The dictator Kagame at UN

The dictator Kagame at UN
Dictators like Kagame who have changed their national constitutions to remain indefinitely on power should not be involved in UN high level and global activities including chairing UN meetings

Why has the UN ignored its own report about the massacres of Hutu refugees in DRC ?

The UN has ignored its own reports, NGOs and media reports about the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Hutu in DRC Congo (estimated to be more than 400,000) by Kagame when he attacked Hutu refugee camps in Eastern DRC in 1996. This barbaric killings and human rights violations were perpetrated by Kagame’s RPF with the approval of UK and USA and with sympathetic understanding and knowledge of UNHCR and international NGOs which were operating in the refugees camps. According to the UN, NGO and media reports between 1993 and 2003 women and girls were raped. Men slaughtered. Refugees killed with machetes and sticks. The attacks of refugees also prevented humanitarian organisations to help many other refugees and were forced to die from cholera and other diseases. Other refugees who tried to return to Rwanda where killed on their way by RFI and did not reach their homes. No media, no UNHCR, no NGO were there to witness these massacres. When Kagame plans to kill, he makes sure no NGO and no media are prevent. Kagame always kills at night.

28 May 2009

Amnesty International Report on Rwanda, May 2009

Amnesty International Report on Rwanda, May 2009
Head of state Paul Kagame
Head of government Bernard Makuza
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 10 million
Life expectancy 45.2 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 199/173 per 1,000
Adult literacy 64.9 per cent

The government continued to reform the judicial system, but the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Tanzania declined to transfer cases to Rwanda, citing fair trial concerns, especially protection of witnesses. Legislative elections reaffirmed the political dominance of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the ruling political party. Freedom of expression was limited and civil society and the media were under close scrutiny by the government. Four former combatants of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), the armed wing of the political movement, were tried for murder in a military court. No other charges were brought against members of the RPA for crimes under international law committed before, during and after the genocide.


The RPF continued to dominate all levels of political life in Rwanda, from the executive down to the local administration.
The government reacted with hostility to criticism. Donor governments were locked into a close relationship with the Rwandan authorities and did not for the most part challenge or criticize them openly, preferring a policy of soft diplomacy. Governments were however critical when a UN report found that Rwanda was supporting a rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, leading to a withdrawal of aid from the Netherlands and Sweden in December.

Significant economic growth was reported by the government in 2008. Donor governments provided considerable support; one development agency estimated that approximately 50 per cent of the national budget came from foreign aid. The same agency reported an overall reduction in poverty, including improvements in health and education. However, despite this overall reduction, the poor remained marginalized and inequalities between the urban elite and the rural poor reportedly grew.
Kigali showed signs of rapid urbanization, following the expropriation of land for urban reconstruction. Some Kigali residents complained that they had received inadequate compensation.

The National Assembly amended the Constitution to give former Presidents immunity from prosecution for life, including for crimes under international law. Another amendment reduced judge’s tenure of office from life to four years, potentially compromising the independence of the judiciary.

Legislative elections in September were monitored by the EU Election Observation Mission to Rwanda, whose preliminary findings noted a lack of real political debate during the pre-election period and certain irregularities. The two main opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, were allied to the RPF. Local election monitors stated that the voter turn-out of 98 per cent was indicative of coercion. They also stated that local results consistently gave the RPF well over 95 per cent, and that consolidated national results giving the RPF 78.9 per cent were deliberately lowered to lend the elections greater credibility.
"War crimes and crimes against humanity committed during and after the genocide remained largely unprosecuted. "

The report of the Mucyo Commission, set up in 2006 by the Rwandan government to investigate the role of France in the 1994 genocide, was published on 5 August 2008. The report alleged the involvement of 33 current and former French political and military figures in the genocide. The Prosecutor General stated on 15 November that the authorities were ready to indict 23 of those named. The Mucyo report followed an investigation instituted by a French judge into the shooting down in 1994 of a plane whose passengers included President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and three French nationals. The French judge issued international arrest warrants on 17 November 2006 against nine leading members of the RPF for shooting down the plane. Rose Kabuye, Chief of Protocol for President Kagame, was arrested on 9 November 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany. She was transferred to France and charged with “complicity in murder in relation to terrorism”.

Freedom of expression – the media

Freedom of expression remained severely limited. Journalists critical of the government were closely monitored by the authorities. Foreign journalists and Rwandan journalists working for foreign newspapers were prevented on several occasions from entering Rwanda or attending official events.
On 2 May, the editors of three newspapers were turned away from the World Media Celebration Day (a day to coincide with Press Freedom Day), by order of the Information Minister.
On 18 August, the Information Minister threatened to close the BBC and Voice of America broadcasts in national languages and accused the two broadcasters of lies and exaggeration.

Human rights defenders

Human rights work remained strictly controlled and limited by the government. There was little or no space for domestic human rights organizations critical of the government, and human rights defenders and other members of civil society generally applied self-censorship to avoid confrontation with the authorities.
Some election observers from a local NGO were prevented from carrying out their work by the authorities. The organization issued a public statement in September alleging that the election process was marred by irregularities.

Prisoner of conscience

Charles Ntakirutinka, a former government minister, remained in Kigali Central Prison, serving a 10-year sentence. He had been convicted, in an unfair trial, of inciting civil disobedience and association with criminal elements.

International justice

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The ICTR was to finish all first-instance trials by the end of 2008 and complete all work by 2010, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1503. This deadline became unfeasible, given the 28 detainees on trial and the nine accused awaiting trial. In July, the UN Security Council extended the terms of the Trial Chamber and its judges until 31 December 2009.

Four requests by the Rwandan Prosecutor General for cases to be transferred from the ICTR to Rwanda were rejected on the basis that the accused were at risk of being subjected to an unfair trial. The four decisions cited reports that defence witnesses inside and outside Rwanda risk being rejected by their community, mistreated, arrested, detained, beaten, tortured and in some cases killed. In this context, the presiding judges voiced concern that the accused would have limited ability to call defence witnesses to trial.
The 2007 transfer law abolished capital punishment and replaced it with life imprisonment in solitary confinement, commonly considered as a violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. The ICTR decisions ruled that the application of life in solitary confinement as punishment would prevent the transfer of the cases to Rwanda. The Rwandan Parliament passed a law on 3 November to prohibit solitary confinement for transfer cases.

Criticism of universal jurisdiction

At the AU summit in June, President Kagame criticized abuse of the principles of universal jurisdiction in response to arrest warrants issued in France and Spain against leading RPF members. The AU summit called for an international regulatory body “to review and/or handle complaints or appeals arising out of abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction” by states.
Genocide suspects living abroad

Judicial proceedings against genocide suspects took place in Belgium, Canada, France and the Netherlands. Extradition hearings against genocide suspects in Sweden, Germany and Norway were continuing. A genocide suspect was detained in Finland and it remained unclear whether he would be extradited to Rwanda. During the year, France refused an extradition request made by Rwanda. In the UK, the Home Secretary ruled that four genocide suspects in the UK should be extradited to Rwanda. The suspects all lodged appeals.
Justice system

At the end of December, Rwanda’s prisons contained 59,532 people. Of these, 37,277 people had been accused of genocide and 22,321 of other offences. Most pre-trial detainees were being held on ordinary criminal charges, not genocide-related charges.
The international community supported the government in reforms of the justice system, including training judicial staff, training the Rwandan Bar Association and developing information management systems for prisons.

Gacaca proceedings

In October, an estimated 10,000 category one cases were pending before gacaca courts, whose procedures fail to meet international standards of fair trial. Category one cases involve the planners, organizers, instigators and supervisors of the genocide. Of these, at least 6,000 were rape cases which were transferred to category one in May 2008.

Gacaca trials were reportedly marred by false accusations and corruption. In addition, defence witnesses were reluctant to come forward because they feared that the authorities would level false accusations against them.

On 21 January, a gacaca judge in Karana sector was accused of trying to bribe a prosecution witness. The case was at the appeal stage and the accused had been sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment.

War crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the RPF and RPA before, during and after the genocide remained largely unprosecuted.

In an isolated case, four former RPA officers were tried for the killing of 13 members of the Roman Catholic clergy in Kabgayi district in June 1994. The investigation was undertaken jointly by the Rwandan prosecution and the ICTR. On 24 October the Military Tribunal of Kigali sentenced two captains, who pleaded guilty, to eight years’ imprisonment. The other two were acquitted.

Law on ‘genocidal ideology’

A new law criminalizing “genocidal ideology”, whose terms are vague and ambiguous, was promulgated on 1 October. The offence is punishable by 10 to 25 years’ imprisonment. This law could potentially stifle freedom of expression, and restrict the ability of the accused to put forward a defence in criminal trials.
Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
The government was hostile towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, whose members faced harassment and intimidation. In March, two female LGBT activists were accused of forging documents and detained for two weeks after attending a LGBT conference in Mozambique. They were subsequently released.
The National Assembly was considering an amendment to the Penal Code which would criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relationships.

25 May 2009

Conservative dissent dogs Cameron's Rwanda trip

David Cameron faced down accusations yesterday that he was ignoring bread-and-butter issues as he set off on a two-day visit to Rwanda to champion the Conservatives' emphasis on international development.
Aides said the Tory leader was relaxed about signs of renewed strife in the party's ranks after two byelection defeats and a run of negative polls. The latest, by YouGov for yesterday's Sunday Times, put Labour seven points ahead.
But at least two, and perhaps as many as six, unnamed MPs have written to Sir Michael Spicer, chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, urging a vote of no confidence, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Though the chances of such a motion being tabled are unlikely - 29 names are needed to force a vote - it was reinforced by attacks from the former home office minister Ann Widdecombe and David Davies, the MP for Monmouth, who urged him to concentrate on crime and immigration. Ms Widdecombe said: "He has been very successful in getting support from people who previously would not have looked at us. But he must now pay a great deal of attention to shoring up our traditional vote."
The party's leadership believes aid is a key issue. In an interview for Sky News, Mr Cameron said: "What we are not going to do is retreat to the comfort zone. I made changes to the Conservative party over the last 18 months for a very clear purpose - to get us back into the centre ground, to get us into a position where people would listen to what we were saying, where we were in touch with Britain as it is today, talking about the things people care about. I am proud of the fact that we are the greatest aid donor to Rwanda."
He said the Tories' visit was "a damn good thing for an opposition to do".
Mr Cameron will be greeted in Rwanda by 43 Conservatives, including MPs, candidates, councillors, and public servants, who are spending a fortnight working on small aid projects designed and organised by Andrew Mitchell, the shadow international development secretary.
Mr Cameron will welcome the report by the party's policy group on globalisation and global poverty, advised by Bob Geldof and chaired by the former social security secretary Peter Lilley, to be launched tomorrow. "In the 21st century extreme poverty is not only a preventable economic absurdity but a moral disgrace," Mr Lilley will say.
The report will call on wealthy countries to decide which will take the lead in monitoring how aid funds are spent in each country. The plan will involve a "global donor index" that names and shames countries which tie up their aid in red tape or create grand schemes for their own benefit.
Yesterday Mr Mitchell, speaking of events back home, condemned "the gutless wittering of unnamed colleagues", behind the calls for a no-confidence vote.
David Mundell, the shadow Scotland secretary, said the "tea-room chatter" seemed irrelevant in a country such as Rwanda. "If some of our colleagues concentrated on the important issues both at home and internationally and less on the internal machinations of the party, they'd be doing the party and the country a service," he said. "It's the same people who have been grumbling for 20 years."

