Africa: U.S. Covert Action Exposed

Publisher Name: 
Final Call

Corporate greed, combined with a desire to never allow the
"throne of civilization" to unite and become self-sufficient, continues to
join at the hip the U.S. Government, the United Nations and corporate
cartels in a persistent war on Africa, a recent congressional hearing
concluded.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) chaired the hearing, "Covert Action in
Africa: A Smoking Gun in Washington, D.C.," and led the voices of
castigation that claimed the U.S. Government, the UN, private militias and
western economic interests possessed complete knowledge of pending civil
unrest in Africa and fed the fray between African nations. Their aim was
to use war, disease, hunger and poverty as covers while continuing the
centuries-old practice of rape and exploitation of the continent's
human and mineral resources, testimonies charged.

Among those named as collaborators during the daylong hearing were U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former
Secretary of State Madeline K. Albright and international diamond merchant
Maurice Tempelsman.

Mr. Tempelsman, whose role in the confluence of public policy and private
profit as a middleman for the De Beers diamond cartel, according to
submitted evidence, helped to shape practically every major covert action
in Africa since the early 1950s. Declassified memos and cables between
former U.S. presidents and State Department officials over the last four
decades named Mr. Tempelsman with direct input in the destabilization of
Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Rwanda and Ghana.

He earned his stripes with western powers in the overthrow of Ghana's
first elected president, Kwame Nkrumah, and the CIA-backed assassination
of Congo's first-elected president, Patrice Lumumba, documents reveal.

As late as 1997, Mr. Tempelsman was named in the ongoing cover-up of
U.S.-CIA covert support of the former president of Zaire (now the
Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]), Mobuto Sese Seko, who died in
exile in 1997 after the overthrow of his regime by recently assassinated
Congolese President Laurent Kabila. Mr. Tempelsman is named as the agent
in charge of selling off the gross excess of the strategic diamond
stockpile in the United States that was used to fund the deceased
dictator's exploits. According to documents entered into evidence, Mr.
Tempelsman was rumored in 1998 to have engaged in a romantic relationship
with then-Secretary of State Albright.

During the hearing, Ms. McKinney said the legacy of former Pres. Clinton
and his foreign policy toward Africa is one of grave deceit. She charged
that not only did his administration turn a deaf ear to the genocide that
occurred in Rwanda under his watch, but that everyone who aided in the
silencing were rewarded with promotions.

"Look at Madeline Albright. At the time U.N. Ambassador, she got promoted
to secretary of state," she charged. "Susan Rice, over at the National
Security Council, she got promoted to assistant secretary of state for
Africa. Kofi Annan, whom The Carlsson Report [a United Nations inquiry]
makes 19 observations, of which 17 blame Kofi Annan, and yet [he] gets a
promotion to secretary-general and is about to be re-elected as
secretary-general."

Rep. McKinney also blasted International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
(ICTR) Judge Louise Arbor, who, shortly after suspending the investigation
of the April 1994 rocket attack on the presidential plane that killed
Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of
Burundi, was awarded a Canada Supreme Court appointment.

"America's policy toward Africa during the past decade, rather than
seeking to stabilize situations where civil war and ethnic turmoil reign
supreme, has seemingly promoted destabilization," testified Wayne Madsen,
author of "Genocide and Covert Activities in Africa 1993-1999."

Ms. Albright was fond of describing as "beacons of hope" those pro-U.S.
military leaders in Africa who assumed power by force, Mr. Madsen said.
"These leaders, who include the current presidents of Uganda, Rwanda,
Ethiopia, Angola, Eritrea, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC), preside over countries where ethnic and civil turmoil permit
unscrupulous international mining companies to take advantage of the
strife to fill their own coffers with conflict diamonds, gold, copper,
platinum and other precious minerals including one that is a primary
component of computer microchips," he said.

