Friday, February 15, 2013

ITCCS (The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State): Pope Benedict resigned to avoid arrest, seizure of church wealth by Easter


The historically unprecedented resignation of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope this week was compelled by an upcoming action by a European government to issue an arrest warrant against Ratzinger and a public lien against Vatican property and assets by Easter.

The ITCCS Central Office in Brussels is compelled by Pope Benedict's sudden abdication to disclose the following details:

1. On Friday, February 1, 2013, on the basis of evidence supplied by our affiliated Common Law Court of Justice (, our Office concluded an agreement with representatives of a European nation and its courts to secure an arrest warrant against Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict, for crimes against humanity and ordering a criminal conspiracy.

2. This arrest warrant was to be delivered to the office of the "Holy See" in Rome on Friday, February 15, 2013. It allowed the nation in question to detain Ratzinger as a suspect in a crime if he entered its sovereign territory.

3. A diplomatic note was issued by the said nation's government to the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on Monday, February 4, 2013, informing Bertone of the impending arrest warrant and inviting his office to comply. No reply to this note was received from Cardinal Bertone or his office; but six days later, Pope Benedict resigned.

4. The agreement between our Tribunal and the said nation included a second provision to issue a commercial lien through that nation's courts against the property and wealth of the Roman Catholic church commencing on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. This lien was to be accompanied by a public and global "Easter Reclamation Campaign" whereby Catholic church property was to be occupied and claimed by citizens as public assets forfeited under international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

5. It is the decision of our Tribunal and the said nation's government to proceed with the arrest of Joseph Ratzinger upon his vacating the office of the Roman Pontiff on a charge of crimes against humanity and criminal conspiracy.

6. It is our further decision to proceed as well with the indictment and arrest of Joseph Ratzinger's successor as Pope on the same charges; and to enforce the commercial lien and "Easter Reclamation Campaign" against the Roman Catholic church, as planned.

In closing, our Tribunal acknowledges that Pope Benedict's complicity in criminal activities of the Vatican Bank (IOR) was compelling his eventual dismissal by the highest officials of the Vatican. But according to our sources, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone forced Joseph Ratzinger's resignation immediately, and in direct response to the diplomatic note concerning the arrest warrant that was issued to him by the said nation's government on February 4, 2013.

We call upon all citizens and governments to assist our efforts to legally and directly disestablish the Vatican, Inc. and arrest its chief officers and clergy who are complicit in crimes against humanity and the ongoing criminal conspiracy to aid and protect child torture and trafficking.

Further bulletins on the events of the Easter Reclamation Campaign will be issued by our Office this week.

Issued 13 February, 2013
12:00 am GMT
by the Brussels Central Office

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Paul Kagame, Africa's Hitler?

'Shake Hands with the Devil', a film about the Rwandan Genocide featuring Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire, has revived debate in the subject. This is perfectly normal because, 13 years after the event, this gruesome crime is still unresolved.

Initially, the media imposed the version that the Rwandan Genocide was planned and carried out only by Hutus (The ethnic group mentioned here is the one to which an individual is reputed to belong. It may be different from the actual ethnic group to which the individual himself identifies and ethnic group in which the individual is classified by the holder of power). But against all odds, after spending more than a billion dollars (U.S.) and employing the intelligence services of the United States, England, Canada, Belgium and Israel, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has yet to find any physical evidence for their thesis of a central planning of the genocide.

This result was quite predictable from the outset. In fact, intelligence gathering was and still is Paul Kagame's best strength. His agents had infiltrated all spheres of Rwandan society even before October 1990. So, if evidence of planning the Rwandan Genocide by Hutus ever existed, Kagame would have made it available to the ICTR immediately and thus would have definitively silenced skeptics.

Despite this void, all the experts remain certain: the killings in 1994 were so systematic that they must have been pre-planned. Then, one must ask, who was the planner? Who was the mastermind? Since investigations on the Rwandan Government's side have (so far) failed to find any evidence of pre-planning by Hutus, would it not be logical to investigate the other warring side, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)?

Here are some observations: 1. Kagame fanned hatred against those deemed Tutsi by committing systematic massacres against the predominantly Hutu population. In 2001, in an open letter to Kagame, Alphonse Furuma, a former RPF officer, confirmed the deliberate nature of the massacres in these terms: "From the time Arusha Peace Agreement was being negotiated up to as late as 1996, you (Kagame) carried out a deliberate policy of using all means possible to reduce the Hutu population in the Umutara, Kibungo, and Bugesera regions."