Rwandan refugees in the UK

At the beginning of April 2004, people around the world will be marking the ten-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Although interest is likely to focus on survivors in Rwanda and the situation in the country since the events of 1994, it is important to remember that the UK is also home to a number of Rwandans who came to the UK after the genocide. This signpost on Rwandan refugees in the UK provides details of resources, organisations, projects, real live stories, and statistical data that may be useful to researchers, teachers, journalists, civil society groups, and other interested parties seeking to compile information about Rwandan exiles in this country.
The signpost does not focus on resources relating to Rwanda and Rwandan refugees outside the UK. However, many of the organisations listed work in Rwanda as well as the UK and many items listed have relevance beyond the UK context. For more international information of this type, visit

24 May 2009

Don't demonise Rwanda's Hutus. They've often been the victims

Don't demonise Rwanda's Hutus. They've often been the victims
For centuries, Tutsi leaders have oppressed and brutalised the country's majority people

Chris McGreal produced a good-versus-evil caricature of the situation in Rwanda and eastern Congo (We have to kill Tutsis wherever they are, May 16). The reality is that criminal individuals can be found on all sides.
McGreal writes that "nowhere on the continent are [child soldiers] as driven by hate and ideology as among the Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern Congo. Here ... a second generation of killers is being imbued with the mind-altering ideology of extermination and reared to hate and murder Tutsis."
Is it credible that Hutu children allegedly being fed hate propaganda are the root of the war in Congo? Are African children so mindless as to be so easily incited by such savage hatemongers? This is undoubtedly, for the west, a convenient stereotype. But what if the child soldiers had been "imbued" with the following facts: that after the 1960 accession to majority rule in Rwanda, following centuries of rule by a Tutsi slavocracy, the exiled Tutsi aristocracy formed brutal guerrilla forces; that in 1990 Ugandan armed forces, together with Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, the heirs of the guerrillas), invaded Rwanda and that this was a war crime which has gone unindicted?
What if they had also been told that by 1993 Kagame's invasion had led one million Rwandan citizens to flee their homes; that the event which precipitated the mass killings of April to June 1994, namely the assassination of Rwanda's president, was - according to an investigation team for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) prosecution - carried out by the RPF and directed by Kagame, the current Rwandan president; or that since its accession to power in July 1994 the ruling RPF clique has chased two prime ministers out of the country and arrested a Hutu president to replace him with Kagame himself? That would all have been quite true. There are several reasons, based on facts not mentioned by McGreal, for the disfranchised and exiled majority being so opposed to the Kagame regime.
McGreal also writes that the ICTR "has established that there was an extensive conspiracy at the highest political and military levels of the Hutu regime to exterminate the entire Tutsi population". The ICTR has not established, on the evidence, any such thing. A ruling it made in 1998 was based entirely on a guilty plea by the former prime minister Jean Kambanda, which he later retracted. Indeed the government and military trials expected to address this question are still ongoing.
In a judgment released last month, the ICTR condemned Rwanda's human rights record, finding that the government uses the Orwellian offence of "genocidal ideology" to imprison those who express opposition to Kagame's regime. The ICTR voiced concerns about reports of witnesses being murdered by the government, and found that there was no guarantee of a fair trial for those accused of genocide.
Did Rwanda, one of the best-armed regimes in Africa, invade Congo twice and overthrow the Congolese regime because it was fearful of indoctrinated children? Is that what millions in Congo have died for? Is it not a more likely explanation that Rwanda, and the British government which arms and funds it, wishes to gain access to Congolese wealth?

· David Jacobs is a lawyer who has been representing defendants accused of genocide before the ICTR; Dr Alexander Zahar is a former judicial legal adviser at the ICTR, and co-author of International Criminal Law



Profits, Propaganda and Luxury Goods for the West --Pacification, Rape and Slavery for the Rest

