On 23 January 2008, at Democracy Now, Amy Goodman with Maurice Carney and Nita Evele, covered the subject of the Congo (Democracy Now! Corporations Reaping Millions as Congo Suffers.)
Here are some of the points made:
1. From 2001 to 2003, the United Nations reported on the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Congo.
A number of American companies were named, including Freeport-McMoRan and Cabot Corporation.
The former CEO of Cabot Corporation is Samuel Bodman, current Secretary of Energy in the Bush administration.
The Congolese government and Congolese people are not benefiting from the wealth being extracted by people like Freeport-McMoRan.
2. Canadian prime ministers have links to mining in the Congo. Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien have profited from the Congo.
3. In the Congo, 80% of the population live on 30 cents or less a day.
4. Reportedly, Congolese leader Joseph Kabila was summoned to Washington in October 2007 after he had signed a $5 billion deal with China.
Reportedly, Joseph Kabila was put into power by the USA and its allies.
The multinationals have thrived with Joseph Kabila in power. Land and rivers have been sold to multinationals. The local people have lost out.
5. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have set up financial rules that restrict the Congolese government and that help the multinationals.
6. The Congo was invaded in 1996 by Rwanda and Uganda, when they installed Laurent-Désiré Kabila in power.
They did this with the backing of the United States.
Then, when Laurent-Desire Kabila did not serve the interests of the Rwandans and the Ugandans and the US, he was assassinated in 2001.
The Rwandans and Ugandans invaded the Congo in 1998. 5.4 million Congolese died.
Photo by foto_morgana : http://www.flickr.com/photos/devriese/sets/72157594519310903/ © All rights reserved
Keith Harmon Snow, 9 February 2008, produced an article (Dissident Voice : Gertler’s Bling Bang Torah Gang) which makes the following points:
Maurice Templesman is one of the top funders of Barrack Obama.
Families like Templesman, Oppenheimer, Gertler and Steinmetz are associated with mining companies in the Congo.
In 2007 there was fighting in the Congo between Jean-Pierre Bemba and Joseph Kabila. Each wanted to be the one who could make money from deals with the mining companies.
Most ordinary Congolese earn less than a dollar a day and any attempts at strikes are likely to be put down with violence.
According to an article at CorpWatch, 25 April 2001, CorpWatch : Africa: U.S. Covert Action Exposed :
Declassified memos and cables between former U.S. presidents and State Department officials over the last four decades named Mr. Tempelsman with direct input in the destabilization of Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Rwanda and Ghana.
He earned his stripes with western powers in the overthrow of Ghana's first elected president, Kwame Nkrumah, and the CIA-backed assassination of Congo's first-elected president, Patrice Lumumba, documents reveal.
As late as 1997, Mr. Tempelsman was named in the ongoing cover-up of U.S.-CIA covert support of the former president of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]), Mobuto Sese Seko, who died in exile in 1997 after the overthrow of his regime by recently assassinated Congolese President Laurent Kabila.
Mr. Tempelsman is named as the agent in charge of selling off the gross excess of the strategic diamond stockpile in the United States that was used to fund the deceased dictator's exploits.
Congo - with Rwanda to the right (RW)
Who is going to get the Congo's mineral wealth, which includes everything from oil to gold?
1. "Eastern Congo's brutal conflict is a result of... a scramble for the region's mineral wealth...
"Cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, silver, tin and coltan, the essential ingredient of cell phones, make Congo one of Africa's most mineral-rich countries."
2. "French oil company Total said (28 October 2008) that it was considering exploiting tar sands in the... Congo, where it is the chief oil and gas producer...
"The Italian oil company ENI in May signed a deal with Congo to exploit the tar sands at Tchikatanga and Tchikatanga-Makola in the south, estimated to hold reserves of between 500 million and 2.5 billion barrels. " (French oil giant mulls exploiting Congo tar sands)
3. "Congolese rebels continued their march toward the regional capital of Goma on Tuesday (28 October 2008), driving panicky Army soldiers and tens of thousands of displaced civilians out onto the muddy roads ahead of them." (Congo rebels push toward key city)
4. "The roots of Congo's instability trace back to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis were slaughtered. Tutsi rebels from Rwanda then overthrew the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government in an ensuing civil war, forcing millions of Hutus to flee to Congo...
"Rwanda invaded Congo twice in an effort to rout the Rwandan Hutu extremists, first in a 1996-1997 war, and again in a 1998-2002 war. Many accused Rwanda of getting sidetracked, however, in pursuit of diamonds, gold and other minerals.
"Since 1994, Congo's civil war and tribal conflicts have left some 4 million people dead through fighting, famine or disease." (Congo's violence tied to 1994 Rwandan genocide)
5. "The former French president François Mitterrand supported the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide despite clear warnings that mass killings of the Tutsi population were being orchestrated, according to declassified French documents.
"The publication of the documents in today's Le Monde for the first time confirms long-held suspicions against France. The previously secret diplomatic telegrams and government memos also suggest the late French president was obsessed with the danger of "Anglo-Saxon" influence gripping Rwanda." (The Independent)
6. Around Lubumbashi there is a lot of copper, coltan and zinc.
It is being processed by a joint venture between the state mining company, the George Forrest Group (a Belgian-Congolese conglomerate) and the American OM Group.
"In 2002, a UN panel recommended that 29 companies - including the George Forrest Group - face sanctions for their operations in DR Congo.
"The panel's report accused the George Forrest Group of running its mineral operations in a way that took as much profit as possible out of the country, while bringing minimal benefit to DR Congo." (BBC Cached)
Leopold II (1835 – 1909)) was King of the Belgians, and a first cousin of Queen Victoria.
Leopold II was reported to be a client of Mary Jeffries's "Rose Cottage" flagellation house and brothel in Hampstead, London.
(The Belgian monarchy was reportedly linked to the Dutroux scandal and other scandals - BBC News EUROPE Belgian king wins paedophile rebuttal / Chateau des Amerois - Mother of Darkness Castle )
Leopold II was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
One white officer described a raid to punish a Congolese village that had protested against Belgian actions. The white officer in command: "ordered us to cut off the heads of the men and hang them on the village palisades, also their sexual members, and to hang the women and the children on the palisade in the form of a cross." (Mass crimes against humanity in the Congo Free State)
Victims of the Belgians
As the BBC points out, the Congolese learnt from the Belgians.
"Congo's soldiers have never moved away from the role allocated to them by Leopold - as a force to coerce, torment and rape an unarmed civilian population." - (BBC NEWS Africa King Leopold's legacy of DR Congo violence)
According to Wikipedia, "The extraction of rubber and ivory in the Congo relied on forced labour and resulted in the massacre and mutilation of millions of Congolese (roughly half the population at the time).
"He ran the Congo as his personal fiefdom; for him it was a business venture...
"As Adam Hochschild describes in King Leopold's Ghost, France, Germany and Portugal were quick to adopt the Congolese methods in those parts of their colonies where natural rubber occured, imposing a similar death toll on the natives." (Leopold II of Belgium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)