The crimes of Kagame's army are documented in great detail by Lieutenant Abdul Ruzibiza, another former member of the RPF (See his book "Rwanda: Histoire secrète," Panama. 2005). As it would happen in other countries in similar circumstances, these systematic massacres by Kagame's men, reputed Tutsi, against the population, mostly Hutu, stirred up hatred against those deemed Tutsis and weakened the moderate political forces which were dominant at the beginning of the war (October 1990-February 1993). The fact that it was reputed Tutsis committing systematic massacres against other population groups is, by any standard, the worst form of hate propaganda against those deemed Tutsi

Kagame used the worst possible means of terrorism to destroy the social peace that existed between Rwandan ethnic groups under Habyarimana's regime, which lasted for 17 years without ethnic conflict. 2. Kagame destroyed the coalition between the interior opposition parties and the RPF, which prevented the war from escalating into an ethnic-based conflict. In 1992, the major interior opposition parties, the MDR (predominantly Hutu), the PL (predominantly Tutsi) and the PSD formed a political coalition with the RPF (predominantly Tutsi). With that coalition, the conflict was formally a political battle for power sharing and political representation.

The negotiations already underway in Arusha, Tanzania, aroused great hopes for peace among Rwandans. Unfortunately, political analysts failed to consider one very important point: the success of the negotiations would have prevented Kagame from obtaining absolute personal power. Kagame sought any pretext to destroy the coalition and thus thwart the peace negotiations.

On 08 February 1993, claiming Bagogwe (a sub-group of Tutsi) had been massacred by Rwandan government forces, Kagame ordered a massive attack on the Ruhengeri Prefect. The death toll was very high and over 40,000 Hutu civilians were massacred. Consequently, the pressure on interior opposition parties at the Arusha negotiations became untenable. It was not justifiable to be in a coalition with a party that massacred innocent civilians en masse in broad daylight. The coalition of interior opposition parties with the RPF shattered. In addition, each political party split into two factions: one called Hutu Power, a pro-Hutu and anti-RPF faction, while the other was pro-RPF and anti-MRND.

Confrontation on an ethnic basis was now difficult to avoid and the slightest spark could now start the dreaded ethnic-based war. 3. In his testimony (, Ruzibiza tells that long before 1994, Kagame had instructed his men who had infiltrated Rwanda, particularly within the Interahamwe (a militia that participated in the genocide of interior Tutsis), to massacre interior Tutsis in such a way that the crimes could be attributed to the government forces and militias. Here are, according to Ruzibiza, some on the list of those Kagame had instructed his men to exterminate "Every interior Tutsi (sacrificing interior Tutsis); intellectual Tutsis deemed to oppose RPF ideology, for example 'Lando'; and regrouped Tutsis living in remote places."

In the same testimony, Ruzibiza reveals, "It was a common strategy for Kagame to order the assassination of opposition politicians or Tutsi personalities in order to justify the resumption of hostilities on the ground that the government was violating human rights." 'Lando' was the nickname of Landoald Ndasingwa, an intellectual Tutsi, founder and leader of the PL political party. He was married to a Canadian lady named Hélène Pinski. The couple and their two children, Malaika and Patrick, were massacred very early on 07 April 1994. Contrary to popular belief, the testimony of Ruzibiza and many other facts suggest that Ndasingwa and Pinski were massacred by agents of Kagame who wanted to eliminate any legitimate political opposition to the RPF after the war was over.

4. On April 06, 1994, the plane transporting President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down by a missile. As would be expected, this terrorist act sparked a human tragedy of unthinkable proportion: the Rwandan Genocide. The investigation of French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière concluded that this terrorist crime was commissioned by Paul Kagame. This terrorist assassination was carried out despite the fact that in February 1994, following the assassination of Felicien Gatabazi (leader of the PSD party) and Martin Bucyana (leader of the CDR party), President Habyarimana had demonstrated that he still held ultimate authority and was still capable of maintaining law and order in his country by bringing a halt to the social unrest caused by these murders.

Andre Guichaoua, a professor at the University of Paris, agrees that these assassinations were ordered by Kagame. 5. In April 1994, while the interior Tutsis were being massacred, Kagame and his men opposed the intervention of international forces. Charles Muligande, the current Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, was part of the delegation that was sent to the United States to seek support from Washington for this opposition. Ruzibiza revealed in his testimony that during the genocide, Kagame personally ordered his troops not to rescue interior Tutsis from militias.

In 1999, in an open letter to Paul Kagame, Jean-Pierre Mugabe, an ex-intelligence agent of the RPF, denounced the assassination of young Tutsis, who joined the RPF from Rwanda and Burundi, by Kagame's troops. Ironically, those young Tutsis joined the RPF with the goal of coming back to Rwanda by force to defend their parents. All these actions seem coherent: Kagame could not instruct his infiltrators within the Interahamwe to activate the massacre of interior Tutsis while allowing these young Tutsis to take more responsibility in his army and, in the end, permit his regular troops to come to the aid of the same interior Tutsis, his infiltrators in alliance with the Interahamwe, were killing.

6. Among the founders of the Interahamwe are Anastase Gasana (now exiled in the United States), rewarded with the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kagame's regime and Desiré Murenzi, who was placed at the head of a major oil company. Also troubling is the fact that Robert Kajuga, the Tutsi President of the Interahamwe, is the brother of a Rwandan businessman named Husi (killed during the Rwandan Genocide), who, according to several sources, had funded the scholarship of Janet Nyiramongi, Paul Kagame's wife.

