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A LEADER MURDERED BY THE CIA: PATRICE LUMUMBA ‘Video’

ASSASSINATED JANUARY 17, 1961

It could be because so many of them have been assassinated.

The story of Patrice Lumumba, murdered by the connivance of US and Belgian intelligence agencies which then turned the Congo over to a savage dictator…to make it easier to loot the country.

Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Republic of the Congo) from June until September 1960. He played a significant role in the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic. Ideologically an African nationalist and Pan-Africanist, he led the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party from 1958 until his assassination.

Shortly after Congolese independence in 1960, a mutiny broke out in the army, marking the beginning of the Congo Crisis. Lumumba appealed to the United States and the United Nations for help to suppress the Belgian-supported Katangan secessionists. Both refused, so Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for support. This led to growing differences with President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and chief-of-staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, as well as with the United States and Belgium, who opposed the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Lumumba was subsequently imprisoned by state authorities under Mobutu and executed by a firing squad under the command of Katangan authorities. Following his assassination, he was widely seen as a martyr for the wider Pan-African movement.

CIA director Allen Dulles called the military coup against Lumumba “an urgent and prime objective,” handing over the Congo to U.S.-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

“They buried Lumumba 
In an unmarked grave.
But he needs no marker––
For air is his grave.
Sun is his grave,
Moon is, stars are,
Space is his grave.
My heart’s his grave,
And it’s marked there.
Tomorrow will mark it everywhere.”

Langston Hughes, 1961

The murder of Patrice Lumumba – A CIA production

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Russia’s Military Deal with the Congo Republic Completes Its African “Corridor of Influence”

NOVANEWS

Russia’s dispatch of specialists to the Congo Republic (Congo-Brazzaville) in order to maintain military equipment completes Moscow’s plan of creating a corridor of influence across the continent from the Sudanese Red Sea coast to the Congolese Atlantic one via the Central African Republic, which therefore greatly increases the chances that it’ll ultimately succeed with its 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme Afro-Eurasian “balancing” force in the New Cold War.

The “African Transversal”

Most observers missed it because it wasn’t given much media attention at the time, but Russia and the Congo Republic (Congo-Brazzaville, henceforth referred to simply as the Congo) signed an important deal last week for dispatching specialists to the African country in order to maintain the military equipment that Moscow sold it over the decades. While seemingly nothing more than a technical agreement, it actually completes Moscow’s plan of creating a corridor of influence across the continent (the “African Transversal”) from the Sudanese Red Sea coast to the Congolese Atlantic one via the Central African Republic (CAR) where a small contingent of Russian troops are reportedly working with Wagner’s mercenaries under UNSC approval in order to stabilize the war-torn but resource-rich country. Put another way, Russia is now much more powerfully positioned to succeed with its 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme Afro-Eurasian “balancing” force in the New Cold War if it can successfully export its “Democratic Security” model of countering Hybrid Warfare to the rest of the continent.

Required Reading

The reader is probably unaware of what this all means since most people haven’t been following Russia’s “Pivot to Africa” over the past year and a half, which is why the reader is strongly encouraged to skim through the author’s following pieces in order to obtain a better understanding of the larger dynamics involved or at the very least read the one-sentence summaries below each of the articles:

New Cold War pressure from the US and China is leading to the redivision of Africa into “spheres of influence” between the many competing Great Powers, which nevertheless provides Russia — which has been largely left out of this game until now — with the chance to carve out its own military-strategic niche there in order to complement the activities of its Chinese and Turkish partners and increase its overall value to each of them.

The reported involvement of the Wager private military company in CAR could enable Moscow to cost-effectively stabilize the country in exchange for lucrative extraction contracts, which could lead to the creation of an exportable model for securing China’s Silk Road investments in the continent and therefore increasing Russia’s strategic importance vis-a-vis its main Great Power partner.

Russia aspires to become the supreme “balancing” force in 21s-century Afro-Eurasia through a combination of creative diplomatic and military interventions aimed at reversing the chaotic consequences of the US’ Hybrid Wars in the Eastern Hemisphere and facilitating political solutions to regional crises, but its main shortcoming is that it hasn’t properly explained its grand strategy to the international audience.

As Russia began to make progress in successfully stabilizing CAR, many opportunities have emerged for it to replicate some of its experiences from the Syrian intervention in order to sustain its strategic gains in the African state, further allowing it to perfect its new military-diplomatic model and increasing the odds of exporting it elsewhere.

A UN report released last summer provided some valuable authoritative information about the success that Russia’s military mission in CAR had up until that point, which also importantly touched upon some specific details of its deployment and a few of the challenges that still remain for bringing peace to the conflict-beleaguered country.

