'Blood cell phones' worsen the crisis in the Congo

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derrick derrick's picture
'Blood cell phones' worsen the crisis in the Congo

 

derrick derrick's picture

[url=http://rabble.ca/news_full_story.shtml?sh_itm=2faffe8ce28e0ff05dc45e7e87... demand for the new 3G iphone, available today in Canada, helping to fuel a vicious war in the Congo?[/url]

Mercy

The drive for Congo's resources has been the cause of a lot of misery - but I'm unclear on the goals of this campaign.

Is it simply to attach a permanent stigma to coltan mined in the Congo? What if the situation there improves? Presumably, a company, or state-owned enterprise, that treated employees fairly and paid them a good wage, would be welcome. The campaign seems a little vague.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Mercy ]

Fidel

quote:


However, while former prime ministers have been active in the Congo, Canadian governments have been almost completely silent on the issue. This is despite the fact that the United Nations has issued several reports that are highly critical of illegal corporate exploitation of the country's minerals. Maurice Carney of Washington-based Friends of the Congo agrees with the reports, [b]"Eighty percent of the population live on 30 cents a day or less, with billions of dollars going out the back door and into the pockets of mining companies[/b]

[img]mad.gif" border="0[/img] If iPhones are that good, they can shove them up their asses sideways. A good thing can't hurt.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Mercy: What part of 5.4 million war-related deaths do you not understand?

The DR Congo has become a killing field, fuelled by the insatiable greed of imperialist mining companies for coltan.

This is not about a wage increase for the miners. It's about a world-wide anti-imperialist campaign to boycott the products of the rapacious mining companies that are sucking the riches out of the Congo and leaving an ocean of blood behind.

If this seems "a little vague" try doing some reading up on the [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=13&t=003837]o... holocaust in the DRC.[/url]

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: M. Spector ]

Mercy

I've actually followed the conflict pretty closely - which is why I'm suspicious about a vague campaign to simply pull money out without any stated goals.

Doug

It seems a lot like the issue with chocolate - it's a bulk commodity that gets all mixed up at various stages so that it's hard to know where any end product came from.

Fidel

I think Belgian colonialists, and backed by the west, were the original butchers in the Congo. Slaves who objected or tried to runaway often had their hands and feet chopped off, mutilated and slaughtered like dogs. Belgians slaughtered 10 million Congolese leading up to PatriceLumumba, the first and last democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo. And motherfucker colonialists are still in the Congo and dishing out human rights atrocities like it was yesteryear. Dogs have more rights. May their blood scream for all eternity!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Mercy:
[b]I've actually followed the conflict pretty closely - which is why I'm suspicious about a vague campaign to simply pull money out without any stated goals.[/b]

You obviously haven't been following closely enough.

Check out the website of [url=http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/congomatters/index.php]Friends of the Congo[/url], which was referenced in the article in the OP. There you will find:

quote:

1. The Congo is a central storehouse of strategic minerals for the functioning of modern society, particularly as it relates to the mining and technology sectors. [b]We must demand that foreign countries and corporations implement humane policies toward the Congo.[/b]

2. The Congo sits in the heart of Africa and is bordered by NINE other countries, therefore as the Congo goes so does the rest of Africa. [b]We must work with the Congolese and other Africans to make sure that the Congolese and NOT external forces determine the future and direction of their country.[/b]

3. The Congo has a history of being pillaged and the people being used as fodder in a rush for natural resources. The Belgian king, Leopold II, ruled over a death chamber from 1885 - 1908, when conservative estimates put the number of Congolese dying as a result of Leopold's personal rule at 10 million. During Leopold's era the resources at the root of the suffering of the Congolese was ivory and rubber, today its coltan, diamonds, gold and copper to name a few. [b]We must put a stop to mass murders in the quest for riches. To profit at the expense of the people is destructive to the human spirit.[/b]

4. Western nations under the auspices of the cold war assassinated an elected nationalist leader (Patrice Lumumba) and put in place a brutal dictator (Mobutu Sese Soko) and propped him up for 37 years while he brutalized the Congolese people and systematically stole the riches of the country. [b]Surely, these nations have an obligation to make sure that international networks and actors refrain from undermining genuine Congolese leadership aiming to create a decent way of life for the average Congolese.[/b]

5. The rapes, slaughter and savagery being committed in the Congo are affronts to the human conscience. Every individual and leader in the global community should be ashamed and outraged that we have allowed almost 6 million Congolese to die since 1998 as a result of a resource war. [b]As human beings in a so-called civilized world, we can and must do better.[/b]


If that's still too "vague" for you, then I have nothing more to say.

