Archive | May 26th, 2018

When War Games Go Live? “Simulating World War III”

The World is at a Dangerous Crossroads.

Previously dismissed, the  dangers of a Third World War are now the object of serious debate. What must be understood is that World War III has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than ten years. 

The contours of global warfare are unfolding:

  • Military escalation in the Middle East: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Palestine;
  • Extended military involvement of Saudi Arabia, military buildup in the Persian Gulf;
  • Deployment of US-NATO weapons systems and troops in Eastern Europe and the Baltic States on Russia’s doorstep;
  • The War in Ukraine, The Separatist Movement in Donbass, Dangers of Escalation;
  • Economic Sanctions directed against Russia;
  • US-China Confrontations in the South China Sea, the militarization of strategic waterways;
  • US-Israeli Threats directed against Iran;
  • Ongoing US Threats directed against North Korea;
  • Extended US and allied military involvement in Afghanistan
  • The US-led drone war in sub-Saharan Africa under USAFRICOM

In the wake of the Cold War, the Pentagon has been routinely involved in conducting World War III war games as well as simulations of World War III. 

Most of these routine and numerous WW III simulations are classified. The presumption is that a US-led war against Iran would trigger a broader regional war which could evolve towards a Third World War. This scenario was envisaged under a war scenario codenamed: Theater Iran Near Term (TIRANNT). The war planning scenario identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg.

Trump’s annulment of the Iran nuclear deal has a bearing on US threats directed against North Korea. It is part of a global war agenda. 

The Trump administration is currently threatening four non-compliant countries (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea) within the framework of  what is best described as “Global Warfare”.

In 2006, under the “Vigilant Shield 07″ war games, the Pentagon simulated a World War III scenario involving four fictitious countries, enemies of America:  Churya, Ruekbek, Irmingham, and Nemazee. (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea)

The following article first published in January 2008, revised in 2012 outlines the nature of  US war games and WW III simulations, focussing on Vigilant Shield 2007 and the declassified war scenario entitled: Theater Iran Near Term (TIRANNT).

The analysis is also contained in my 2011 book entitled. Towards a World War III Scenarion: The Dangers of Nuclear War

Michel Chossudovsky, April 28, 2016, May 2018

*      *     *

With ongoing war games on both sides [2007-2008], armed hostilities between the US-Israel led coalition and Iran are, according to Israeli military analysts, “dangerously close”.

There has been a massive deployment of troops which have been dispatched to the Middle East, not to mention the redeployment of US and allied troops previously stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Nine thousand US troops have been dispatched to Israel to participate in what is described by the Israeli press as the largest joint air defense war exercise in Israeli history.

The drill, called “Austere Challenge 12,” is scheduled to take place within the next few weeks. Its stated purpose “is to test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems, especially the “Arrow” system, which the country specifically developed with help from the US to intercept Iranian missiles.”

In the course of December, Iran conducted its own war games with a major ten days naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz, (December 24, 2011- January 2, 2012). 

Missile defense and naval war games are being conducted simultaneously.  While Israel  and the US are preparing to launch major naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, Tehran has announced that it plans to conduct major naval exercises in February.

An impressive deployment of troops and advanced military hardware is unfolding.

Meanwhile, Israel has become a de facto US military outpost. US and Israeli command structures are being integrated, with close consultations between the Pentagon and Israel’s Ministry of Defense.

A large number of US troops will be stationed in Israel once the war games are completed.

The assumption of this military deployment is the staging of a joint US-Israeli air attack on Iran. Military escalation towards a regional war is part of the military scenario.  

Ultimately Israel is an American pawn. 

The people of Israel are the unspoken victims of US military ambitions, which consist in the conquest and “recolonization” –under a US mandate– of the Anglo-Persian oil empire.

The History of War Planning: “Theater Iran Near Term” (TIRANNT)

A review of the history of war planning –including war games and simulations– directed against Iran is essential to an understanding of recent developments in the Persian Gulf.

Active war preparations directed against Iran (with the involvement of Israel and NATO) were initiated in May 2003, one month after the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It should be understood that from the outset of these war preparations, a World War III scenario was envisaged by US war planners.

The assumption of escalation was embedded in the simulations and the war games.

Moreover, the war on Iran was formulated as a “Global Strike” plan involving centralized military decision-making and coordination by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). A “Concept Plan” entitled CONPLAN 8022 was established in 2003. The operational CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022 is described as “an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers.”

A simulated scenario of an all out bombing campaign against Iran entitled “Theater Iran Near Term” was implemented in May 2003.  (To be noted, there have been numerous simulations and war games which have remained classified). .

Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT,  “Theater Iran Near Term” had identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg. (The analysis contained in this section is based on my earlier 2007 article entitled Theater Iran Near Term, Global Research, February 21, 2007)

“In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “theater Iran near term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form.

… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (William Arkin, The Pentagon Preps for Iran  Washington Post, 16 April 2006, emphasis added)

What distinguishes the TIRANNT simulations in relation to previous (pre-2003) war game scenarios, is that a) they were conducted in the wake of the Iraq war and b) the Blitzkrieg assumptions behind TIRANNT are similar to those used in the intense March 2003 bombing campaign directed against Iraq.

In other words, the bombing campaign scenarios under TIRANNT are not limited to surgical strikes directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities. They also involve an “invasion scenario”, the deployment of Marines Corps, as well as “the mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.”

The assessment of these war games is crucial in evaluating recent developments in the Persian Gulf because it suggests that if an attack on Iran is implemented it will inevitably evolve towards an all out bombing campaign as well as a ground war.

Confirmed by Arkin, the active component of the Iran military agenda was launched in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” (Arkin, op cit). In October 2003, different theater scenarios for an Iran war were contemplated:

“The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).” (New Statesman, 19 February 2007)

It is worth noting that following the implementation of TIRANNT, starting in 2004, there was a stepped up delivery of weapons systems to Israel.

Military Alliances. Simulating World War III

A World War III scenario has been the object of numerous simulations and war games, going back to the Cold War era.

We have no details regarding the geopolitical assumptions underlying the TIRANNT war scenarios, –i.e. regarding analysis of major military actors, alliances, etc. From the available information, the simulations pertained to an all out war (bombing campaign and ground war) directed against Iran, without taking into account possible responses by Iran’s allies, namely China and Russia.

In 2006, The Pentagon launched another set of war simulations entitled Vigilant Shield 07  (conducted from September through December 2006). These war simulations were not limited to a single Middle East war theater as in the case of TIRANNT (e.g. Iran), they also included Russia, China and North Korea.

The core assumption behind Vigilant Shield 07 is “Global Warfare”. In the light of recent war preparations directed against Iran, the Road to Conflict in the Vigilant Shield 07 war games should be examined very carefully. They anticipate the “New Cold War”. They reflect US foreign policy and military doctrine during both the Bush and Obama administrations. The declared enemies of America under Vigilant Shield are Irmingham [Iran]Nemazee [North Korea]Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

Vigilant Shield 07 is a World War III Scenario which also includes an active and aggressive role for North Korea.

The simulations are predicated on the assumption that Iran constitutes a nuclear threat and that Russia and North Korea –which are allies of Iran– will attack America and that America and its allies will wage a pre-emptive (defensive) war.

While China is included in the simulations as a threat as well as an enemy of America, it is not directly involved, in the simulaitons, in attacking America.

The war simulations commence with Iran and Russia conducting joint air defense exercises, followed by nuclear testing by North Korea.

A terrorist attack on America is also contemplated in Vigilant Shield 07 based on the assumption that the “axis of evil” “rogue states” are supporting “non-State” terrorist organizations.

The diplomatic agenda is also envisaged as well as a media campaign to discredit Russia and Iran.

It should be understood that the conduct of these war scenarios with America under attack is also intended as an instrument of internal propaganda within the upper the echelons of Military, Intelligence and participating government agencies, with a view to developing a an unbending consensus pertaining to the preemptive war doctrine, –i.e that the threat against the “American Homeland” is “real” and that a pre-emptive attack –including the use of US nuclear weapons–  against rogue enemies is justified. And that premeptive warfare is an instrument of peacemaking which contributes to global security.