China and India are poised to intensify their competition in East Africa through their Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) hemispheric integrational megaprojects, respectively, which while diminishing the prospects for a grand convergence between them that strengthens multipolarity, could nevertheless increase Russia’s irreplaceable “balancing” role between its two main Asian partners.

US concerns about Russia’s growing influence in Africa are somewhat valid even if Moscow’s military activity there is officially misportrayed by the American authorities since the country’s geopolitical rival has proven itself more than capable of doing the hitherto politically impossible by stabilizing CAR, which makes Washington fear that Moscow will use what it learned to protect China’s African Silk Road investments from Hybrid War too.

Unbeknownst to all but the closest observers, Africa has been experiencing an almost decade-long spree of non-electoral regime changes all across the continent, which has raised the alarm of “legacy” leaders in places such as the geo-pivotal Congo and therefore increased demand all across Africa for the “Democratic Security” model that Moscow’s perfecting in the CAR.

Taken together, the prevailing trend is that Russia has been so wildly successful in implementing its low-cost and low-commitment “Democratic Security” model in CAR that many other African countries are now more than eager to have Moscow share its priceless state-stabilization experiences with them in exchange for valuable extraction contracts, which could lead to Russia becoming the vanguard defender of their Silk Roads.

The Threat To Françafrique

Being better aware of Russia’s grand strategic aims in Africa, the reader can now appreciate the genius behind  Moscow’s latest military move in the Congo. This geo-pivotal country used to be a close Soviet ally during the Old Cold War years when it was ruled by a Marxist-Leninist government, and nowadays it’s at the center of several regional fault lines, something that its long-serving leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso made sure to remind Putin of during their face-to-face meeting last week. Going clockwise, the Congo abuts CAR, the perennially unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the oil-rich Angolan exclave of Cabinda that’s occasionally hit by separatist violence, coup-threatened Gabon, and doubly Hybrid War-afflictedCameroon that’s currently suffering simultaneous Angolophone separatist and Boko Haram destabilizations. It’s likely with an eye to having Russia help stabilize this strategic space through its “Democratic Security” model that Sassou-Nguesso told Putin that his country can help Africa build a new regional security system.

Russia’s “African Transversal” through Sudan-CAR-Congo significantly cuts the continent into almost two equal halves of influence that roughly correspond to the Western sphere where French and EU interests are predominant and the Eastern one where Chinese and Indian one are poised to compete, therefore positioning Moscow right in the center the new “Scramble for Africa”. Not only that, but it also allows Russia to export its “Democratic Security” model to the states adjacent to its “African Transversal” in the French/EU and Chinese/Indian “spheres of influence” that are at the highest risk of internal conflict (e.g. Cameroon/Chad and the DRC/Ethiopia), further increasing its “balancing” importance for both of them. In addition, the new non-aligned movement (“Neo-NAM”) that Russia might be in the process of assembling to increase the odds of reaching a “New Detente” could very easily incorporate its growing number of African partners who are looking for a “third way” between the West and China in each respective “sphere of influence”.

In the African context, the Russian-led “Neo-NAM” would be more to France’s detriment than China’s because Paris’ neo-colonial policy of Françafrique stands the most to lose from the diversification of its partners’ Great Power patrons. It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that two of the three “African Transversal” countries are part of Françafrique and use the Paris-issued “Central African Franc” as their national currency, which could gradually change if Russia encourages CAR and the Congo to use rubles in bilateral extraction, military, and other contracts instead in order to strengthen its currency and increase the chances that its investments there will be recycled back into its own economy through the creation of a complex system of economic-strategic interdependence with time. That vision is still a far way’s off from hapening, but the fact remains that it’s credible enough of a scenario to make France afraid for the future of Françafrique if Russia’s “Democratic Security” gains in and around the “African Transversal” remain unchecked.

“Red October”

Like any globally assertive Great Power and following in its Soviet superpower’s footsteps, Russia wants to institutionalize its influence abroad and especially in Africa, which is why it’s hosting its first-ever all-inclusive Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi this October in order to solidify its newfound gains and diversify them across the board. Russia’s “Democratic Security” model laid the basis for its “Pivot to Africa” through the newly created “African Transversal” that it carved out through these means in connecting the Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean coasts through Sudan-CAR-Congo, and now it wants to build upon its strategic successes by comprehensively branching out into all other spheres. “Military diplomacy” simply won’t suffice for sustaining its strategic gains after the US announced that it’s considering sanctioning all of Russia’s military partners across the world, so Moscow needs to urgently diversify its partnerships with the continent’s many countries in order to incentivize them into resisting the US’ forthcoming pressure campaign.

