10 September 2011 — Stop NATO
- Hydrological Warfare, Oil And Gas, Arms: Geostrategic Underpinnings Of Libyan War
- NATO Pursues Cyberwarfare Partnership With India Against China
- Ukraine: Consolidating NATO’s Control Of Black Sea
- U.S. AFRICOM To Lead Natural Fire Multinational Exercise In Tanzania
- Congo: The Heart Of Western Darkness
- The Pentagon Embraces Australia
- Turkey Threatens Naval Action Over Cyprus Hydrocarbon Drilling
- Elections In Breakaway Ex-Soviet Republics Not Held For NATO, EU
- Poland Backs Georgia In Regional Conflicts Ahead Of NATO Summit
- Women Protest Military Operations In Southeastern Turkey
Hydrological Warfare, Oil And Gas, Arms: Geostrategic Underpinnings Of Libyan War
The Citizen (Tanzania)
September 9, 2011
Death for Libyans; billions for the West
By Garikai Chengu
-From oil to water, water-boarding to arms and from gas to reconstruction the war in Libya will rake in billions of dollars for the West. Just how much will trickle down to the people of Libya remains to be seen.
People who think that the West’s intervention in Libya is just another oil grab are mistaken. Broadly speaking, for Britain military intervention is mainly about arms, Italy its natural gas, France its water and for the US its counter-terrorism and reconstruction contracts. Spreading democracy and saving the people of Benghazi form merely tangential benefits used to justify these ends.
Lest we forget, Nato’s bombardment began because Mr Gaddafi threatened to do to Benghazi what Mr Bashar al-Assad’s forces are doing to various Syrian cities and Nato itself is poised to do in Sirte.
’History is a set of lies agreed upon’ once remarked Napoleon Bonaparte. If left unchallenged the true motives behind what the French mainstream media have coined ’Sarkozy’s War’ may be lost in the fog of war.
So what makes Libya so important to the West? Any real estate agent could tell you: location. Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the Mediterranean, African, and Arab worlds, control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.
Ever since time immemorial Western control over Libya has been of great importance. After Libyan independence in 1951, US, British and French payments for military basing rights formed the single-largest element of Libyan GDP until oil exports began to flow in 1961.
Nowadays, Mr Sarkozy’s interest in Libya lies in a commodity more precious than oil, namely water. It is becoming increasingly accepted that water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations.
Unlike oil, there are no substitutes, alternatives or stopgaps for water. Nature has decreed that the supply of water is fixed. Meanwhile demand rises inexorably as the world’s population increases and enriches itself. Population growth, climate change, pollution, urbanization and the rapid development of manufacturing industries are relentlessly combining such that demand for fresh water will outstrip supply by 40 per cent by 2040.
Libya sits on a resource more valuable than oil, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which is an immensely vast underground sea of fresh water. Colonel Gaddafi had cleverly invested $25 billion in the Great Man-made River Project, a complex 4,000-km long water pipeline buried beneath the desert that could transport two million cubic metres of water a day. Such a monumental water distribution scheme could turn Libya – a nation that is 95 per cent desert – into a food self-sufficient arable oasis.
Today France’s global mega-water companies like Suez, Ondeo and Saur, control more than 45 per cent of the world’s water market and are rushing to privatize water, already a $400 billion global business. For these French companies, Libya will be a bonanza. No wonder Le Monde coined it ’Sarkozy’s War’ and had a ’Victoire’ front page splash when Mr Gaddafi’s compound was stormed.
Late last year, the Central Intelligence Agency suspiciously raised the spectre of ’future ‘hydrological warfare’ in which rivers, lakes and aquifers become national security assets to be fought over,’ or controlled through proxy armies and client states. Regime change in Libya is the first major instance of hydrological warfare.
With the spoils of war from Libya’s water market largely reserved for the French, Mr. Cameron is eyeing another market, that of arms.
The subject of the West selling arms to regimes suppressing uprisings remains as wilfully overlooked as an American war crime. Even as The Times of London has just reported that Britain enjoyed a 30 per cent spike in arms sales to regimes in the Middle East during the Arab Spring. Arms sold between February and July jumped to $101 million, the Times’ report says, noting that these include weapons that could be used to suppress domestic protests.
Mr Obama’s administration is even more steeped in the controversial arms trade. The US accepts no rival on this front. Over the past decade the US has averaged a staggering $5.8 billion per year in arms sales with the Middle East.
The very Libyan military hardware that Nato boastfully claims to have downgraded by 90 per cent will need to be rebuilt. US arms companies will gleefully be on hand to arm their proxy regime to the teeth. Libya will be a bonanza for American arms dealers.
