How deep did the corruption of the Clintons go when they were in power? And at what human cost did they enrich themselves?
Here’s just one example to judge by: the Clintons’ collusion with a mining company operating in Africa that caused untold human misery, displacement, starvation, and massacre.
Richard Pollock writes at the Daily Caller:
A little known Swedish-Canadian oil and mining conglomerate human rights groups have repeatedly charged produces “blood minerals” is among the Clinton Foundation’s biggest donors, thanks to a $100 million pledge in 2007, a Daily Caller News Foundation [DCNF] investigation has found.
“Blood minerals” are related to “blood diamonds”, which are allegedly mined in war zones or sold as commodities to help finance political insurgencies or despotic warlords. When the Vancouver, Canada-based Lundin Group gave its $100 million commitment to the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”, the company had long been cutting deals with warlords, Marxist rebels, military strongmen and dictatorships in the war-torn African countries of Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Lundin promoted its reputation as a fierce, hard-driving company. Adolf Lundin, who founded the company, audaciously traveled to the French home of Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1996 to secure mining rights for his company. A few years later, Lundin admitted he had offered a “donation” to Mobutu’s “elections campaign”, but later said he never gave the funds. …
The Lundin Group reportedly cut a deal in 1997 with Congolese Marxist warlord Laurent Kabila, with a $50 million down payment toward $250 million they would give to the rebels in exchange for mining rights, according to according to U.N. Inspector Jason K. Stearns. Lundin eventually won majority rights to one of the country’s richest mineral veins.
A Swedish prosecutor, mirroring the views of human rights groups, once characterized the company as filled with “opportunistic, dictator-hugging businessmen”, a description the company has vigorously denied.
In accepting the $100 million, President Bill Clinton hailed Lundin’s contribution, saying “today’s generous support by the Lundin Group is to be applauded because it demonstrates the potential of this global initiative to capture the imagination and support of the mining sector”. It wasn’t the first time Clinton consorted with mining moguls. In the waning hours of his presidency in 2001, Clinton pardoned Glencore International mining and oil magnate Marc Rich after his wife, Denise, made generous donations to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and his Clinton Library. Clinton’s pardon erased a 65-count indictment against Rich for trading with Iran against the oil embargo. Rich did the Iranian oil sales while Americans were held captive in the country by the Mullahs.
In the same year the Clinton Foundation accepted Lundin’s money, Swedwatch, a Swedish non-governmental organization that tracks Swedish business dealings in the developing world, released a condemnatory report about the company’s operations in Congo, titled “Risky Business”.
The report detailed widespread suffering in the Congo as whole villages were removed to make way for Lundin’s mining operations.
Six years earlier, the relief organization Christian Aid released a report denouncing the scorched-earth tactics of the Sudanese military to clear villages for Lundin’s petroleum exploration. Its report was titled, “Lundin Oil in Sudan: Scorched Earth”.
Thanks to those reporters and others, Lundin is known in Congress as well. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, told the DCNF that “areas with high conflict over minerals are breeding grounds for human rights abuses on a massive scale, and when entities like the Clintons’ Foundation accept donations from these corrupt actors, they are sanctioning the exploitation“. …
Human rights groups have released numerous reports of the devastation wrought by oil and mining companies in Africa, with many focusing specifically on Lundin.
Swedwatch wrote extensively of the horrors caused by Lundin mining in Congo. “Three villages were relocated to make room for the new mining activities. In October 2007, many resettled families that had been promised new houses were still sheltering under plastic sheeting, waiting for their new houses to be built,” the report stated.
Christian Aid said field workers in the Sudan “found thousands of Nuer civilians displaced from villages along this road, hundreds of miles away” due to Lundin oil operations, adding, “Then government troops arrived by truck and helicopter, burning the villages and killing anyone who was unable to flee – in most cases, the old and the very young.”
In April, 2001, Swedish Dagens Nyheter journalist Anna Koblanck toured Lundin’s Block 5A oil parcels in the Sudan with company executives.
Koblanck described seeing death and destruction along the way, writing, “The displaced Bentiu are starving to death.” She reported that “many villages along the road are empty”.