Mercy

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]If that's still too "vague" for you, then I have nothing more to say.[/b]

Would that I could be that lucky.

I did check out the Friends of Congo, and I still don't understand what the plan is.

Do they want people to divest from Congo forever? Regardless of whether the government changes, the peace process works, or Lumumba's party returns to power?

Or do we simply want mining companies to develop "humane policies" (which, by the way, is what every mining company will SAY they're doing anyway)?

I think the war in the Congo is one of the greatest crimes of our time - but I think people concerned about it need to know what they're doing and have a clear plan.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

How about we start by not buying the product that is being plundered from the Congo to line the pockets of Bay Street mining companies and fund the proxy wars?

What exactly is your objection to that?

Robespierre

Friends of the Congo and others were interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. A transcript of the interview is at the link below (scroll down the page about three quaters, the html seems oddly formatted).

[url=http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/23/corporations_reaping_millions_as_c...

Based on what the Friends of the congo spokesperson says in this interview, it is not clear that they have a highly organized campaign planned and under way, but I think they are under a lot of pressure in Congo, too, which might make it even more difficult to figure out what precise demands should be.

I hope this helps ti shed some light on who Freidns of the congo are.

I do not object to the spirit of your remarks earlier, I think it is better to know exactly what a so-called opposition group is calling for lest we boycot companies in the region who are actually allied with the oppressed people instead of the many greedy corporate hands in the Congo pie.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Robespierre ]

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Robespierre ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Thanks, Roby. That Democracy Now interview was the subject of the thread I linked to in my first post in this thread, above.

It is clear that the information is available as to which corporations are plundering the Congo and abetting the war. I don't see why actions targeting those companies cannot be maintained without vague worries about boycotting "companies in the region who are actually allied with the oppressed people".

Maybe you could identify those companies for us, so that we can be sure to exempt them from any boycott. Or maybe they don't exist.

Robespierre

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]Thanks, Roby. That Democracy Now interview was the subject of the thread I linked to in my first post in this thread, above.[/b]

I know. But someone missed it.

Sorry, posting the link again seemed like a funny joke---at the time. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]Maybe you could identify those companies for us, so that we can be sure to exempt them from any boycott. Or maybe they don't exist.[/b]

No, I can't. I think that such companies do not exist, is the problem. But, I wanted to leave the door open for Mercy to supply info that I may have overlooked. Much like your link. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It now dawns on me that your post was not responding to mine, but to Mercy's. Sorry for the confusion.

Fidel

quote:


Glenn Lesak, who heads Save The Children's relief programme in Congo, estimates that between 5000 and 6000 child slaves are forced to work in the mines.

He said: "This is an industry which is concentrated on forced labour and child labour. It's horrific.

[url=http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/lifestyle/real-life-stories/2008/07/06/pligh..."Their working conditions are inhuman[/b][/url] and have accelerated now because it's the dry season and the river beds are dry.

[b]"Children[/b] are essential to the process because they can get into smaller holes dug in the river beds."


Child slavery ffs!

Mercy

quote:


Posted shortly after that by M. Spector:
[b]How about we start by not buying the product that is being plundered from the Congo to line the pockets of Bay Street mining companies and fund the proxy wars?

What exactly is your objection to that? [/b]


None. I'd love to see it happen. My concerns are:

1) Unless you define specifically what's wrong and who's doing it a divestment campaign won't work.

2) I've seen a lot of faux "human rights groups" in my time and they can be dangerous. I have to admit, I'd never heard of the Friends of Congo before.

3) You broke your promise to say nothing more.

quote:

Originally posted by Robespierre:
[b]Friends of the Congo and others were interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. A transcript of the interview is at the link below (scroll down the page about three quaters, the html seems oddly formatted).

[url=http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/23/corporations_reaping_millions_as_c...

Based on what the Friends of the congo spokesperson says in this interview, it is not clear that they have a highly organized campaign planned and under way, but I think they are under a lot of pressure in Congo, too, which might make it even more difficult to figure out what precise demands should be.[/b]


Thanks, this is enlightening.

Fidel

Child slavery, aiding and abetting genocide are against international law in general as far as I can tell. Cement wall - dawn. Shot between the eyes and strung up by the cubes - horse dragged, drawn and quartered, pissed on. And not necessarily in that order.

quote:

[url=http://www.inshuti.org/mckinne9.htm]Mr. President[Dubya][/url], the scale and nature of the crimes which have been and are still being committed in eastern Congo rival anything being committed in the world today and they warrant our nation's strongest condemnation and firm action. Human RightsWatch has consistently reported on the widespread torture and murder of civilians in eastern Congo. Incidents of women being raped and tortured in front of their children abound. Even reports of women being raped with branches and then being buried alive have been documented. Human Rights Watch even reported on a case of a Congolese woman being raped and then forced to stand in a pit full of water in which a dead infant was already floating from another woman who had miscarried earlier during her torture.

