Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe (Part 1)

FUBAR in Central Africa

Backed by the Obama Administration and its former Clinton allies, Rwandan troops have marched into Congo, ostensibly to save the day, yet again, barely a month after a scathing United Nations report revealed that they were already there. Meanwhile, the recent UNHCR Gimme Shelter campaign uses the iconic Rolling Stones song and Hollywood star Ben Affleck’s video of suffering in Congo as a propaganda tool to peddle the international catastrophe of western AID, intervention and plunder in Central Africa. A look behind the scenes reveals the hidden interests of the misery industry, the obliviousness of do-gooder celebrities, and actor Ben Affleck’s personal patronage of Paul Kagame and the perpetrators of genocide in Central Africa.

Tears run down the face of a humble Congolese man grieving his wife’s death at the hands of a militia in North Kivu, DRC. He is one of millions of innocent people struggling to survive amidst the ongoing and sustainable catastrophe in Congo. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2007.

Tears run down the face of a humble Congolese man grieving his wife’s death at the hands of a militia in North Kivu, DRC. He is one of millions of innocent people struggling to survive amidst the ongoing and sustainable catastrophe in Congo. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2007.

On December 17, 2008, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) unveiled their latest fundraising campaign in pursuit of charity donations ‘for Congo War Victims’. Set to the iconic song by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, the four-minute Gimme Shelter video filmed and produced by Hollywood star Ben Affleck is an advertisement for UNHCR.1 The UNHCR logo appears at least ten times in the short film, serving the modern day advertising technique of ‘product placement’ to inspire charitable giving to the UNHCR enterprise.

“When awareness is raised, when constituencies start to pay attention, they are more likely to pay attention to that one thing than another,” director Ben Affleck told Voice of America. “What I can do is care about something. What I can do is make it important to my elected officials. Diplomacy is free.”

Diplomacy is free? Is Ben Affleck a ‘free’ agent working to help the people of Congo? Or is Affleck enhancing and trading in moral currency in the arena of international public opinion?

Since 2007, Ben Affleck has repeatedly traveled to Rwanda and Congo. While presenting himself as an independent agent on a humanitarian mission in Congo, Ben Affleck, simultaneously, has closely affiliated himself with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his military government—the people responsible for perpetrating and perpetuating war crimes in Congo and Rwanda.

Considering his relationships to powerful people directly involved in war in Africa’s Great Lakes, one wonders if Ben Affleck is playing his actor’s role both on stage and off. In any case, Ben Affleck is not the first Hollywood celebrity to be fronted as the Great White Hope for the Congo, and many of the same Hollywood actorvists have been similarly used by the NGO industry in Haiti.

Actress Jessica Lange has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2003; her first mission was into the Congo. Covering Congo and Sudan, Actor George Clooney has starred as a UN Messenger of Peace since January 2008, a role actor Michael Douglas has played since 1998.

Since 2001, actress Angelina Jolie has been UNHCR’s ‘Goodwill Ambassador,’ a role that took her to eastern Congo in 2003 and 2004.2 Jolie traveled in eastern Congo with intelligence insider and International Crisis Group agent John Prendergast, who is aligned with a growing army of ‘Save Darfur’ cloned organizations that deploy state-of-the-art media technologies to undermine and co-opt any true grass roots movement to legitimately empower African people.3 ,4

Jolie also starred as a ‘selfless’ hero working as a UNHCR official in Hollywood’s Beyond Borders, a film that peddles the necessity of mixing Central Intelligence Agency gun-running operations with humanitarian missions—because it is ostensibly for the ‘right’ cause: Western sponsored covert interventions.

Hollywood stars from the film Ocean’s Thirteen formed another ‘humanitarian’ organization that inevitably throws celebrity raised funds at the western structural violence and white power economies focused on sustaining disaster in Africa. The governing board of Not On Our Watch includes Ocean’s Thirteen stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Matt Damon—Ben Affleck’s buddy ‘Will’ from the film Good Will Hunting—and producers Jerry Weintraub and David Pressman.5

Clooney recently joined John Prendergast, a U.S. National Security apparatus insider, and Hollywood producer David Pressman to pen a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, opining all the usual trite platitudes—but absent a single recommendation of substance—about how President Obama can help Congo.6 Prendergast, who is billed as a ‘leading American human rights activist’, has previously boasted of traveling around Sudan and Central Africa with President Paul Kagame, and he is named as one of the early architects of the RPA coup d’etat in Rwanda.7

The entire exercise of appointing and fronting Hollywood celebrities as United Nations ‘Messengers for Peace’ and ‘Goodwill Ambassadors’ is a further means by which the establishment whitewashes the war-making and plunder of multinational corporations, and the individuals responsible for carnage the world over, and to more deeply institutionalize the structural violence. Described as ‘helping to shine light on the world’s trouble spots’, celebrity actorvism is more like a cop shining a bright light in your eyes so that you are disoriented, confused and blinded.

Privatizing the ‘humanitarian’ sector through media celebrities or through entertainment and publicity extravaganzas—like ‘Food AID’ and ‘Band AID’ and ‘Not on Our Watch’—that falsely claim to benefit African people, simultaneously lets governments off the hook, obscures the true intent of predatory capitalism, and creates personality cults that further entrench white ‘society’ pathologies of obliviousness, ignorance, goodness and supremacy.8

“I’m not an expert in international affairs or diplomacy,” Affleck is quoted everywhere as saying, “but it doesn’t take that to see the tremendous suffering here. It’s not something that we as human beings can, in good conscience, ignore.”

What does it take to see and understand the nature of systemic exploitation? We might question Affleck’s good conscience, given what he is ignoring. The short Gimme Shelter video produced by Ben Affleck ignores the realities and players fueling the bloodshed. Is this the same creative genius that brought us the award-winning film Good Will Hunting?

“My hope in being here is primarily to bring attention to the fact that there’s a real lack of (aid agencies) here,” Affleck said, according to public relations productions about his visit. “There’s a real lack of money going to these folks.”

In eastern Congo, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates 126 organizations, including 10 UN agencies and 50 international NGOs, and scores of state and national NGOs. OCHA also works with Congolese governmental officials and donors.

The annual OCHA budget alone hovers around $US 680-700 million. The 2008 budget for the World Food Program in DRC was about $430 million, with 56% of all food resources designated for North Kivu.9 And while such organizations each year project more than they are able to actually raise, their incomes and their expenditures rise annually: their operating behaviors are identical to that of multinational corporations.

From 2000 to 2007 the UNHCR global expenditures grew from $US 800 million to $US 1.2 billion—and UNHCR delineates $US hundreds of millions annually for DRC and Uganda, where they count some 1.1 million and 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) respectively.10 Indeed, while UNHCR uses the media to plead poverty and peddle hope in the public limelight, the agency applauds its fundraising success in private—where UNHCR statements indicate that UNHCR considers ‘fundraising’ as a profitable business opportunity in its own right. The market—in this case the welfare of millions of people of color—is irrelevant to their goals.

“Following a period of strong income growth,” reads a UNHCR executive job posting, “the UN Refugee Agency has decided to increase its investment in private sector fundraising through the recruitment of an experienced fundraising management professional… This fundraising strategy is implemented through a network of nine UNHCR National Associations and Country Offices (Australia, Canada, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, US, Spain, UK). As part of its new investment strategy the UN Refugee Agency is currently carrying out various new market entry studies and plans to launch fundraising programs in several new markets in the coming years.”11

The salary for the UNHCR’s chief fundraising executive ranges from $US 127,104 to $US 151,446—after deductions, per annum, tax exempt, plus additional major benefits.11

Food AID is also being siphoned off the massive ‘humanitarian’ mission in eastern Congo and being sold in markets.12 The criminal aspects of the ‘humanitarian’ enterprise are well established.13

“These international NGOs are all here for the same reason as every other foreigner in Congo—to make money,” reports a newly arrived NGO volunteer from eastern Congo. “I came here to help the folks and seek work, but the more I learn the more FUBAR this place appears to be. It has evolved into a highly efficient corrupt system.”14

Ben Affleck’s statements about “a real lack of (aid agencies) here” and “a real lack of money going to these folks” are demonstrably false. There is no lack of agencies, no lack of money, and these are not ‘folks’—they are highly politicized institutions, part of an industry that perpetuates and institutionalizes deracination, and they use and abuse ‘innocent’ but nihilistic celebrities like Ben Affleck.

