In the late spring of 1991 I crossed Uganda on a mountain bicycle and slipped into the eastern Congo, then known as Zaire. I was not interested in politics then, knew nothing about race relations or imperialism and, certainly, nothing about genocide. Africa was an adventure to find and experience life amongst tribal cultures and wildlife I’d seen re-presented in the National Geographic Magazine. After a few safaris in Kenya and Tanzania and after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro (covered white with glaciers at the time) and inspired by the portrayals of Africa I’d seen in the western media imagination, I set out for the “heart of darkness”: Zaire.
In western Uganda I passed through Lake Victoria National Park but there were few animals to be seen. Uganda had suffered a bloody cataclysm due to the previous decade of war, 1980-1990, which today (as then) is described as a “civil war” involving African tribes. The bloodshed was spawned by the victorious National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) under the command of Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s “president” for the past 24 years, and it was backed by Anglo-American interests, but I neither knew nor cared about any of this. I also did not then know the name Paul Kagame, the so-called “president” of Rwanda, who has led a dictatorial regime in Rwanda since 1994, when the Museveni-Kagame axis seized power by coup d’etat. Kagame served as Yoweri Museveni’s Director of Military Intelligence and, along with his commander and many others, is responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Uganda as the NRM/A fought its bloody way to power (1980-1985) and then ruthlessly consolidated that power (1985-1990).
In 1990, Major General Paul Kagame had been receiving military training in the United States under the Pentagon’s elite psyops (psychological operations) and counter-insurgency programs at Fort Leavenworth Command and General Staff College in Kansas, USA. In September Kagame was flown back to Uganda to assume command of the guerrilla army that invaded Rwanda on October 1, 1990. Given what Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame has done in Uganda (circa 1983-1988), Rwanda (1990-1994) and Congo (1995-2010), the only meaningful interpretation of the terminology “psyops” and “counter-insurgency” would be to define this as training in scorched earth terrorism, torture, assassinations and mass murder. Advancing their military campaigns from Uganda to Rwanda to Congo, Kagame and Museveni have never diverged from their path: the modus operandi has always been absoluter terrorism and mass murder to depopulate the land, eliminate the claimants to that land, and control or plunder its resources.
Of course, had I wished to know the truth about Kagame or Museveni I would have been hard pressed to find any, buried as it was, and remains, behind the smokescreens of international capitalism and its corporate propaganda. The RPF/A invasion of Rwanda that began in October 1990 was a major violation of international law, but the RPF/A’s terrorist guerrillas were cast as liberators and the government soldiers, agents and allies of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana were cast as terrorists. The RPF/A was predominantly comprised of former NRM/A veterans from the (newly renamed) Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). As early as 1991 the language of genocide began circulating, but blame was always assigned to the majority Hutu government of Rwanda and the Forces Armees Rwandaise (FAR), the national army, which by necessity fought to defend Rwanda and its people against a foreign invasion and occupation by Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni and their western backers, including the Pentagon and its Canadian partners. In the Orwellian doublespeak of contemporary western propaganda, war is peace, insurgency is counter-insurgency, victims are killers, killers are victims, and mass murderers, that is, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, are “entrepreneurs” and a “new breed of African leader.”
This bloodshed in Uganda and Rwanda, with its roots in the NRM/A guerrilla insurgency from 1980-1985, is not ancient history, and it is happening still today, and it is much more than collective memory, it is collective pain and suffering, collective trauma, the devastation of entire generations of children’s lives, and it is happening in Congo too.
In July of 1991 I reached the triangle of real estate where Uganda, Rwanda and Zaire all meet. By then, Paul Kagame was leading the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army in the commission of massive atrocities in northern Rwanda. I stayed one night in the western Uganda border town of Kasesse before cycling west into the Ruwenzori Mountains. At the border town of Kasindi, after a few hairy encounters with rogue soldiers of the Forces Armees Zairois (FAZ), I entered eastern Zaire (Congo). I traveled through rainforest, mud, more mud, and more rainforest, crossed some mountainous savannah, and emerged in a place called Beni, one of the main cities of North Kivu, a province I’d never heard of, and never learned the name of.
My white skin and my arrogance were my badge and my shield.