Just this week on March 22, 2001 the Rome based Catholic missionary news agency,MISNA, reported that Rwanda was now operating concentration camps in eastern Congo in which slave laborers brought from Rwandan prisons are being forced to work in underground mines to gather Congo's precious resources for sale to U.S. and other foreign corporations. This is clearly a grave violation of international law and is evidence of the fact that Rwanda and its conspirators may be about to reduce African human rights to a whole new low by following Nazi and Japanese precedents of enslaving civilian populations to produce wealth. . . -- Sincerely, Cynthia McKinney Member of Congress, 2001


It's the torture, genocide, rapes, concentration camps, child slavery, and all around Nazi-like racist foreign policies on the quiet/QT for the sake of western business interests in the Congo's vast mineral and natural resource wealth. I think we've narrowed it down to a short-list of crimes against humanity.

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Fidel

America's War in Central AfricaThe Pentagon's proxy war in the Eastern Congo

Quote:
Backed by the Obama Administration and its former Clinton allies, Rwandan troops have marched into Congo, ostensibly to save the day, yet again, barely a month after a scathing United Nations report revealed that they were already there. Meanwhile, the recent UNHCR Gimme Shelter campaign uses the iconic Rolling Stones song and Hollywood star Ben Affleck’s video of suffering in Congo as a propaganda tool to peddle the international catastrophe of western AID, intervention and plunder in Central Africa. A look behind the scenes reveals the hidden interests of the misery industry, the obliviousness of do-gooder celebrities, and actor Ben Affleck’s personal patronage of Paul Kagame and the perpetrators of genocide in Central Africa. These international NGOs are all here for the same reason as every other foreigner in Congo—to make money,” reports a newly arrived NGO volunteer from eastern Congo. “I came here to help the folks and seek work, but the more I learn the more FUBAR this place appears to be. It has evolved into a highly efficient corrupt system.” . .

Ben Affleck’s statements about “a real lack of (aid agencies) here” and “a real lack of money going to these folks” are demonstrably false. There is no lack of agencies, no lack of money, and these are not ‘folks’—they are highly politicized institutions, part of an industry that perpetuates and institutionalizes deracination, and they use and abuse ‘innocent’ but nihilistic celebrities like Ben Affleck.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-har... we fuel Africa's bloodiest war[/url]

Quote:
There are two stories about how this war began – the official story, and the true story. The official story is that after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu mass murderers fled across the border into Congo. The Rwandan government chased after them. But it's a lie. How do we know? The Rwandan government didn't go to where the Hutu genocidaires were, at least not at first. They went to where Congo's natural resources were – and began to pillage them. They even told their troops to work with any Hutus they came across. Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more. Everybody wanted a slice – so six other countries invaded.

These resources were not being stolen to for use in Africa. They were seized so they could be sold on to us. The more we bought, the more the invaders stole – and slaughtered. The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo. The UN named the international corporations it believed were involved: Anglo-America, Standard Chartered Bank, De Beers and more than 100 others. (They all deny the charges.) But instead of stopping these corporations, our governments demanded that the UN stop criticising them.

There were times when the fighting flagged. In 2003, a peace deal was finally brokered by the UN and the international armies withdrew. Many continued to work via proxy militias – but the carnage waned somewhat. Until now. As with the first war, there is a cover-story, and the truth. A Congolese militia leader called Laurent Nkunda – backed by Rwanda – claims he needs to protect the local Tutsi population from the same Hutu genocidaires who have been hiding out in the jungles of eastern Congo since 1994. That's why he is seizing Congolese military bases and is poised to march on Goma.

It is a lie. François Grignon, Africa Director of the International Crisis Group, tells me the truth: "Nkunda is being funded by Rwandan businessmen so they can retain control of the mines in North Kivu. This is the absolute core of the conflict. What we are seeing now is beneficiaries of the illegal war economy fighting to maintain their right to exploit."

At the moment, Rwandan business interests make a fortune from the mines they illegally seized during the war. The global coltan price has collapsed, so now they focus hungrily on cassiterite, which is used to make tin cans and other consumer disposables. As the war began to wane, they faced losing their control to the elected Congolese government – so they have given it another bloody kick-start.