by keith harmon snow
Brigitte Botsi is a seven year-old girl living in the village of Yalisenge, in Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At 4:00 PM on April 30, Brigitte was raped by a soldier. Related directly by e-mail from a humanitarian aid worker based in the area, Brigitte's rape went otherwise unreported. (The aid worker's life would be endangered if name or position were revealed.) The soldier, loyal to the DRC transitional government of President Joseph Kabila, remains unpunished.
On May 6, a girl was raped in public in Mondombe, Equateur. Villagers watched as she was stripped naked and beaten by DRC government troops. The previous day, DRC troops had abducted two young daughters of a family in Equateur--the girls were freed after a foreign aid worker complained to their commander.
Brigitte's people have seen a decade of unspeakable horror: waves of killing, indiscriminate torture, the massacre of hundreds of thousands of refugees, scorched-earth campaigns annihilating entire villages, civilians repeatedly brutalized by all sides.
Everything was destroyed by war. Families gave daughters to the military in return for their lives. Soldiers came and went, leaving girls as young as twelve alone with children of rape that are now starving, the husbands and fathers lost as adult males were conscripted or slaughtered. Teachers' salaries are 1,000 francs a month, less than three US dollars, and teachers weakened by hunger cannot last to noon. Parents in small villages cannot pay school fees of about one US dollar a month per child.
From April to June, Brigitte's village was again invaded. Rebel soldiers of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) emptied entire villages and terrorized people already traumatized by eight years of unrelenting war. Reports from different parts of Equateur documented both RCD and government troops--officially the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC)--looting, destroying and confiscating property, homes and schools; conscripting males for forced labor; raping and abducting women and girls.
"Armed groups have been implicated in human rights abuses ranging from attacks on villages to pillaging, intimidation and harassment," reported the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs June 14, "while the systematic abduction and rape of women and girls continued, mostly with impunity, throughout the country."
While some 10,000 international "peacekeeping" forces under the United Nations Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) now occupy much of Congo to uphold recent peace accords, powerful interests continue to pillage land and people with impunity. Behind the headlines of "tribal warfare" splashed over western media are secretive intelligence operatives, private military companies, arms merchants, multinational corporations and their agents, and mining executives operating through offshore bank accounts.
On the recent 10th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, few noted that Rwanda's war is still being played out on the soil of neighboring DRC. On approximately April 21, troops of the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) suffered a military defeat in eastern DRC after a failed operation against soldiers of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group seeking to overthrow the one-party regime of Paul Kagame. The Rwandan troops were in DRC in violation of the peace accords.
Observers reported that the FDLR routed the RDF, which retaliated with a scorched-earth campaign against non-combatant civilians. MONUC observers reportedly witnessed uniformed RDF officers commanding troops of the Congolese Rally for Democracy--a force now ostensibly being incorporated into the DRC army under the peace accords.
The international press attributed the retaliation to Rwandan rebel forces in DRC that are universally described as Hutu "genocidiares"--veterans of the Interahamwe militias responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. However, not all Rwandan rebel groups operating in Congo are the same. The US State Department lists the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) as a terrorist group seeking "to topple Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated government, reinstate Hutu control, and, possibly, complete the genocide." But the FDLR is not listed as a terrorist group, and the State Department notes: "Though directly descended from those who organized and carried out the genocide, identified FDLR leaders are not thought to have played a role in the killing. They have worked to build bridges to other opponents of the [Rwandan] regime, including ethnic Tutsis."
In a May 5 interview with this reporter, Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro, leader of the FDLR, warned of a planned destabilization of DRC led by a new military alliance called the Front for the Liberation for Eastern Congo, or FLEC, comprised of Rwandan Defense Forces and their Congolese allies such as RCD, as well as units from Burundi.
Higiro claimed that Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan forces amassed on the borders signal an imminent invasion of DRC under the pretense of "defending national security" against "genocidiares." Rwanda and Burundi are both currently under Tutsi-dominated regimes, and are said to be playing for loyalty of the Banyamulenge, or ethnic Tutsis of eastern Congo.
The claims were given credence by renewed fighting in DRC's North and South Kivu provinces, and especially the city of Bukavu, beginning May 26 and exploding into all-out war during early June. Fighting involved Rwandan and Burundian soldiers and allied Congolese RCD, against opposed RCD factions and FARDC forces--all in violation of international ceasefire agreements.
"The Front for the Liberation of Congo has not declared itself," said Higiro in a July 2 interview. "Publicly there is no FLEC, but most observers know that the FLEC exists." Higiro and the FDLR believe that Rwanda seeks to annex eastern DRC to create a powerful Tutsi/Banyamulenge empire, rich in natural resources.
The FDLR and local Congolese journalists claim that the Rwandan military and their criminal networks and militias continue to plunder raw materials from the DRC and ship them out through Rwanda. In turn, the Kagame government claims the FDLR seeks to destabilize Rwanda and finish what the 1994 genocide started. As violence escalated this spring, officials in Rwanda claimed "genocide against the Banyamulenge" was underway in eastern Congo.
"We would certainly not use the term genocide," said Andrew Philip, spokesman for Amnesty International's Central Africa Team, in a June 15 interview with this reporter. He dismissed claims by RCD commanders and Rwandan officials, noting that all combatants looted, raped and killed civilians of all communities. "Banyamulenge were not, according to our sources, specifically targeted as an ethnic group by pro-government [DRC] forces in Bukavu."
Philip confirmed that thousands of Banyamulenge have fled DRC citing fears of persecution. As of July 1, the UNHCR counted some 34,000 DRC refugees in Burundi and 3500 in Rwanda. But Philip said that some Banyamulenge representatives condemned claims of genocide as a ploy by forces "seeking to destabilize eastern DRC" through "the exacerbation of ethnic tensions."
He also cited multiple sources in DRC asserting that RDF soldiers were present alongside the rebel Congolese RCD forces.
The UN's IRIN news service reported Dec. 26, 2003 that MONUC commanders attempting to confirm reports of Rwandan troops in DRC were blocked by "certain military commanders" who "denied us access to certain bases and certain camps and prohibited us from speaking with their men."
William Pike of Uganda's New Vision newspaper says Rwanda's involvement "is a common supposition" in eastern Congo. "The problem is an RCD faction composed of Banyamulenge... Rwanda supports them morally, they don't deny that, but do they support them logistically or provide covert leadership? Rwanda denies that hotly."
But FDLR leader Jean-Marie Higiro has no doubts. He said on May 5: "The third DRC war is underway."
The first DRC war was the 1995-6 insurgency against longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko (under whom the country was called Zaire), led by the guerilla army of Laurent Kabila and massively supported by Rwanda and Uganda. The second war began in 1998, when Kabila (then president of the newly-dubbed DRC) broke with Rwanda and Uganda, throwing out their military advisors, along with US AID--and cancelled plans to have Bechtel rebuild Congo's mining sector. This was dubbed "Africa's First World War," with Angola and Zimbabwe backing Kabila against (US-backed) Rwanda and Uganda, which first supported anti-Kabila rebel groups in the east, and then intervened directly as well. The country was effectively partitioned, with the government losing control of much of the east. Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001, and succeeded by his son Joseph. South Africa and the UN brokered an accord, and peacekeepers moved in--although some key warring parties were excluded from the accords. Now Higiro says the peace is definitively breaking down, as Rwanda makes a play for permanent control of eastern Congo.
Higiro also claimed in his May interview that RDF and Rwandan-allied soldiers were infiltrating the DRC capital Kinshasa with the intent of removing President Joseph Kabila. Higiro's assessment was born out by an attempted coup d'etat against Kabila on June 11, which briefly made world headlines.
In a June 6 press release decrying ongoing atrocities committed by all sides throughout the DRC, Survivors' Rights International (SRI), based in Alexandria, VA, called "on the international community to address escalating conflict and the climate of impunity and lawlessness in the DRC, to demand governments and other warring parties to order their soldiers to stop committing acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, and to withdraw troops that remain in DRC in contravention of international peace agreements."
SRI called on the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to immediately demand that "all military leaders order their troops to stop ongoing atrocities and sexual violence by their respective forces, to investigate abuses and suspend or arrest those responsible, and to desist from arming, or otherwise supporting, diverse factions and militias serving as their proxy armies in DRC."
SRI urged all parties to "demand the immediate release of women and girls who have been abducted and who remain captive sexual slaves to government soldiers and affiliated militias, to arrest the perpetrators, and investigate the complicity of military leaders and government officials in condoning or participating in the widespread sexual violence, including rapes, torture, disappearances and abductions of women and girls."
A Human Rights Watch statement of June 12 echoed the SRI demands. It also pointed to accounts of Rwanda grooming Congolese proxy forces. "Local sources claimed to have identified Rwandan military working with the dissident forces," HRW noted, "an accusation Rwanda has emphatically denied."
"Troops allied with Rwanda in eastern DRC are recruiting soldiers today," said FDLR's Higiro on July 2. London-based Congolese journalist Antoine Roger Lokongo reported in his on-line Congo Panorama some 8,000 Rwandan troops crossing into DRC in May and June.
"The Congolese Chief of Staff, Admiral Liwanga confirmed that Rwanda has gone too far already in creating what he called the new 'Republic of the Volcans,'" wrote Lokongo, "using Congolese insurgents fighting under the banner of the so-called 'Front for the Liberation of Eastern Congo' (FLEC). The movement has made a deal with Rwandan Chief of staff James Kabarebe to supply it with logistic support until the Republic of the Volcans becomes a reality."
"Over our dead body!" Lokongo thunders--a sentiment already true for millions of Congolese. In 2001, the International Rescue Committee cited over 3.5 million preventable deaths as a result of war in DRC since 1998: deaths due to hunger, disease and forced displacements. Recent IRC estimates are approaching 5 million.
"The RCD rebel movement in DRC was founded in 1998 by Paul Kagame," Lokongo says. "Since then Kagame has always masterminded and used RCD as a front for the Rwandan occupation of Congo."
And many see the hand of Washington behind Rwanda's perceived designs on Congolese territory. Kagame is a graduate of the US Army's Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Prior to taking power in Rwanda in 1994, Kagame was head of military intelligence for US-backed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's Internal Security Organization.
DRC's Orientale province borders Uganda and Sudan, and its Ituri district is arguably the bloodiest corner of the world. From 1999 to April 2003, at least 50,000 civilians perished in the region. All parties committed summary executions, abductions, disappearances, forced labor, extortion, mass rape, sexual slavery and routine conscription of child soldiers.
Human Rights Watch reported in a 2003 paper, "Ituri: Covered in Blood": "The war in Ituri is a complex web of local, national and regional conflicts, that developed after a local dispute between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups was exacerbated by Ugandan actors and aggravated by the broader international war in DRC."
While the Ugandan army claimed to be a "peacemaker" force in Ituri, HRW said, in reality the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) "provoked political confusion and created insecurity in areas under its control, helping to launch, arm and train ethnically-based militia..." Fighting continues in the region, despite peace accords.
On February 13, 2004, William Swing, the head of MONUC and UN Special Representative to the DRC, declared from Washington that despite a UN arms embargo, "the flow of weapons into the region, purchased through the illegal harvesting of precious resources, is virtually unhindered."
MONUC forces were increased in Ituri in June 2003--but they have also been accused of atrocities. MONUC soldiers reportedly raped Congolese girls and spawned a sex-for-survival trade as women and girls impoverished by war sold sex for a pittance to feed their families. Some western media reported the MONUC sex scandal, but mass rape and prolonged sexual slavery committed by all sides against tens of thousands of Congolese women largely remains in whiteout.
Ituri is rich in petroleum, gold, ivory, diamonds, timber and columbo-tantalite (coltan)--raw materials coveted by international commodities traders. In "Blood for Mobile Phones," from his Black Book on Brand Companies, German journalist Klaus Werner tied corporations like Bayer AG to the coltan-scramble bloodbath in DRC. Coltan micro-capacitors are used in cellphones, Sony Playstations, laptop computer screens, and high-tech info-warfare gadgetry.
Observers say the UPDF and RDF have stripped coltan, gold and diamonds out of eastern DRC as rapidly as possible. Rights groups accuse UPDF and RDF troops of forcing prisoners under inhuman conditions to mine coltan later shipped out of Rwanda and Uganda. Before the UPDF and RDF themselves came to war on Congolese territory over whether Uganda or Rwanda would control eastern DRC, both were involved in directly overseeing the mining of coltan. Rwanda was even accused of shipping in Hutu prisoners charged in the 1994 genocide for coltan mining, as well as using captured Congolese.
UPDF troops that helped topple Congo's longtime dictator Mobutu and later occupied eastern DRC have also been cited for some of the most egregious atrocities by numerous rights bodies.
A 2002 UK Parliamentary report, "Cursed by Riches: Who Benefits from Resource Exploitation in the DRC?", documents massive resource plunder by both UPDF and RDF networks in Congo. Israeli military agents and businessmen have also been accused of profiteering in the region.
Belgian diamond import statistics show remarkable quantities of diamonds coming from DRC, Uganda and Rwanda. Exports from Rwanda and Uganda increased markedly during military occupation in DRC since 1998.
Cited in the UN's October 2002 "Final Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo," UPDF Gen. Salim Saleh, half-brother to Ugandan President Museveni, is accused of maintaining a network of extortion and racketeering in Ituri. The UN report estimates Rwandan forces made at least $250 million from exploiting Ituri's resources.
Other factions also got in on the coltan scramble. The government of Joseph Kabila has recently rewarded Congolese military leaders like Jean Piere Bemba, cited by rights groups for egregious atrocities, with posts in the transitional government; Bemba channeled coltan through criminal networks linked to the Central Africa Republic.
Several western corporations eye an eventual bonanza in Ituri--and many of them are conveniently linked to the international arms trade and mercenary outfits. Barrick Gold is a long-time stakeholder in Ituri's Kilo Moto gold mines. A Canadian-based multinational, Barrick's principals include former prime minister Brian Mulroney, former US president George HW Bush, former Tennessee senator Howard Baker, and Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton's lawyer and confidant. Barrick has multiple joint ventures with the South African mining giant Anglo-American. Barrick's founder is Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi billionaire arms trafficker, famous for his illegal weapons sales to Iran in the Reagan era.
In 1997 Canadian-based Heritage Oil & Gas began petroleum explorations with the support of the Museveni government on the Uganda side of the border, and Belgium's De Standard reports they have now also secured DRC concessions through Joseph Kabila. Uganda's New Vision newspaper reports sizeable petroleum and natural gas reserves discovered in the Semiliki Basin, beneath Lake Albert which straddles the DRC-Uganda border.
Heritage Oil & Gas was founded by Tony Buckingham, an executive linked to a confusing network of front companies and offshore island holdings. De Standard reported June 19, 2003, on Heritage Oil's maneuvers in DRC and Uganda, and its links to companies like Branch Energy and Diamond Works, both exposed for operations in war-torn Angola and Sierra Leone. Buckingham is a veteran of the UK's elite SAS military corps, and played a founding role in the private military companies Executive Outcomes of South Africa and Sandline International. De Standard suggested that Buckingham seeks the pacification of Ituri to exploit minerals in the region.
Buckingham's ties to US government officials are detailed in Wayne Madsen's book Genocide And Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1999). The mercenary soldier Simon Mann arrested this March with a posse of followers in Zimbabwe (allegedly en route to institute a coup in Equatorial Guinea) is a co-founder with Buckingham of Executive Outcomes.
"The situation in Ituri remains unstable," wrote Survivor's Rights International on June 6, "with recurring acts of genocide and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by miscellaneous forces on their opposition ethnic groups, many of which have been armed, supported and manipulated by the Ugandan People's Defense Forces. The indigenous Mbuti pygmies continue to suffer the brunt of abuses from all sides."
On July 9, Nairobi's East African Standard reported that hundreds of refugees fleeing fresh fighting in Ituri had crossed into Uganda.
Even where the government has control, things are grim in Congo. Atrocities by DRC soldiers (FARDC) are widespread throughout the country. The Congolese Union for Democracy and Social Progress, a civil opposition group, reported some 100 government Rapid Intervention Police attacking students protesting at two universities in Kinshasa in April. In both incidents hundreds of students were reportedly attacked; scores were raped and tortured.
The IMF and World Bank favored Kabila's transitional government with loans worth $ 1.2 billion in June 2002, while Sweden, Belgium, France and South Africa loaned some $522 million. In January, 2004, the Belgian government authorized the dispatch of 190 military advisers to Congo to train a new Congolese military brigade in Orientale.
South Africa and DRC recently signed a bilateral agreement on defense and security. DRC also signed a $ 8.4 million deal with South Africa to rehabilitate the state mining company GECAMINES.
Chairman of GECAMINES from 1999-2001, Belgium's George Forrest controls the most diverse private mining portfolio in the DRC. One of his partners in DRC is the OM Group of Cleveland, Ohio.
Forrest's roots in DRC predate 1945, and his companies outlasted the long Mobutu dictatorship and subsequent wars. Forrest also owns Belgium's New LachaussŽe company, a leading manufacturer of cartridge casings, grenades, light weapons and cannon launchers. His George Forest Group also has munitions plants in Kenya and Tanzania.
Forrest's mining interests include copper, cobalt and germanium concessions in Shaba, DRC's southern province, long the site of separatist movements..
Shaba's plight also revolves around factions seeking to maintain or wrest control of resources. Shaba (formerly known as Katanga) is rich in diamonds, cobalt, copper, palladium and germanium. Uranium from Shaba was used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Cobalt is a strategic alloy used in the aerospace and defense industries, and was stockpiled by the US Defense Logistics Agency during the Cold War. Maintaining Shaba's "cobalt connection" was paramount to the Mobutu dictatorship. Keeping the region safe for Mobutu's cobalt empire was long the purview of Lawrence Devlin, a CIA operative in Shaba later employed by diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman.
Falling within the Kinshasa government's sphere of control, Shaba has seen its share of repression and warfare. The Kabila family is from Shaba, and Kinshasa maintained control the region in the recent years of war with the aid of troops from the allied Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF). The ZDF has officially pulled out of DRC, but unconfirmed reports suggest some ZDF troops remain.
"An elite network of Congolese and Zimbabwean political, military and commercial interests has maintained a grip on the main mineral resources of government-controlled areas," concluded the UN Panel of Experts in 2002.
The UN reported this network had transferred ownership of at least $5 billion in assets from the state mining sector to private companies from 1999-2002 with no benefit to the DRC. "The network's representatives in the Kinshasa Government and the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) have fueled instability, by supporting armed groups opposing Rwanda and Burundi," the UN report found.
A few notable businessmen said to be calling the shots in Shaba are American Maurice Tempelsman, Zimbabwean Billy Rautenbach, South African Marc Rich, British John Bredenkamp, Swede Adolph Lundin and Jean Raymond Boulle.
Tenke Mining, owned by Swedish mining magnate Lundin is one of some 15 multinational mining companies partnered with GECAMINES in Shaba. Lundin is called a longtime associate of George HW Bush; African Confidential reported in 1997 that the ex-president telephoned Mobutu on Lundin's behalf after the dictator had threatened to terminate a mining contract.
Pardoned by outgoing President Clinton for tax-evasion charges, Marc Rich operates the Swiss-based Glencore company.
Rautenbach, a former GECAMINES director, and Bredenkamp teamed up with Zimbabwe's strongman Robert Mugabe to plunder Shaba behind ZDF troops. The Bredenkamp family's Brecon Mines Ltd. is partnered with GECAMINES. Africa Confidential and independent newspapers in Zimbabwe have reported on Bredenkamp's role in shipping weapons to Zimbabwe for probable use in the Congo.
Tempelsman is affiliated with the Oppenheimer/DeBeers diamond conglomerate of South Africa. The executive privileges he enjoyed during the Clinton years were reportedly secured through a romantic interlude with Madeleine Albright. Tempelsman accompanied Clinton on his 1998 Africa tour, sailed with the Clintons off Martha's Vineyard, and met with Clinton on Air Force One. He is said to employ CIA veterans who protected the Mobutu dictatorship as his private staff for his Congo operations. Tempelsman is a trustee of the Harvard AIDS Institute and Africa-America Institute, and former chair of the Corporate Council on Africa.
The Corporate Council on Africa represents 85% of all US private-sector investment in Africa. Members include Asea Brown Baveri (whose former director is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld), Halliburton (Cheney), the Washington Post Company, Raytheon, Military Professional Resources Inc., and oil majors such as ExxonMobil, Chevron-Texaco, Conoco-Philips, Sunoco and Shell.
According to Wayne Madsen, the Virginia mercenary firm Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI) supported Kagame's US-backed invasions of Rwanda (from Uganda in 1994), Zaire (1996) and then Congo (1998).
The Africa-America Institute, another industry interest group, recently presented the AAI African National Achievement Award for 2002-3 to President Museveni of Uganda for "history-making advances that justify optimism for the future of the African continent."
AAI trustee Gayle Smith in 1998 was appointed special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, a position where she negotiated a cease-fire between Uganda and Rwanda, after the ex-allies battled for the spoils in DRC.
On March 9, 2004, Le Monde published a report by French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who found that Paul Kagame, then commanding the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi-led guerilla group operating with the support of Museveni's Uganda, gave orders for missiles to be fired at the airplane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, both ethnic Hutu, on April 6, 1994. The assassinations provoked the Hutu-led genocide in Rwanda--which left up to 800,000 dead, overwhelmingly Tutsis. In the wake of the genocide, the RPF took power, and hundreds of thousands of Hutu fled Rwanda for Congo (then Zaire).
Critics now say Kagame is cynically using the 1994 genocide to deflect scrutiny of his own war crimes. Human rights organizations have documented RPF atrocities, with perhaps hundreds of thousands of killings from 1990 to 1996. In 1994, UN Special Rapporteur Robert Gersony documented "an unmistakable pattern of RPF killings" of Hutu refugees returning to Rwanda: the report was quickly buried. Amnesty International and other rights groups documented killings of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees (mostly Hutu) in DRC by the UPDF/RPF-led insurgency.
Wayne Madsen reports that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root set up a military base in southwestern Rwanda in 1995 in preparation for the US-backed invasion of Congo/Zaire to topple the abandoned Mobutu dictatorship.
Amnesty International in 2002 reported US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Special Forces' involvement in the 1996 invasion of Congo/Zaire. The report said that DIA assisted Rwandan and Ugandan forces through a program code-named "Falcon Gorilla." In 1997, the DIA held a Pentagon symposium on privatization of African security operations with Executive Outcomes, Sandline International and mineral interests.
Madsen also maintains that Carla del Ponte, special prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) was removed due to her unwanted scrutiny of RPF atrocities. In 1997 and 1998, when UN investigators turned their eyes on the RPF, the US, through then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, pressured the ICTR to halt the investigation, Madsen claims. Kagame blasted efforts to investigate RPF atrocities as "evidence of the politicization of the tribunal's functions."
The Pentagon maintains International Military Education and Training (IMET), Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET), Africa Crises Response Initiative (ACRI), and African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) programs with both Rwanda and Uganda. The Washington Post's Lynne Duke's reported August 16, 1997, that the RPF benefited from counterinsurgency and combat training from US Special Forces. The Falcon Gorilla operation in support of the Rwanda-Uganda intervention in DRC reportedly came under the purview of JCET.
Gen. Charles Wald, head of US operations in Africa (under the Pentagon's European Command), has substantiated direct US support for the Museveni government's fight against the Sudan-backed Uganda rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), defined as a terrorist organization by the US. The LRA are a brutal and fanatical group, but critics in the Ugandan opposition charge Museveni exploits their terror for propaganda purposes--and that some atrocities attributed to the LRA were carried out by UPDF troops.
US Ambassador to Uganda Jimmy Kolker told Voice of America April 2 that US aid has consisted mainly of trucks and radios, along with training. He said its total value was some two million dollars. He dismissed reports of greater US military assistance as "grotesquely exaggerated."
But it is clear that the US has tilted to Uganda and Rwanda in Africa's ongoing First World War. Rwanda's Paul Kagame spoke at least twice at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University, and has met with George HW Bush at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston, and at the Council on Foreign Relations. Kagame was a guest, with Joseph Kabila, at a Washington prayer breakfast soon after George W Bush assumed office. Ugandan's Museveni was a guest speaker at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC on June 11, 2004.
Rwanda and Uganda continue to be rewarded with World Bank and IMF loans, despite accusations that funds are diverted to purchase military equipment and prosecute war in their own and neighboring countries. One recent Rwanda grant was a $20 million aid package of June 15, 2004. According to Congolese journalist Lokongo, the UK government has given up to 60 million pounds a year in "development aid" to Rwanda and Uganda.
And US military involvement in the region is about to deepen. Preceding his trip to Africa in July 2003, President Bush announced a $100 million aid package for east African countries to fight terrorism, pointing to greater US strategic interest in the region. "We will work with Kenya and Ethiopia and Djibouti and Uganda and Tanzania to improve capabilities... We will give them the tools and the resources to win the War on Terror."
PHOTOGRAPHS:Images from Central Africa
1. Supporters of Robert Mugabe gather at a pro-government rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, in June 2000. c. keith harmon snow 2000
2. Directors of Royal/Dutch Shell Hans an Luijk (3rd left) and Bernard Legrand (5th left)-- Shell General Manager for Africa -- with Paul Kagame.
3. Paul Kagame with several officers at a rally in Kigali.
5. Top Shona commanders of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces at a pro-Mugabe rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, at the height of Zimbawe's involvemen in the DRC, June 2000.
6. Family struggles to cross a bridge in Ituri in 1991, where planks had been mostly stolen as infrastructure in Zaire (now DRC) totally deteriorated under Mobutu Sese Seko's dictatorship.
7. Wreckage from the plane carrying the two presidents of Rwanda and Burundi that was shot down on approach to Kigali airport on April 6, 1994, that sparked the ongoing conflagration in the great lakes region.
8. UPDF soldiers ride aboard a troop carrier in Uganda after a UPDF celebration of their warfighting capabilities.
9. Tony Buckingham (far right), chairman of Heritage Oil and Gas exploration program in the Semiliki basin, and delegation meeting with Ugandan President Yoweiri Museveni (shaking hands) in a Kampala, July 1998, as the second war for DRC was getting underway.
10.UPDF soldiers ride on a troop carrier in Uganda after a celebration of their warfighting capabilities.
11.Congolese refugees in Zambia forced to flee Shaba during the wars for DRC work under brutal conditions (with malaria and scorching temperatures) all day long, scavenging and hauling scrap metal -- weighing hundreds of pounds -- to bring them less than $5 daily.
12. The open pit mines (background) are an environmental nightmare.