“I was thinking there was some thing wrong with him,” reports a Congolese insider, who said that UN officials were telling Congolese people that Ben Affleck wants to build a hospital in North Kivu. “He was not really interested by the position of Congolese people and his heart was in Rwanda during all the time he was here.”15

When George Clooney visited the war zone in eastern Congo the ‘peacekeepers’ played some basketball with him. Did MONUC roll out its marching bands to meet Ben Affleck?

Affleck traveled into to the bush to meet with the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)—the militia that Paul Kagame and the western press falsely cite, ad nauseam, as the cause of Rwanda and Congo’s woes. Why did Affleck meet with the FDLR? Was Affleck secretly scouting FDLR positions for Rwandan officials? He also met with Rwandan General Laurent Nkunda, a bonafide war criminal named by the United Nations.

“He didn’t want people to know he came from Rwanda,” the Congolese insider said, after learning about Affleck’s relations with Rwandan officials. “Our problem will never reach an end.”16

Affleck’s visits coincided with protests by Congolese people fed up with MONUC, due to the unchallenged war lords and impunity for war crimes and massive suffering. People everywhere were pelting MONUC vehicles with stones and Affleck’s UN convoy was also reportedly pelted.

Ben Affleck has been defended for “not being guilty of being a celebrity.”17 But given the unsurpassed mortality, sexual atrocities, depopulation and war crimes in Central Africa, and given the extent to which the root causes of these wars have been articulated by certain independent journalists and certain organizations, can one morally or ethically plead ‘innocence’ about the white power interests one is peddling or protecting?

No matter the political intrigues and hidden agendas—which we have only just begun to unpack—the Affleck-Jagger Gimme Shelter campaign is billed as ‘not a political, but a humanitarian’ gesture. However, Ben Affleck is now a highly political actor in the Congo warfare and exploitation arena, as this article will show, and this raises questions about culpability, responsibility and ethics.

Is Ben Affleck seriously concerned about suffering in Congo? Why doesn’t he name any of the white exploiters like Banro Corporation or PricewaterhouseCoopers? What is Ben Affleck’s relationship to the protagonists in this war? Is Ben Affleck being paid for his silence? Or is he just another victim being used by, and benefiting from, a hopelessly corrupt system?

    Pakistani troops in kilts play the bagpipes in a marching band       attached to MONUC 'peacekeeping' operations in South Kivu, DRC. Photo copyright Keith Harmon Snow, July 2005.

Pakistani troops in kilts play the bagpipes in a marching band attached to MONUC 'peacekeeping' operations in South Kivu, DRC. Photo copyright Keith Harmon Snow, July 2005.

SHATTERED, SHATTERED, THIS TOWN’S IN TATTERS

A new United Nations Development Program (UNDP) study released December 17, 2008, reports that nearly half the population in the DRC may not live to 40 years of age, that 75% of the population lived below the poverty line—on less than one dollar a day—while more than half the population (57%) had no access to drinking water or to basic health care (54%), and three out of every 10 children are malnourished.

At the beginning of the Gimme Shelter video, we are told that “In Eastern Congo, the AK-47″—which flashes across the screen strapped to a Congolese soldier’s back—”is known as the Congolese Credit Card.”

Characterizing the Kalashnikov AK-47 as “the Congolese Credit Card” is overtly racist, because it casts Congolese people—and males in particular—as pathological gun-toting thugs. It is the same type of characterization of Congolese men that is made by Eve Ensler and the V-Day Congo lobby about ‘femicide’ in Eastern Congo. ‘Femicide’ is an inaccurate description for a situation where males are usually killed outright, as in Congo. The combination of femicide and homocide amounts to mass murder and, in the case of RPA operations in Rwanda and Congo, genocide.18

Comparing an AK-47 in the hands of a Congolese male to a credit card is doubly racist because it is premised on a blame the victim mentality (by whites) that further ridicules black African males who have no possibility of upward mobility, no possibility of obtaining a Master Card or VISA or American Express—symbols of excessive materialism, western privilege, selective financial access and financial gate-keeping.

Similarly, Affleck’s four minute video of black African faces—who are suffering the indignities of homelessness and beggary—deliberately whites out any images of, or references to, the raw materials leaving the eastern Congo through Uganda and Rwanda, or arriving at ports and factories in Europe, Japan, China and the USA. Affleck’s short film also unquestionably serves the misery industries and the so-called ‘peacekeeping’ professionals that profit from the massive suffering.

After the ‘Congolese Credit Card’ image we are told “there are twenty-two recognized armed groups” in Congo, but nothing at all about their ties to the organized crime networks run by Uganda or Rwanda and their western allies. There is nothing about the proliferation of AK-47s, landmines or other weaponry, or the many white merchants of death behind Central Africa’s woes.

We are told: “UNHCR transports refugee families fleeing from the violence,” but any and all reasons why millions of brutalized people have been forced to flee homes and villages are omitted.

UNHCR senior media officer Tim Irwin said that Gimme Shelter is “designed to inform and mobilize people all around the world to bring relief to hundreds of thousands of Congolese victims who have been uprooted from their homes because of the violence between Hutu militias, ethnic Tutsi rebels, and Congolese soldiers.”

What are the differences between ‘Hutu militias’ and ‘ethnic Tutsi rebels’? Why are Hutus described as ‘militias’ while Tutsis are described as ‘rebel’? What makes ‘ethnic Tutsi rebels’ ethnic, while ‘Hutu militias’, apparently, are not ‘ethnic Hutu’? The same distortions of reality were applied to the establishment narrative of genocide in Rwanda: 100 days of killing; Hutus killing Tutsis and ‘moderate Hutus’… What is a ‘moderate Hutu’?

In establishment narratives, war is peace, slavery is freedom, and language is used to criminalize the innocent, just as it is in the so-called ‘war on terror’. Thus ‘Hutu militias’ has come to mean ‘the genocidal Interahamwe’.19 ‘Tutsi rebels’ means ‘those victimized minority guerrillas who stopped the genocide and are now seeking justice by hunting down every last genocidaire‘—whether man, woman or child. A ‘moderate Hutu’ is one who sided with the minority Tutsi RPA guerrillas—the real terrorists—against the supposed ‘extremist’ government of Juvenal Habyarimana.

As indicated above, mainstream ‘news’ stories are frequently whitewashed by simplistic racial stereotypes: racially tainted sound bites meant to confuse and mislead western ‘news’ consumers. These racial markers serve to distance western populations, especially but not only Caucasians, and they underscore and further inculcate false beliefs about the superiority of both western civilization and white people.

Similarly, the Affleck production whitewashes the chaos created by foreign interventions, covert operations and white-collar organized crime by reducing a complex imperialist invasion to ‘ethnic warfare’. (This is called essentializing.) The structural factors that insure this war will continue, and the huge salaries, adventurous lifestyles and special privileges of white expatriates working in the so-called ‘humanitarian’ aid sector are rendered equally invisible. Multinational corporations, involved in the exploitation, are obliterated without a trace of their ever being there, and, in many cases, they are offered up as the perfect, as yet untried, solution.

Consider just one company, Banro, a Canadian-based gold exploration company with four wholly owned properties, each with mining licenses along a major gold belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.20 Banro Corporation operates only in eastern DRC, where they are projecting massive gold profits—in the billions of dollars.

Banro was ‘awarded’ gold concessions comprising 5,730 square kms (2,212 square miles), and Banro personnel are ferried over the remote and blood-drenched South Kivu landscape by private helicopters. From December 31, 2005, to September 31, 2008, Banro—always declaring a loss due to exploration—increased its assets from $US 100 to $US 121 million. In the same period, more than 1000 Congolese people died every day—roughly 1,000,000 victims.

Banro Corporation has identified 4.68 million ounces of gold on ‘their’ properties, and they have inferred another 4.87 million ounces. Banro’s gold prospects are today valued at some $US 3.74 billion (identified) and $US 3.89 billion (inferred), for a total of $US 7.63 billion dollars—and this is just one of the many foreign companies pillaging Congo.

Perhaps Ben Affleck can tell us something we can’t, in good conscience, ignore. How does a Canadian mining company come to ‘wholly-own’ land in blood drenched eastern Congo? And why are Banro Corporation directors—Simon Village, Michael Prinsloo, Arnold Kondrat, Peter Cowley, John Clarke, Bernard van Rooyen, Piers Cumberlege and Richard Lachcik 21 —not under the spotlight for their obvious involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide?

Banro advertises themselves as one of Congo’s great benefactors “well-positioned to benefit from the timely economic, social and political recovery of the DRC.”22 Hello? To benefit from the timely economic, social and political recovery of the Congo? Hello! The ongoing white-collar business operations of Banro Corporation amidst the killing in eastern Congo are crimes against humanity.

