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Thursday, 21 November 2013

More Congo propaganda: M23 and the unseen high-tech genocide

 

More Congo propaganda: M23 and the unseen high-tech genocide

Keith Harmon Snow

2013-11-21, Issue 655

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/89731

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Has the M23 rebel group been defeated? No. And there is nothing in the recent reportage in major western media that tells anything close to the whole truth about the ongoing genocide and depopulation in DRC
The western propaganda system is again trotting out the refrain that ‘rebels in Congo have been defeated.’ The latest so-called ‘rebels’ -- the M23 forces -- are actually Rwandan government troops, not rebels. (True Congolese ‘rebels’ -- such as the Mai Mai [also spelled Mayi-Mayi] -- are always denigrated by the international corporate media system.)


Reports now appearing in the western mass media are that the ‘M23 rebels’ have ‘surrendered in Uganda’, or ‘turned themselves in’ in Rwanda. This is nonsense, since these are Rwandan Defense Forces, most of them formerly National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) ‘rebels’, formerly Congolese Rally for Democracy ‘rebels’, formerly of the Rwandan Patriotic Army/Movement (RPA/RPF), formerly Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF), formerly National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) troops. (This is especially true of commanders, e.g.: James Kabarebe, Laurent Nkundabatware, and many others). The varying incarnations of ‘rebels’ in eastern Congo have all and always been backed by President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and President Paul Kagame (Rwanda), in turn backed by the USA, UK and Israel. M23 is the same: another predominantly Tutsi army serving the Tutsi/Hema elites -- not the people of Uganda or the people of Rwanda/Burundi and the bain of innocent men, women and children wherever they go.


Meanwhile, in Kinshasa, Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) is showing his consistent treasonous betrayal of the people of Congo by calling for the M23 rebels to be included in the political process. How and why would the president of Congo be inviting ‘defeated’ guerillas who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Congo (1996-2013), Rwanda (1990-1995) and Uganda (1980-1985) to participate in the political process? Kanambe is another tutsi elite (his uncle is James Kabarebe) and his goal as Trojan Horse (see, e.g, Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, ‘Kagame's Trojan Horse in the Congo,’ New York Times, November 29, 2012) is to further integrate/infiltrate Rwandan guerillas and politicians into the Congo. Media reports have exaggerated the fighting between Congolese troops (FARDC) and their U.N. partner army the Rapid Intervention Forces, against the M23: most M23 were warned in advance of an impending assault and they fled to Rwanda and Uganda.


Meanwhile, multinational corporations operating in eastern Congo under the media radar, but soaked in Congolese blood, include Banro Gold, Casa Mining, Randgold, Mwana Africa, Loncor, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Kilo Gold, and Moku Gold. These are U.S., Canadian, Australian, and European mining corporations and they benefit from having the Rwandan Tutsi in Kinshasa (Kanambe). They all have deep ties to the criminal extortion, money-laundering, racketeering and theft behind the plunder and depopulation in the Great Lakes countries, ties to Kagame and Museveni and their agents.


Meanwhile, the United Nations Forces (MONUC, MONUSCO) and the Rapid Intervention Forces (note the heavy presence of South African troops AND South African mining companies in eastern Congo!) serve the corporate agenda. Remember that almost half of the MONUC annual 1 billion budget went to Lockheed Martin subsidiary Pacific Architects and Engineers -- a private military (read: mercenary) company also involved in the US/Canada/UK/Israeli invasions of Zaire (1996-1997) and Congo (1998-onward).


Meanwhile, TIME Magazine (Nov. 11, 2013) ran a little propaganda clip by a white journalist Jessica Hatcher titled, ‘Saving Congo's Gorillas’. In typical western media fashion, the furry primates are portrayed as the supreme victims of war in the Great Lakes region. The point is to manipulate public opinion to support further western/corporate intervention in Congo, but not for the people, rather ostensibly for the non-human primates, but really for other western corporate exploiters, including Dian Fossy Gorilla Fund, Jane Goodall Institute, Conservation International, CARE, Save the Children, UNICEF, etc. Oh, and don't forget Ben Affleck and Eve Ensler's million-dollars money-making schemes in Congo (requiring complete Ugandan and Rwandan government-war-criminal support).