Irmingham [Iran], Nemazee [North Korea], Ruebek [Russia], Churya [China]

Details and Sequencing: [emphasis added]

“• Road to Conflict (RTC): 11 Sep – 15 Oct 06

 – Initial Irmingham Enrichment I&W [indications and warning]
– Initial Ruebeki & Irmingham Involvement
 – Ruebek I&W, PACFLT [U.S. Pacific Fleet] Sub Deployments
– Initial Nemazee ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] I&W
– Initial MHLD [homeland defense?] I&W
 – Strategic IO [information operations (cyber warfare)] operations (Ruebek & Churya)
– Ruebek & Irmingham Conduct Joint AD [air defense] Exercise

• Phase 1 / Deployment: 4 – 8 Dec 06

 – Rogue LRA [Russian long-range aviation] w/CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile] Launch
– Continue Monitoring Strategic Situation
– Continue Monitoring Nemazee Situation

  • Possible Nuclear Testing
  • Probable ICBM Preparation

– Continue Monitoring MHLD Situation

• Five VOIs [vessels of interest]
  • Churya Flagged VOI into Dutch Harbor Supports BMDS [ballistic missile defense system] Threat to Ft Greely

 – Continue Monitoring IO Activities
 – Nemazee Conducts SLV [space launch vehicle] Launch – 8 Dec 06

• Phase 2 Minus 42 Days:

 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Shipments to Launch Facilities
• RMOB [Russian main operating bases] Acft Conduct LR Navigation Flights
• AS-15 [nuclear armed cruise missile] Handling at RMOBs

 – Minus 41 Days:
 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Preps at Launch Pad # 2
– Minus 40 Days:
  • Activity at Nemazee Nuclear Test Facilities
– Minus 35 Days:
  • DOS [Department of State] Travel Warning
 – Minus 30 Days:
• Ruebek LRA Deploys Acft to Anadyr & Vorkuta

• Phase 2 Minus 30 Days:

 • Growing International Condemnation of Ruebek
• Ruebek Deploys Submarines

 – Minus 20 Days:
  • Nemazee Recalls Reservists
 – Minus 14 Days:
• DOS Draw-down Sequencing
– Minus 13 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
 – Minus 11 Days:
• Nemazee Conducts Fueling of Additional ICBMs
  • Ruebeki Presidential Statement on Possible US Attack

• Phase 2 Minus 10 Days:

 • POTUS Addresses Congress on War Powers Act

– Minus 6 Days:
  • Ruebek President Calls “Situation Grave”
 – Minus 5 Days:
• CALCM Activity at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi
• Ruebeki SS-25 [nuclear armed mobile ICBMs] Conduct out of Garrison Deployments
• Nemazee Assembling ICBM for Probable Launch
– Minus 4 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
  • Ruebek Acft Conduct Outer ADIZ [air defense identification zone] Pentrations
• Mid-Air Collison w/NORAD Acft During ADIZ Penetration

• Phase 2 Minus 4 Days:

 • Nemazee ICBM Launch Azimuth Threatens US

 – Minus 3 Days:
 • NATO Diplomatic Efforts Fail to Diffuse Crisis
 • USAMB to Ruebek Recalled for Consultation
 • POTUS Addresses Nation
 – Minus 2 Days:
 • Nemazee Leadership Movement
 – Minus 1 Day:
 • Ruebek Expels US Mission

• Phase 2 / Execution: 10 – 14 Dec 06

 – Pre-Attack I & W
 – Imminent Terrorist Attack on Pentagon Suggests Pentagon COOP [continuity of operations plan]
– Nemazee Conducts 2 x ICBM Combat Launches Against United States

– Ruebek Conducts Limited Strategic Attack on United States
• Wave 1 – 8 x Bear H Defense Suppression w/CALCM
• Wave 2 – Limited ICBM & SLBM Attack
– 2 x ICBM Launched (1 impacts CMOC [Cheyenne Mountain], 1 malfunctions)
– 2 x SLBM Launched Pierside (1 impacts SITE-R [“Raven Rock” bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border], 1 malfunctions)
– 3 x Bear H from Dispersal Bases w/ALCM (Eielson AFB, CANR, Cold Lake)
– US Conducts Limited Retaliatory Attack on Ruebek
• 1 x ICBM C2 Facility
• 1 x ICBM Against ICBM Launch Location
• Phase 2 / Execution:
 – Ruebek Prepares Additional Attack on United States
• Wave 3 – Prepares for Additional Strategic Attacks
  – 1 x ICBM Movement, NO Launch
– 3 x SLBM PACFLT Pierside Missile Handling Activity (NO Launch)
– 6 x BEAR H (launch & RTB [return to base]) w/6 x ALCM (NO launch)”  [source Northern Command and William Arkin] emphasis added

 

Complacency of Western Public Opinion

The complacency of Western public opinion (including segments of the US anti-war movement) is disturbing.

No concern has been expressed at the political level as to the likely consequences of  a US-NATO-Israel attack on Iran using US and/or Israeli nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state.

Moreover, public opinion is led to believe that the war will be limited to surgical strikes directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities and that neither Russia nor China will intervene.

The war on Iran and the dangers of escalation are not considered “front page news.” The mainstream media has excluded in-depth analysis and debate on the implications of these war plans.

The absence of public awareness, the complacency of the antiwar movement as well as the weakness of organized social movements indelibly contribute to the real possibility that this war could be carried out, leading to the unthinkable: a nuclear holocaust over a large part of the Middle East and Central Asia involving millions of civilian casualties.

It should be noted that a nuclear nightmare would occur even if nuclear weapons are not used.

The bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities using conventional weapons would contribute to unleashing a Chernobyl-Fukushima type disaster with extensive radioactive fallout.

For further details on the history of war preparations directed against Iran, see my earlier 2007 article


“Theater Iran Near Term” (TIRANNT) 
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-02-21

“Theater Iran Near Term” (TIRANNT) has identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg, which is now in its final planning stages.

 

Towards a World War III Scenario

Order Michel Chossudovsky’s book, directly from Global Research.

Also available in E-book pdf form 

Posted in USA, Europe, RussiaComments Off on When War Games Go Live? “Simulating World War III”

On African Liberation Day, the Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Out of Africa!

NOVANEWS

No U.S. bases in Africa, Shut down U.S. African Command (AFRICOM)

African Liberation Day (ALD) grew out of the attempts to establish the continental unity of Africa and all African people 55 years ago and is now celebrated every May 25th around the world.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), a project that centers a radical approach to the fight for collective people(s)-centered human rights that centers self-determination, the right for revolutionary change and anti-imperialism is commemorating ALD by demanding without equivocation that the United States close all U.S. bases and withdraws its forces from the African continent.

Why this Demand?

The African continent will never be free to develop its enormous potential as a revolutionary force for the advancement of all African people and all of humanity as long as U.S. imperialism is allowed to operate without restraint.

Today the U.S. is involved in an aggressive military re-conquest of Africa though its United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, formed in 2008 with the goal of enhancing U.S. influence throughout the African continent. AFRICOM has made African nations vassal states following the dictates of U.S. foreign policies, which are antithetical to the needs of African people.

According to Maurice Carney, executive director of “Friends of the Congo” and BAP member,

“Due to the US and Europe’s inability to compete with China economically on the African continent, the U.S. launched AFRICOM to protect its strategic interests. Although AFRICOM representatives present a benign, humanitarian facade of building wells and training soldiers in human rights practices, its ever-expanding presence (estimated 2000 percent increase since its inception in 2008) has been devastating for the oppressed masses on the continent.”

Blocking the military expansion of the U.S. settler-colonial state must be seen by all serious revolutionary Pan-Africanists as a primary objective. However, BAP members understand that it also means that the internal contradiction represented in the collaboration of the comprador, neo-colonial criminals that run so many of the micro-states on the continent must also be targeted.

It means as well that we must call out the members of the Black elite in the U.S. who collaborate with imperialist power.

Margaret Kimberley from Black Agenda Report and member of the BAP Coordinating Committee points out that

“Congressional Black Caucus members were once known as “the conscience of the Congress.” Unfortunately, most of them voted for the Trump administration’s $80 billion increase to the defense budget in 2017. Those funds will not only deprive the people of the U.S. the numerous governmental programs which provide for their well-being but will also be used to continue wars in Somalia, Congo, Kenya and Niger and result in death and destruction for millions of people.”

Therefore, we demand that as the 10th anniversary of AFRICOM approaches, the Congressional Black Caucus take a public stand in opposition to AFRICOM and cease its support of U.S. militarism and warmongering in Africa but also in the streets of the U.S.

So, on this African Liberation Day, join us in demanding that AFRICOM be dismantled and this country’s predatory actions against millions of Africans end immediately.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on On African Liberation Day, the Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Out of Africa!

Is the Kim-Trump Summit Back On?

NOVANEWS

Is the Kim-Trump Summit Back On? Contradictory White House Statements. Bolton Calls for New Sanctions on N. Korea

 

 

Trump’s on again, off again, potentially on again tactics in dealing with North Korea reflect a leader out of his depth in dealing with sensitive geopolitical issues.

After agreeing to summit talks with Kim Jong-un, then pulling out, things may be on again, Trump tweeting:

“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.”

Separately he said

“(w)e’re going to see what happens. We’re talking to them now…(A) very nice statement (was) put out (by North Korea). We’ll see what happens.”

“We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’re going to see what happens.”

A Pyongyang statement said

“(w)e would like to make known to the US side once again that we have the intent to sit with the US side to solve problem(s) regardless of ways at any time.”

Reportedly White House and State Department officials are heading to Singapore for talks with their North Korean counterparts on summit issues and logistics.

According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Trump wants to get something that’s a long-lasting and an actual real solution. And if they are ready to do that then…we’re certainly ready to have those conversations.”

On Thursday, Trump’s John Bolton-led National Security Council discussed imposing new sanctions on North Korea, along with possible military action.

Though likely on hold given the latest comments by both sides, signaling summit talks may be back on, it shows US hostility toward North Korea is unrelenting – talks or no talks.

Washington tolerates no sovereign independent countries, wanting them all transformed into US client states, North Korea no exception.

It’s why summit talks, if they take place, will afford the DPRK no believable commitment by Washington to respect its sovereign independence.

At best, stepping back from the brink short-term alone is possible if talks conclude successfully – a big if.

US duplicity virtually assures no Trump administration commitment for peace and stability on the peninsula, no iron-clad guarantees Pyongyang seeks, no meaningful benefits from dealing with Washington – notorious for consistently reneging on promises made.

Russian upper house Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Andrei Klimovstressed the following:

“Washington was strategically interested (in easing tensions with the DPRK) neither under Obama, nor before him, nor at the moment,” adding:

“Any step that could help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula removes the reasons for the presence of US military bases in Japan and South Korea.”