American infrastructure contractors will also reap the windfalls of post-war reconstruction. The grim reality is that every bridge, road, rail-link and building that US war-planes bomb will have to be rebuilt and paid for by the Libyan taxpayer.
Even grimmer still is the fact that the approximately $1.1billion spent by the US government on bombarding Libya is a drop in the ocean compared to the profit that American contractors stand to make. Many of whom have strong ties to the upper echelons of the military and the Obama administration.
In-fact, more than 70 American companies and individuals have won up to $8 billion in contracts for work in post-war Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two years, according to a new study by the Center for Public Integrity.
According to the study, nearly 70 per cent of these companies had employees or board members who either served in or had close ties to the executive branch for Republican and Democratic administrations, for members of Congress of both parties, or at the highest levels of the military.
Therefore, those in the military tasked with minimising ‘collateral damage’ to property stand to directly profit from less than pinpoint precision. In short, dropping bombs can be profitable.
The recent bombshell revelations of correspondence between the CIA and Libya’s security apparatus prove that the US has been outsourcing its torture or ’enhanced interrogation’ of terror suspects to Libya through the internationally illegal rendition process. These revelations are embarrassing but hardly surprising. Nevertheless, there is little doubt a pliant proxy regime will continue to do America’s dirty work.
Last but not least there is oil. Much as the self-righteous West might pretend otherwise, oil is unquestionably a key part of the equation. Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and 85 per cent of its exports are to Europe.
Archival footage of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi surrounded by Mr Gaddafi’s female bodyguards, kissing the Libyan strongman’s hand at Leonardo Da Vinci airport is indicative of just how important Libya is to Italy.
Libya’s oil is especially important to Italy because of its proximity, the ease of its extraction, and the sweetness of its crude. Most refineries in Italy and elsewhere are built to deal with sweet Libyan crude, they cannot easily process the heavier Saudi crude that has recently replaced the Libyan production shortfall.
Libyan natural gas reserves are estimated to be over 52.7 trillion cubic feet and large areas of the country are still to be surveyed. With assured supplies available from Libya, Italy will become less dependent on supplies from Russia, which on the energy front is increasingly flexing its muscles and thumbing its nose at mainland Europe.
Libya has a 1,800km coastline just miles from Italy and porous southern borders with three poor African nations. Therefore, a pliant regime that will stem the flow of asylum seekers and keep the oil and gas flowing is vital for Rome.
From oil to water, water-boarding to arms and from gas to reconstruction the war in Libya will rake in billions of dollars for the West. Just how much will trickle down to the people of Libya remains to be seen.
The author is a research scholar at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
NATO Pursues Cyberwarfare Partnership With India Against China
Press Trust Of India
September 9, 2011
Help counter cyber threats from China: NATO to India
Brussels: US-led NATO has sought stronger cooperation with India to counter growing cyber threats, particularly emanating from China. Top NATO officials listed cyber security very high on the list of possible areas of cooperation, which included counter-terrorism, missile defence and anti-piracy operations.
‘The cyber world does not recognise alignments. It only understands switches,’ said a top NATO official during a briefing to visiting Indian journalists, while making a strong pitch for joint efforts to combat cyber threats.
The NATO official made this remark in context of India’s sensitivity against military alliances and its commitment to non-alignment…
‘India has an advanced cyber and IT industry and is very strong in cyber issues’, he said, hinting that India and NATO can cooperate in this field.
He added that even though the threats were different, the nature of our responses could be similar, while seeing India as a strong partner with NATO on various issues.
Though he did not mention any of India’s neighbours from where the cyber attack challenge came, he hinted at China from where such threats had come in the recent past.
Ukraine: Consolidating NATO’s Control Of Black Sea
September 9, 2011
NATO outlines relationship with Ukraine
-Currently [Ukraine] is the only partner country contributing actively to the four main ongoing NATO-led operations and missions. For example, Ukrainians contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan by providing medical personnel and overflight clearance. Ukraine is the only partner country providing officers to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. This year Ukraine’s Antonov aircraft also provided airlift capabilities to NATO.
– If you look around the Black Sea, you realize that half of states are member states, and half are partners of NATO.
-The things that we do together under annual national program are – I believe – also helpful in terms of your goal to succeed in becoming a member in the EU. Because there are many things that are overlapping – when I talk about the rule of law etc. – this applies to the EU and NATO.
…Ukraine’s more pro-Moscow orientation has no practical impact on relationship with NATO, believes Dirk Brengelmann, NATO ambassador and secretary general for political affairs and security policy while talking to journalists at the Kyiv Institute of World Policy…
Whatever NATO’s future, it continues to evolve from its Cold War imperative ‘to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down,’ as first NATO Secretary General Lord Ismay stated. The main frictions between Russia and NATO include missile defense, something that Brenglemann noticed an interest in on the part of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO includes technical help with reducing and professionalizing national armed forces. NATO is also contributing to civil emergency planning, and will consult Ukraine on safety measures for Euro 2012.
