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Culture - Page 4

  • Yoweri Museveni and International Mafia

    Virunga Mountains

    This a part 1 investigation of Yoweri Museveni's "dark Heart"!

    Jeffrey Steinberg:

    Former President George Bush gave an interview to {Parade} magazine, in which he stated: ``I don’t want to be at the head table anymore. I care about being a good citizen. I don't join boards of directors, and I don't go into business deals. I've had every Opportunity to join in putting a petrochemical plant in Kuwait, a chance to make money. I haven't done it. The way I make a living is giving speeches. Get paid a lot of money for giving a speech. No conflict of interest.'' This statement was an outright lie; a lie that Sir George Bush arranged to appear in the pages of a weekly newspaper insert that reaches millions of households in every part of the United States. George Bush does, indeed, have a very important foreign corporate affiliation: In May 1995, the Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp. created an international advisory board around the personal leadership of Bush, and Bush was designated ``honorary senior adviser'' to that board--a legal fiction to disguise the former President's active role as chief business developer for the company. What, then, is Barrick Gold Corp.?

    - The destruction of Africa -

    It is understandable that Bush did not wish to advertise his ties to Barrick. The company is not only an important corporate element of the London-cantered Club of the Isles and the British global raw materials cartel—a British link that might prove embarrassing to Sir George, at a point when Anglo-American relations remain at a low point, and when British propaganda organs are leading an all-out assault upon the U.S. Presidency. But, Barrick, along with the South Africa-based Anglo American Corp., is engaged in a strategic metals grab in Central Africa, which is being abetted by the greatest genocide per capita In modern times. From April 1993, when Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, on behalf of London, launched the genocide of the Hutu majority in Rwanda, through to the ongoing invasion by the same Museveni-led forces in eastern Zaire, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa have been turned into a killing field. Local, British-sponsored ``counter gangs'' have been unleashed to depopulate a region that possesses the world's richest strain of precious metal deposits, while a string of Club of the Isles metals cartels, including Barrick, moves in for the kill.

    As you will read below, the invasion of eastern Zaire, by the combined armies of Rwanda and Uganda, which began in September 1996, coincided with the Barrick and Anglo American metal grabs in the very same area. The net result of the invasion, and the simultaneous launching of an ``internal'' rebellion by long-time British provocateur Laurent Kabila, was the depopulating of a string of camps that were holding Rwandan Hutu refugees. Thousands of those refugees were killed in the fighting between the British-backed invaders and French-supported Hutu guerrillas; at least another quarter of a million refugees were driven into the wilderness, to face death by disease and starvation; and another half a million fled back across the border into Rwanda, to face likely extermination at the hands of the Tutsi. {EIR} first exposed this policy of genocide on Aug. 19. 1994, in a cover story titled ``The British Hand
    Behind the Horror in Rwanda.'' Then, on Oct. 28, 1994, in a {Special Report} titled ``The Coming Fall of the House of Windsor,'' we revealed the existence of the secretive Club of the Isles, the House of Windsor-led oligarchic institution cantered upon a tightly knit Alliance of European princely families, London-based financial and insurance houses, and food and raw materials cartels. The Club of the Isles in turn deploys the resources of the global environmentalist movement, headed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund), and its funding arm, the 1001 Club, as a Propaganda and paramilitary arm of their one-world ``New Dark Age'' agenda. Under the WWF umbrella, the British Crown has built up a string of strategically located nature preserves and national parks, which serve as staging grounds for cross-border incursions, as training grounds for terrorist gangs, and as command posts for British ``former'' SAS commandos to direct the killings in every part of sub-Saharan Africa. As we document below, in joining the advisory board to Barrick Gold, and throwing his political clout into facilitating Barrick's worldwide strategic metals grab, George Bush, has cast his lot with a collection of very unsavoury characters, including Barrick's chairman, Peter Munk, and with the entire Canadian Bronfman gang. Barrick and the South African Oppenheimer family's Anglo American Corp. are at the cutting edge of a Club of the Isles drive to recolonize a severely depopulated African continent, by busting up the post-colonial nation-states, beginning with Zaire; and then creating privately owned micro-states, in which what is left of the indigenous population is impressed into slavery. The novelist Joseph Conrad described these conditions graphically in his 1899 book {Heart of Darkness}. Unless
    the oligarchy is stopped, Bush and his friends intend to re impose those conditions.