Photo credits: New Vision Newspaper, Kampala, Uganda, except for #'s 1, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12 , keith harmon snow
Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, July 18, 2004Reprinting permissible with attribution

America's War in Central Africa

America's War in Central Africa
The Pentagon's proxy war in the Eastern Congo
by Keith Harmon Snow, February 1, 2009

The purported 'arrest' of General Laurent Nkunda, on January 22, 2009, by the troops of the joint FARDC and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) operation is no surprise, it is merely damage control, with Nkunda 'arrested'-most likely shuffled off to luxury in Rwanda-to recover some sense of credibility for the international police forces-the Pentagon and its proxy armies in Rwanda (Kagame), Uganda (Museveni) and Congo (Kabila)-and to enable the Kagame military cabal to distance itself from the recent exposés documenting Rwanda's machinations in eastern Congo.
A U.S. military team has also been deployed in Eastern Congo, to buttress the Pentagon's proxy warriors. Nothing has changed for the people of Congo, and MONUC Chief Alan Doss has warned people to expect "collateral damage" against the innocent people of Congo.
Backed by the Obama Administration and its former Clinton allies, Rwandan troops have marched into Congo, ostensibly to save the day, yet again, barely a month after a scathing United Nations report revealed that they were already there. 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 and plunder in Central Africa. A look behind the scenes reveals the hidden interests of the misery industry, the obliviousness of do-gooder celebrities, and actor Ben Affleck's personal patronage of Paul Kagame and the perpetrators of genocide in Central Africa.
On December 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] The UNHCR logo appears at least ten times in the short film, serving the modern day advertising technique of 'product placement' to inspire charitable giving to the UNHCR enterprise."When awareness is raised, when constituencies start to pay attention, they are more likely to pay attention to that one thing than another," director Ben Affleck told Voice of America. "What I can do is care about something. What I can do is make it important to my elected officials. Diplomacy is free."Diplomacy is free? Is Ben Affleck a 'free' agent working to help the people of Congo? Or is Affleck enhancing and trading in moral currency in the arena of international public opinion?Since 2007, Ben Affleck has repeatedly traveled to Rwanda and Congo. While presenting himself as an independent agent on a humanitarian mission in Congo, Ben Affleck, simultaneously, has closely affiliated himself with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his military government-the people responsible for perpetrating and perpetuating war crimes in Congo and Rwanda.Considering his relationships to powerful people directly involved in war in Africa's Great Lakes, one wonders if Ben Affleck is playing his actor's role both on stage and off. In any case, Ben Affleck is not the first Hollywood celebrity to be fronted as the Great White Hope for the Congo, and many of the same Hollywood actorvists have been similarly used by the NGO industry in Haiti.Actress Jessica Lange has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2003; her first mission was into the Congo. Covering Congo and Sudan, Actor George Clooney has starred as a UN Messenger of Peace since January 2008, a role actor Michael Douglas has played since 1998.Since 2001, actress Angelina Jolie has been UNHCR's 'Goodwill Ambassador,' a role that took her to eastern Congo in 2003 and 2004. [2] Jolie traveled in eastern Congo with intelligence insider and International Crisis Group agent John Prendergast, who is aligned with a growing army of 'Save Darfur' cloned organizations that deploy state-of-the-art media technologies to undermine and co-opt any true grass roots movement to legitimately empower African people.[3],[4]Jolie also starred as a 'selfless' hero working as a UNHCR official in Hollywood's Beyond Borders, a film that peddles the necessity of mixing Central Intelligence Agency gun-running operations with humanitarian missions-because it is ostensibly for the 'right' cause: Western sponsored covert interventions.Hollywood stars from the film Ocean's Thirteen formed another 'humanitarian' organization that inevitably throws celebrity raised funds at the western structural violence and white power economies focused on sustaining disaster in Africa. The governing board of Not On Our Watch includes Ocean's Thirteen stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Matt Damon-Ben Affleck's buddy 'Will' from the film Good Will Hunting-and producers Jerry Weintraub and David Pressman. [5]Clooney recently joined John Prendergast, a U.S. National Security apparatus insider, and Hollywood producer David Pressman to pen a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, opining all the usual trite platitudes-but absent a single recommendation of substance-about how President Obama can help Congo.[6] Prendergast, who is billed as a 'leading American human rights activist', has previously boasted of traveling around Sudan and Central Africa with President Paul Kagame, and he is named as one of the early architects of the RPA coup d'etat in Rwanda.[7]The entire exercise of appointing and fronting Hollywood celebrities as United Nations 'Messengers for Peace' and 'Goodwill Ambassadors' is a further means by which the establishment whitewashes the war-making and plunder of multinational corporations, and the individuals responsible for carnage the world over, and to more deeply institutionalize the structural violence. Described as '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.Privatizing the 'humanitarian' sector through media celebrities or through entertainment and publicity extravaganzas-like 'Food AID' and 'Band AID' and 'Not on Our Watch'-that falsely claim to benefit African people, simultaneously lets governments off the hook, obscures the true intent of predatory capitalism, and creates personality cults that further entrench white 'society' pathologies of obliviousness, ignorance, goodness and supremacy. [8]"I'm not an expert in international affairs or diplomacy," Affleck is quoted everywhere as saying, "but it doesn't take that to see the tremendous suffering here. It's not something that we as human beings can, in good conscience, ignore."What does it take to see and understand the nature of systemic exploitation? We might question Affleck's good conscience, given what he is ignoring. The short Gimme Shelter video produced by Ben Affleck ignores the realities and players fueling the bloodshed. Is this the same creative genius that brought us the award-winning film Good Will Hunting?"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, according to public relations productions about his visit. "There's a real lack of money going to these folks."In eastern Congo, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates 126 organizations, including 10 UN agencies and 50 international NGOs, and scores of state and national NGOs. OCHA also works with 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% of all food resources designated for North Kivu. [9] And while such organizations each year project more than they are able to actually raise, their incomes and their expenditures rise annually: their operating behaviors are identical to that of multinational corporations.From 2000 to 2007 the UNHCR global expenditures grew from $US 800 million to $US 1.2 billion-and UNHCR delineates $US hundreds of millions annually for DRC and Uganda, where they count some 1.1 million and 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) respectively.[10] Indeed, while UNHCR uses the media to plead poverty and peddle hope in the public limelight, the agency applauds its fundraising success in private-where UNHCR statements indicate that UNHCR considers 'fundraising' as a profitable business opportunity in its own right. The market-in this case the welfare of millions of people of color-is irrelevant to their goals."Following a period of strong income growth," reads a UNHCR executive job posting, "the UN Refugee Agency has decided to increase its investment in private sector fundraising through the recruitment of an experienced fundraising management professional This fundraising strategy is implemented through a network of nine UNHCR National Associations and Country Offices (Australia, Canada, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, US, Spain, UK). As part of its new investment strategy the UN Refugee Agency is currently carrying out various new market entry studies and plans to launch fundraising programs in several new markets in the coming years."[11]The salary for the UNHCR's chief fundraising executive ranges from $US 127,104 to $US 151,446-after deductions, per annum, tax exempt, plus additional major benefits.[12]Food AID is also being siphoned off the massive 'humanitarian' mission in eastern Congo and being sold in markets.[13] The criminal aspects of the 'humanitarian' enterprise are well established.[14]"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."[15]Ben Affleck's statements about "a real lack of (aid agencies) here" and "a real lack of money going to these folks" are demonstrably false. There is no lack of agencies, no lack of money, and these are not 'folks'-they are highly politicized institutions, part of an industry that perpetuates and institutionalizes deracination, and they use and abuse 'innocent' but nihilistic celebrities like Ben Affleck."I was thinking there was some thing wrong with him," reports a Congolese insider, who said that UN 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."[16]When George Clooney visited the war zone in eastern Congo the 'peacekeepers' played some basketball with him. Did MONUC roll out its marching bands to meet Ben Affleck?Affleck traveled into to the bush to meet with the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)-the militia that Paul Kagame and the western press falsely cite, ad nauseum, as the cause of Rwanda and Congo's woes. Why did Affleck meet with the FDLR? Was Affleck secretly scouting FDLR positions for Rwandan officials? He also met with Rwandan General Laurent Nkunda, a bonafide war criminal named by the United Nations."He didn't want people to know he came from Rwanda," the Congolese insider said, after learning about Affleck's relations with Rwandan officials. "Our problem will never reach an end."[17]Affleck's visits coincided with protests by Congolese people fed up with MONUC, due to the unchallenged war lords and impunity for war crimes and massive suffering. People everywhere were pelting MONUC vehicles with stones and Affleck's UN convoy was also reportedly pelted.Ben Affleck has been defended for "not being guilty of being a celebrity."[18] But given the unsurpassed mortality, sexual atrocities, depopulation and war crimes in Central Africa, and given the extent to which the root causes of these wars have been articulated by certain independent journalists and certain organizations, can one morally or ethically plead 'innocence' about the white power interests one is peddling or protecting?No matter the political intrigues and hidden agendas-which we have only just begun to unpack-the Affleck-Jagger Gimme Shelter campaign is billed as 'not a political, but a humanitarian' gesture. However, Ben Affleck is now a highly political actor in the Congo warfare and exploitation arena, as this article will show, and this raises questions about culpability, responsibility and ethics.Is Ben Affleck seriously concerned about suffering in Congo? Why doesn't he name any of the white exploiters like Banro Corporation or PricewaterhouseCoopers? What is Ben Affleck's relationship to the protagonists in this war? Is Ben Affleck being paid for his silence? Or is he just another victim being used by, and benefiting from, a hopelessly corrupt system?
SHATTERED, SHATTERED, THIS TOWN'S IN TATTERSA new United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study released December 17, 2008, reports that nearly half the population in the DRC may not live to 40 years of age, that 75% of the population lived below the poverty line-on less than one dollar a day-while more than half the population (57%) had no access to drinking water or to basic health care (54%), and three out of every 10 children are malnourished.At the beginning of the Gimme Shelter video, we are told that "In Eastern Congo, the AK-47"-which flashes across the screen strapped to a Congolese soldier's back-"is known as the Congolese Credit Card."Characterizing the Kalashnikov AK-47 as "the Congolese Credit Card" is overtly racist, because it casts Congolese people-and males in particular-as pathological gun-toting thugs. It is the same type of characterization of Congolese men that is made by Eve Ensler and the V-Day Congo lobby about 'femicide' in Eastern Congo. 'Femicide' is an inaccurate description for a situation where males are usually killed outright, as in Congo. The combination of femicide and homocide amounts to mass murder and, in the case of RPA operations in Rwanda and Congo, genocide.[19]Comparing an AK-47 in the hands of a Congolese male to a credit card is doubly racist because it is premised on a blame the victim mentality (by whites) that further ridicules black African males who have no possibility of upward mobility, no possibility of obtaining a Master Card or VISA or American Express-symbols of excessive materialism, western privilege, selective financial access and financial gate-keeping.Similarly, Affleck's four minute video of black African faces-who are suffering the indignities of homelessness and beggary-deliberately whites out any images of, or references to, the raw materials leaving the eastern Congo through Uganda and Rwanda, or arriving at ports and factories in Europe, Japan, China and the USA. Affleck's short film also unquestionably serves the misery industries and the so-called 'peacekeeping' professionals that profit from the massive suffering.After the 'Congolese Credit Card' image we are told "there are twenty-two recognized armed groups" in Congo, but nothing at all about their ties to the organized crime networks run by Uganda or Rwanda and their western allies. There is nothing about the proliferation of AK-47s, landmines or other weaponry, or the many white merchants of death behind Central Africa's woes.We are told: "UNHCR transports refugee families fleeing from the violence," but any and all reasons why millions of brutalized people have been forced to flee homes and villages are omitted.UNHCR senior media officer Tim Irwin said that Gimme Shelter is "designed to inform and mobilize people all around the world to bring relief to hundreds of thousands of Congolese victims who have been uprooted from their homes because of the violence between Hutu militias, ethnic Tutsi rebels, and Congolese soldiers."What are the differences between 'Hutu militias' and 'ethnic Tutsi rebels'? Why are Hutus described as 'militias' while Tutsis are described as 'rebel'? What makes 'ethnic Tutsi rebels' ethnic, while 'Hutu militias', apparently, are not 'ethnic Hutu'? The same distortions of reality were applied to the establishment narrative of genocide in Rwanda: 100 days of killing; Hutus killing Tutsis and 'moderate Hutus' What is a 'moderate Hutu'?In establishment narratives, war is peace, slavery is freedom, and language is used to criminalize the innocent, just as it is in the so-called 'war on terror'. Thus 'Hutu militias' has come to mean 'the genocidal Interahamwe'.[20] 'Tutsi rebels' means 'those victimized minority guerillas who stopped the genocide and are now seeking justice by hunting down every last genocidaire'-whether man, woman or child. A 'moderate Hutu' is one who sided with the minority Tutsi RPA guerrillas-the real terrorists-against the supposed 'extremist' government of Juvenal Habyarimana.As indicated above, mainstream 'news' stories are frequently whitewashed by simplistic racial stereotypes: racially tainted sound bites meant to confuse and mislead western 'news' consumers. These racial markers serve to distance western populations, especially but not only Caucasians, and they underscore and further inculcate false beliefs about the superiority of both western civilization and white people.Similarly, the Affleck production whitewashes the chaos created by foreign interventions, covert operations and white-collar organized crime by reducing a complex imperialist invasion to 'ethnic warfare'. (This is called essentializing.) The structural factors that insure this war will continue, and the huge salaries, adventurous lifestyles and special privileges of white expatriates working in the so-called 'humanitarian' aid sector are rendered 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.Consider just one company, Banro, a Canadian-based gold exploration company with four wholly owned properties, each with mining licenses along a major gold belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[21] Banro Corporation operates only in eastern DRC, where they are projecting massive gold profits-in the billions of dollars.Banro was 'awarded' gold concessions comprising 5,730 square kms (2,212 square miles), and Banro personnel are ferried over the remote and blood-drenched South Kivu landscape by private helicopters. From December 31, 2005, to September 31, 2008, Banro-always declaring a loss due to exploration-increased its assets from $US 100 to $US 121 million. In the same period, more than 1000 Congolese people died every day-roughly 1,000,000 victims.Banro Corporation has identified 4.68 million ounces of gold on 'their' properties, and they have inferred another 4.87 million ounces. Banro's gold prospects are today valued at some $US 3.74 billion (identified) and $US 3.89 billion (inferred), for a total of $US 7.63 billion dollars-and this is just one of the many foreign companies pillaging Congo.Perhaps Ben Affleck can tell us something we can't, in good conscience, ignore. How does a Canadian mining company come to 'wholly-own' land in blood drenched eastern Congo? And why are Banro Corporation directors-Simon Village, Michael Prinsloo, Arnold Kondrat, Peter Cowley, John Clarke, Bernard van Rooyen, Piers Cumberlege and Richard Lachcik [22]-not under the spotlight for their obvious involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide?Banro advertises themselves as one of Congo's great benefactors "well-positioned to benefit from the timely economic, social and political recovery of the DRC."[23] Hello? To benefit from the timely economic, social and political recovery of the Congo? Hello! The ongoing white-collar business operations of Banro Corporation amidst the killing in eastern Congo are crimes against humanity."The principle thing for me, over the course of this last year, has been learning," Affleck said, prior to a primetime ABC Nightline broadcast-Ben Affleck in Congo-in June 2008. "I needed to learn and I'm still learning. It's not as if I'm some expert or I'm presenting myself as a person with answers-and I'm not an advocate of a particular organization."Affleck's independence didn't last long. Before his December 2008 deal with UNHCR, Affleck signed on with Save the Children, a Connecticut based corporate enterprise whose massive profits earned from the chaos of war and suffering in Africa have been sufficiently documented.[24]In May 2008, Ben Affleck visited with former child soldiers, as part of Save the Children's global Rewrite the Future campaign. According to Save the Children PR, the campaign "helps to provide quality education" to children in conflict countries, such as kids in Goma, DRC.[25]