These indications point to the fact that the militia Interahamwe was, from the beginning to the end, manipulated by Kagame's secret services. These previous observations demonstrate, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Paul Kagame had done everything possible to ensure that interior Tutsis were exterminated.

Therefore, it has to be concluded, in the words of Kagame himself in his speech delivered on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, that, "Indeed the Rwandan Genocide was premeditated, calculated and cold blooded." However, in light of these facts, we must now add that the mastermind of the genocide of the Rwandan interior Tutsis is Kagame himself. That is the sad and terrible reality the international community, who gave a carte blanche to Kagame, has (so far) refused to confront.

Yet, if the above cited criminal acts would had been committed by Rwandans deemed Hutu, they would have been condemned by the whole world for committing the crime of genocide against Tutsis. Instead, Kagame, because he is a reputed Tutsi, had a red carpet rolled out for him across Europe and in America. This differential treatment of Rwandans, based on ethnicity, is sheer racism in flagrant contradiction to the democratic values of our time.

by Guillaume Murere Ph. D. Gatineau, Québec, Canada.

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Monday, February 04, 2013

M23; Mercenaries for corporate hire

M23 President Jean-Marie Runiga (2nd R) arrives to address the media in Bunagana in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.(Reuters / James Akena)

“People need to be clear who we are fighting in the Congo… We are fighting Western powers, the United States and the United Kingdom, who are arming, training and equipping the Rwandan and Ugandan militaries.”~~~Kambale Musavuli, of the Washington DC-based NGO, Friends of Congo

M23 rebels in DR Congo have threatened to march to the capital and depose the government. UN reports confirm that rebels receive support from key US allies in the region, and Washington's role in the conflict has become difficult to ignore.

Instability, lawlessness and violence are nothing new to those who live in the troubled eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An estimated 6.9 million Congolese have perished since 1996 in a spate of ceaseless military conflicts that have long gripped this severely-overlooked and underreported region. In late November 2012, members of the M23 rebel group invaded and took control of Goma, a strategic provincial capital in North Kivu state with a population of 1 million people, with the declared purpose of marching to the nation’s capital, Kinshasa, to depose the ruling government.

M23's president, Jean Marie Runiga, later agreed to withdraw only if the ruling President Joseph Kabila listened to the group's grievances and adhered to their demands. Rebel leaders have threatened to abandon peace talks unless Kinshasa signs an official ceasefire, a demand the government dismissed as unnecessary.

Kinshasa called on M23 to respect previous agreements to withdraw 20km outside of Goma in a move to prevent the region falling back into war after two decades of conflict, fought largely over the DRC’s vast wealth of copper, cobalt diamonds, gold and coltan.

The United Nation’s peacekeeping mission in DR Congo has come under fire for allowing M23 to take Goma without firing a single shot, despite the presence of 19,000 UN troops in the country. The UN’s Congo mission is its largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation, costing over US$1 billion a year. UN forces recently announced they would introduce the use of surveillance drones over the DRC, in addition to imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on M23 leader Jean-Marie Runiga and Lt. Col. Eric Badege.

M23 military leader General Sultani Makenga attend press conference in Bunagana in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.(Reuters / James Akena)

A confidential 44-page report issued by a United Nations panel accused the governments of neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23 with weapons, ammunition and Rwandan military personnel. Despite both nations denying these accusations, the governments of the United States, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands have publicly suspended military aid and developmental assistance to Rwanda. The governments of both Rwanda and Uganda, led by President Paul Kagame and President Yoweri Museveni respectively, have long been staunch American allies and the recipients of millions in military aid.

Historical precedent

The DRC has suffered immensely during its history of foreign plunder and colonial occupation; it maintains the second-lowest GDP per capita despite possessing an estimated $24 trillion in untapped raw minerals deposits.

During the Congo Wars of 1996 to 2003, the United States provided training and arms to Rwandan and Ugandan militias who later invaded the Congo’s eastern provinces where M23 are currently active. In addition to enriching various Western multinational corporations, the regimes of Kagame in Rwanda and Museveni in Uganda both profited immensely from the plunder of Congolese conflict minerals such as cassiterite, wolframite, coltan (from which niobium and tantalum are derived) and gold; the DRC holds more than 30 per cent of the world's diamond reserves and 80 per cent of the world's coltan.

M23 rebels on the match (Reuters / Goran Tomasevic)

In 1990, civil war raged between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in neighboring Rwanda; Washington sought to overthrow the 20-year reign of then-President Juvénal Habyarimana (a Hutu) by installing a Tutsi client regime. At the time, prior to the outbreak of the Rwandan civil war, the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), led by the current president, was part of Uganda’s United People's Defense Forces (UPDF).

Rwanda's Kagame

Kagame, who received training at the US Army Command and Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas, invaded Rwanda in 1990 from Uganda under the pretext of liberating the Tutsi population from Hutu subjugation. Kagame’s forces defeated the Hutu government in Kigali and installed himself as head of a minority Tutsi regime in Rwanda, prompting the exodus of 2 million Hutu refugees (many of whom took part in the genocide) to UN-run camps in Congo’s North and South Kivu provinces.