From Beni I cycled northwest along the Beni-Kisangani route, and then due east along the Kisangani-Bunia route, a loop that took me a few hundred miles (400 kilometers) through Zaire. I exited Zaire three weeks after I entered it, passing through Bunia, descending into the Lake Mobutu (Albert) valley, and crossing Lake Mobutu on a small wooden boat.
If you had told me then that I would return to travel these roads some fifteen years later, as an independent journalist, and be arrested by some rogue Rwandan militia that used some form of the acronym RCD, or Congolese Rally for Democracy, along this same Kasindi-Beni route, or that I was destined to be arrested by MONUC (United Nations Observers Mission in Congo) troops in the city of Bunia, not once, but twice, I’d have thought you insane. Indeed, if you have invested ANY of your attention into consuming the western mass media and the massive volumes of deceptive, racist reportage about Africa, as I had, then you certainly were, and are.
So perhaps we should begin this exploration, this brief introductory preface to the work of an appropriately indignant Congolese native, by asking the obvious questions: Who are “those” Canadians who kill “us”, and who is the “us” being killed?Indeed, we can imagine the outrage of the average Canadian citizen upon hearing that it is they, their very selves, about whom this book is written and about whom these charges are leveled! They are “those” Canadians who are doing the killing and the “us” being killed are the Congolese people, directly, but all people of the Great Lakes region, and all black or brown African people, and people of color around the world, more indirectly. Everything we might say about Canadian involvement in war and plunder in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be said about Canadian culpability in war and plunder all over Africa. Indeed, why limit our charges? Canada-based mining corporations, private military companies, banking institutions, humanitarian “aid” organizations, wildlife conservation societies, and government agencies are also plundering Asia, Latin America and, indeed, Canada itself. CONTINUE READING HERE
Yet the picture painted by the real civil society and the real human rights defenders in South Kivu is a very different picture from that painted by heartless lawyers and soulless public relations hacks and whoring western intelligence outfits. The latter include the false western “human rights” [sic] groups like the International Rescue Committee, International Crisis Group, Enough! and Raise Hope for Congo. These latter three are seductive but disingenuous projects created and/or funded by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a nationalist U.S. intelligence think-tank working secretly to project global U.S. domination and corporate hegemony. CAP’s experts and founders include John Prendergast, John Podesta and Madeleine Albright, all deep insiders from the Clinton Administration, which supported Kagame and Museveni’s genocide projects in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo (also the ongoing genocide projects in Sudan).
Banro Mining Corporation‘s public relations hacks excel in their smoke-and-mirror tricks and their dog-and-pony shows, and the average Canadian citizen’s culpability in genocide comes about when Banro is not challenged for their obvious sleights-of-hand. But moral and ethical values must be based in moral and ethical belief systems, and capitalism, with all its rewards and punishments, and its omnipotent white obliviousness, has destroyed the moral, ethical and social fabric of western society, just as it has destroyed billions of lives around the globe since its beginnings.The first invasion of Zaire (1996-1998) was backed by the Pentagon with massive Canadian support and Canada has played a pivotal role, advancing corporate interests and organized crime–generally one in the same–to the present moment. One example of Canadian machinations in the Great Lakes was Lieutenant General Maurice Baril, the senior U.N. “peacekeeping” official and superior to United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) commander General Romeo Dallaire, another Canadian, and a key player behind the Rwanda genocide orchestrations by the RPF/A. Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril was also the senior commander of the Canadian Multinational Force (MNF), also billed as a “peacekeeping” operation, involved in Zaire 1996-1998. The Canadian MNF was based out of Uganda and Kigali, and was a practical extension of the U.S. European Command headquartered out of Stuttgart Germany. 
Of course, the Canadian government backs both of the one-party dictatorships of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, and there are a large number of Canadian academics, businessmen and women, journalists and government officials perpetuating the establishment narratives about genocide in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Sudan and Congo. Why, floating right on the surface of lakes of African blood, we find that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has financed Kagame’s Rwanda projects, and has never said a word about Kagame’s role as the “butcher of Kigali”. Why? Because the Canadian government was involved, is involved, in the butchery.