Yet the debate about Congo in the West – when it exists at all – focuses on our inability to provide a decent bandage, without mentioning that we are causing the wound. It's true the 17,000 UN forces in the country are abysmally failing to protect the civilian population, and urgently need to be super-charged. But it is even more important to stop fuelling the war in the first place by buying blood-soaked natural resources. Nkunda only has enough guns and grenades to take on the Congolese army and the UN because we buy his loot. We need to prosecute the corporations buying them for abetting crimes against humanity, and introduce a global coltan-tax to pay for a substantial peacekeeping force. To get there, we need to build an international system that values the lives of black people more than it values profit.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Quote:
November 2008 was the 100-year anniversary of the Congo's conversion from the personal property of Belgian King Leopold II to a colonial possession of Belgium, itself. The King's brutal rule, documented in [url=King">http://www.amazon.ca/King-Leopolds-Ghost-Heroism-Colonial/dp/0618001905]... Leopold's Ghost[/url], embarrassed the Belgians into switching "landlords" in 1908, but did little to ease the colonial burden on the Congolese people.  

Between the European powers Berlin meeting that divided up Africa in 1885 and 1908, Belgium's Leopold II accumulated spectacular wealth for himself while an estimated 10-million Congolese died.  Even more died before Congo finally got its independence on June 30, 1960.  But, real independence has never arrived in the Congo, and foreign military and economic powers still control its destiny today!  In 2008, Leopold's "Ghost" has been replaced by the United States and the United Kingdom, and surrogate-armies led by Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Musveni, as documented by reports commissioned by the UN Security Council more than 5 years ago....that the U.S. press has studiously ignored.  

U.S. neo-colonial influence in Congo can be traced to the years just after nominal "independence," when Patrice Lumumba, its first democratically-elected prime minister, was assassinated by a western-backed "anti-communist" coup on January 17, 1961. Belgium apologized for its role in 2002 , but despite exposés like [url=A">http://www.amazon.ca/Legacy-Ashes-History-Tim-Weiner/dp/0307389006][u]A Legacy of Ashes[/url], the CIA history published last year that documents CIA crimes in the Congo, and elsewhere, the U.S. still downplays its role in assassinating Lumumba, and backing the "anti-communist" dictator-criminal Mobutu Sese Seko for more than 3 decades...until he was overthrown in 1997 by a U.S./U.K. sponsored invasion from Rwanda and Uganda, after the Soviet Union's collapse made him expendable.  

During a lull in the fighting in the Congo, the UN Security Council commissioned detailed reports in 2001, 2002 and 2003 that document how the 1996 Ugandan/Rwandan military-invasion overthrew Mobutu, put Laurent Kabila in power in 1997 and unleashed an ongoing resource war, when Kabila tried to reclaim the resource-rich eastern Congo from his erstwhile "allies." That war eventually brought Angola, Zimbabwe and other nations to the defense of the Congo's territory in what became known the First "World War of Africa." Since the 1996 invasion, the Congo has lost an estimated 6 million men, women and children, and the Rwanda/Uganda sponsored war continues today. 

As central Africa teeters on the edge of another conflagration that threatens to touch off a Second "World War of Africa" even the New York Times is reporting that the increasing violence is based in a grab for resources.  But, what has not been reported is that, more than 5 years ago, at least 3 UN Security Council-commissioned reports submitted over 3 separate years, identified the resource-grab by Rwandan and Ugandan elites as the main source of violence and death in the Congo.  Each nation's capital has become the largest trading centers for riches that don't exist in either country, but exist in great plenty in the eastern Congo.   

The UN reports describe how elites, related to government and military leaders in Rwanda and Uganda, are gorging themselves on the riches stolen from the areas under the control or their armies or their surrogates. For example, according to the UN reports Rwanda controls an area of the Congo more than 15-times its national territory….

The 2001-03 UN-commissioned reports document just how lucrative the Congo invasion and occupation has been for its Rwandan and Ugandan sponsors....but it also helps to know, as reported by the U.K. Telegraph, that Uganda is one of the largest recipients of U.K military and economic aid on the African continent. And [that] Rwandan President Kagame was trained by the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth and that Rwanda has been Africa's largest per capita recipient of U.S. military and economic aid.  The Rwandan army has grown from 7,000 troops when Kagame invaded Rwanda from Uganda in 1990 to between 70,000 to 100,000 troops today. Rwandan and Ugandan troops and private military contractors are in Darfur, Somalia and part of the 180,000 "civilians" assisting the U.S. military in Iraq. 

Only the United States and United Kingdom (not the UN or the "international community") have the power to stop the killing in the Congo by removing support for the military and economic crimes of their allies.

– [url=http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/11/18-2]Peter Erlinder[/url]