Tag Archives: Congo

Do we have a soft spot for mercenaries

Norwegian Tjostolv Moland sentenced to death in Kisangani, DRCIt’s damning photograph. I sought it out after hearing the story of the two Norwegian mercenaries condemned to death in the Congo for the murder of their Congolese driver. Was their black companion killed in an attempt to rob the white adventurers, as they tell it? US news outlets asked Tjostolv Moland’s mothers about the picture of her son, which showed him smiling as he wiped blood from the driver’s seat of their pickup. The mother dismissed it as bad timing, she though her son was probably caught off guard, laughing at a joke unrelated to his morbid task. Boy can Americans relate.

Other US newspapers speculated about a fabled Norwegian propensity to laugh at adversity. They also described Norwegian diplomats scrambling to save the two boys from the gallows. It’s true that Norway doesn’t have a death sentence, and therefore does not condone it elsewhere. Otherwise US and BBC portrayal of Norwegian concern for the two mercenaries seemed at odds with Norway’s usual determined pacifism, so I was eager to hear from my relatives there.

The scoop? Contrary to US and UK sentiments and their projection of Norwegian concerns, there is no domestic sympathy for the two wayward boys. None.

The Norwegian public has become well aware that Moland and partner Joshua French have been traveling the Congo as mercenaries, and have been involved in other killings as well. The fact that Congolese courts are trying to extort a large fine from the Norwegian government, based on the accusation of the two travelers being agents of Norway, is due to documents which the two forged to pretend they had active duty contact with the Norwegian military.

In Norway, military service is compulsory. Every Norwegian male has a record of military service. It helps that Norway rarely involves itself with acts of aggression, sanctioned by a fraternity of nations or not. And when soldiers of fortune like Moland and French set about rampaging in Africa, it behooves Norwegian authorities to ensure that their military is not implicated by association.

How fitting that US and UK listeners should presume a reflexive maternal instinct to protect the two white boys, set upon by angry African opportunists. The boys might be mercenaries, but America and Britain have lots of those overseas. Hired guns, paid assassins, professional killers, why quibble with words?

The laws of war grant little grace for mercenaries, but that’s not what English-speaking supporters of imperial expansion want to believe. Mercenaries in the Neocon vernacular are called private contractors. They’re just ordinary soldiers who’ve escaped the poor pay of military service, to the entrepreneurial ranks of war-making free enterprise.

Uncle Tom’s Hotel Rwanda

Is the Don Cheedle?Let’s clear something up for the sake of poetic justice. Uncle Tom was a maltreated slave who bore his burden with dignity. He was no collaborator, no stool pigeon, no upper class of black slave that kept the lower savages in order. That “Uncle Tom” is what the term has come to mean: a white man’s black man, owing perhaps to the original character’s civilized humanity which a white reader might not have expected to be a capacity of an African slave. The neo-Uncle Tom is a Tutsi.

I heard the film Hotel Rwanda was just incredible, I’m sure it was. I watched the Frontline documentary to commemorate the anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and so thought I knew the sad story already. Well I was right and I was wrong, but not about the film.

The mounting trouble in the Democratic Republic of Congo is causing leaders to forewarn of genocide such as Rwanda experienced in 1994. We’re told the same Hutus are marauding today. In addressing the issues of the Congo, do we have an understanding of what happened in 1994, beside the film dramatization?

The question to ask is whether what happened in Rwanda was genocide. That’s not to minimize the killings, but to scrutinize the motives. Was the fighting between Hutus and Tutsis racially motivated tribal warfare, or was it class warfare? Were the events of 1994 components of a peasant rebellion, distinguished by the opposing forces being from different ethnicities?

The distinction is critical. Behind the Hotel Rwanda imagery is the theme that African tribes need to be protected from each other. This happens in the form of UN intervention usually. The storytellers also know that if the narrative is bloody enough, a Western audience is just as ready to throw up its hands. Thus our impulse to join the Peace Corps or Medecins Sans Frontieres is quietly scrubbed in favor of calling in the cavalry. And then, only in the event of genocide.