“The principle thing for me, over the course of this last year, has been learning,” Affleck said, prior to a primetime ABC Nightline broadcast—Ben Affleck in Congo—in June 2008. “I needed to learn and I’m still learning. It’s not as if I’m some expert or I’m presenting myself as a person with answers—and I’m not an advocate of a particular organization.”

Affleck’s independence didn’t last long. Before his December 2008 deal with UNHCR, Affleck signed on with Save the Children, a Connecticut based corporate enterprise whose massive profits earned from the chaos of war and suffering in Africa have been sufficiently documented.13

In May 2008, Ben Affleck visited with former child soldiers, as part of Save the Children’s global Rewrite the Future campaign. According to Save the Children PR, the campaign “helps to provide quality education” to children in conflict countries, such as kids in Goma, DRC.23

A Congolese child suffering from malnutrition waits to die in a clinic in North Kivu, DRC. Such images are perpetually used to provoke western media spectators to donate to corporate relief operations. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2005.

A Congolese child suffering from malnutrition waits to die in a clinic in North Kivu, DRC. Such images are perpetually used to provoke western media spectators to donate to corporate relief operations. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2005.

Can anyone honestly provide a single example of ‘quality education’ available to children in all of Congo?24 White westerners think that a dilapidated cement shell with a tin roof and some wooden benches qualifies as ‘education’ of a higher standard in Africa.

More importantly, Save the Children’s sponsors include Starbucks and Credit Suisse, two multinational corporations that are deeply enmeshed in the geopolitical plunder of Central Africa. However, such relationships between corporate ‘donors’ and so-called ‘non-government’ organizations (NGOs) billed as apolitical humanitarian charities are obscured by the propaganda of white power interests and the obliviousness of its beneficiaries, like Ben Affleck.

President Paul Kagame gave a corporate endorsement at Starbuck’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle in March 2007. “Starbucks and Rwanda are extended family, very closely linked by the business we do together and the passion we share,” Kagame said.25

THE UPSIDE DOWN GENOCIDE

The Kagame military machine—backed by the US, U.K., Canada, Germany and Israel—is one of Congo’s greatest enemies. Kagame was one of the original 27 soldiers to launch the guerrilla war in Uganda, 1980, alongside now president-for-life Yoweri Museveni. Kagame soon became the head of Museveni’s dreaded Internal Security Organization, and he was directly involved in tortures, massacres and other human rights atrocities during the Museveni regime’s consolidation of power.

In October 1990 Kagame returned from training at the US Army base at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to lead the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) illegal invasion of Rwanda. The US military and its partners backed the invasion, just as they backed the invasion of Congo in 1996, and the recent invasion of Congo launched this week.

From 1990 to 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), comprised most heavily of Ugandan soldiers led by Ugandan citizens like Paul Kagame, committed atrocity after atrocity as they forced their way to power in Kigali, always falsely accusing their enemies—the power-sharing government of then President Juvenal Habyarimana—of genocide.26

On December 18, 2008, after the protracted ‘Military I’ trial, the judges at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) ruled that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide by former Rwandan military leaders affiliated with the Habyarimana government. It was a war, and the actions—far from a calculated genocide—were found by the ICTR judges to be ‘war-time conditions’.27

“The media reports of the December 18 judgment [Military I] at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda focused primarily on the convictions of three of four former top military leaders, who were the supposed ‘masterminds’ of the Rwandan genocide,” wrote ICTR defense lawyer Peter Erlinder. “But, as those who have followed the ICTR closely know, convictions of members of the former Rwandan government and military are scarcely newsworthy.”27

Since the inception of the ICTR its decisions have been decisively biased—victor’s justice—in favor of the Kagame regime and to protect it and its backers. Thus it is no surprise that the former top military leaders of the Habyarimana government—Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and General Gratien Kabiligi—were sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.28

“The real news was that ALL of the top Rwandan military officers, including the supposedly infamous Colonel Bagosora, were found not guilty of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide,” writes Erlinder. “And General Gratien Kabiligi, a senior member of the general staff was acquitted of all charges! The others were found guilty of specific acts committed by subordinates, in specific places, at specific times—not an overall conspiracy to kill civilians, much less Tutsi civilians.”27

Now, after more than fifteen years of massive western propaganda proclaiming an organized, systematic elimination of the Tutsi people by the Hutu leaders of the former Rwandan government, the official Rwanda genocide story has finally collapsed.

While the western media has consistently covered up the Rwandan occupation in Congo over the past decade, with a complete denial of Rwandan presence from circa 2005 to 2008, the imminent changing of the Presidential guard in the US provoked a recent rash of articles stating the obvious: Rwanda is all over Congo. In mid December the UN released a report further documenting what independent journalists have maintained and reported all along: the Rwandan government is directly backing rebel factions, criminal networks and mining operations in eastern Congo.

The euphemistically named guerrilla army—National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP)—lorded over by General Laurent Nkunda, has maintained direct personal communications with the office of the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. The Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) have dispatched military personnel into Congo, recruited and armed child soldiers, and they are involved in minerals plunder, racketeering, extortion and war crimes.29

Now the Kagame government, immunized against prosecution thanks to their connections to top former Clinton and Bush officials, who now sit on high in the Obama administration, has openly sent more than 1500 troops into North Kivu using weapons recently delivered to Rwanda for their equally illegal terrorist operations in Darfur, Sudan.

The Kagame government, with its foreign backers, has pursued an identical strategy in Congo as they did in Rwanda, 1990-1994. The goal is to destabilize the region, manufacture chaos, sue for peace while pursuing war, and use the UN ‘peacekeeping’ mission to aid the predatory agenda. The final solution is to permanently criminalize the Hutu majority, entrench economic and political relations between the Kivus and Rwanda, and between Ituri and Uganda, and balkanize Congo—exactly as proposed by president Clinton’s national security insider Walter Kansteiner (1996).30

The ‘surprising’ arrest of General Laurent Nkunda, on January 22, 2009, by the troops of the joint FARDC and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) operation is merely damage control, with General Laurent Nkunda being the latest Fall Guy arrested to recover some sense of credibility for the international police forces—the Pentagon and its proxy armies in Rwanda and Uganda—and to enable the Kagame military cabal to distance itself from the recent exposés documenting Rwanda’s machinations in eastern Congo.

THE MISERY INDUSTRY

The Gimme Shelter campaign set out to raise $23 million for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for so-called “emergency humanitarian assistance” to help displaced persons in the DRC, and now it has spawned an industry unto itself.

“The Rolling Stones are very happy to contribute to Gimme Shelter in support of Ben’s efforts to raise the profile of the conflict in the Congo,” one UN public relations agency quotes Mick Jagger as saying. “We all need to stand up and support the work of organizations like UNHCR who are on the ground offering protection and working hard to ensure the rights and wellbeing of refugees.”31

Does UNHCR insure the rights and well being of refugees? The Gimme Shelter film has been distributed worldwide via Internet, television, mobile phones, cinemas and hotel chains.

Hollywood actorvist Mia Farrow—the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF—also jetted into Congo for the festivities. Farrow made a three-day visit to the DRC in December, 2008, and then made a plug for the corporate AID industry by “urging all armed groups in North Kivu to allow aid organizations to provide life-saving assistance to women and children.”31

The structural violence that allows for white actorvist jet-setters like Mia Farrow to zoom into and out of such complex emergencies as Congo or Darfur, to make films in refugee camps or hold press conferences in war zones, and to urge armed groups to stop fighting so that business operations can be transacted, is never explored.

UNHCR’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and there are 262 field offices in 116 countries: this is a big business operation dependent on insecurity, population displacements, and warfare.32

The current head of the UNHCR is António Guterres, who started as UN High Commissioner for Refugees on June 15, 2005, after Rudd Lubbers, the former UNHCR chief, resigned amidst a sex scandal.33 Guterres served as Portuguese prime minister from 1996 to 2002. Jean-Pierre Bemba, a Congolese warlord with deep ties to Portugal, was at the time a warlord in Congo backed by Uganda and its western allies.34

Western expatriates take a break from humanitarian relief operations to practice 'aquatic yoga' at a plush club swimming pool off limits to ordinary Congolese people. Just one of the many perks of relief work in 'exotic' foreign war zones. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2007.