The page-and-a-half TIME story offers an interesting trail for anyone interested in understanding the nature of power and the political economy of the mass media. For example, if you haven't heard, former Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is now Barrack Obama's new Secretary of State (replacing Hillary Clinton). The gorilla story doesn't mention Kerry at all, though it might have, since Kerry traveled to Rwanda and has extensive ties to Kagame. Kerry also unveiled new diplomatic cooperation (PEPFAR) with South Africa (note those S. African mining companies and S. African troops in Congo!), Rwanda and Namibia (run by another criminal enterprise backed by Washington)(and, also, especially, by the world diamond cartels)(and PEPFAR is one of these corporate AIDS front efforts which are merely a few hops from covert operations). But, again, the short gorilla story does not mention Kerry. It does however mention a formerly mostly-unheard-of gorilla reserve, Senkwekwe Orphan Mountain Gorilla Center, described by Time as ‘a refugee camp for primate victims of war.’


Never mind the hundreds of thousands of human refugees in the region....or the ongoing genocide against Congolese peoples... And remember that the so-called ‘humanitarian’ charity (so-called ‘not-for-profit’) CARE INTERNATIONAL is ‘partnered’ with BANRO GOLD Corp in the blood-drenched hills of South Kivu, DRC. This is the new humanitarian fascism.


So, let's follow the trail TIME inadvertently lays for us. Senkwekwe Orphan Mountain Gorilla Center , it turns out, gets some funding from the capitalist Buffet enterprises -- in particular, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation. The gorilla story in TIME doesn't tell you this.


TIME doesn't tell us that Warren Buffet, Howard G. Buffet and their companies, Berkshire Hathaway, have been deeply tied to the plunder and depopulation in the Great Lakes countries, and in Sudan. The Howard G. Buffet Foundation claims to have donated over $US 1 million to the World Food Program. Any enterprising honest journalist who wanted to look into this would find a haven of tax breaks, rotten grains, and corporate profiteering all at the expense of US taxpayers, all under the guise of the World Food Program, and involving protectionist agribusiness. Corporations like ConAgra and Archers Daniels Midland -- both tied to the Buffets -- that reap huge benefits by dumping shitty ‘food’ on the World Food Program with the help of U.S. politicians. Buffet also claims to have provided ‘capacity-building and operations support for Virunga’s National Park rangers’ and ‘Humanitarian support for counter-LRA efforts’. Unpack these claims and you will find the ugliest realities of predatory capitalism. ‘Humanitarian support for counter LRA-efforts’ ??? What "counter LRA-efforts (Lord's Resistance Army) could possibly involve anything "humanitarian? War is Peace.


Let's dig a little deeper back in Time, though, and VOILA! see what we find (found). Warren Buffet is also on the Board of Directors of the H.J. Heinz Corporation. In fact, Berkshire Hathaway acquired H.J. Heinz in June 2013.


What does H. J. Heinz have to do with Congo?


Why did John Kerry travel there?


What are the real Buffet interests in the region?


I will only offer a small tidbit of insight: John Kerry's wife is Teresa Heinz, of the H.J. Heinz fortune.


Bottom line: THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT ANY OF THE RECENT REPORTAGE IN ANY MAJOR WESTERN VENUE THAT TELLS ANYTHING CLOSE TO THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE ONGOING GENOCIDE AND DEPOPULATION IN AFRICA.


If you are consuming the western mass media (Time Magazine, New York Times, New Yorker, etc.) you are contributing to your own mental illness, and to the war against the people of Africa.


* Keith Harmon Snow is a photographer, journalist and researcher who resides in Western Massachusetts, and has worked in and reported from many African and Asian countries. Find more of his work at http://allthingspass.com/, at http://www.keithharmonsnow.com/ and his current site, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/




The Controversial origins of Joseph Kabila 


Who is Joseph Kabila and did he assassinate his ‘father’?

Filed under: Editor's Choice |

Hyppolite Kanambe Kazemberembe or Joseph Kabila?

