Congo war

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Congo war

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:00 am

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(Reposting for serious responses. This article shouldn't be given a mock headline.)

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/co ... 78461.html

Johann Hari: How we fuel Africa's bloodiest war

What is rarely mentioned is the great global heist of Congo's resources

Thursday, 30 October 2008


REUTERS


The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again – and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness". It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.


Every day I think about the people I met in the war zones of eastern Congo when I reported from there. The wards were filled with women who had been gang-raped by the militias and shot in the vagina. The battalions of child soldiers – drugged, dazed 13-year-olds who had been made to kill members of their own families so they couldn't try to escape and go home. But oddly, as I watch the war starting again on CNN, I find myself thinking about a woman I met who had, by Congolese standards, not suffered in extremis.

I was driving back to Goma from a diamond mine one day when my car got a puncture. As I waited for it to be fixed, I stood by the roadside and watched the great trails of women who stagger along every road in eastern Congo, carrying all their belongings on their backs in mighty crippling heaps. I stopped a 27 -year-old woman called Marie-Jean Bisimwa, who had four little children toddling along beside her. She told me she was lucky. Yes, her village had been burned out. Yes, she had lost her husband somewhere in the chaos. Yes, her sister had been raped and gone insane. But she and her kids were alive.

I gave her a lift, and it was only after a few hours of chat along on cratered roads that I noticed there was something strange about Marie-Jean's children. They were slumped forward, their gazes fixed in front of them. They didn't look around, or speak, or smile. "I haven't ever been able to feed them," she said. "Because of the war."

Their brains hadn't developed; they never would now. "Will they get better?" she asked. I left her in a village on the outskirts of Goma, and her kids stumbled after her, expressionless.

There are two stories about how this war began – the official story, and the true story. The official story is that after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu mass murderers fled across the border into Congo. The Rwandan government chased after them. But it's a lie. How do we know? The Rwandan government didn't go to where the Hutu genocidaires were, at least not at first. They went to where Congo's natural resources were – and began to pillage them. They even told their troops to work with any Hutus they came across. Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more. Everybody wanted a slice – so six other countries invaded.

These resources were not being stolen to for use in Africa. They were seized so they could be sold on to us. The more we bought, the more the invaders stole – and slaughtered. The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo. The UN named the international corporations it believed were involved: Anglo-America, Standard Chartered Bank, De Beers and more than 100 others. (They all deny the charges.) But instead of stopping these corporations, our governments demanded that the UN stop criticising them.

There were times when the fighting flagged. In 2003, a peace deal was finally brokered by the UN and the international armies withdrew. Many continued to work via proxy militias – but the carnage waned somewhat. Until now. As with the first war, there is a cover-story, and the truth. A Congolese militia leader called Laurent Nkunda – backed by Rwanda – claims he needs to protect the local Tutsi population from the same Hutu genocidaires who have been hiding out in the jungles of eastern Congo since 1994. That's why he is seizing Congolese military bases and is poised to march on Goma.

It is a lie. François Grignon, Africa Director of the International Crisis Group, tells me the truth: "Nkunda is being funded by Rwandan businessmen so they can retain control of the mines in North Kivu. This is the absolute core of the conflict. What we are seeing now is beneficiaries of the illegal war economy fighting to maintain their right to exploit."

At the moment, Rwandan business interests make a fortune from the mines they illegally seized during the war. The global coltan price has collapsed, so now they focus hungrily on cassiterite, which is used to make tin cans and other consumer disposables. As the war began to wane, they faced losing their control to the elected Congolese government – so they have given it another bloody kick-start.

Yet the debate about Congo in the West – when it exists at all – focuses on our inability to provide a decent bandage, without mentioning that we are causing the wound. It's true the 17,000 UN forces in the country are abysmally failing to protect the civilian population, and urgently need to be super-charged. But it is even more important to stop fuelling the war in the first place by buying blood-soaked natural resources. Nkunda only has enough guns and grenades to take on the Congolese army and the UN because we buy his loot. We need to prosecute the corporations buying them for abetting crimes against humanity, and introduce a global coltan-tax to pay for a substantial peacekeeping force. To get there, we need to build an international system that values the lives of black people more than it values profit.

Somewhere out there – lost in the great global heist of Congo's resources – are Marie-Jean and her children, limping along the road once more, carrying everything they own on their backs. They will probably never use a coltan-filled mobile phone, a cassiterite-smelted can of beans, or a gold necklace – but they may yet die for one.

To save the lives of the victims of Congo's sexual violence, you can donate money here

To read more of Johann's reporting on Congo, click here

j.hari@independent.co.uk


What about this Nkunda? Seem to remember another article in which he spoke in his own defense...

Very interesting take on Africa from Keith Harmon Snow, look for his articles. He describes it as armies hired by dozens of corporations from different countries to plunder the resources, making for total chaos. On the biggest scale, it's US vs. China vs. EU.

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Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:09 am

keith harmon snow is the BEST



THE GLAMOUROUS GENOCIDE


I have just returned from hell I'm trying to figure out how to communicate what I have seen


I have just returned from hell. I am trying for the life of me to figure out how to communicate what I have seen and heard in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. How do I convey these stories of atrocities without your shutting down, quickly turning the page or feeling too disturbed?

Eve Ensler, Glamour Magazine, August 2007

http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/html-230THREE ...

THREE CHEERS FOR EVE ENSLER?
Propaganda, White Collar Crime
and Sexual Atrocities in Eastern Congo


Third Draft: October 10, 2007


keith harmon snow

www.althingspass.com


On a visit to Eastern Congo in May 2007, Eve Ensler—the playwright and producer of the Vagina Monologues—was witness to the profound human suffering and unprecedented sexual violence. Ensler came to see what those whose eyes are open cannot deny: the sexual violence and predation in Central Africa is unacceptable, unfathomable, and stoppable. And she has the courage and audacity to write and speak about it.

Three cheers for Eve Ensler!!

Or not?

Through her global campaign to end violence against women, called “V-Day,” and with a nine-page feature article in Glamour magazine in August, Ensler has launched a campaign calling for an end to rape and sexual torture against women and girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource, Power To The Women And Girls Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo,” Ensler’s web site explains, “is being initiated by the women of Eastern DRC, V-Day and UNICEF on behalf of United Nations Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict. The campaign calls for an end to the violence and to impunity for those who commit these atrocities.” <1>

Impunity for those who commit these atrocities?

Ensler’s Glamour article is an apt documentary of human suffering and courage. The doctors working to save and heal the survivors of sexual brutality are heroes. The women and girls who have survived are themselves portraits of courage and human dignity.

In her nine-page portrait of heroism and suffering, there is a single half paragraph that ostensibly addresses the roots of the problem. “The perpetrators include the Interahamwe,” Ensler writes, “the Hutu fighters who fled neighboring Rwanda in 1994 after committing genocide there; the Congolese army; a loose assortment of armed civilians; even U.N. peacekeepers.” <2>


THE GLAMOUROUS GENOCIDE

Who is responsible for the brutality?

According to Glamour and Vanity Fair, it is always those rag-tag Rwandan genocidaires who fled justice in Rwanda, or those ruthless Congolese soldiers from the heart of darkness, and the loose assortments of obviously “loose” civilians, and even the U.N. peacekeepers who, in the United Nations Observers Mission in Congo (MONUC), are men from India, Uruguay, Nepal, Pakistan… and in Darfur, Sudan, it is those damned Janjaweed—Arabs on horseback, you know, the usual dark-skinned subjects.


http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/html-203BD%20 ...

Blood Diamond: Double Think & Deception
Naming the players behind the scenes


Guns and Butter interview

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U28joj6d1A&eurl=

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMMQhHuI9_Y&eurl=

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (3)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biEXCEOy_vs&eurl=

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (4)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPKcgo4Es8E&eurl=

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (5)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIM8kVSN8ug&eurl=

A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_WEY7xQEhk&eurl=


http://www.slate.com/id/2097314 /

On the Trail of the Congo's "Cannibal Rebels"

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Postby JackRiddler » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:20 pm

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Earlier thread started by pepsified thinker on Nkunda:

http://rigorousintuition.ca/board/viewtopic.php?t=22332

pepsified thinker wrote:Anyone have further info re this guy?

Image
General Laurent Nkunda
(note this pic is from Wikipedia--not from the interview mentioned below)

In the interview at the link below he says all the right things and has ready explanations--so either he's actually on-the-level, trying to do the right thing, or he's very, very smart about managing his 'image': He allowed a 6 hour interview with BBC and U.S. reporters, asking only that the a full transcript and recording be made available. He even introduced his family and had a dinner with the reporters. (sorta seems like a scene from the Anna and the King (or The King and I if you prefer a musical version).



The fact the MSM (and officials in U.S. U.K.?) seem to want to portray him negatively has me thinking maybe he's not so bad.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/exclusive-interview-congo_b_156374.html

...but then again, he's seen here with with a pet goat--which is weirdly 9-11-ish.

Image

thanks for any info.


First few responses from that thread:

nathan28 wrote:Well, for starters about 900,000 of his tribesman were wiped out in three months by the Hutus while the West just sort of yawned (i.e., one-seventh of the Holocaust, or 300 Gaza Winter 2008-2009 sessions). My own speculation is that he's the sort of figure that could very likely bring enough stability to the region to actually get the rule of law established, which would help a lot towards stuff like cleaning the drinking water and controlling malaria and sickle cell, but then again, he could just be a bloodthirsty asshole.


---

stefano wrote:He raised an army against the elected government of his country, and is laying waste a region the size of the Netherlands. The army, that's fighting against him, is also guilty of a whole lot of war crimes, maybe the same as him, but I blame Nkunda for starting the trouble. He gets his money from Tutsi gold and coltan traders in the Great Lakes towns (DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda), who sell on to traders from Belgium, France, the Emirates and South Africa. He has forced (remember he has an army) a lot of farmers to sell their land to his friends cheaply, and his men control several (3 or 4 I think) border posts on the Rwandan and Ugandan borders, where he takes the import duties. He taxes transport on the roads, too, driving up food prices. He's very close to a couple of Rwandan expats in Europe who help with the financing and who own parts of the mineral trading business in the region. He's a Tutsi and close to Rwanda's Tutsi president, Paul Kagamé, who is fighting a war of his own against Hutu troops backed by the DRC government (there's that to consider, too).

Briefly I don't like the guy - there was en election in the DRC two years ago and he didn't present himself. He can wait for the next elections. Just taking up arms against the government is bullshit. For Africa to sort its problems out this coup mentality must end. But it probably won't, until there's better discipline around power, and being president of a country didn't come with basically unlimited perks.

A UN report was published in December, you can get it here (127 pages but you'll be skimming a lot). I've only read the half of it, you've actually reminded me to finish it. It (the half I've read) is about the financing of Nkunda's CNDP and the FDLR (the Rwandan Hutu rebel group that Kinshasa is supporting against the government). Complicated business, lots of money and lots of prime land at stake. The UN is trying to improve governance and make it difficult to finance fighting, but, you know, not very hard.


---

Joe Hillshoist wrote:
nathan28 wrote:Well, for starters about 900,000 of his tribesman were wiped out in three months by the Hutus while the West just sort of yawned (i.e., one-seventh of the Holocaust, or 300 Gaza Winter 2008-2009 sessions). My own speculation is that he's the sort of figure that could very likely bring enough stability to the region to actually get the rule of law established, which would help a lot towards stuff like cleaning the drinking water and controlling malaria and sickle cell, but then again, he could just be a bloodthirsty asshole.


A friend of mine was a peacekeeper in rawanda back in the 90s.

If Nkunda was a decent person before that its not really surprising he's lost the plot now. My mate has PTSD in a big way - one of the worst cases I have seen, and he just saw stuff he couldn't stop, happening to people he didn't know. Cleaning peoples guts off the road and trying to bury whats left day in day out, while being unable to act (cos of their SOPs) to stop brutal murders in front of you.

He says if his unit wasn't there to pull him into line there are times he would have lost it gone ballistic and joined the slaughter. Said that happened to everyone at different times. (He hates the UN for what happened there, felt like they were there to watch the slaughter not to prevent it.)

Then again Nkunda could have been an arsehole from day one and that wouldn't surprise me either.


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American Dream wrote:From: Are USAID Gorilla Conservation Funds Being Used To support Covert Operations in Central Africa?

by Georgianne Nienaber and Keith Harmon Snow

September, 2007


www.allthingspass.com

COVERT ALLIANCES WITH LAURENT NKUNDA

Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba met with Rwandan-backed General Laurent Nkunda during his Vice-Presidency (2003-2006) and he is now one of General Nkunda's secret backers in the ongoing bloodletting in eastern Congo.

Jean-Pierre Bemba's brother-in-law Anthony "Tony" Teixeira deals in blood diamonds, criminal networks and mercenary operations. Tony Teixeira is one of three pivotal businessmen who, along with Jacques Lemaire and Victor Bout, were cited in 2000 for sanctions busting by supporting the UNITA rebels in Angola's war. Bout and other businessmen with U.S. connections have been involved in weapons transfers to Congo.

According to insider MONUC [UN Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo] sources, Jean-Pierre Bemba has been buying off high-level MONUC officials. This would partially explain MONUC's unwillingness to challenge or dislodge General Nkunda.

Congolese people in the Kivu province have been throwing stones at MONUC vehicles because they believe MONUC is not serious about "peacekeeping" in eastern Congo but is pursuing a political agenda.