Human Rights Watch in 2003 noted Lundin never mentioned the scorched earth tactics in public statements about its presence in the Sudan: “The oil companies, led by Lundin, made no public statement condemning this destruction and displacement in Block 5A, despite the press attention it garnered and the regular alarms from U.N. agencies about the dire state of the needy in this very area.
“None of this fighting nor mass displacement caused the oil consortium, led by Lundin, to express concern about the well-being of the people living in its concession area,” said Human Rights Watch. “Lundin never mentioned the armed conflict in its public releases.”
Accusations of Lundin human rights violations in Ethiopia were so frequent in 2011, two Swedish journalists went there to investigate … They were arrested by Ethiopian authorities government on “terrorism” charges and in 2012 sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The two “were investigating allegations of human rights violations linked to the activities of the Swedish oil company Lundin Oil”, stated PEN, the international journalist organization. The international outcry finally secured their release after more than a year of imprisonment.
And did the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, try to do anything about this vast atrocity?
No. She profited from it:
Although then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Congo in 2009, she unexpectedly delayed implementation of a landmark “certification” program designed to assure human rights were respected by mining companies like Lundin in Africa. …
Her failure to act was criticized at the time by John Prendergast, president of Enough.org, a nongovernmental organization which championed the “blood minerals” legislation. … Robin Wright, another Enough.org advocate, wrote in Time Magazine that two years after Clinton traveled to the Congo, local villagers told her, “nearly everyone I met asked me to take a message back to ‘Mama Clinton’ to urge her to make good on her promise to implement the certification process“.
Such apparent quid pro quos were common at the Clinton Foundation, charges Charles Ortel, who has extensively studied the foundation.
Since January 2001, the Clinton family has used their public charity as a vehicle to create enormously valuable concessions in numerous desperately poor and corrupt countries, for individuals who claim that they have made extravagantly large ‘pledges’.
The final execution of the certification process was announced by the Department of State the same month Clinton left office in February, 2013.
The Democratic Party must be “in denial”. Is it really offering as its only candidates for the presidency an old communist – aka “a democratic socialist” – whose mind was badly made up never to change again way back in the last century; some other man no one knows or cares anything about; and, primarily, a hideously corrupt old female whose reputation is laden with more scandals than any other figure in modern American history, and is the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI?
Yes, mirabile dictu, it is!
John Hawkins provides a useful summary of things the old woman has been and done:
Conservatives have been amusing themselves for months by watching Hillary Clinton supporters sputter out laughable answers when they’re asked to name her biggest accomplishments. You can’t blame them for not being able to come up with anything significant because Hillary has choked on the same question in interviews. That’s one of the reasons her staffers have been shielding her from the press like a mother standing between her child and Jared Fogle.
If you want to double down on the laughs, go read an actual list of “accomplishments” on her website.
All seven “accomplishments” are things Hillary didn’t have much to do with — like CHIP and the Family Medical Leave Act (Those went into effect when her husband was in office) or getting 9/11 first responders health care (Was that ever a question?). Alternately, they’re just ridiculous.
“Fought for children and families for 40 years and counting.”
“Told the world that ‘women’s rights are human rights’,”
“Stood up for LGBT rights at home and abroad.”
The very fact that Hillary Clinton considers those things to be “accomplishments” that she should be applauded for as opposed to things that should evoke eye-rolling and “Is she serious?” comments tells you a lot about why she shouldn’t be President.
Of course, the real problem Hillary has isn’t that she doesn’t have achievements; it’s just that they’re not exploits that anyone would want to base a run at the Presidency on.
1) She has been willing to endure America’s most humiliating marriage to achieve wealth and power: It’s fun to guess what Hillary Clinton would have done with her life if she hadn’t married Bill and ridden his coattails. City council member in Little Rock, Arkansas? EPA bureaucrat? A lawyer for Planned Parenthood? She’s a very small person who latched onto her husband’s very big last name.
In return, she had to stay married to a man who cheated on her. Constantly. Worse yet, not only did she know it, the whole world knows it.