I. His origins :
 
Joseph Kabila, in his real name Hyppolite Kanambe Kazemberembe, was born on 4th June 1971 of a Rwandan father on the name of Christopher KANAMBE and a Rwandan mother named Marceline MUKAMBUKUJE. His father was an opossant to the Rwandan former president Juvénal HABYARIMANA. He met Laurent Désiré KABILA, opposant of the Zairean former president MOBUTU, in the resistance movements based in the mountains on the rwando-zairean border, where they fought against their common enemies: MOBUTU and HABYARIMANA.

After the death of his friend Christopher Kanambe in 1977, Laurent Désiré Kabila married (in the traditional customs) his widow Marcelline and adopted (in the same traditional customs) her two young twin children, a girl and a boy: Jenny KANAMBE and Hyppolite KANAMBE.

II. A neglected youth :

LD Kabila, who wed – several women (of which more than 13 -) when he went underground-and of which he got a number of children (more than 25), had only a limited – time to take care of the latter. So as he had not been able to push his studies beyond the secondary level, the young Hyppolite Kanambe was forced to do several jobs for his living- amongst which as a taximan,as a barman and of mechanic in the cities of Dar-are – Salaam and of Kigoma in Tanzania.


-Indeed, his”foster father” (hear ‘step father’), LD Kabila, lived with all his family in exile in Tanzania during Hyppolite’s childhood and adolescence. Kabila spent more of his time in exile in the traffic of the gold and diamond rather than fighting MOBUTU’s regime; which often led him to cross the forests and the mountains of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, to exercise his fraudulent business.

III. Back to the native land

In 1995, Hyppolite Kanambe decided to get back to his motherland the Rwanda, where he was welcomed by his uncle James KABAREBE, Colonel and Head of the intelligence services of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR), who accommodates him in his own home.


At first, Kabarebe finds for his his nephew a job as “driver boy”, in other words drive assistant of a delivery truck transporting goods in Kigali, before employing him as his private chauffeur.
In 1996, when the Americans launch their military —base to prepare the invasion of Zaire, Paul Kagame appoints Colonel James Kabarebe as Head of the military operations and responsible of the “Zaire File”. He supervises the recruitment and the training of the new recruits of the military base. This is when he takes the opportunity to register his nephew Hyppolite Kanambe to the training program, in order to incorporate him, at a later stage, to the invasion operation of Zaire that is being primed.

Hippolyte Kanombe served in the Rwandan army in 1995. Several witnesses also stress the indisputable fact that Hippolyte Kanombe alias “Joseph Kabila” is fluent in kinyarwanda, the lingua franca of Rwanda.

IV. ASSASSINATION OF LAURENT-DESIRE KABILA: 

These dark zones one do not want to enlight Laurent Désiré Kabila’s death has already poured a lot of ink without the mystery which surrounds him was unveiled. Far from us the idea to supply here the hidden causes and the definitive identity of the real authors of this tragedy which henceforth makes the Congolese politics a saga. However, while discovering some circumstances which preceded and followed the tragedy of Laurent Désiré Kabila’s murder in the direct line of Joseph Kabila’s ascent towards the summit of the power, we can only be upset with the concordance, the coherence and the convergence of these facts which place Laurent Désiré Kabila’s “son” in the very center of the scene.

Thus let us examine the main elements that were set before the tragedy strictly speaking:
ACT I : Kinshasa, October 2000 : Mrs SIFA Mahanya’s arrest
Mrs SIFA MAHANYA, presented wrongly as being Joseph Kabila biological mother (we shall come back to it), is really Congolese and it is one of the numerous declared or known “wives” of LD Kabila with whom she had 6 children named: Joséphine, Cécile, Masengo, Gloria, Kiki and Maguy.

Mrs Sifa lived with her husband in the Marble Palace, the official residence of the Head of State when at the end of October of the year 2000, Laurent Désiré Kabila has a severe discomfort after a meal. The medical examinations immediately practised diagnose a poisoning. The investigations led by the presidential security staff raise a bundle of serious indications of assumption converging on Mrs SIFA, who is accused of attempt murder on her husband and is immediately arrested on order of LD Kabila and imprisoned in the prison center of Makala in pavilion N. 10.