Western expatriates take a break from humanitarian relief operations to practice 'aquatic yoga' at a plush club swimming pool off limits to ordinary Congolese people. Just one of the many perks of relief work in 'exotic' foreign war zones. Photo Keith Harmon Snow, 2007.

The UNHCR’s interests in Congo are not only about sustained employment for its highly paid workers—where white people get the best jobs—and lucrative procurement contracts for other corporations. UNHCR also takes a highly politicized, corporate stance in host countries.

In Benin, in 1997, the UNHCR openly collaborated with Royal/Dutch Shell Corporation officials after Shell set up offices immediately behind the UNHCR headquarters in Cotonou. UNHCR was at the time responsible for several thousand indigenous Ogoni refugees who fled persecution by Royal/Dutch Shell and the Nigerian military in the oil-devastated Niger River Delta.35

In Gambella, Ethiopia, during the genocidal pogroms against the Anuak people (2005-2006), UNHCR operations were openly affiliated with the perpetrators and UNHCR never spoke out against atrocities committed by the government of President Meles Zenawi, with his approval.36

According to a Refugees International situation report of May 17, 1994, at the height of RPA war crimes in Rwanda, the UNHCR ‘Ngara’ Protection report documented atrocities committed by the RPA at the Tanzanian border—cold-blooded massacres of men, women and children, burned alive in huts, countless war crimes that were attributed to the ‘organized Hutu genocide.’37

“Asked by [a] UNHCR field officer, refugees said the RPF [sic] did not care whether victims [killed by RPA] were Hutu or Tutsi.”37

“Each day there are more and more bodies in the river and most of them without their heads.”37

Commenting on RPA massacres at other border points: “The people of Rwanda have nowhere else to go and we cannot expect them to stay and be slaughtered in their homes.”37

Further, and more devastating to the establishment’s portrayal of the RPA as a ‘disciplined’ rebel force that ‘stopped the genocide,’ it was a consultant named Robert Gersony, contracted by UNHCR, who staked his 25 year career on his findings from his investigation in Rwanda—”what he described as calculated, preplanned, systematic atrocities and genocide against Hutus by the RPA … a plan implemented as a policy from the highest echelons of [the Kagame] government.”38

The United Nations buried the Gersony Report, and it remains buried. When the Gersony report came out, the UNHCR suspended their support for voluntary repatriation of refugees to Rwanda because of RPA massacres. In response, the Rwandan government and many others in the UN turned on the UNHCR. Since that time (1995), UNHCR has accepted the establishment narrative about genocide in Rwanda.

Read on to part 2 …

  1. Howard Lesser, “UNHCR Unveils ‘Gimme Shelter’ Campaign for Congo War Victims,” Voice of America, December 18, 2008. []
  2. In 2004, after this investigator’s first mission to Congo, a (naïve) letter was delivered directly to Angelina Jolie inviting her to travel deep into central Congo to witness the realities of white-owned slave plantations and mining; there was reply []
  3. See Keith Harmon Snow, “Merchants of Death: White Collar War Crimes, Black African Fall Guys,” Dissident Voice, December 8, 2008. []
  4. Today, teachers and students can download ‘teaching resources’ that are used to indoctrinate a new set of young people to the mythologies and propaganda that are creating exploitation and suffering in the world, and further entrenching structural violence, while loudly and proudly claiming to alleviate it. See the pro-UNHCR propaganda web site connected to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Ripples of Genocide: A Journey Through Eastern Congo. []
  5. Ocean’s Thirteen stars donate $1 million in support of UN food agency,” UN News Centre, June 27, 2007. []
  6. George Clooney, David Pressman and John Prendergast, “George Clooney on how Obama can help Congo,” Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2008. []
  7. “Discredit the Hutu Population Forever, Analysis of the social, political, economic, military, geostrategic and diplomatic aspects of the crises in Rwanda before, during and after the outbreak of the crisis on April 6, 1994,” Report by Dr. Helmut Strizek, Case no ICTR 2000-56-I, Bonn, August 3, 2008. []
  8. See Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, Ed., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, State University of New York Press, 2007. []
  9. World Food Program, DRC. []
  10. United Nations General Assembly, Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Program, UN Doc A/AC.96/1040, 12 September 2007. []
  11. Head, Private Sector Fundraising Service (PSFR), UNHCR, UNHCR, July 10, 2007. [] []
  12. “UN peacekeepers attacked in Congo,” BBC and AP November 24, 2008. []
  13. Michael Maren, The Road To Hell: The Ravaging Affects of Foreign Aid and International Charity, 1996. [] []
  14. ‘FUBAR’ is an acronym, coined by US military during the US war in Vietnam: ‘Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition’. Private communication from Bukavu, DRC, January 16, 2009. []
  15. Private communications, DRC, December 2008 & January 2009. []
  16. Private communication, DRC, January 2009. []
  17. Patrick Goldstein, “The Big Picture:
    Patrick Goldstein on the collision of entertainment, media and pop culture,” (Ben Affleck is Not Guilty About Being A Celebrity), Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2008. Note that the L.A. Times page with the Affleck story above has a dead baby fundraising advertisement for the multinational corporate entity World Vision, showing an African child, crying, with the headline, “A Child Dies Every Four Second: Sponsor A Child” and a digital clock ticking away the four seconds before the child’s image is blacked out and replaced with the next child to die and a new four second counter. []
  18. See Keith Harmon Snow, “Three Cheers for Eve Ensler: Propaganda, White Collar Crime and Sexual Atrocities in Eastern Congo,” Z-Net, October 24, 2007. []
  19. Even the word Interahamwe was misrepresented—providing a generalized media sound bite used to easily instill fear and criminalize—as ‘those who attack together’ or ‘those who kill together’ or though it is claimed to more accurately mean ‘united for the same ideal’ and ‘those who work together’. The misrepresentations proliferate in popular spaces like Wikipedia, where Interahamwe is curiously described as ‘the young Hutu males who carried out the Rwandan Genocide acts against the Tutsis in 1994′ but who ‘did not have a clearly organized group of followers’. Such language is telling. Wikipedia attributes the Interahamwe with ‘acts’ of genocide while also noting their total lack of organization, both facts being contrary to an organized, pre-planned, systematic genocide—which is exactly what the judges at the ICTR opined in their decisions of December 12, 2008. []
  20. Banro Corporation, Financial Reports. See map of properties in South Kivu. []
  21. Banro Corporation directors. []
  22. Banro Corporation, “Why Africa and the DRC?” []
  23. “Ben Affleck Meets Former Child Soldiers in Save the Children’s Campaign to ‘Rewrite the Future’,” Save the Children. []
  24. We are immediately reminded of the extensive and costly public relations campaigns of the Atlanta (GA) based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The DFGF cranked out public relations stories describing a beautiful school of university quality that was built, outfitted and sponsored by western donors. However, the situation at the Tayna Center for Conservation Biology—the “American University” and crown jewel of the Conservation International and DFGF efforts—was a sham. See Keith Harmon Snow and Georgianne Nienaber, “King Kong,” Parts 5 & 6, published August 2007 by COA News, available here. []
  25. Marc Gunther, “Why CEOs love Rwanda: As a small African nation recovers from genocide, Google, Starbucks and Costco lend a hand,” Fortune Magazine, April 3, 2007. []
  26. See Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen Press, 1999; and “Discredit the Hutu Population Forever, Analysis of the social, political, economic, military, geostrategic and diplomatic aspects of the crises in Rwanda before, during and after the outbreak of the crisis on April 6, 1994,” Report by Dr. Helmut Strizek, Case no ICTR 2000-56-I, Bonn, August 3, 2008; Keith Harmon Snow: “Psychological Warfare, Embedded Reporters and the Hunting of Refugees,” Global Research, April 12, 2008. []
  27. See Peter Erlinder, “Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning … No Genocide?Jurist, December 23, 2008. [] [] []
  28. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) / Bagosora, Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva given life sentences;
    Kabiligi acquitted
    ,” African Press Organization, December 18, 2008. []
  29. Final report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN, S/2008/773, December 2008. []
  30. Walter Kansteiner, the son of a coltan trader in Chicago, is the former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and former member of the Dept. of Defense Task Force on Strategic Minerals. Kansteiner’s speech at The Forum for International Policy in October of 1996 advocated partitioning the Congo (Zaire) into smaller states based on ethnic lineage. Ironically, while the speech was given, Laurent Kabila and his ADFL were beginning their march to overthrow Mobutu with the aid of Rwanda, Uganda, and the US. []
  31. Actor Ben Affleck and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger join forces to help UN refugee agency,” UN News Center, December 17, 2008. [] []
  32. Roxanne Stasyszyn, “A World Playground: Congolese Sacrificed for International Games and Profits,” Dissident Voice, November 8, 2008. []
  33. Kate Holt and Leonard Doyle, “Harassment, intimidation and secrecy—UN chief engulfed in sex scandal,” The Independent, February 18, 2005. []
  34. See Keith Harmon Snow, “A People’s History of Congo’s Jean-Pierre Bemba,” Toward Freedom, September 18, 2007, []
  35. Keith Harmon Nnow, personal interviews with UNHCR and Ogoni refugees in Cotonou, Benin, 1997. See also Keith Harmon Snow (under the pseudonym Zak Harmon), “No Safe Haven: Even in refugee camps, Nigeria’s Ogonis face abuse and intimidation,” Toward Freedom, Vol. 46, No. 6, November 1997. []
  36. Livelihoods and Vulnerabilities Study, Gambella Region of Ethiopia, United Nations Report, made public ‘without authorization’ by Keith Harmon Snow, December 13, 2006. []
  37. See Mark Prutsalis, SITREP #10 Refugees in Tanzania, Refugees International, May 17, 1994. [] [] [] []
  38. Shaharyar Khan, “The Gersony ‘Report’ Rwanda,” Outgoing Code Cable, United Nations, October 14, 1994. []