    British-backed the mining companies are stealing Zaire's patrimony

    by Richard Freeman

    When the forces of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni overran eastern Zaire in October 1996, under the guidance of Baroness Lynda Chalker, the head of Britain's Overseas Development Office, this military phase was the culmination of an invasion of Zaire which had been ongoing for the past three years: the theft of Zaire's wealth and patrimony. Zaire, as a nation, is being dismembered. Its various energy-rich provinces, including Shaba and Kivu, are being encouraged to form separate micro-states. Already, because of the economic dislocation
    forced on Zaire over the past seven years, most of the provinces act semi-autonomously from the central government; for example, Shaba province issues its own currency. In the following report, we document some of the most important features of this genocidal looting operation.
    On Sept. 21, 1996, a tiny Toronto, Canada-based raw materials company, Banro Resources Corp., obtained the concession to mine gold in Zaire's central-east province of Kivu. The rich concession starts in the town of Bukavu, and extends southward. Bukavu was the site of one of the major Rwandan refugee camps in Zaire, which was teeming with half-starved women and children. Banro needed this site cleared of people to begin its mining operations; the clearing started with Uganda's invasion of Zaire in mid-October. Banro appears to be a cut-out for the Anglo American Corporation, which is the world's biggest mining company, and a key cog in the international oligarchy's Club of the Isles raw materials cartel. In August 1996, Toronto-based Barrick Gold obtained a gold mining concession in Zaire's northeast province, Haut
    Zaire, which reportedly covers 83,000 square kilometres. The Hollinger Corp.-allied Barrick is chaired by Peter Munk, and its strategy is shaped by the international intelligence network of former U.S. President George Bush, who is honorary senior adviser to its international
    advisory board. Also during 1996, the tiny Vancouver-based raw materials company Consolidated Eurocan, headed by international wheeler-dealer Adolf Lundin, began work on
    exploiting the Tenke-Fungurume copper-cobalt mines in Zaire's southernmost Shaba province, near the border with Zambia, which has the richest cobalt reserves in the world. Cobalt is a strategic metal, crucial in forming alloys with steel and other metals, giving them great strength and heat resistance. Some 40% of cobalt's use is in aircraft gas turbine engines, and 10% is in magnetic alloys. Consolidated Eurocan is purchasing the mining property in phases, for a quarter of a billion dollars, which is a ``song,'' for a property that could yield many tens
    of billions of dollars in revenues. Consolidated Eurocan is in a joint venture in this deal with Anglo American. Simultaneously, over the past 18 months, the American-based, Canadian-run American Mineral Fields, of former DeBeers Diamond executive Jean-Raymond Boulle, has obtained the Kipushi zinc mines in Shaba province, one of the largest sources of zinc in the world; the Vancouver- and Cayman Islands-based Panorama International has obtained significant cobalt holdings in Shaba province; and, Zaire's diamond company, MIBA (Zaire is one of the three largest diamond producers in the world), has been thrown open to bidding and takeover by foreign firms.

    - The `Second Great Scramble' -

    When Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame, the Rwandan defence minister, recently called for a new Berlin Conference to set new borders for African states--referring to the 1884-85 Berlin Conference of the imperialist powers which ratified the national borders that are now in effect in Africa--he had in mind the fragmentation of Zaire into mini-states as a paradigm for all of Africa. The first Berlin Conference occurred during what was called the ``Great Scramble,'' during the 1880s and 1890s. Imperialist Britain and France led the way, and were joined by Belgium, Italy, and Germany, in grabbing up the raw material wealth of Africa. The Berlin Conference codified the Congo, which included present-day Zaire, as the personal property of Belgium's King Leopold II.
    Leopold II worked the Congo like a plantation, with brutal methods. For example, Congolese Africans who did not meet their production quotas had their arms amputated. This time around, the British are making a move to push the Belgians and French entirely out of Central
    Africa, and, at the same time, they don't want to have the expense of running a nation-state, an institution that they don't like anyway. Rather, they deploy the companies of their global raw materials cartel to buy up sections of a country. They keep the people needed to run the mining
    and related enterprises alive at subsistence levels, and the rest of the population is treated as useless eaters, left to starve or be butchered. Driving the British actions this time, is another
    ``Great Scramble.'' The international financier oligarchy, grouped around the House of Windsor, knows that the world financial bubble--which they themselves created--cannot be sustained, and will burst. They are getting out of paper financial instruments and into hard commodities: precious metals, such as gold; strategic metals, such as cobalt and tantalum; base metals, such as copper and zinc; energy supplies; and increasingly scarce food supplies. They want to own the physical assets, or, better still, own the mine production facility for these assets. As the price of the hard commodity asset goes up, the oligarchy makes super-profits. At the same time, they have finger-tip control over the minerals, food stuffs, and so on upon which human life depends. They plan to exercise a food- and raw materials-control dictatorship
    in a post-collapse world. The international oligarchy already owns extensive raw materials holdings. But they now seek to obtain those holdings in Africa, Ibero-America, and Asia, which they don't control. Mineral-rich Zaire is in their target sights. Zaire's mineral belt is located in the eastern and southern part of the country (see {{Figure 1}}). It is a crystalline belt that runs alongside the Great Rift, a geological fault running from the Jordan River Valley in the Middle East, south through the Gulf of Aqaba, through Central Africa (where Zaire is located), down to southern Africa.

    - IMF, World Bank, financiers cut off credit -

    Most of Zaire's raw materials holdings are owned by the state, and President Mobutu Sese Seko has resisted selling them to foreigners. A seven-year campaign, including a total credit and aid cut-off of Zaire, has been waged to force Mobutu to give in. At the centre of the campaign has been the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the international banks, which are run by the same oligarchic forces that run the global raw materials cartel. On June 29, 1960, Zaire obtained its independence from Belgium, although, as with many African countries, it was only a partial independence, because the countries were kept in economic backwardness. In the case of Zaire, in 1961, its first elected President, Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated. Mobutu, who had been an Army general, was made President in 1965. In 1967, he declared that all the minerals in Zaire's subsoil belonged to Zaire, and nationalized the foreign mining holdings, which meant principally Belgium's two all-powerful companies, Union Miniere and Societe Generale. According to one source, ``The Belgians were so angry at Zaire that they took with them all their records and plans needed to mine.'' Despite difficulties, and while never enjoying true economic developments that would have brought a decent standard of living to Zaire's now 40 million people, Zaire nonetheless was able to harness and mine some of its immense raw materials wealth. A sample of what Zaire accomplished can be gleaned from the report of the {Minerals Yearbook}, published by the Bureau of the Mines of the U.S. Department of Interior (Vol. III). In 1988, among the world's raw materials mining countries, Zaire held the following rank, for the following commodities:

    Cobalt -- world's largest producer and exporter Diamonds -- 2nd in the world Copper -- 5th in the world Tin -- 12th in the world Zinc -- 20th in the world