On September 17, 2007 a "resource hungry" China signed an agreement to invest five billion dollars in Congo's infrastructure. Anglo-European interests are now using the military occupation of General Laurent Nkunda—backed by client regimes in Uganda and Rwanda, by Jean-Pierre Bemba and MONUC—to leverage their position with Kabila.

General Laurent Nkunda earns at least $100,000 a month in extortion and minerals theft, and he is buying officials. Most important, General Laurent Nkunda is the "insurance policy" for the U.S. and German companies preventing Congo's access to the Lueshe niobium mines and other mineral bonanzas, including coltan, cassiterite and, allegedly, uranium, under Nkunda's control.


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(Quote is a great function, I'm starting to realize.)
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Postby JackRiddler » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:39 pm

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will bump daily.
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Postby American Dream » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:55 am


The Vile Scramble For Loot
How British Corporations are Fuelling War in the Congo

November 19, 2009

By Robert Miller

Introduction:


The Democratic Republic of Congo is suffering what is almost certainly the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. In their 2007 study of mortality rates in the DRC the International Rescue Committee estimated that, as a result of the war, "5.4 million excess deaths have occurred between August 1998 and April 2007." The IRC report also estimated that the "DR Congo's national crude mortality rate (CMR) of 2.2 deaths per 1,000 per month is 57 percent higher than the average rate for sub-Saharan Africa", and in eastern provinces, which are the most violent, the CMR is "2.6 deaths per 1,000 per month, a rate that is 85 percent higher than the sub-Saharan average." [1 The charity "Raise Hope for Congo" reports that "45,000 people die each month [in Eastern Congo], mostly from hunger and disease resulting from the ongoing conflict, and over 1 million people have been displaced." [2 That is approximately 1,500 deaths a day, 62 deaths an hour and a death every minute. If you take the figure of 45,000 deaths a month as constant then at the time of writing (November 2009), 1,350,000 people have died as a result of the war in Eastern Congo since the IRC published its study. That would put the total amount of excess deaths at 6,750,000 (6.75 million).

According to the British charity Save the Congo, "You could take all lives lost in Bosnia, Rwanda 1994 [sic] and Darfur then add the 2005 Asian tsunami, then add a 9-11 every single day for 356 days and then go through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Put all of those together, multiply by 2 and you still don't reach the number of lives that has been lost in the Congo since the war started." They also say that "[hundreds of thousands] of women and young girls have been brutally gang raped and around 40% of all adult women have been made widows."[3]

All over Eastern Congo there are wards "full of women who have been gang-raped and then shot in the vagina." According to Dr Denis Mukwege, "Around ten percent of the gang-rape victims have had this happen to them".[4] This means that tens of thousands of women have been raped and shot in the vagina. And this affects of women of all ages, from 3 year olds to old ladies.

The Congolese people live in abject poverty. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest proportion of starving people in the world, according to the 2008 Global Hunger Index, which ranked the Congo as a 42.7. That is an increase from 25.5 (which is still ranked as "alarming") in 1990. [5 Women often have to carry "more than their own body-weight in wood or coal or sand, all day, every day" just to make enough money to survive.[6]

According to the IRC report on mortality rates in the Congo:

The majority of deaths have been due to infectious diseases, malnutrition and neonatal- and pregnancy-related conditions. Increased rates of disease are likely related to the social and economic disturbances caused by conflict, including disruption of health services, poor food security, deterioration of infrastructure and population displacement. Children, who are particularly susceptible to these easily preventable and treatable conditions, accounted for 47 percent of deaths, even though they constituted only 19 percent of the total population.[7]

Men and women in the DRC have life expectancies of 42 and 47 years, respectively, making an average life expectancy of 44 years. The under-5 mortality rate is 205 per 1,000 live births. That means that 1 in 5 Congolese children die before they reach the age of 5. Only 29% of rural Congolese have access to clean water sources and only 23% have access to decent sanitation. 31% of children under 5 are underweight, 452 people in every 100,000 have malaria and 551 in every 100,000 have tuberculosis. The maternal mortality rate is 990 per 100,000 live births.[8]

Compare this to Britain, where the life expectancy at birth is 78, the under-5 mortality rate is 6 per 1,000 live births (more than 34 times less than in the DRC), nearly 100% of the population has access to improved water sources and improved sanitation, the proportion of malnourished children is close to 0%[9] and the maternal mortality rate is 261 per 100,000 live births[10] (almost 4 times lower than in the DRC).

In the Congo, "since 1998, as many as 85 percent of those living near the front lines [of the war] have been affected by violence" and in Eastern DRC, which is the main area of fighting, mortality rates are "one third higher than the rest of the DRC",[11] where mortality rates are already terrible. But how did all of this happen?

The (second) Congo war began in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda invaded the Congo, launching "a bloody military offensive to overthrow [Congolese president] Laurent Kabila". The offensive failed but Rwanda and Uganda stayed in the Congo to take advantage of the rich resources of the country. They were soon joined by "Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, as well as dozens of home grown militia groups and private armies" who wanted a piece of the spoils. "In 2002 and 2003 ... Rwanda and Uganda, after intense international pressure, decided to withdraw from Congo but each, however, leaving behind dozens of armed groups they had created and trained while occupying the Congo".[12] There are now armed groups all over the DRC, many with different loyalties, all fighting mercilessly to get access to the riches under the ground.

Global Witness has said that "The minerals scattered all over North and South Kivu have acted as a magnet for rebel groups and military factions throughout the last 12 years."[13] The Panel of Experts at the UN reported in 2001 that "the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become mainly about access, control and trade of five key mineral resources: coltan, diamonds, copper, cobalt and gold."[14] The same report stated that "the role of the private sector in the exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the war has been vital. A number of companies have been involved and have fuelled the war directly, trading arms for natural resources. Others have facilitated access to financial resources, which are used to purchase weapons. Companies trading minerals, which the Panel considered to be ‘the engine of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo' have prepared the field for illegal mining activities in the country."[15]

These military factions and rebel groups are among the most brutal in the world. These groups include the Forces Démocratiques pour la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) from Rwanda, the Congrés National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) from Rwanda, the Patriotes Résistants Congolaise (PARECO), various Mai-Mai groups who fight alongside the Congolese army, the Forces Républicaines Fédéralistes (FRF) and the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC). These groups have atrocious human rights records, and murder and rape are common. There are huge numbers of child soldiers in the DRC: Control Arms reports that "about 30,000 to 35,000 children have been recruited" by armed groups since the start of the war.[16]

The only reason these groups are able to survive is because they control the mines. "The Congo possesses over 80 per cent of the world's reserve of coltan.[17] and has vast amounts of casserite (tin ore), gold, wolframite, pyrochlore, diamonds, clays, copper, cobalt, gas, nickel, oil, tungstone, zinc, iron, kaolin, niobium, ochre, bauxite, marble, phosphates, saline, granite, emerald, monazite, silver, uranium, platinum and lead. The DRC is "the only country on earth that houses all elements found on the periodic table".[18] The Congo is probably the richest country in the world in terms of natural resources.

The rebel groups use their control over the natural resources to gain profit and power. Global Witness believes that "the profits they make through this plunder enable some of the most violent armed groups to stay alive."[19] Without this money they would not be able to recruit soldiers. "UNICEF says the militias can are [sic] offering ... $60-a-month to carry on seizing and raping and killing" and when people are starving they will accept anything in order to keep their families alive.[20] The war is mainly fought to keep control over the mines and is mainly funded through profits made by that mining. Without those profits, it is unlikely that the war would continue.

Corporations all around the world, including those in Britain, are trading for these minerals and are making a huge profit off the warring factions. If it wasn't for this trade then it is extremely unlikely that the war would be able to continue. But the profits made off these minerals - especially colton which is needed for electronics such as mobile phones, computers and televisions - are too great for the corporations to ignore.

In trading for these minerals, a whole host of foreign corporations fund the worst holocaust since World War II. This report focuses on corporations in Britain and how they are fuelling the war and human rights abuses in the Congo.


Continues at:

http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/23166
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Postby 8bitagent » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:52 am

Reading all this makes me so mad/shattered to hear, and then the corporate aspect. Geez.

I swear, if anyone needed proof of a pure Satanic agenda going on, read the above articles. Or the shit that goes on in Swaziland or Kenya.
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Postby American Dream » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:37 pm

http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/12/belgi ... rebellion/

Belgian Paratroopers to Crush Rising Congo Rebellion?

Rwandan Defense Forces Flown into Western Congo Defeated; Kabila Regime Under Siege on Multiple Fronts
by Keith Harmon Snow / December 8th, 2009


With the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) engulfed in bloodshed and terrorism due to the secretive occupation and expansion by the Rwandan regime of Paul Kagame, Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has reportedly requested an immediate emergency military intervention from Belgium to crush a growing rebellion sparked by resistance forces in the far western Congo.

A rising alliance calling themselves ‘The Resistance Patriots of Dongo’ (Patriotes-Résistants de Dongo) has gained currency and recruits after Congolese people learned that the Dongo resistance forces were fighting against Rwandan Tutsi troops in the little frontier town of Dongo.


Sources in Congo’s capital Kinshasa report that an emergency ‘crises’ meeting was convened in Brussels on Friday, November 28, 2009, after a distress call was sent by Congo-Kinshasa President Hypolitté Kanambe, known to the western world by his alias, Joseph Kabila Kabange. According to intelligence sources, the Belgian military attaché in Kinshasa has been instructed to lay the groundwork for the arrival of a detachment of elite Belgian Armed Forces (BAF) paratroopers as soon as possible, before mid-December.

Sources in Kinshasa report that in mid-November President Joseph Kabila secretly airlifted a battalion of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) across Congo to put down the small rebellion. The operation involved multiple flights in November and was supported by the United Nations Observes Mission in Congo (MONUC) and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The RDF forces, moved to Congo from Rwanda exclusively for the operation, were uniformed as FARDC troops.1

Pitched battles involving RDF occurred in past weeks on November 22-24 and November 26-28 in the Dongo region. Along with RDF regulars, MONUC troops from the supposed international ‘peacekeeping’ mission have been fighting alongside Tutsi Rwandan soldiers infiltrated by Rwanda, with the Kabila government’s support, into the national army, the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC).

Equateur Province achieved a relative peace by 2004 and the majority of United Nations Observers Mission to Congo (MONUC) troops pulled out by 2005. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the humanitarian organization that had worked in Equateur Province from 1992, disregarded their own reports about the state of the health emergency and mortality in Equateur and abandoned the population in 2006.2

On December 2, 2009 the remote strategic airport town of Libenge, near the Central African Republic, fell to the new rebellion, which is expanding and spreading with foreign backing. Towns in Equateur Province have been falling one by one to the rebellion, sending Kinshasa’s elites into a scramble on December 3 and President Kabila into a security panic.

Now the entire Congo has been launched into a state of massive fear, warfare and insecurity—and the house of cards—propped up by western corporations and military—comes tumbling down.

The international media has completely blacked out this story, reporting only an ethnic conflict over fishing rights. Faced with almost two months of suppressing information about the Dongo crisis in Equateur, MONUC is faced with the prospect of full disclosure—or launching another massive campaign of damage control and disinformation.

MONUC HIDES EQUATEUR CONFLICT

The Tutsi forces in the FARDC include infiltrated RDF and ‘ex’-CNDP forces from the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), the extremist terrorist militia that sprouted out of the Kivu Provinces, but is heavily backed by Rwanda and infiltrated with thousands of extremist Tutsis.

Thousands of CNDP militia forces were integrated into the FARDC military in 2009, in a strategic maneuver championed by James Kabarebe and Paul Kagame and their U.S. and U.K. backers. These ‘ex’-CNDP wear FARDC uniforms, with some units commanded by FARDC officers—whose loyalty might first be to Congo, and not Kabila—while others are commanded by ‘ex’-CNDP officers serving Kabila but loyal to Rwanda.

The CNDP is one of the pivotal causes of the massive destabilization of eastern Congo, along with the many other Rwandan and Ugandan interests maintained by the organized crime networks run out of Rwanda (Paul Kagame) and Uganda (Yoweri Museveni). The formal military integration process involving so-called ‘ex’-CNDP forces is resented by many Congolese and Rwandan people as a logical step in the secret plan by Tutsi extremist forces to dominate both the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region.

Rwandan Defense Forces are not exclusively Tutsis, but are controlled and highly regulated by the secret extremist Tutsi network maintained by Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, and others of the 40 top war criminals indicted by the Spanish court on February 6, 2008. Much ado is made in the international press, based on propaganda cranked out by the Kigame regime and its supporters that Rwanda’s is a power-sharing government, that Hutu-Tutsi reconciliation has been a huge and lasting success, and that the RDF and intelligence services are comprised of non-Tutsi.

Anyone who remotely steps out of line, in or out of Rwanda, will immediately be targeted, accused of genocide revisionism, negationism or participation in ‘the genocide’ itself.

President Kabila reportedly asked Central Africa Republic (C.A.R.) president Francois Bozizé to intervene and flank the resistance forces through the remote frontier town of Zongo, DRC, also in Equateur Province, across the border from Bangui, the C.A.R. capital. The two presidents share a common enemy, Jean-Pierre Bemba and ex-forces of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). Jean-Pierre Bemba is under arrest at the International Criminal Court, thanks to Bozizé and Kabila, charged with war crimes in C.A.R.