Mr. Madsen said the United States played more of a role in the Rwandan
tragedy than it admits, citing the U.S.-backed Rwandan and Ugandan-led
invasions of Congo. Speculation behind the recent assassination of Pres.
Laurent Kabila and the rapid visit to the United States by his successor
and son Joseph Kabila at the same time as a visit by Rwandan President
Paul Kagame, coupled with meetings with Corporate Council for Africa and a
lavish dinner-reception thrown by Maurice Tempelsman has done little to
put America in a favorable light in the region, the author asserts.

"After all, the date of Kabila's assassination [Jan. 16, 2001] was
practically 40 years from the very day of the CIA-planned-and-executed
assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba," he concluded.



When policy and profit converge

"This is a western syndicated proxy war and, like Sierra Leone, Angola and
Sudan, it is war-as-cover for the rapid and unrestricted extraction of raw
materials, and war as a means to totally disenfranchise the local people,"
said Keith Snow, freelance writer and journalist who supplied
investigative reports for the panel.

Diamonds, gold, cobalt, manganese, petroleum, natural gas, timber and
possibly uranium, he said, are just a few of the major spoils being
pillaged behind the scenes as war destroys Africa. "Some of these minerals
are almost solely found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Mr. Snow
said.

One of those minerals, columbium tantalite, or "Col-Tan", is a primary
example of the role strategic minerals play in sustaining war. This scarce
mineral is found almost exclusively in Eastern Congo and used by western
nations in everything from aircraft engines to computer chips.

"Economic interests are a significant factor in the fighting in the DRC,"
said Bill Hartung, of the World Policy Institute in New York. In his
co-authored report "Deadly Legacy Update: U.S. Arms and Training Programs
in Africa," the researcher acknowledged the significant role economic
interests play in the fighting in the DRC and throughout Africa.

"Africans need western technology, investment and cooperation to transfer
minerals. Africans do not process these minerals; they are processed in
the west. Africans are not dependent upon minerals used in high-tech
industry, sophisticated defense projects, or materials used in space
exploration. The west, and particularly the United States, is dependent
upon the availability of strategic minerals, many of which the U.S. does
not produce. Africa does not have a vibrant market for diamonds, which are
cut and distributed in the west," he said.

Western corporations are aware that revenues from mineral exploitation
received by African countries involved in war are used to purchase
military equipment. Considering the history of a strong U.S.-led corporate
presence in Africa, it is quite likely that U.S. mining interests have
benefited from the war, concluded the panel.

This may also explain the interest of American Mineral Fields
International (AMF), which, according to Mr. Snow, is a classic case of
cronyism. The company secured a $1 billion mining deal for cobalt and
copper before Laurent Kabila came into power. According to Mr. Snow, the
deal was secured through a shared interest; namely Pres. Clinton. AMF's
chairman at the time of the deal was Mike McMurrough, a native of Mr.
Clinton's hometown of Hope, Arkansas. Mr. Snow also alleged that Mr.
Clinton has financial interest in AMF. Former Pres. George Bush Sr. was
also cited at the hearing for his advisory board membership at Barrick
Gold, Ltd., for which he used his connections with the CIA, having once
been director of the spy agency.



The UN's failure

The Carlsson Report, released one year ago, is an independent inquiry into
the UN's actions during the 1994 Rwanda genocide presented to the UN
Security Council by the report's chairman Ingvar Carlsson. The report
condemns the Security Council for not preventing the systematic slaughter
of over 800,000 men, women and children in Rwanda, which occurred within a
100-day period between the months of April and July of 1994. The UN's
decision to reduce the strength of the mandated United Nations Assistance
Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) after the genocide started, despite its
knowledge of the atrocities was the cause of much bitterness stated his
report.