Following Kagame’s consolidation of power in Rwanda, a large invasion force of Rwandan Tutsis arrived in North and South Kivu in 1996 under the pretext of pursuing Hutu militant groups, such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Under the banner of safeguarding Rwandan national security, troops from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi invaded Congo and ripped through Hutu refugee camps, slaughtering thousands of Rwandan and Congolese Hutu civilians, including many women and children.

US Special Forces trained Rwandan and Ugandan troops at Fort Bragg in the United States and supported Congolese rebels, who brought down Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko – they claimed he was giving refuge to the leaders of the genocide.

After deposing Mobutu and seizing control in Kinshasa, a new regime led by Laurent Kabila, father of the current president, was installed. Kabila was quickly regarded as an equally despotic leader, eradicating all opposition to his rule; he turned away from his Rwandan backers and called on Congolese civilians to violently purge the nation of Rwandans, prompting Rwandan forces to regroup in Goma.

Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001 at the hands of a member of his security staff, allowing his son, Joseph, to usurp the presidency. The younger Kabila derives his legitimacy from the support of foreign heads of state and the international business community, primarily for his ability to comply with foreign plunder.

During the Congo’s general elections in November 2011, the international community and the UN remained silent regarding the mass irregularities observed by the electoral committee. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has faced frequent allegations of corruption, prompting opposition leader Étienne Tshisikedi, who is currently under house arrest, to call for the UN mission to end its deliberate efforts to maintain the system of international plundering and to appoint someone “less corrupt and more credible” to head UN operations.

MONUSCO has been plagued with frequent cases of peacekeeping troops caught smuggling minerals such as cassiterite and dealing weapons to militia groups. Kabila is seen by many to be self-serving in his weak oversight of the central government in Kinshasa. M23 rebels have demanded the liberation of all political prisoners, including opposition leader Étienne Tshisikedi, and the dissolution of the current electoral commission that was in charge 2011’s elections, widely perceived to be fraudulent.

Role of US in Rwanda’s M23 backing

M23, or The March 23 Movement, takes its name from peace accords held on March 23, 2009, which allowed members of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), an earlier incarnation of today’s M23, to integrate into the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and be recognized as an official political party.

The CNDP was an entirely Rwandan creation, and was led by figures such as Bosco Ntaganda. In accordance to the deal reached in 2009, the Congolese government agreed to integrate 6,000 CNDP combatants into the FARDC, giving Ntaganda, a Rwandan Tutsi and former member of the Rwandan Patriotic Army, a senior position in the integrated force.

The current M23 offensive began in April 2012, when around 300 former CNDP personnel led by Ntaganda defected from FARDC, citing poor working conditions and the government's unwillingness to meaningfully implement the 23 March 2009 peace deal.

According to UN reports, Ntaganda controls several mining operations in the region and has derived enormous profits from mineral exploitation in eastern Congo, in addition to gaining large revenues from taxation levied by Rwandan-backed “mining police.” Bosco Ntaganda appears to be assisting Rwanda’s Tutsi government in plundering eastern Congo’s natural resources, which has gone on since Kagame came to power in 1994; M23 is basically paid for with the money from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled from Congolese mines.

UN reports detail Rwanda's deep involvement by even naming Rwandan personnel involved; Ntaganda takes direct military orders from Rwandan Chief of Defense Staff General Charles Kayonga, who in turn acts on instructions from Minster of Defense General James Kabarebe. Both Britain and France reportedly found the UN report to be "credible and compelling."

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, finds herself mired in scandal yet again; Rice has come under fire for suppressing information on Rwanda’s role in the ongoing resource looting and rebellion in eastern Congo. Rice delayed the publication of a UN Group of Experts report detailing Rwandan and Ugandan depredations in Congo, while simultaneously subverting efforts within the State Department to rein in Kagame and Museveni.

Susan Rice

Rice, in her role as assistant secretary of state for African affairs in 1997 under the Clinton administration, tacitly approved Rwanda and Uganda’s invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo and was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “…they [Kagame & Museveni] know how to deal with that, the only thing we have to do is look the other way.”

Another article published in the New York Times by Helen Cooper detailed Rice’s business connections to the Rwandan government:

“Ms. Rice has been at the forefront of trying to shield the Rwandan government, and Mr. Kagame in particular, from international censure, even as several United Nations reports have laid the blame for the violence in Congo at Mr. Kagame’s door… Aides to Ms. Rice acknowledge that she is close to Mr. Kagame and that Mr. Kagame’s government was her client when she worked at Intellibridge, a strategic analysis firm in Washington… After delaying for weeks the publication of a United Nations report denouncing Rwanda’s support for the M23 and opposing any direct references to Rwanda in United Nations statements and resolutions on the crisis, Ms. Rice intervened to water down a Security Council resolution that strongly condemned the M23 for widespread rape, summary executions and recruitment of child soldiers. The resolution expressed ‘deep concern’ about external actors supporting the M23. But Ms. Rice prevailed in preventing the resolution from explicitly naming Rwanda when it was passed on Nov. 20.”