Can anyone honestly provide a single example of 'quality education' available to children in all of Congo?[26] White westerners think that a dilapidated cement shell with a tin roof and some wooden benches qualifies as 'education' of a higher standard in Africa.More importantly, Save the Children's sponsors include Starbucks and Credit Suisse, two multinational corporations that are deeply enmeshed in the geopolitical plunder of Central Africa. However, such relationships between corporate 'donors' and so-called 'non-government' organizations (NGOs) billed as apolitical humanitarian charities are obscured by the propaganda of white power interests and the obliviousness of its beneficiaries, like Ben Affleck.President Paul Kagame gave a corporate endorsement at Starbuck's annual shareholder meeting in Seattle in March 2007. "Starbucks and Rwanda are extended family, very closely linked by the business we do together and the passion we share," Kagame said.[27]
THE UPSIDE DOWN GENOCIDEThe Kagame military machine-backed by the US, U.K., Canada, Germany and Israel-is one of Congo's greatest enemies. Kagame was one of the original 27 soldiers to launch the guerrilla war in Uganda, 1980, alongside now President-for-life Yoweri Museveni. Kagame soon became the head of Museveni's dreaded Internal Security Organization, and he was directly involved in tortures, massacres and other human rights atrocities during the Museveni regime's consolidation of power.In October 1990 Kagame returned from training at the US Army base at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to lead the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) illegal invasion of Rwanda. The US military and its partners backed the invasion, just as they backed the invasion of Congo in 1996, and the recent invasion of Congo launched this week.From 1990 to 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), comprised most heavily of Ugandan soldiers led by Ugandan citizens like Paul Kagame, 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.[28]On December 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 affiliated with 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'.[29]"The media reports of the December 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."[30]Since the inception of the ICTR its decisions have been decisively biased-victor's justice-in favor of the Kagame regime and to protect it and its backers. Thus it is no surprise that the former top military leaders of the Habyarimana government-Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and General Gratien Kabiligi-were sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.[31]"The real news was that ALL of the top Rwandan military officers, including the supposedly infamous Colonel Bagosora, were found not guilty of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide," writes Erlinder. "And General 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."[32]Now, after more than fifteen 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.While the western media has consistently covered up the Rwandan occupation in Congo over the past decade, with a complete denial of Rwandan presence from circa 2005 to 2008, the imminent changing of the Presidential guard in the US provoked a post-election day rash of articles stating the obvious: Rwanda is all over Congo. In mid December 2008 the UN released a report further documenting what independent journalists have maintained and reported all along: the Rwandan government directly backs rebel factions, criminal networks and mining operations in eastern DRC.The euphemistically named guerrilla army-National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP)-lorded over by General Laurent Nkunda, has maintained direct personal communications with the office of the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. The Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) have dispatched military personnel into Congo, recruited and armed child soldiers, and they are involved in minerals plunder, racketeering, extortion and war crimes.[33]Now the Kagame government, immunized against prosecution thanks to their connections to top former Clinton and Bush officials, who now sit on high in the Obama administration, has openly sent more than 1500 troops into North Kivu using weapons recently delivered to Rwanda for their equally illegal terrorist operations in Darfur, Sudan. The Kagame government, with its foreign backers, has pursued an identical strategy in Congo as they did in Rwanda, 1990-1994. The goal is to destabilize the region, manufacture chaos, sue for peace while pursuing war, and use the UN 'peacekeeping' mission to aid the predatory agenda. The final solution is to permanently criminalize the Hutu majority, entrench economic and political relations between the Kivus and Rwanda, and between Ituri and Uganda, and balkanize Congo-exactly as proposed by president Clinton's national security insider Walter Kansteiner (1996). [34]The purported 'arrest' of General Laurent Nkunda, on January 22, 2009, by the troops of the joint FARDC and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) operation is no surprise, it is merely damage control, with Nkunda 'arrested'-most likely shuffled off to luxury in Rwanda-to recover some sense of credibility for the international police forces-the Pentagon and its proxy armies in Rwanda (Kagame), Uganda (Museveni) and Congo (Kabila)-and to enable the Kagame military cabal to distance itself from the recent exposés documenting Rwanda's machinations in eastern Congo. Nothing has changed for the people of Congo.
THE MISERY INDUSTRYThe Gimme Shelter campaign set out to raise $23 million for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for so-called "emergency humanitarian assistance" to help displaced persons in the DRC, and now it has spawned an industry unto itself."The Rolling Stones are very happy to contribute to Gimme Shelter in support of Ben's efforts to raise the profile of the conflict in the Congo," one UN public relations agency quotes Mick Jagger as saying. "We all need to stand up and support the work of organizations like UNHCR who are on the ground offering protection and working hard to ensure the rights and wellbeing of refugees."[35]Does UNHCR insure the rights and well being of refugees? The Gimme Shelter film has been distributed worldwide via Internet, television, mobile phones, cinemas and hotel chains.Hollywood actorvist Mia Farrow-the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF-also jetted into Congo for the festivities. Farrow made a three-day visit to the DRC in December, 2008, and then made a plug for the corporate AID industry by "urging all armed groups in North Kivu to allow aid organizations to provide life-saving assistance to women and children."[36]The structural violence that allows for white actorvist jet-setters like Mia Farrow to zoom into and out of such complex emergencies as Congo or Darfur, to make films in refugee camps or hold press conferences in war zones, and to urge armed groups to stop fighting so that business operations can be transacted, is never explored.UNHCR's headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and there are 262 field offices in 116 countries: this is a big business operation dependent on insecurity, population displacements, and warfare.[37]The current head of the UNHCR is António Guterres, who started as UN High Commissioner for Refugees on June 15, 2005, after Rudd Lubbers, the former UNHCR chief, resigned amidst a sex scandal.[38] Guterres served as Portuguese prime minister from 1996 to 2002. Jean-Pierre Bemba, a Congolese warlord with deep ties to Portugal, was at the time a warlord in Congo backed by Uganda and its western allies.[39]The UNHCR's interests in Congo are not only about sustained employment for its highly paid workers-where white people get the best jobs-and lucrative procurement contracts for other corporations. UNHCR also takes a highly politicized, corporate stance in host countries.In Benin, in 1997, the UNHCR openly collaborated with Royal/Dutch Shell Corporation officials after Shell set up offices immediately behind the UNHCR headquarters in Cotonou. UNHCR was at the time responsible for several thousand indigenous Ogoni refugees who fled persecution by Royal/Dutch Shell and the Nigerian military in the oil-devastated Niger River Delta.[40]In Gambella, Ethiopia, during the genocidal pogroms against the Anuak people (2005-2006), UNHCR operations were openly affiliated with the perpetrators and UNHCR never spoke out against atrocities committed by the government of President Meles Zenawi, with his approval. [41]According to a Refugees International situation report of May 17, 1994, at the height of RPA war crimes in Rwanda, the UNHCR 'Ngara' Protection report documented atrocities committed by the RPA at the Tanzanian border-cold-blooded massacres of men, women and children, burned alive in huts, countless war crimes that were attributed to the 'organized Hutu genocide'. [42] "Asked by [a] UNHCR field officer, refugees said the RPF [sic] did not care whether victims [killed by RPA] were Hutu or Tutsi."[43]"Each day there are more and more bodies in the river and most of them without their heads."[44]Commenting on RPA massacres at other border points: "The people of Rwanda have nowhere else to go and we cannot expect them to stay and be slaughtered in their homes."[45]Further, and more devastating to the establishment's portrayal of the RPA as a 'disciplined' rebel force that 'stopped the genocide,' it was a consultant named Robert Gersony, contracted by UNHCR, who staked his 25 year career on his findings from his investigation in Rwanda-"what he described as 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."[46]The United Nations buried the Gersony Report, and it remains buried. When the Gersony report came out, the UNHCR suspended their support for voluntary repatriation of refugees to Rwanda because of RPA massacres. In response, the Rwandan government and many others in the UN turned on the UNHCR. Since that time (1995), UNHCR has accepted the establishment narrative about genocide in Rwanda.The euphemistically named Refugees International (RI)-like the US Committee for Refugees-is tight with the US intelligence community and uses a 'humanitarian' front to project American power and nationalist interests through hegemonic pressure tactics and direct interventions. However, RI's support for expanded militarization and global domination is easily unveiled.[47]Indeed, the UNHCR has a much more incestuous relationship with the massive ongoing catastrophe on the ground in eastern Congo. One of the multinational corporations affiliated with UNHCR is PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PWC), an 'accounting' firm whose business revolves around balancing the books, financial audits and advising tax write-offs and other forms of financial shuffling for multinational corporations. Head-quartered in New York City, PWC earned $US 28.2 billion in revenues in 2008.PWC is also a shareholder in the corporations involved in the niobium/tantalum (pyrochlore) mine at Lueshe, North Kivu, at the heart of Rwanda's 'Tutsi rebel' occupation in eastern DRC.[48],[49]The mining ores from the Lueshe mine have previously been moved into international commerce through Rotterdam harbor, Netherlands, involving the following firms affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers International (US): Alfred K. Knight International (UK); Masingiro GmbH (Germany); Helvetia Transport (Germany); Gesellschaft fuer Elektrometallurgie GmbH (Germany); HSBC Bank (UK); A&M Minerals (UK); Mettalurg NY (US).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 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.[50]"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.[51]In budget year 2008, PWC offices worldwide collectively 'donated' $US 1,511,982 to UNHCR. [52]Affleck's affiliation with Save the Children is equally problematic given their sponsorship by the giant Swiss multinational corporation Credit Suisse Group (CSG).One CSG director is Peter F. Weibel, a CEO and executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich since 1988, member of PWC's Global Oversight Board from 1998 to 2001, and CEO of PWC Zurich until mid 2003-a period when PWC continued to intervene in Congo-militarily and politically-through the Lueshe mine.[53]Interestingly, PricewaterhouseCoopers has also served as the 'Chartered Accountants' for Banro Corporation from September 1996-the date of the first RPA/UPDF invasion of Congo-until November 2002, and was listed as such again for 2005 (at least).[54]Another CSG director is Thomas W. Bechtler, also the Chairman of the Zurich Committee of Human Rights Watch. Of course, HRW 'researcher' Alison Des Forges wrote the HRW tome on genocide in Rwanda-Leave None to Tell the Story-the book that turned genocide in Rwanda upside down and set the stage for the total falsification of international consciousness.[55]"This genocide resulted from the deliberate choice of a modern elite to foster hatred and fear to keep itself in power," Des Forges wrote. Her assertions about a 'planned' Hutu genocide-"They seized control of the state and used its machinery and its authority to carry out the slaughter"-are now completely discredited.[56]In contradistinction to the establishment narrative accusing the 'Hutu leadership' of an 'organized' and 'planned' 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."She [Des Forges] concealed the fact that from 1990 the war caused an unprecedented economic poverty and that the one million internally displaced people tore the social fabric apart!" wrote Dr. Helmut Strizek, a former German official who has called for Alison Des Forges' resignation from Human Rights Watch.[57] "And these people knew that Tutsi rebels [RPA] caused their misery. They did not wait for 'instructions' in order to revenge, once no one was able to maintain public order after the April 6 [1994] assassination [sic] and resumption of hostilities by the RPF."[58]At one Harvard University lecture on October 14, 1998, Alison Des Forges proposed a hypothetical 'decapitation' scenario whereby military intervention by a team of elite operatives could have 'stopped the genocide'. "The scenario calls for elite troops to enter Rwanda in the first 2 to 5 days of the genocide and kill or capture the 20 or so extremist leaders who were primarily responsible for mobilizing the genocide."[59]However, this is regime change, and it is in keeping with the new 'humanitarian' warfare paradigm, and it licenses special operations forces to commit human rights atrocities and acts of terror legitimized by one state (US) over its 'enemies'. And, in any case, there was no regime in Kigali to change as the state had already been decapitated by the double presidential assassinations of April 6, 1994. Des Forges' role has been to hide the US backed coup d'etat in Rwanda and to obscure the involvement of the United States military and its western military partners.Between 1990 and 1994, the RPA 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.[60]Ben Affleck has met with Rwandan ministers and he is investing in Rwanda. However, his ties to Paul Kagame run deeper than mere investments supported by Rwanda's organized crime cartel.
A SUSTAINABLE CATASTROPHEThe 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 two million Rwandan refugees were amassed. These death camps were created by the so-called international community-the 'humanitarian' business sector-and they revolved around massive profits for the corporate agencies involved, including Refugees International, Save the Children, World Food Program and UNHCR-all connected to the western military intelligence apparatus and integrated with multinational corporate plunder.Refugees International's operations during their involvement in the Rwandan refugee camps in Congo (Zaire), 1995-1996, were funded in part by Credit Swiss (CS) First Boston, a subsidiary of the Credit Suisse Group.[61] Robert Weisenthall, a strategic advisor at CS First Boston in the same period, counted as clients Cox Communications, Time Warner and the New York Times-all involved in the big Rwanda genocide cover-up. Wiesenthall is today an executive with Sony Corporation, whose PlayStations depend upon columbium tantalite, one of the rare earth metals being plundered from eastern Congo.[62]The Rwandan refugee camps were reportedly first shelled in a military operation involving the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the UNHCR's main partners today.[63] The IRC is an agency that does not work directly with refugees and has been criticized for its direct involvement in military operations.[64]"Humanitarian organizations operating among the Hutu refugees in eastern Zaire and Belgian newspapers accused some US refugee non-governmental organizations, especially the [IRC] of being covers for CIA operations," reported intelligence insider Wayne Madsen. "Two Belgian newspapers, Antwerp Gazette and De Standaard, reported that the IRC was actually engaged in 'military operations and military support operations' in support of [Laurent] Kabila's rebels in eastern Zaire."[65]According to UNHCR documentation, IRC agents are allowed to move freely in and out of UNHCR and other UN field operations. It almost need not be stated, so obvious a conclusion is it, that so-called 'humanitarian' organizations are routinely and unquestioningly used for intelligence gathering and for identifying both friendly and hostile members of certain populations.With the support of his friends in the RPA, Ugandan scholar 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.[66] Mamdani described the 'dollarization' that destroyed the local economy; how rents were driven up by the influx of an army of 'AID' workers; how local people found basic needs increasingly beyond their reach.[67]"To talk to civil society leaders in Kivu about the experience of hosting two 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."[68]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. The Ben Affleck Gimme Shelter film is part of an ongoing propaganda campaign to whitewash the international catastrophe created, and sustained, in eastern Congo, by the conflux of so-called 'humanitarian aid' operations and so-called 'international peacekeeping' operations with multinational corporate plunder."Ordinary people in Goma, DRC, struggling with economic consequences of war have accused rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda of waging a war that is beneficial to the whites," reported Zimbabwe News. "Deniece who runs a vegetable stall in north Kivu, said the conflict is good for the well-paid members of the 18-nation MONUC peacekeeping force, aid agencies and news organizations."[69]What is obvious to peasant vegetable sellers is that the Democratic Republic of the Congo offers a very clear example of a corporate sustained catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.