Bozizé is occupied with his own insurrections and guerilla insurgencies in C.A.R., having come to power by force in March 2003 coup d’etat against Ange-Félix Patassé, C.A.R. president from 1993-2003. Patassé, in exile in Togo, will clearly be an interested party in the Dongo rebellion, given Kabila’s relations with Bozizé. Military and intelligence from France, U.S. and Chad all meddle in C.A.R.

Kabila is reportedly furious at Congo-Brazzaville and its President Sassou-Nguesso for allowing veteran rebel guerrillas to attack Congo-Kinshasa on its western Oubangi River frontier (see map).

AN ALLIANCE ACROSS THE VAST CONGO

The very first military intervention by U.N. Blue Helmets, anywhere, occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the secession of Katanga Province (1960-63). The U.N. occupied Congo again in the ‘Congo Crises’ (1964-66). Both occupations involved Belgian paratroopers and other western mercenaries. The Congolese people were shafted.

These illegal foreign occupations by the ‘international community’—under the guise of the United Nations—served to insure western control of the diamond, copper, uranium and cobalt mines of Katanga and Kasai. Billed as ‘peacekeeping’ operations, this misnomer set the stage for present day misunderstanding of the true MONUC role as an armed combatant protecting the corporate interests or predatory western capitalism.

Now, fifty years later, following more than a century of Belgian-Anglo-American-Franco-Israeli big business profits and slavery in Congo—with ten million deaths under King Leopold (1885-1908), with a brutal Apartheid dispossession and military occupation under Belgian colonial rule (1908-1960), with countless deaths under the U.N. occupations of 1960 to 1965, with tens of millions of deaths under the U.S. client state regime of Joseph Mobutu (1965-1996), with more than ten million deaths since the Pentagon-backed invasion of 1996—the Belgians are reportedly again planning to rescue their military client-partnership in Congo-Kinshasa.

The elite Belgian paratroopers would be deployed first to Bangaboka Airport in Kisangani, in Congo’s eastern Orientale Province.

Kisangani is the site for the V.S. Naipal novel A Bend in the River and the proverbial ‘heart-of-darkness’ outpost where Henry Morton Stanley organized the genocidal red-rubber and ivory pillage for Belgium’s King Leopold. Today, western-owned plantations and logging companies reap their high profits through mass slavery of Congolese people in the Kisangani region.

To conceal President Kabila’s illegal Belgian intervention from international public opinion, Brussels, Kinshasa and MONUC plan to dress Belgian paratroopers as ‘peacekeepers’ to be deployed out of Kisangani as MONUC ‘Blue Helmets’ bound for Equateur and Dongo.

The leaders of the rebellion in western Equateur Province have reportedly forged an alliance with other disaffected Congo-Kinshasa forces in the eastern Kivu provinces. This alliance is united against the Kabila regime and its allies, including MONUC and AFRICOM.

Sources in Kinshasa report that the Patriotic Resistance Forces of Dongo are now aligned with General Dunia, a Mai Mai leader operating against the joint operations of the RDF-FARDC-MONUC nexus in the Fizi and Barako areas of South Kivu.

Joseph Kabila is a black pawn in the great game by white foreigners and multinational corporations to control and plunder Central Africa. Like Congo’s historic leaders Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961) and his paternal namesake, the former President Laurent Desiré Kabila (1939-2001), Joseph Kabila would quickly be assassinated if he diverged from the hidden agenda of western capital.

Now however, internal hatreds and domestic disaffections threaten Joseph Kabila’s regime.

“What is happening now in Dongo [Equateur] is the beginning of something that no one will stop,” said one Congolese intelligence insider on November 25. “For sure, Kabila and his friends are sending Rwandan troops to kill people but the resistance movement says that Dongo will be the tomb of Rwandan troops and the beginning of the end of Kabila and his supporters. At this time, thousands of people—young Congolese men, ex-Mobutu fighters, Congolese FARDC—have joined the movement. I’m very sure that this Dongo movement was prepared for a long time.”

EXTREMIST TUTSIS BLEEDING CONGO DRY

Many Congolese people have long since known that the president of their country has supported a secret extremist ‘Tutsi’ alliance that seeks to dominate Central Africa. His real name is Hypolitté Kanambe, formerly a junior Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) officer plucked from the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) forces.

It is widely supported that Joseph Kabila reported directly to RPF/A commanders James Kabarebe and Paul Kagame in the Pentagon-backed AFDL ‘rebellion’ that overthrew President Joseph Mobutu in Zaire (Congo-Kinshasa); there are also claims that Kabila was a soldier in the RPF/A during the multiple genocides orchestrated by Kagame’s extremist Tutsi RPF/A in Rwanda (1990-1994).

“For us Congolese-Zairians, the boy is Rwandan Tutsi,” explains Congolese intellectual Yaa-Lengi Ngemi. “Yes, [the assassinated president] Laurent Kabila lived in Dar es Salaam and had a business there. Hypollite Kanambe’s Tutsi father was a close friend and business partner of Laurent Kabila.”

The term ‘extremist Tutsi’ applies only to the elite secretive organization, formerly the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) that exists in parallel with the parliamentary government of Rwanda. While some of the same people occupy both, the extremist Tutsis came to power through war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994, operating a secret terrorist network.3 ,4 ,5

After seizing power in July of 1994, the extremist Tutsi network continued to perpetrate atrocities, including massacres, assassinations, tortures and disappearances, and the network moved into Congo-Zaire in 1996 and persists in Rwanda and Congo to this day. The modus operandi of this terrorist structure is to perpetrate crimes and blames them on the victim populations.

The RPF/A killed everyone in its path, no matter their ethnicity: Hutu, Tutsi, or minority indigenous Twa people. The so-called ‘Tutsi’ RPF/A killed Tutsis in Rwanda during their four year invasion, and afterwards, because Major General Paul Kagame and General James Kabarebe and their ‘exiled’ Tutsi conspirators in Diaspora—dubbed the ‘Jews of Africa’, a ‘people without a homeland’—did not trust any Tutsis that stayed behind in Rwanda after Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana came to power in 1973.

The RPF/A also killed everyone in their path because their plan from the start was to eliminate as many people as possible, to depopulate Rwanda of the soon-to-be problematic landowners, businessmen, farmers and peasants—mostly the majority Hutu population, but also Tutsis—and repopulate Rwanda with Ugandans and Tutsis who had been living comfortably in Western countries. It was about big business, corruption and greed.

In the beginning, many Congolese supported President Kanambe, alias Kabila, ignoring his origins, hoping that he would share power, that he would develop the Congo, build roads and schools and, especially, that he would forestall and evict Ugandan and Rwandan agents, provocateurs, mining cartels and war criminals from the 1996-2001 war years.

In July of 2006, prior to the presidential elections, I traveled on the campaign trail with President Kabila’s sister alias Janet Kabila, around Kinshasa and into bush towns nearby. The Kabilas doled out cash and propaganda (t-shirts, caps, flyers, buttons, food, alcohol) and they rallied entire villages with a five-piece marching band. To the uneducated and impoverished masses of the interior the Kabilas pledged roads and schools within next three years.

Image
Janet Kabila on the campaign trail in Bas Congo promises roads and schools to impoverished villages. Photo by Keith Harmon Snow.

They were the usual empty promises made by the usual empty politicians. The Congolese people have seen nothing but misery and death delivered from within and without the vast Congo.

The western media broadcasts the suffering in Congo, but the propaganda is simplistic disinformation, and the western news [sic] consuming public eats it up and dismisses the Congo, abandoning the people whose lives are determined in part by the raw materials stolen from them in a state of war and organized crime.

High visibility western organizations, in particular the ENOUGH and Raise Hope For Congo projects and their wealthy backers the International Crisis Group and Center for American Progress [sic], have lobbied college students and western governments to action, always pushing for legislation, and licensed by capitalism and the major mass media to speak as the only bona fide experts on the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda. They also advance military solutions over diplomatic or other peaceful solutions.

William Jefferson Clinton’s former national security insider John Prendergast is their leading cheerleader. There’s a reason Prendergast is all over the news, appearing at colleges where ENOUGH and Raise Hope’s advance publicity includes expensive color brochures and posters.

“Already the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group based in Washington, and Eve Ensler, an American playwright who has been supporting Congolese women’s projects for years through the organization V-Day, among others,” wrote Jeffrey Gentleman in the recent New York Times article slamming the Congolese people for their own suffering, “have been urging Congress to pass legislation that would bar American companies from buying Congo’s ‘conflict minerals’, which include gold, tin and coltan, a metallic ore used in many cellphones and laptop computers. Several bills have been proposed.”6

John Prendergast was the expert of choice for CBS 60 Minutes’ ‘Blood Minerals’ broadcast, nationally televised in the United States on November 29, 2009, which was an advertisement for ENOUGH, the IRC and so-called ‘humanitarian’ organizations. These lobby and flak entities are working to displace and neutralize all true international grass roots efforts to help the Congolese people take control of their own resources and future, and they cover for hidden western interests.

Beholden to powerful western corporate interests, the most powerful originating from Belgium, the United States, Israel, Canada, Britain and Germany, but also including Australian, Japanese, South African and Dutch interests, the Kabila regime, backed by the MONUC military occupation and the U.N. Security Council, has delivered to the Congolese people one disappointment and outrage after another.

EASTERN CONGO ABOUT TO EXPLODE TOO?

A major source of ongoing conflict in the Kivus, General Bosco Ntaganda was rewarded in January 2009 for playing along with the Kabila-Kagame-MONUC charade of ‘arresting’ CNDP-RDF war criminal General Laurent Nkunda. To their credit, the U.N. Panel of Experts, in their recently ‘leaked’ report of November 2009, exposed the appointment of General Bosco Ntaganda as CNDP-FARDC commander, which Kagame and Kabila officially denied.

General Ntanganda commanded CNDP-FARDC units responsible for massive war crimes under the joint ‘Kimia’ operations in the Kivus launched with MONUC backing in January 2009. Ntanganda is an insider and—if arrested and sent to the supposedly neutral ICC—he is purportedly a huge risk to Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Laurent Nkunda and Joseph Kabila.

The International Criminal Court indicted General Bosco Ntanganda for war crimes committed in DRC in May 2008. The ICC is a political instrument used to selectively target certain individuals and militias, while ignoring more substantial state sanctioned actors like Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Yoweri Museveni or former U.S. national security council member Walter Kansteiner.

Sources on Kinshasa report that General Ntanganda may imminently trigger a new war between CNDP and FARDC forces in the Kivus, with the blessing of Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame, who seek to protect Ntanganda from the ICC.

Given the recent secret infiltrations and sanctioned integrations of CNDP and RDF into FARDC units during 2008 and 2009, this would create havoc and trigger immense suffering, on top of the already unprecedented depopulation of the Great Lakes’ people.

General Ntanganda will likely create a new military faction, sources report, yet another acronym to confuse obtuse western foreign policy experts—yet another militia licensed to kill civilians in the soup of bloodshed, depopulation and impunity.

REGIONAL ALLIANCES AND HATREDS


In the DRC’s ‘historic’ rigged national elections of 2006, formalizing Joseph Kabila’s ‘presidency’, millions of Congolese people supported MLC rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, ignoring his murderous tryst with Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni, because they knew Kanambe—alias Joseph Kabila—was Rwandan.7

“During the [presidential] election the majority of the Congolese voted for Bemba,” says Congolese human rights activist Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, “even though Congolese people knew that Bemba also killed Congolese as a stooge of Uganda. The choice was between a Congolese criminal and a foreigner, a Rwandan criminal. So they voted for the Congolese criminal, or ‘mwana mboka’ (native son)…”

The elections rigging in Congo was multi-faceted, with all kinds of irregularities, and manipulations on all sides.8 The ‘international community’ backed the Kabila win.

Bemba and Kabila unleashed their troops in deadly battles, also targeting civilians, in Kinshasa in March 2007.9

Since 1996 more than 10 million Congolese people have died across the vast country, with the current death toll in the eastern provinces alone at some 1000 people per day. There are millions of refugees in the Great Lakes member states, and now more than 92,000 people are uprooted in western Congo due to recent fighting.

During his brief tenure as president, Joseph Kabila tried to balance out power interests through a combination of bribery and brute force. He gave Paul Kagame’s gang carte blanche over mining and land in the Kivu provinces. Extortion, racketeering, open occupations and secret infiltrations of Rwandan forces became the norm, and persisted in this pattern, to this day.

In western Congo, home to Kinshasa, Kabila gave President Eduardo Dos Santos and Angola carte blanche over oil concessions in Bas Congo province in exchange for providing presidential security forces and to counterbalance extremist Tutsi expansionism out of Rwanda. In March 2009, DRC’s oil minister Rene Isekemanga Nkeka accused Angola of stealing Congo’s oil. Many Congolese parliamentarians resent Kabila’s foreign alliances and can no longer be bribed into submission.

The Angolans hate Kagame and the Rwandan Defense Forces (former RPF/A), and vise versa. The RPF/A teamed up with Angolan UNITA rebels fighting against President Dos Santos after the Angolans cornered and shamed RPF/A troops in Bas Congo during the war; the two armies also fought on opposing sides in Congo (1998-2001).

Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos and Gabon’s General Ali Bongo also cooperate with Congo-Brazzaville President Dennis Sassou-Nguesso.10 (Gabon’s recently deceased dictator Omar Bongo was Sassou-Nguesso’s son-in-law.)