Keith Harmon Snow is a war correspondent, photographer and independent investigator, and a four time (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010) Project Censored award winner. He is also the 2009 Regent's Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work, outside of academia, contesting official narratives on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide while also working as a genocide investigator for the United Nations and other bodies. The first UCSB Regent's Lecturer, in 1960, was Aldous Huxley; other recipients include Margaret Mead, Peter Matthiessen and Meredith Monk. Read other articles by Keith, or visit Keith's website.

43 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Justin Boland said on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:28pm #

    This was a stunning piece, and frankly more than I could process, lacking the background information as I do. Could you recommend any overview articles so I can get my head more grounded in the history and players involved here?

  2. keith harmon snow said on January 23rd, 2009 at 4:33pm #

    Hello:

    Thank you to Dissident Voice for first publishing this story. Given the arrest on 22 January 2009 of Laurent Nkunda, this paragraph has been added to update the latest edition of this story:

    The ‘surprising’ arrest of General Laurent Nkunda, on January 22, 2009, by the troops of the joint FARDC and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) operation is merely damage control, with General Laurent Nkunda being the latest Fall Guy arrested to recover some sense of credibility for the international police forces—the Pentagon and its proxy armies in Rwanda and Uganda—and to enable the Kagame military cabal to distance itself from the recent exposés documenting Rwanda’s machinations in eastern Congo.

    Rwanda’s seperation from Nkunda has been in process for some time, and the propaganda system will now portray Nkunda as the devil, while Kigali (Kagame et al) are insulated from any responsibility. This is the nature of how power operates and what we are seeing is a perfect example of “damage control.”

    It was the same with the assassinations of Sani Abacha (a brutal dictator who crossed a certain line, unlike the nasty Olusegun Obasanjo) and Laurent Desire Kabila (Congo’s former President who offended Bechtel et al) and Thomas Sankara (a good guy who offended Burkina Faso’s keepers in France, the US and, esp. Israel).

    blessings
    keith

  3. Samuel Kimani Ndegwa said on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:28pm #

    I have not read such an exhuastive accounting of what and who of the war criminals in Congo anywhere. Keith tells it as it is without let or fear. The more I learn the Truth, its harder to be “objective” about the atrocities that have been committed, are being carried out and will continue to be carried out for profit. The current generation of leaders the world over are avaricius criminals, save for a few, who future generations if ever they dare stare the Truth in the face, will realize were simply blunt instruments of death and human misery. That is why the collective euphoria of “hope” I take with a pinch of salt. Silently I weep for the children of Africa, Gaza, Latin America, US Urban Ghettos and other “vassal” spaces who have become unwitting consumers of untruths and therefore oblivious to modern day slavery.

    Thank you Keith and continue telling only the Truth.

  4. sk said on January 23rd, 2009 at 7:40pm #

    Justin, you might want to check out an online documentary called The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba. A lot of what’s going on nowadays will become clearer once you get a handle on what’s happened in the past.

  5. eddie said on January 23rd, 2009 at 9:17pm #

    Hi Justin Boland,

    If you want to know how it all started, please read the links below”

    The US was behind the Rwandan Genocide: Rwanda: Installing a US
    Protectorate in Central Africa
    by Michel Chossudovsky
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO305A.html

    IMF-World Bank policies and the Rwandan holocaust
    By Michel Chossudovsky, 26 January, 1995
    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/35/033.html

  6. dk said on January 24th, 2009 at 12:35am #

    i can’t hardly handle
    anymore of this drama
    like the addled prattle
    about this guy obama
    i ain’t from alabama
    but all i can scan
    seems like a scam

    my fingers are frozen
    no good for grippin’
    can’t feel but i feel
    like so much is slippin’
    away
    always walkin’
    cuz i’m to drunk todrive
    wake up to find
    out if i’m still alive
    just another day

  7. john andrews said on January 24th, 2009 at 4:15am #

    Keith,

    I suspect this is another superb article – but it is horrendously difficult to read for anyone who is not already an expert in Central African history and politics, which must be counterproductive to educating the masses.

    Coincidentally the Nkunda is featured in today’s Times (UK) with an article and editorial. The truth is always difficult to find, but Central Africa is especially murky, making truth especially difficult to pin down.

  8. CS said on January 24th, 2009 at 11:48am #

    Thank you KHS for the great work exposing the machinations of the misery industry in collusion with the multinational corporations and the corrupt, puppet states that support them. Your work is utterly invaluable. Unfortunately, the propaganda used by these groups works so well because it is so effective; they deliver it in digestible, emotional, packages made for short attention span of the consumer — a consumer who for the most part does not read lengthy, enlightening articles like your own. By having celebrities, hit songs, and hollywood scriptwriters decimate this propaganda over corporate media, though movies, through YouTube videos and snappy websites, it is getting harder to spread the real truth.

    Maybe we need to use similar propaganda techniques to turn the tide towards the truth. Let’s get a celebrity spokesperson committed to spreading the real truth give a point by point exposé about what is going on in central Africa (Ed Asner?, Charlie Sheen?); hire a band (RemoConscious? Paris?) to come up with a theme song and we could put together our own 4 minute youtube video. This might be very effective in spreading the truth to audience with such a very short attention span.

    And lastly, I think we can shame the celebrities who pander to people’s emotions for the misery/murder industry. If they don’t know what they are doing they should have this article sent to them and asked for a response which would be published. If they do know what they are helping to facilitate they should be called out and held accountable.

  9. Douglas E. Wight said on January 24th, 2009 at 2:33pm #

    Although difficult to follow and discern all the various factions involved in the Congo and surrounding nations, this important exposee indentifies four key components that must be understood: First, the U.S. does not give two spits for the people of Africa and is only there for her resources, especially oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, and gum arabic. Second, the U.S. has used aid to blackmail the Congo and other nations into “restructuring”, which means large-scale corporate capitalism. Instead of supporting sustainable water and agriculture, like local farming and herding, Africa’s governments and people are forced to produce crops for export to repay their aid debt. Malcolm X was right,–”the moment you go into debt you become a slave!” Third, our CIA, using cover proxies like the Ugandan government and multi-national corporate fronts, is well situated throughout Africa, and is often responsible for inciting civil wars as a convenient distraction and also so the UN or some other US backed military puppet can intervene. Fourth, most Aid and humanitarian organizations are there for their own profit making and perpetuation,–as well as many NGOs. It would be best if they all left Africa completely. In fairness to Ben Afflect, it might have been a good idea to attempt to contact him first before casting him into the pejorative pit. Also, it would have been helpful if some delineated solutions had been offered, otherwise this excellent piece comes off as just a pissed-off rant, which is probably not Keith’s intention. Exposing and slaming are never enough I have discovered, because they don’t help affect the deeper root causes we all desire. If we are to follow Gandhi’s imperative “to be the change that we desire”, then we must keep our eye’s on that prize, persistently and passionately. blessings to all.
    Doug

  10. DanE said on January 24th, 2009 at 3:08pm #

    Thank you John Andrews, I seem to be in much the same predicament. I guess the word might be “Information Overload”?