Washington invents enemies to justify unconscionable amounts of military spending unrelated to defense, its hostile empire of bases, and permanent war agenda.

Since an uneasy armistice ended Pentagon aggression against North Korea in 1953, the country served as a convenient US punching bag.

China is America’s main regional adversary, wanting the country marginalized, weakened, isolated and contained – regime change Washington’s longterm goal.

The same goes for North Korea. Though wanting summit talks with Trump, its officials clearly know they’re dealing with a duplicitous regime – wanting things one-sidedly its way, delivering nothing in return but empty promises.

Posted in USA, North KoreaComments Off on Is the Kim-Trump Summit Back On?

Is Julian Assange About to be Arrested?

NOVANEWS
 

According to numerous mainstream media reports, WikiLeaks founderJulian Assange is about to be forced to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London. If that happened, he would face imminent arrest by British authorities and extradition to the US, where he would probably face life imprisonment on the one hand or execution on espionage charges on the other. The latter being the preferred option for the Trump administration.

It has now been exactly two months since Assange has been denied visitors and any outside communications since the Ecuadorian government cut off his access on March 28. He has no internet, phone, television and is no longer allowed visitors at all.

The truth is, no-one actually knows if Assange is still actually on the Ecuadorian premises.

Ecuador gave citizenship to Assange prior to their recent general election in the hope of providing safe transit out of England by giving him diplomatic status. However, the British government continued in its assigned role of jailer by fully rejecting Ecuador’s request for diplomatic status for Assange.

A British tribunal refused to release any documents pertaining to the reasons as to why Assange remains in an effective prison, at taxpayers expense, on the grounds that it had to protect the British Prosecution Service’s relationship with foreign authorities – in this case, the USA.

Britain is doing Washington’s dirty work and given the heavily increased ‘chatter’ on Assange’s fate – it is quite likely the British government is looking for public reaction to be muted enough to simply arrest him, go through the motions and send Assange to certain solitary confinement on death row.

The signs are not good. Since the new Equidorian President Mr Moreno was recently elected he described Mr Assange as an ‘inherited problem’ and ‘more than a nuisance.’

Mr Assange’s lawyer, Melinda Taylor, said:

“For the last eight years, the UK has refused to either confirm or deny that they have received an extradition request from the US.”

Taylor continued:

‘At the same time, they have refused to provide assurances that Julian will not be extradited to the US if such a request were to be received, and maintained an ever-present vigil of the Embassy, notwithstanding a UN directive to take steps to ensure Julian’s immediate liberty. Their silence speaks volumes, particularly in light of recent statements from US officials that Julian’s arrest and extradition are a priority.’”

Foreign Policy Journal opines that:

Britain, as the most servile of Washington’s puppet states rejected the order by the UN Committee on Arbitrary Detention to immediately release Assange from his arbitrary detention.”

The mainstream media have obviously been alerted to quite possibly what will happen next. The language of the salivating establishment press is all too clear and clear:

  • CNN: Julian Assange’s nearly six-year refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is in danger, opening the WikiLeaks founder to arrest by British authorities and potential extradition to the US, multiple sources with knowledge tell CNN.
  • NewYorkPost: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may have overstayed his welcome at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where his situation is “unusually bad” and he could be forced out “any day now.”
  • Daily Express: Julian Assange is on the verge of “eviction” from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been holed out for the last six years.
  • Daily Mail: Julian Assange’s situation at the London Ecuadorian embassy is ‘unusually bad’ – the new President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, ordered the removal of extra security at the embassy.

Nowhere does the media report in this latest round of growing excitement that the United Nations has already fully stated that Assange’s detention is illegal based on international law. In a public statement, the UN called on the British authorities to end Julian Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of movement, and afford him the right to compensation.

Julian Assange is a political prisoner of Britain. This is a country who teaches its children by law, through a defined curriculum that British values include: “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.”

Irrespective of your personal thoughts on whether Assange is a criminal or not, two of the five most basic principles of civil society in Britain has been completely discarded by the state in its subservience to a foreign power, in this case, Washington. It is a further sign of the breakdown of law and order in a country who once prided itself in such characteristics as justice.

Posted in UKComments Off on Is Julian Assange About to be Arrested?

Africa Liberation Day and the Struggle against Imperialism. The African Union in the 21st Century

NOVANEWS
 

This year’s Africa Day, also known as Africa Liberation Day, marked the 55th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU).

On May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over 30 independent African states gathered to established the OAU. 

Even at the founding of the continental organization, there were generally two political camps within the independent states. The Casablanca Group consisted of Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Algeria, Morocco, and others which advanced the objectives of continental unity and federation. These states initially met in Casablanca, Morocco in 1961 during the Congo crisis which resulted in the imperialist-engineered overthrow and brutal assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.  

Two additional blocs called the Monrovia and Brazzaville groups rejected the model of rapid unity and its concomitant obligations surrounding economic integration, a military command structure and the imperatives of an anti-imperialist foreign policy. Instead these more moderate and conservative alliances sought to continue their almost complete reliance on the former colonial powers and the leading post World War II imperialist country, the United States. 

Consequently, the OAU represented a compromise driven by the upsurge in national independence movements across Africa and the attempts by imperialism to maintain their economic stranglehold over the newly liberated states. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the-then President of the Republic of Ghana issued his pioneering book entitled “Africa Must Unite” to coincide with the first OAU Summit in Ethiopia. 

This book made the case for continental unity and warned against the intervention of western military forces in Africa. Based upon developments in Congo and the political capturing of former French and British colonies through international trade, loans, military assistance and diplomatic relations, Nkrumah called for accelerated unification and socialist development.

Image on the right: Kwame Nkrumah speaking at podium

In his address to the founding OAU Summit, Nkrumah emphasized:

“On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference.” 

Neo-Colonialism and African Unity

These words were spoken at a time when numerous African states remained under colonial rule and apartheid. The Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau were nowhere near independence in 1963. Others such as Zambia, Basutholand, Swaziland, Bechuanaland and Malawi (formerly known as Nyasaland), were yet to emerge from British domination.

The call for unification was also designed to launch a frontal attack on the remaining outposts of colonial rule. Nkrumah’s theory of neo-colonialism which took into account the continuing dependency of African economies to the imperialist centers of finance capital was spelled out in “Africa Must Unite.” Just two years later the book “Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism,” served as a comprehensive guide to understanding the plight of independent African states and their subservience to collective imperialism led by Washington and Wall Street.     

Nonetheless, at the founding OAU Summit, Nkrumah noted as well almost prophetically:

“Our people call for unity so that they may not lose their patrimony in the perpetual service of neo-colonialism. In their fervent push for unity, they understand that only its realization will give full meaning to their freedom and our African independence. It is this popular determination that must move us on to a union of independent African states. In delay lies danger to our well-being, to our very existence as free states. It has been suggested that our approach to unity should be gradual, that it should go piecemeal. This point of view conceives of Africa as a static entity with ‘frozen’ problems which can be eliminated one by one and when all have been cleared then we can come together and say: ‘Now all is well, let us now unite.’ This view takes no account of the impact of external pressures. Nor does it take cognizance of the danger that delay can deepen our isolations and exclusiveness; that it can enlarge our differences and set us drifting further and further apart into the net of neo-colonialism, so that our union will become nothing but a fading hope, and the great design of Africa’s full redemption will be lost, perhaps, forever.”

AFRICOM Expands: Events in Niger, Somalia and Nigeria

Three recent examples related to the consolidation of neo-colonialism in Africa involve the presence of Pentagon military troops through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Niger, Somalia, along with an announced deal by the administration of President Donald Trump to sell fighter aircraft and helicopters to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Niger was the country where four U.S. Green Berets were killed under still inadequately explained circumstances in October 2017.  Niger is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium. However, the mining and distribution of this strategic energy resource is largely controlled by a French firm Orano (previously Areva). Ostensibly, AFRICOM soldiers are in Niger to assist the national government in security matters in the battle against Islamic extremist. Yet the security situation inside the country and its contiguous states has worsened with the advent of AFRICOM.

The Horn of Africa state of Somalia, located in an oil-rich territory adjacent to the most lucrative shipping lanes in the world, makes it the coveted prize of modern day imperialism. AFRICOM forces have expanded their presence in Somalia leading to greater instability and throughout the East Africa region. 

There is still no peace and stability in sight throughout most areas of Somalia. The U.S.-funded African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) after more than a decade on the ground in an attempt to implement western political orthodoxy is now more than war weary. It is only the funding from the West that is sustaining this mission. All the while the people of this nation remain impoverished, underdeveloped and dislocated. 

African Union First Ladies Commission at 29th Summit, July 3-4, 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari in a May state visit to the White House glossed over the widely-reported racist derogatory comments Trump made in reference to why it was necessary to curb immigration from Africa, Haiti and El Salvador into the U.S. Buhari was seeking weapons from Washington and some commitment to economic cooperation which has been drastically reduced as a result of energy policies begun during the previous administration of President Barack Obama.

The leading economies on the continent which had experienced phenomenal growth over the last decade are now in recession, near recession and forced to “restructure” their financial obligation to international finance capital. Currency values have declined precipitously in Nigeria, Angola and South Africa among other states. There is a re-emergent debt crisis taking place as well where in countries like Mozambique the state is defaulting on existing financial arrangements with Western banking institutions.