Next door to the vast Congo-Kinshasa, President Dennis Sassou-Nguesso in Congo-Brazzaville is one of Joseph Kabila’s most enduring enemies. The Congo River separates the two presidents in Brazzaville and Kinshasa, and one of the Congo’s largest tributaries, the Oubangi River, separates DRC’s Equateur province, running its course northeast along the border of Congo-Brazzaville and then the Central African Republic.

President Sassou-Nguesso was a close ally of Rwanda’s former Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana, apparently assassinated by the Tutsi extremist RPF/A ‘Zero Network’ on April 6, 1994, and he was friend and ally of Joseph Mobutu.

MOBUTU SESE SEKO’S GHOSTS

Brazzaville has harbored Mobutu’s ex-Forces Armées Zaïroises (ex-FAZ) since 1996-1997, and it harbors Rwandan elements that fled the AFDL genocide against Hutu refugees in Congo-Zaire (1996-1997). Sources suggest there are at least 300 ex-MLC and more than 10,000 ex-FAZ troops available for the Dongo rebellion.

Rwandan refugees in Congo-Brazza include civilian survivors of the 1994 exodus from Rwanda and the subsequent international war crimes committed by the Paul Kagame and James Kabarebe and their troops in DRC from 1996-1998. Uganda People’s Defense Forces also helped hunt and massacre Hutu refugees.

Congo-Brazzaville also supports the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces (ex-FAR) and their allies, the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), providing a distant rear base for Congo operations directed at liberating Rwanda from the extremist Tutsis and the Kagame dictatorship. 11

Thus many Rwandan refugees in Brazzaville are former liberation fighters hostile to the terrorist Kagame regime for its ‘blame-the-victims’ inversion of the Rwanda ‘genocide’ story and the mass murder of millions of Hutu people from 1990 to the present.

As of 2005, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) counted some 59,000 Congo-Kinshasa refugees in Congo-Brazzaville and more than 4000 Congo-Kinshasa refugees in C.A.R.

Sassou-Nguesso, Dos Santos, Ali Bongo and his father Omar, Mobutu, Habyarimana—all of these current and former Central African regimes align(ed) themselves with French and Israeli security and intelligence interests12 —and all seek to counter balance and limit Tutsi extremist expansionism in Central Africa backed by the Anglo-American alliance.

Equateur Province is the site of major untapped petroleum reserves. Belgian, French, Portuguese, German and U.S. families and corporations control vast tracts of land being denuded by rapacious industrial logging. There are also western-owned plantations with modern day plantation slavery involving tens of thousands of Congolese people subject to terrorism by state paramilitary services.

The outside world hears little or nothing about the western-owned logging and plantation concessions producing timber, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and rubber through modern day slavery. Similarly, the immense untapped petroleum reserves beneath the Congo River basin and its rainforests in Equateur province remain undisclosed by western institutions—including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), USAID, and Care International—involved in possessing and depopulating these rainforest lands for western corporate interests that benefit through the Kabila regime.

According to Congo researcher David Barouski, cassiterite (tin) mined from the bloody Kivu provinces in eastern Congo also passes through the networks of the plantations and logging interests in Equateur and Orientale.

“Outside of Asia, Belgium is the primary importer of Congolese cassiterite. Sodexmines sells to SDE, located in Brussels and directed by Mr. Edwin Raes. SDE is a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Elwyn Blattner Group. Mr. Elwyn Blattner, who hails from Bayonne, N.J, owns several businesses in the Congo through his firm, African Holding Company of America. They include logging concessions, transportation, and palm oil plantations. The products [from] these businesses are also imported by SDE.”13

The Elwyn Blattner Groupe has supported all sides in Congo’s wars, bankrolling combatants, police, governors and officials who control the geographical areas where his interests are. The Blattner family—James, Elwyn, Daniel, David—began and expanded under Mobutu and are entrenched with the Kabila regime.14

ASSASSINS TARGET JOSEPH KABILA KANAMBE

Recognizing the growing disaffection amongst his own military and intelligence services, President Kabila is surrounded by trusted elite Angolan Special Forces.

Since Joseph Kabila came to power in 2001, the elite Guard Républicaine (GR) controlled directly by the President outside the military chain of command or any civilian or judicial oversight, has been expanded to some 15,000 elite, heavily armed forces deployed at all strategic locations around the country. Sources in the intelligence sector in Congo-Kinshasa claim that the GR is predominantly comprised of elite Angolan Special Forces, with a token number of Congolese to put a proper face on things.

In 2005, it was reported that Kabila’s closest security detail in the Presidential Guards was a detachment of 50 elite Zimbabwe Defense Forces under the command of Lt. Colonel Richard Sauta, a 5th dan (rank) Tae Kwan Do expert trained in North Korea.15

Kabila has also reportedly moved all ammunitions depots off Congolese FARDC military bases in Kinshasa, though Rwandan FARDC (‘ex’-CNDP) and Angolan troops remain heavily armed and supplied.

Angolan troops backed Kabila during the deadly battle for Kinshasa against Jean-Pierre Bemba and MLC loyalists in March 2007. Enraged by MLC attacks that claimed some 23 Angolans, including a senior officer, the Angolan forces ruthlessly retaliated, causing massive civilian casualties thousands of bodies were collected and dumped in mass graves and in the Congo River.9 At the time, President Dos Santos convinced Congo-Brazzaville president Dennis Sassou-Nguesso to block ex-FAZ troops in Brazzaville from crossing the Congo River to join the MLC fight.

This time, Sassou-Nguesso has allowed ex-FAZ and ex-MLC to cross the border and join the Dongo rebellion.

Since March 2007, MLC forces that were captured or surrendered to MONUC after the deadly battle were detained by MONUC in Kinshasa ‘for their own safety.’ In past weeks, Kabila’s loyalist forces in Kinshasa seized some of the MLC captives in military operations described by Kinshasa intelligence insiders as ‘staged assaults.’

Sources claim that MONUC has collaborated with the Kabila security apparatus in their efforts to seize and eliminate MLC captives. These captives included some 150 former combatants, along with their wives and children. Reports from Kinshasa suggest that these MLC are being systematically eliminated in what amount to extrajudicial executions.

“MONUC tried to get these MLC soldiers ‘integrated’ into the FARDC because they [MONUC] knew that Kabila would have them [MLC] killed,” says an insider in Kinshasa. “In June, officers from MONUC wanted to transfer the Bemba MLC men in secret to Kabila. Bemba’s men refused and took MONUC soldiers hostage and MONUC had to negotiate for their release. Now, Kabila’s Presidential militia have forced the door and arrested Bemba soldiers. MONUC seemed to pretend not to know what was happening. We know that between 80 and 103 people from MLC have been arrested by the Presidential Guard.”

There have been massive arrests and illegal detentions of young men in Kinshasa and outlying areas in the past month. In the past week, Congolese newspapers reported that escaped prisoners had been shot. However, sources indicate that these ‘escapees’ were killed in prison.

Such actions are routine for the Kinshasa security apparatus. Any time that Kabila suspects or discovers a coup, street children and young men are rounded up and detained, often involving intimidation and beatings, by the Presidential Guard.

Sources in Kinshasa also say that Kabila’s forces rounded up scores and possibly hundreds of young civilian men in Maluku, a former Jean-Pierre Bemba MLC stronghold some 70 kilometers from Kinshasa. Kabila is worried that an insurgency against him will come from Maluku.

Kabila has good reason to be alarmed. There have been at least four serious coup attempts against Kabila over the past two years; two of these occurred in 2009.

One recent unreported coup attempt occurred in Kinshasa on May 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm when Kabila was returning from Mbakana, reported to be the Kabila clan’s privately fortified ‘farm’ security compound also some 70 kilometers from Kinshasa.

When the presidential procession set off down the Boulevard de 30 Juin, Kinshasa’s central artery, on May 18 a sniper, lying in ambush, opened fire on the presidential Mercedes Jeep at the intersection of Wangata Avenue. Kabila had switched vehicles and was riding in a Nissan Patrol like those used by members of parliament. Following the attack, Kabila ordered the systematic destruction of all the public kiosks and pavilions along the Boulevard de 30 Juin, and the indiscriminate round up and arrest of young men in Kinshasa. The attack reportedly involved five commandos.

All media inside Congo were forbidden from reporting on the May coup attempt, reportedly on the personal orders of President Kabila. Several media outlets of the Congolese Diaspora reported the events. It is also true that ‘coups’ and ‘attacks’ in Kinshasa have been staged by the Kabila government and by opposition as devices to manipulate public opinion or justify retaliatory action.

In October 12, 2009, Colonel Floribert Bofate Lihamba was arrested in Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, the heart of Congo’s most lucrative western mining operations, and transferred to a prison in Kinshasa. A top security agent in President Kabila’s Presidential Guard Républicaine (GR), and a former member of the Special Presidential Security Group (GSSP) under President Laurent Kabila, Col. Lihamba is accused of planning a coup d’etat.

On October 21, 2009, President Kabila survived the second most recent attempted coup d’etat, another recent pivotal event in Congo unreported by the western press or Congolese media. Informed in advance of the impending attempt on his life, President Kabila had curtailed all public appearances and was reportedly again holed up with Angolan troops on his ‘farm’ security compound outside Kinshasa.

According to Congolese intelligence sources, ex-Forces Armées Zaïroises (ex-FAZ) commandoes crossed the Congo River seeking to assassinate Kabila. The commandoes all reportedly originate from the Mobutu and Jean-Pierre Bemba strongholds around Gbadolite , in northwestern Equateur.

The arrested officers include: four Majors (Yogo, Zwafunda, Mokwesa, Ngombo); five captains (Koli, Nzale, Gbaka, Kongawi, and Salakoso); nine lieutenants (Libanza, Masisi, Gerembaya, Mbuyi, Ndongala, Ngani, Kpdobere, Nzanzu and Sido); and four sergeants (Kongo, Dondo, Lisala, and Lite).

“President Kabila is afraid of the ex-FAZ,” says one Congolese source. “He is afraid of Ngbanda.”

One of the former President Mobutu’s closest advisers, Honoré Ngbanda—the ‘Terminator’—is also rumored to back the uprising in Dongo. Ngbanda held various positions under Mobutu, including Minster of the Interior, Ambassador to Israel and Head of the Mobutu’s notorious SNIP, the National Intelligence and Protection Service (Service National d’Intelligence et de Protection).

Honoré Ngbanda’s ties to other Mobutu era big men likely include the Bongo family (Gabon) and Jewish-American diamond kingpin Maurice Templesman (United States), whose De Beers-affiliated diamond interests were partially displaced when the Kabila regime partnered with Israeli businessmen Dan Gertler and Benny Steinmetz. Gertler and Steinmetz cemented their interests in Congo-Kinshasa through former U.S. President G.W. Bush and former U.S. State Department official Jendayi Frazer.

South Africa is home to several former high commanders from the former Mobutu regime of Zaire. Former Security Police Chief General Kpama Baramoto, former Special Forces Commander General Ngabale Nzimbi and former Zairean Defense Minister Admiral Mudima all now reside in South Africa and are clearly interested in overthrowing Joseph Kabila.

In past weeks, Kabila has attempted to replace Congolese intelligence agents with Rwandans drawn from the CNDP, the extremist Tutsi terrorist network out of Rwanda. This has stirred further anger amongst the Congolese members of the FARDC and the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), Congo-Kinshasa’s secret service.

“The CNDP is a rebellion that Kagame used, and Kabila allowed, to infiltrate Rwandan soldiers into the Congolese [FARDC] army,” reports an intelligence insider in Kinshasa. “These CNDP are described as Congolese Tutsis but they are Rwandans. The fact that Kabila tried to replace some members of secret services and [FARDC] army by people who came from CNDP [provoked] the anger of many in the Congolese army and intelligence services. Kabila will be captured or killed very soon. TRUST ME.”

RESISTANCE PATRIOTS OF DONGO

In March 2009 the western press reported a ‘tribal dispute’ and ‘ethnic clash over fishing rights’ in the little western Congo outback town of Dongo. The dispute reportedly began between two different ethnic groups. However, the newly announced “Resistance Patriots of Dongo” claim that President Kabila’s agents manipulated the parties of the dispute and thereby escalated armed hostilities.

In October 2009 President Kabila and John Numbi—one of his top military advisers—dispatched FARDC troops under the command of General Benjamin Alongaboni to Dongo to negotiate peace with resistance forces. General Alongaboni, a Congolese son hailing from Equateur Province, and the first FARDC officer on the scene, secured a negotiated peace with Dongo area combatants.

Soon after however, President Kabila sent RDF forces—in FARDC uniforms—who enraged Congolese in the region and provoked hostilities by killing some local people and destroying the possibilities of peace negotiations.

The Resistance Patriots of Dongo retaliated and FARDC under the command of General Alongaboni began defecting.

Now President Kabila is uncertain who is with him and who is against him. All FARDC troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo are on full security alert, prevent from leaving the country or taking leaves of absence.

General Benjamin Alongaboni and the few troops that did not defect to the resistance were moved to nearby Gemena military center where he is currently under surveillance by President Kabila’s security and intelligence operatives. General Alongaboni is an Adjutant General to Kabila’s trusted FARDC insider John Numbi, formerly the head of FARDC Air Forces and now Inspector General of the Police National Congolaise (CNP).