"The failure by the United Nations to prevent and, subsequently, to stop
the genocide in Rwanda was a failure by the United Nations system as a
whole," said the report. "There was a persistent lack of political will by
Member States to act, or to act with enough assertiveness. This lack of
political will affected the response by the Secretariat and
decision-making by the Security Council, but was also evident in the
recurrent difficulties to get the necessary troops for the UNAMIR.
Finally, although UNAMIR suffered from a chronic lack of resources and
political priority, it must also be said that serious mistakes were made
with those resources which were at the disposal of the United Nations,"
Mr. Carlsson said.

A similar report released by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) last
July also singled out France, Belgium, the Roman Catholic and Anglican
churches along with the United States and UN as those most guilty and
demanded "a significant level of reparations" be paid.

According to Mr. Carlsson, Mr. Annan as Under Secretary General was made
privy to a Jan. 11, 1994 cable which leaked information concerning a plot
hatched by the Interahamwe militia to kill Belgian soldiers, force the
withdrawal of Belgian troops and dispatch Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)
soldiers, who were Tutsi by ethnicity, to Kigali camps "for their
extermination." The informant said that his personnel were able to kill up
to 1,000 Tutsi soldiers in 20-minute intervals and that a cache of weapons
with at least 135 G3 and AK 47 assault rifles were at their disposal.

"He was prepared to show UNAMIR where these weapons were located in
exchange for his family's protection," said the report.

The report said Mr. Annan wrote a letter to then-UN Secretary-General
Boutros Boutrous-Ghali's special representative in Rwanda, stating that
the information contained in the cable was cause for concern, but insisted
the information be handled with caution. The original cable was filed into
archives and Mr. Boutrous-Ghali said that he was not shown a copy of the
cable until much later. Several such communications, the report alleges,
were similarly ignored.

"The Secretary-General responded to the Carlsson Report by saying that he
received it with deep regret and agreed with the report's findings," said
Fahran Haqq, a spokesman for Mr. Annan at UN headquarters in New York.

On Apr. 6, 1994 Presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira flew back together
from a reportedly successful sub-regional peace summit where, according to
Tanzanian officials present, Pres. Habyarimana had committed his country
to implement the Arusha Agreement, a UN peace accord. At approximately
8:30 p.m., the plane was destroyed by rocket fire as it approached its
landing at Kigali's airport. Everybody onboard died, thus officially
unleashing the civil war that engulfs the Great Lakes Region today.

Mr. Haqq denied comment on Ms. McKinney's allegation of UN collusion and
told The Final Call that, since Mr. Carlsson's report, Mr. Annan has been
the greatest voice behind the UN's Brahimi Report, a wide-ranging,
seven-part resolution containing recommendations and decisions on
peacekeeping missions, which must be the responsibility of the
Secretary-General. Further, it urges prospective parties to peace
agreements, including regional and sub-regional organizations, to
cooperate fully with the United Nations from an early stage in
negotiations. It mandates the Secretariat to continue comprehensive
political briefings on relevant issues before the Security Council and
requests regular military briefings from the Secretariat, including by the
military adviser, the force commander or designate, before the
establishment of a peacekeeping operation.



What should Africa expect from Mr. Bush?

No one during the hearing expressed any optimism that things will fare
better under a Bush Administration. Mr. Bush did state during his campaign
that Africa was not a major area of national security interest to the
United States; his key advisors have suggested otherwise.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has expressed interest in Africa but has
not defined in any detail what those interests are outside of resolving
the conflict in the Sudan.

The new threat to development in Africa has become recent decisions by
Pres. Bush to appoint Walter H. Kansteiner III as assistant secretary of
state for Africa. He has expressed desire to draw new territorial
boundaries on the continent. Also still in the works are the enactment of
the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act that was passed into law before the
expiration of Pres. Clinton's term and the Zimbabwe Democracy Act 2000, a
sanction measure against the rights of Black Zimbabweans' claims to land
ownership in their own country. That bill is currently engrossed in Senate
debate.

AMP Section Name:Money & Politics
  • 106 Money & Politics
  • 190 Natural Resources