In 2007-2008 alone, CIDA dispersed some $US 19.95 million in “development” aid–money that is, we know by now, tied to Canada’s interests, no matter what the propaganda proclaims. “Through its regional programming and its cooperation with multinational organizations,” the government PR hacks trumpet, “CIDA is working with Rwanda to promote peace and security in the Great Lakes region.” It makes one choke, unless one is Congolese, and has been decapitated by Rwandan troops, or raped by infiltrated Rwandan troops pretending to be Congolese and blaming the violence on Congolese
CIDA’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy for Rwanda, 2008-2012 (September 2007) was developed with the International Monetary Fund, whose neoliberal economic policies are now roundly proven to cripple developing economies and institutionalize inequality in international trade and finance.
The IMF and CIDA, along with USAID and UNICEF and Save the Children (etc., etc. etc.), perpetuate structural violence that is, quite literally, an attack on the common people. The report quotes growing mining sector statistics with not a single word about how “Rwanda’s” mineral exports are plundered from Congo. Mining in Rwanda from 1996-2000 (the years Rwanda began plundering Congo through state-sponsored terrorism) is quoted at 24.7% growth over the five year average, with 41% from 2001-2006. Indeed, the report says not a word about Congo, excepting the disingenuous and insulting summary that the “border between the two countries is unstable.” Rwanda will increase its mining, no matter, the IMF has opined. “The targets in the mining sector are to increase mining exports by 250% from $US 38 million in 2005 to $US 106 million in 2012.”
State-sponsored terrorism involves more than state terrorism. Hence we should not forget the many Canadian individuals pivotal to the origins and perpetuation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Great Lakes of Africa. One prime example is Canadian “human rights” lawyer William Schabas, an agent of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army, inserted on the International Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in Rwanda since October 1990, whose report became one of the first major instruments used to falsely frame the former Rwandan president, Juvenal Habyarimana, and his government. The ICI report of January 1993 helped launch the psychological operation–supported by the Pentagon (US) and Armed Forces Command (Canada)–that has mischaracterized victims and killers in Rwanda, and hidden the war crimes and conspiracy to commit genocide by the RPF/A and UPDF and their backers (USAID, CIDA, Banro, Adastra, etc.). William Schabas has been used as an agent of state-sponsored terrorism to help frame and extradite legitimate Rwandan refugees from the United States and Canada.
Another pivotal Canadian is General Romeo Dallaire, the former Canadian General in charge of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), who secretly helped the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army complete its genocidal conquest, double presidential assassination, and coup d’etat in Rwanda (1990-1994), thus setting the stage for the cataclysm in Zaire/Congo, and for the subsequent fifteen years of state-sponsored terrorism inside of Rwanda (1994-2010). Canadian academic and government affiliate Gerald Caplan is a political activist who worked for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s special Task Force on Canadian Broadcasting Policy, but who has also played a pivotal role in whitewashing war crimes and genocide in Africa. Widely celebrated as an “authority” on genocide in Rwanda, Caplan authored Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide, a report created to complement the Organization of African Unity’s smokescreen investigatory body, the International Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Caplan publishes propaganda pieces all over the Canadian press, and he founded Remembering Rwanda, a so-called “non-government organization” dedicated to propagandizing the world and cementing the false narratives about genocide and war crimes in the Great Lakes (and Sudan) into the collective memory. Caplan’s service to the Empire also earned him an appointment as United Nations Special Coordinator for Africa
There are many people involved in shady organized crime in Africa, either directly or indirectly working through Canada. These include such heavyweight untouchables as Jean-Raymond and Maximillian Boulle, Robert Friedland, Lukas Lundin, George Herbert Walker Bush, Peter Munk, Adnan Khoshoggi. Many of the mining barons hide their organized crime operations behind octopuses of interlocking directorships, offshore tax-havens, and money-laundering networks; many are also tied to private military (mercenary) companies.