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjuring himself over an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He settled a sexual harassment case against Paula Jones. He was accused of sexual assault by Kathleen Willey. He was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick. Then there’s Gennifer Flowers, Dolly Kyle Browning, Elizabeth Ward Gracen and undoubtedly dozens of other women he’s slept with. Given that some of the troopers who guarded him in Arkansas claimed they procured women for him and his confirmed trips to “orgy island”, the number may be in the hundreds and chances are, while you’re reading this, Bill is having sex with a woman who’s not Hillary Clinton. No normal woman would be so hungry for power over her fellow human beings that she would endure that and that does separate Hillary from the rest of us who aren’t as desperate for power.
2) Four people are dead in Benghazi because of her: It seems hard to believe that it’s even possible, but there were more than 600 ignored security requests related to Libya and the consulate in Benghazi. Had Hillary paid attention to those requests, it’s entirely possible that none of our men would have died in Libya. However, Hillary claims none of those requests reached her desk. Since it’s generally accepted that Hillary lies incessantly about anything and everything, maybe that’s another lie. On the other hand, given that she’s 68 years old, hasn’t driven a car since 1996 and clearly can’t handle her own email, maybe she just didn’t know what she was doing. Either way, if we had a different Secretary of State, those four men would probably be alive today. Most of us have made mistakes at work, but how many of us have the guts to ask for a promotion after four people DIED because we missed hundreds of requests for help from them?
3) She was one of the worst Secretaries of State in U.S. history: Donald Trump calls her “the worst Secretary of State” in American history, but this is an old country that has had a lot of people in that position; so that may be unfair. Maybe she’s just one of the worst Secretaries of State in American history. Look at what happened on her watch.
We helped radical jihadis take over in Libya and that country is falling apart. Benghazi also happened and while she was publicly telling the world a video caused it, she was privately telling people it was a terrorist attack. Additionally, we backed a radical jihadi takeover of the government in Egypt that thankfully fell apart. We pulled all our troops out of Iraq, which set the stage for ISIS to move in. Our relationship with the Israeli government deteriorated. So did our relationships with China and Russia. To top it all off, the State Department lost track of 6 billion dollars while she was Secretary of State. It would be easy to write Clinton off as a pitiable character whose ambition led her to take a job that was far too big for someone of her meager abilities, but unfortunately she’s trying to use her miserable failure as Secretary of State as a stepping stone to the presidency where she could do even more damage.
4) She managed to turn a career in government service into immense wealth: Hillary and her husband managed to become filthy rich one percenters because of their government service. Granted, they did cut a few corners in the process. For example, while Bill was governor, Hillary got away with taking a nearly $100,000 bribe from Robert L. “Red” Bone via sleazy cattle futures deals. While she was Secretary of State, money poured into the pockets of her husband and the Clinton Foundation from defense contractors and foreign governments that got fat contracts from the State Department. Among the governments that funneled money into the Clinton bank account via speeches are Iran, North Korea [actually, the State Department did not permit that one! – ed] the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. They paid the Clintons an awful lot of money and if Hillary becomes our next President, people might be surprised at how much those foreign governments end up getting in return for making the Clintons rich.
5) She’s better at surviving sleazy scandals than anyone else: Hillary Clinton has been tied into more scandals than any other five politicians combined. Where she goes, an ocean of corruption, sleaze and controversy always follows. It’s amazing in a horrific way that Hillary is still considered a serious candidate for the presidency despite having more gaffes and scandals than the entire GOP field COMBINED. It would take a book to fully detail all of them, but just to name a few, there’s Emailgate, Pardongate, Whitewater, Travelgate, using the IRS to attack her political opponents, looting the White House, illegally acquiring FBI files on her Republican opponents, the Boeing payoff, the Uranium One payoff, the Norway embassy payoff, the Congo payoff, ripping off AIDS patients in the Third World, taking bribes via cattle futures, lying about landing under “sniper fire” in Bosnia, laughing about tearing apart a 12 year old girl in court to get a child rapist off and Benghazi. There are mob bosses with cleaner records than Hillary Clinton and yet, not only has she avoided prison so far, she’s running for President.
An appalling record. Yet it leaves out the worst thing Hillary Clinton accomplished.