Someone keeps wanting Westerners to believe that African tribes will continue to kill each other regardless what we do. Is it true? No, the Africans fight because of what we do.

The Tutsi victims of Hotel Rwanda were not just hotel keepers and clerks. The Tutsis were the administrative enforcers of post-colonial central Africa. The Hutus were the oppressed, and rose up against the Tutsis after generations of oppression and killings.

If Africa were let to develop autonomous states from its indigenous populations, its people could put their natural resources to use improving their lives. Instead, our post-colonial tentacles continue to stir up instability. Our business interests make sure that the native Africans never get their footing. We fund strong men to enforce violent rule over the inhabitants. It’s a controlled instability that facilitates the minimal societal infrastructure our traders require. But instability is difficult a balancing act. When the mayhem gets out of hand, peace-keepers are brought in at the people’s expense, to restore the disordered order.

Save the Copper Cobalt Coltan of Congo?

Child soldiersCOpper, CObalt and COltan are among the precious resources we are sucking from the COngo. Could their names too derive from a common origin? We’re hearing suddenly of horrendous atrocities from there, although the Congolese have been suffering for over a decade. Has excess violence begun to threaten our mineral supply?

Have you heard of Coltan? It’s the rare material used in cell phones and laptops. The Congo is the world’s chief source of Coltan and supplies other invaluable resources to industry, particlarly weapons and electronics. I would have thrown in Diamonds, Uranium and Oil if they’d started with CO. Western industry takes a wealth of mineral resource from impoverished Africa.

Post-colonial Africa is a myth. Or, it’s not what as it sounds. Colonial Africa, self-liberated in the post war era, remains occupied by white man, in the guise of corporations. It’s just the administrators on the ground who’ve changed color. And the multinational corporations dictate a wholly other civilized set of governing principles. No longer need the natives be clothed or educated, for business it’s enough that they be herded, to staff mines and factories, in gulags or slums. The multinational businesses fund ruthless local regimes to maintain instability, the better for extraction industries to rob the land.

Read more

Rwanda and Congo on the verge of war

The US supported government of Rwanda is tearing down the less than ‘peace’ in Congo and open hostilities are on the near horizon between the two countries once again. The US, British, and French governments have nothing good to offer up to Africans anywhere on the continent and should just get out of African affairs altogether. That especially goes in regard to the US AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s African warfare command center. Here is the latest…

The Congolese ambassador to the United Nations Atoki Ileka said he would call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council if Goma was attacked.

“Rwanda is already in the DRC,” he told the BBC’s Network Africa programme. The fact is that the Congolese army is finding it difficult in dealing with the rebel forces in their region

Rosemary Museminari
Rwandan foreign affairs minister

“Rwanda, and I say Mr Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, are the spoilers in the region,” he said.

“Laurent Nkunda in our view is some kind of a proxy for Rwanda.”

Full BBC report at DR Congo rebels capture army base

US-Rwandan backed general, Laurent Nkunda, to ‘liberate’ Congo again- Watch out!

Laurent NkundaRenegade Congolese General Laurent Nkunda has told the BBC he is now fighting to “liberate” the whole of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nkunda and Rwanda, alongside some other players, have caused around 6,000,000 deaths in Congo over less than the last decade, far surpassing the number who died during the genocide in Rwanda previously. So who all has their hand in this new state of affairs? To help answer that, first let’s trip over to the US State Department for some info about current US-Rwanda relations.

‘In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, in accordance with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.

In the fall of 2006, Rwanda broke diplomatic relations with France, following a French judge’s indictment of senior Rwandan officials on charges of having participated in the shooting down of the presidential jet in 1994. Rwanda rejects these charges. Rwanda, along with Burundi, joined the East African Community in 2007.

U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS
U.S. Government interests have shifted significantly since the 1994 genocide from a strictly humanitarian concern focusing on stability and security to a strong partnership with the Government of Rwanda focusing on sustainable development. The largest U.S. Government programs are the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative, which aim to reduce the impact of these debilitating diseases in Rwanda. Other activities promote rural economic growth and support good governance and decentralization. Overall U.S. foreign assistance to Rwanda has increased four-fold over the past four years.’

