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Dear Mr. President: Only YOU Can Stop the Worlds Longest, Bloodiest War...And It's NOT Iraq

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:27 PM
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Intro. An Apology In Advance for Wasting Your Time

Yeah, I know. This is a long f-ing OP. Who wants to read an epic journal on a Saturday afternoon? Well, this is a lot shorter than the war I am going to write about. That's been going on for ten years. Closer to twenty for some of the participants. And most people in the United States couldn't even tell you that the war is happening or point to the location of the war on a map or tell you why women are being raped by the tens of thousands each year and children are being recruited to fight even though our own government has been arming the combatants in this war for profit . And for what? The people are already mostly Christians. They already live in democracies. They do not send terra-ists to blow up our monuments. We keep pouring weapons into this conflict, because we say that that is the best way to stop some of the people from killing other people....

And pouring grease on a fire is the best way to put it out. If you live in Bush world.

If we are going to get rich off the blood, sweat and tears of people in other countries, the least we can do is acknowledge their suffering. Under Queen Victoria, the British were not ashamed to list the countries they occupied. Hell, they were proud of being a colonial superpower. They flaunted their wealth.

The information in the first part of this journal will be familiar to those who know a lot about the plunder of the Democratic Republic of Congo, aka DR Congo. However, you did not learn most of it watching the 6 o'clock news or even reading the newspaper. If it is all old news to you, skip straight to part two.

In the first section, called Front Stage , I have included some references to documents from the UN and Amnesty International and Wikipedia that have a lot more info than I can cover in a DU journal, even one this over sized. I did this deliberately. The U.S. news media could care less about nonwhite folks killing nonwhite folks in America. They are practically deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to nonwhite on nonwhite violence anywhere else in the world---

Something the people who profit from this war counted on when they started it.

I. Front Stage

The longest, deadliest war being waged on earth right now over natural resources is being fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, before that a Belgian colony made infamous by Joseph Conrad in The Heart of Darkness as a place where European colonials would chop off the arms of the indigenous peoples in order to make them harvest rubber more quickly---although he did not put that in the story. Maybe Conrad thought that Europeans would not believe their fellow European businessmen capable of such brutality, the way that Marlowe did not believe that Kurtzs beloved would accept that her lover had lost his soul to greed. If you have not read Conrads novella, please do so. Colonialism has not changed in the last century. It is still a bloody, hypocritical, inhumane business.

And here is some other reading. A UN report from 2001 which attributes the ongoing conflict in the Congo---where armies from neighboring Rwanda and Uganda keep attacking eastern Congolese, raping, pillaging and murdering--- not to ethnic conflict but to greed. Specifically, the greed of foreign companies in countries like the United States, Canada and Europe which want Congos many natural resources (gold, diamonds, timber and all sorts of other goodies mostly located in the eastern part of the country.) These companies and their governments are willing to bankroll the armies of Africa to serve as their mercenaries to steal those resources. Because hey, it's no fun if you have to bargain for the rights the normal way, like you do in a civilized country.

Note that neither Rwanda or Uganda had the money to finance their own military adventures in Congo when this report was commissioned. This lead the UN to conclude that they were receiving external funding. That is where the plunder of Congos resources comes in. While the foreign press characterized the conflicts as ethnic violence, the combatants were actually raiding Congos natural resources, enriching themselves and supplying foreign companies with much desired raw materials used to make goodies that people like you and me can not live without. Cell phones. Game players. Wedding rings. More about that later.

Here are some of the businesses which were accused of financing the Congo Wars so that they could acquire those natural resources.

Of the 85 companies named in the October 2002 report, eight, including Cabot Corporation, Eagle Wings Resources International, Trinitech International, Kemet Electronics Corporation, OM Group (OMG); and Vishay Sprague, are U.S.-owned.

When the report was issued, the U.S. representative, Richard Williamson, pledged that his government "will look into the allegations against these companies and take appropriate measures not torn a blind eye to these activities."

But, in a memo released Monday, FoE charged that the Bush administration has failed to take any meaningful steps toward investigating, let alone sanctioning, any of the companies.

On the contrary, both the United States and other OECD members have successfully pressured the Panel to remove from its final report the names of the companies registered in their jurisdictions or to declare that such cases have been resolved, according to the groups.

Here is a very informative---and heartrendingdocument from Amnesty International called Our Brothers Who Kill Us .

Here is an account of how Ugandan and Rwandan forces sought to liberate one city from its diamonds.