THE OBTUSE MONUC MISSIONThe United Nations Observers Mission for Congo (MONUC) supported Ben Affleck's visit to eastern Congo. This mission is increasingly seen as a boondoggle, and it appears more and more likely that MONUC's 'failure' is by design. How do we measure the overall failure or success of the MONUC peacekeeping mission?Any discussion of the role of MONUC in Congo is absent from Affleck's film. Instead we only see a few passing images of MONUC blue helmets, armed Pakistanis or Indian troops, suggestive of an efficacious and honorable security force selflessly defending the Congolese people.The MONUC Public Information Office (PIO), responsible for disseminating information about the MONUC mission, 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, "UN civilian sector spokesman Mr. Kemal Saiki reported that the [Rwanda Defense Forces] 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."[70]This was not the first time that Public Information Officer (PIO) Kemal Saiki clouded the truth with intentional disinformation. At the beginning of 2007, MONUC troops opened fire on angry civilians who rushed a MONUC vehicle: people were shot dead. When asked about the incident, Saiki denied that MONUC has opened fire on the crowd and insisted that the MONUC forces only 'shot into the air."[71]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.Not only does MONUC makes it possible for western mining companies to loot Congo, but MONUC contingents have also participated in illegal minerals plunder from DRC.[72]On October 17, 2007, MONUC spokesperson Kemal Saiki told journalists that the MONUC mission categorically denied recent reports in the Congolese press that the peacekeepers were in any way supporting the factional forces loyal to Rwanda's in-country agent, General Laurent Nkunda.[73]Can MONUC PIOs be believed? Can MONUC press reports be trusted? Can anyone be trusted to tell the truth about Central Africa when their interests are involved?While certain political actors, including FARDC troops, have sometimes played a hand in civilian protests against the MONUC 'peacekeeping' mission in Congo, civilian attacks have become routine as the besieged Congolese people wage frustration battles against the forces of intervention that many believe-based on their personal experiences-are both contributing to and profiting from chaos in the region. The Congolese FARDC army also distrusts the mission: a MONUC convoy moving militia soldiers was recently stopped by FARDC forces and the militia soldiers forcibly removed.[74]December 28, 2008 saw fresh allegations that MONUC blue helmets were involved in sexual violence and other abuse against civilians in North Kivu.[75] Simple investigations in Bunia, capital of Orientale, found at least five cases of young women who had been raped by MONUC personnel; in one case, the young girl killed her baby and went to prison, but the civilian MONUC official, unpunished, was apparently transferred to another post.[76] Is this an example of MONUC's 'zero tolerance policy' against sexual violence by MONUC personnel?"The Congolese people no more have trust in MONUC. We think that they are supporting the rebels," North Kivu resident Adili Amani Romauld is reported to say. "And there is a rumor that MONUC profits from the business of the rebels because people have seen soldiers of MONUC saying that 'no Nkunda, no jobs.' This is what the Congolese say they saw soldiers of MONUC saying but from the time they say MONUC came to this country, nothing has changed. So we no more expect anything good from them."[77]The annual MONUC budget is $US 1.13 billion, of which approximately 40% is annually spent on air transport in and between DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.[78] The air transport system therefore provides massive incomes to foreign companies involved in aviation, for fixed wing and helicopter leasing.[79] Meanwhile, the leased jumbo jetliner oil burners traveling the long transnational air routes for MONUC are at times over 80% empty.The MONUC air transport infrastructure maintains structural violence by diverting funds that should be available, and used, for development of Congo's national transportation infrastructure (especially an appropriate road or light rail system) to the private profits of foreign corporations and governments.MONUC also rents properties and facilities in Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (approx. $US 370,000 annually) and pays some $US 93 million annually to oil companies.[80] 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 Corporation. Most importantly, the MONUC air transport system is highly exclusive, unavailable to most Congolese people, but open to many highly paid white personnel working for the NGO sector.Evidence of the structural violence against the Congolese people is prolific, seen with the swimming pools and water yoga classes filled with white expatriate AID professionals-where 99% of blacks are excluded due to their economic (slavery) status-and with the MONUC mission's expenditures on entertainment infrastructure.MONUC's Pakistani and Indian brigades, for example, constructed cricket and soccer (football) facilities. The MONUC cricket games, soccer matches, marching bands, bagpipes and kilts on Sundays and special celebrations are very curious: the construction of athletic facilities and provision of leisure activities are seen by some as examples that MONUC is in it for the long term. Is this a serious 'peacekeeping' mission? Or part of a prolonged and lucrative sustainable catastrophe?UN Messenger for Peace George Clooney, appointed January 31, 2008 due to his high profile role in Darfur, Sudan, also visited the MONUC Indian brigades in DRC's Kivu provinces, where he painted a picture of MONUC troops as selfless soldiers for good. "We were in Congo and met with the Indian Kivu brigade in January," he said, in October 2008. "We saw the incredibly important and tough work they are doing every day."[81]Isn't the MONUC military mission just another faction involved in Congo's conflagration, a faction of foreign mercenaries backed by multinational corporations? Like the United Nations itself, the MONUC mission is compromised at the highest levels, and the hands of the good people in the mission are tied and their voices silenced.According to MONUC staff in Kinshasa, the Special Representative of the Secretary General to the DRC, current MONUC Head of Mission Alan Doss, a US citizen, has violated MONUC mission protocol prohibiting family members from joining mission employees. Doss brought his wife to DRC, against regulations, and she is reportedly provided a personal maid, a MONUC 4x4 Toyota SUV with a MONUC driver, for personal use, all paid for by the MONUC mission."Everybody cannot believe that Doss is so corrupt," says one MONUC insider. "He knows nothing about Congo he is breaking rules every day. Mrs. Doss gave a big reception in Kinshasa to receive George Clooney at the Grand Hotel. It was paid for by MONUC and Doss didn't even clear the party with the Chief of Division [according to protocol]. People are very angry but they cannot say anything and morale is very low, because everyone sees that the MONUC mission they are part of is a failure."[82]What constitutes success or failure of a United Nations 'peacekeeping' mission of MONUC's stature? What about the failure to displace Rwanda's guerrilla forces from eastern Congo? What about the failure to intervene and/or halt the ongoing minerals plunder?Does the involvement of MONUC soldiers in sex trafficking or minerals smuggling constitute the mission's failure? What about millions of people dead and millions more displaced during the years of MONUC's involvement in DRC, circa 2001 to 2009?To his credit, on December 17, 2008, MONUC Chief Alan Doss publicly announced that the MONUC 'peacekeeping' mission with its 17,000 soldiers and its $US one billion annual budget "was not equal to the task."[83]Alan Doss inherited a catastrophe from his predecessor, William Lacy Swing-a US State Department official who's diplomatic career spanned some 40 years including five postings as Ambassador to African countries each under long term organized assault by white collar crime, corporate plunder and covert military interventions: South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, Zaire (now DRC), and the former People's Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville); Swing is also deeply tied to the malaise in Haiti.At this writing, MONUC staff in Congo are dealing with labor violations due to inequitable treatment and poor working conditions: the promises made by MONUC officials after MONUC in-country staff organized a stop-work strike more than a year ago have been entirely ignored.[84]On December 18, 2008, President Bush released $US 6 million in "AID" funds for Congo from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund, ostensibly to 'aid refugees'. The true purpose and destination of these and so many other funds may never be known.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAMEAfter one of Ben Affleck's promotional visits to Rwanda, Francis Gatare, Director General of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency, quoted the Oscar winner as saying: "When you are cheated in a place like Seattle in the US, it's very easy to think that 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."[85]
However, Rwanda's 'peace' has come about through a campaign of absolute terror against the people and depopulation of the Rwandan countryside.[86]But numerous celebrities pimp Rwanda's sanitized image. In 2007, actress Natalie Portman joined other global celebrities to name baby mountain gorillas for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Virunga National Park; actress Daryl Hannah has also played that role. Actress Sigourney Weaver is officially tied to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. William Taliaferro Close, the father of actress Glen Close was for many years the personal physician for Zaire's president Joseph Mobutu.[87] Ewan McGregor also boosts Rwanda's image by traveling there in league with the regime.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 North Kivu province.[88] 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.[89]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. Big business leaders, business web sites and public relations campaigns the world over describe Paul Kagame as 'The Entrepreneur President'.[90]President Obama's Christian right evangelist fanatic Rick Warren has also gotten in on the Kagame game. "In 2005 Rwanda became, at the request of its president Paul Kagame, the initial testing ground for Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E Plan and the first nation in the world to implement Warren's "Purpose Driven Life and Leadership training program" on a national level. Warren has made at least ten separate trips to Rwanda and has been photographed multiple times with Rwanda's President, Paul Kagame."[91]It seems that birds of a feather flock together. Former US President George W. Bush has also had his image buffed by spotlight celebrities. In February 2008, soon after Bush departed Kagame and Rwanda on Air Force One, Bob Geldof-another of Africa's Great White Hopes-praised Bush as one of the greatest humanitarian Presidents, due to Bush's supposed concern for Africa -measured in big business financial allocations ostensibly for African people.Andrew Young, the former US Ambassador to the UN 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 US-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.Operating in Rwanda and Uganda is the Canadian company Vangold Resources, connected to Robert and Eric Friedland, two of the Friends of Bill Clinton linked to the bloodletting in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda through their multiple interlocking companies and offshore holdings. [92]Vangold copper, cobalt and gold mining operations proceed in Uganda's western border districts. [93] The West Nile district mining occurs near the sites of the massive Ugandan government backed atrocities and concentration camps that confine some 1.2 million indigenous Acholi people. Vangold has interests in Kenya, and holds a 1,631 square km (630 sq. mi) petroleum concession bordering Congo in northeastern Rwanda. [94]
Tony Blair, Britain's Prime Minister (1997-2007) at the time of the first and second Anglo-American invasions of Congo, led by the proxy forces of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, has been a personal advisor to President Kagame since January 2008.Another high profile mover and shaker who helps legitimize the Kagame regime is Harvard University doctor Paul Farmer, who moved his family to Rwanda in 2008 and became a citizen there. Farmer's Partner's in Health project has received millions of dollars from the Clinton Foundation and Clinton HIV/AIDS programs-money rinsed from the blood diamonds and indigenous genocides in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Congo. [95] 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 US Military HIV Research Program. [96], [97]Paul Farmer is also linked to the Kagame regime's network in Boston, where agent's of the Kagame regime operate an intelligence cell used to identify, repress and criminalize any Rwandan people who in any way challenge the criminality or injustice of the current regime. [98]Paul Farmer wrote an excellent book on structural violence titled Pathologies of Power. In the introduction, Farmer discusses Rwanda and, for example, he comments on the 'blinkered analyses' by aid workers in "most settings where massive human rights violations are about to occur.""How, one wonders incredulously," Farmer asked, "Could anyone working on behalf of the Rwandan poor [before 1994] have failed to anticipate the oncoming cataclysm?"[99]How, one wonders incredulously, could anyone working on behalf of the Rwandan poor today have failed to challenge or distance themselves from Kagame's Rwanda and its terrorist enterprises, in Congo at the very least, and instead works with the regime and its agents?Farmer cites the work of Samantha Power, about how the Clinton administration knowingly let genocide in Rwanda happen, as opposed to playing the active role it did in backing a covert coup d'etat and Hutu genocide. [100] This fabricated 'bystanders to genocide' thesis, intentionally obtuse, won Samantha Power-a founder-director of Harvard's highly biased Carr Center for Human Rights-a Pulitzer Prize. [101] Farmer's additional references and citations regarding 'genocide in Rwanda' are equally misinformed, examples of propaganda that intentionally blinds people. [102]Michael Porter, a Harvard professor and 'intellectual entrepreneur' from Brookline, Massachusetts, also has close ties to Kagame, both in Massachusetts and in Rwanda. Porter is one of Paul Kagame's primary economic advisers, "helping that nation craft an economic plan, develop the private sector and build relationships around the world."[103]Ben Affleck's hometown is Boston, Massachusetts, and this is the stage for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's film Good Will Hunting. Boston, it turns out, is also Paul Kagame's most important power base in the United States, and Cambridge (Harvard University) and Brookline are two influential suburbs.On January 27, 2009, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman will moderate a panel about Dr. Paul Farmer's Partner's In Health mission in Haiti. Panelists will include Paul Farmer and Matt Damon and the panel will be held at Kennedy Library in Boston.Paul Kagame and his wife Jeanette are regular visitors to Boston, where they have wooed many business leaders, including Mayor Thomas Menino, and where they are tight with the Jewish community. The Tutsis, after all, are the 'Jews of Africa' and Rwanda the 'Israel of Africa', according to the efficacious mythology perpetuated in part by New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch, in part by Israeli officials. [104] Of course, Israel is also fueling the holocaust in the Congo. [105]Kagame has given numerous "we the poor victims of genocide" speeches at Boston area colleges. Such speeches usually provoke guilt about the moral failure of us in the west, and all dissent is stillborn for fear of being accused of genocide denial. The result is a hysterical western 'news' consuming public-a hysteria amplified by visits to skeleton 'memorials' in Rwanda. [106]At Boston College in 2005, Kagame was joined by Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. Prosper is a member of Boston College Board of Trustees and has repeatedly visited Rwanda since 1995. Prosper played a major role in neutralizing the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and in derailing the attempts by ICTR prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to prosecute the RPA for war crimes. [107] Prosper echoed the big Rwanda deception about a systematic genocide committed by the Hutus, and he followed with the usual coup de grace on truth: he criticized the international community for 'failing to act' and, completely inverting reality, said that the US media "did nothing to explore the genocidal machine that was under full operation in Rwanda."[108] In reality, the US 'news' system facilitated the RPA coup d'etat.Kagame followed with the typical speech filled with the usual platitudes about '100 days of killing', with '800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis slaughtered'-the language that the propaganda system has, by constant repetition, cemented into the minds of western 'news' consumers, thus fostering a sort of mass hysteria about Rwanda that is echoed, mindlessly-even self-righteously, by everyone from the miseducated masses to over educated intellectuals-everywhere. As usual, Kagame turned reality on its head, falsely stating that "the genocide was engineered by the government" of Juvenal Habyarimana. "It was deliberate, calculated, and cold-blooded," Kagame said. Indeed it was, as Paul Kagame knows only too well.Although Paul Kagame has criticized western society and pontificated on the importance of Rwandans being educated in Rwanda, his children attend school in Boston, where they are sheltered by an extensive network, and Ben Affleck-Congo's new hero and an avid Red Sox fan-has taken the Kagame youth to Boston Red Sox baseball games. [109]This is the kind of hidden interest, according to Congolese who have now learned about Affleck's Kagame and Rwanda connections, that one cannot, in good conscience, ignore. While it might seem endearing that Affleck takes Kagame's children out to the ball game, it exemplifies Affleck's close relationship to an internationally renowned war criminal and his conflict of interest in Congo.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.Such smokescreens immunize people in North America, Europe, South Africa, Israel and Australia against our own waking up. Using words like 'humanitarian' and 'AID' and 'relief' and 'peacekeeping' to misname what are otherwise profitable white operations that are reliant purely on markets-where the commodities are people of color who have been uprooted and displaced, physically and sexually traumatized, and murdered en masse-is another way to justify the exploitation that proceeds both in plain site (refugee operations, peacekeeping interventions, media productions) and behind the scenes (extractive industries, weapons proliferation, multinational dumping, covert operations).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 them 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-by the white people who serve them-before we go off to the swimming pool or take a vacation.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.The Gimme Shelter video-like so much of the western capitalist communications apparatus-allows whites to justify our ignorance, to inculcate and nurture our apathy, and to simultaneously hide behind our 'innocence'. Ben Affleck offers a stellar performance of the ostensibly innocent white man, the latest white savior for Africa, taken to the extreme."But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent," wrote African American James Baldwin. "It is the innocence which constitutes the crime."[110]