Prospects for Liberation and Unity

One interesting declaration earlier in the year was the signing of an African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at a summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Some 44 states within the AU signed the protocol and several of the governments involved have ratified the project.

However, some of the leading economic states have not signed or ratified the AfCFTA largely due to considerations stemming from the legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism. African states have not broken the linkages which undermine their genuine economic and social development. Much of this growth within African states has not been reinvested in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, education and healthcare which would even in the short-term unleash the human potential of over one billion workers, farmers and youth.

In order for there to be a long-term acquisition of continental wealth for the masses of people, the workers, farmers and youth must be empowered bringing their interests and concerns to the forefront of the national and regional agenda. There is no evidence whatsoever that such a monumental transformation in priorities can be achieved under the world capitalist system.

Africa must unite under a socialist program to reclaim the natural resources and strategic waterways which belong to the people by right. Consequently, the struggle in the 21st century will have to be anti-capitalist in character seeking to eradicate the exploitation inherent in the existing dominant economic system in the advancement towards a truly equitable and just society for all.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Africa Liberation Day and the Struggle against Imperialism. The African Union in the 21st Century

Denuclearization: Imperial Farce Narrative

NOVANEWS

It is imperative to know that the U.S. “denuclearization” demand in negotiation with North Korea is only an excuse to bring that country under its control. Militarily, North Korea’s small arsenal of nuclear weapons poses no danger to the U.S.  However it justifies the U.S. military presence in South Korea. A denuclearized Korean Peninsula means that the American forces have to pack up and leave that region, since their help will no longer be needed.

Based on this understanding, experienced peace activists were not surprised with the sudden disengagement of Mr. Trump from the June 12th summit in Singapore. It was expected; not because Mr. Trump or Mr. Kim are “unpredictable” leaders.  On the contrary, peace activists don’t think that the change of events is based on the personality of the “leaders”.

In the history of the American Presidency, Mr. Trump is not an exception as the corrupt media and Democratic Party want us to believe. Mr. Trump is the result of decades of a declining American economy. Politically he represents the weakness of U.S. Imperial power. On the doorstep of WWIII, the President of the country that was a victor of WWII, acts like an old incoherent man who possesses “massive and powerful” nuclear arsenals. When Mr. Trump said “I pray to God they [his nuclear bombs] will never have to be used”, he wanted to portray himself as a tough leader but he looked more like a drunken head of a dysfunctional family that could be scary at times.

Although the language of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran and North Korea is the language of war, the U.S. is not fully prepared to ignite a major conflict yet. Mr. Trump and his administration – regardless of the awesome American military power – know very well that the American people are not in the mood to support a major conflict or any attempt to start a WWIII. They have too many problems at home to be worried about than a bogus possibility of a “nuclear attack” from North Korea now or from Iran in the future! Beside the “International Community” and the European allies feel a little annoyed by the “America First” attitude these days while the powerful Chinese and Russian military forces are sleeping with one eye open!

While Mr. Trump was reading his ultimatum against North Korea live, simultaneously, President Macron of France – after his failed romantic dance in Washington – was practicing his Cossack dance with Mr. Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia! The current frustrated Europe has too much on its plate already to waste time translating what Mr. Trump, Pence, Bolton or Pompeo really mean by talking about the “Libyan Model”.

Peace activists should acknowledge that the new developments could actually be a blessing for Peace movement. It gives us the time and opportunity to unite the forces of peace on a global scale. A peaceful Korean peninsula is possible if working people of the North and South Korea pursue the path of unification and end of hostility despite the Washington’s contradictory and incoherent position. On the path for peace, there is no need for nuclear armaments.

Let’s demand an international denuclearization now. If regional denuclearization is a good thing, then global denuclearization must be even better!

——————————–

North Korea: Is Trump Trying to Back Out of the Singapore Summit in Mid-June 2018?

Trump Cancels the North Korea-US Summit. Pyongyang Wants “Bilateral Denuclearization”

Is the Kim-Trump Summit Back On? Contradictory White House Statements. Bolton Calls for New Sanctions on North Korea

Posted in USAComments Off on Denuclearization: Imperial Farce Narrative

The Gaza Holocaust, Explained in Eight Graphics

NOVANEWS

The Gaza Crisis, Explained in Eight Graphics

Home to almost two million Palestinians, the majority of whom are long-term refugees, Gaza is one of the most crowded places on Earth

1. Where is Gaza?

Gaza is home to almost two million Palestinians, the majority of whom are long-term refugees (a further 3.25 million Palestinians live in the West Bank). It’s been run by Hamas since elections in 2007: the group is designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU among others. The West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority, which is currently controlled by Fatah, rivals of Hamas.

2. The event that changed Palestinians

The dominant event for Palestinians in Gaza during the past century has been the Nakba of 1948, when hundreds of thousands were driven from, or else fled, their homes in what is now modern-day Israel as the state came into existence. The right of return to ancestral homes (or “Haq al-Awda”) is the over-riding long-term priority for many Palestinians: it forms part of United Nations resolution 194.

3. Palestinians recall what was lost

Palestinian houses and cinemas, shops and mosques, train stations and markets were all lost in 1948. Tarek Bakri, a researcher and archivist based in Jerusalem, started to collect archive photography which documented these losses. The image below slides left and right: MEE has published more examples.

Above: Israelis looting houses in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Musrara in Jerusalem. Musrara is one of the oldest neighbourhood built outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls in the 1860s.

4. Gaza since 1948

The seven decades after the Nakba have been ones of turmoil and crisis for the residents of Gaza, including occupationuprisings and Israeli military operations.

5. Daily living

Long-term living conditions in Gaza are some of the worst in the Middle East. A report by the UN in 2015 noted that the economic well-being of Palestinians living in Gaza was worse than in 1995 and that it may be “uninhabitable” by 2020; last year the organisation said that conditions were “unliveable“.

6. Financial misery

Economic development in Gaza has stalled due to wrecked infrastructure, the blockade imposed by Israel and internal Palestinian political conflict. Major military operations by Israel especially have had an impact which long outlast the duration of any army action.

7. Israeli attacks on Gaza

Aside from wrecking infrastructure including electricity lines and power stations, health services and water supplies, Israeli military assaults on Gaza have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, as well as Israeli soldiers and civilians, most notably during a string of military operations between 2006 and 2014.

8. The protests

On 30 March, Palestinians started regular protests in the lead-up to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba on 15 May. Israeli forces sometimes fired at the demonstrations, saying they were doing so to defend the border – with fatal consequences. The highest number of deaths was on 14 May, the day that the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, when 62 were killed. Many protesters were also demonstrating about the conditions under which they had lived in Gaza for years.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on The Gaza Holocaust, Explained in Eight Graphics

US Intransigence Scuttled the Trump-Kim Negotiations, Not North Korea

NOVANEWS
 

President Trump has cancelled the Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un. He cited North Korea’s “hostility” as the reason, while using language that leaves open room for future reconciliation.

North Korea then sent back a respectful letter, which Trump describedas “warm and productive.” I expect the situation to continue improving, as both sides seem to want negotiations, despite the malign influence of spoilers like National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The media, on the other hand, immediately interpreted Trump’s cancellation and the breakdown of negotiations as proof of North Korea’s bad-faith and intransigence, that it is not serious about its commitments, and that Kim was simply “playing” the victimized US.

A little recap of the actual recent events is therefore in order.

The US Scuttles Peace

North Korea has recently made a number of important concessions. It had agreed to halt its missile tests and has made good on that commitment. It also agreed to accept the end-goal of denuclearization as a prerequisite of negotiations. These were the two main preconditions the US was demanding.

Furthermore, it recently released a number of US prisoners as a further show of good-will, and has completed the destruction of its only known nuclear test site, which foreign journalists were allowed to witness.

It has also pulled-back from its earlier position regarding the US-South Korean military drills, instead accepting that they will take place.

The US, in turn, had scaled back the military drills to not include “strategic assets”, meaning nuclear-capable aircraft. As well, it halted its position of enmity against the North. This can be seen in the marked shift from the beginning of the year when tensions were mounting and the threat of nuclear war was over the horizon.

In short, North Korea made extension concessions, while the US made extremely minor ones. Essentially, the US halted an already illegitimate posture of threatening to destroy a small nation which poses it no threat, while continuing highly threatening military drills, albeit ones that didn’t come with the threat of nuclear destruction attached. However, there were concessions on both sides and the chance of a possible peace settlement was therefore hopeful.

Recently, William J. Perry, who was directly involved in the 1994 negotiations between North Korea and the Clinton administration, described how the success of the current round of negotiations depends on building a mutual “sense of trust” and good faith on both sides.

Its important to note that the 1994 negotiations were the first time the US seriously pursued diplomacy with the North, which proved to be the only strategy that has ever yielded results. The US was able to obtain a temporary halt to the North’s nuclear development. When the Bush administration came in and rejected diplomacy in favor of its own brand of “maximum pressure”, the progresswas undermined and North Korea went on to obtain nuclear weapons and to further build up its arsenal.

How did the administration take Perry’s advice and enhance the “sense of trust” in the face of multiple North Korean good-faith concessions? First, John Bolton, who was a key figure in the Bush administrations derailment of Clinton’s North Korea diplomacy, demanded complete capitulation from North Korea while threatening to destroy the country.