In a six-day battle in June 2000, more than 1,200 civilians were killed and many thousands wounded as Rwandese and Ugandan forces fought for control of Kisangani. Scores of civilians had died in earlier battles in August 1999 and May 2000 for Kisangani, with its strategic position on the river Congo and its diamonds, coffee and timber. As Ugandan forces tried to seize control of the city centre, the two sides poured indiscriminate fire into houses, schools, churches and workplaces. No effort was made by the opposing forces to evacuate civilians trapped between them. Reports suggest that the Rwandese forces in particular used homes that were sheltering civilians as firing positions and then moved on, leaving the trapped householders to face returning Ugandan fire. On 11 June the two forces agreed to a ceasefire, negotiated by MONUC.
Despite the clearly civilian character of the cathedral area, it was repeatedly struck by shellfire, and many of the several hundred people sheltering there were killed or wounded. The death toll was highest in the residential districts to the north, especially the communes of Tshopo, Makiso and Mangobo. In July 2001 a local human rights organization, Groupe Lotus, named 253 civilians who were killed during the battle: they included 106 children.
Senior Ugandan officers effectively cornered the market in diamonds, entering into deals with a number of trading houses (maisons dachat or comptoirs). In one incident on 25 December 1999, Ugandan soldiers beat and detained customs officials at Kisanganis Bangboka airport who attempted to seize part of a consignment of US$600,000 in Congolese francs, escorted by Ugandan soldiers on an aircraft from Kampala and destined for a diamond trading house. Deus Kagiraneza told the Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry: "We were outraged to see the Victoria company, sponsored by the Ugandans, sign contracts without the Rwandese. Thats the sole reason we went to war against the Ugandans, because we alone wanted to control the diamonds."
The battles for Kisangani ultimately left the city of Kisangani in the hands of RCD-Goma. But most diamond mining zones in the north of Kisangani were left in the hands of the Ugandan army and the MLC. This and the steep levels of taxation levied by RCD-Goma authorities in Kisangani encouraged most diamond traders to export their production through the Central African Republic and Uganda. It is estimated that in 2001 US$3.8 million worth of diamonds were exported to Antwerp, Belgium, from Uganda, which has no domestic diamond production. The RCD-Goma authorities in Kisangani have since concentrated on other commodities such as palm oil to supplement their income.

You know, given the likelihood that your bright and shiny new diamond will come from Congo (see statistics below) I would be tempted limit future purchases of jewelry to man made gems for the foreseeable future.

Here is the story of a mine slave used by the Ugandan army to plunder gold resources. According to Amnesty International, the war allowed Uganda to sell more gold than the country possessed as a natural resource, confirming that it was looting the mineral from the Congo.

In December 2001, 22 year-old Romeo Amisi and five of his friends were forced by Ugandan soldiers to work in the Mongwalu mines for more than a month. They were threatened and beaten with rifle butts. The gold that they mined was confiscated and sold in Kampala. At night, their place of detention was infested with mosquitos and flies. They were given poor food to eat only once a day. Romeo Amisi told Amnesty International of his escape at night, "I told Captain Fred I want to go to the toilet. Normally they follow us. That day he said: just go and come back here in three minutes. They were with a certain lady. Two other women joined them later. I left half naked. I walked down to the valley and ran 50 minutes to reach the first inhabited area Three hours later I met an old friend of my dad. I told him my story and he got scared of taking me home."(39) He walked for weeks to reach Kampala. He has tuberculosis. He has no information about his friends left in Mongbwalu but feared that they might have suffered reprisals. "They could have been killed. Those people are animals. They can do anything. They can kill all of them."

Note that the Amnesty International document was written midway through the current conflict, so it underestimates the number dead. There was a temporary lull in the fighting, before it started again. Those who have seen Treasure of Sierra Madre know that greed never stops.

Wikipedia has more precise figures about the scope of the war. The First Congo War was waged in 1996 when Hutus from Rwanda entered DR Congo. US backed strongman and multibillionaire Mobuto welcomed them, which gave Uganda and Rwanda the green light for an invasion and a coup in which Mobuto was toppled. By then, the U.S. no longer needed him as a bulwark against communism, and he fled the country. The warring forces then launched into the Second Congo War as they jostled for power. This one started in 1998 and officially lasted until 2003.

The largest war in modern African history, it directly involved eight African nations, as well as about 25 armed groups. By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation,<4> making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II.<5> Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries.