NOTES:[1] Howard Lesser, "UNHCR Unveils 'Gimme Shelter' Campaign for Congo War Victims," Voice of America, December 18, 2008.[2] In 2004, after this investigator's first mission to Congo, a (naïve) letter was delivered directly to Angelina Jolie inviting her to travel deep into central Congo to witness the realities of white-owned slave plantations and mining; there was reply.[3] See: keith harmon snow, "Merchants of Death: White Collar War Crimes, Black African Fall Guys," Dissident Voice, December 8, 2008, .[4] Today, teachers and students can download 'teaching resources' that are used to indoctrinate a new set of young people to the mythologies and propaganda that are creating exploitation and suffering in the world, and further entrenching structural violence, while loudly and proudly claiming to alleviate it. See the pro-UNHCR propaganda web site connected to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Ripples of Genocide: A Journey Through Eastern Congo, .[5] "Ocean's Thirteen stars donate $1 million in support of UN food agency," UN News Centre, June 27, 2007.[6] George Clooney, David Pressman and John Prendergast, "George Clooney on how Obama can help Congo," Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2008.[7] 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, August 3, 2008.[8] See: Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, Ed., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, State University of New York Press, 2007.[9] World Food Program, DRC,[10] United Nations General Assembly, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program, UN Doc A/AC.96/1040, 12 September 2007,[11] Head, Private Sector Fundraising Service (PSFR), UNHCR, UNHCR, July 10, 2007.[12] Ibid.[13] "UN peacekeepers attacked in Congo," BBC and AP November 24, 2008.[14] Michael Maren, The Road To Hell: The Ravaging Affects of Foreign Aid and International Charity, 1996.[15] 'FUBAR' is an acronym, coined by US military during the US war in Vietnam: 'Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition' or 'Fucked Up Beyond Repair'. Private communication from Bukavu, DRC, January 16, 2009.[16] Private communications, DRC, December 2008 & January 2009.[17] Private communication, DRC, January 2009.[18] Patrick Goldstein, "The Big Picture:_Patrick Goldstein on the collision of entertainment, media and pop culture," (Ben Affleck is Not Guilty About Being A Celebrity), Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2008. Note that the L.A. Times page with the Affleck story above has a dead baby fundraising advertisement for the multinational corporate entity World Vision, showing an African child, crying, with the headline, "A Child Dies Every Four Second: Sponsor A Child" and a digital clock ticking away the four seconds before the child's image is blacked out and replaced with the next child to die and a new four second counter. [19] See: keith harmon snow, "Three Cheers for Eve Ensler: Propaganda, White Collar Crime and Sexual Atrocities in Eastern Congo," Z-Net, October 24, 2007, .[20] Even the word Interahamwe was misrepresented-providing a generalized media sound bite used to easily instill fear and criminalize-as 'those who attack together'[1] or 'those who kill together' or though it is claimed to more accurately mean 'united for the same ideal' and 'those who work together'. The misrepresentations proliferate in popular spaces like Wikipedia, where Interahamwe is curiously described as 'the young Hutu males who carried out the Rwandan Genocide acts against the Tutsis in 1994' but who 'did not have a clearly organized group of followers'. Such language is telling. Wikipedia attributes the Interahamwe with 'acts' of genocide while also noting their total lack of organization, both facts being contrary to an organized, pre-planned, systematic genocide-which is exactly what the judges at the ICTR opined in their decisions of December 12, 2008.[21] Banro Corporation, Financial Reports, See map of properties in South Kivu: .[22] Banro Corporation directors: .[23] Banro Corporation, "Why Africa and the DRC?" .[24] Michael Maren, The Road To Hell: The Ravaging Affects of Foreign Aid and International Charity, 1996.[25] "Ben Affleck Meets Former Child Soldiers in Save the Children's Campaign to 'Rewrite the Future'," Save the Children.[26] We are immediately reminded of the extensive and costly public relations campaigns of the Atlanta (GA) based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The DFGF cranked out public relations stories describing a beautiful school of university quality that was built, outfitted and sponsored by western donors. However, the situation at the Tayna Center for Conservation Biology-the "American University" and crown jewel of the Conservation International and DFGF efforts-was a sham. See: keith harmon snow and Georgianne Nienaber, "King Kong," Parts 5 & 6, published August 2007 by COA News, available here:[27] Marc Gunther, "Why CEOs love Rwanda: As a small African nation recovers from genocide, Google, Starbucks and Costco lend a hand," Fortune Magazine, April 3, 2007.[28] 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, August 3, 2008; keith harmon snow: "Psychological Warfare, Embedded Reporters and the Hunting of Refugees," Global Research, April 12, 2008.[29] See: Peter Erlinder, " Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning ... No Genocide?" Jurist, December 23, 2008, <>.[30] Ibid.[31] "International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) / Bagosora, Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva given life sentences;_Kabiligi acquitted," African Press Organization, December 18, 2008, .[32] Peter Erlinder, " Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning ... No Genocide?" Jurist, December 23, 2008, <>.[33] Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN, S/2008/773, December 2008.[34] Walter Kansteiner, the son of a coltan trader in Chicago, is the former 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 (Zaire) into smaller states based on ethnic lineage. 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 US.[35] "Actor Ben Affleck and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger join forces to help UN refugee agency," UN News Center, December 17, 2008.[36] Ibid.[37] Roxanne Stasyszyn, "A World Playground: Congolese Sacrificed for International Games and Profits," Dissident Voice, November 8, 2008.[38] Kate Holt and Leonard Doyle, "Harassment, intimidation and secrecy-UN chief engulfed in sex scandal," The Independent, February 18, 2005.[39] See: keith harmon snow, A People's History of Congo's Jean-Pierre Bemba," Toward Freedom, September 18, 2007, .[40] keith harmon snow, personal interviews with UNHCR and Ogoni refugees in Cotonou, Benin, 1997. See also: keith harmon snow (under the pseudonym Zak Harmon), "No Safe Haven: Even in refugee camps, Nigeria's Ogonis face abuse and intimidation," Toward Freedom, Vol. 46, No. 6, November 1997.[41] Livelihoods and Vulnerabilities Study, Gambella Region of Ethiopia, United Nations Report, made public 'without authorization' by keith harmon snow, December 13, 2006, .[42] See: Mark Prutsalis, SITREP #10 Refugees in Tanzania, Refugees International, May 17, 1994.[43] Ibid.[44] Ibid.[45] Ibid.[46] Shaharyar Khan, The Gersony 'Report' Rwanda, Outgoing Code Cable, United Nations, October 14, 1994.[47] Clifford H. Bernath and David C. Gompert, The Power to Protect: Using New Military Capabilities to Stop Mass Killings, Refugees International, July 2003.[48][49] Conflict and Development: Peacebuilding and Post-conflict Resolution; Sixth Report of Session 2005-06, Parliament Great Britain International Development Committee, 2006, pp. 247, 251.[50] You will find an interview 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 "Congo rebel leader Accused of War Crimes Tells His Story," Huffington Post, January 9, 2009.[51] Letter titled Violation of OECD Guidelines for multinational Enterprises throughPricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. New York, by Mag. Thomas Eggenburg, Vienna, Monday, 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.[52] 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.
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-“The enemies of Freedom do not argue ; they shout and they shoot.”