Ukraine also deploys troops to work together with NATO peacekeepers. Currently it is the only partner country contributing actively to the four main ongoing NATO-led operations and missions. For example, Ukrainians contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan by providing medical personnel and overflight clearance. Ukraine is the only partner country providing officers to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. This year Ukraine’s Antonov aircraft also provided airlift capabilities to NATO.
Kyiv Post: Before officials from NATO said that Ukraine will be a member of NATO. Taking into account Ukraine’s last year decision to be a non-bloc country, do you still think that we will join NATO?
Dirk Brengelmann: That is not for us to forecast … The door remains open.
KP: Having the Russian Black Sea fleet based in Ukraine until 2042, is there no possibility to enter NATO?
DB: Your government and the Russian government have decided to conclude that treaty. We have had good security consultations with Ukraine in the past. This also included the issues related to the Black Sea – but wider than the issue you mentioned, the whole Black Sea situation. If you look around the Black Sea, you realize that half of states are member states, and half are partners of NATO. It does not mean that the Black Sea is a NATO issue, but for member states and partners it is an important issue.
KP: So is Russia the biggest obstacle for Ukraine’s possible NATO future?
DB: No. I don’t see Russia anymore as an opponent. We sometimes have differences, but there is a huge potential in terms of NATO–Russia cooperation. And it has increased lately. We are doing more on counter-narcotics, we are doing more together vis-à-vis Afghanistan, transit, and helicopters etc. The level of cooperation between NATO and Russia has increased. The big project on the table now is the ability to cooperate on missile defense. That is a big discussion right now. We see our relationship with your country and your relationship with Russia and our relationship with Russia not as things that contradict each other.
KP: Apart from military and defense issues, what other use of NATO could Ukraine get? Could cooperation with NATO help Ukraine get closer to European Union membership? And in terms of investment climate – is it an advantage?
DB: I think investors like secure and stable countries. The membership in NATO and EU has had a positive impact on that impression. That is very evident. But many countries have chosen different ways.
We have in the EU countries that decided they do not want to go to NATO membership, at least for now – and I would mention Finland, Sweden, Austria and Ireland. They are member states of EU but not member states of NATO. They are very close partners of NATO. Another close partner of NATO is Switzerland, and with them we work very close together. Most of the countries applying for EU membership also applied for NATO membership.
The things that we do together under annual national program are – I believe – also helpful in terms of your goal to succeed in becoming a member in the EU. Because there are many things that are overlapping – when I talk about the rule of law etc. – this applies to the EU and NATO.
KP: How does NATO deal with countries where there is low public support – maybe have some special public relations projects?
DB: Low public support has been an issue from time to time. Here in this country we have two offices, and one includes an information center. So we are in public diplomacy. On that one I could also say that sometimes I could wish for more engagement on the Ukrainian side.
KP: With President Viktor Yanukovych, will Ukraine’s relations with NATO suffer?
DB: The arrival of the new government has somewhat changed the basis of cooperation, because now there is no more goal of membership. There was clearly a decision to maintain non-bloc status. But the second thing – and very important thing – was to keep the momentum of cooperation.
KP: So Yanukovych is NATO-friendly?
DB: No, you won’t get me on that (laughs).
U.S. AFRICOM To Lead Natural Fire Multinational Exercise In Tanzania
African Press Organization
September 9, 2011
Preparations in gear for EAC military exercise ‘Natural Fire 11?
ARUSHA, Tanzania: Preparations are at an advanced stage for an EAC joint military training exercise codenamed Natural Fire 11. Officers from the EAC Partner States’ Defense Forces and the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) are expected in Zanzibar from tomorrow 11 September 2011 ahead of the event’s official opening on 16 September at Chukwani Military Centre in Zanzibar. The command post exercise ends on 21 September.
More than 300 military personnel from the five EAC Partner States and the USAFRICOM will take part in Natural Fire 11, whose theme is to ensure security and foster regional stability. Natural Fire 11 follows similar exercises held in the past in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (Mainland).
‘The exercise aims to develop the capacity of EAC Defense Forces to respond quickly and efficiently to complex security challenges, harmonize the working relationship among them and foster cooperation between these Forces and the United States of America,’ affirms the Chair of Defense Liaison Officers at the EAC Secretariat, Brigadier General Salvator Nahimana.
These joint exercises were first held in 1998 as a bilateral exercise between the US and Kenya and reconfigured in 1999 as a multilateral exercise between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Rwanda and Burundi were subsequently enrolled upon joining the East African Community in 2007.
