Prepared Statement of Keith Snow
Thank you Representative McKinney for organizing this very important forum. I find it particularly remarkable that the diamond exports from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were some US$897 million in 1997. Now this is a “country” which was in a major war. And then in 1998, DRC ranked second in diamond production at 25.7 million carats. Again, a country in a brutal war where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people and in fact I think it is millions of people — suffered the consequences through disease and despair and displacement and rape and hunger and robbery and often death.
Based on my research, this is a western syndicated proxy war, and like Sierra Leone, Angola and Sudan, it is war-as-cover for the rapid and unrestricted extraction of raw materials, and war as a means to totally disenfranchise the local people. Diamonds, gold, columbium tantalite, niobium, cobalt, manganese and petroleum, natural gas and timber and possibly uranium — are a few of the major spoils being pillaged behind the scenes as war ravages DRC n and some of these minerals are almost solely found in DRC, especially cobalt, niobium, columbium tantalite.
Barrick Gold provides a convenient example using war-as-cover. According to testimony I took in western Uganda in November, Barrick Gold is operating in the Kilo Moto mines near Bunia. These mines are reportedly protected by UPDF. An Israeli General was awarded another Kilo Moto concession and UPDF and RCD operate others. And there is massive ivory poaching again protection rackets going on. Barrick Advisory Board member George Bush and his CIA connections certainly play into these mining deals and lay the groundwork a.k.a. slaughter if necessary to get the product. That includes long-time links to people like CIA station operative in Zaire Lawrence Devlin for example, and his associations with the Templesmans. Look at the CIA operations in Lubumbashi and you will probably find connections to the repression and massacres of students at the University of Lubumbashi in the early 1990’s.
George Bush apparently telephoned Mobutu just prior to the first US supported invasion of Congo August 1996 n on behalf of Swedish Financier Adolph Lundin to negotiate a deal over the Kilo Moto fields. And the US Presidential Election outcome of 1996 was completely irrelevant to the invasion of Zaire and the replacement of Mobutu. Remember that Kagame was in Washington about August 1996 checking his battle plans with the Pentagon. Mobutu’s days were numbered.
The US took all the right decisions to allow the Rwanda genocide to unfold. And Clinton’s comment that “we didn’t know what was going on at the time” couldn’t have been a bigger lie. Do you suppose it was coincidental that a Rwanda delegate rotated on to the security council early in 1994 and then worked with US representatives to block all subsequent attempts to deal appropriately with the unfolding slaughter? The Lundin Group appears also to be involved in south Katanga, where they are into the Tenke Fungarume copper/cobalt concessions. This is near where America Mineral Fields International and Anglo American are operating as well. And these are a few of the many mining companies.
All these US military programs like IMET and E-IMET, ACRI and JCET are designed to consolidate US hegemony. UPDF and RCD and SPLA have conscripted child soldiers. They use sophisticated weapons n not only the machetes so widely advertised by the media propaganda front of 1994 which sowed indifference and apathy in the US public. Troops have been trained by US green berets and US military personnel have worked to coordinate SPLA and RPF/UPDF/RCD military campaigns. This is according to Ugandan dissidents and/or Congolese refugees fleeing Congo and/or ex-patriots on the ground. And there are plenty of people who support these statements.
Weapons are reportedly shipped in through Entebbe. Again, people testified to seeing “American blacks” — quote Negroes unquote traveling in the area, both in Uganda and in Eastern DRC, but they are always very clandestine and they don’t mingle or talk to people. One refugee cited the locations of jungle camps where western n he said American n military advisors were training RCD or RPF or UPDF guerrillas in counterinsurgency and heavy artillery operations. Again, this was in November.
Note that the whole Tutsi contre-genocide against Hutus is off the radar screen of people in the US and that’s because the media has covered for the powerful interests and US agenda of consolidating power in the region by any means necessary. In fact, the RPF have actually “turned” Interahamwe to their service in doing the dirty work of eliminating any dissidents and insurgents and creating a situation defined by the media as incomprehensible tribal warfare.
It was reported to me that UPDF will disguise themselves as their enemies and attack villages to provide justification to return and sweep n a.k.a. brutalize or rape or pillage n these villages. They have also reportedly used these tactics to substantiate their needs for international support weapons and funds and military expertise n from US and UK backers, funds and equipment which was often diverted to the secret US SPLA war against Khartoum, for example.
But war doesn’t seem to be essential to the plan. Multinational corporations– a very significant constellation of US companies and/or US citizens included n are everywhere stripping the resources, leaving pollution and disease and environmental disasters in their wakes. And you might probe into the whole classified nuclear waste transshipments programs.
Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Togo, Niger, Madagascar and Burkina Faso provide examples, being massively exploited, where military repression and structural adjustment and the concomitant destitution suffice to enable lucrative western control and exploitation. Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and Ghana are a few more examples where I have similarly witnessed profound human suffering amidst huge multinational profits and SAP. I mean, 120 years after the British invasion of western Zambia this is an area heavily burdened by refugee flows out of Angola and DRC and the concomitant insecurity of insurgent nomadic military forces — the people have absolutely no possessions.
The schools don’t exist and even if they do there are no books and the kids are so destitute that they often can’t attend in any case. You can’t buy basic staples. I mean absolutely no food, no medicine, no drugs for malaria. Some 30% of people in Zambia don’t even know that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. But you can buy Coca-Cola and Sprite and Fanta virtually everywhere, but there are usually no basic foodstuffs, no books, no medical supplies. You cannot imagine the suffering until you live it yourself.