    I read earlier DV pieces by Mr Snow with great enthusiasm, but now I find myself overwhelmed, and uncertain whether Mr Snow’s analyses are always solidly grounded. Until reading the above comments I’d hesitated to voice my doubts; I do so now in the hope that doing so will be of use to Mr Snow, helping to enable him to tailor his presentation to make it more digestible for those of us whose knowledge of recent African doings is scanty.

    I went to the “Things Pass” webpage & took a look: it too was just overwhelming. Impressive but more than I myself can absorb.

    What might help me? Well, maybe to be on a daily List which would serve a cpl pages of current happenings plus a cpl pages of historical bkgrnd cum footnotes? (When I was a youngster I always had my nose in a book, but now I have a hard time reading more than a few pages of tightly organized/focussed material at a time.) (I do find it easy to become absorbed in Jas. Petras’ essays, even if quite lengthy, dunno if this indicates sthg about the writing or about me…?)

    I do feel a mental hunger to get a better mental picture of imperial/capitalist/zionist activities such as Snow writes about, and to trace the impetus behind them to points of origin within the competing /collaborating imperial power structures, esp. those in the US.
    Those of us who have been focussed on gaining and sharing a clear view of the Zionist Lobby’s role in US policy formation now should realize that we need to have a clear view of how the ZPC interfaces with other Imperialist elements also engaged in the ongoing bloody rape & pillage of Africa. Such an analysis will enable us to make sound decisions re who to embrace & who to shun in the US “left” political arena.

  11. kahar said on January 25th, 2009 at 7:33am #

    Dan, did you check out the references as you read through the article? There’s alot in this article (from about a third way down I guess) that is more a summary of a great deal of background which is used to illustrate and expose how foreign exploitation and pillage is supported, hidden and sustained by the media and misery industry and its image. As to what to do, Doug, well what do you think, why are you looking for someone to tell you?

  12. John Shafer said on January 25th, 2009 at 1:14pm #

    Another excellent article Keith. There is some excellent background here including an earlier piece of Keith’s.

    http://www.truthout.org/article/uns-louise-arbour-under-fire-over-rwanda

  13. bozh said on January 25th, 2009 at 1:41pm #

    we, the peasants and workers, were tolerated by patricians because patricians/clergy needed land tilllers, shepards, and soldiers.

    in modern times, we are tolerated by nouveau riche for exactly the same reasons. we produce wealth and the neopatricians skim off the cream.
    having money, get educated and critcize us for being lazy, unmotivated, unruly, uneducated, etc.

    clergy, their allies in crime, also invent categories for us that are virtually the same that clinton, kennedy, obama use.

    we are lazy; wan’t s’mthing for nothing; we are immoral/sinful and need to be now whipped mostly with words for all kinds of deficiency.
    of course, cutting dwn our wages also help them intimade us.
    and the masses have swallowed up these inventions with gusto. i am told that they even invent diseases for which they invent ‘cures’; to make more money, of course, and to subjugate us via unnecessary fears.
    this is what also keith may be pointing out. thnx

  14. keith harmon snow said on January 26th, 2009 at 10:41am #

    Hello

    I don’t talk down to my readers, like the mass media, which is culpable in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity — because, at the very least, it lays the psychological groundwork by at least, manufacturing our consent, if not our active participation — I talk up to my readers.

    I don’t think the story is that complicated. There are pieces, herein, and what makes it seem so indigestible is that people have consumed so much tripe that their brains are overloaded with nonsense. People are also lazy. They want their stories to be short and “sweet”. This is why I have not been considered for a Project Censored recognition — my stories are so long that they are not even considered. Readers get something that doesnt mesh with the propaganda framework and suddenly they question the veracity of my facts — though many times would never question the veracity of an article by, for example, Seymour Hersch or Stephanie McCrummen.

    I would like to suggest that it is incumbent upon readers to make the extra effort to understand. Short of that, we can all wallow in complacency and shrug off the hard facts and dirty details as incomprehensible — allowing us to mitigate our responsibility for taking serious action.

    blessings
    keith harmon snow

  15. DanE said on January 26th, 2009 at 1:23pm #

    Dear Mr Snow,

    With all due respect, your “comment” makes so many unwarranted assumptions I have to suspect some of your facts may be shaky too.

    But I’d still like to see your work made more widely available, in a more accessible form if possible. Of course many editors reject your work because of its political content, but I suspect some find the politics agreeable but balk at the unreadability.

    You are presenting ideas and purported facts which directly challenge the accepted parameters of US/Western political/intellectual discourse, so anything you do or fail to do that makes it easier to dismiss you/your work as “flaky”, “farout fringe fanatic” interferes with the purpose you proclaim it “incumbent” on everyone to support.

    Have you, for instance, submitted your work to Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report, or to Mary Ratcliff at San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper?

    Allow me to suggest that when trying to make a case as counter to accepted discourse as yours, it is necessary to make your case as solid and unassailable as possible.

    Oh well, I know I’m spinning wheels, talking to a wall, so I’ll shut up.

    Good luck, wish you all success.

  16. kahar said on January 26th, 2009 at 2:39pm #

    Dan, your remarks really make you appear like you were born yesterday. It’s also clear from your “comment”, or rather your defensive knee-jerk ad hominems, that your knowledge, awareness and understanding of current and past events in Africa is zero. It’s also clear that you did not follow up on my earlier suggestion. Keith is a three times project censored winner and yes he is published in Black Agenda Report, and in the excellent Global Research and other places. May I suggest that to avoid making youself look silly in future you do a little bit of research first. And when criticising an article the intelligent and productive way to do it is to actually identify what for you are points of contention rather than dismiss everything with: “I suspect….blah blah”, and ad hominems.

  17. Mark E. Smith said on January 30th, 2009 at 7:21pm #

    Although I can’t claim to have understood all the details, what I did get was that U.S. and other corporate interests (being white myself, I would identify these interests as white even when they have black collaborators, enablers, or spokespersons), in their mad scramble to profit from DRC mineral resources, have killed over a million people, and that much of the so-called aid is doing more harm than good.

    I gleaned that it is not a simple “Hutu bad/Tutsi good” situation as the media and celebrities would like it to appear.

    Fortunately for me, I’m in San Diego and Keith Harmon Snow is going to be making several presentations here during the first week of February, so I’m planning to attend in hopes of getting a better picture of the situation.

    KHS’s event schedule is here:

    http://allthingspass.com/journalism.php?catid=34

    Only in context is a picture worth a thousand words, and words themselves can be confusing to those like myself without first-hand knowledge of a situation. But I am grateful to Keith for naming the countries, corporations, and organizations, along with their officers and public relations people who are involved, so that my small donations don’t end up exacerbating the genocide I want to stop.

    I’ve been an unabashed fan of Keith Harmon Snow for quite some time and I know that whenever I read anything he writes, I will learn something. I’d be a fool if I thought or expected that I could learn everything. Every piece of the puzzle makes the picture clearer and Keith has gathered up and given us many pieces. Thank you!

  18. DanE said on January 31st, 2009 at 5:49pm #

    Well, I opened this again just now because I wanted to apologize to Mr Snow, to acknowledge that my criticisms were not balanced. I should have noted, as I have in earlier comments on earlier articles, that he deserves unlimited praise for accomplishing so much.

    But somebody still needs to take on the task of presenting this information in a form that can be digested more easily by people who have other demands on their time and attention.

    Maybe “Kahal” would be interested in taking it on? BTW, Kahal, are you sure you know what “ad hominem” means?

  19. keith harmon snow said on January 31st, 2009 at 8:04pm #

    Hi Dan (and everyone):

    First, I don’t think you need to apologize. But thank you. I thought your comments (originally) were fine, and took them to heart. You arent the first to say as you did. I do like to encourage people to dig deeper and try to get beyond the propaganda. I recognize that my style is “unique”.

    (Indeed, when my stories are so long I am not in the running for Project Censored awards.)

    I wish people would recognize that the Congo demands their time and attention. Of course, I have lots of other demands on my time too so I am completely compassionate with your position.

    Black Agenda Report has carried at least one of my stories, and the SF BAY VIEW carried my last story and I was hoping they’d carry this one.

    blessings
    keith

  20. kahar said on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:11pm #

    “BTW, Kahal, are you sure you know what “ad hominem” means?”

    I thought I explained that in my comment.. but, ok..

    “With all due respect, your “comment” makes so many unwarranted assumptions I have to suspect some of your facts may be shaky too.”

    ad hominem — it is not relevant who wrote the article (or what they wrote consequently), but whether the argument made there is valid.