Congo: The Heart Of Western Darkness
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor
September 9, 2011
DR Congo – The Heart of Western Darkness
By Asad Ismi
Genocide and plunder have been Western policy towards the mineral-rich Congo since the Berlin Conference of 1885 when European nations divided Africa between them, and King Leopold II of Belgium got the Congo as his personal property.
Ten million Congolese were killed under Belgian rule which lasted until 1960. The Congo’s population was cut in half.
Belgian domination was marked by slavery, forced labour and torture aimed at extracting the maximum amount of ivory and rubber from the Central African country.
The people of the Congo ‘probably suffered more than any other colonized group’.
Their hands were cut off for not working hard enough and on one day 1,000 severed hands were delivered in baskets to an official.
Women were kidnapped to force their husbands to collect rubber sap and Congolese were shot for sport.
Such atrocities were documented by George Washington Williams, an African-American visiting the Congo, who invented the term ‘crimes against humanity’ to describe them.
The US took over the Congo from Belgium in 1960-61 in a bloody coup after the CIA arranged the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the country’s first elected leader.
In his place the Agency installed its paid agent Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko who continued the looting and killing started by Leopold, for another 37 years.
The US considered the socialist Lumumba to be pro-Soviet and President Eisenhower himself approved his assassination.
The CIA sent Sidney Gottlieb, its top scientist (under the code name ‘Joe from Paris’), to the Congo with deadly biological toxins to use on Lumumba.
This particular assassination plot was unsuccessful but Lumumba was killed by Mobutu’s troops on January 17, 1961.
Until his ouster in 1997, Mobutu was Africa’s most brutal and corrupt ruler who massacred and tortured thousands of people, and plundered his country with US backing.
From 1965 to 1991, Zaire (as Mobutu named the Congo) got more than US$1.5 billion in US economic and military aid.
In return, US multinational corporations increased their share of Zaire’s abundant minerals.
Washington justified its hold on the Congo with the pretext of anti-Communism but its real interests were strategic and economic.
The Congo borders nine African states and in terms of mineral wealth it is the richest country in Africa, holding the world’s biggest copper, cobalt and cadmium deposits.
The Congo contains 80 percent of the world’s cobalt (essential for jet aviation, defence and other high-tech production), 10 percent of its copper, and one-third of its diamonds in addition to possessing considerable reserves of gold, uranium and manganese.
Other resources include coltan (used in cellphones, jet engines and fibre optics), timber, oil, coffee, tin, zinc and palm oil.
Former US President George H.W. Bush, who was Mobutu’s friend for 20 years, has interests in mining companies in the Congo.
In addition to getting a share of Congolese wealth, the US used the country as a base to attack the left-wing MPLA government in Angola after it took power in 1975.
According to the World Bank (a long-time supporter of Mobutu’s), 64.7 percent of Zaire’s budget was reserved for Mobutu’s ‘discretionary spending’ in 1992.
Official Zairian figures put the number at 95 percent.
Such astounding pillage made Mobutu (according to himself) one of the three richest men in the world while impoverishing Zairians and destroying the country’s infrastructure.
One-third of Zaire’s citizens died from malnutrition under Mobutu with ‘countless others’ suffering permanent brain damage in youth.
A Balkanized Congo
Mobutu’s unlimited greed was his undoing.
As long as he shared the looting with US, Belgian, French, British, Dutch and other Western corporations which dominated the Zairian economy, the US supported him.
But, as one observer put it, ‘when he kept too much for himself – and became an embarrassment – the US was ready to see him overthrown’.
In October 1996, the Rwandan army along with Ugandan troops invaded Zaire and by May 1997 had taken over the country and forced Mobutu to flee.
To give the invasion the cover of a local rebellion, the Tutsi Rwandan forces called themselves the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) and recruited Laurent Kabila, an exiled Congolese Marxist opponent of Mobutu’s, as a figurehead leader.
As the Wall Street Journal put it, ‘Many Africans (concluded that) the Zairian rebellion was the brainchild of Washington from the very start.’
Rwanda and Uganda are the US’ ‘staunchest allies in the region’.
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan leader, was trained at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
US Special Forces had been training the Rwandan army since 1994 in counterinsurgency, combat and psychological operations.
This included instructions about fighting in Zaire. Rwandan soldiers were also trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US), in July-August 1996 (just before the invasion), in land navigation, rifle marksmanship, patrolling and small-unit leadership.
Also in August 1996, Kagame visited Washington to discuss his concerns about Hutu refugee camps in eastern Zaire with US officials.
The Hutus are the majority ethnic group in Rwanda (85 percent) while Tutsis make up the minority (15 percent).
Kagame’s Tutsi rebel force, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA)…invaded Rwanda from Uganda and took power.