In an interview, Bolton said the US was pursuing the “Libya model” for the negotiations. Libya gave up its nuclear program following US pressure, which then freed the US to later attack and destroy the country. Libya is therefore an example of US duplicity and a testament to the necessity of possessing a nuclear deterrent to ward off US aggression. Evoking the “Libya” model was a barely-disguised threat against North Korea and an effort to derail the negotiations.

Secondly, the US conducted more threatening military drills along the North’s border, which the US would of course find threatening if similar drills were conducted by Russia or China along the Canadian border. This time, the drills were to include nuclear-capable B-52’s, a reneging of the previous US concession to scale back the drills.

According to reports, the original decision to include the B-52’s was done against the will of South Korea, which, if true, exemplifies the neo-colonial relationship the US exerts over its South Korean client, erroneously described as a mutually-beneficial “alliance” in the media.

With these moves, the US tarnished the mutual trust and good-faith that had been building, and North Korea responded by denouncing Bolton and threatening to cancel the Trump-Kim summit. The North was taking advantage of how badly Trump wanted the summit to take place; his desire to be seen as “the great statesmen” and a purveyor of world peace, a leader deserving of the Nobel prize.

The media responded to North Korea’s letter by proclaiming it was proof of the North’s subterfuge and untrustworthiness, blaming them for the breakdown of trust. The obvious effect of these kinds of narratives being to support state power and provide ideological cover to policies aimed only at power projection; to shield policymakers from scrutiny about what they are actually doing in the world, making aggressive actions seem defensive and justified.

In response to North Korea’s denunciation of Bolton and the US’ threats, the administration began to back off. It cancelled the participation of the B-52’s and attempted to roll back comments about the “Libya model.” Trump also walked-back his public demands of complete and immediate denuclearization, saying that a gradual denuclearization was perhaps a possibility.

However, at the same time Trump issued a new threat, saying that if no deal was reached the Libya model would be back on and the US would engage in “total decimation” of the country. In short: either make a deal or we’ll murder you.

Vice President Pence then doubled-down on this by evoking Trump’s ultimatum while directly threatening the country, saying that if they don’t make a deal it will “end like the Libyan model ended” for them.

North Korea responded by lashing out against Pence, saying that it will not be intimidated and will not capitulate to unilateral US demands. The press, again, latched onto this as proof of North Korean intransigence. Journalists cited what they called North Korea’s threat of nuclear war as proof that it was being aggressive. In reality, the statement was much less dramatic and contained no threat:

“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” North Korea’s vice foreign minister wrote.

Not mentioned was how the US had threatened to “totally decimate” their country first, the North’s response therefore being incredibly mild. Also not mentioned was how North Korea has a no-first-usenuclear policy while the US maintains the right to a first strike. Nor that the entire reason for the North even having nukes in the first place is to ward off a US attack, a position that is only further justified by continued US threats and intransigence.

North Korea essentially responded by saying: we’ll accept negotiations, not demands and threats. So if you’d like to go back to threatening us with nuclear destruction, then we’ll respond without backing down.

So, while North Korea employs vitriolic and insulting language, in actuality their position is entirely understandable and has remained consistent throughout the years.

The Unsayable Reality

The core issue of the entire North Korea situation is, and has been, the threat of US attack.

The US divided Korea in pure colonial fashion. It “decimated” its population during the Korean War, burning down “every town in North Korea” while erasing at least 13.5% of its population. It followed this with economic and political strangulation, which is partly responsible for the starvation and famine that has transpired throughout the country’s history, as is conceded in the internalUS record.

Throughout all of this, the US maintained a posture of threatening hostility against the North, repeatedly threatening them with nuclear attack. In response to this existential threat, North Korea developed a nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to US aggression. This has repeatedly been the assessment of US intelligence, and was recently reiterated by James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

The position of the US during the negotiations has been one of demanding that North Korea give up its only means of defense against US aggression.

When officials evoke the “Libya model” or demand full denuclearization as a prerequisite, they are demanding that North Korea give up its defenses without any recognition of the country’s legitimate security concerns; that it essentially bow on its knees in complete capitulation to US diktats, which would likely mean the eventual destruction of its country.

It may not seem like much to us in America that our government decimated their population during the Korean War, or that their nation is under existential threat from US power, but it means something to North Koreans. Although Western pundits and analysts in effect have no skin in the game one way or the other – the only way the US is threatened by North Korea is if it launches an attack against them first, provoking a defensive response – for North Koreans and people living on the Korean peninsula it is a matter of life and death, especially when US policymakers threaten their security by making threats, ultimatums, and attempting to fly nuclear-capable aircraft along the peninsula.

Yet for the ideological indoctrinators who service state power, i.e. journalists and “experts”, nothing short of complete North Korean capitulation is acceptable. Anything less and its “proof” of North Korean subterfuge, intransigence, and deviousness.

It is literally unsayable to discuss the relevant history and the core root of the problem. It cannot be said that the US is the aggressor, that the threat of US aggression is the main reason behind North Korea’s nuclear deterrent. These blasphemies contradict the ideological doctrines that the US is always defensive, that it always has the right to threaten or use force and violence against the world, while the world does not have the right to defend themselves against it.

So, while the system of propaganda—commonly referred to as the “free press”—will do everything in its power to back up Trump’s claim of the US simply responding to North Korean “hostility”, the reality shows something entirely different.

—————————

Trump Cancels the North Korea-US Summit. Pyongyang Wants “Bilateral Denuclearization”

North Korea and the Dangers of Nuclear War. The Demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula. Towards a Peace Agreement.

North Korea: Is Trump Trying to Back Out of the Singapore Summit in Mid-June 2018?

Trump Regime Wants a North Korean Vassal State Bordering China

The “Libya Model” Is a Distraction. John Bolton’s Template for Threatening North Korea

 

 

 

Posted in USA, North KoreaComments Off on US Intransigence Scuttled the Trump-Kim Negotiations, Not North Korea

Pompeo’s Iran Speech a Prelude to War?

The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech this past Monday targeting Iran may have created a new benchmark for hypocritical, arrogant, and entitled demands by the United States on foreign governments.

The speech included gross misstatements regarding the seven-nation Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, which Trump Administration unilaterally abrogated earlier this month.

More critically, it promised to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” against Iran, including secondary sanctions against governments and private companies which refuse to back the U.S. agenda, unless Iran changed a series of internal and regional policies. With the re-imposition of such sanctions, Iran will no longer have any incentive to stick to its part of the nuclear deal.

Most of the Iranian policies cited by Pompeo are indeed problematic, yet are hardly unique to that country. Furthermore, the failure to offer any kind of reciprocity effectively guarantees that the Islamic Republic will reject any changes in its policies.

For example, Pompeo demanded that Iran withdraw its troops from Syria—which are there at the request of the Syrian government—but made no demand that Turkish or Israeli forces withdraw their troops from Syrian territory. Nor did he offer to withdraw U.S. forces.

Pompeo similarly demanded an end to Iranian support for various militia groups in the region, without any reciprocal reduction of support for rebel groups by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or the United States.

And Pompeo demanded that Iran cease providing missiles to Houthi rebels, who have fired them into Saudi Arabia in response to Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign and siege of Yemen. There was no offer to end the U.S. policy of providing the bombs, missiles, jet fighters to Saudi and Emirati forces which have killed many thousands of Yemeni civilians.

Pompeo further demanded Iran provide “a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program,” despite the fact that this limited research effort ended more than fifteen years ago. Of course, there was no offer that the United States or its allies rein in their own nuclear programs. IsraelPakistan, and India have never opened up their nuclear facilities to outside inspections, despite two U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on them to do so.

Though most arms control agreements have historically been based on some kind of tradeoff, Pompeo insists that Iran unilaterally cease its ballistic missile program while making no such demand of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, or other allies in the region. Nor is there any offer to limit U.S. ballistic missiles, even though U.S. missiles are capable of striking Iran while no Iranian missiles have the capability of coming anywhere close to the United States.

And while Pompeo was right to criticize the Iranian regime’s corruption, economic mismanagement, and human rights abuses, he expressed no qualms about the even worse records of U.S. allies in the region

Perhaps the most hypocritical demand in Pompeo’s speech was that Iran “must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government,” which the United States has repeatedly subverted for a decade and a half.

In fact, Iran is already in compliance to some of Pompeo’s other demands, such as stopping production of enriched uranium and allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency full access to its nuclear facilities. The Iran nuclear pact already limits Iranian stockpiles to an extremely low enrichment level of 3.67 percent, well below the 90 percent needed for weapons production, and guarantees extensive and intrusive inspections of all nuclear-related facilities.

No nation can be expected to comply with such unilateral demands, particularly coming from a country which is responsible for far more destabilizing policies, civilian deaths, and weapons proliferation in the region than is Iran. Pompeo made his demands knowing they would be rejected.

And that may be part of a deliberate strategy. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in the not-too-distant future in which the Trump Administration claims that since “sanctions didn’t work,” the only recourse is war.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Pompeo’s Iran Speech a Prelude to War?

500 Years Is Long Enough! Human Depravity in the Congo

NOVANEWS

I would like to tell you something about human depravity and illustrate just how widespread it is among those we often regard as ‘responsible’. I am going to use the Democratic Republic of the Congo as my example.

As I illustrate and explain what has happened to the Congo and its people during the past 500 years, I invite you to consider my essential point: Human depravity has no limit unless people like you (hopefully) and me take some responsibility for ending it. Depravity, barbarity and violent exploitation will not end otherwise because major international organizations (such as the UN), national governments and corporations all benefit from it and are almost invariably led by individuals too cowardly to act on the truth.