She it was who insisted that Libya be attacked from the air to help anti-Gaddafi rebels depose the dictator. That they did (and tortured him to death). Tritely she squealed, “We came, we saw, he died.” And since then, Libya has been in chaos. From its shores untold multitudes of “refugees” sail for Europe. Many drown. Families are torn apart. Europe sinks.
If she could do so much harm as secretary of state, how much more could she do as president?
Is it America’s moral duty to rescue victims of religious, ideological, racial, national, or tribal oppression, persecution, or genocide?
James Lewis writes at American Thinker:
Genocides happen when the civilized world shuts its eyes and does nothing while some gang of barbarians slaughters human beings by the thousands. Civilized silence promises safety to the killers and demoralizes their victims.
Samantha Power, Obama’s U.N. ambassador, has made a career criticizing U.S. government passivity in the face of genocide. She has written Pulitzer Prize-winning books like A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
Now [she is] U.N. ambassador – a major power position in the Obama administration, the most powerful political job she is ever likely to have to do what she wants.
What has Dr. Power done about genocide? What has she actually done to stop, or even to complain in public about, groups and regimes that thirst after genocide, like Iran, ISIS, the Taliban, the Wahhabi priesthood of Saudi Arabia, the mass killing rulers of the Sudan? What about Boko Haram killing, enslaving, and selling children in Nigeria? What about the Kenya massacres? What has she done?
Samuel Totten studies genocide as a disease of dysfunctional politics and has now written a report on Samantha Power’s actions against genocide.
They are zero, just like her boss’s achievements.
But let’s be more modest. It may be hard to get things done in the real world. So let’s just ask: what has Samantha Power even said in her highly public position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?
Has Power even spoken out, in private or public, against the horrors we can all see today?
Like Obama himself, Dr. Power refuses even to call the real thing by its proper name. Somehow, after a career of assaulting previous administrations for their moral failures to even name genocide, she is now struck deaf and dumb.
Samantha Power is symbolic of all the simple moral failures of the Obama years. She has sold her soul for a mess of pottage. Like her boss, Dr. Power talks a good game.
The Rwanda genocide happened because Kofi Annan, who was a U.N. “observer”, knew all about it but never made a public fuss.
Well, that’s not why it happened. It may have been why it wasn’t stopped, or prevented from happening.
The Armenian genocide of 1.5 million Christians happened because ethnic and religious genocide is what the Turks did during the four centuries of the Ottoman Caliphate, and nobody in the more civilized world wanted to even publicize it. The same is true of the Holocaust and Stalin’s Ukrainian starvation campaign. …
Again, the disregard of powerful nations by their governments and/or their newspapers was not a cause of those atrocities but – at most – a license to let them proceed.
But perhaps James Lewis means that if the civilized powers made it constantly known, by interfering even in small incidents of persecution when they occurred anywhere in the world – and so demonstrating that they would not allow such things ever to happen – the big events, the starving of millions, the attempts at genocide would not happen because interference would be expected and feared.
He argues that the “civilized world” should at least speak up against the evil that states and rebel armies do.
The civilized world is not obligated to sacrifice precious lives, even for a profoundly moral cause. We are not infinitely powerful. But we have an elementary right and duty to tell the truth, and to act on it when we can. Obama’s abandonment of millions and millions of people is a cruel defeat for elementary morality. Those who don’t get that are sociopaths, and those who twist it are liars. Abandoning Afghanistan is not, as the delusional left will say, some sort of victory. The rise of barbarian sadistic regimes, those who routinely oppress all women and girls because they can, is not – repeat: not – a wonderful moral victory.
But Obama and his media lackeys will try to paint it that way.
Today we don’t even allow ourselves to think that the Cold War was a noble and civilizing effort by the United States and its allies against the kind of barbarism that we see today being practiced by ISIS – and we know about ISIS only because social media make it impossible for the left to censor it. The left cares only about power, and the resulting millions of dead and wounded are simply the price to pay for Progress. …
Now Obama is willingly – maybe joyously – retreating from lands where we made a difference. We gave and sacrificed precious lives and treasure in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and elsewhere. It was the right thing to do after 9/11/01 for our national security, and it was the moral thing to do. Today Obama is turning Afghanistan over to the barbaric Taliban, just as we seem to be turning Iraq over to ISIS and an Iranian proxy regime in Baghdad.