A million Hutus fled to eastern Zaire.
As one observer put it, ‘It was clear to the US…that Kagame was prepared to act and that this was certainly in the US government’s interest.’
Once the Rwandans had installed Kabila in power, his relations with them quickly deteriorated.
In July 1998, Kabila expelled Rwandan and Ugandan forces from the Congo.
He cited as his reasons a failed assassination attempt against him and the Rwandan army’s killings of Hutu refugees.
On August 2, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Congo and occupied its eastern half where they … set up surrogate ‘rebel’ armies called Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma-created by Rwanda) and Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC-created by Uganda).
Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia sent their armies to support Kabila and Burundi joined the Rwandans and Ugandans.
Thus began ‘Africa’s First World War’ involving seven armies, which killed 2.5 million people and further devastated a country crushed by more than a century of Western domination.
This domination is being continued through Washington’s use of Rwanda and Uganda to partition the Congo and loot its resources.
The US backed the Rwandan/Ugandan invasion of the Congo and according to Human Rights Watch apparently justified it.
The Washington Post reported that US soldiers were sighted in the company of Rwandan troops in the Congo on July 23 and 24, 1998.
At the start of hostilities, the US reacted with ‘a remarkable silence’.
When a statement was issued it explained that the invasion was intended to counter genocide and blamed the Congolese government for failing to deal with border security.
Susan Rice, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, told Congress that the US ‘fully understands their (Rwanda and Uganda’s) legitimate security interests in countering insurgent attacks from Congolese soil’.
Rice added that foreign intervention in the Congo was ‘unacceptable’ but Washington declined to call for the immediate withdrawal of its close allies, the Rwandan and Ugandan forces, which it has trained, armed and financed.
If foreign intervention really was unacceptable, the US could have ended it by cutting off its considerable military and economic support for Rwanda and Uganda and sanctioning the countries.
Instead, Rice pressed for a ceasefire in place and pressured Kabila into signing the Lusaka Accord which treated the conflict as a civil war and called for a step-by-step withdrawal of foreign troops (in 180 days) rather than an immediate one…
Kabila accepted the Lusaka Accord only because of the implicit US threat that ‘refusal would be met by even greater assistance to the rebels and the potential dismantling of the entire country’. This message was dramatically reinforced on January 17, 2001 when Laurent Kabila himself was assassinated on the same day that Lumumba had been, 40 years earlier.
Joseph Kabila, Laurent’s son, took over as President.
Thus the US has ensured continued Western dominance of the Congo by destroying the country itself as it existed when Mobutu was overthrown.
Just as in the Berlin Conference of 1885, the West is again redrawing the Congo’s boundaries and this process is once more accompanied by plunder and large-scale killing.
Armies of Business
According to a UN report released in April 2001, Rwanda and Uganda are looting and plundering the resources of the eastern Congo and illegally exporting them to the West.
The eastern Congo contains most of the country’s minerals.
The report titled ‘Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ details ‘mass-scale looting’ and extraction carried out by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi in the occupied zones between September 1998 and August 1999.
During this time, the eastern Congo was ‘drained of existing stockpiles, including minerals, agricultural and forest products and livestock’.
Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian soldiers visited banks, factories, farms and storage facilities to remove their contents and load them into vehicles.
In November 1998, the Rwandan army transported seven years worth of coltan stock (about 1,500 tons) to Kigali (Rwanda’s capital).
Following the looting of stockpiles, Rwanda and Uganda have been extracting diamonds, gold, coltan, timber and coffee from the eastern Congo and illegally exporting these to the West.
Rwanda made US$250 million in 18 months from coltan exports alone.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, every day cargo flights full of diamonds, gold and palm oil left the Congo for Kigali and Kampala (Uganda’s capital).
Seven to ten such daily flights come into Kigali. Most of their cargo was loaded on to planes bound for Europe.
Diamond exports from Rwanda and Uganda to the West surged since 1998 yet neither country has any diamond mines.
During 1999-2000, Uganda exported US$3m worth of diamonds. Diamond dealers in the Congo provide US$2m a year to the Rwandan army.
The looting and extraction of resources has been accompanied by the ‘constitution of criminal cartels’ in occupied areas, created or protected by top military commanders.
The UN report blamed Presidents Kagame and Museveni (of Uganda) for ‘indirectly’ giving ‘criminal cartels a unique opportunity to organize and operate in this fragile and sensitive area’.
The document warned that these cartels which have ‘ramifications and connections worldwide…represent the next serious security problem in the region’.
Significantly, the UN report pointed out that the illegal exploitation of the eastern Congo had been abetted by Western companies, governments, multilateral institutions and diplomats.
Rwanda’s coltan exports were transported by Sabena, the Belgian national airline, while Citibank carried out the required financial transactions.