Meanwhile, the ‘Dongo Crises’ has blossomed into a full-blown Congolese rebellion against international occupation forces and the powerful Kabila-Kagame clique. Over the past three weeks civilians and former combatants have been flooding into the remote Dongo region to join a growing rebellion against the now hated military regime of President Joseph Kabila and his western corporate business and military partners.

Hundreds of Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC)—of ethnic Congolese origin—have deserted and joined rebellion ranks with Congolese civilians and various military elements of past rebellions. The Resistance Patriots of Dongo is reportedly comprised of Congolese-FARDC deserters, former Forces Armées Zaïroises (ex-FAZ), and former MLC rebels.

Thousands of ex-FAZ and elite troops of Mobutu’s former Special Presidential Division (DSP) fled Congo-Kinshasa to Congo-Brazzaville between 1996 and 1998 when the Pentagon-backed insurgency led by Rwanda and Uganda swept across the Congo (Zaire) and drove out Zaire’s long-time strongman Joseph Desire Mobutu.

Sources in Kinshasa say that President Kabila seeks to frame and accuse Mobutu’s former intelligence chief Honoré Ngbanda and ex-MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who is already under arrest for war crimes at the International Criminal Court, in a propaganda ruse to justify the international intervention in Equateur and legitimize further military aggression by the Kabila-Kagame-MONUC nexus.

Kabila hopes for strategic gain by claiming that the Dongo uprising is purely an MLC uprising. By convincing his white international patrons that the MLC is the problem, Kabila hopes to further purge his government and the country of MLC supporters.

In September 2009, armed assailants shot up the residences of DRC Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexis Tambwe Mwamba and another minister, Olivier Kamitatu, both ex-MLC supporters who have joined Kabila, in a drive by shooting; other assassination attempts have also been reported.

Sources in Kinshasa say Kabila’s security apparatus staged these assassination attempts to create further international sympathy for Kabila, to discredit the MLC and manipulate the ICC proceedings against Jean-Pierre Bemba. Officials in Kinshasa have been threatened in response to fears that Jean-Pierre Bemba will wiggle and bribe his way out of the ICC war crimes charges and return to Congo. Given the highly political nature of the already corrupted ICC, the fear is not unfounded.

President Kagame and President Yoweri Museveni have a long history of ‘pseudo-operations’ and ‘false-flag operations’ that blame and punish the victims after secret operations and atrocities that are actually committed by disguised RDF and UPDF soldiers.

Joseph Kabila’s goal might be to follow the example of his allies, Paul Kagame and the extremist Tutsis in Rwanda, by blaming all exactions, tortures, assassinations, massacres and organized plunder of Congo on the Dongo forces who are today fighting against western imperialism and its agents in Central Africa—in the person of Joseph Kabila. President Paul Kagame’s success in this conspiracy is evident in the many awards he has received, for his absolute terrorism in service to western interests, with the coup de grâce being Rwanda’s acceptance into the Commonwealth of Nations last week.16

Congolese people everywhere were outraged by the eastern Congo FARDC military operations with RDF and UPDF forces early in 2009, but Kabila and partners heaped one insult on top of another by airlifting RDF across Congo to the far western Equateur to attempt to crush the Dongo resistance.

MONUC and AFRICOM supported the RDF airlift operations.

The Kabila government has reportedly agreed to base AFRICOM out of the remote east-central Congo River city of Kisangani, also the site of a secret U.S. military-intelligence ‘fusion cell’ linking Uganda, Rwanda, Congo-K in a tripartite cooperation agreement focused on minerals and mining. The details of the ‘base’ are unknown, but Kisangani will likely be one of AFRICOM’s many ‘lily-pad’ bases.

AFRICOM LURKING IN THE WINGS

AFRICOM currently has cooperative security location agreements, commonly known as ‘lily pad’ operating agreements with a dozen African nations stretching from Algeria on the Mediterranean to Zambia and Botswana in southern Africa. The U.S. Seventeenth Air Force’s contingency and crisis planning and response team had already visited four African nations through April 2009 to carry out airfield surveys, with plans to visit seven more nations by September 30.17

In January 2009, AFRICOM delivered four 200 hp Yamaha outboard engines to RDF marines in Gisenyi, Rwanda. The RDF maritime regiment was formed in 1995—“in response to Rwanda’s genocide,” according to AFRICOM, “to control [Rwanda’s] water border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevent the infiltration of genocidal forces from the Congo.”

In May 2009, Brigadier General Mike Callan, vice commander of the new AFRICOM Air Forces AFRICA (U.S. Seventeenth Air Force), met with RDF Chief James Kabarebe—an internationally indicted war criminal—and Rwandan Air Force commanders in Kigali for talks focused on turning tiny Rwanda into central and east Africa’s leading ‘air hub’ for both military and civilian air traffic.18

Bound for the Dongo rebellion in mid-November RDF crossed from Gisenyi, Rwanda to Goma, DRC, and were then flown from Goma to Kamina Air Base in Katanga, a military transport hub used for the Belgo-American-U.N. mercenary occupations during the Katanga secession (1960-63) and ‘Congo Crises’ (1964–67). The RDF battalion was next flown to Bandundu Province and from there they joined President Kabila at his ‘farm’ security compound outside Kinshasa.

The RDF troops were reportedly next moved to the 42-acre campus of the U.S. Embassy-affiliated American School in Kinshasa (TASOK), near the notorious Camp Tshatshi military base, and then flown to Gemena airport in Equateur.

The Colonel Tshatshi Military Camp in Kinshasa hosts the defense department and the Chiefs of Staff central command headquarters of the FARDC. The TASOK campus was used for RDF troops because they would not be welcome amongst Congolese-FARDC at Camp Tshatshi.

There were at least three round trips in some legs of the RDF flight plan reportedly using both MONUC and Hewa Bora Airlines, an airline 70% owned by Belgian arms trafficker Philippe de Moerloose. In the ‘leaked’ November 2009 U.N. Panel of Experts Report on Illegal Exploitation in the Congo, Philippe De Moerloose and Hewa Bora Airlines were named for weapons shipments from Sudan to Congo in violation of the International Arms Embargo on the DRC.19

De Moerloose supplies Kabila with Presidential jets and other toys.

“Nobody in the Congo was aware of this operation except Kabila and John Numbi,” says one insider in Kinshasa. “Everyone was surprised to see Rwandan troops enter Kivu [Goma] from Rwanda. When the speaker of the Congolese parliament, Vital Kamhere, criticized the operation, President Kabila pushed for his resignation.”

Former DRC Air Force Commander John Numbi is reported to be Kabila’s main link to Rwandan military officials Paul Kagame and the indicted war criminal James Kabarebe. John Numbi, currently the Inspector General of the Congolese National Police, is a regular visitor to Kigali and described as ‘one of Congo’s most dangerous men’.

John Numbi reportedly orchestrated the joint military operations between RDF and FARDC that began in January 2009. The main overt military campaigns were ‘Umoja Wetu,’ a joint operation between FARDC and RDF, and the ‘Kimia I’ and ‘Kimia II’ operations, which were FARDC operations supported by MONUC.

“Just before the joint operation ‘Umoja Wetu’ [RDF General] James Kabarebe met Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, and they have spoken in secret,” says one Congolese insider. “Nobody knows what they talked about. The real story is that Rwanda took the opportunity to secretly inject at least 4000 and maybe as many as 10,000 Rwandan soldiers into the FARDC army.”

Congolese FARDC troops deployed by Kabila to the Dongo area refused to fight and instead defected to the rebel cause rather than kill their Congolese brothers and sisters for the private enrichment of foreigners and the pro-Rwanda alliance of Kabila and Kagame. Thus President Kabila has been forced to deploy to Dongo only those FARDC units comprised exclusively of ‘ex’-CNDP Tutsi units loyal to Rwanda.

By mid-November 2009 international humanitarian agencies began reporting thousands of refugees flooding across the Congo River to Congo-Brazzaville, with 54,000 now in Congo-Brazzaville and 38,000 IDPs in Congo by December 1, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Resistance Patriots of Dongo are claiming to have inflicted high casualties on the RDF-MONUC-FARDC forces dispatched to Dongo and surrounding areas. Several towns have been taken, lost, and retaken in pitched battles against RDF-MONUC-FARDC forces.

While the conflict in Equateur slowly escalated from March to October, and deteriorated quickly after that, MONUC’s press and information corps have been mute about the rebellion.

All official channels deny the presence of RDF troops, or that RDF troops fought in Equateur. Several very small media outlets are also reporting the RDF presence, their sources appearing to be connected with the Resistance Patriots of Dongo movement.20

MONUC issued one tiny press report on November 26, after resistance forces shot up a MONUC helicopter that flew to Dongo to resupply the RDF-MONUC-FARDC ground troops. Five of the 25 to 30 personnel on board were injured, and the pilot took off and flew the chopper to Congo-Brazza. None of the personnel (or their nationalities) aboard the MONUC chopper was identified.

A short western media propaganda blurb circulated by Agence France-Presse attempted to discredit the rebellion and cover for MONUC’s involvement in open military aggression against Congolese people. Titled “Armed group claims firing at UN chopper in DRC,” the AFP blurb also confirmed the Resistance Patriots of Dongos’ strike against a MONUC helicopter.

“In their confused statement,” AFP wrote, November 26, 2009, “the Patriots-Resistance [of Dongo] alleged that Rwandan occupation forces were in the region and they denounced the ‘complicity’ of MONUC ‘with the Mafia-like imperialists’.”

“Dongo was attacked on October 29 and 30 by a group from the Lobala community (also known as the Enyele), which targeted the Bamboma (or Boba) community,” the AFP reported. “Both sides have frequently disputed the fishing resources of the region. The violence, which has since spread to other villages, left at least 100 dead, mainly in Dongo, who were either hacked with machetes or shot, while a number drowned trying to cross the Oubangi river, which marks the border with the Congo Republic [Brazzaville].”

The AFP not only decontextualized the conflict, describing it as purely tribal, they also framed it as ruthless savage Africans killing with machetes. The MONUC chopper apparently was attacked on November 26. There was no mention of the major battles that occurred between foreign forces on November 22-24 or November 26-28.23

On December 3, 2009, the Dongo resistance forces intercepted a tugboat pulling two big barges carrying 2,500 tons of arms and ammunition destined for Dongo RDF-MONUC-FARDC forces. The commander of the FARDC operations involved in moving the weapons, Colonel Nyav, was killed during the clashes; Nyav had previously been commanding RDF-MONUC-FARDC troops at Dongo. The ethnic Congolese FARDC under Col. Nyav’s command jubilantly defected to the resistance after seizing the boat and weapons.

Also on December 3, the strategic Congolese airport town of Libenge fell into the hands of the Resistance Patriots of Dongo. The resistance forces now control the towns of Dongo, Libenge, all the territory located along Oubangi River, the localities of Bomongo, Kutu, Kungu, Saba-Saba, Buburu and the Catholic mission of Bokonzi.

The Resistance Patriots of Dongo next plan to take Mbandaka, the major administrative city on the Congo River—and the end of the line for thousands of Hutu refugee women and children executed in cold blood by the RPF/A and the AFDL on the banks of the Congo River there in 1997.

“We take the engagement before God and before all the Congolese to topple the puppet regime currently in place in Kinshasa,” the November 26 resistance statement added, according to the AFP.

DONGO WAR NOT CONNECTED TO EASTERN CONGO?

“The helicopter was delivering supplies to peacekeepers recently deployed to the town of Dongo,” reported Reuters, basing their “news” report on MONUC Public Information Officer Madnodje Mounoubai. Reuters reported “around 20 Ghanaian peacekeepers” deployed by MONUC in Dongo.

“The fighting is not related to the simmering conflict in the mineral-rich eastern borderlands,” Reuters wrote, “where the army—backed by thousands of peacekeepers—are attempting to stamp out local, Rwandan, and Ugandan rebels.”21

On December 3, 2009 Belgian newspapers La Libre Belgique and RTLM reported that Belgium’s Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere and Defense Minister Pieter De Crem had responded to the communiqué of the Resistance Patriots of Dongo, circulated on the Internet on December 1, which warned Belgium and Kinshasa that the resistance knew of the secret plan to dispatch paratroopers to Kisangani. The two Belgian ministries issued a joint communiqué denying the operation “with the biggest firmness.”22

According to Kinshasa sources, the MONUC-uniformed Belgians would be flown from Kisangani, Orientale Province, to Equateur Probvince’s northwestern frontier city of Gbadolite, the stronghold of former President Mobutu and the Bemba family, Jean-Pierre and father Saolona (1942-2009), and then to Gemena airport near Dongo.23

Soon after the Resistance Patriots of Dongo forces occupied the frontier city of Libenge, President Kabila dispatched 600 elite FARDC commandos trained by 60 Belgian Armed Forces instructors in Kindu Province. As of December 5, Libenge remained under siege, with civilians fleeing to escape the massive battle.24

Sources in Kinshasa on December 5 report “massive violent fighting in Libenge and Gemena areas,” involving 1000 Congolese National Police (PNC) and 100 Ghanaian MONUC troops and two MONUC helicopter gunships. MONUC sources in Kisangani indicate that two additional MONUC helicopter gunships are ‘standing by’ for possible immediate deployment to Equateur.

The MONUC ‘peacekeeping’ in Congo is a one billion dollar a year operation.