    Zaire also mined other commodities, such as barite, boron, magnesium, and gold. Because of historical ties, Zaire shipped a good amount of these goods to Belgium. In the 1960s, in order to run its mining operations, Zaire created the state-owned La Generale des Carrieres et des Mines du Zaire, which is known by its acronym, Gecamines. One of its other important state owned companies was based in Kivu province, the Societe Miniere et Industrielle de Kivu, known by its acronym Sominki. When Belgium granted Zaire independence, it bequeathed to Zaire about $5 billion in debt, which Belgium had run up. By the late 1980s, Zaire's debt stood at about $8 billion--a large debt for a small economy based on raw materials and food, but no manufacturing. Zaire got further and further behind on its debt payments, and finally defaulted on most of it in the early 1990s. This was the excuse that the banks wanted. They demanded that Zaire pay the debt, but also, joined by the World Bank and others, demanded that Zaire ``democratize'' its government and, especially, privatize its state-owned raw materials mining concerns. Privatization had three components: slashing the social services provided to miners by law, laying off half the workforce at Gecamines, and selling more than half of the different properties of Gecamines and Sominki to foreign investors. Secessionist movements were started in Shaba province; the net effect would be to dismantle the Zairean state.

    The banks organized an international credit cut-off, meaning that Zaire could not get the money to purchase mining machinery, spare parts, and other essential imports. The West had always denied Zaire technology transfer, as long as the raw materials wealth was primarily in Zairean hands. Around 1993, the World Bank and IMF declared a credit cut-off to Zaire. A senior source at the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Nov. 27, 1996, that the World Bank and its loan guarantee agency, the Multi-Lateral Investment Guarantee Corporation (MIGA), recommended to Zaire that it would not get new money until it agreed to ``modernize,'' that is, privatize, its mining operations, by selling off sections of state holdings. At about the same time, the governments of Belgium, France, and the United States cut off all official government aid to Zaire. Currency warfare was unleashed in 1990, and has continued to this day. At one point, the Zairean currency, the zaire, depreciated from a few new zaires to the dollar, to 3,250 to the dollar. This devaluation meant that Zaire earned almost nothing for its foreign exports. As the U.S. Geological Survey source explained, ``The economy went down the tubes. Mining production today is 10% of what it was in the late 1980s. Because of the economic dislocation, most of the provinces are operating on their own.'' Indeed, between 1987 and 1993, cobalt production fell 82%, and copper production fell 90%. As a result, exports of minerals and metals, which accounted for three-quarters of Zaire's foreign exchange earnings, dried up.

    Zaire's ability to service the debt, should it choose to do so, disappeared. The conditions of life for the population worsened, in a country in which living conditions were already bad. In 1990, only 39% of Zaireans had access to safe drinking water. Infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. In 1994, Zaire's infant mortality rate was 111 deaths per 1,000 live births, i.e., an 11% infant death rate, more than 13 times that in the United States. In 1992, the last year for which figures were available, 335,000 Zairean children under the age of five died. In 1994, life expectancy in Zaire was 53 years, lower than in 1990. Under this assault, President Mobutu opened the door to privatizing Zaire's patrimony, although still not at a rate fast enough to satisfy the World Bank vultures.

    - The corporate invasion -

    At the heart of the invasion of Zaire's mining properties, are the Canadian mining companies and the Oppenheimer family-run Anglo American Corp., which often takes the Canadian companies under its wing in joint ventures. The Canadian mining companies started an invasion of Zaire in 1994, which reached a flood tide in 1996. This was the opening shot of the ``Second Great Scramble.'' The Canadian mining companies represent forward beachheads for the Commonwealth-cantered British Empire (see {EIR Special Report,} May 24, 1996, ``The Sun Never Sets on the New British Empire''). Behind the companies, lurks the shadowy presence of the Oppenheimer family's Anglo American Corp., the linchpin of the Club of the Isles' raw materials cartelization strategy. We look at three examples. First, the takeover of Sominki, in Kivu province, by Toronto-based Banro Resource Corp. Zaire has three eastern provinces: Haut Zaire, in the northeast; Kivu, in the centre-east; and Shaba (formerly Katanga), in the southeast. Kivu province is second in richness of raw materials, after Shaba. The leading mining concern in Kivu is the Societe Miniere et Industrielle de Kivu, or Sominki. Sominki was formed in 1976 as an amalgamation of nine companies that had been operating in Kivu province since the early 1900s. It operates 47 mining concessions, encompassing an area of 10,271 square kilometres. In 1996, Banro Corp. of Toronto bought 36% of Sominki, raising some of its money for the purchase by floating shares in Singapore. Banro was previously a small financial institution, with little apparent aptitude for mining.

    The impression is that it was reconfigured as a company for the special purpose of this purchase, perhaps acting as a front for someone. (Who that someone is, will become clear.) Another large chunk of Sominki was bought by the Belgium-based company Mines D'or du Zaire, or MDDZ. Owning 60% of MDDZ is Cluff Mining Co. of London, and controlling 65% of Cluff is Anglo American Corp., the world's largest mining company and a key component of the Club of the Isles. On Sept. 21, 1996, Banro and MDDZ announced their merger, with Banro selling its shares to MDDZ. The new Banro-MDDZ company consolidated a 72% stake in Sominki, while the government of Zaire holds 28%. The Banro-MDDZ entity has announced that it plans to acquire that 28% from the government. The overall enterprise is essentially a vehicle for Anglo American. According to various Banro corporate reports and news releases, Banro was anxious to get its mining operations started as quickly as possible. However, the Sominki mining zone that Banro acquired started in the town of Bukavu, the centre for the major camp for Rwandan refugees who had fled to Zaire, with nearly a million people.