It can foreseeably do this by combining its “Democratic Security” model with real-sector economic benefits such as infrastructure (and especially railway) investments, free trade deals, educational support, low-interest loans, and diplomatic support at the UN in order to create an attractive enough package to get them to reconsider going along with the US’ demands. Dealing with African countries on a bilateral basis in this respect is one thing, but entering into continental-wide Russian-African cooperation through the upcoming summit is something altogether qualitatively different, which can help overcome Russia’s soft power shortcomings touched upon in the previously mentioned piece about its grand strategy if it get its many current and prospective partners to better understand the role that it envisions itself playing in stabilizing their affairs throughout the course of the ongoing New Cold War.

The “African Transversal” is the staging point for expanding Russian influence throughout the rest of the continent in its French/EU and Chinese/Indian “spheres of influence”, with CAR’s impressive stabilization held up as the prime example of what a strategic partnership with Russia is capable of achieving. This is extremely attractive for the many countries confronting the threat of the “African Spring” spreading into their borders or uncontrollably continuing after it already succeeded there. The EU (apart from France) might also appreciate the effect that Russia’s “Democratic Security” model could have in preventing a Migrant Crisis 2.0 from exploding in West Africa, just like China might see the need to contract Russia’s services in order to protect its Silk Road and help the People’s Republic avoid what many believe will be its inevitable “mission creep” in this respect. It’s really only the US and France (which are one another’s “special partners“) that fear the spread of Russian influence throughout Africa, and those two could conceivably pose serious challenges to Moscow.

Concluding Thoughts

Russia’s “African Transversal” is complete after the military deal that it just sealed with the Congo, which therefore gives it the entire summer to solidify its strategic gains in the cross-continental tri-state space between that country, CAR, and Sudan prior to this October’s first-ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. Just as importantly, the Congo is the second country that Russia is working very hard to “poach” from France’s  Françafrique neo-colonial “sphere of influence”, which certainly puts it at odds with Paris and its “special partners” in Washington but might enable Moscow to leverage these optics to its soft power advantage if it’s skillful enough to tap into the region’s ever-present decolonization hopes that were never met in practice after independence. Russia would therefore be wise to use the upcoming Sochi Summit to not only unveil a comprehensive continental-wide “balancing” strategy that diversifies away from its erstwhile “Democratic Security” dependence into the real-sector economic sphere, but to also channel its Soviet-era reputation of supporting decolonization and anti-imperialist processes in order to maximize the appeal of the Neo-NAM.



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DRC President Tshisekedi pardons about 700 political prisoners

NOVANEWS

President Felix Tshisekedi has moved to free many opposition figures jailed by his predecessor Joseph Kabila.

Tshisekedi signed the decree, fulfilling a promise he made earlier this month to do so during his first 100 days in office [Jerome Delay/AP]
Tshisekedi signed the decree, fulfilling a promise he made earlier this month to do so during his first 100 days in office [Jerome Delay/AP]

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) new President Felix Tshisekedi on Wednesday pardoned about 700 political prisoners who were jailed under his predecessor.

Tshisekedi signed the decree, fulfilling a promise he made earlier this month to do so during his first 100 days in office.

Among those set for release is Firmin Yangambi, who was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison on charges of being a threat to national security.

Police in DR Congo accused of extrajudicial killings

Also being freed is Franck Diongo, an opposition figure who was sentenced to five years.

Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the December 30 election, leading Congo to its first peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium nearly 60 years ago.

He succeeded Joseph Kabila, who governed the largely impoverished but mineral-rich central African country for 18 years.

Tshisekedi, who was an opposition leader, has also promised to reinvigorate justice and fight corruption in Congo.

He made the declaration at the beginning of March in the presence of members of the government, military, civil and judicial authorities as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

The president has also said he would work actively to ensure the conditions for a rapid return of those who left the country for political reasons.

While on his first international trip to the neighbouring Republic of the Congo in February, he urged tens of thousands of political exiles to return home, saying everyone would be needed to move Congo forward.



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An Off-the-Record Genocide: Global Resource Extraction Economy Destroys DR Congo Indigenous Groups

NOVANEWS
 

On April 27, 2017, a hapless cow wandered off-course during a seasonal cattle drive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and ended up over the campfire of some Indigenous hunters. The traditional lands of these groups (Batwa and related groups) are routinely trampled by cattle, cut for old-growth timber, or grabbed for mineral resources including diamonds and coltan — generally illegally. As their wild game diminishes from these impacts, the Batwa have come to view cattle as fair game. 

The cattle herders followed their cow’s tracks, and upon learning her fate, agreed to share the meat with the Batwa. But when they returned to their village, a local self-appointed “defense militia” was infuriated, returning to kill and mutilate eight of the Batwa.

The global economy’s demand for hard-to-obtain minerals and tropical timber, coupled with a long history of contempt and exploitation by neighboring tribes, have made these Batwa hunter-gatherers easy targets for land grabs and violence. Specifically targeted during a massive regional conflict to gain control over resources, in the early 2000s, an estimated 70,000 Batwa were tortured, killed and even cannibalized in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to American University’s Inventory of Conflict and Environment Case Studies.