Ramnik Kotecha, the US Honorary Consul in the eastern Congo, promoted deals between Rwandan coltan sellers and US companies.
Kotecha himself also dealt in coltan.
Uncertified timber from occupied Congo was imported by companies in Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland and the US.
Western governments rewarded Rwanda for invading the Congo by doubling aid to the country from US$26.1 million in 1997 to US$51.5 million in 1999.
The US, Britain, Denmark and Germany were the bilateral donors. Rwanda could thus spend more money on the war.
Rewards were promoted for Rwanda and Uganda by the World Bank too, which praised the latter’s economic performance following its Congolese diamond and gold exports.
The Bank pushed the case of both countries for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative (a debt relief programme) and dismissed the fact that Uganda’s improved economic statistics stemmed from its illegal exploitation of the Congo.
The UN report also listed 35 companies illegally importing minerals from the eastern Congo through Rwanda but does not give the national origin of these companies.
Instead, the report specifies the destination of the material.
Twenty-six of the companies’ destinations were in the West. The firms included Cogem, Transintra, Issa, Finconcorde, Cogecom, Tradement, MDW, Sogem, Soger, Cogea, Finiming, Cicle, Eagleswing, Union-Transport and Banro Resources, a Canadian company.
Ten of the 35 companies are importing coltan to Belgium; three are importing the same resource to the Netherlands, three to Germany, two to Britain and one to Switzerland.
Along with plundering the eastern Congo, Rwanda and Uganda committed ‘devastating human rights abuses’ according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The Rwandan army and RCD Goma ‘have regularly slaughtered civilians in massacres and extrajudicial executions’ as well as tortured and raped villagers.
As Alison Des Forges of HRW put it in April 2001, ‘While Ugandan commanders were plundering gold, looting timber, exporting coffee and controlling illicit trade monopolies in the Ituri district, their troops were killing and otherwise abusing the local population.’
Uganda’s encouragement of (and participation in) fighting between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups resulted in 7,400 deaths.
Human rights violations were widespread on the Congolese government side as well, including ‘indiscriminate attacks on civilians, extrajudicial executions (and) rape’.
Kabila’s allies Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia also profited from the war.
However, the Kabila regime cannot be accused of being a foreign military occupier; nor did it initiate the war.
Also benefiting from the war were ten Canadian mining companies with investments in the Congo.
These were: Barrick Gold, American Mineral Fields (AMF), Tenke Mining, Banro Resource, Consolidated Trillion, First Quantum Minerals, International Panorama Resource, Melkior Resources, Samax Gold and Starpoint Goldfields.
These companies were awarded valuable concessions in mining copper, cobalt, gold, platinum and zinc deposits.
Even before Laurent Kabila came to power he had signed deals with AMF and Tenke Mining.
In March 1997, Jean Raymond Boulle, founder of AMF, signed a US$1b agreement with Kabila’s rebel army to develop a zinc mine at Kipushi, and a cobalt venture in Kolwezi; Boulle also received approval to sell diamonds in Shaba Province.
As part of these arrangements, Boulle lent Kabila a leased jet.
In early 1997, Kabila sent a representative to Toronto to speak to mining companies about ‘investment opportunities’.
According to Dale Grant, editor of ‘Defence Policy Review,’ this trip ‘may have raised as much as US$50 million to support Kabila’s march on the capital of Kinshasa’.
On May 12, 1997 Tenke Mining announced that it had signed a deal with Kabila confirming the terms of a contract the company had previously signed with Mobutu’s government in November 1996.
At this point, Kabila had not yet taken power.
The urgent need to finance the war compelled the Congo government to reach quick agreements with mining companies over exploration rights.
The companies thus gained resources for less than they would in peace conditions.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Laurent Kabila ‘adopted a circle of Canadian advisors’.
Part of this ‘Congo inner circle’ was Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and former Canadian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
In the mid-1990s, Clark became First Quantum Mineral’s special advisor on Africa. He stated: ‘The government of Congo knows that if it’s going to make progress quickly in terms of using assets that create jobs, mining is more likely to do it than other sectors.’
Barrick Gold and Banro held mining properties in eastern Congo under Rwandan/Ugandan control.
Banro had 47 mining concessions in Sud Kivu and Maniema provinces while Barrick got exploration and exploitation rights to ‘a huge tract of land’ (82 000 square km) in Orientale Province.
As reported in ‘Le Monde Diplomatique,’ Barrick and Banro were accused of ‘funding military operations in exchange for lucrative contracts’.
Banro was also included in the UN list of companies involved in the illegal exploitation of the eastern Congo.
The company imported cassiterites (tin ores) from the rebel area into Canada.