And it is no coincidence that one of the directors of Coca Cola now I think that’s a US company — is also a Director of Elf, and ELFs corrupt practices have been mildly exposed but very very mildly. These wars are prosecuted by local warlords, military dictators and their elite intelligence and security networks, typically armed, funded and trained by western intelligence and/or ex-military and/or private security companies. And these networks are particularly ruthless. However, again, they are directly associated with in-country western military and intelligence advisors and their programs. That includes Israel, US, British, German and French. But IMF/WB and OPIC and ADB funds continue to flow, and they support selective interests and projects and infrastructure which helps their related industries further expropriate the resources and the people and the
Uganda provides a good example. Uganda is at war on three fronts and a significant percentage of the IMF/WB funding which has gone into Uganda has been diverted for military objectives. The banks which fund Uganda through the international monetary institutions are often associated with the multinationals involved in the plunder of raw materials. Uganda has supported the SPLA war in southern Sudan, and I took testimony from Uganda dissidents who insist that US military advisors have worked with the SPLA and UPDF against Khartoum.
In Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Niger in 1997, I found abundant evidence of unrestricted raw materials extraction by interests associated with the United States. The people of the oil-producing areas of the Niger River Delta are suffering horrendous atrocities. Again, on the Niger border with Burkina — famine, disease, despair, political repression for the most trifling reasons — and right next door there is a Barrick Gold mining operation. And Sumitomo and the Keidanren (Zaibatsu) out of Japan are all involved. And people in these (African) countries know what is going on, but they can’t tell their stories because most westerners are completely caught up in the mental illness of colonialism and imperialism, which disallows the simple truth to be seen. And those who tell their stories are often brutalized or disappeared.
In Zimbabwe, the issue of land and elections and Mugabe’s intransigence aside, the lasting repercussions of the Mugabe “five brigade” genocide against the Ndebele people in Matebelelands North and South and the Midlands provinces are heartbreaking. Here was this scorched earth campaign from 1981 to 1987 where hundreds and hundreds of thousands perished, where food was used as a weapon and rape prevailed, and the United States diverted its eyes. And the media knew about it but the media diverted its eyes. And this is all very current stuff in Zimbabwe. The 1990’s was more of the same in a more subtle form. And the Ndebele people have suffered untold injustice and terror.
Meanwhile, there was plenty of mining and tobacco farming going on in Zimbabwe and the weapons for Mugabe’s dirty little secrets came from where? The IMF and WB funded Mugabe, no matter, throughout his tenure and right up into the late 1990’s. Again, these are big banks like Chase Manhattan and First Boston and Citicorp and the Morgan Banks — and their directors sit on some of the western media boards and they dictate relief operations at a certain level. And then of course there are all these supranational multinational corporations like Asea Brown Baveri (ABB) and Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell and Lonrho and Citibank and Bechtel. I mean, Bechtel gets away with raping the system in Boston the 10 or 12 billion dollar overruns in the Harbor Tunnel project never mind their tight CIA and US government interconnections, policy interventions of dictations, and the orchestration of coups, assassinations, disappearances and wars.
Lonrho of course is Buckingham Palace and I contend that very powerful US citizens are tied in through companies like Brown and Root and Halliburton to Lonrho and Lonrho interests. And please recall that Vice President Cheney is a former Halliburton executive. And Lonrho has a lock on British media. And it is no coincidence that Lonrho has the most elegant and modern skyscraper in downtown Nairobi.
And all this is hidden by the US media. Even the village idiot, if he opens his eyes, can see that the directors of the media corporations are the same directors of those corporations raping Africa. But too many people have a paycheck to worry about. And that includes humanitarian organizations and the United Nations and the OAU and the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.
Special torture centers and death squads and massive repression of the population are the rule in Togo, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, and were so in Zaire. And these people–Eyadema, Biya, Bongo, Obasanjo, Abacha, Babangida, Mobutu, Compaore, Rawlings, Banda, Kaunda, Moi, Habyarimana, Kagame,Museveni, Garang, Ratsiraka–they provide the environment for pillage, and they are duly rewarded, with power, with all the perks.
Charles Taylor was incarcerated in Charlestown Massachusetts circa 1983 or 1984 and he is the only person, I believe, in the history of the Charlestownjail to have been broken out. Apparently the records no longer exist of his stay there. And now he is President in Liberia?
And then you have the whole misery industry, which profits from the wars and repression and population displacement which their affiliated institution sand their funding banks and materials-providing multinationals create. Again, you don’t need a Ph.D. to figure out that thousands of highly paid western AID workers would be out of a job if there were peace in Sudan. And
Toyota wouldn’t sell all those shiny 4-WD SUVs. And who would buy the USmade weapons? And all that business of feeding and clothing and interning the refugees would be lost by these multinationals who get huge tax write-offs and subsidies and whose products are purchased by USAID or other government agencies. And some of these relief organizations also have close
ties to the corporate media executives.
So I see it as a policy of depopulation in Africa. Because what I am talking about is access. That’s all. Access to the animals. Access to the game parks and trophy fishing. Access to the minerals. Access to the cheap and replenishable labor pool. Access to uninformed populations to dump inferior and toxic and outdated products on. Access for military adventurism and special forces training and psyops operations. Access to biological and pharmaceutical testing grounds. Access to markets. And while at times it seems contradictory, at times it is, but it’s all completely unethical, entirely arrogant and racist. It is driven purely by greed. And the profound
human suffering is totally unnecessary.
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