The Congo

Prior to 1482, the area of central Africa now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo was part of the Kingdom of the Kongo. It was populated by some of the greatest civilizations in human history.

Slavery

However, in that fateful year of 1482, the mouth of the Congo river, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, became known to Europeans when the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao claimed he ‘discovered’ it. By the 1530s, more than five thousand slaves a year (many from inland regions of the Kongo) were being transported to distant lands, mostly in the Americas. Hence, as documented by Adam Hothschild, the Congo was first exploited by Europeans during the Atlantic slave trade. See King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa.

Despite the horrific depredations of the militarized slave trade and all of its ancillary activities, including Christian priests spreading ‘Christianity’ while raping their captive slave girls, the Kingdoms of the Kongo were able to defend and maintain themselves to a large degree for another 400 years by virtue of their long-standing systems of effective governance. As noted by Chancellor Williams’ in his epic study The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. the Kingdoms of the Congo prior to 1885 – including Kuba under Shyaam the Great and the Matamba Kingdom under Ngola Kambolo – were a cradle of culture, democracy and exceptional achievement with none more effective than the remarkable Queen (of Ndongo and Matamba), warrior and diplomat Nzinga in the 17th century.

But the ruthless military onslaught of the Europeans never abated. In fact, it continually expanded with ever-greater military firepower applied to the task of conquering Africa. In 1884 European powers met in Germany to finally divide ‘this magnificent African cake’, precipitating what is sometimes called ‘the scramble for Africa’ but is more accurately described as ‘the scramble to finally control and exploit Africa and Africans completely’.

Colonization

One outcome of the Berlin Conference was that the great perpetrator of genocide – King Leopold II of Belgium – with the active and critical support of the United States, seized violent control of a vast swathe of central Africa in the Congo Basin and turned it into a Belgian colony. In Leopold’s rapacious pursuit of rubber, gold, diamonds, mahogany and ivory, 10 million African men, women and children had been slaughtered and many Africans mutilated (by limb amputation, for example) by the time he died in 1909. His brutality and savagery have been documented by Adam Hochschild in the book King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa which reveals the magnitude of human suffering that this one man, unopposed in any significant way by his fellow Belgians or anyone else, was responsible for inflicting on Africa.

Source: Medium

If you want to spend a few moments in touch with the horror of what some human beings do to other human beings, then I invite you to look at the sample photos of what Leopold did in ‘his’ colony in the Congo. See ‘“A Nightmare In Heaven” – Why Nobody Is Talking About The Holocaust in Congo’.

Now if you were hoping that the situation in the Congo improved with the death of the monster Leopold, your hope is in vain.

The shocking reality is that the unmitigated horror inflicted on the Congolese people has barely improved since Leopold’s time. The Congo remained under Belgian control during World War I during which more than 300,000 Congolese were forced to fight against other Africans from the neighboring German colony of Ruanda-Urundi. During World War II when Nazi Germany captured Belgium, the Congo financed the Belgian government in exile.

Throughout these decades, the Belgian government forced millions of Congolese into mines and fields using a system of ‘mandatory cultivation’ that forced people to grow cash crops for export, even as they starved on their own land.

It was also during the colonial period that the United States acquired a strategic stake in the enormous natural wealth of the Congo without, of course, any benefit to the Congolese people. This included its use of uranium from a Congolese mine (subsequently closed in 1960) to manufacture the first nuclear weapons: those used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See ‘Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century’.

Independence then Dictatorship

By 1960, the Congolese people had risen up to overthrow nearly a century of slavery and Belgian rule. Patrice Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the new nation and he quickly set about breaking the yoke of Belgian influence and allied the Congo with Russia at the height of the Cold War.

But the victory of the Congolese people over their European and US overlords was shortlived: Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in a United States-sponsored coup in 1961 with the US and other western imperial powers (and a compliant United Nations) repeating a long-standing and ongoing historical pattern of preventing an incredibly wealthy country from determining its own future and using its resources for the benefit of its own people. See ‘Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century’.

So, following a well-worn modus operandi, an agent in the form of (Army Chief of Staff, Colonel)Mobutu Sese Seko was used to overthrow Lumumba’s government. Lumumba himself was captured and tortured for three weeks before being assassinated by firing squad. The new dictator Mobutu, compliant to western interests, then waged all-out war in the country, publicly executing members of the pro-Lumumba revolution in spectacles witnessed by tens of thousands of people. By 1970, nearly all potential threats to his authority had been smashed. See ‘“A Nightmare In Heaven” – Why Nobody Is Talking About The Holocaust in Congo’.

Mobutu would rape the Congo (renamed Zaire for some time) with the blessing of the west  – robbing the nation of around $2billion – from 1965 to 1997. During this period, the Congo got more than $1.5 billion in US economic and military aid in return for which US multinational corporations increased their share of the Congo’s abundant minerals. ‘Washington justified its hold on the Congo with the pretext of anti-Communism but its real interests were strategic and economic.’ See ‘Congo: The Western Heart of Darkness’.

Invasion

Eventually, however, Mobutu’s increasingly hostile rhetoric toward his white overlords caused the west to seek another proxy. So, ostensibly in retaliation against Hutu rebels from the Rwandan genocide of 1994 – who fled into eastern Congo after Paul Kagame’s (Tutsi) Rwanda Patriotic Army invaded Rwanda from Uganda to end the genocide – in October 1996 Rwanda’s now-dictator Kagame, ‘who was trained in intelligence at Fort Leavenworth in the United States, invaded the Congo with the help of the Clinton Administration’ and Uganda. By May 1997 the invading forces had removed Mobutu and installed the new (more compliant) choice for dictator, Laurent Kabila.

Relations between Kabila and Kagame quickly soured, however, and Kabila expelled the Rwandans and Ugandans from the Congo in July 1998. However, the Rwandans and Ugandans reinvaded in August establishing an occupation force in eastern Congo. 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 and lasting until 2003. It eventually killed six million people –  most of them civilians – and further devastated a country crushed by more than a century of Western domination, with Rwanda and Uganda establishing themselves as conduits for illegally taking strategic minerals out of the Congo. See ‘Congo: The Western Heart of Darkness’.

During the periods under Mobutu and Kabila, the Congo became the concentration camp capital of the world and the rape capital as well. ‘No woman in the path of the violence was spared. 7 year olds were raped by government troops in public. Pregnant women were disemboweled. Genital mutilation was commonplace, as was forced incest and cannibalism. The crimes were never punished, and never will be.’

Laurent Kabila maintained the status quo until he was killed by his bodyguard in 2001. Since then, his son and the current President Joseph Kabila has held power in violation of the Constitution. ‘He has murdered protesters and opposition party members, and has continued to obey the will of the west while his people endure unspeakable hells.’

Corporate and State Exploitation

While countries such as Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland and the UK are heavily involved one way or another (with other countries, such as Australia, somewhat less so), US corporations make a vast range of hitech products including microchips, cell phones and semiconductors using conflict minerals taken from the Congo . This makes ‘companies like Intel, Apple, HP, and IBM culpable for funding the militias that control the mines’. See ‘“A Nightmare In Heaven” – Why Nobody Is Talking About The Holocaust in Congo’.

But many companies are benefitting. For example, a 2002 report by the United Nations listed a ‘sample’ of 34 companies based in Europe and Asia that are importing minerals from the Congo via, in this case, Rwanda. The UN Report commented: ‘Illegal exploitation of the mineral and forest resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is taking place at an alarming rate. Two phases can be distinguished: mass-scale looting and the systematic and systemic exploitation of resources’. The mass-scale looting occurred during the initial phase of the invasion of the Congo by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi when stockpiles of minerals, coffee, wood, livestock and money in the conquered territory were either taken to the invading countries or exported to international markets by their military forces or nationals. The subsequent systematic and systemic exploitation required planning and organization involving key military commanders, businessmen and government structures; it was clearly illegal. See ‘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’.

For some insight into other issues making exploitation of the Congo possible but which are usually paid less attention – such as the roles of mercenaries, weapons dealers, US military training of particular rebel groups and the secret airline flights among key locations in the smuggling operations of conflict minerals – see the research of Keith Harmon Snow and David Barouski: ‘Behind the numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo’ and ‘Merchants of Death: Exposing Corporate-Financed Holocaust in Africa; White Collar War Crimes, Black African Fall Guys’.

Has there been any official attempt to rein in this corporate exploitation?

A little. For example, the Obama-era US Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act of 2010 shone a spotlight on supply chains, pressuring companies to determine the origin of minerals used in their products and invest in removing conflict minerals from their supply chain. This resulted in some US corporations, conscious of the public relations implications of being linked to murderous warlords and child labor, complying with the Act. So, a small step in the right direction it seemed. See ‘The Impact of Dodd-Frank and Conflict Minerals Reforms on Eastern Congo’s Conflict’ and ‘Congo mines no longer in grip of warlords and militias, says report’.

In 2011, given that legally-binding human rights provisions, if applied, should have offered adequate protections already, the United Nations rather powerlessly formulated the non-binding ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’.

And in 2015, the European Union also made a half-hearted attempt when it decided that smelters and refiners based in the 28-nation bloc be asked to certify that their imports were conflict-free on a voluntary basis! See ‘EU lawmakers to limit import of conflict minerals’.