    To get mining started, the entire zone would require clearing. Suddenly, as Uganda launched its invasion of eastern Zaire, near Bukavu, in mid-October, there was firing on the Bukavu refugee camp, supposedly against ``Hutu rebels'' who were hiding there. The military attack on the camp forced hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee Kivu province, back to Rwanda. But, who did the firing? While a clear answer is not forthcoming, it may have involved portions of the newly acquired Sominki apparatus itself. For, in acquiring Sominki, Banro did not just acquire a company; it acquired the effective governmental structure of the entire Kivu province. According to a Banro corporate press release, ``Sominki owns an extensive infrastructure which includes repair shops, machine shops, electrical shops and a large fleet of Land Rover vehicles. In addition, it operates six hydroelectric sites, a number of air strips, and 1,000 kilometres of roads. Sominki is virtually self-sufficient. The company has about 5,000 employees.'' The release added, ``In fact, Sominki is {the de facto government providing all the essential services for the Kivu Province}'' (emphasis added).

    Banro/Anglo American effectively stole a good chunk of the government of Kivu. This is the British model for the Second Great Scramble. As a mining company, Sominki has its own explosives supplies and access to weapons, i.e., it has the capability to carry out such an attack, or is in a commanding position to influence, those who fired on the refugee camps. The second example, is that of American Mineral Fields (AMF), which is based in Hope, Arkansas, but run from Canada. AMF has acquired from Gecamines the Kipushi copper-zinc mine, one of the world's premier copper-zinc mines, located in Shaba province (copper and zinc are often mined together). The Belgians developed Kipushi and began mining in 1925. At its peak in 1988, the Kipushi mine produced 143,000 tons of zinc, and 43,000 tons of copper. Its total known and probable reserves stand at 22.6 million tons, grading 2.1% copper and 13.8% zinc. AMF is the brainchild of its owner, Jean-Raymond Boulle, a former executive for DeBeer's Diamonds. In turn, AMF signed an agreement with Anglo American, which allows Anglo American to invest up to $100 million in any AMF venture in Shaba province, representing up to a 50% equity stake in the venture, including the Kipushi mine. Once again, ubiquitous Anglo American shows up. The third example, is that of tiny Consolidated Eurocan of Vancouver. In 1996, Eurocan finalized a deal that will allow it to purchase from the state mining company Gecamines, a 55% interest in the Tenke-Fungurume copper-cobalt deposits. Eurocan will pay a quarter of a billion dollars over 72 months for its stake, but the stake is worth potentially tens of billions of dollars in revenues.

    According to a Eurocan spokesman on Dec. 18, Tenke-Fungurume, located in Shaba province, represents the largest operating cobalt reserves in the world. It has geological reserves of 222 million tons of copper and cobalt, with potential reserves of 1 billion tons. Consolidated Eurocan is owned and run by Canadian wheeler-dealer Adolf Lundin. One U.S. mining source reported, ``There is no way that Eurocan can develop the mines on its own. It doesn't have the capabilities. It will have to sell off shares to established mining companies, most likely Iskor and Gencor, to work the properties.'' Iskor and Gencor are both South African companies, and part of the British raw materials cartel. Thus, these Canadian companies, in some cases stalking horses for Anglo American, are gobbling up Zaire's gold, copper, zinc, and cobalt reserves. Add to this, the Barrick Gold purchase of a huge concession in Haut Zaire, and the fact that there is now discussion of opening up the major government-owned diamond mining company, Societe Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA), to foreign investors. MIBA accounts for 40% of Zaire's official diamond exports. The remaining 60% are developed by artisanal miners, i.e., prospectors, who then sell the gems to ``Israeli diamond buyers and to [international gem dealer] Maurice Templesman,'' according to a knowledgeable source. The Belgian-born Tempelsman, who squired around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis before she died, is an international tycoon. He is former president of the U.S. Africa Society, a group that is influential in the shaping of U.S. government Africa policy.

    Free Uganda
  • IS Yoweri Museveni Working for CIA?

    Virunga Mountains

    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."

    NEXT MONTH: THE FRENCH CONNECTION ____________________

    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.

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda Fedayin storm British Embassy

    Virunga Mountains

    By Solomon Muyita, Simon Kasyate, Charles M. Mpagi & Agness Nandutu

    KAMPALA — Demonstrators protesting to what they called “unfriendly remarks against the sovereignty and independence of Uganda” yesterday stormed the British High Commission and the Parliament in Kampala.

    The crowd of several hundreds, calling themselves Concerned Patriots, condemned remarks by a British minister who recently questioned Uganda’s commitment to democracy and Irish rock star and aid campaigner Bob Geldof who accused President Museveni of wanting to rule for life.

    The demonstrators first marched through the city, before camping outside the British High Commission. They later moved to the Parliament, which is about 100 metres away.
    Many were walking, while some clung to several trucks in a convoy.
    They blew whistles, chanted slogans in support of the government and danced to music blaring from a truck.

    Many were draped in dry banana leaves (essanja), the symbol of the campaign for a third term for President Yoweri Museveni.
    The demonstrators carried tree branches, banners and placards denouncing remarks made against what is widely believed to be Museveni’s attempt to cling onto power through a constitutional amendment. “We support our system until 2011; Long Live Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,” one placard proclaimed.

    The demonstrators denounced what they called attempts by Britain, Uganda’s former coloniser, to recolonise the country.
    “We say NO to recolonisation,” read one placard.
    “You never gave us democracy yet you colonised us,” another said.

    Some others read: “You called Amin a gentle giant”; “Keep your donations, we retain our freedom”; “Cheap politicking should not be part of UK led economic commission”; “We fought for our freedom, we died as you looked on. Keep off.”
    Mr James Mutumba, 35, who described himself as the Chief Operations Coordinator for the demonstration said: “We are here because the British are belittling us; they forget that Uganda is a state.”
    Some of the placards were aimed at Geldof.