    “anything you do or fail to do that makes it easier to dismiss you/your work as “flaky”, “farout fringe fanatic” interferes with the purpose you proclaim it “incumbent” on everyone to support.”

    ad hominem — name calling.
    It does not matter if it is the Mad Hatter escaped from a mental hospital who wrote the story, what matters is whether the arguments are valid, and if you have a problem with the argument calling the author names is ad hominem. Besides, writers like Keith will always be dismissed by the main stream media no matter how he writes it.

    “But somebody still needs to take on the task of presenting this information … Maybe “Kahal” would be interested in taking it on?”

    :o)

  21. mary said on February 8th, 2009 at 10:35am #

    http://www.congovision.com/audio/keith_snow1.wma

    Congo Vision Radio: Congo Forum
    Special Guest: Keith Harmon Snow

    53 mins length ‘Now the Obama administration is complicit in war crimes’

    The amazing Keith Harmon Snow at full power in this interview. So many facts and names to know and remember. He was asked why he has this special interest in the affairs of Central Africa. He said in reply that he couldn’t understand why the American people didn’t want to know but explained how the corporate media obscure and misinform.

    http://www.congovision.com/images2/keith_harmon_snow2.jpg
    His photo

  22. pip said on March 27th, 2009 at 8:29am #

    Keith — one question. When was the last time you were in the DRC?

  23. keith harmon snow said on March 27th, 2009 at 11:27am #

    hello

    is that the PIP I know?

    Winter-Spring 2007.

    blessings
    keith

  24. pip said on March 29th, 2009 at 2:34am #

    I don’t think so.

    Winter-spring 2007 is a long time ago, no? Two years. Particularly given what has happened since. Nor have you spoken to Affleck or Kagame or Nkunda — or any of the players, as far as I can see. If this is your polemic, then fine. But you seem to be presenting it as reporting, which is an insult to good reporters who do spend time on the ground, often at great personal risk.

    That lack of on-the-ground research shows in your theory. The idea that Kagame, Affleck and the UN are bound up in some sort of contiguous conspiracy is crazy — Kagame invaded Congo because he reckons MONUC and the UN are useless. There’s no substitute for being there — internet trawling for facts is very second best. As a result, I just don’t recognize the Congo and Rwanda I know — and I’ve been several times in the past year too both — from your piece.

    The broader point is that there is a big difference between skepticism and cynicism. All good reporters should be skeptical. People lie to reporters, and a reporter’s job is to find the truth. Cynicism is something completely different. It’s a distortion. It predisposes you to see the negative. It’s a prejudice, actually. It’s certainly not smart or diligent. And cynicism is what you display here, and your accuracy suffers horribly as a result.

    There are good reasons for going after Kagame and the UN and other players in Congo. Find them. This kind of lazy polemic only damages you and allows your targets to dismiss you.

  25. keith harmon snow said on March 29th, 2009 at 7:58am #

    hello

    This is not empty polemic. So little has changed on the ground in eastern congo that your critique is is actually the problem, not my reportage. What has changed is that an additional 1500 people have died daily since I left in the Kivus alone.

    There are very few reporters telling the truth about Congo. Not one single mainstream reporter, in fact, has been completely honest about congo, Rwanda, Darfur, Uganda… and mopst “alternative” journalists are no better.

    We can name names and deconstruct their reportage if you like and can do so definitively. Your critique reminds me of the response I receive from Rene Lemarchard — who has been funded over and over by USAID it seems.

    Who would you suggest is honest? What story in what newspaper or magazine?

    Whats most interesting is that you dont offer your real name, and so it seems you have something to hide. This is the height of cowardice.

    So lets hear from you what takes you to congo and rwanda and where your interests lie. How do you profit from the murder and expropriation? Who pays your salary when you come and go? What are you selling or buying there?

    White supremacy is ugliest when it challenges those who expose it.

    So instead of offering a useless complaint, you now have to back up your empty rhetoric and defense of fascism with facts. When you do that, exposing the corporate exploitation and agents for who and what they are, then I will consider your comments sincere. Otherwise, stop contributing to the problem.

    P.S. Happy to travel with you to Congo any time. Please make a donation so I can afford another air ticket. Those who speak honestly about Rwanda cant safely go there.

    keith harmon snow

  26. pip said on March 29th, 2009 at 1:22pm #

    I am a reporter for a mainstream news organization. Very mainstream. I’ll go no further than that because I have no doubt that if I revealed more, it would send you into uncontrollable spasms of conspiracy. But you don’t need more, right? You can build a conspiracy out of that right there.

    Keith — you are entitled to your views. They are colorful and entertaining. But to try to class this piece above as reporting is an insult to real reporters, and a deception to anyone who reads you. And by real reporters, I mean people who do actually go places and talk to people there — and people who would understand that two years is a very long time, particularly in a place like Congo, and to whom writing a piece without going for two years would be anaethema. Nor would they be put off by the kind of danger offered by Rwanda, which is minimal to nil — but then you’d wouldn’t know that because you don’t go, do you?

    You, as the saying goes in the trade, are pulling this out of your ass. One very good reason stories like the one you present above are ignored by the mainstream media is that they simply aren’t good enough. No sourcing. No first-hand quotes. No reporting, for chrissakes.

    My advice: get off the armchair, put the conspiracy theorising aside, get out in the world and do some real journalism. You might like it.

  27. keith harmon snow said on March 29th, 2009 at 1:47pm #

    Hello

    Indeed, you use the shield of the western news estabilshment to disguise your disingenousness. What exactly are you afraid of?

    Using the description of “conspircy theory” to denounce my work, for example, is an old and tiresome ruse.

    Fact is you are obviously blinded by your interests. If you were honest you wouldn’t hesitate to identify your self and let readers decide for themselves. If your work was honest I would not then criticize it. However, for someone who actually HAS travelled to Congo (or Sudan or Afghanistan) the mainstream “news” establishment as a problem: trying to shut me up. One who is not selling out the people of color in the world comes to see reality for what it is, and it makes it just a bit harder for liars to get away with their (your?) lies when we have the actual names and faces (photographs) validating the hidden deceptions of the sultans of spin.

    If you and so many otheres were not so busy prostituting the “journalism” a.k.a. “news” media sector then people who strive to tell the truth without bias could have an equitable space from which to operate and report — however all that money merely circulates from white people to white people and instead all you do is perpetuate structural violence.

    My work is well sourced, and as far as “first hand quotes” — what a laughable statement coming from a self described mainstream reporter wo operates with huge expense accounts.

    What is really charming is that I am able to do better work on zero budget, moving in and out of these conflict zones to the best of my capacity, without compromising the facts.

    The Congolese people know the truth when they see it.

    Your critique sounds very nice, but it doesnt apply to me. Save it for ignorant armchair white bloggers — of which there are indeed no shortage.

    keith harmon snow

  28. bozh said on March 29th, 2009 at 2:10pm #

    pip,
    does one need prophecies and personal attacks? it wld have been better to juxtapose own facts, conclusions, wishes, etc.
    one does no need to attack even the ideas let alone person.

    you prophecy that keith might go into even greater spasm if you revealed more of your position. this is not only a prophecy but a condemnation or even a wish he indeed go ballistic.

    sorry, but to me, your ‘report’ is standart MS fare. it consists in the main of personal attacks; omission of salient facts; halftruths; obvious lies, etc.

    while you accuse keith for not quoting sources, you self report that there is minimal to nil violence in rwanda. but according to whom?
    and what minimal means? why vagueness?

  29. keith harmon snow said on March 29th, 2009 at 2:37pm #

    hello

    Indeed, I missed that very telling statement:

    Our unidentified mainstream journalists, or so they say, writes above:

    >>>”Nor would they ( “Real Reporters” ) be put off by the kind of danger offered by Rwanda, which is minimal to nil — but then you’d wouldn’t know that because you don’t go, do you?”

    Sounds like you’ve been reading Terry Tempest Williams and ORION Magazine for your (fascist) take on Rwanda:
    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/3207

    But you actually make my point for me. Anyone who challenges the corrupt Kagame regime at ANY reasonable level is targeted and cannot, safely, “travel” (work or live) there. Thus we see where you are coming from.