Information provided to us from the US Dept. of State website. And, information about Laurent Nkunda can be found at wikipedia and other sources.

Why is it that we think of there having been a Rwandan genocide, yet nobody in the US talks about there having been a Congo genocide? Part of the reason I think, is simply that US citizens don’t really know that much about any part of Africa, Congo and Rwanda included as well as Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia, the so called Horn of Africa. They tend to want to accept at face value the prettified US Government USAID version of US interventionism in Africa. However, aid to Rwanda involves much more than Macy’s sale items or other such silly little nonsense as highlighted at the USAID site.

US aid to Rwanda is also US interventionism into the affairs of Congo and General Laurent Nkunda is a primary player in what is being bought. In D.R.Congo, Laurent Nkunda Forces On The Offense Again

The US blocked the United Nations from ever having confronted and disarmed Laurent Nkunda and his army, simply because it was part of the Rwanda military in the region, a military allied with the Pentagon. Now, that may be about to unravel into terrible bloodshed once again?

Why is the US playing around in Africa in the first place? Isn’t AFRICOM now the biggest player in the region? How much is Laurent Nkunda really in rebellion against the US? Perhaps he is more allied to the Pentagon than opposed? And maybe the commander of AFRICOM, US General William E. Ward might have the answers to some of these questions, but wouldn’t it be better if we were not intervening into and stroking the flames of Africa’s internecine strife?

Both France and the US need to get out of Africa once and for all. These games for influence in the region are quite deadly to the people that live there.

The for-profit medical system of the DRC

Anesthetic Nobel Prize.gifThe US is not the only country with a for-profit, corporate run medical system. Most of the world unfortunately has this sort of system where life and death medical decisions are strictly made on the basis of the patient’s ability to pay. Check out how capitalism in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) has helped produce a genocide of over 5,000,000 dead.

Sure there is ongoing war there, but only 1% or so actually die directly due to wounds obtained in battle. The rest die through their capitalist for-profit medical structure of care delivery. It doesn’t work to deliver much actual health. That’s true in the DRC and also here in the USA. Congo’s silent harvest of death This report discusses the real cause of death in this African country where poverty, war, and the capitalist system of health care team up to kill people.

Save Congo

A spin off group from Human Rights Watch reports that over 2,000 women were reported raped in one province of East Congo alone. Over 2,000 raped last month in Congo’s east -report In Kivu, there are over 1,000,000 refugees from the war there, and the United Nations and African Union have already arrived, implemented a peace treaty under their direction, and yet the bloodshed goes on.

Who brokered this deal? Why it was the European Union, the United States, the African Union, and the United Nations. See DR Congo: Peace Process Fragile, Civilians at Risk This is the same sort of ‘response’ that the group Save Darfur has called for in Darfur, Sudan, so it is instructive to see the failure of these military responses from imperialist countries located outside of Africa, in yet another locale, East Congo. Military solutions even while disguised as ‘humanitarian interventions’ under the direction of the UN are prescriptions for failure, and East Congo underlines this.

The United Nations is completely under the control of the United States and its gang of allies, and none of them are willing to take the steps to actually help any African country out. Instead, the name of the game for them is CONTROL. We need to Save Congo, as well as Save Darfur. The only way we are ever going to do it is to break the military control that the US and Europeans use to strangle the African continent. It is truly a tragic situation, and the solution must come in form of releasing the control of imperialism on the region, not increasing it by calling for troops to be sent in.

As a side note, the issue of women being raped in Darfur is one of the big drawing cards for emotional responses to do something that the Save Darfur groups always make. Where are they though when it comes to the Congo conflict?

It seems that their focus on rape is as selective as can be, and is reminsicent of when Americans became concerned about babies in Kuwait which they once used to justify the beginning of the US assaults on Iraq. Women are being raped in Darfur, so the imperialist knights must rush in to save them! But we have the knights in place in East Congo, and women are still being raped. Go figure?