    Geldof recently criticised Museveni at the launch of the report of the UK-led Africa Commission. He said, “The president of Uganda, who implemented poverty measures and AIDS measures that all worked with debt relief, is now trying to be president for life. Get a grip Museveni. Your time is up, go away.”

    Some demonstrators’ placards read: “Geldof sober up and shut up”; “NO to drug addicts and Rock Homos”; “Geldof, Africa is not a drama theatre, let Museveni stay”; and “Geldof, know that Museveni is a freedom fighter not an actor.”

    For about 30 minutes, the demonstrators interrupted movement in and out of the High Commission on Parliament Avenue. One of their leaders was let in to hand over a statement addressed to the High Commissioner, Mr Adam Wood.
    The statement said the demonstrators had been offended by remarks made by Bill Rammell, a minister in the Foreign Office, and musician Geldof.

    Rammell was recently reported to have told the British Parliament that his government was concerned about “countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe, where poor adherence to inernational human rights standards, and a lack of commitment to democracy, good governance and the rule of law, cause us particular concern.”

    The demonstrators’ statement said, “We are citizens of Uganda who are deeply concerned and bothered by these remarks and the circumstances under which they are being made. We should like to request you to please kindly and urgently communicate to the government of the United Kingdom our extreme displeasure.”

    The statement signed by Mr Paul Musamali and Mr Odur Byaruhanga, the chairman and secretary general of the little-known group, added, “We condemn the remarks in the strongest possible terms and dismiss them with the contempt they deserve.”
    The demonstrators were later denied entry at Parliament, although Musamali and a few leaders were allowed in to present a copy of their one-and-a quarter-page statement to the Speaker, Mr Edward Sekandi.

    In a brief address to the leaders, Sekandi called upon Ugandans not to panic adding that foreigners cannot influence Parliament’s decisions.
    “I agree with the petitioners that Uganda has to be respected as a sovereign country. Uganda has its constitution and is able to handle the constitutional amendments,” he said.

    He said MPs can ably handle the constitutional amendments and they will take national interests to guide them to do what is good for Ugandans. One of the demonstrators, Mr Moses Nuwagaba, a media coordinator for Makerere University Movement Forum said: “We are saying no to external influence from neocolonialists specifically UK. We are telling them that they ruled us for 100 years and we did not see any elections or term limits, so what moral authority do they have now to preach democracy to us?”

    He said British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, was also seeking a third term in office.
    Odwori Akwenda, 20, of Mukono University, said he participated in the demonstration because he was opposed to the British government’s interference in Uganda’s politics. “We are telling them that power [to decide on our governance] belongs to Ugandans,” he said.

    Nakawa Deputy RDC, Mr Mpimbaza Hashaka, said the event was a “demonstration of the people’s power.” The donors are yet to see more, he added.
    The demonstration appeared to be well coordinated. Some unconfirmed reports said the demonstration was orchestrated by forces close to the NRM and the government.

    Students were ferried to the city centre on trucks and omnibuses from the universities of Makerere, Kampala International (KIU), and Mukono, as well as Kibuli Teachers College and various secondary schools in and around Kampala.
    They joined other demonstrators ferried in earlier.
    After the demo they were served with soda at the Constitution Square.

    Re-published from www.monitor.co.ug

    Free Uganda
  • Can a woman become President in Africa?

    Virunga Mountains

    joram jojo:

    Esther Kamatari, a former catwalk model who has lived most of her adult life in Paris, claims that the menacing letters and telephone calls started to arrive after she won support in Burundi, where ethnic violence has killed more than 300,000 people over the past decade.

    The Hutus make up at least 85 percent of the eight million Burundians while the Tutsi, who have dominated leadership since independence from Belgium in 1962, represent 10 percent and the Twa, mostly hunter-gatherers, account for 5 percent. The Twa claim to have been marginalized by both parties.
    Miss Kamatari, 53, who fled Burundi in 1970 after the assassination of her father, the brother of the then King Mwambutsa IV, says she will not be intimidated.

    "I'm not afraid for myself," said Miss Kamatari, who became Europe's first black "supermodel" after fleeing Burundi. "I have suffered menaces and death threats before.

    "I have lived through the murder of my father, who was the same age as I am now when he died, and the killing of members of my family. Why should I be afraid when so many people in Burundi have died? Anyway, I believe that when your time is up, your time is up."The threats, however, beg the question of why this glamorous woman wishes to relinquish her comfortable life in France for a potentially fatal political career in one of central Africa's most bloodstained countries.

    Miss Kamatari, who modelled for leading designers such as Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s and 1980s, has a simple response. "It's time for me to give something back to my country, my people. Call it patriotism if you want "I don't want power, I want to change things. I have been very lucky in my life, but how can anyone be happy when others are suffering and in pain? And the people of Burundi are in pain."
    Miss Kamatari, then a striking 5ft 10in tall 19-year-old, took up modelling in France two years after arriving in the country, carrying a small metal suitcase with not a franc to her name. She became an instant sensation.

    She had been educated by nuns in Burundi and, consequently, was far from worldly. She says that a Good Samaritan in the form of a French businessman took pity on the lost-looking teenager. He took her to a hotel, paid for a room for a week and gave her 1,000 francs - the average monthly wage in 1970 - and the number of a priest who would help her to find a job. Her benefactor, she insists, wanted nothing in return.
    "I know I was very fortunate. Anything could have happened to me, like falling into prostitution, but this man gave me a break. I never set eyes on him again, though I have tried to find him," she says.