It must be recognized that Kagame controls a vastly wealthy and mineral-rich area of eastern Congo – an area that has long been integrated into Rwanda’s economy – with total complicity from the United States.

As Washington prepares to escalate its military presence throughout the African continent with AFRICOM, the United States Africa Command, what long-term objectives does Uncle Sam have in the Congo, considered the world’s most resource-rich nation?

Washington is crusading against China's export restrictions on minerals that are crucial components in the production of consumer electronics such as flat-screen televisions, smart phones, laptop batteries, and a host of other products. The US sees these Chinese export policies as a means of Beijing attempting to monopolize the mineral and rare earth market.

In a 2010 white paper entitled “Critical Raw Materials for the EU,” the European Commission cites the immediate need for reserve supplies of tantalum, cobalt, niobium, and tungsten among others; the US Department of Energy 2010 white paper “Critical Mineral Strategy” also acknowledged the strategic importance of these key components.

In 1980, Pentagon documents acknowledged shortages of cobalt, titanium, chromium, tantalum, beryllium, and nickel. The US Congressional Budget Office’s 1982 report “Cobalt: Policy Options for a Strategic Mineral” notes that cobalt alloys are critical to the aerospace and weapons industries and that 64 per cent of the world’s cobalt reserves lay in the Katanga Copper Belt, running from southeastern Congo into northern Zambia.

Additionally, the sole piece of legislation authored by President Obama during his time as a Senator was SB 2125, the “Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006”. In the legislation, Obama acknowledges Congo as a long-term interest to the United States and further alludes to the threat of Hutu militias as an apparent pretext for continued interference in the region; Section 201(6) of the bill specifically calls for the protection of natural resources in the eastern DRC.

The United States does not like the fact that President Kabila in Kinshasa has become very comfortable with Beijing, and worries that Congo will drift into Chinese economic orbit. Under the current regime in Congo, Chinese commercial activities have significantly increased not only in the mining sector, but also considerably in the telecommunications field.

In 2000, the Chinese ZTE Corporation finalized a $12.6 million deal with the Congolese government to establish the first Sino-Congolese telecommunications company; furthermore, the DRC exported $1.4 billion worth of cobalt between 2007 and 2008. The majority of Congolese raw materials like cobalt, copper ore and a variety of hardwoods are exported to China for further processing and 90 per cent of the processing plants in resource rich southeastern Katanga province are owned by Chinese nationals.

In 2008, a consortium of Chinese companies were granted the rights to mining operations in Katanga in exchange for US$6 billion in infrastructure investments, including the construction of two hospitals, four universities and a hydroelectric power project.

In 2009, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded renegotiation of the deal, arguing that the agreement between China and the DRC violated the foreign debt relief program for so-called HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) nations.

The IMF successfully blocked the deal in May 2009, calling for a more feasibility study of the DRCs mineral concessions. An article published by Shamus Cooke of Workers Action explains:

“This act instantly transformed Kabila from an unreliable friend to an enemy. The US and China have been madly scrambling for Africa’s immense wealth of raw materials, and Kabila’s new alliance with China was too much for the US to bear. Kabila further inflamed his former allies by demanding that the international corporations exploiting the Congo’s precious metals have their super-profit contracts re-negotiated, so that the country might actually receive some benefit from its riches.”

During a diplomatic tour of Africa in 2011, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton herself has irresponsibly insinuated China’s guilt in perpetuating a creeping “new colonialism.” China annually invests an estimated $5.5 billion in Africa, with only 29 per cent of direct investment in the mining sector in 2009 – while more than half was directed toward domestic manufacturing, finance, and construction industries. China has further committed $10 billion in concessional loans to Africa between 2009 and 2012.

As Africa’s largest trading partner, China imports 1.5 million barrels of oil from Africa per day, accounting for approximately 30 per cent of its total imports. Over the past decade, 750,000 Chinese nationals have settled in Africa; China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mineral sector, telecommunications industry and much needed infrastructural projects iscreating "deep nervousness" in the West, according to David Shinn, the former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
Too big to fail, or too big to succeed?

In December 2012, Dr J Peter Pham published a bizarre Op-Ed in the New York Times titled, “To Save Congo, Let It Fall Apart.” Pham is the director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center and is a frequent guest lecturer on the US Army War College, the Joint Special Operations University, and other US Government affiliated educational institutions; he is a Washington insider, and understanding his rationale is important, as his opinion may very well shape US policy in Congo. Pham argues that Congo is an “artificial entity” that is “too big to succeed,” and therefore, the policy direction taken by the US should be one of promoting balkanization:

“Rather than nation-building, what is needed to end Congo’s violence is the opposite: breaking up a chronically failed state into smaller organic units whose members share broad agreement or at least have common interests in personal and community security… If Congo were permitted to break up into smaller entities, the international community could devote its increasingly scarce resources to humanitarian relief and development, rather than trying, as the United Nations Security Council has pledged, to preserve the ‘sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity’ of a fictional state that is of value only to the political elites who have clawed their way to the top in order to plunder Congo’s resources and fund the patronage networks that ensure that they will remain in power.”