Obama is knowingly running away from the worst war ideology in the world: war-making Islam.
But why? Could it be because he thinks it is the best ideology in the world? There have been many signs that he loves Islam. And not, we suspect, because he is deluded into thinking it other than it is, but because it is as it is.
Since he is constitutionally unable to tell the truth, he has to lie about it. Suddenly the Wahhabi torture theology of ISIS – identical to that of the Taliban – no longer makes for a “terrorist” gang. No, they are an “indigenous insurgency,” following the most shameful lie of the left today, the corrupt idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter. We should have realized that when Obama allowed the young people’s Green Revolution in Tehran to be killed and tortured into silence at the very beginning of this administration.
We have lost our moral bearings, and the left likes it that way.
Obama is a typical leftist horror story, just as merciless as Lenin, Chávez, and Pol Pot. Since we’ve exhausted the English vocabulary for describing him and his gang, I suggest we borrow his own lies to describe him.
He is Obama the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Servant of the most ruthless war theology in history.
He is not my president, and in a moral sense, he is not an American president at all.
But say we did have a president who would tell the truth and speak out against Islam, its ruthlessly destructive ideology, its unjust law, its cruelty to women, its extreme bigotry in allowing no apostasy – would the Taliban or ISIS be deterred?
And if not, would most Americans say they must be stopped by force – American military force?
Samantha Power has a highly selective bleeding heart. She and Hillary Clinton worked passionately to get American bombs falling on Libya; ostensibly to protect the people from massacre by the tyrant Qaddafi when they knew he was not actually threatening them – only to stand back when he was killed as a result of their interference, and let real massacres rip; including the one at Benghazi of the US ambassador and three other Americans.
Perhaps Dr. Power’s silence since then could be read as a sign that she learnt a lesson about “the responsibility to protect” which she had invoked in the case of Libya. That would give her the benefit of any doubt about her character and intelligence. But whether her silence on the daily atrocities being carried out, in the name of Allah, in Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the Congo, and now the Cameroons – is the result of painfully acquired wisdom or merely conformity to Obama’s “policy” of complaisance, we cannot know.
The war 5
Among the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls there is one titled The War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.
It is a perpetual war: Good against Evil.
It is fought in most of the world’s mythologies, and in almost all of them Good will win in the end. (The exception is that of the Norsemen. They foresaw the triumph of Evil.)
Dennis Prager, writing at Townhall, describes how the two sides of the conflict appear to him now:
In both personal and public life, you can know a great deal about a person or a group if you know what most bothers them – and what doesn’t bother them.
A news item this past week made this point with glaring clarity. It reported a meeting that the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights had on Friday. Before revealing the subject of that meeting, let’s review for a moment what is happening in the world …
North Korea continues to be an affront to the human species. That North Korea, whether or not it had nuclear weapons, is not a central concern is an indictment of humanity.
That the West, with the noble exception of Canada under Stephen Harper, is appeasing the dictators of Iran, is an indictment of the West.
Add to this list the U.N.’s and the world’s ignoring of the Chinese government’s continuing suppression of all dissent and its decades-long violent eradication of Tibet’s unique and ancient culture.
Then add the slaughter of millions in Congo over the last decade, the 100,000-plus killed in Syria just last year, most of them civilians killed by their own government, and the blowing up, burning alive, and throat-cutting of untold numbers of innocent people by violent Islamists on a daily basis.
In other words, if what bothers you most is evil – the deliberate infliction of cruelty on people by people – North Korea, Congo, China, Syria and radical Islam will bother you more than anything else on the world scene.
So, then, what was the subject of the meeting convened Friday by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights?
The alleged racism of the name of the National Football League’s Washington team, the Redskins.
That’s right. All these horrific evils are happening as you read this, and … the United Nations had a meeting about the name Washington Redskins.
The U.N. is not alone in paying undue attention to the Redskins’ name. The left in the United States is nearly obsessed with it. President Barack Obama has spoken out against it. The Washington Post editorial board has demanded that the team drop the name. In the herd-like way that governs media, innumerable columnists and sports writers have written passionate columns against the name, and increasing numbers of sports writers have vowed to never again write or speak the name.