Despite a formal end to the war in July 2003 and an agreement by the former belligerents to create a government of national unity, 1,000 people died daily in 2004 from easily preventable cases of malnutrition and disease

Horrors that occurred during this war reportedly included an attempt to eliminate the Pygmies. This tribe was the original group that lived in the Congo, before others moved to the region c. 3000 BC. According to BBC reports, some combatants not only raped and killed Pygmies in the Congo. They also devoured their corpses in order to gain magic powers.

While the charge of cannibalism may have been concocted to get foreign attention, this news report includes plenty of other atrocities. Families hacked down with machetes. Children raped. Villages destroyed.

The Second Congo War saw rape used as a routine weapon. Children were also employed regularly as soldiers. Though Rwanda and Uganda were the major players, eventually other African nations were drawn into the conflict, lured by the wealth in Congos gold, diamond and other mines.

Supposedly this war ended in 2003. However, a new war started in 2004 and has continued since then. It is supposed to be an ethnic conflict, but guess where they are fighting. For some reason, ethnic differences always seem to spring up around the world where there are natural resources to plunder. Sunni versus Shiite in Iraq. Georgian versus Russian in South Ossetia. Hutu versus Tutsi in East DR Congo. The Northern Irish are so lucky that they are not sitting on a uranium mine.

II. Behind the Scenes

This is a colonial war. That means that colonial superpowers are pulling the strings. The troops from Rwanda and Uganda are getting their arms from great big countries that do not give a shit about people who look like this:

The U.S., Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan know that the majority of their voters will not even bat an eye if they hear that there is an ongoing war in which children are being forced to fight and women are being raped and everyone is being hacked down by machetes, because their citizens did not offer to lift a hand when the Hutus hacked down the Tutsis in Rwanda. Not until after it was over, and they did not have to worry that their own sons and daughters might be caught up in the violence. As long as it is Black folks killing Black folks it cant be oppression, right? It cant be exploitation. It is just free Africans taking advantage of their God given right to murder each other over some centuries old conflict that no one even wants to bother to try to understand, because we have more important problems like how are we going to pay down the credit card bill? And where will we get the money to pay for the Sony Playstation 3 that the kids want?

Speaking of Sony, guess what is in your Playstation 2? /

A website named Toward Freedom has run a very interesting piece about a little-known ore called Coltan and the reprecussions the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo endure to mine it. Coltan is used extensively in gadgets and other electronic devices in its refined form - a bluish-gray powder called tantalum, which is defined as a transition metal. For the most part, tantalum has one significant use: to satisfy the Wests insatiable appetite for personal technology. Tantalum is used to make cell phones, laptops and other electronics made, for example, by Sony, in its Playstation hardware. And while allegations of plundering coltan from a nation in desperate need of revenue seem bad enough, the UN also discovered that Rwandan troops and rebels were using prisoners-of-war and children to mine for the black gold.
Sony is being accused of still using coltan from mines that are being run by right-wing units of the Rwandan military and other militias who use children, prisoners of war, and other individuals who are impoverished to do the mining. Sony Insider has set a bold font (towards the end of the article) for the relevant text, below.

The article goes on to describe how coltans prices have jumped and how manufacturers get their coltan via middlemen who launder it through other middlemen so that by the time companies like Sony acquire it, they can deny all knowledge of its source. However, if they wanted to find out where it came from, they would discover

By 1999, the Rwandan army and several closely linked militias had swarmed over the hills of eastern DRC and took many coltan mines by force, said the UN. The Rwandan army that year would eventually make at least $250 million by selling DRC coltan with the help of mining companies and metal brokers. The estimates of the wars dead range from hundreds of thousands to several million. A couple million Congolese are believed to have been displaced.

American-based Kemet, the worlds largest maker of tantalum capacitors would eventually swear off coltan from the Congo because of human rights violations, making suppliers certify origins.
But it may be a case of too little, too late, stated the UN Panel of Experts. Much of the coltan illegally stolen from Congo is already in laptops, cell phones and electronics all over the world.

That means that whenever we use a cell phone or play a video game, our fingers are dancing over the graves of slaughtered Congolese.

Butbutits Hutus versus Tutsis. We are not to blame.

Au contraire .

Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky believes that the civil war in Rwanda was a proxy war between France (Hutus) and the United States (Tutsis). In this paper, he makes his case, citing the U. S. military support for Tutsis in neighboring Uganda which started in the George Bush Sr. administration. The French, meanwhile, supported the elected government in Rwanda. The International Monetary Fund was used to arm both countries. The U.S. facilitated the assassination of Pres. Habyarimana which lead to the genocide, which may have been facilitated by both the French and the United States. When all was said and done, the U.S. backed faction was left in control of Rwanda---and the region. This gave the United States a military base from which to strike out at the mineral rich territories of eastern DR Congo. Add in World Bank policies that drive civilians in Rwanda and Uganda into poverty so that a military career plundering the natural resources of neighboring countries started to sound attractive, and you had a money making enterprise.

Much of the above happened during the Bill Clinton administration (more on that later). Things have only gotten worse under George W. Bush.

The end result of the killings in which perhaps as many as a million Africans perished was that US and UK backed Paul Kagamea ruthless military dictator trained at the US Army Command-General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth Kansaswas firmly in control as dictator of Rwanda. Since then he has covertly backed repeated military incursions by General Nkunda into the mineral-rich Kivu region on the pretext it was to defend a small Tutsi minority there. Kagame had repeatedly rejected attempts to repatriate those Tutsi refugees back to Rwanda, evidently fearing he might lose his pretext to occupy the mineral riches of Kivu.
Since at least 2001 according to reports from Congo sources, the US military has also had a base at Cyangugu in Rwanda, built of course by Dick Cheneys old firm, Halliburton, conveniently enough near the border to Congos mineral-rich Kivu region.
Now Kagames former intelligence officer, Nkunda, leads his well-equipped forces to take Goma in the eastern Congo as part of an apparent scheme to break the richest minerals region away from Kinshasha. With the US military beefing up its presence across Africa under AFRICOM since 2007, the stage was apparently set for the current resources grab by the US-backed Kagame and his former officer, Nkunda.

The article goes on to mention that the NeoCons are involved. They want to keep Congo and its resources in US hands the same way they want to keep Iraq and its oil in US hands.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo contains more than half the worlds cobalt. It holds one-third of its diamonds, and, extremely significantly, fully three-quarters of the world resources of columbite-tantalite or "coltan" -- a primary component of computer microchips and printed circuit boards, essential for mobile telephones, laptops and other modern electronic devices.

Congo should be one of the world's wealthiest countries! It should be writing contracts with companies and countries from all over the world. Actually, it is writing contracts. Some pretty damn good ones. And look who is there to make them tear them up.

Notably, in late October Nkundas well-armed troops surrounded Goma in North Kivu and demanded that Congo President Joseph Kabila negotiate with him. Among Nkundas demands was that Kabila cancel a $9 billion joint Congo-China venture in which China gets rights to the vast copper and cobalt resources of the region in exchange for providing $6 billion worth of road construction, two hydroelectric dams, hospitals, schools and railway links to southern Africa, to Katanga and to the Congo Atlantic port at Matadi. The other $3 billion is to be invested by China in development of new mining areas.

You got that? A US puppet in Congo objected because the Chinese were willing to invest in Congo's infrastructure in exchange for cobalt and copper. They were going to build roads, hospitals, dams, schools, railroads . The nerve of some people! Don't they know that if they do that, the Congolese will be able to lift themselves out of poverty, at which point the civil wars will stop (see our new representative to the UN, Dr. Susan Rice's paper linking poverty and civil war here ) and then the people will be able to mine their own natural resources (OMG! The Chinese were going to build mines, too. Those...those communists! ) and claim some of the wealth from their natural wealth for themselves. If God had wanted them to live lives full of anything but misery and abject poverty, he would not have made them Black, so that people in places like North America and Europe can dismiss their suffering as "just another ethnic conflict in Africa".

Curiously, US and most European media neglect to report that small detail. It seems AFRICOM is off to a strong start as the opposition to China in Africa. The litmus will be who President Obama selects as his Africa person and whether he tries to weaken Congo President Joseph Kabila in favor of backing Nkundas death squads, naturally in the name of restoring democracy..