However, following the election of Donald Trump as US President, in April 2017 ‘the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suspended key provisions of its “conflict minerals” rule’. Trump is also seeking to undo the Obama-era financial regulations, once again opening the door to the unimpeded trade in blood minerals by US corporations. See ‘“A Nightmare In Heaven” – Why Nobody Is Talking About The Holocaust in Congo’ and ‘Trump Moves to Roll Back Obama-Era Financial Regulations’.

Today

Despite its corrupt exploitation for more than 500 years, the Congo still has vast natural resources (including rainforests) and mineral wealth. Its untapped deposits of minerals are estimated to be worth in excess of $US24 trillion. Yes, that’s right: $US24trillion. With a host of rare strategic minerals – including cobalt, coltan, gold and diamonds – as well as copper, zinc, tin and tungsten critical to the manufacture of hitech electronic products ranging from aircraft and vehicles to computers and mobile phones, violent and morally destitute western governments and corporations are not about to let the Congo decide its own future and devote its resources to the people of this African country. This, of course, despite the international community paying lip service to a plethora of ‘human rights’ treaties.

Hence, violent conflict, including ongoing war, over the exploitation of these resources, including the smuggling of ‘conflict minerals’ – such as gold, coltan and cassiterite (the latter two ores of tantalum and tin, respectively), and diamonds – will ensure that the people of the Congo continue to be denied what many of those in western countries take for granted: the right to life benefiting from the exploitation of ‘their’ natural resources.

In essence then, since 1885 European and US governments, together with their corporations and African collaborators, have inflicted phenomenal ongoing atrocities on the peoples of the Congo as they exploit the vast resources of the country for the benefit of non-Congolese people.

But, you might wonder, European colonizers inflicted phenomenal violence on the indigenous peoples in all of their colonies – whether in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean or Oceania – so is their legacy in the Congo any worse?

Source: Medium

Well,  according to the The Pan-African Alliance, just since colonization in 1885, at least 25 million Congolese men, women and children have been slaughtered by white slave traders, missionaries, colonists, corporations and governments (both the governments of foreign-installed Congolese dictators and imperial powers). ‘Yet barely a mention is made of the holocaust that rages in the heart of Africa.’ Why? Because ‘the economy of the entire world rests on the back of the Congo.’ See ‘“A Nightmare In Heaven” – Why Nobody Is Talking About The Holocaust in Congo’.

So what is happening now?

In a sentence: The latest manifestation of the violence and exploitation that has been happening since 1482 when that Portuguese explorer ‘discovered’ the mouth of the Congo River. The latest generation of European and American genocidal exploiters, and their latter-day cronies, is busy stealing what they can from the Congo. Of course, as illustrated above, having installed the ruthless dictator of their choosing to ensure that foreign interests are protected, the weapon of choice is the corporation and non-existent legal or other effective controls in the era of ‘free trade’.

The provinces of North and South Kivu in the eastern Congo are filled with mines of cassiterite, wolframite, coltan and gold. Much mining is done by locals eking out a living using Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM); that is, mining by hand, sometimes with rudimentary tools. Some of these miners sell their product via local agents to Congolese military commanders who smuggle it out of the country, usually via Rwanda, Uganda or Burundi, and use the proceeds to enrich themselves.

Another report on South Kivu by Global Witness in 2016 – see ‘River of Gold’ and ‘Illegal gold trade in Congo still benefiting armed groups, foreign companies’ – documented evidence of the corrupt links between government authorities, foreign corporations (in this case, Kun Hou Mining of China) and the military, which results in the gold dredged from the Ulindi River in South Kivu being illegally smuggled out of the country, with much of it ending up with Alfa Gold Corp in Dubai. The unconcealed nature of this corruption and the obvious lack of enforcement of weak Congolese law is a powerful disincentive for corporations to engage in ‘due diligence’ when conducting their own mining operations in the Congo.

In contrast, in the south of the Congo in the former province of Katanga, Amnesty International and Afrewatch researchers tracked sacks of cobalt ore that had been mined by artisanal miners in Kolwezi to the local market where the mineral ore is sold. From this point, the material was smelted by one of the large companies in Kolwezi, such as Congo Dongfang Mining International SARL (CDM), which is a smelter and fully-owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company Ltd (Huayou Cobalt) in China, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cobalt products. Once smelted, the material is typically exported from the Congo to China via a port in South Africa. See ‘“This is what We Die for”: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt’.

In its 2009 report ‘“Faced with a gun, what can you do?” War and the Militarisation of Mining in Eastern Congo’ examining the link between foreign corporate activity in the Congo and the military violence, Global Witness raised questions about the involvement of nearly 240 companies spanning the mineral, metal and technology industries. It specifically identified four main European companies as open buyers in this illegal trade: Thailand Smelting and Refining Corp. (owned by British Amalgamated Metal Corp.), British Afrimex, Belgian Trademet and Traxys. It also questioned the role of other companies further down the manufacturing chain, including prominent electronics companies Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Dell and Motorola (a list to which Microsoft and Samsung should have been added as well). Even though they may be acting ‘legally’, Global Witness criticized their lack of due diligence and transparency standards at every level of their supply chain. See ‘First Blood Diamonds, Now Blood Computers?’

Of course, as you no doubt expect, some of the world’s largest corporate miners are in the Congo. These include Glencore (Switzerland) and Freeport-McMoRan (USA). But there are another 20 or more mining corporations in the Congo too, including Mawson West Limited (Australia), Forrest Group International (Belgium),  Anvil Mining (Canada), Randgold Resources (UK) and AngloGold Ashanti(South Africa).

Needless to say, despite beautifully worded ‘corporate responsibility statements’ by whatever name, the record rarely goes even remotely close to resembling the rhetoric. Take Glencore’s lovely statement on ‘safety’ in the Congo: ‘Ask Glencore: Democratic Republic of the Congo’. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent the 2016 accident at a Congolese mine that one newspaper reported in the following terms: ‘Glencore’s efforts to reduce fatalities among its staff have suffered a setback with the announcement that the death toll from an accident at a Congolese mine has risen to seven.’ See ‘Glencore reports seven dead in mining accident’.

Or consider the Belgian Forrest Group International’s wonderful ‘Community Services’ program, supposedly developing projects ‘in the areas of education, health, early childhood care, culture, sport, infrastructure and the environment. The FORREST GROUP has been investing on the African continent since 1922. Its longevity is the fruit of a vision of the role a company should have, namely the duty to be a positive player in the society in which it operates. The investments of the Group share a common core of values which include, as a priority, objectives of stability and long-term prospects.’

Regrettably, the Forrest Group website and public relations documents make no mention of the company’s illegal demolition, without notice, of hundreds of homes of people who lived in the long-standing village of Kawama, inconveniently close to the Forrest Group’s Luiswishi Mine, on 24 and 25 November 2009. People were left homeless and many lost their livelihoods as a direct consequence. Of course, the demolitions constitute forced evictions, which are illegal under international human rights law.

Fortunately, given the obvious oversight of the Forrest Group in failing to mention it, the demolitions have been thoroughly documented by Amnesty International in its report ‘Bulldozed – How a Mining Company Buried the Truth about Forced Evictions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ and the satellite photographs acquired by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science have been published as well. See ‘Satellite imagery assessment of forced relocations near the Luiswishi Mine’.

Needless to say, it is difficult for Congolese villagers to feel they have any ‘stability and long-term prospects’, as the Forrest Group’s ‘Community Services’ statement puts it, when their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Are company chairman George A. Forrest and its CEO Malta David Forrest and their family delusional? Or just so familiar with being violently ruthless in their exploitation of the Congo and its people, that it doesn’t even occur to them that there might be less violent ways of resolving any local conflicts?

Tragically, of course, fatal industrial accidents and housing demolition are only two of the many abuses inflicted on mining labourers, including (illegal) child labourers, and families in the Congo where workers are not even provided with the most basic ‘safety equipment’ – work clothes, helmets, gloves, boots and facemasks – let alone a safe working environment (including guidance on the safe handling of toxic substances) or a fair wage, reasonable working hours, holidays, sick leave or superannuation.

Even where laws exist, such as the Congo’s Child Protection Code (2009) which provides for ‘free and compulsory primary education for all children’, laws are often simply ignored (without legal consequence). Although, it should also be noted, in the Congo there is no such thing as ‘free education’ despite the law. Consequently, plenty of children do not attend school and work full time, others attend school but work out of school hours. There is no effective system to remove children from child labour (which is well documented). Even for adults, there is no effective labour inspection system. Most artisanal mining takes places in unauthorized mining areas ‘where the government is doing next to nothing to regulate the safety and labour conditions in which the miners work’. See ‘“This is what We Die for”: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt’.

In addition, as noted above, given its need for minerals to manufacture the hitech products it makes, including those for western corporations, China is deeply engaged in mining strategic minerals in the Congo too. See ‘China plays long game on cobalt and electric batteries’.

Based on the Chinese notion of ‘respect’ – which includes the ‘principle’ of noninterference in each other’s internal affairs – the Chinese dictatorship is content to ignore the dictatorship of the Congo and its many corrupt and violent practices, even if its investment often has more beneficial outcomes for ordinary Congolese than does western ‘investment’. Moreover, China is not going to disrupt and destabilize the Congo in the way that the United States and European countries have done for so long. See ‘China’s Congo Plan’ and ‘China vs. the US: The Struggle for Central Africa and the Congo’.

Having noted the above, however, there is plenty of evidence of corrupt Chinese business practice in the extraction and sale of strategic minerals in the Congo, including that documented in the above-mentioned Global Witness report. See ‘River of Gold’.