This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.
Preoccupation with real evil is the greatest difference between right and left. The right was preoccupied with fighting Communism while the left … was preoccupied with fighting anti-Communists.
The right today is preoccupied with fighting Islamism; the left is preoccupied with fighting “Islamophobia.”
One way of putting it is that the right is preoccupied with fighting evil and the left is preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil.
The right is preoccupied with defending Israel against those who wish to annihilate it. The left is preoccupied with Israeli apartments on the West Bank.
This difference was made manifest last week in the address given by the one world leader to exemplify the right’s preoccupation with evil, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Talking about all the condemnations of Israel, Harper said:
“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Yes, but the writer does not go nearly far enough. The Left is not merely preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil, it is occupied with doing evil. The Left is in alliance with Islam. Its (bewilderingly unintelligent) intelligentsia invent a fake need to “save the planet” from “climate change” as an excuse to advance their own tyrannical rule, reduce population, and impoverish and destroy civilization.
And where are our warriors of the Right to stop them? Let’s see: there’s Stephen Harper and … Well, a few more names may spring to mind. And we do have the immense power of Reason on our side.
Which side is winning, would you say?
We seldom quote the leftist anti-Semitic Guardian/Observer, but today we make an exception for extracts from a horrifying account, by Ian Birrell, of the little-reported savage war in the Congo. His completely irrelevant opening sentences tell you (or at any rate tell us) it is by a lefty anti-Semite – his bitter implication being “no Jews, no news” (but whose fault is that if not the likes of him?), but read on:
Once again, the apparently insoluble struggle between Israel and Palestine has flared up before flickering into uneasy standoff. As usual, world leaders issued fierce warnings, diplomats flew in and the media flooded the region to cover the mayhem as both sides spewed out the empty cliches of conflict. After eight days of fighting, nearly 160 people lay dead.
Meanwhile, 2,300 miles further south, events took a sharp turn for the worse in another interminable regional war. This one also involves survivors of genocide ruthlessly focused on securing their future at any cost. But the resulting conflict is far bloodier, far more brutal, far more devastating, far more destructive – yet it gains scarcely a glance from the rest of the world. …
[It is taking place in] the Democratic Republic of the Congo – scene of massacres, of mass rape, of children forced to fight, of families fleeing in fear again and again, so many sordid events that rarely make the headlines. …
A rebel army of 1,500 men waltzed into Goma, a city of one million people, on Tuesday. In doing so, they humiliated not just the useless Congolese government but also the hapless blue helmets of the biggest United Nations peacekeeping mission, costing nearly £1bn a year.
Where on earth have UN peacekeeping forces been effective? Notoriously they themselves raped and murdered civilians in the Congo, as the Guardian itself reported in 2010.
There are so many peacekeepers and development agencies in Goma it has become a boom town, home to some of the most expensive housing in Africa. Yet again, all these people proved impotent.
The leaders of this insurgent force, the M23, have declared their aim to march across this vast country to capture the capital, Kinshasa. Since it is backed by Rwanda and Uganda, which used proxy armies to do this once before in 1997, such threats cannot be dismissed. Joseph Kabila, the Congolese president, who, through fear of a coup, corruption and incompetence, castrated his own military, is reported to have responded by asking Angola to send troops to save him.
It is all a dismal echo of the Great African War, which officially ended in 2003 but dribbled on for another five years. This began when Rwanda and Uganda invaded in 1998, saw 11 countries from Angola to Zimbabwe involved and left more than five million dead and millions more displaced. There were war crimes on all sides as armies brutalised those unfortunate people living above the fabulous seams of minerals that fuelled the fighting.
It is hard to fathom the real aims of M23, formed earlier this year by mutinous Congolese Tutsi army officers. It could be they hope the Kabila government will implode or it may be they wish to create an independent state in the east of the country. One thing is clear: the international community needs to take tough and urgent action to stop a festering sore from poisoning a huge chunk of Africa once again.