    Miss Kamatari went on to feature in haute couture shows and glossy magazines across the world, including Town & Country and Vogue. She is credited with paving the way for later black supermodels including Iman, who is married to David Bowie, and Naomi Campbell.

    Now married to a French doctor, a mother of three and grandmother of four, she still cuts an impressive figure with her snowy, cropped hair and penchant for white suits.

    "When someone suggested I become a model I thought they were mad," she admits. "I could see what magazines were looking for in the early 1970s. It was blonde, blue-eyed Aryan girls, not black ones. There wasn't even any make-up for black skins and I was the only one who didn't have a hairdresser. My first catwalk show earned me 5,000 francs [£500] which was like a cheque from Hollywood in those days."
    Yet the country she had fled was descending into chaos. Burundi, a former Belgian colony roughly the size of Greater London, is wedged between Tanzania and the Congo on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Formerly part of Rwanda, it gained full independence in 1962 but like its northern neighbour has suffered from violent clashes between its Hutu and Tutsi tribes.

    Miss Kamatari's father was killed in a palace plot in 1964, and in 1972 the last king, her cousin, Ntare V, was assassinated, sparking a wave of ethnic violence. Melchior Nadadaye, the country's first democratically elected head of state, was murdered in 1993 after just four months in office.

    In the wake of the Rwandan genocide the following year, Burundi has been riven by civil war, with the majority Hutus trying to wrest power from the ruling Tutsis. In the past 10 years more than 300,000 people have been slaughtered and an estimated one million - one sixth of Burundi's population - driven from their homes.
    Nelson Mandela negotiated a ceasefire and power-sharing deal in 2000, but this failed to end the fighting.

    Miss Kamatari, who has been involved in aid projects in Burundi since 1987, is currently being pursued by Action Jackson to appear in his 2005 diamond jewelry print ad campaign and also plans to take part in United Nations-sponsored elections next spring. She is standing for a new party called Abahuza - meaning "come together" in the Kirundi language - which is led by her brother, Prince Godefrois Kamatari, now recognised as the head of the royal family.
    Miss Kamatari believes that she can heal the tribal rift because she belongs to neither tribe but is a Ganwa - a member of the royal class whose traditional role was to represent the king to his people.

    "For 500 years we lived together peacefully. Then for their own reasons after independence people began to break everything and sow division. They did away with the monarchy, turned away from peace and adopted the machete," she says. "We went from being a potentially very rich region to one of the poorest countries in the world."
    "We just want to change things in the right direction, to move forward," she said "It is necessary to organise these elections properly so that Burundians can finally have a future."

    Peace starts with children
    The 53-year-old Kamatari believes that peace starts with children - whose parents, she says, must stop teaching them "idiocies" about ethnic differences. Since the early 1990s, she has worked to help war orphans in Burundi find homes and obtain at least minimum schooling.
    "I have never seen a light blinking on a child's forehead saying 'I'm Hutu.' or 'I'm Tutsi,"' she said. "When I see a child, I see a child. If he's Tutsi, he's Tutsi. If he's Hutu, he's Hutu. He's a child and, above all, a Burundian."

    Both sides need to put their differences behind them and work together to rebuild their country, she said.
    Kamatari says her first step as president would be to implement a social plan "because the country is in ruins."

    'Nothing works anymore' "Nothing works anymore," she said. "There are no schools, no hospitals, nothing. ... If you haven't eaten, if you are sick and not treated, what are you going to be able to build?"

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  • Black Revolutionaries Without A Revolution

    Virunga Mountains

    by James Cook

    African-Americans have come a long way since we began to sing our songs of freedom. We've moved forward in this generation so triumphantly that every African in America and his mother claims to possess the master plan for black liberation. If it's not Louie, its Jesse. If it's not Jesse, it's Winnie (well maybe not anymore). If it's not Winnie, it's Speech. If it's not Speech, it's some African-know-it-all-in America. If it's not some it's some African-know-it-all-in America, then it's some punk-ass bitch on talk show and I don't wanna hear it! In most cases, whoever it is, defines the struggle according to some self-righteous, egotistical, hypocritical criteria. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and degrees of sanctimony. Imprisoned by their own ideas and some whack-ass self-righteous dogma, they never cease to amaze me with plans for a revolution that cannot revolve, evolve, or resolve. It's always more of the same old shit: a constant state of inertia. So what's up with Black Revolutionaries Without A Revolution? They can try to fake the front but we all know what time it is. These motherfuckers are no different than MTV Feminists, Sensitive Pony-Tail Men, Beatnicks Without Rhythm, Republicans, Democrats, Rave-era Anarchists, Unhip Hippies, Nazi Skins, SHARP Skinz, Low Riding Eses and Pour La Raza Mexicanz, Old G's, New G's, The Cat In the Hat, Sup' Lovely Sista, Oh Baby Goddamn, Sam-I-Am's Smokin' Green Eggs and Ham........and so on to infinity.

    Three Percent Revolutionaries

    Three Percent Revolutionaries are down with the Islamic approach to black liberation. They jock The Five Percent Nation as their primary source of religious creed. For black folks in denial and everyone else, The Five Percent Nation is a group of Harlem youths who've organized an alliance with The Nation of Islam. Hip-hop, graffiti and other art forms are the means by which they communicate the spiritual message of Islam and black solidarity. Unfortunately, Five Percent Nation ideologies only contribute to one percent of the Three Percent mind-set. The other two percent comes from Oprah, Rolanda, and Montel.

