See Keith Harmon Snow, “The Steinmetz Gertler Bling Bang Torah Gang: Israel and the Holocaust in Central Africa,” Op Ed News, Feb. 8, 2008.

[48] See “The Prosecutor versus Joseph Nzirorera: Motion for Binding Order to the United States of America,” ICTR Case No. OCTR 99-48-T, Aug. 19, 2008.

[49] Melissa Currier, “Rwandan Leader Fills Robsham,” The Heights (BC student newspaper), April 14, 2005.

[50] Private interviews, Rwandans in the Diaspora, USA, December 2008. Howard Lesser, “UNHCR Unveils ‘Gimme Shelter’ Campaign for Congo War Victims,” Voice of America, Dec. 18, 2008.

Keith Harmon Snow is an independent human rights investigator and war correspondent who worked with Survivors Rights International (2005-2006), Genocide Watch (2005-2006) and the United Nations (2006) to document and expose genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan and Ethiopia. He has worked in 17 countries in Africa, and he recently worked in Afghanistan. This story first appeared at Dissident Voice, where many of his other stories are posted. He can be reached at keith@allthingspass.com. To learn more, visit his website, All Things Pass, and Friends of the Congo.

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3 thoughts on “America’s war in Central Africa

  1. Elaine Cullen

    The wars in Africa are not originating in the US but from Germany and Japan, who are the countries making huge profits there. They have also been behind genocides and now a campaign to destroy nations worldwide, using ethnic and religious conflicts, militias and secession to do it. They are also planning on doing the same thing in the US and one of the groups they are planning on setting in conflict to form a secession group to destroy the US itself is African Americans. They are big backers of all the Black African nation secessionists,including Barack Obama’s church, the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X.

    Reply
  2. jd z

    the us ( bill clinton ) orchestrated the chaos in eastern congo , because the deal that adastra had signed with afdl (laurent kabila ) bill clinton and madeleine albright got laurent kabila killed with the help of angola , kapend and his so called son

    Reply
  3. Katayani

    Thank you for ths well-sourced article, it helps provide a backround and further understanding of the current Invisable Childdren Inc. campaign which is only helping to faciliate United Sates military in oil, gold and mineral rich Uganda, Sudan and Congo.

    Reply

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