Ah yes. The West – read “chiefly the US” – which Guardian journalists despise on principle, must intervene to stop Third World savages (whose culture, don’t forget, is quite as good as ours, if not better) are doing what they habitually do.
The west bears some responsibility for the latest act in the Congolese tragedy. Not just because the ethnic divisions that cause such fear were inflamed during dark years of Belgian misrule.
Albeit the Belgians – who did indeed govern their colonies cruelly – left the Congo more than fifty years ago, two generations back.
Nor simply because we gobble up those minerals that fund the warlords.
See how wicked we Westerners are? We buy their minerals, which lay unprofitably in their soil for millennia before any Belgian ventured into the heart of their darkness.
But because at the heart of the horror in a country the size of western Europe is the tiny nation of Rwanda, darling of western donors seeking to assuage their guilt over inaction during its own genocide.
And we’re wrong, wrong, wrong, if we feel guilt for not intervening in the Rwanda massacre in 1994? Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Britain and America in particular have lionised a regime guilty of ghastly internal repression and gruesome foreign adventurism, with catastrophic consequences for millions of Congolese. Admirers of Paul Kagame, the despotic Rwandan president, praise his country’s economic development, ignoring that it is part-financed by trade in minerals plundered and pillaged from a ravaged neighbour. As far back as 2001, a Congolese rebel leader admitted such theft was Rwandan state policy.
Meanwhile, the west ignored repeated war crimes committed by this regime. The first invasion, originally to drive out Hutu genocidaires who fled over the Congo border and were allowed to regroup by aid organisations, led to an estimated 300,000 deaths of innocent refugees. One expert called this a genocide of attrition. The second invasion sparked even worse carnage. … Rwandan troops and their allies slaughtered children, women and elderly people, often with the crudest weapons such as knives, ropes and stones.
Yet western leaders hailed Kagame as the modern face of Africa and pumped vast aid into his arms.
Here’s a particular on which we at TAC agree with the writer. (We agree with him in general of course that what is happening in the Congo is pitiful and atrocious.) We are against all foreign aid (but we bet he isn’t!).
Britain is the biggest bilateral donor; we directly funded agencies of repression, then led moves for Rwanda to join the Commonwealth. The links between our two countries are alarmingly close … Tony Blair advises Kagame on “governance”, even while swanning around seeking peace in the Middle East. …
“Swanning around”? Implication of contempt. So again we can agree. Tony Blair and his mission are both superfluous to any requirement.
After weeks of prevarication, Britain has finally admitted evidence of Rwandan support for M23 was “credible”. Now we must make up for supporting this monstrous regime by cutting all aid, imposing tough sanctions and seeking war crimes proceedings against Kagame and his senior officials. The UN needs to review its peacekeeping mandate in Congo. Rwanda is set to join the UN Security Council in January, even as fears grow it may end up with a pliable client state carved out in eastern Congo. …
Rwanda carving out a client state? How the world turns!
Rwanda is far from the only villain in this drama. Uganda, another western ally, is also linked again to the latest unrest, the president’s own brother accused of backing the M23. But Rwanda is the cause of much of the trouble. The truth is that six times as many people have died already in the Congolese wars as died in the Rwandan genocide. Time to say never again – or does the blood of Congo not count?
On October 14, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that 100 U.S. troops, acting as advisors to the Uganda military, will help in military action against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) — a rebel force roaming northwest Uganda, recruiting child soldiers, committing atrocities, and taking hostages (including slave “wives”) for more than fifteen years.
Information on the origin and nature of the appalling Lord’s Resistance Army is provided here at PJ Media by Harvey Glickman, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Haverford College, who also speculates on the reasons for the recent stepped-up US involvement against it in Uganda. (For more on the LRA see our post The Lord’s army of child slave cannibals, June 14, 2011.)
The LRA’s main goal is to live off the terror it creates. Northwest Uganda, northeast Congo, and southeast Sudan (now divided by the new border with South Sudan) have all seen decades of bloody disorder as the LRA traversed international borders to elude Ugandan troops. At times, the LRA has also attacked in Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Republic of Sudan, and Uganda, committing atrocities in those countries.