I promised to write about Bill Clinton. Whether Bill Clinton knew about any of this and allowed the atrocities to happen on his watch in order to help out a mining company in Arkansas as some have suggested or if the civil war was entirely an internal CIA operation presented to him as a genocide followed by the ousting of a Congolese tyrant and he just did not bother to look too hardwho knows? Bush Sr. left a lot of land mines behind when he cleared out of Washington. How deeply the United States was involved in the Rwandan genocide is also debatable. Chossudovsky may be overestimating the United States culpability in order to downplay Frances role, which was considerable. However, since the atrocities occurred during Bill Clintons presidency, I think it would be appropriate for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to get in there and clean up her husbands mess. With President Barack Obamas approval, of course. And there is no excuse for the United States to be funding death squads and terrorists organizations in a country that is guilty of nothing except possessing natural resources that we wish that we owned. If Obama continues the policies of George W. Bush, then he owns George W. Bush's unacknowledged war for profit in central Africa.

Now, I realize that some people will say that Obama must not do anything to indicate that he is even aware that Africa exists. Otherwise, his critics will claim that he is not American enough. Well, that will not cut it. This is one world, and Africa has been our Kwik-E-Mart for too long. Also, Africa is the site of many of the worlds deadliest viral diseases. Ebola outbreaks occur in the Congo. War makes it impossible to practice good public health.

This OP is already long enough, so I am going to leave it at this for now. Just remember, the Heart of Darkness is within us, the colonials who plunder without thought to the consequences to others.

Thanks in advance to the handful of people who read this. I know that war in Africa seems low on the list of our problems right now, but it means life or death to a whole bunch of folks who probably can not figure out why the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave wants their stuff for free so badly that it will kill women and children to get it.

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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. K & R
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. What is your idea as to how the US can stop it?
Appeals, military intervention and occupation or asking the UN to do something and other nations to supply troops (since the UN has no troops)?
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. Funding
The people guilty are receiving US funds (among other nations) to do so. We have spooks planted in the Congolese government to keep them well-heeled to massa's shoes as well.

Obama most likely wouldn't be able to "end the war" - but he could end the US' involvement in it and take efforts to reverse its course though economic and social initiatives, in teh vein of what the Chinese offered - "let us mine and we will give you infrastructure." Those nations that continued to play the war game then know they run the risk of pissing off the US in so doing - most would then follow our example in the region just to keep their trade interests with the US intact.

War is always economics.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. sheesh. Obama isn't God.
I don't see how he is the ONLY one who can stop it.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. No he is not, but he is in a unique position to take a leadership role.
If he brought much-needed attention to the situation it would be harder to ignore, yes?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Of course. But that's hardly what the OP title said.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. Except I do think the POTUS is probably the person in the world best positioned...
to bring about an end.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
4. I agree that we can play a role by influencing the countries who's support enables the atrocities
. . . at the least.

This is a good summary, McCamy. I'm just amazed by the posters who bothered to respond by suggesting that there's nothing America can do.
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. I read the book, about ten years ago, We Inform You That in the Morning You will Be Dead.
Hacking people to death>> They thought they would get away with it. The Atrocious Monsters.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. samantha power`s article---"bystanders to genocide"
and this man`s book..... "shake hands with the devil"
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Adsos Letter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I read "Shake hands With the Devil"
very moving, frustrating, and enraging..and Dallaire has suffered very serious psychological problems resulting from his attempts to make the world respond to a situation the UN had tasked him with trying to ameliorate. A very tragic story.
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Career Prole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. "Who wants to read an epic journal on a Saturday afternoon?"
Not me. I was at work, but I read it Saturday night...and then I kicked and recced.
Thanks for putting in the work.

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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. A blood diamond is forever (n/t)
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
zingaro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. Thank you for taking the time to write this.
A real eye-opener.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:13 AM
Response to Original message
11. What always strikes me when I read about this and other similar conflicts is the blame
that is placed on the U.S. for arming the countries that are invading DR Congo or whatever other nation. This assumes that just because a nation that neighbors another nation has lots of armament THOSE ARMS MUST BE USED TO INVADE THE NEIGHBORING COUNTRY. What is up with that?

Are you saying that the reason this indiscriminate butchery is going on is because we are arming these monsters? I think not.

This type of horror goes on anywhere one greedy megalomaniac leader decides he wants more money and more power or more land or whatever. Are there not African nations that have American weapons that DO NOT invade their neighbors, slaughter the inhabitants, and steal their natural resources? Surely there are numerous other countries who are restraining themselves despite their armies being equipped with fine, modern killing equipment. Surely there are some that believe in national sovereignty. Surely other African nations could exert pressure on these invading countries and rebel groups to cease and desist.

What are your thoughts on this, McCamy?