The Rwandan Genocide and The Others

‘On the morning of 15 April 1994, each one of us woke up knowing what to do and where to go because we had made a plan the previous night. In the morning we woke up and started walking towards the church. ‘ an excerpt from the BBC’s ‘Taken over by Satan’

The official sanitized, Western version of when the African genocides began begins with the Rwandan genocide of 1994, which happened just 14 years ago. To look before that time is to wander into ancient history to most of us ahistorical Americans. But what about afterwards then?

Somehow, we suddenly leap to Darfur in the Western media, where another genocide besides the Rwandan is supposedly underway…. Will we repeat the apathy of the past, the corporate media prods our collective conscience? This is the now officialized version of the genocide in Africa story in short. But is this really the entire story?

What we have with this pretty much official Western narrative, is a cloth with more holes than thread. Where is the Congo killing of 5,000,000 that occurred between Rwanda and Darfur? Where is the Somalia/ Horn of Africa genocides still in the making? Where are our Western government and corporate leaders in all this? See #5. High-Tech Genocide in Congo
in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2007
for some possible answers to these questions.

We have to answer these questions because we have the growth of yet a Second and Third Holocaust Industry. Israel, Darfur, and Rwanda all have promotions of their versions of history.

In the case of Rwanda, their current governmental official version is integrally mixed up with the Rwandan government’s own role in the even more massive killings in the Congo regions adjacent to their country. And of course, the Israeli government is involved in their own genocidal activities against the Palestinians, while the US government promotes a campaign against Darfur genocide even as it engages in a genocide against the Iraqi people.

In A Tale of Two Genocides, Congo and Darfur: The Blatantly Inconsistent U.S. Position, author Glenn Ford hardly even mentions Iraq in pointing out the inconsistencies in the US official manipulation of public opinion about the issue of genocide. Yet Iraq, Korea, and SE Asia are all US genocides of the post-WW2 Era.

In some ways, the African killing fields that the US government engages in, too, should be counted against our balance sheet. What do you think? Certainly, the historical US/ African killing fields did not just start with the Rwandan killings of 1994. What is the US role in the multiple genocides of African peoples?

The United Nations engages in war in East Congo

In East Congo, Just like in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, and Somalia, the United Nations is playing a propaganda role backing up the US government and the Pentagon. But in East Congo , see Brutal peacekeepers: Congo’s election, the UN’s massacre, the United Nations is actually battling the population same as it has done in Haiti.

It’s troops go into battle alongside Congo government forces, and what a sorry war it is waging indeed.

What is the United Nation’s actual record in preventing strife between the Tutsi and Hutu? Pretty horrible. And now once again, this same ethnic divide is the cause of the reopening of the Congo’s on again /off again Civil War. The United Nations directed by Pentagon power from afar has no solution offered to help end this strife, beyond sending in ‘peacekeeping troops’, and ones that often engage in battle themselves, though most often they are behind the front lines support troops for occupation approved of by the US government.

What is needed, as in Sudan and Somalia, is a FULLY funded economic assistance plan that helps out ALL ethnic groups, not just one against another. As long as the United Nations is controlled by the US and European colonizers, we can expect continual outbursts of ethnic violence, not just in Africa, but around the globe. The UN currently is not really doing much more than follow Pentagon lead as directed to do so from D.C., and the Pentagon thrives off using one ethnic group against another. There is no major economic aid being offered to end the warfare in Eastern Congo.

The World Peace Movement should not see the United Nations as its friend in the effort to stop all the wars being waged by our US government. It just isn’t, and East Congo is yet another example of how ‘peacekeeping troops’ just don’t keep the peace, but instead even engage in the war.

Like the wars in Somalia/ Horn of Africa, this war in East Congo/ Rwanda/ Burundi is easily as deadly as the regional strife has been in Sudan, and the UN is having little positive role to play in actually stopping the slaughter. Nothing will until economic stability is actually created, but that is not part of the United Nations activities nor is it part of what the bi-partisan US government wants to do in Africa. The US government just wants to play one ethnic group off against the other to better control the continent.

Why does nobody care about the genocide in Congo?