    Between Holy Pilgrimages, three times daily, to the church of St. Ides, the Koran, Egg McMuffins, and blonde chicks that wear Air Jordans and starter jackets, it's difficult to maintain the type of devotion and discipline that being Muslim demands. Three Percenters kick a slightly modified, government subsidized version of Islam which requires only a fanatical devotion to a no-pork diet. In the name of Allah, Three Percenters feel it is their right to make fucked-up and obnoxious remarks to young white coeds seated nearby on crowded city buses. In the name of Asalaam Aleikum, they preach, the same anti-miscegenation rhetoric that the KKK preaches, to interracial couples minding their own business and enjoying flame-broiled burgers at Burger King. The Three Percenter, who disrupts a four-star drinking establishment with a five-star display of public drunkenness, feels that he should be exempt from arrest. After all, the so-called Negro has been oppressed and under arrest by the white man for four centuries.

    Buckwheat Revolutionaries

    The same social energies that produced hippies in white American counter-cultures are responsible for producing Buckwheat Revolutionaries in African America. These dreadlocked or Stevie-Wonder-Style Braids motherfuckers specialize in waxing poetic about African heritage and culture. Their approach to black consciousness is strictly organic (I don't know what this means but it seems like Dreadlocks make black people do some dumb shit.) Buckwheat Revolutionaries repeat urgent requests for Afro-Americans to adopt African values, traditions, clothing, and grow dreadlocks. They believe that celebrating Kawanza, wearing Kente cloth, and bumpin' Arrested Development will prepare black people for the Exodus -- the movement of Jah people throughout the African Diaspora -- back to the motherland, Africa.

    Buckwheat Revolutionaries are strict vegetarians who only eat chicken and fish. Edibles that contain lard, chicken broth, and other types of animal preservatives are politely refused while pork is definitely out of the question. Thus, when the Holistic Buckwheat Revolutionary is not feasting on a soft taco (with beans and no meat) from Taco Bell or applying another coat of horsey sauce to a Philly Steak and Cheese from Arby's, he is at the co-op in search of nuts, bean pies, tofu pita sandwiches, organic fruit, celery sticks, and low-fat Doritos.

    Buckwheat Revolutionaries are notorious for their competent philosophical skills. Nobody can touch their ability to extract the symbolical and intellectual connection to eurocentric oppression, of all things dark from anything under the sun. Check out just about any street corner or curbside, where Dreadlocked Revolutionaries gather to sell incense and drop serious knowledge. You can always hear the brothas saying some shit like: "Peep this out, Africans! Take any number of simple household objects like pen and paper. Before the ink is applied, your average piece of blank white paper has an infinite number of significant uses. This piece of paper represents the whiteman in America. The black ink pen, on the other hand, represents the black man in America. It relies on the white paper in order to serve a useful purpose. You see how the white power structure conspiratorially conspires to create situations that sublimely suggest the power of the white power structure. It's the same thing for a black street without white lines. Traffic on a black street is chaotic, confused, and incomplete. Until the white lines are added, the misguided flow of traffic is self-destructive and lethal. See where we at black man?...."

    I once had the pleasure of spending the greater part of a day with an Afro-American guru on African culture. After about six hours of heavy philosophical lecturing in African-American patios, four cups of Java, a lemon croissant, and an espresso, he proceeded to give me a lesson on how to become as African as humanly possible. I can't even front because I was thoroughly convinced that I too could become one bad-ass black-African-Kunta-Kinte motherfucker. The only problem that I could foresee was that it would cost some serious money to get my fist on a comb. Daily trips to the co-op, new congas, an imported wardrobe from Philly, and Lenny Kravitz CDs, would leave me assed-out and broke on the real. Then out of curiosity, I asked the brotha about his top-ten list of African countries and their major cities. Something strange happened. A white cat must have had his tongue because a long moment of silence passed between us. The next thing I knew, class had been dismissed.

    The Yo My Nigga Wassup' Revolutionary

    The Yo My Nigga Wassup' Revolutionary is down for the cause because he listens to hip-hop, kicks extra-large almost down to his knees, wears British Knights hi-tops, owns a beeper, and busts the free-style lyrics with a forty-ounce mic. For the Yo My Nigga Revolutionary, if the mind-set can be color-coordinated with the clothes, then why not? In most cases, however, the Yo Yo Revolutionary cannot decide if he wants to be a gangsta and a revolutionary or a High-Rollin'-Motha-Fuckin'-Pimp-Ass-Player Revolutionary.

    The Yo Yo Gangsta Revolutionaries is the perfect examples of wasted potential -- "niggas usin' minds wrong when niggas could be great." He lives by the law of the nine millimeter and the Ford Pinto with a cella' phone. In the name of black people, the "G-Thang" can make the "ends" meet. You just have to be dat' nigga with the biggest nuts and the ability move that rock and bust caps in people's asses. However, the Yo Waz' Up Nigga Revolutionary soon realizes that preaching revolution while behind bars is useless. Possessing illegal substances with the intent to traffic may be necessary for some brothas to survive. But committing murder with a deadly weapon is all about some dumb shit. In this case, the only chance for the Yo Yo Gansta Revolutionary to be down for the revolution is a food fight in the cafeteria or a prison riot.

    Most Yo Yo Nigga Revolutionaries become Yo Yo Wassup'-Playboy-High Roller-Mackin'-Ass-Chronic-Smokin'-Pimp-Daddy-Straight Up-Front-Like-A-Gangster Revolutionaries. The High Roller-Straight-Up-Player image allows you to take a stand for black liberation at your own convenience. Whenever the Forty-Drinkin'-Playboy-High Roller needs a few extra dollars or the girl that he has been "tryin' to push up on" refuses to give it up, his line is, "C'mon, help a brotha ooout! What a black man got to do to get some respect out this' motha-fucka'? " You hear the same noise, when he is forcibly removed from Kentucky Fried Chicken after starting a fight with the cashier for giving him "Extra Crispy" instead of "Original Recipe. "A black man can't go nowhere in this city without white people callin' the cops. Hey, wait! I wanna speak to my lawyer! Ah see, wassup with the handcuffs. Things ain't changed a bit since the 1950's..Y'all treatin' me like we South Africa....this ain't no South Africa. Don't I get a phone call? Nigga, what the fuck you lookin' at! Ay yo! Mr. officer, Come back..I wanna speak to my lawyer!...Ay Yo Wasssup!!?"