What Pham is suggesting is policy to bring out the collapse of the Congolese nation by creating tiny ethno-nationalist entities too small to stand up to multinational corporations. The success of M23 must surely have shaken President Kabila, whose father came to power with the backing of the Ugandan and Rwandan regimes in 1996, employing the same strategies that M23 is using today.

If Kabila wants to stay in power, he needs the capability of exercising authority over the entire country. Sanctions should be imposed on top-level Rwandan and Ugandan officials and all military aid should be withheld; additionally, Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame should be investigated and removed from his position. Kambale Musavuli, of the Washington DC-based NGO, Friends of Congo, has it right when he says:

“People need to be clear who we are fighting in the Congo… We are fighting Western powers, the United States and the United Kingdom, who are arming, training and equipping the Rwandan and Ugandan militaries.”

by Nile Bowie, an independent political commentator and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at and his blog.

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Coltan; the Magic Dust

One of the main reasons why the conflicts in DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) have continued is because of the high demand for cell phones and computer chips as well as other electronics that have become a daily lifestyle especially in the Western world. This need is helping fuel a bloody civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once refined, coltan can be used to produce highly heat-resistant metal powder called tantalum. It sells for $100 a pound, and it's becoming increasingly vital to modern life. For the high-tech industry, tantalum is magic dust, a key component in everything from mobile phones made by Nokia (NOK) and Ericsson and computer chips from Intel (INTC) to Sony (SNE) stereos and VCRs.

Eight percent of the tantalum ore imported into the United States in 1999 came from the Congo, and that doesn't count the ore U.S. companies imported from Rwanda and Uganda that may have originated in neighboring Congo. And there is much more of the precious dirt where that came from. At the moment, about 15 percent of the world's supply of tantalum comes from Africa. (Australia is the biggest producer, accounting for about 70 percent of the global supply of tantalum-bearing ore.) But the Congo is sitting on a potential gold mine. The mineral-rich nation is tied with Canada in having the world's fourth-largest coltan reserve, according to research firm Roskill Information Services.

The slaughter and misery in the Congo has not abated since 1998. Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 10,000 civilians have been killed and 200,000 people have been displaced in northeastern Congo since June 1999. Rebels have driven farmers off their coltan-rich land and attacked villages in a civil war raging, in part, over control of strategic mining areas. The control of mines has become a way of living for many groups in the DRC. The mining by the rebels is also causing environmental destruction. In particular, endangered gorilla populations are being massacred or driven out of their natural habitat as the miners illegally plunder the ore-rich lands of the Congo's protected national parks.

Coltan - which is found in 3 billion-year-old soils, like those in the Rift Valley region of middle Africa, Western Australia and central Asia - has become a critical raw material in high-tech manufacturing. The tantalum extracted from the ore is used mainly to make tantalum capacitors, tiny components that manage the flow of current in electronic devices. Many semiconductors also use a thin layer of tantalum as a protective barrier between other metal coatings. The metal, which is also found in other minerals and can be extracted as a byproduct of tin refining, is used in the airline, chemical, pharmaceutical and automotive industries as well.

As digital technological development struggled to keep pace with global demand, the Congo—which holds an estimated 80% of the world‘s coltan—increasingly became tapped for its extensive reserves, most notably with the release of the Sony PlayStation 2 in 2000, when coltan prices spiked tenfold because of supply shortages. All of this accelerated violence in the Congo, as coltan was traded by local militias for munitions. These militias, largely composed of child soldiers, are particularly known for their viciousness, as they gang rape, plunder and murder the populations of villages that happen to fall in their path, a strategy of terror designed to facilitate regional domination and unfettered compliance among local populations. Ecological devastation was wrought as protected forests held refuge for warlords and the dwindling populations of gorilla and elephants were consumed by starving child soldiers and wayward miners.

The market for the material is huge. Last year, about 6.6 million pounds of tantalum was used around the world, 60 percent finding its way into the electronics industry, where it can be found in products like mobile phones, computers, game consoles and camcorders. The United States is believed to be the largest consumer of tantalum in the world, accounting for 40 percent of global demand.
In 2000, demand for tantalum capacitors exploded in tandem with the mobile phone and PC markets, causing a severe shortage. Tantalum ore prices shot up, with per-pound charges for refined powder climbing from less than $50 to a peak of over $400 at the end of last year. Today, with demand softening worldwide, prices have fallen to around $100 a pound.

In response to the increased demand, coltan miners all over the world increased production. In the Congo region, both legitimate and rogue coltan merchants joined the rush. The boom brought in as much as $20 million a month to rebel groups, as well as independent factions, who were trading coltan mined mostly from northeastern Congo, according to the U.N. report. That money helps fuel the war.