The recently ‘leaked’ United Nations Group of Experts Report provides evidence of direct PNC involvement in contraband activities involving Rwandan Defense Forces in eastern Congo. The U.N. experts investigated the frequent and suspicious undocumented flights of a white Mi-8 helicopter leased on 27 January 2009 to the Congolese National Police through John Numbi, the head of the PNC. Numbi managed the joint RDF-MONUC-FARDC military operations (‘Umoja Wetu’) in eastern DRC begun in January 2009, along with Major General James Kaberebe, the army chief of Rwanda.19

NOTES

For this report these RDF disguised troops will be designated ‘RDF’ to separate them from other FRADC troops with Rwandan allegiances. [↩]
Private investigations and interviews, Kinshasa, Equateur (Mbandaka, Basankusu, Bosondjo, Lisala) and Orientale (Kisangani, Isangi, Lokutu) Congo, 2004-2007. [↩]
See e.g. Spain’s February 6, 2008, indictment issued by High Court Judge Andreu Merelles charging 40 current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials with serious crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, perpetrated over a period of 12 years, from 1990 to 2002, against the civilian population, and primarily against members of the Hutu ethnic group. [↩]
See e.g., Davenport and Stam, “What Really Happened in Rwanda?” Miller-McCune, October 6, 2009. [↩]
See e.g., keith harmon snow, “The Rwanda Genocide Fabrications,” Dissident Voice, April 13, 2009. [↩]
Jeffrey Gettleman, “Congo army helps rebels get arms, UN finds,” New York Times, November 25, 2009. [↩]
See keith harmon snow, “Congo’s President Kabila: Dynasty or Travesty?” Toward Freedom, November 13, 2007. [↩]
Private investigations, De. Rep. of Congo, July-August 2006 and February-March 2007. [↩]
See keith harmon snow, “Behind the Scenes: Warlord’s Deadly Battle in Congo,” Toward Freedom, August 19, 2007. [↩] [↩]
I previously, but incorrectly, reported that Joseph Kabila married Sandrine Nguesso, the sister the President in Congo-Brazza. See keith harmon snow, “Congo’s President Kabila: Dynasty or Travesty?” Toward Freedom, November 13, 2007. [↩]
Interviews with Rwandans in the Diaspora, keith harmon snow. [↩]
See Keith Harmon Snow, “The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa’s Gardens of Eden,” Dissident Voice, July 17, 2009. [↩]
David Barouski, “Transcript of David Barouski’s 10/19/08 Presentation for Congo Week in Chicago, IL.,” World News Journal, October 22, 2008. [↩]
Elwyn Blattner and his plantations holdings are revealed in the 2008 documentary film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty by Dutch filmmaker Renzo Martens. [↩]
Wilf Mbanga, “Zimbabwe/DRC: Zimbabwean troops guards President Kabila in Congo,” The Zimbabwean/UK, August 12, 2005. [↩]
See Wayne Madsen, “Admission of Rwanda to Commonwealth caps off assassination, genocide, and civil war,” Online Journal, December 4, 2009. [↩]
Stewart M. Powell, “Engagement in Africa,” airforce-Magazine.com, July 2009. [↩]
Eric Elliot, “U.S. Begins Flying Rwandan Peacekeeping Equipment to Darfur,” U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs, January 14, 2009. [↩]
United Nations: Letter dated 9 November 2009 from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004), ‘leaked’ November 2009. [↩] [↩]
“La radio Bendele reçoit Mr Ambroise LOBALA MOKOBE Porte-parole des Patriotes-résistants de Dongo,” Radio Bendele, November 22, 2009. [↩]
Joe Bavier, “Congo gunmen fire at U.N. helicopter, five wounded,” Reuters, November 26, 2009. [↩]
Belga, “La Belgique dément tout projet d’envoi de troupes en RDC,” RTBF, December 3, 2009. [“Belgium denies all project of sending of troops to DRC”]. [↩]
Bemba Saolona’s company, Scibe CMMJ, was implicated by the U.N. in smuggling weapons to UNITA during the Angolan Civil War: Johan Peleman, “The logistics of sanctions busting: the airborne component.” (PDF file), page 303. [↩]
In 2006-07, Police Nationale Congolaise were outfitted with high-tech radio communications, funded by the United Nations Development Program, purchased from New Zealand. [↩]
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Postby American Dream » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:46 am

Congo Communique: Patrice, The Martyr, Ali The "Killer" And Tales From Central Africa

December, 10 2009 By Danny Schechter



I came to the Congo in search of its future and instead found myself marching down memory lane. On Thursday we went to the Museum of Beaux Arts, really a school for teaching sculpture, a subject close to me because my late dad sculpted in stone and wood as a hobby.

But there, surrounding the ageing art deco building, were statues of Congo's history of agony-large almost socialist realist renderings of soldiers carrying the wounded, or falling on the battlefield.

Even an art school cannot ignore the history around it. The curator told me that it is only recently that art students have been allowed to do work of social commentary.

On Friday, we passed a public monument alongside a well-traveled highway. It was for someone who took decades to be resuscitated as a national hero, the country's first post-independence prime minister later assassinated with CIA help in 1961.

His name: Patrice Lumumba.

What happened is still to some a mystery of history as US News reported in 2000:

"It was the height of the Cold War when Sidney Gottlieb arrived in Congo in September 1960. The CIA man was toting a vial of poison. His target: the toothbrush of Patrice Lumumba, Congo's charismatic first prime minister, who was also feared to be a rabid Communist. As it happened, Lumumba was toppled in a military coup just days before Gottlieb turned up with his poison. The plot was abandoned, the lethal potion dumped in the Congo River.

When Lumumba finally was killed, in January 1961, no one was surprised when fingers started pointing at the CIA. A Senate investigation of CIA assassinations 14 years later found no proof that the agency was behind the hit, but suspicions linger. Today, new evidence suggests Belgium, Congo's former colonialist ruler, was the mastermind. According to The Assassination of Lumumba, a book published last year in Belgium by sociologist Ludo de Witte, Belgian operatives directed and carried out the murder, and even helped dispose of the body. Belgian authorities are investigating, but officials admit de Witte's account appears accurate.

Does that mean the CIA didn't play a role? Declassified U.S. cables from the year preceding the assassination bristle with paranoia about a Lumumba-led Soviet Communist takeover. The CIA was hatching plots against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and was accused of fomenting coups and planning assassinations worldwide. And Lumumba clearly scared the daylights out of the Eisenhower administration. "In high quarters here, it is the clear-cut conclusion that if [Lumumba] continues to hold high office, the inevitable result will [have] disastrous consequences . . . for the interests of the free world generally," CIA Director Allen Dulles wrote. "Consequently, we conclude that his removal must be an urgent and prime objective."

(The CIA still doing its secret dirty work in the service of empire, driven by new "urgent" objectives in Afghanistan and around the world, unchecked, unaccountable, unpunished. As for toothbrushes, it's now Swiss bankers who are being caught smuggling diamonds in toothpaste containers. (True!) Who knows if those diamonds originated here.)

Today, at "his" monument, the "P" in Patrice had fallen off but there it was, a giant memorial with a likeness of the legendary Congolese nationalist in a suit, arm erect, waving to the masses, only in this case, he's waving at the traffic, greeting and welcoming travelers to Congo an the airport road named after him. I waved back.

Under his name were the dates of the short years he lived, 1925 to 1961. He was just 36 when he was brutally killed. Had he survived, this would have been a very different country. The Russians set up Patrice Lumumba University, a political school in Moscow for international students named after him. Malcolm X, who met a similar fate years later called him, ""the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent."

He was a voice of memory and determination which is no doubt why he frightened many in the West who had profited from their relationship to Congo, His speeches were poetic. Here's part of what he said on June 30, l960, Congo Independence Day:

...no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that is was by fighting that it has been won [applause], a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood.

We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.

This was our fate for eighty years of a colonial regime; our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.


There is another monument up the road for another "assassinee," Laurent Kabilla, the father of the current president Joseph, just 38 years old. Kabilla was at one time one of the Congo's revolutionaries and backed Cuba's Che Guevara who many don't remember fought a guerilla battle in the Congo before his ill-fated adventure in Bolivia. Kabilla too would be killed in office.

Later that night I interviewed LEXUS, a powerful local hip-hop artist who told me that these national heroes are not really taught about in the schools, and should be.

After my "Lumumba moment"-and I had mourned his passing back in '61 in a solemn march as a freshman at Cornell as my fellow students and I began learning about the "winds of change" in Africa.

From the monument for Patrice, I sought out another "monument" that far more Americans would remember---the stadium that hosted Mohammad Ali and George Foreman's "rumble un the jungle" back in l974.

It wasn't easy to get in to the field because its self-appointed guards demanded bribes-something you can understand given the deep poverty they are experiencing, and given the way so much business is done here.

I found families huddled in the Stadium's catacombs with fires for cooking and small children living in desperation in what were actually once prison cells under the sports arena. The bars are still there in that dark and dank basement. I don't think the coverage back in the day noted that there was a "working" dungeon under the stadium maintained by the Mobutu regime.

He had his own GITMO similar to Pinochet's stadium torture chamber in Santiago Chile. (As I complete this essay, BBC is reporting that Victor Jara, the Chilean singer killed in Chile was reburied today, 36 years later, the real lifespan of Patrice Lumumba.

Dictators of a feather tend to stick together! The Congo stadium was later named May 20th for the date Mobutu founded his political party. What was really disturbing was hearing people tell me that if Mobutu were alive, he would be re-elected because people remember his time as more stable when the country could defend itself. He was for many, despicable but also the Strong Man who could.

A woman in African dress accepted a small gratuity with gratitude and showed us the room that housed Ali and his trainers. It had been flooded, and smelled fetid. Someone was taking a shower in the back. A picture of "the Greatest," mouth perpetually open, eyes defiant, was still plastered on a wall. Two deflated punching bags swing from the ceiling. There was no electricity.

Ali may have beat Forman but the place felt beat up too. It was like the wreck of the Roman coliseum. The field is still there but not the ring. There was no plaque, no photos, no historic marker except in my own memory and heart because that encounter was so thrilling.

If this was the USA, I could imagine the stadium being turned into a pugilistic museum with a screening room featuring clips from Leon Gast's great decades-in-the making doc, "When We Were Kings" of that Don King extravaganza, or perhaps even Will Smith's recreation in the movie ALI---actually shot in Mozambique, not Congo.

But that will not happen because there is no tourist market here. Besides, a new humongas 80,000 seat stadium built by the Chinese who used prison laborers, somehow a practice not uncommon here is now just down the street. This communist creation is now named after its own capitalist corporate sponsor, Vodacom, the South African Telecom giant.

Congo has moved, on even if the chant "Ali Bumbaye" ("Ali Kill him") still resonates. A Congolese told me the country started hating Foreman when he showed up with two giant dogs reminiscent of the ones imported by Belgian colonialists.

I was thinking about all this in part because today was the day the World Cup announced what teams would play in 2010, an announcement made in South Africa, and then heard and seen worldwide on TV.

Sports and pop culture have become our politics of distraction. It is so much harder to keep score on changes in our world than on what's happening on the playing fields where games start and end in a few hours. They don't drag on over months and years as they do in the political sphere. There are winners and losers, period!

Highly paid athletes have become our role models, not the likes of political martyrs like Che or Lumumba. In this culture, worldwide, corporate marketing trumps political missions. You have to be a rock star like Bono to promote African causes. While respected for his football talent, David Beckham is better known for his endorsement deals, salaries and beautiful people lifestyle.

Just as South Africa spends billions on new stadiums to host a world sporting event, so Mubutu hosted the Rumble in the Jungle to try to clean up the international image of his brutal regime. The real game is designed to keep our eyes on the spectacle, not on the men and the money in the shadows.

Oddly, later in the evening I was taken across the street from our hotel to "The Shark Club," a new private sports complex with a pool and a gym said to be owned by the President's brother. There is also a modern field house with a state of the art boxing ring. On Friday nights, it becomes a private fight club with four scheduled slugfests.

What would Ali have thought?

Boxing is now an entertainment for the elite, not only a stadium sport for the masses complete with refs in white shirts, judges, and sexy young girls strutting around the ring with signs reminding the largely male audience having drinks at tables what the next round is.. Even this has been commodified so many miles away ---like so much else. Everyone can now play at being a more modern Don King.

Back in his glory days, in the year I turned l8 and began discovering the world, Lumumba announced a new Congo with a new vision I followed those events closely then and I am exploring their aftermath now.

"The Republic of the Congo has been proclaimed, and our country is now in the hands of its own children.

"Together, my brothers, my sisters, we are going to begin a new struggle, a sublime struggle, which will lead our country to peace, prosperity, and greatness.

"Together, we are going to establish social justice and make sure everyone has just remuneration for his labor [applause]."

That promise and dream has yet to be realized. That "sublime" struggle continues. I hope to meet Lumumba's family next week.