In less than 10 years, 4,000,000 have died in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and now the fighting threatens to erupt once more in the Eastern regions of that country. Why doesn’t anybody care about stopping this genocide? Here is a report from France24 English language news.
 
When you combine this slaughter with the slaughter that earlier occurred in Rwanda, 5,000,000 have died in about 15 years. Add in the killings in Uganda, and the figure goes still higher. Instead of solving this mass war, the US instead is provoking new wars in the Horn of African countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia!

DR Congo-4,000,000 dead in last decade and counting

The real African locale where genocide is occurring is not so much in Sudan, but rather in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So why is there not a ‘Save Congo Coalition’? After all, 4,000,00 dead in just the last decade is nothing trivial at all. Don’t the ‘Save Darfur Coalition’ folk give a damn?

No doubt as I write these words, there are speakers at the ‘Peace’ conference in Albuquerque wailing about how action must be taken FOR Darfur. But they won’t say hardly a whisper about the DR Congo. Why not? Well it might just be because there are already 18,000 ‘peacekeeper’ troops in the DR Congo, and yet the fighting keeps on continuing. And the UN Security Council wants out, even as it demands to be let into Sudan! The ‘Save Darfur’ solution of sending in the troops is no more likely to work in Sudan than it really has been working in the DR Congo.

There are real reasons why troops controlled from Washington DC and European capitals do not alleviate much the suffering, but actually add to it long term. That’s because there is no commitment to spend any money on anything other than soldiers and their equipment. The amount of money spent on food for the people of the DR Congo is far less than the money spent on troops. Much less.

It is a disgrace, that while there are those who in our country and Britain demand sending in the Pentagon controlled troops to yet more African countries, they remain largely silent about how in the epicenter of current African genocide (DR Congo), far less than $100 million dollars is spent to help out a huge population of starving people! UNICEF states that currently 1,200 people a day are dying in the DR Congo there, unnecessarily due to the conflicts and poverty/ disease arising from war.

Troops were sent into Somalia, and the US is now begging its proxy invader, Ethiopia, to stay in and further occupy Mogadishu. The US is actually spreading conflict in Africa, and not stopping inter-ethnic conflicts like there are in parts of Sudan. Want to help Africa out? Then try the following approach…

All US controlled troops out of Africa! Send- Food, not Bombs.

All of Africa’s burdensome international debt needs to be written off, and the ‘Save Darfur’ people need to think about saving Africa as a whole instead, by simply demanding that food and medical relief be prioritized instead of their current calls for economic wars (boycotts) and sending in new branches of the military to one locale or another. Help save the people of the DR Congo, and help save the Sudanese and Somalian people, too. And please, please, please…. Close AFRICOM (the US Pentagon African command center) down.

Out of Congo and into Sudan?

Today’s news has John Negroponte, the US point man for its interventions in Africa, getting the Sudanese government to allow US proxy troops into the Darfur region. Meanwhile, in Congo, US proxy troops under the UN Security Council command, have decided to stay one month longer in that country. And meanwhile, the scandal of US directed torture and invasion continues to unfold in the news coming from the Horn of Africa, as well over a hundred thousand Somalis have been forcerd to flee for their lives from the capital of Somalia alone.

The US and its forces are now all over the continent of Africa ‘directing the traffic’ of war, and clueless George and his neocon gang haven’t the beginning idea of how to bring about any long term stability anywhere in that region. That’s where the US antiwar movement should help, by simply demanding that the US and its European allies vacate ALL their African activities. That’s the long term solution for Africa’s problems, and the sooner the better. The majority of Latin Americans want the US to stay out of their political, military, and economic affairs, and so do the majority of Africans.

Congo spinning back into war

Most people in the US do not realize that the warfare in the Congo is the world’s most deadly war of the last decade, with well over 4,000,000 casualties. Unfortunately, European and US intervention continues throughout the continent of Africa, and fighting once again is erupting in the Congo. The only solution to the bloodshed is to get the imperialists permanently out of all of Africa. Instead, we have the European Union and the US controlled United Nations running Congo’s affairs, all the while claiming that they are defending democracy. Sound familiar?