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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Why The West Is Killing And Plundering in Africa: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and companies involved

In 2002, a scathing U.N report pointedly accused a bouquet of international companies, mainly British and German, of helping to plunder resources of a war-torn African country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This U.N report acknowledges that "The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in the heart of equatorial central Africa and has an area of 2,267,600 square kilometres and a current population estimated at 50 million. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is endowed with a unique biodiversity, vast mineral and forest resources, and rich soils conducive to agriculture. These favourable conditions, concentrated in the eastern regions, are the setting for the current ongoing occupation and struggle to exploit these natural resources."

In its summary, the report noted that "Illegal exploitation of the mineral and forest resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is taking place at an alarming rate. Two phases can be distinguished: mass-scale looting and the systematic and systemic exploitation of natural resources." In both phases, the report observes that "... exploitation was often carried out in violation of the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the national legislation and sometimes international law, and it led to illicit activities. Key individual actors including top army commanders and businessmen on the one hand, and government structures on the other, have been the engines of this systematic and systemic exploitation."

The report further insists that "The consequence of illegal exploitation has been twofold: (a) massive availability of financial resources for the Rwandan Patriotic Army, and the individual enrichment of top Ugandan military commanders and civilians; (b) the emergence of illegal networks headed either by top military officers or businessmen." "These two elements form the basis of the link between the exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict." the report concludes.

The report goes on to state that "The illegal exploitation of resources by Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda took different forms, including confiscation, extraction, forced monopoly and price-fixing. Of these, the first two reached proportions that made the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a very lucrative business." Some of the facilitators that drove this lucrativeness, stretched as far away as New York where Citibank served as a corresponding bank for this illegal enterprise soaked with the blood of innocent Congolese people. The report confirms that the sum of $3.5 million was paid as a contribution from MIBA to the AFDL war effort through a Citibank account.

The report tells us that "Between September 1998 and August 1999, occupied zones of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were drained of existing stockpiles, including minerals, agricultural and forest products and livestock. Regardless of the looter, the pattern was the same: Burundian, Rwandan, Ugandan and/or RCD soldiers, commanded by an officer, visited farms, storage facilities, factories and banks, and demanded that the managers open the coffers and doors. The soldiers were then ordered to remove the relevant products and load them into vehicles. The Panel received numerous accounts and claims of unlawful removal of products by Rwandan or Ugandan armies and their local RCD allies."

An example confirmed by the panel through one of several reports made to it cites the looting of SOMINKI (Société minière et industrielle du Kivu) seven years’ worth of columbo-tantalite (coltan) stocked in various areas. "Depending on the sources, between 2,000 and 3,000 tons of cassiterite and between 1,000 and 1,500 tons of coltan were removed from the region between November 1998 and April 1999." the report stated. "The link between the continuation of the conflict and the exploitation of natural resources would not have been possible if some entities, not parties in the conflict, had not played a key role, willingly or not. Bilateral and multilateral donors and certain neighbouring and distant countries have passively facilitated the exploitation of the resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the continuation of the conflict; the role of private companies and individuals has also been vital." the report underlines.

The U.N report goes on to confirm that "The main bilateral donors to Rwanda and Uganda have been the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the United States of America in various sectors." Even where some of these donations have been designated for assistance related to poverty, education and governance, it remains unclear if they were ever applied to those effects. So, despite an increase from $26.1 million in 1997 to $51.5 in 1999 in bilateral aids, monitoring the application of these funds has remained ever elusive, as they are chalked up as savings in the national budgets of the Rwandan and Ugandan governments, thus shrouding oversight and retaining spending initiative with the governments concerned. It would not be rocket science to arrive at the educated conclusion that these extra source of funding were applied in their entirety to creating conflicts and rebellion in the DRC.

Considering that the German Ambassador bragged to the U.N panel undertaking this investigation about his home government's "... support to German business dealing in pyrochlore and coltan in the occupied Democratic Republic of the Congo." and also considering that "... German cooperation has given a preferential loan of DM 500,000 to Karl Heinz Albers, a German citizen, to expand his coltan business in the (occupied) Democratic Republic of the Congo (SOMIKIVU) and Mr. Albers’s business is guarded by RCD-Goma soldiers." the involvement of Western governments in this scam and bloodletting becomes most alarming.

The U.N report notes that "The World Bank has praised Uganda for its economic performance and the reforms under the structural adjustment programme as a success story and has promoted its case for the new debt relief programme, the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative." This, despite the fact that the U.N panel had revealed "... indications that this economic performance was driven in part, especially over the past three years, by the exploitation of the resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." and whereas "Notes exchanged between World Bank staff clearly show that the Bank was informed about a significant increase in gold and diamond exports from a country that produces very little of these minerals or exports quantities of gold that it could not produce." The report also reveals that "Internal discussions of the World Bank staff also confirm this knowledge of the situation: in one of those internal exchanges, a staff member warned his colleague that the World Bank silence would blow up in the Bank’s face."