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic Of The Congo




News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org and is making a film about peace in the Congo. Info on his latest film at plunderthecrimeofourtime.com Comments to Dissector@mediachannel.org

From: Z Space - The Spirit Of Resistance Lives
URL: http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/4071
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Re: Congo war

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:42 am





SWISS LEAKS: MURKY CASH SHELTERED BY BANK SECRECY



Diamond Dealers in Deep Trouble as Bank Documents Shine Light on Secret Ways
Diamonds
Photo: Shutterstock
By Ryan Chittum February 9, 2015, 8:00 am
KEY FINDINGS

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavorably named by the United Nations, in court documents and in the media as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery.
HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.
Clients who held HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland include former and current politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Lebanon, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, Philippines and Algeria.
The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities, even if evidence suggested that the accounts were undeclared to tax authorities in the client’s home country. Bank employees also discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. This included holding accounts in the name of offshore companies to avoid the European Savings Directive, a 2005 Europe-wide rule aimed at tackling tax evasion through the exchange of bank information.

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Explore the Swiss Leaks Data

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

Swiss Leaks is a collaborative investigation that exposes how the Swiss branch of one of the world’s biggest banks, HSBC, profited from doing business with tax dodgers and criminals around the world.

Belgium, center of the world diamond trade, charges HSBC’s Swiss Private Bank with fraud; many dealers under investigation around the world

In the spring of 2005, Erez Daleyot, a Belgian-Israeli diamond tycoon with some dubious connections, paid a visit to his Swiss bankers at HSBC Private Bank, where he would soon have up to $38.5 million in accounts tied to shell companies in the British Virgin Islands.

Business was good. With $886 million reported in revenue the previous year, Daleyot informed his bankers that he projected topping that amount in the year ahead with $1 billion. He’d recently obtained a tax ruling from Israel allowing him to pay just 5 percent in taxes on $85 million in earnings. Visiting Geneva to buy a $41.5 million private jet, he invited his bankers to the airport to show it off, according to secret HSBC files obtained by the French newspaper Le Monde and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Now Daleyot is reportedly under investigation by Belgian authorities for money laundering and tax evasion, though he has not been charged. And the New York-based diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International, a former business partner, alleges that Daleyot participated in a criminal conspiracy to defraud it of $135 million by laundering diamond proceeds, largely through his HSBC accounts, which were also the source of $20 million in bribes paid to bankers at Antwerp Diamond Bank, according to a civil lawsuit filed by Lazare in U.S. federal court in 2011.

Daleyot’s relationship with HSBC was hardly unique for a diamond industry tycoon. Analysis of the Swiss bank’s files shows that it eagerly accommodated almost 2,000 diamond professionals, looking past unsavory associates, criminal investigations and the dismal reputation of the diamond industry generally.

Diamond trade and HSBC
Diamond dealerA legal dealer weighing diamonds in Koidu, Sierra Leone. Photo: APThe diamond trade, whose world center is Antwerp, Belgium’s largest city, retains vestiges of ancient ways of commerce that make it highly susceptible to black market activity. Secretive, clannish, it still often operates on cash and a handshake.

“Diamonds are a great way to launder money, to hide money, to evade taxes, and all the rest,” said Ian Smillie, a cofounder of the Kimberley Process, a United Nations effort to stamp out what are often called blood diamonds or conflict diamonds — gems that are exploited to finance wars. “Half a million died in the Angolan civil war,” Smillie said of wars fueled by blood diamonds. “Tens of thousands died in Sierra Leone, Congo, and elsewhere. It was a huge humanitarian crisis that destabilized huge regions.”

As a compact, stable, and transferable store of value, diamonds offer enormous advantages to smugglers, money launderers, and tax evaders. In many ways they are better even than cash. Easier to carry and to conceal, they are, in the wholesale market, almost as liquid and easily sold anywhere. They leave no paper trail and are virtually impossible to trace. They don’t go bad, can’t be burned up in a fire and aren’t devalued by inflation.

Still, without Swiss bank accounts and various offshore financial operators, money laundering and tax evasion would be much harder to pull off. The diamond trade is extraordinarily lucrative, which is why some banks might look the other way to get a piece of the business. The files obtained by ICIJ and Le Monde show the bankers at HSBC were eager to court diamantaires and to help some of them avoid taxes by shielding their assets.

The secret HSBC files ICIJ has analyzed are based on data originally smuggled away by an HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower and handed over to French authorities in 2008. France has shared the files with other countries, and they are causing legal repercussions around the world. A Belgian prosecutor charged HSBC’s Swiss unit in November with fraud, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy — mostly involving clients in the diamond business — accusing the bank of “knowingly favoring and encouraging fiscal fraud, giving privileged clients access to offshore accounts, particularly in Panama and the [British] Virgin Islands.” HSBC said at the time that it would “cooperate to the fullest extent possible.”

In a statement to ICIJ, HSBC wrote, “We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures. We have taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who did not meet strict new HSBC standards, including those where we had concerns in relation to tax compliance.”

The bank’s own files show that HSBC ignored frequent warning signs among its array of diamond trade clients while actively helping some set up offshore companies to obscure their business dealings. Amid a flurry of investigations, HSBC decided to shutter its MEDIS group, which included its diamond clients, in the middle of 2013, according to testimony to Belgian authorities by its chief legal officer, David Garrido. “Historically, the MEDIS accounts were disproportionately more often the subjects of requests from Swiss authorities in relation to criminal charges,” he said. “The bank had lost the confidence of the diamond sector, which represented a risk for the bank. The decision was made to separate from the entire sector.”

Unsavory connections
With Daleyot, the bank looked past his questionable business connections, the most notorious of whom was reportedly Arkadi Gaydamak, a Russian-Israeli businessman convicted in absentia by France for his role in the 1990s “Angolagate” arms-trafficking scandal (some of the charges were overturned on appeal). Daleyot also reportedly financed Yakov Arabov, known to hip-hop stars like 50 Cent and the Notorious B.I.G. as Jacob the Jeweler. Arabov later went to prison in 2008 for lying to U.S. federal agents about laundering money for the Black Mafia Family, a Detroit drug ring. Daleyot did not respond to ICIJ request for comment.

Another HSBC client, Emmanuel Shallop, had earned a mention in a 2001 UN report for doing business with the rebels in Sierra Leone’s vicious civil war. HSBC bankers noted in 2005 that he was “very cautious currently because he is under pressure from the Belgian tax authorities who are investigating his activities in the area of diamond tax fraud.” HSBC continued to serve him. In 2010, a Belgian court convicted Shallop of facilitating the trade of blood diamonds in Sierra Leone, seizing $59 million in diamonds and real estate and sentencing him to six years in prison. “We do not want to give any comment on this issue,” John Maes, Shallop’s attorney, told ICIJ. “My client does not want his name to be mentioned in any article because of reasons of privacy.”

Or take Fisi Daskal, a German-Belgian diamond dealer who in 2005 was about to run into a problem with European tax authorities. “Re: ESD [European Savings Directive] customer confirms that [he] will proceed to open a Panamanian corporation (in 7 days) to solve this problem,” an HSBC banker noted on Daskal’s account. A few months later, HSBC noted that one of his accounts had been blocked, “affected indirectly in a criminal case.” Daskal did not respond to a request for comment.

"[Client] no longer wants us to call him; wiretapping continue[s] in the market … has very concrete plans to leave Antwerp within 6 months"

The European Savings Directive is a law that took effect July 1 of that year. It required EU members and other countries to disclose names of account holders who were EU residents and the interest that they earned to their home countries. Countries with bank secrecy laws, such as Switzerland, were allowed to skip disclosing names and interest earned in return for collecting a withholding tax and remitting it to the to the nation where the client was a resident.

The HSBC files are littered with references to the impending launch of ESD, with bankers discussing with clients ways to set up trusts or corporations in Panama or the British Virgin Islands to shelter their assets from taxes.

The ESD coincided with serious concern in the Belgian diamond community about a crackdown by authorities in the formerly lax country. HSBC’s files noted that Daskal was worried that “the climate in Antwerp remains very hostile. No longer wants us to call him; wiretapping continue[s] in the market … has very concrete plans to leave Antwerp within 6 months. … Confirms that many diamond office[s] are in the same state of mind and construct similar plans.”

Several of HSBC’s diamond clients would indeed soon be leaving Belgium. Among them were Richard Davidovici, Kenneth Lee Akselrod and Mozes Victor Konig, who are fugitives wanted by Interpol for various alleged crimes in Russia, including fraud, smuggling and tax evasion.

Unsavory companies
Then there was Omega Diamonds, a major diamond trading outfit owned in 2006 by Sylvain Goldberg, Robert Liling, and Ehud Arye Laniado. Omega left Belgium after David Renous, a whistleblower who worked for Omega dealing in diamonds from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and who claims the FBI prevented two attempts on his life, tipped off authorities in 2006 to an alleged money laundering and tax fraud scheme that Renous said allowed Gaydamak to launder arms money. Tax authorities raided Omega’s offices, seizing $125 million worth of diamonds Belgium suspected Omega had traded unlawfully. While the company eventually reached an agreement to pay a $195 million civil settlement in that case in 2013 without admitting liability, the largest ever involving a Belgian company, there is still an ongoing customs case in Belgium against Omega for an alleged multibillion-dollar import-fraud scheme. Belgium said Omega and several other defendants connected to the alleged scheme owe it an astonishing €4.6 billion.

“The tax dispute between Omega Diamonds and the Belgian tax authorities involved Omega Diamonds only, neither Mr. Laniado, Mr. Goldberg or Mr. Liling were involved in this,” says their law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, in a letter to ICIJ. “The tax settlement does not refer to or constitute any illicit activity on the part of Omega Diamonds and is based on international principles of profit allocation.”

Harbottle says Mr. Renous’s claims were found to be baseless and were dismissed

Sifting for diamonds in CongoSifting for diamonds in a river in Congo. Photo: APThe HSBC files list Goldberg and Liling as beneficial owners of an account under the name of Nybelgo Inc., a Liberian company cited in a 2000 United Nations report for illegal exporting possibly connected to conflict diamonds. The same report lists Omega Diamonds among Belgian companies importing diamonds from Liberia. Harbottle denies Omega had any involvement in blood diamonds. (Two other firms cited in the same UN report – Alcorta Trading and Pier Enterprises SA – are also in the HSBC files, though they are not connected to Goldberg or Liling).

Goldberg and Laniado were also partners in Ascorp, the Angolan diamond monopoly controlled by Russian-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who is a close friend of Vladimir Putin (Leviev had several numbered accounts at HSBC). Among Ascorp’s shareholders, ICIJ reported in 2002, was the Angolan dictator’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, the richest woman in Africa with nearly $4 billion. Her mother, Tatiana Cergueevna Koukanova Regan, was connected to two numbered accounts at HSBC that contained as much as $4.5 million sometime in 2006/2007. Regan, whose exact role for the accounts is not specified, could not be reached for comment.

Also in the files is Dan Gertler, an Israeli diamond dealer and close friend of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. He reportedly got his big start trading arms for diamonds in African civil wars during the 1990s in violation of UN embargoes. A 2001 UN Security Council report found “very credible sources” who told of a secret deal that, in exchange for a sweetheart deal giving Gertler a monopoly on diamond rights in the Congo, the Israeli “agreed to arrange, through its connections with high-ranking Israeli military officers the delivery of undisclosed quantities of arms as well as training for the Congolese armed forces.”

Mischon de Reya, a London law firm representing Gertler, said in a letter to ICIJ that “our client categorically denies any involvement in the alleged diamonds-for arms trades in Congo in the late 1990s” and that Gertler “has no knowledge of the companies listed in your letter as having these bank accounts.”

“Details of his private affairs are of no legitimate public interest. Our client has, however, always paid all taxes due in every jurisdiction.”

Gertler is listed in the HSBC files as beneficial owner of an account under the name of Concordia Marketing Group Inc., a British Virgin Islands firm. The other beneficial owner of the account was Daniel Steinmetz of the Steinmetz family, one of the biggest HSBC-linked diamond clients of all (Gertler’s lawyers said he is not associated with Daniel Steinmetz). Steinmetz family members appear to have controlled accounts containing nearly half a billion dollars at the bank in 2006/2007. One HSBC banker noted with an exclamation mark that an inactive account belonged to the Daniel Steinmetz group and that the bank expected much new business from him in the next year. He cautioned that the account was “part of DS Group!!!” Another HSBC banker also noted that Daniel’s mother was very ill and that bank officials would travel to Sardinia, where the Steinmetzes lived four months every year, to visit the family.

The bankers were not wrong to be excited. One numbered account called 25225 KT with Daniel Steinmetz listed as attorney would eventually have as much as $264 million at HSBC in 2006/2007.

Wildly lucrative deal
Beny SteinmetzBeny Steinmetz. Photo: YouTubeSteinmetz’s brother Beny offered the prospect of even more business. One of the richest men in Israel and a Gertler business partner, Beny expanded his father’s diamond business into a multi-industry empire. He had major business interests in African warzones, including Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and in 2008 in Guinea, he made one of the most lucrative deals of all time.

As longtime Guinean dictator Lansana Conté lay dying, he handed Steinmetz half the mining rights to Simandou, the richest iron-ore deposit on earth, wresting it away from the Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto. A year later, Steinmetz, who had no experience in iron mining, sold 51 percent of the rights for $2.5 billion. It was almost pure profit. He had paid nothing for the exploration license – in a country whose entire GDP was just $4.5 billion that year – while investing just $160 million in the project.

But a new Guinean government under reformer Alpha Condé suspected that Steinmetz had paid someone for the license to develop Simandou after all – and illicitly. An investigation bankrolled by billionaire George Soros (whose Open Society Foundations help fund ICIJ) and assisted by former British prime minister Tony Blair through his Africa Governance Initiative found that Steinmetz’s Pentler Holdings had bribed one of the late dictator’s wives, Mamadie Touré, giving her millions of dollars and a 5 percent stake in the project in exchange for her help getting Conté to sign over the rights, according to The New Yorker.