There is only one word for the attempted eradication of an entire group of people through the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children, whatever the reason. That word is genocide.

The conflict is now heating up again, this time in southeastern DRC. Since September 2016, volunteer investigators on the ground have been gathering names and numbers of Indigenous community members killed, injured, raped and displaced. These numbers, no doubt gross underestimates, show that well over 1,200 Batwa have been killed in the past 12 months — primarily in skirmishes with non-Indigenous neighboring communities intent on expanding their access to land and resources.

In one recent case, on July 4, 2017, a national online news source in DRC said that daylong clashes between Batwa and other ethnic groups were triggered after the Batwa killed two adversaries near the provincial capital of Kalemie. No casualty list was provided in the news article, but according to our sources, 189 Batwa people were killed that day, including men, women and children.

In the worst attack we have documented so far, on the night of January 13-14, 2017, there was a nighttime attack against the Batwa near a town called Moba. Six hundred Batwa people were slaughtered outright; at least 1,600 women and girls were brutally raped, and were being cared for using traditional medicines because there are no health centers. No pain-killers; no antibiotics; no urgently-needed surgeries; no forensic evidence; no psychological counseling. More than 40 of those women and girls had already died or were on the verge of death several days after the attack.

A desperately inadequate RFI news report on the event, translated from French, says,

“On 13 January, clashes took place … 25 kilometers from the city of Moba. Four villages were partially or totally burned down and the population fled to Moba. In total, 24 people — four Bantus and twenty [Batwa] — lost their lives in one week.”

Is this destined to be an off-the-record genocide?

Knowledgeable sources on the ground say that neighboring tribes are intent on exterminating (yes, a dehumanizing term) the Indigenous people, and that the DRC government is determined to prevent word of this massacre from becoming known internationally. This is to be expected: President Joseph Kabila, who refuses to hold elections as required by DRC’s constitution, prefers to get rid of anything that stands in the way of enriching elites in his kleptocracy. Indigenous people’s traditional land rights are an impediment to uncontrolled resource extraction.

Less expected is the lack of forthright information by the UN’s peacekeeping force in DRC. The UN’s radio station in DRC routinely downplays these incidents, and fails to distinguish between deaths of Indigenous peoples and others. A July 11, 2017, article in IRIN, which reports on crises for the UN, left the dangerous misimpression that conflict and large-scale internal displacements of people in this region are instigated primarily by Indigenous Batwa militias. Without providing any objective breakdown of casualty statistics or detailed descriptions of incidents, the article presents, unchallenged, the anti-Batwa statements of individuals, primarily from the very tribal groups who are engaged in driving the Batwa off their lands.

This opacity is a major contributing factor to the ongoing crisis, providing cover for those looking to profit from the chaos. Local news sources fail to provide acceptable coverage, and international media are (rightly) afraid to send reporters in. The DRC government’s information cannot be trusted. UN investigators have been killed. Local journalists have been killed. Human rights advocates have been killed or barred from entering the country. International NGOs have sounded the alarm about conflicts and conflict minerals in the region, but only one organization has paid close attention to the genocide against the Indigenous Batwa. And on July 19, 2017, the UN announced plans to shut down five of its monitoring and peacekeeping bases in DRC, courtesy of the Trump administration’s refusal to meet US funding commitments.

There is, however, a way to obtain accurate and timely information on the situation: from the locals. My organization works with a network of local groups and individuals who are already on the ground and can tap into sources of information from the various ethnic communities and factions. Their cross-verified Field Reports provide one of the only current sources of insight into the devastation faced by the Batwa in eastern DRC.

With awareness comes the possibility of transformation. On January 16, 2017, just two days after the Moba massacre, delegates from organizations across the region convened along the shores of Lake Kivu to form a multi-ethnic coalition to defend the survival and rights of the Batwa people. With strong Batwa leadership, they developed a plan of action to monitor human rights violations and violent conflict, undertake legal interventions, launch a region-wide public awareness campaign on behalf of Indigenous rights, and implement genuine conflict resolution mechanisms (unlike the feeble government efforts led by Emmanuel Shadary, an internationally sanctioned human rights violator, which have failed to bring necessary issues and actors to the table).

We have a choice: we can either look away in horror, or we can take action to help stop the killing. If Congolese people of all ethnic backgrounds can join together to defend Indigenous rights, despite the horrendous civil and regional conflict of the past two decades, the least we in the international community can do is to back them up where we have influence. We need to educate ourselves and others, then support civil society efforts on the ground, demand that African Union and United Nations peacekeepers do their jobs, and block multinational resource extractive companies from providing financial incentives for genocide.

My colleagues in DRC end many of their communications with the exhortation, “Courage!” Let’s follow their lead.



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