Moreover, Chinese involvement is not limited to its direct engagement in mining such as gold dredging of the Ulindi River. A vital source of the mineral cobalt is that which is mined by artisanal miners. As part of a recent detailed investigation, Amnesty International had researchers follow cobalt mined by artisanal miners from where it was mined to a market at Musompo, where minerals are traded. The report summarised what happens:

‘Independent traders at Musompo – most of them Chinese – buy the ore, regardless of where it has come from or how it has been mined. In turn, these traders sell the ore on to larger companies in the DRC which process and export it. One of the largest companies at the centre of this trade is Congo Dongfang Mining International (CDM). CDM is a 100% owned subsidiary of China-based Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Company Ltd (Huayou Cobalt), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cobalt products. Operating in the DRC since 2006, CDM buys cobalt from traders, who buy directly from the miners. CDM then smelts the ore at its plant in the DRC before exporting it to China. There, Huayou Cobalt further smelts and sells the processed cobalt to battery component manufacturers in China and South Korea. In turn, these companies sell to battery manufacturers, which then sell on to well-known consumer brands.

‘Using public records, including investor documents and statements published on company websites, researchers identified battery component manufacturers who were listed as sourcing processed ore from Huayou Cobalt. They then went on to trace companies who were listed as customers of the battery component manufacturers, in order to establish how the cobalt ends up in consumer products. In seeking to understand how this international supply chain works, as well as to ask questions about each company’s due diligence policy, Amnesty International wrote to Huayou Cobalt and 25 other companies in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, UK, and the USA. These companies include some of the world’s largest and best known consumer electronics companies, including Apple Inc., Dell, HP Inc. (formerly Hewlett-Packard Company), Huawei, Lenovo (Motorola), LG, Microsoft Corporation, Samsung, Sony and Vodafone, as well as vehicle manufacturers like Daimler AG, Volkswagen and Chinese firm BYD. Their replies are detailed in the report’s Annex.’ See ‘“This is what We Die for”: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt’.

As backdrop to the problems mentioned above, it is worth pointing out that keeping the country under military siege is useful to many parties, internal and foreign. Over the past 20 years of violent conflict, control of these valuable mineral resources has been a lucrative way for warring parties to finance their violence – that is, buying the products of western weapons corporations – and to promote the chaotic circumstances that make minimal accountability and maximum profit easiest. The Global Witness report ‘Faced with a gun, what can you do?’ cited above followed the supply chain of these minerals from warring parties to middlemen to international buyers: people happy to profit from the sale of ‘blood minerals’ to corporations which, in turn, are happy to buy them cheaply to manufacture their highly profitable hitech products.

Moreover, according to the Global Witness report, although the Congolese army and rebel groups – such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel force opposed to the Rwandan government that has taken refuge in the Congo since the 1994 Rwanda genocide – have been warring on opposite sides for years, they are collaborators in the mining effort, at times providing each other with road and airport access and even sharing their spoils. Researchers say they found evidence that the mineral trade is much more extensive and profitable than previously suspected: one Congolese government official reported that at least 90% of all gold exports from the country were undeclared. And the report charges that the failure of foreign governments to crack down on illicit mining and trade has undercut development endeavors supposedly undertaken by the international community in the war-torn region.

Social and Environmental Costs

Of course, against this background of preoccupation with the militarized exploitation of mineral resources for vast profit, ordinary Congolese people suffer extraordinary ongoing violence. Apart from the abuses mentioned above, four women are raped every five minutes in the Congo, according to a study done in May 2011. ‘These nationwide estimates of the incidence of rape are 26 times higher than the 15,000 conflict-related cases confirmed by the United Nations for the DRC in 2010’. Despite the country having the highest number of UN peacekeeping forces in the world – where the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has operated since the turn of the century – the level of sexual violence soldiers have perpetrated against women is staggering. ‘Currently, there is still much violence in the region, as well as an overwhelming amount of highly strategic mass rape.’ See ‘Conflict Profile: Democratic Republic of Congo’.

Unsurprisingly, given the international community’s complete indifference, despite rhetoric to the contrary, to the plight of Congolese people, it is not just Congolese soldiers who are responsible for the rapes. UN ‘peacekeepers’ are perpetrators too. See ‘Peacekeepers gone wild: How much more abuse will the UN ignore in Congo?’

And the Congo is a violently dangerous place for children as well with, for example, Child Soldiers International reporting that with a variety of national and foreign armed groups and forces operating in the country for over 20 years, the majority of fighting forces have recruited and used children, and most still exploit boys and girls today with girls forced to become girl soldiers but to perform a variety of other sexual and ‘domestic’ roles too. See Child Soldiers International. Of course, child labour is completely out of control with many impoverished families utterly dependent on it for survival.

In addition, many Congolese also end up as refugees in neighbouring countries or as internally displaced people in their own country.

As you would expect, it is not just human beings who suffer. With rebel soldiers (such as the Rwanda-backed M23), miners and poachers endlessly plundering inadequately protected national parks and other wild places for their resources, illegal mining is rampant, over-fishing a chronic problem, illegal logging (and other destruction such as charcoal burning for cooking) of rainforests is completely out of control in some places, poaching of hippopotamuses, elephants, chimpanzees and okapi for ivory and bushmeat is unrelenting (often despite laws against hunting with guns), and wildlife trafficking of iconic species (including the increasingly rare mountain gorilla) simply beyond the concern of most people.

The Congolese natural environment – including the UNESCO World Heritage sites at Virunga National Park and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, together with their park rangers – and the indigenous peoples such as the Mbuti (‘pygmies’) who live in them, are under siege. In addition to the ongoing mining, smaller corporations that can’t compete with the majors, such as Soco, want to explore and drill for oil. For a taste of the reading on all this, see ‘Virunga National Park Ranger Killed in DRC Ambush’‘The struggle to save the “Congolese unicorn”’‘Meet the First Female Rangers to Guard One of World’s Deadliest Parks’ 

and ‘The Battle for Africa’s Oldest National Park’.

If you would like to watch a video about some of what is happening in the Congo, either of these videos will give you an unpleasant taste: ‘Crisis In The Congo: Uncovering The Truth’ and ‘Conflict Minerals, Rebels and Child Soldiers in Congo’.

Resisting the Violence

So what is happening to resist this violence and exploitation? Despite the horror, as always, some incredible people are working to end it.

Some Congolese activists resist the military dictatorship of Joseph Kabila, despite the enormous risks of doing so. See, for example, ‘Release the Congolese activists still in jail for planning peaceful demonstrations’.

Some visionary Congolese continue devoting their efforts, in phenomenally difficult circumstances including lack of funding, to building a society where ordinary Congolese people have the chance to create a meaningful life for themselves. Two individuals and organizations who particularly inspire me are based in Goma in eastern Congo where the fighting is worst.

The Association de Jeunes Visionnaires pour le Développement du Congo, headed by Leon Simweragi, is a youth peace group that works to rehabilitate child soldiers as well as offer meaningful opportunities for the sustainable involvement of young people in matters that affect their lives and those of their community.

And Christophe Nyambatsi Mutaka is the key figure at the Groupe Martin Luther King that promotes active nonviolence, human rights and peace. Christophe’s group particularly works on reducing sexual and other violence against women.

There are also solidarity groups, based in the West, that work to draw attention to the nightmare happening in the Congo. These include Friends of the Congo that works to inform people and agitate for change and groups like Child Soldiers International mentioned above.

If you would like to better understand the depravity of those individuals in the Congo (starting with the dictator Joseph Kabila but including all those officials, bureaucrats and soldiers) who enable, participate in or ignore the violence and exploitation; the presidents and prime ministers of western governments who ignore exploitation, by their locally-based corporations, of the Congo; the heads of multinational corporations that exploit the Congo – such as Anthony Hayward (Chair of Glencore), Richard Adkerson (CEO of Freeport-McMoRan), George A. Forrest and Malta David Forrest (Chair and CEO respectively of Forrest Group International), Christopher L Coleman (Chair of Randgold Resources) and Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (CEO of AngloGold Ashanti) – as well as those individuals in international organizations such as the UN  (starting with Secretary-General António Guterres) and the EU (headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission), who ignore, provoke, support and/or profit from this violence and exploitation, you will find the document ‘Why Violence?’ and the website ‘Feelings First’ instructive.

Whether passively or actively complicit, each of these depraved individuals (along with other individuals within the global elite) does little or nothing to draw attention to, let alone work to profoundly change, the situation in the Congo which denies most Congolese the right to a meaningful life in any enlightened sense of these words.

If you would like to help, you can do so by supporting the efforts of the individual activists and solidarity organizations indicated above or those like them.

You might also like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’which references the Congo among many other examples of violence around the world.

And if you would like to support efforts to remove the dictatorship of Joseph Kabila and/or get corrupt foreign governments, corporations and organizations out of the Congo, you can do so by planning and implementing or supporting a nonviolent strategy that is designed to achieve one or more of these objectives. See Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.

If you are still reading this article and you feel the way I do about this ongoing atrocity, then I invite you to participate, one way or another, in ending it.

For more than 500 years, the Congo has been brutalized by the extraordinary violence inflicted by those who have treated the country as a resource – for slaves, rubber, timber, wildlife and minerals – to be exploited.

This will only end when enough of us commit ourselves to acting on the basis that 500 years is long enough. Liberate the Congo!

Posted in AfricaComments Off on 500 Years Is Long Enough! Human Depravity in the Congo


Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

May 2018
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031