ACT II : Kinshasa, 11 January 2001 : the exfiltration of Mrs Sifa from the prison center
Behind his “father”’s back, Joseph Kabila organises the prisoner to be removed from her cell, with the complicity of the director of the prison, Mr. Kelly DIDO KITUNGUA. Mrs Sifa Mahanya is immediately secretly transferred to Lubumbashi where she is accommodated in a discrete place.
ACT III : Lubumbashi, 12 January 2001: LD Kabila is advised to to cancel his trip to Cameroun
The day after the removal of Mrs Sifa Mahanya, Joseph Kabila contacts his “father” who was preparing to fly to Cameroon to take part at the Summit of the French-speaking world. Joseph advises Laurent Désiré Kabila not to go to Cameroon on the basis of reliable intelligence in his possession information, about a plot against the president of DRC. Laurent Désiré Kabila who deeply trusts his “son” cancels his trip to Cameroon. From Lubumbashi, where he was, the Head of State get back directly to Kinshasa.

ACT IV : Kinshasa, 15 January 2001 : Joseph Kabila orders the disarmament of the garrison of Kinshasa, then he leaves hastily to Lubumbashi.

The day before the tragedy, on order of Joseph Kabila, all military of the FAC garrison of Kinshasa are disarmed without any explanation. Much more, colonel Eddy Kapend receives Joseph Kabila’s strict orders to proceed to the arrest of the Head of the External
Management Intelligence (ANR / OF), Mr. Ismaël Tutwemoto. It is Mr. Leta Mangasa, the ANR Chief General Administrator general-in chief who executes this arrest.

After having taken all these apparently “inexplicable” measures, Joseph Kabila quickly and discreetly flies to Lubumbashi from where he makes a mysterious trip outside the country.

ACT V : Kinshasa, 16 January 2001 : Laurent Désiré Kabila is killed
In the middle-day, shots blast between the Marble Palace walls, the presidential residence. Laurent Désiré Kabila, seriously wounded to his head, dies a short time later, even before being loaded on the helicopter which transports him to the Private hospital Ngaliema.

It is at nightfall that Joseph Kabila gives the order to open N’Djili airport closed since the announcement of the attempted coup, specially for him, to allow the landing of his plane from Lubumbashi! This behavior of Joseph Kabila seems at the least strange!


How come a son, who scrupulously watched his “father” security until the day before, and who advise the cancellation of his trip to Cameroon because an imminent deadly danger, how come after the announcement of the attack on his “father”, this “son” remained cloistered in Lubumbashi, at only 2 hours flight from Kinshasa, and joins the capital only at the end of the day, several hours after his “father”s death? Where had he spent the day? What did he match do all this time? Where did he really come from? Was Lubumbashi not a diversion?

So many questions over the underlying causes of Laurent Désiré Kabila’s death should have been investigated. However, for our
country, we have been working for years now. And today, numerous recorded testimonies are examined and scrutinized.


The formal testimonies of the Congolese medical staff who had received Laurent Désiré Kabila body at the helicopter landing strongly confirm that the Congolese president had died well before his arrival to the private hospital.


However, Joseph Kabila, who had taken control of the operations around ” his father “, ordered the transfer of Laurent Désiré Kabila’s body to Harare in Zimbabwe! He then multiplied deceitful communiqués addressed to the Congolese people to persuade them that his president was well. Dominique Sakombi knows about it!


Why thus this masquerade and this macabre movements’ around the mortal remains of a president of the Republic? Another mystery! But the detailed file of the Laurent Désiré Kabila murder will be the subject of another statement.