The U.N panel finally concludes, amongst other observations, that:

(a) 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. The wealth of the country is appealing and hard to resist in the context of lawlessness and the weakness of the central authority.

(b) Exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by foreign armies has become systematic and systemic. Plundering, looting and racketeering and the constitution of criminal cartels are becoming commonplace in occupied territories. These criminal cartels have ramifications and connections worldwide, and they represent the next serious security problem in the region.

(c) 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.

(d) Bilateral and multilateral donors have sent mixed signals to Governments with armies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(e) Top military commanders from various countries, for different reasons, needed and continue to need this conflict for its lucrative nature and for temporarily solving some internal problems in those countries as well as allowing access to wealth. They have realized that the war has the capacity to sustain itself, and therefore have created or protected criminal networks that are likely to take over fully if all foreign armies decide to leave the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(f) The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, because of its lucrative nature, has created a “win-win” situation for all belligerents. Adversaries and enemies are at times partners in business (Maï-Maï and Rwandans and Congolese rebels), prisoners of Hutu origin are mine workers of RPA, enemies get weapons from the same dealers and use the same intermediaries. Business has superseded security concerns. The only loser in this huge business venture is the Congolese people.

Below is a list of companies cited by the U.N Report in the importation of minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo via Rwanda, amongst others:

(1) Cogem, Belgium-mineral exploited, cassiterites (2) Muka-Enterprise, Belgium-mineral exploited; cassiterites (3) Issa, Germany-mineral exploited; cassiterites (4) Chpistopa Floss, Germany-mineral exploited; cassiterites (5)Redemi, Rwanda-mineral exploited; cassiterites (6)Banro-Resources Corp., Malaysia-mineral exploited; cassiterites, coltan (7) Banro-Resources Corp., Canada-mineral exploited; cassiterites (8)Geologistics Hannover, Germany-mineral exploited; coltan (9) Rwasibo-Butera, Switzerland-mineral exploited, coltan (10) Eagleswings, Netherlands-mineral exploited; coltan (11) Veen, Netherlands-mineral exploited; coltan (12) Soger, Belgium-minjeral exploited; coltan (13) Patel Warehouse, Netherlands-mineral exploited; coltan (14) Afrimex, U.K and Northern Ireland-mineral exploited; coltan (15) Afrimex, Netherlands-mineral exploited; cassiterites (16) Chimie Pharmacie, NBelgium-mineral exploited; coltan (17) Sogem, Belgiom-mineral exploited; coltan, cassiterites, tin (18) Cogea, Belgium-mineral exploited; coltan (19) Masingiro, Germany-mineral exploited; coltan (20) Union-Transport, Germany-mineral exploited; coltan (21) Specialty Metal, Belgium-mineral exploited; coltan, etc, etc.

Dozens of multinationals including Barclays Bank, De Beers and Anglo American have also been accused of facilitating the plunder of the Democratic Republic of Congo's wealth. Eghty-five multinational companies based in Europe, the US and South Africa had violated ethical guidelines in dealing with criminal networks which have pillaged natural resources from the war-torn central African country, an independent panel of experts reported to the UN security council. Twelve of the companies are registered in Britain.

Following is a list of British-registered firms accused of violating business ethics in the Congo.

(a) Afrimex Exports: coltan, an ore essential for making most electronic goods, such as mobile phones.

(b) A. Knight International Ltd: Based in Merseyside, weighs, tests and examines metals, a process known as assaying

(c) A & M Minerals and Metals Ltd: Based in London, trades metallurgical raw materials worldwide. Ships non-ferrous scrap and residues

(d) Alex Stewart Ltd: Specialist in assaying

(e) Amalgamated Metal Corp Holding company of AMC Group: operates in 15 nations. Supplies raw materials, steel, chemicals and coltan. Total sales of £1.5bn in 1998/99

(f) Anglo American Plc: Mining and natural resources conglomerate, owned by the Oppenheimers, formed in 1998 when Anglo American Corp merged with Minorco, moving from Johannesburg to London. Beyond the precious minerals market, company interests include construction (LTA), financial services (FirstRand), explosives (AECI), wine (Vergelegen) and forestry (Mondi). Also holds a 45% share in De Beers

(g) Arctic Investment: Investment firm in Europe and Africa

(h) Barclays Bank: Active in Africa for over a century, with offices across Africa, but not in Congo. Declares mission to become Africa's leading bank. Donates millions to community projects but image tarnished by apartheid boycott in the 1980s. Lawsuit filed from former employee claiming it exploited black workers in South Africa

(i) Das Air: Airline's motto: we deliver. Operates at Gatwick, serves Africa, Middle East, US and India. Named best cargo operator 1999 by Nigerian federal airport authority. Has interline services with Air Gabon, Scibe, Monarch, and Air Yemenia

(j) Euromet: Trades in coltan in the Great Lakes region. Was named in International Peace Information Service report into coltan exports from Congo

(k) Mineral Afrika Ltd: Mines and exports natural resources from Africa to Europe

Resources:: Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Guardian (U.K);

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