The LRA emerged as an atrocity-anarchy mechanism in the mid-1980s. It arose among the long-neglected Acholi people in northern Uganda, whose brief period of ascendancy during the brutal Idi Amin regime was overthrown by the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni, in 1986. Museveni parlayed his military success into the presidency and remains there today.
Joseph Kony, a member of the Acholi people originally from Gulu in northern Uganda, founded the LRA, and instigated a rebellion against the Ugandan government in 1986. His ostensible purpose was to establish a theocracy based on orders from God communicated to him via spirits. His method to spread the “Word” encompassed unspeakable atrocities and child abduction, eventually displacing two million people in his rampages through northern Uganda, Congo, and Sudan.
After the September 11 attacks on the United States, the Ugandan military reinterpreted its own measures against the LRA rebellion as part of the global war against terrorism. In 2002 the Uganda parliament passed a Suppression of Terrorism Act. The United States rewarded Uganda’s support for the war in Iraq by restarting a military training and assistance program in 2003. The agreement provided for electronic technology and some direct military assistance, but not weapons. Part of the program was to “win the hearts and minds” of the Acholi people, whose territory within Uganda has been most ravaged by LRA depredations.
By 2003 it was estimated the LRA had 3,000 fighters under arms and 2,000 camp followers, many involuntary. In October 2005, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for five leaders of the LRA, including Kony.
Early in 2010, however, the Ugandan military stated that the LRA was at its weakest point in the past fifteen years. More recently, it claims there are only 200 to 400 soldiers still in the field for the LRA.
So why does the U.S. government pick this moment to get involved?
It turns out that the United States has been involved with this issue for some time. As early as 2003, the United States contributed aid to the Uganda defense budget as part of the expanded struggle against global terrorism. And President Obama has disclosed that since 2008 the United States has helped efforts in the region to protect local people by pursuing the LRA.
U.S. Public Law 111-172 — the “Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009” — was passed by the U.S. Congress on May 24, 2010. The bill, combining national security and humanitarian goals, was sponsored by Senators McCain and Feingold to provide financial and material assistance to Uganda’s counterinsurgency efforts.
But U.S. support for the anti-LRA war has not been an unmitigated success. The National Security Council authorized training and financial support for the December 2008 Operation Lightning Thunder, a joint Uganda-Congolese-South Sudan campaign. This resulted, however, in major casualties among Congolese civilians, with 200,000 people displaced and the LRA escaping to fight another day.
Again the US is invoking R2P – the Responsibility to Protect – as its reason for intervention in a foreign war. It was the reason given for US military intervention in Libya. But if the intention really was to protect civilians, that intervention must be counted as a failure. (See our posts The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011; A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011; NATO bombards civilians in Libya, October 5, 2011.)
There were other reasons for the US and NATO to go to war in Libya, among them the need for European NATO member-states to ensure their access to that country’s oil. And there are surely other reasons for the US to go to war in Uganda.
Somewhat puzzling about the new U.S. deployment “to protect civilians” — as stated by the U.S. Embassy in Kampala on October 17, 2011 — is the fact that the Ugandan army announced that the Kony/LRA problem is no longer a threat in Uganda, but a regional problem. So, apparently the UPDF is joining the U.S. in an African regional conflict. Uganda has been a leader in the African Union’s battle against the al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia, and suffered a retaliatory bombing in Kampala by them in July 2010.
So does this new operation mean a wider U.S. regional military action in East Africa in support, however reluctant, of Kenya’s incursion into Somalia against al-Shabaab? Is this part of an expanded role for AFRICOM, the U.S. military command in Africa? …
Among the possible motives that Glickman considers for more military action by the US in the region, one makes more sense than most:
There is one other possible factor inspiring this new U.S. effort. The geographic areas in which the LRA operates are in the middle of recent discoveries of oilfields. The finds are substantial. Three companies have bought the drilling rights. Heritage sold its interests to Tullow, Tullow sold 30% of its interests to Total and CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which is state-run). …
The Obama administration’s motives are still not clear. Given this list of possibilities, the way the campaign develops should provide some answers.
We think oil is a very good reason to go to war. It would be an added benefit, greatly to be welcomed, if in the course of such a war the Lord’s Resistance Army were to be destroyed.