ACT VI : Kinshasa : During the funerals, Sifa Mahanya is presented to the public as the “weeping widow”, and then as Joseph Kabila’s “biological mother”!
During Laurent Désiré Kabila’s funerals starting in Harare and ending 23 January 2001 with the burial in Kinshasa, Mrs. Sifa Mahanya, the prisoner removed from her cell 5 days before M’Zee assassination and
hidden in Lubumbashi so far, gets out of her hiding place and is propelled on the national front scene. She is suddenly presented to the national and international press as ” the weeping widow ” of the deceased president and the biological “mother” of Joseph Kabila who has just taken his “father”’s seat in the conditions which we know. And here we are, the buckle is buckled!

However, in his lifetime, throughout the war and during his mandate to the head of the country, Laurent Désiré Kabila never officially introduced the ” first lady ” to the Congolese people, in other words: his official wife among his dozen of wives! And, the one that was presented as “the weeping widow” had been removed from prison where she was held for attempted murder on her husband by poisoning. And the author of this removal is the very one who has taken the seat of the victim, and of which Mrs. Sifa gives for the very first time, the honorable testimony of being “the biological mother”. Do you get the picture?


Courtesy of APARECO


Blood Coltan: Remote-controlled warfare and the demand for strategic minerals

Giunta Carrie

2013-11-21, Issue 655

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/89735

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The atrocious war in Congo is tied to the huge appetite in the west for strategic minerals essential to the electronics and military industries. The criminal regimes in Uganda and Rwanda sponsor proxy militias whose violence facilitates the smuggling of these minerals through the two African nations.
The Congolese war, which has killed over six million people since 1996, is the deadliest conflict in the world since the Second World War. If you add the number of deaths in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda over the same period, it would still not equal the millions who have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Part of a solution to this is for western governments to hold Rwanda and Uganda accountable for funding proxy armies in the DRC. The retreat of M23 rebels from the Eastern DRC in recent days shows international pressure to stop Rwanda from supporting the rebels is working. The DRC insurgency is far from over, as other rebel groups are still to be defeated. There is a long way to go before stabilization in the region will be possible.


Considering that violence and brutality in the DRC is proportionate to the demand for the eastern regions of the country’s rich mineral deposits, it is less a matter of who is funding and supporting one army or another. The question is, rather, what is creating a heightened demand for conflict minerals?


The high-grade metal tantalum, processed from the precious mineral coltan, makes it possible to build smaller and smaller electronic gadgets like smart phones and tablets. It is also essential in powering a new trend of military applications such as drones. A new demand for tantalum has boosted coltan mining, trading and smuggling. As stockpiles run low, it is most likely a tantalum shortage could intensify violence again, which directly and indirectly affects people in the mining areas of the eastern DRC.


This province is the richest source of coltan in the world, with an estimated eighty percent of the world’s coltan reserves. Competition for minerals has a direct effect on the relentless violence in the region. Women and young girls have been among visible victims of the conflict and hundreds of thousands of them have been raped by opposing warring factions as a weapon of war.


A country the size of Western Europe, the DRC holds an estimated $24 trillion in mineral reserves, including gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, coltan, tin, tungsten, zinc, manganese, magnesium, uranium, niobium, gold, diamonds and silver. Armed groups vie for control of mineral mines and the routes for mineral transportation. Minerals are channeled through neighbouring countries, Rwanda and Uganda by violent rebel groups and then bought by multinational companies. The Washington Post reports Congolese minerals are smuggled into Rwanda to the tune of $6 million a day.


Tantalum plays a vital role in the growing coltan market. A derivative of coltan, tantalum is a key component in modern electronics. It is the metal used in capacitors or devices that store energy.


Tantalum capacitors are not only used in smartphones. They are important for aerospace and military technologies, which rely on tantalum capacitors for running applications that reach very high temperatures.

With an extraordinary ability to withstand a broad range of temperatures and to resist corrosion, tantalum capacitors are a marvel of technology. They can retain a charge for an extended time and can tolerate operating environments of up to 200 °C.


One of the biggest challenges for defence electronics designers is in managing extremely high temperatures generated by the high performance processors in the new military applications. Recent innovations in thermal management have made it possible to operate under high heat loads using tantalum capacitors.


This extends to smart bombs, on-board navigation in drones, robots and a variety of weapons systems, such as the capacitors in anti-tank systems. Further advances in technology have brought the rapid development of fully autonomous weapons or lethal autonomous robots. In short, if it were not for tantalum’s amazing heat resistant properties, these systems would otherwise overheat.