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Links in 1st section describe how World Bank and IMF pressured these countries to
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 02:45 AM by McCamy Taylor
enact measures that reduced the standard of living and increased poverty for the citizens in their country. At the same time, the IMF handed out money that was used for arms (a no-no) then later demanded that the money be repaid. Since it would not provide any aid for infrastructure, the only money to be had in the whole region was from the natural resources in eastern Congo. So, the well armed groups in Rwanda and Uganda (which have been getting direct military training from the US) had only one way to get money. They used the old "there's terrorists in them there hills" excuse for staging their raids. According to one of the documents above, Tutsis were deliberately left in Congo (over the objections of the Tutsis left behind, who want to go home) to give Rwanda something to "protect".

There is a certain racist attitude among some people who suggest that the war in this region occurs because the inhabitants are somehow more violent or greedy than people in other parts of the world. Poor people who are denied food, education, hope for the future but who are given plenty of weapons to fight a proxy war for superpowers will kill each other regardless of how "superior" their race seems to be. We saw this in Ireland for years. The United States and its former colonial boss, Great Britain waged a proxy war in Ireland as the two powers were engaged in a battle to see who would rule the world. The U.S armed the Catholics, the British armed the Protestants. Everyone in Ireland suffered. Finally, the U.S. and Great Britain got over their long conflict and the troubles in Ireland were allowed to quiet. For a very long time, the British insisted that the Irish fought because they were violent, stupid, subhuman. That was not true. They fought because they lived under British tyranny and because they were poor and because they received lots of weapons.

The same thing is happening in Palestine. It happened in the Balkans. It is happening between Sunni and Shiites in the Middle East (why do you think Bush kept Iraq so poor?), though I think that the Muslims are finally starting to get wise to the machinations of the NeoCons. Poverty leads to civil war. The Bush people probably hoped that McCain would be elected and that the Depression they engineered would lead to civil unrest in the U.S. which they could use as an excuse for a military occupation. Just their luck that the nation elected to have a new New Deal instead of another Civil War.

Moral is, if countries are poor, they need infrastructure assistance. China seems to understand this. If you make a country stable with good education, health care, transportation, then access to its natural resources becomes more reliable. Right now, the only people who benefit seem to be gold and diamond speculators, who can jack around with the prices by controlling the conflict. China is acting like a country that needs a steady supply of an industrial material. I guess if you are a diamond dealer, you would want to make sure that there is lots of war in Congo, to keep the supply low. Who are the world's big diamond dealers who get their goods out of Congo? Does anyone know? Are they allies of the U.S?
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
22. Please provide links
to support the contention that the U.S.Government supplied weapons to the IRA.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. U.S. citizens. U.S. government looked other way. Before that Germany, France, Spain.
Any country that has ever been at war with Great Britain has armed the Irish for a rebellion in order to nip at England's heels. Often under guise of helping out fellow Catholics, but these countries did not really care. They were just using the Irish as proxies in their war.

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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. U.S. Citizens providing support to the IRA
is a long way from the U.S. Government providing support for the IRA. Links to support the government position to over look the other way.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Not so long ago, Irish American politicians were quite vocal in their support of Irish "patriots"
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 07:12 PM by McCamy Taylor
and the US only started to make an effort to stop the flow of arms and money in the 1980s, around the time of the Thatcher/Reagan alliance.

There could be many reasons why the U.S. government did not try very hard to keep U.S. weapons and money from getting to the IRA. One that you have to consider is that powerful forces in the U.S. wanted to see England embroiled in an ugly conflict close to home. It would give the U.S. powerful leverage when it wanted something from Great Britain. Leverage that could work both ways if the Brits needed a political distraction or a terror menace to use to suspend civil liberties and the Cold War was too cold. Sorry if it makes the U.S. government sound evil, but....
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. Thanks for the reply, McCamy. I'll try to get to those links later today. If you are correct
about the World Bank and IMF (and I feel sure that you are) and their role in these travesties, it does follow the pattern that has been established over many years.

My point was that there seem to be few leaders of nations who refuse to take the bait. Is this simply a matter of instigation by outside influences (IMF, WB, U.S., China) that is irresistible to power-hungry/money-hungry leaders? Or is it a failure of those nations to recognize the harsh realities that will ensue when they choose the militarization path?