Heart of Darkness
The destruction of the Congo says much more about the West than it does about the Central African country.
It reveals most clearly that the West is largely a criminal enterprise, the prosperity of which is based on the genocide of Third World people and the theft of their resources.
The Congo is perhaps the worst example of this but the West has followed the same policy in Asia, Africa and Latin America for centuries.
In this sense, Western countries can be seen as a murderous mafia led by their godfather, the United States government, for which no amount of blood and wealth is enough.
The perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide are being tired. It is time to try those responsible in the US and Belgium as well as for more than a century of genocide and plunder in the Congo.
And that will just be the beginning of dealing with the West’s horrendous crimes.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor
This article is dedicated to Patrice Lumumba.
The Pentagon Embraces Australia
September 9, 2011
The US military embraces Australia
By Graeme Dobell
Australia’s Defence Minister says the military basing deal with the US to be unveiled next week will be the biggest step in the alliance in 30 years.
Given that the AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial) meeting is being held in San Francisco to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of the ANZUS treaty, that is quite a claim. The most significant step in half the life-span of the formal alliance?
To quote Stephen Smith’s words: ‘It will be the single biggest change or advancement of alliance relationships since the joint facilities regime was established back in the 1980s.’ Smith is referring to the Hawke Government’s achievement in shining some public light on what the US bases in Australia actually do…
At AUSMIN in Melbourne last November, the US and Australia agreed to spend the next 12 months looking at how America could make greater use of Australian facilities. Recent Stephen Smith speeches in Singapore and Washington have indicated that the deal is done and it will look like this:
•Increased US access to Australian training, exercise and test ranges.
•Prepositioning of US equipment in Australia.
•Allowing for greater US use of Australian facilities and ports.
Doing his last Asian tour as Defence Secretary in June, Robert Gates told the Shangri La Dialogue that America is seeking a defence posture across the Asia Pacific that is ‘more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable – a posture that maintains our presence in Northeast Asia while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia and into the Indian Ocean’.
More US weight in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean? Hello, Australia.
Gates said the US and Australia wanted to expand opportunities for the two militaries to train and operate together. The alliance would shift towards more combined defence activities and shared use of facilities, including ‘increasing our combined naval presence and capabilities to respond more readily to humanitarian disasters; improving Indian Ocean facilities – a region of growing international importance; and expanding training exercises for amphibious and land operations, activities that could involve other partners in the region.’
All this effort has drawn Australia deeply into the US Global Force Posture Review; so much so, in fact, that in June, Smith announced Australia’s own version, a Defence Force Posture Review. Two former Defence Secretaries, Allan Hawke and Ric Smith, are overseeing the Review, which will provide a ‘strategic context’ for Australia’s next scheduled Defence White Paper in 2014. The agenda for the Review is all about moving more of Australia’s military might to the north and west of the continent.
The domestic explanation for such a shift is to protect the energy infrastructure involved in vast oil and gas projects that are driving Australia’s economic health. The regional purpose is to respond to the changing strategic dynamics in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia and to compliment what Canberra hopes will be an increased US presence. The Hawke-Smith Review was told to consider:
•The rise of the Asia Pacific as a region of global strategic significance.
•The rise of the Indian Ocean rim as a region of global strategic significance.
•The growth of military power projection capabilities of countries in the Asia Pacific.
•The growing need for the provision of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief following extreme events in the Asia Pacific region.
•Energy security and security issues associated with expanding offshore resource exploitation in Australia’s north-west and northern approaches.
All that will give them plenty to talk about in San Francisco. Is that a panda in the room? And what about that faint smell of curry?
Turkey Threatens Naval Action Over Cyprus Hydrocarbon Drilling
September 6, 2011
Turkey threatens naval action over Cyprus drilling
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis has said that if the Republic of Cyprus proceeds with its exploration for hydrocarbons, Ankara may send naval vessels to the drilling area.
Tensions are mounting between Cyprus and Turkey over plans to begin oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Drilling is scheduled to start in just four weeks.
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis has said that if the Republic of Cyprus proceeds with its exploration for hydrocarbons, Ankara may send naval vessels to the drilling area.
In statements to Zaman newspaper, Bagis said that when explorations were made in the past, ships from the Turkish Military Fleet were quick to make their way to the area.
‘It is for this reason that we built our army and trained our soldiers,’ said Bagis, claiming that ‘it is illegal to explore waters that do not belong to them.’
Bagis also said that Turkey will make use of all its rights under international law and will act accordingly.
‘They know that Turkey is serious and that all options are on the table,’ he said.
In November 2008 the government accused Turkey of harassing two Panamanian-flagged vessels in international waters. One of the ships was part of an exploration mission off the south coast of the island when it was forced to cease operations by a Turkish naval vessel.