The principal key root causes that lead to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 that affected all Rwandan ethnic groups were:

1)The majority Hutu community’s fear of the return of the discriminatory monarchy system that was practiced by the minority Tutsi community against the enslaved majority Hutu community for about 500 years

2)The Hutu community’s fear of Kagame’s guerrilla that committed massacres in the North of the country and other parts of the countries including assassinations of Rwandan politicians.

3) The Rwandan people felt abandoned by the international community ( who was believed to support Kagame’s guerrilla) and then decided to defend themselves with whatever means they had against the advance of Kagame’ guerrilla supported by Ugandan, Tanzanian and Ethiopian armies and other Western powers.

-“The enemies of Freedom do not argue ; they shout and they shoot.”

-“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

-“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

-“I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.”

The Rwanda war of 1990-1994 had multiple dimensions.

The Rwanda war of 1990-1994 had multiple dimensions. Among Kagame’s rebels who were fighting against the Rwandan government, there were foreigners, mainly Ugandan fighters who were hired to kill and rape innocent Rwandan people in Rwanda and refugees in DRC.



United Kingdom's Proxy Wars in Africa: The Case of Rwanda and DR Congo:

The Rwandan genocide and 6,000,000 Congolese and Hutu refugees killed are the culminating point of a long UK’s battle to expand their influence to the African Great Lakes Region. UK supported Kagame’s guerrilla war by providing military support and money. The UK refused to intervene in Rwanda during the genocide to allow Kagame to take power by military means that triggered the genocide. Kagame’s fighters and their families were on the Ugandan payroll paid by UK budget support.

· 4 Heads of State assassinated in the francophone African Great Lakes Region.
· 2,000,000 people died in Hutu and Tutsi genocides in Rwanda, Burundi and RD.Congo.
· 600,000 Hutu refugees killed in R.D.Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Rep of Congo.
· 6,000,000 Congolese dead.
· 8,000,000 internal displaced people in Rwanda, Burundi and DR. Congo.
· 500,000 permanent Rwandan and Burundian Hutu refugees, and Congolese refugees around the world.
· English language expansion to Rwanda to replace the French language.
· 20,000 Kagame’s fighters paid salaries from the British Budget Support from 1986 to present.
· £500,000 of British taxpayer’s money paid, so far, to Kagame and his cronies through the budget support, SWAPs, Tutsi-dominated parliament, consultancy, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs.
· Kagame has paid back the British aid received to invade Rwanda and to strengthen his political power by joining the East African Community together with Burundi, joining the Commonwealth, imposing the English Language to Rwandans to replace the French language; helping the British to establish businesses and to access to jobs in Rwanda, and to exploit minerals in D.R.Congo.

Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres

Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres
Kagame killed 200,000 Hutus from all regions of the country, the elderly and children who were left by their relatives, the disabled were burned alive. Other thousands of people were killed in several camps of displaced persons including Kibeho camp. All these war crimes remain unpunished.The British news reporters were accompanying Kagame’s fighters on day-by-day basis and witnessed these massacres, but they never reported on this.

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25,000 Hutu bodies floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.

25,000  Hutu bodies  floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.
The British irrational, extremist, partisan,biased, one-sided media and politicians have disregarded Kagame war crimes e.g. the Kibeho camp massacres, massacres of innocents Hutu refugees in DR. Congo. The British media have been supporting Kagame since he invaded Rwanda by organising the propaganda against the French over the Rwandan genocide, suppressing the truth about the genocide and promoting the impunity of Kagame and his cronies in the African Great Lakes Region. For the British, Rwanda does not need democracy, Rwanda is the African Israel; and Kagame and his guerilla fighters are heroes.The extremist British news reporters including Fergal Keane, Chris Simpson, Chris McGreal, Mark Doyle, etc. continue to hate the Hutus communities and to polarise the Rwandan society.

Kagame political ambitions triggered the genocide.

Kagame  political  ambitions triggered the genocide.
Kagame’s guerrilla war was aimed at accessing to power at any cost. He rejected all attempts and advice that could stop his military adventures including the cease-fire, political negotiations and cohabitation, and UN peacekeeping interventions. He ignored all warnings that could have helped him to manage the war without tragic consequences. Either you supported Kagame’ s wars and you are now his friend, or you were against his wars and you are his enemy. Therefore, Kagame as the Rwandan strong man now, you have to apologise to him for having been against his war and condemned his war crimes, or accept to be labelled as having been involved in the genocide. All key Kagame’s fighters who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity are the ones who hold key positions in Rwandan army and government for the last 15 years. They continue to be supported and advised by the British including Tony Blair, Andrew Mitchell MP, and the British army senior officials.

Aid that kills: The British Budget Support financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.

Aid that kills: The British Budget Support  financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.
Genocide propaganda and fabrications are used by the so-called British scholars, news reporters and investigative journalists to promote their CVs and to get income out of the genocide through the selling of their books, providing testimonies against the French, access to consultancy contracts from the UN and Kagame, and participation in conferences and lectures in Rwanda, UK and internationally about genocide. Genocide propaganda has become a lucrative business for Kagame and the British. Anyone who condemned or did not support Kagame’s war is now in jail in Rwanda under the gacaca courts system suuported by British tax payer's money, or his/she is on arrest warrant if he/she managed to flee the Kagame’s regime. Others have fled the country and are still fleeing now. Many others Rwandans are being persecuted in their own country. Kagame is waiting indefinitely for the apologies from other players who warn him or who wanted to help to ensure that political negotiations take place between Kagame and the former government he was fighting against. Britain continues to supply foreign aid to Kagame and his cronies with media reports highlighting economic successes of Rwanda. Such reports are flawed and are aimed at misleading the British public to justify the use of British taxpayers’ money. Kagame and his cronies continue to milk British taxpayers’ money under the British budget support. This started from 1986 through the British budget support to Uganda until now.

Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the Rwandan genocide.

Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the  Rwandan genocide.
No apologies yet to the Rwandan people. The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana by Kagame was the only gateway for Kagame to access power in Rwanda. The British media, politicians, and the so-called British scholars took the role of obstructing the search for the truth and justice; and of denying this assassination on behalf of General Kagame. General Paul Kagame has been obliging the whole world to apologise for his mistakes and war crimes. The UK’s way to apologise has been pumping massive aid into Rwanda's crony government and parliement; and supporting Kagame though media campaigns.

Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame

Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame
Kagame receives the British massive aid through the budget support, British excessive consultancy, sector wide programmes, the Tutsi-dominated parliament, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs; for political, economic and English language expansion to Rwanda. The British aid to Rwanda is not for all Rwandans. It is for Kagame himself and his Tutsi cronies.

Paul Kagame' actvities as former rebel


UN News Centre - Africa

The Africa Report - Latest

IRIN - Great Lakes

This blog reports the crimes that remain unpunished and the impunity that has generated a continuous cycle of massacres in many parts of Africa. In many cases, the perpetrators of the crimes seem to have acted in the knowledge that they would not be held to account for their actions.

The need to fight this impunity has become even clearer with the massacres and genocide in many parts of Africa and beyond.

The blog also addresses issues such as Rwanda War Crimes, Rwandan Refugee massacres in Dr Congo, genocide, African leaders’ war crimes and crimes against humanity, Africa war criminals, Africa crimes against humanity, Africa Justice.

-The British relentless and long running battle to become the sole player and gain new grounds of influence in the francophone African Great Lakes Region has led to the expulsion of other traditional players from the region, or strained diplomatic relations between the countries of the region and their traditional friends. These new tensions are even encouraged by the British using a variety of political and economic manoeuvres.

-General Kagame has been echoing the British advice that Rwanda does not need any loan or aid from Rwandan traditional development partners, meaning that British aid is enough to solve all Rwandan problems.

-The British obsession for the English Language expansion has become a tyranny that has led to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, dictatorial regimes, human rights violations, mass killings, destruction of families, communities and cultures, permanent refugees and displaced persons in the African Great Lakes region.

- Rwanda, a country that is run by a corrupt clique of minority-tutsi is governed with institutional discrmination, human rights violations, dictatorship, authoritarianism and autocracy, as everybody would expect.