Robert Friedland and Tony Buckingham offer two stellar examples of elites maintaining their organized crime and mercenary networks with impunity. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., “Toxic Bob” Friedland has secured mining contracts through bribery and corruption from Mongolia to Canada, and his backing of the wars in Congo has paid off, at the expense of more than a few million Congolese lives. When Mongolian civil society sniffed out Friedland’s slimy expropriation of land through bribery and lies, the Mongolian people protested and publicly burned an effigy of Friedland, but that didn’t stop him any more than the nationalistic position taken by Laurent Desire Kabila, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL) figurehead from 1996-1998. In the end, Friedland has international backing from the U.S. and Canada to rig the Mongolian national elections (2008) and secure the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold concessions in the Gobi desert, while Laurent Kabila is assassinated and replaced by a more pliant Hypolitte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) and some of the most lucrative mining concessions in Congo go to Adastra (AMFI). These would be the copperbelt concessions, where the cobalt is the big prize, and the reason Canada supported the Mobutu enterprise for more than 35 years: the military-space-prisons-nuclear-industrial-weapons complex cannot expand without superalloys, and Congo’s cobalt is essential to these. British citizen Tony Buckingham is tied to numerous mercenary firms known to operate in Uganda, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and South Africa. And yet, no matter the obvious terrorism and terrorists that Heritage and its affiliated companies can be tied to in Africa–such as Uganda and Yoweri Museveni’s half-brother General Salim Saleh–no one in western governments, or even at the United Nations, says a word. Heritage directors include Canadians Michael Hibberd and Gregory Turnbull, and it is no surprise to find General Sir Michael Wilkes, a recent former director of British Special Forces, on their corporate board. Heritage Oil & Gas, Hardman Resources, and H Oil & Gas all get away with murder, quite literally, in the Semliki Basin, on both sides of the DRC-Uganda border, where they have control of the lucrative petroleum concessions granted by the black overlords of poverty, Yoweri Museveni and Joseph Kabila.
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When I arrived in Zaire in 1991, President Mobutu Sese Seko had been in power for more than 25 years, and Zaire was defined as a ‘failed state’ run into the ground by a ‘despotic dictator’. The place was rough. Infrastructure was dilapidated or wholly absent. I met white missionaries from the United States who seemed to be living the good life in the bush, while the average Zairois citizen had very little or no access to basic commodities, basic social services, basic transport, basic education or basic health care. In some cases the people had been thrown off their own land by western wildlife “conservation” organizations; especially noteworthy in this are the World Wildlife Fund, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Wildlife Conservation International. Who would have thought that, fifteen years later I would discover that my heroine’s organization, the Jane Goodall Institute, was sponsoring warfare by directly funding one of the militias in the remote Walikale forests of North Kivu province? **************************************CONTINUE READING HERE
“Let’s move on, forget the past,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Congolese people in Kinshasa in 2009, speaking about the recent war era (1996-2009). But Hillary Clinton’s arrogance is only exceeded by her secrecy: she was in Kinshasa in part to negotiate with Joseph Kabila on behalf of diamond kingpin Maurice Tempelsman and De Beers. It is really interesting to remember that Colonel Joseph Mobutu, who was kept in power for some 37 years, whoring for his white business partners, was known for his infamous and oft-repeated threat: Apres moi, le deluge–“after me, the deluge.” And so it has come to be.
The heart of darkness lives on in the minds of white people, and those subject to the white mythologies that immunize us whites from seeing the truth of our complicity in mass murder. The souls of black folk are not immune to these mythologies, and so there are plenty of people of color participating in the collective insanity and the economies of carnage that wreak havoc on Africa and its people, under the guise of development, aid, humanitarianism, wildlife conservation, tourism, or so-called “peacekeeping”. Some 10 million people have died in Congo since 1996, and the reason is clear: our white power economies want those niggers out of the way. The Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia–what we are seeing is depopulation as policy and private profit.
Enough is enough, indeed. I hope you will read this book. After doing so, you have choices that most Congolese people do not have. Your first choice is to take responsibility, and from there you can find out what to do, instead of waiting for someone to tell you. Dr. Enoch Page, one of my greatest teachers on the problems of white supremacy, teaches us to ask questions about our privilege and status. Speaking to a group of conscientious white people ostensibly interested in confronting our whiteness, and the destruction of all things bright and beautiful by the capitalist system that we benefit from, Dr, Page once asked: “Will you sacrifice your children to save your body?” And so it is with the Congo. Your consumption of propaganda is your primary problem, and your failure to support truly independent journalism is directly connected to the consumption of corporate propaganda. Impunity is the greatest problem: no one is held accountable, because so many amongst us, our friends and family, are participating in the carnage. That is the nature of capitalism, and the nature of the great American dream, and it is the biggest lie.
A just world is possible. What are you waiting for? How many Congolese people must die before you lift even a finger in their favor? How many more million souls must be exterminated in the collective scream of Congo before even a squeak escapes your mouth?
keith harmon snow
Massachusetts, January 2010