Turkey insisted that the exploration was encroaching on its continental shelf, while Cyprus said the incidents occurred in a maritime zone that it has rights over.
The Cyprus government signed a production-sharing contract with U.S.-based Noble Energy to launch exploration activities in a 324,000-hectare economic zone southeast of the island which borders Israeli waters and where massive gas fields were found under the seabed.
Elections In Breakaway Ex-Soviet Republics Not Held For NATO, EU
August 30, 2011
Elections in breakaway republics are held for their own self and not for EU or NATO
Now the international community needs both Mikheil Saakashvili and Ilham Aliyev [presidents of Georgia and Azerbaijan, respectively]; the EU, NATO and even the U.S. believe that without them stability in the South Caucasus will be broken
The new president of Abkhazia is Alexander Ankvab, who was immediately denounced by NATO, EU and a number of other international structures. A surprising regularity can be observed in the elections of the former USSR breakaway republics: Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia – the West practices self-denial in values proclaimed by her own self and does not legitimate the elections that are obviously more democratic than those in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.
The same West, which at one time needed the partition of Yugoslavia, or rather that of Serbia, recognized both the independence of Kosovo and the election held there. Double standards have so much been spoken and written about since the 90s of the past century that it’s of no use to reiterate them. Recognized is only what fits into the framework of realpolitik carried out today and right now. If the situation changes, there will happen quite the opposite. Most interesting is the wording that has remained unchanged for 20 years now, and it sometimes seems that it was adopted still at the time of the USSR’s collapse and has remained unaltered since then.
‘The European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework within which the presidential elections in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia have taken place,’ said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
And NATO believes that the Abkhaz elections might have an unfavorable effect on the stability in the region. ‘Holding such elections does not contribute to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia. The alliance reiterates its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,’ says the statement issued by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
At the time of the partition of Kosovo the same EU ‘for some reason’ did not at all think of Serbia’s territorial integrity…
Another argument in favor of Georgia is its openly anti-Russian stance…[N]ow the international community needs both Mikheil Saakashvili and Ilham Aliyev; the EU, NATO and even the U.S. believe that without them stability in the South Caucasus will be broken. But, in fact, it is them who create tension by their provocative statements and actions, though, admittedly, at present the President of Azerbaijan is less prone to impulsive moves than his Georgian counterpart.
Reverting to the main topic, let us note that Abkhazia, as well as all of the other self-proclaimed republics of the CIS, hold elections not to be recognized by the EU or NATO. Elections are held for the countries themselves and are intended to show their own people the (earned, acquired, proclaimed, or any other) independence, just as it is done all over the world…
Meanwhile, not to sound unsubstantiated with regard to Kosovo, let us say that the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (Eulex) appointed a special rapporteur to investigate allegations of organ-trafficking against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), BBC reports.
In 2010 the report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, prepared by its representative Dick Marty, presented evidence of the KLA removing organs of Serb prisoners captured in the war in the late 1990s and then killing them. According to the report, the clinic in which it was all carried out was located at the Kosovo-Albania border. Marty accused the KLA unit led by current prime minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci of involvement in an organized crime, including drug-trafficking and trafficking of human organs. Thaci himself categorically denies his involvement in these crimes.
Dick Marty says he never claimed that Hashim Thaci was directly linked to these crimes, but adds that it is hard to believe he heard nothing about them. U.S. attorney John Clint Williamson is named lead prosecutor to investigate the allegations.
Poland Backs Georgia In Regional Conflicts Ahead Of NATO Summit
Trend News Agency
September 9, 2011
Georgia, Poland discuss political and military-technical cooperation
Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze met with Polish National Security Council Secretary Stanis?aw Koziej during his visit to Poland.
Baramidze’s office said that the sides discussed Georgian-Polish cooperation in the sphere of security, as well as in the politico-military and military-technical spheres.
Baramidze paid special attention to the Russian-Georgian conflict and the importance of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories, regional security issues, as well as the political and economic reforms conducted in Georgia.
The importance of Georgia’s and Poland’s coordinated actions was stressed to adopt the result desired for the Georgian side at the NATO summit to be held in Chicago next year.
Women Protest Military Operations In Southeastern Turkey
Azeri Press Agency
September 10, 2011
Women protest military operations in southeastern Turkey
Baku: A group of around 150 women staged a sit in protest on Friday evening in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul against ongoing Turkish military actions in the southeast of the country, APA reports.
The group held banners in both Turkish and Kurdish in Istanbul’ s Taksim Square calling for peace and saying that women suffer the most from acts of war.
The group called the Istanbul women’s initiative for peace also distributed a statement that said women are tired of the animosity being created by the ongoing war because it only brings death rather than life.