    Stop selling out the world. People are being hurt by your narrow selfishness and obvious imperial fascism.

    keith harmon snow

  30. Vivi said on March 29th, 2009 at 7:07pm #

    Pip,

    WHAT DO YOU ?????
    I am rwandan, i lived in congo for many years. My option is to tell you to go outside and star to play ass an actor like BORAT, because when you don’t know what is going on and also be part may be of those who benefic from congo-rwanda richess you have to shout your mouth. and i will do may best to find out your anonymous may be criminal mainstream news organization and may be shoulb be include in one of the criminal organisation which will appaer in court together with kagame and his cloud .Do you know how many people are dieing every second?in rwanda prisons, in congo. If you have a country or a villige where you are i highly ecommend to go any buy a farm to teach the what you are telling people. because what you are selling is for those whom do not have eyes and hears.

    Good bye Mr aveugle Pip.
    you have a farm in your villige waiting for you.

  31. pip said on March 30th, 2009 at 1:19am #

    I’ve never seen such a concentration of misinformation and idiocy in my life. “Fact is you are obviously blinded by your interests.” Obviously? How so? And what, pray, are these interests? The military-industrial complex, no doubt, who — let’s see — secretly brainwashed me using gamma ways from my company-provided laptop? Or maybe the white corporate Jewish neocon plot for world domination, whose evil serfs have been manipulating and guiding my every word? Oooh, ooh, and let me guess. 9/11 was a jewish plot, and diana was killed by buckingham palace as part of an anti-Muslim plot? Let me make another guess. You guys still live with your parents and are really good at dungeons and dragons, right?

    Having a site from which to spout this nonsense does not give you stature Keith. It just broadcasts your idiocy more widely. People have tried to shut me up before. Why? Because I was telling the truth. No one’s trying to shut you up, you self-aggrandizing fantasist, you little boy. Why would they need to? Nothing you say is taken seriously. Why? Because none of it approaches anything resembling the truth.

    I guess this site does serve one purpose, however. It corrals all the morons in one place, and keeps you away from the rest of us.

  32. Hue Longer said on March 30th, 2009 at 2:20am #

    who would try to shut you up, pip? You don’t sound very hard hitting…The requirement to be in the MSM is that you are a self policing fool and if that IS your gig, you don’t disappoint!

  33. vivi said on March 30th, 2009 at 5:33am #

    Pip or pig ! doen’t matter,

    The truth is to live your job and find yourself a labour job.
    je crois que tu n’es que simple foux de folie . have you met kagame? Tell us how many kilogram of diamot did bring to your family? any way why are you interesting in rwanda? let those compentents to do their job in peace without the terroirist like you. You need to capture and have the same like Saddam Essein in Irak.
    I am rwandan. if you did not undestand. i have enought and i know enought to be the judge.YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR PLACE IN THIS INTELLECTUAL SPACE. PLEASE LEAVE AND GO AWAY. But congratulation for having a Doctorat PHD in insultes. You haven’t got any education from your parentsDo you know what “IDIOT” means i think you could be one.

  34. keith harmon snow said on March 30th, 2009 at 5:44am #

    It is, as I said, the height of cowardice to call people names and issue insults anonymously.

    You wrote:

    “I’ve never seen such a concentration of misinformation and idiocy in my life!”

    I thought you said you worked for a “mainstream news” organization?

    All of these issues you list as “conspiracies” have no relationship to my work, as you will note that I do not anywhere address any of them. What I do address is how corporations like Banro, H Oil, Barrick, Heritage, Shell, etc etc are plundering Africa and killing Africans, and how organizations purporting to be “news” completely cover up their involvement.

    Look in the mirror. Your posts are known as “proections of the shadow” (yours) in psychology terms. This means you are actually guilty of everything you accuse me of, but because it is so hard to face — due to your interests — which you dont have the courage to disclose — your own moral degradation.

    blessings
    keith

  35. A concerned congolese said on March 30th, 2009 at 12:58pm #

    Thank you for continuing to inform the world on what is happening to the Congolese people… a geopolitical battle waged on the backs of peace-loving Congolese.

    The more I read, the more I learn how Banro and others continue to cause the killings of millions in the Congo. I also want to learn more about CountourGlobal with their new gas project in the lake Kivu.

  36. keith harmon snow said on March 30th, 2009 at 10:12pm #

    Hello

    Banro has hired lawyers to threaten me and they have succeeded in scaring one publisher away from publishing my work on line. They have also a massive lawsuit against the Canadian publishers of a book called NOIR CANADA, which is causing a lot of fear amongst publishers. SCOOP New Zealand was threatened by lawyers for H Oil, also mentioned in my story, which the editors pulled and published a retraction and apology for.

    People need to support independent journalism, now.
    allthingspass.com

    keith

  37. oskar said on April 3rd, 2009 at 2:06pm #

    Keith… what would mainstream reporters of the 60s say about F.Fanon? It’s true I have met people who told me this or that you said about them was not true, Carlos from Bukavu (why don’t you get in touch with him by the way) you have risked a lot so many times, demandez pardon if you have harmmed people unjustly, I am sure you wouldn’t mean, however… I think your papers have been very important in our evolution. You relied on those who suffer (it’s your merit), without assuming that they could be lying… and yes i believe that obtectivity is achieved in the standpoint of those who are oppresed and deprived of human rights. You brought the focus, the fact that you look for what is hidden, under the water, and Congo is tired of knowing the facts in the future… Eissenhower accepted the assasination of Lumumba, right? And what about Laurent Desiré Kabila? Keith is a man who has tried to show us our truth, the one we hide in ourselves, he has analyzed how the connections make the system (west-north-United States-Europe) who couples with the political powers that avoid development perpetuating poverty and misery among the people.

  38. dove said on April 15th, 2009 at 11:52am #

    #[pig said]“I’ve never seen such a concentration of misinformation and idiocy in my life!”

    I thought you said you worked for a “mainstream news” organization?#

    L O L !!!!!

  39. Alh Yunusa Musa said on June 8th, 2009 at 1:48am #

    REQUEST.
    Pls sir help me with a copy of the aticle on 2007/08 Niger Delta crises. Iwii be grateful if a copy is send to my email.

  40. Annie said on June 29th, 2009 at 1:07pm #

    KHS,
    Re: Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe
    FUBAR in Central Africa
    This article doesn’t appear on the DV website, only the comments appear.
    I also don’t see it on your website.
    Can you tell me where I can read the article?
    Thanks,
    Annie

  41. keith harmon snow said on June 29th, 2009 at 4:39pm #

    on my web site see:

    AMERICAS WAR IN CENTRAL AFRICA
    : The Pentagon’s Proxy War in the Eastern Congo

    The PDF is a photo version of the Ben Affleck story published in HTML on 1 February 2009 by Global Research — pulled by GR mid-February after BANRO GOLD Corporation (Canada) threatened legal action. (The purported ‘arrest’ of General Laurent Nkunda, on January 22, 2009, by the troops of the joint FARDC and Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) operation is no surprise, it is merely damage control, with Nkunda ‘arrested’—most likely shuffled off to luxury in Rwanda—to recover some sense of credibility for the international police forces—the Pentagon and its proxy armies in Rwanda (Kagame), Uganda (Museveni) and Congo (Kabila)—and to enable the Kagame military cabal to distance itself from the recent exposés documenting Rwanda’s machinations in eastern Congo. A U.S. military team has also been deployed in Eastern Congo, to buttress the Pentagon’s proxy warriors. Nothing has changed for the people of Congo, and MONUC Chief Alan Doss has warned people to expect “collateral damage” against the innocent people of Congo. – see also: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12113)
    download pdf
    read the html page

  42. Rene said on November 21st, 2009 at 2:30pm #

    Has the author ever been to DRC and South Kivu. Does he know the poverty of people that suffer from a job providing private sector. Not for a minute would I claim that mining companies do not do damage. The point you have to balance though is whether they provide opportunity for those who do not have it. Proper and transparent conduct of companies is essential and there are many who do not operate that way. But most of them are more transparent than NGOs can ever get. Look at the places in the world where it is a mess: none of them have a functioning private sector. Private sector involvement comes with some bads and many goods, most of all an accountability that NGOs and governments do not come with. Using hyperbole and claiming that these companies, just through their presence, kill people is untruthful, espcially when you claim the truth so loudly.

  43. keith harmon snow said on November 21st, 2009 at 11:06pm #

    Has teh author ever been to DRC and South kivu? Hey man, what fucking planet are you living on? You think I just pull a story like this out of a hat to make myself feel good and Ben Affleck look bad?

    Jesus! White supremacy is really ugly and even harder to look at straight.

    Check out my web site. Not te pics of the two boys (South Kivu) tied up on the home page.

    Its al managed inequality, as far as the so called HUMANITARIAN sector, and out right mass murder as far as the mining companies go in Congo.

    keith harmon snow
    http://www.allthingspass.com