NashVegas makes an interesting point regarding the propensity to use arms once a nation has them; however, I am sure that there are nations that have armies who have chosen to remain on a peaceful footing with their neighbors despite pressures to do otherwise. Are they always semi-developed nations or developed nations? Are they nations that have mature democracies or established ruling families who don't need or want the additional money/power. Or is this an endemic problem to all developing nations when they are confronted with the possibility of military expansion at their neighbor's expense.

Since Africa is the location of this particular incident, I ask myself why is this not going on all over Africa? Have the nations who are not encroaching militarily on their neighbors restrained themselves because they have reached an equilibrium with their neighbor militarily or economically? Or do they not have long-standing ethnic/tribal rivalries that could be used to foment these wars? Or is it simply that they do not have the resources that the powers-that-be covet, so they have not become the focus of this type of destabilization effort?

Or is it because there are no intra-continental alliances that are strong enough to put a halt to this type of thing?

One other comment: My impression is that much of the conflict among muslim nations is due to the differences in religious sects, particularly Sunni and Shia, who seem to have a history of warfare rivaling the wars fought by Catholics and Protestants.

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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. No One Arms a Group Of People And Expects Them to Content Themselves Blowing Cans Off Fence Posts
That goes for everyone, not just the U.S.
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northamericancitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:51 AM
Response to Original message
15. Nominated. Excellent post.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:04 AM
Response to Original message
16. Here is a link with someone else pleading with Pres. Obama to end arms sales in Africa.

It is called President Obama, Africa Needs Democracy and Development Not Guns and Weapons

The US is undoubtedly the biggest arms exporter to Africa contributing to about 50% of all arms to the continent. To say that arms exports to Africa, political instabilities, wars, economic underachievement and poverty are intractably linked and that African countries will be unable to achieve any economic development unless they achieve political stability first is under statement. The continent is littered with hundreds of millions of small arms and light weapons even though South Africa and Egypt are the only countries on the continent with infrastructures that could support huge arms production. Tens of millions of Africans have died from the export of arms to the continent and several millions have been injured as a result of the wars fuelled by the arms exports. About 90% of all civilian casualties in the wars come from the use of small arms and light weapons. Besides, billions of dollars meant for economic and social development have been squandered over the years from diamond, gold, timber, coltan, cassiterite and oil profits to procure arms and fund the instabilities on the continent.

For decades we have witnessed the tragic and the devastating effects of wars on the continent fuelled by arms imports from US, UK, France, Russia, North Korea, China, former Soviet and Eastern European nations. Most of the arms exports to Africa are used for internal repression and external aggression. Some of these arms have found their way into rebel hands, organised criminals and bandits. The arms have been used by totalitarian regimes to hold back critical thinking in their countries. It is estimated that the continent has lost up to 500 billion dollars to arms imports alone while children have no access to education, water and health facilities.

In the face of mounting poverty, malnourishments, diseases, lack of genuine democracy and civil wars what Africa need at this critical moment are not guns and weapons but the seed of genuine democracy and economic development.

There is more. It is a good read.
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jeff30997 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:21 AM
Response to Original message
17. Great article McCamy Taylor.
I think it's the longest post I've ever read from start to finish.I already knew about some of

the facts that you mention like the Coltan exploitation and its use in electronic devices,for

example but I've learned a lot of shocking things as well.K&R

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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
20. K & R in sadness and horror. Excellent post. :( nt
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K Gardner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
21. I have no doubt Obama will address this issue. He was involved in Dafur before
anyone really knew who he was, or cared. That part of his involvement hasn't been well-publicized, but it is in a documentary I saw a year or so ago.

Excellent post, McCamy, K&R.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
24. Great, great, post. To most Americans Africa is still the "dark continent". K&R
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brindis_desala Donating Member (866 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
28. Good digging. The problem for developing countries
particularly those with weak or fledgling governments is that the actors fighting for their resources are no longer distinct competing nations with which one can make strategic military and economic alliances, but multinational corporations who have learned that there is nothing better for short term profits than the chaos of war and instability. Unless African nations learn (as have their South American counterparts most painfully) that they must cooperate for the continent's defense they will remain helpless against the depredations of foreign mercenaries with their crates of arms and poisoned cash disguised as "humanitarian assistance".
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DissedByBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
29. Mugabe is one
He invaded during the Second Congo War ostensibly to protect it from Rwanda and Uganda. It was really to secure some of the vast natural resources of Congo to keep Mugabe's regime propped up.
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20score Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
30. K&R.
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Sultana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
33. K&R
The Forgotten War

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
34. K&R, thanks for this post.
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