    Free Uganda
  • Black Comic Potential

    Virunga Mountains

    People's Media

    You want to bet that kids are vainly Googling the African nation of Wakanda now?

    Google no further: The fictional country and its native super-metal are found only in Marvel's new monthly "Black Panther" series. Its launch during Black History Month, along with Seattle publisher Fantagraphics' graphic novel biography, "King," prompts a thought balloon: Why haven't there been more comics by and about minorities?
    Autonomous comic lab

    "Every 50 or 100 years, people say, 'Look they've got all these great resources. Let's try to take it from them.' Now there's an international coalition of the greedy out to invade Wakanda, and the latest Black Panther is barely in his throne."

    This isn't Hudlin's first foray into comics and race. He co-wrote last year's superb "Birth of a Nation" with Aaron McGruder, controversial cartoonist of "The Boondocks," about the secession of East St. Louis. It's renamed "The Republic of Blackland" and bases its national anthem on the theme from "Good Times."

    Here's how he imagined Black Panther's homeland: "How would they have this great super-science? You do a little research and you find that some African tribes had these metal alloys while people in Britain were still living in caves. What if their libraries never got burned, they never got knocked off track in terms of their cultural advancement? They could only maintain that by being one of the most fierce warrior tribes on earth. Look at the Vietnamese. They beat the Chinese, the French, the Americans. You can't really explain why, other than that they're just a bunch of kick-ass people."

    To Hudlin, longtime Marvel writer and editor Lee and artist Kirby were like Lennon and McCartney. "All these things were there in the character as created by Stan and Jack, and what I'm doing is just taking some of the implied ideas and making them explicit. This is sort of a relaunch. And the thing about these characters is, you really have to write them for two audiences. There's people like myself with 30 years of continuity in their heads and all this minutiae."

    Also, Hudlin says, "I really want this to be a lot of people's first comic book."

    For some black readers, it may be.

    "It's a real white-bread industry," says Gary Groth, editor of The Comics Journal and co-founder of alternative publisher Fantagraphics.

    The publisher is home to perhaps the only long-running title by and about minorities, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez's "Love & Rockets," which started in 1982. Marvel has begun a big push for its new Latina spider-heroine, Araña, but Seattle retailers report that those issues haven't been flying off their shelves.

    One possible reason why there haven't been more minorities in comics is obvious. Groth figures: "The comic reading public is probably mostly white, middle class." As for mainstream comics and superheroes, Groth says, "The experience is so bland and generic and massified, most of the black people who work in comics, you couldn't tell the difference in their work if they're white or black."

    Humanizing King
    "King" writer and artist Ho Che Anderson's viewpoint shows the chicken-and-egg circularity to the minority question in comics: "I can only suggest maybe not having grown up seeing themselves in the art form, not too many black folks consider it as something they want to do."

    His densely worded but engrossing biography of Martin Luther King Jr. reads like a modern-day Classics Illustrated for adults with harsh language and the civil-rights leader's personal foibles left unsanitized. Anderson says his approach got him a cease-and-desist letter from the King estate years ago (the story originally appeared in three installments beginning in 1993), "But I don't know what happened to it."

    From his Toronto home, Anderson, 35, says, "The basic approach was an attempt to demystify and humanize him to a certain extent. My personal feeling is that it's hard to relate to icons, but it's easier to relate to people who possess flaws like the rest of us. It also leads you back to the inescapable conclusion that the man was truly a hero.

    "I'm just trying to be frank in there about his faults and some of his escapades on the road," Anderson explains. "But they're given no greater weight or credence than anything else in the book."

    He's just as frank about getting the "King" assignment from Fantagraphics: "It was kind of an effort to cover their own ass by getting a black cartoonist to tell the story."

    The lack of color in mainstream comics hasn't been for lack of effort. Recalling DC Comics' now-defunct "Milestones" line of black-themed titles in the '90s, Anderson says, "I guess it always comes down to economics, what sells. I was involved in 'Milestones,' but it kind of died out because the quality wasn't always there."

    Good stories count
    "That was one of the ways we were trying to build a stronger and more ethnically diverse DC universe," says DC's editorial vice president Dan DiDio. But, he points out, "From that group came 'Static Shock,' and if I'm not mistaken, that's one of first African-American comic books spun off into cartoon — a very prestigious one." (It's part of the "Kids WB" lineup.)

    DiDio doesn't dispute that it's a white-bread industry. "But a lot of people are working hard to change that as we speak," he says. "We're getting a lot more diverse characters, but also a lot more diversity of creators in the business. Each one of our super teams has an African-American character in it. Green Lantern in the 'Justice League' cartoon is John Stewart [not the white Hal Jordan of the comics]. Firestorm has been relaunched as new black character."

    DC's first black character in a solo title fared similarly to Marvel's Black Panther. In 1977, "Black Lightning" lasted a scant 11 issues. One lesson learned since then: Adding color isn't enough if you're not also telling a good story.

    "We reintroduced Black Lightning to The Outsiders," another super team, DiDio says. "It's not just about a character being black but about him being a father, being a hero, and having a daughter following in his footsteps, and her doing things he disagrees with."

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