At this year’s SPIE Defense Security and Sensing electro-optics conference trade show in Baltimore, the latest products were unveiled for drones technology. The focus at SPIE was on a new generation of drones that require small, light and low energy consuming technology.


Such advances in military technology increase the need for coltan. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reports: “Coltan’s ability to hold and move electrical signals and its conductive ability in extreme temperatures, makes it ideal for smart bomb guidance controls. Security analysts say it is a strategic mineral.”


Tantalum derived from coltan is essential in powering a new trend of military applications made by the US. Yet, the US has no domestic source of coltan. In order to sustain a continued flow of coltan, it depends entirely on imports.


The United States’ Defence Logistics Agency (USDLA) maintains reserves of strategic minerals and rare metals in its National Defence Stockpile (NDS). The NDS was established in 1939 to reduce the possibility of “a dangerous and costly dependence by the United States upon foreign sources for supplies of such materials in times of national emergency.”


Despite this, US tantalum stocks have depleted in recent years. According to Daniel McGroarty, in a Pentagon report last year about US dependency on minerals, the Department of Defence recommends stockpiling tantalum and eight other strategic minerals. If the US were to run out of tantalum, would it be able to continue building its state-of-the-art weaponry?


The consequences of a tantalum shortage would have a calamitous effect on the DRC. A shortage of coltan ore at the end of 2000 contributed to an overnight price hike from $49 to $275 per pound (454 grams). The moment of the price hike was also a time of great intensification of violence in the Eastern DRC.


Today the price of tantalum is up again and the rise in price corresponds to the violent situation on the ground. In June the situation in the DRC became increasingly insecure. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned: “…acts of violence committed against civilians, including murder and sexual assault, remain at a very worrying level and regularly cause the displacement of thousands of families."


Conflict-free campaigns attribute the tantalum rise as a response to the smartphone and tablet market. These campaigns aim to ensure rebel forces do not control sources of tantalum to finance armed conflict and that supply chains are transparent. These initiatives look at supply chains and manufacturing connected to companies like Apple and Samsung, but there is more to tantalum than the phone and gadgets market.


Conflict-free advocates make the mistake of overlooking the links between minerals and the weapons manufacturing industry. It is doubtful defence companies will be seeking out conflict free mineral sources anytime soon. A conflict-free weapon is an oxymoron.


Even less likely is the prospect of the defence sector abiding new federal legislation, which requires public companies to disclose whether they use conflict minerals from the DRC. Under the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, US companies are required to submit a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission by May 2014 on the sources of the minerals they use.


Campaigns for conflict-free minerals are calling on electronics companies to use fair trade, conflict-free materials in smartphones, laptops and tablets. Their work has been successful in increasing the number of conflict-free mines in the eastern DRC. What has not been addressed is the larger role of conflict minerals beyond the realm of consumer electronics.


At the current rate, the weapons industry could exceed smartphone and tablet makers in coltan consumption if it has not already. Extended use of drones in the past decade means the US needs tantalum because the basic circuitry in drones is built with tantalum from refined coltan. This connection to weapons manufacturing gives new meaning to the term ‘blood coltan’.


Blood coltan is not exclusive to central Africa. Significant coltan reserves exist in the Amazon jungle covering the Venezuelan-Columbian border creating an [urlhttp://www.icij.org/projects/coltan/venezuela-emerges-new-source-conflict-minerals=]emergent black market[/url]. Drug lords dominate the Columbian side of the border. This is considered a conflict zone as coltan is smuggled through the danger area on its way from Venezuela to Columbia and to Brazil.


In the DRC, mineral mining, trading and smuggling continue to fund the ongoing conflict. Armed groups include the Congolese national army (FARDC) whose ranks include many former rebels. The M23, which has given up control of the region, is made up of former members of the FARDC who mutinied in April 2012. A Global Witness report last year revealed members of FARDC make millions of dollars through their control of the mines. Constant struggles between the FARDC and numerous rebel groups over control of minerals mining and transportation of minerals have a direct effect on the killing, raping and ongoing violence in the region.