Touré insisted on a signed contract, she later testified, and when word of the documents emerged during the Soros-backed Guinean investigation, which would result in a U.S. probe, Steinmetz agent Frederic Cilins then traveled to Florida to pay Touré up to $11 million to destroy the contract and change her story. Touré was wearing a wire for the FBI, which recorded Cilins telling her that he was acting on the authority of Steinmetz himself. Cilins later pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal bribery investigation.

“BSGR and Beny Steinmetz have consistently denied wrong doing in Guinea,” says Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman, adding that “BSGR has taken the Government of Guinea to international arbitration at ICSID [International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes] to defend itself against the allegations that have been made against it,” said Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman.

Beny Steinmetz and BSG Resources allege that the documents were forged and that Cilins was trying to destroy the forgeries. But Steinmetz is now himself a target of an ongoing U.S. investigation, along with probes in several other countries, including Guinea, and Switzerland, his latest residence. Steinmetz changed his official residence from Israel to Geneva in 2012, while Israeli tax authorities were pursuing an investigation that ultimately determined that he evaded $1.1 billion in taxes.

“Beny Steinmetz is a Swiss resident, pays taxes in strict accordance with his agreement with the Swiss tax authorities and has always managed his bank accounts in Switzerland in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” Crutcher said.

A Pentler Pacific Ltd. appears in the HSBC files. Though it is not connected by HSBC to the Steinmetz group, Pentler Pacific is listed having the same address in the British Virgin Islands as Pentler Holdings, the Steinmetz vehicle that the FBI says bribed Touré.

How the system works
Digging for diamondsWomen in Zimbabwe digging for diamonds. Photo: APBanks like HSBC, as well as the offshore-front industry, are part of an infrastructure that enables the looting of poor countries and the evasion of taxes in rich countries.

“By and large really significant corruption in the resources sector does not involve suitcases of cash,” said Scott Horton, a lecturer at Columbia Law School who investigated the Simandou concessions for the new Guinean government and who wasn't speaking specifically about Steinmetz. “It involves millions of dollars being paid into bank accounts. They may be in Geneva or London or New York. They may be held in the British Virgin Islands or the Caymans. Very, very rarely are they moving money into banks in Guinea or Liberia or Sierra Leone. You cannot pull off this large scale corruption without involving lawyers, accountants, investment advisers in places like Geneva, London, Amsterdam, New York and Paris.”

And Antwerp.

In September 2005, a diamond dealer from war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), one of the poorest countries on Earth, bumped into his new HSBC banker at the Park Lane hotel in Antwerp. Abdoul-Karim Dan Azoumi “was with the minister and the Central African delegations in the hall [or lobby],” noted his banker, and the two exchanged contact information in order to talk later.

Dan-Azoumi’s papers weren’t in order with the bank for an unspecified reason, and the banker told him in phone calls over the next few weeks that he “wasn't comfortable with the current situation,” and that forming an offshore company would solve the issue.

The banker noted that Dan-Azoumi was Muslim and had 18 children by four wives, two of whom he was still married to, and that he directed Badica, a diamond company based in the CAR. Badica would later be fingered by a United Nations Security Council committee for trafficking in blood diamonds. The U.S. State Department noted reports that Badica had financed the Séléka, the Muslim rebel group that overthrew the predominantly Christian CAR government in 2013, setting off a civil war.

The Park Lane hotel itself was co-owned by four of the bank’s clients, including Luscha Baumwald, Louis Stranders, and Josif Grosz. “A family member has court concerns, so we wait to contact,” HSBC noted on Stranders’ account.

Mozes Victor Konig, one of the men now wanted by Interpol, was the fourth co-owner of the Park Lane. Konig had as much as $114 million in his HSBC accounts, one of which was called Front Trading Consultants Inc., during 2006/2007.

The group had used the hotel investment to launder tens of millions in dirty money. All four would be convicted of fraud in 2012. A criminal court in Antwerp forced them to forfeit the $40 million hotel and another $18 million in cash and handed out sentences that ranged from probation to two years in prison.

Neither Konig nor Baumwald, Stranders, Azoumi or Grosz could be reached for comment.

Konig, with Interpol after him, is still at large.



Israeli Diamond Tycoons Listed in Leaked Panama Papers
Diamond and mining magnate Dan Gertler is mentioned more than 200 times in the leaked documents of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a leader in establishing shell companies that often serve to conceal the ownership of assets.

Uri Blau and Daniel Dolev Apr 07, 2016 2:15 AM

Dan Gertler in Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2012. Bloomberg
Panama Papers: Hundreds of Israeli companies, shareholders listed in leaked documents detailing offshore holdings
Panama Papers: The prime ministers, presidents and kings who benefited from tax shelters
Panama Papers: Massive tax haven document leak exposes corruption and crime on global scale
The Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who made his fortune in diamonds and mining, is mentioned more than 200 times in the Panama Papers.
Gertler is among some 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders listed in the leaked documents of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a leader in establishing shell companies that often serve to conceal the ownership of assets.
Gertler is mentioned in connection to a number of companies, and registered as a beneficiary for some of them. Mossack Fonseca’s internal correspondences includes a draft of a contract between Gertler and a company called Callery Resources, seemingly for consultation on a mining deal in Congo.

Haaretz’s investigation has found that this company is controlled by Yitzhak Abuhatzeira, son of millionaire Rabbi David Abuhatzeira and apparently one of Gertler’s closest associates.
The leaked documents also show that the Panama-based law firm had stopped representing Gertler due to alleged investigations into his companies.
In 2011 Gertler was at the center of an extensive correspondence between various figures in Mossack Fonseca. According to the files, the law firm failed to carry out a due diligence examination before registering two Panamanian companies, Burford Commercial S.A. and Norseville Estates S.A. The two companies were registered at an unusual request of a Swiss law firm. Only after registration did Mossack Fonseca find out that the beneficiaries of both companies were “Anat Gertler, her husband Dan and their children.”

After this discovery, the head of the firm’s client department sent an email recommending the firm immediately stop working with these companies and halt cooperation with the Swiss firm that represented them.
“…We discovered that the [beneficial owner] is a Mr. Dan Gertler who is an Israeli diamond dealer under investigation… His name is plastered all over the internet and we have entities of his with our [British Virgin Islands] license that are currently under investigation by the BVI Financial Securities Commission,” the email says.
Another email says Gertler is suspected of bribing Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman; a correspondence from 2011 confirms that Mossack Fonseca ceased representing the companies.
Emails sent in 2015 again mention Gertler’s name. They include a draft of a contract between Gertler and a Panamanian company Callery Resources, which was registered by Mossack Fonseca in January of that year.
According to the contract, Callery provided valuable consultation services to Rowny Asset Limited and other companies “associated” with Gertler on mining in Congo’s Katanga Province. The outcome of the consultation was the creation of a company called Mumi, which was jointly owned by Rowny and the mining giant Glencore. Mumi’s holdings in Katanga are estimated to be $1.8 billion. The contract states that Rowny received a dividend from Mumi in the last quarter of 2014.
In the contract, Gertler also undertakes to “recommend” that Rowny to pay Callery $10 million for its services, with further payments if additional dividends are received from Mumi. Callery’s power of attorney is signed by one Yitzhak Abuhatzeira of Ramat Gan, according to the leaked papers.
Yitzhak Abuhatzeira is the son of David Abuhatzeira, formerly Nahariya’s chief rabbi. In 2012 Rabbi Abuhatzeira’s fortune was valued at 750 million shekels by Forbes Magazine and he was listed as Israel’s second wealthiest rabbi. David Abuhatzeira is also the grandson of Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the “Baba Sali.”
Although Rabbi Abuhatzeira usually avoids being endorsing with a specific political party, in the last elections he openly supported Shas. The rabbi is known as one of Gertler’s confidants. Three years ago he reportedly spent a weekend in Bnei Brak, where Gertler lives, to take part in the diamond merchant’s son’s bar mitzvah.
Gertler is also reportedly a frequent guest at the Abuhatzeira family’s celebrations.
There is no evidence in the files that the contract draft has been signed or implemented. Gertler refused to answer questions on the matter and Yitzhak Abuhatzeira was unavailable for comment.
Gertler isn’t the only diamond merchant associated with companies that were registered by Mossack Fonseca. Lev Leviev, for example, is named in the files as the owner of Lexinter International Inc., which holds shares in Vauxhall Securities Inc., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The extensive activities of diamond and mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz, his brother Daniel Steinmetz and their business partner Nir Livnat are mentioned in hundreds of Mossack Fonseca documents. Internal correspondences between the law firm and Diacore, part of Steinmetz’s diamond group BSGR, identify Construction Minister Yoav Galant as a confidant of Steinmetz.
In view of this, the law firm requested the company to provide “the pertinent explanations related to the information found.”
Galant’s office said in response that “Galant doesn’t know Daniel Steinmetz, he saw him a few times in social circumstances. Benny Steinmetz has been a friend of Galant’s for many years to this day.”
Gertler responded to the report through lawyer Boaz Ben Zur, saying that "according to an initial examination , the two firms noted in the report are non-active, and were being held as shelf companies (the use of shelf companies is a matter of routine practice in international business). Moreover, my client had no knowledge of the claims raised regarding the [Panamanian firm's decision] to terminate representation [of Gertler for alleged investigations]. In this regard, it should be noted that firms under the trusteeship of the Gertler family do business on a global scale, working with some of the most prominent publically traded firms around the globe. Mr. Gertler's reputation is under constant scrutiny and he has always been found to be unblemished, with his businesses run according to the law and official requirements.
Regarding the draft of the contract, Ben Zur said "the contract was not signed by Mr. Gertler and was never fulfilled, and no money was transferred to Yitzhak Abuhatzeira or any firm acting on his part. Mr. Yitzhak Abuhatzeira was employed in the past (until a year ago) by a foreign consulting firm tied to Mr. Gertler. Mr. Abuhatzeira performed his duties well. It was further reported that Rabbi David Abuhatzeira is Mr. Gertler's rabbi for many years. The ties between them are between a man of faith and his rabbi, and have no connection to his businesses."
Haaretz reached out to Yitzhak Abuhatzeira numerous times in both writing and on the phone but was unable to receive his response.
The leaked files, which were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with Haaretz and other media organizations, provide a glimpse of the economy that until now had been hidden from the Israeli public.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.713130


Diamond Mogul Leviev Buys 50% of Zambian Emerald Mine
June 04, 17 by Albert Robinson

Image

(IDEX Online) – Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev has added emeralds to his portfolio after acquiring half of an emerald mine in Zambia. The green stones have reportedly seen a 10-fold rise in price in the last eight years.

The Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings, reported Bloomberg, citing Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director of Leviev’s Namibian unit.

Leviev used his Israel-based diamond company to purchase half of the emerald mine, Kapwanga said.

The Zambia company registry shows Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited. Grizzly was previously 85 percent owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Grizzly has been digging for emeralds in Zambia since 1997, according to Gemcanton.

Emerald prices have soared by more than tenfold in the past eight years, as top producer Gemfields Plc sought to expand the market for the green stones and boost advertising. Emeralds were previously mainly produced by artisanal miners, meaning there wasn’t a consistent supply enough for retailers to run production lines or advertise them. The company owns the Kagem mine, Zambia’s biggest producer.

Gemfields Chief Executive Officer Ian Harebottle said the company has tried to contact Leviev, but without success.
http://www.idexonline.com/FullArticle?Id=43137


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (1)


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (2)


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (3)


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (4)


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (5)


A look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (6)
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Congo war

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:39 pm

Gunmen attack Congo wildlife reserve, U.S. journalist, three guards missing

July 15, 2017 / 3:26 PM /

Benoit Nyemba

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Armed men attacked a group of journalists and park rangers in a remote east Congo wildlife reserve overnight into Saturday, and an American journalist and three guards were missing, a local official said.

The group attacked comprised the American and two Dutch journalists and 13 Congolese park rangers. They were near the town of Mambasa in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Mambasa territory administrator Alfred Bongwalanga told Reuters by telephone.

The two Dutch journalists and all but three of the rangers had been found and were safe. Bongwalanga did not know which of the several armed groups roaming eastern Congo was responsible.

Kidnapping of locals and Westerners for ransom has been on the rise in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a tinderbox of rebel groups and militias left over from a 1998-2003 war.

But Bongwalanga said there was no evidence the journalist or guards had been kidnapped.

"I can't confirm any hypothesis that this was a kidnapping ... That does sometimes happen in Ituri (province where the reserve lies) but it has been more than a year since the last one," he told Reuters by telephone.

"The army has deployed. Search and rescue efforts are underway but this is a dense forest," he added. "We remain optimistic that we will find them."

In May armed bandits killed a Congolese park ranger and briefly kidnapped two conservation workers, including a Frenchman, during an ambush on South Kivu's Itombwe Reserve.

Park rangers in east Congo trying to protect dwindling populations of elephants and gorillas often clash with poachers and other armed criminals who exploit the area's minerals, wildlife and other resources.

Additional reporting by Tim Cocks in Dakar and Amedee Mwarabu in Kinshasa; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Richard Balmforth

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-violence-idUSKBN1A00Q6
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