The rush on coltan engenders the violence in the DRC. Spearheading that demand is tantalum, a key ingredient in new military technologies.


The US obsession with “surgical” remote-controlled warfare, especially drones, is sharpening the appetite for tantalum. The US has killed thousands in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia with the ever-increasing drone strikes. Armed drones are also in operation in Mali, Libya and Niger.


This highlights a worrying connection between two contemporaneous wars – the twelve-year ‘war on terror’ and the sixteen-year war in the Congo. Joining the two is the demand for Congolese minerals.


* Giunta Carrie is a part-time lecturer based in London and volunteers with Stop the War Coalition as a web editor.


 
The struggle for peace and stability in DR Congo will always remain a battle against foreign aggression and domination, which dates back to the confrontations between African societies and European invaders at the turn of the 19th century.

By 1900, the entire DRC had lost its independence as a result of European conquest and occupation; and attempts to assert independence and national sovereignty have been doomed to failure; beginning with the betrayal and assassination of its first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba in 1961, under the noses of Belgian and UN forces.

The patterns of external aggressions against the Congo have continued. In the last two decades, the country was invaded by armies from seven African states.

Today as before, the strategic objective has always been and remain the same – the scramble for and exploitation of Congo’s vast mineral deposits; no matter the costs in human lives.
According to mineral experts, eastern Congo is estimated to hold Africa’s largest mineral deposits; worth trillions of dollars. There is 70 per cent of the world’s supply of tantalum, a metal used in mobile phones, computers, laptops, tablets and digital cameras. Besides diamonds, DR Congo is also home to hefty quantities of gold, tin, tungsten, copper, colton and cobalt.

The recent escalation of violence by the M23 rebel movement again with established support base from not only Rwanda but Uganda, demonstrates the vulnerability of the DR Congo as a nation, to external exploits.  Uganda and Rwanda’s active involvement is rooted both in this history of predation and corruption.

For example, on March 17, 2006, a protégé of the Ugandan government, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, was the first person to be arrested on an ICC arrest warrant for the use and abuse of children in armed conflict.

Then on May 24, 2008, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, leader of the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC), was arrested by the Belgium government under an ICC arrest warrant. Bemba, a former vice president of the DRC, was charged with two counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes in connection with MLC’s raping, pillaging and looting raids through the Central African Republic (CAR).

Africans must understand the present, concrete reality that the powers behind the looting of Africa’s mineral wealth, who present themselves as ‘allies” in the development of the continent, are determined to ensure that they dominate and control the destinies of resource- rich African countries like DR Congo, in order to ensure their unobstructed access to cheap strategic natural resources.

The Congolese people need to wake up to the reality of a collective defence of their people against this imperialism or external aggression. The current crop of African leaders have mortgaged the continent to Western powers in exchange for their existence and creation of dynasties.

These leaders, must not be regarded any less unfavourably than the middlemen collaborator chiefs who mortgaged the continent for trinkets and whiskey during the first wave of mercantile colonisation of Africa; or those who sold their subjects to slave traders. The DRC conflict involves armed groups and foreign governments, fighting over lucrative minerals that keep the fashion and jewellery industries alive and power our computers, laptops and mobile phones.

Yet unlike the robber barons, imperialist ideologues, explorers, rogues and adventurers scrambling for Africa at the beginning of the 19th century, those behind the rapacious war in DR Congo have gone a step further.

Camouflaged as ‘African liberators’, they have employed extreme violence and deception to achieve their objectives; plundering DR Congo of its natural resources, committing crimes of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Their strategies have included employing proxy militias, using underage children and deploying them to fight their wars. There can be on denying that DR Congo is one of the most tragic stories in the history of Africa.  With its strategic location in the centre of Africa and its enormous natural wealth, it has always been a prime candidate for imperial ambitions and envy of adventurers, mercenaries and looters of all kinds.

No other region on the African continent has known as much political strife, loss of lives, and social dislocation since  the second world war as the DR Congo has.