Over Five Million Dead
Fifteen Hundred People Daily?
Behind the Numbers Redux:
How Truth is Hidden, Even When it Seems to Be Told
keith harmon snow
30 January 2008
The International Rescue Committee in late January
2008 released a new report on the mortality in the war-torn Democratic Republic
of Congo. The report caught the eye of some news agencies, who quickly whipped
up trite little articles as supposed expressions of horror. Over and over it
has been declared “the world’s forgotten crises.” There are reasons why Darfur
is the crises of the day, the poster crises, and why
However, the story of war
and plunder in
While the true death toll in
The International Rescue
Committee has been described in the past as the ideal instrument of
psychological warfare, and it is. This is exactly what is going on with the IRC
today, and more, when the IRC—heavily subsidized by the very same profiteers—sends
its body counters into
America’s Secret Warriors
Amongst the trustees or overseers
of the International Rescue Committee is Henry Kissinger, a man whose interests
run very deep in
Another Kissinger Associates principal is Lawrence Eagleburger, who has past affiliations with the defense and intelligence insider Scowcroft Group, and has been a director of Halliburton Corporation since 1998. Scowcroft Group founder Brent Scowcroft served as the National Security Advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush and, 1982-1989, he was Vice-Chairman of Kissinger Associates.
Walter Kansteiner, a National Security insider for the Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations and a “principal member” of the Scowcroft Group today, is a director of Moto Gold (operating in blood-drenched Ituri, Congo) and of the military-based “conservation” organization, the Africa Wildlife Foundation (Washington D.C.), that is backing mercenary activities in the Congo’s Virungas Mountains region under the cover of gorilla protection.
Another Kissinger Associates
The IRC board includes Samantha Power, the Founder of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard and Pulitzer-prize winning author of A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, the book that peddles genocide inflation on the one hand (regarding Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Sudan), and genocide denial on the other (regarding Congo, Uganda and Rwanda).
The IRC “Freedom Award” for
“extraordinary contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom” has
been given to some of the genocide inflators and deniers. In 1987 it went to
John C. Whitehead and in 1992 to Cyrus Vance, two men with historical ties to
covert operations in
U.S. Congressman Donald Payne is
one of those “friends of
In 1993 the “Freedom Award”
went to Dwayne O. Andreas, the Archers Daniels Midland executive and top
In 1995 the IRC’s “Freedom
Award” went to Richard Holbrooke; in 1996 to Madeleine Albright; and in 2004 to
General Romeo Dallaire. All three people were pivotal to the
Finally, the “Freedom” award
was shared in 2005 by William J. Clinton and G.H.W. Bush;
The International Rescue
Committee is not a neutral or purely “humanitarian” organization. The IRC has a
deep history of nefarious activities going far beyond relief operations. The
IRC is also a huge financial operation providing scads of executives and
business people with scads of income in ways that do not help to alleviate the
war or suffering, but rather exacerbate it. While the IRC claims 90% of its
funds “are spent on refugee programs and services,” much of this money never hits
the ground in
The Horror, The Horror
Beyond the simple calculus
of the IRC’s highly political bias and interests, and cloaked in a smokescreen
of neutrality, the mortality assessment is flawed. The IRC considers only the
period of 1998 to 2007, excluding the first phase of the war, the U.S.-backed
One of the obvious reasons
is that the Pentagon was directly involved, 1996-1998, along with the private
The IRC excludes the period
1996-1997 to shield the governments of now military President Paul Kagame, in
In 1995 and 1996, the
Rwandan Patriotic Army/Front (RPA/F) and their partners and backers, the
Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), the Pentagon, MPRI and assorted other
mercenaries, laid the groundwork for their imminent war by engaging Zairian
territory through significant cross-border covert and terror operations from
Uganda and Rwanda. In October 1996 there were at least 1.5 million Rwandan and
Burundian refugees in eastern
Hundreds of thousands of
unarmed and innocent men, women and children were driven west, north, and
south, running in fear for their lives from the allied invading forces who they
knew from experience over the previous six years to be bloodthirsty killers. Many
also were forced back to
One of these is long-time
UNICEF executive Nigel Fisher, who is today also a member of the Advisory
Council of the Diamond Development Initiative, a program run by and for the
diamond industry but meant to put a reformative face on corporations and
syndicated crime networks that for decades have plundered the Congo. Fisher was
the UNICEF Special Representative for
So right off the bat we can add between 200,000 and 800,000 deaths to the new IRC mortality figures (and the 200,000 would be a very conservative figure).
the IRC is known for its long history of involvement in CIA and NSA activities,
including shipping or transporting weapons.
According to a top United Nations investigator, the IRC moved into bases in
The IRC has spent millions of dollars analyzing the “impact of conflict” in the Democratic Republic of Congo but they have said nothing of substance about the parallel economy of plunder that is enriching some of the same organizations that support their “humanitarian” programs. Their recent report is a glossy brochure offering a pornography of violence.
How stupid and blind do they think people are? How stupid and blind are we?
the same time, the IRC has received massive “loans”—in the millions of dollars—over
recent years from the
In the new IRC report about mortality in
Things Go Better with Blood
Offering their only real reason for the high mortality rates, the IRC states:
“Recovery from conflict is a slow and protracted process. The persistent elevation of mortality more than four years after the official end of the 1998–2002 war provides further evidence that recovery from conflict can take many years, especially when superimposed on decades of political and socioeconomic decline.”
This is nonsense. When hurricane Katrina hit, it was,
after a brief delay, a rapid intervention process that established a chain of
Recovery from conflict “is a
slow and protracted process” because there is an ongoing policy of intentional
Think about it.
There are no books and no
Coca Cola is not a healthy
beverage for malnourished and starving children with no access to dental
facilities. More importantly, Coke director
Donald F. McHenry is a President of the IRC Group, a
IRC President and Director
George Rupp is also a director of the secretive and euphemistically named
Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in
Starvation happens not
because this is Africa, or the
And all the while the humanitarian “misery” industry is raking in billions of dollars on programs to “help” the Congolese people, and universities create new programs and departments to train the privileged “development” work force, all to create and institutionalize dependency. This is structural violence, and it is part of a cycle of perpetuated wealth and privilege. It is managed inequality.
This is the
The Falsification of Consciousness
Here’s how the system
projects—and inculcates—the falsified consciousness about
One of the long term
dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s right-hand men was Albert-Henri Buisine, a French
mercenary-pirate who worked on the Kamanyola,
the luxury yacht where Mobutu arrived by helicopter to receive foreign backers
and “VIP” cronies. While Mobutu frequently visited the White House,
Protected by Albert-Henri
Buisine and Israeli mercenary Meir Meyouhas—and a slew of crack black
intelligence operatives—Mobutu received his guests Je me couche tôt.. Hundreds of people
came and went from
The Templesman and De Beers
empires exist today in
On May 11 and 12, 1990,
Mobutu’s shock troops—including the Israeli-trained Special Presidential Division (DSP), SARM and National
Gendarmerie—attacked the campus at the University of Lumumbashi, and they
killed hundreds of students, at least, while countless more were tortured and
brutalized. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency station in Lumumbashi
supported the atrocities and cover-up. It sounds like a long time ago, but the
players are still around. Some, like James Barnes, Maurice and Leon Templesman,
and Nicky Oppenheimer, are still running big operations in
What was Albert-Henri Buisine’s role in protecting the Mobutu dictatorship and perpetuating such atrocities and where is Mobutu’s old mercenary bodyguard today?
French mercenary bodyguard Albert-Henri Buisine surfaced in October, 2007, in a
Harper’s magazine article by Bryan Mealer, a journalist who formerly freelanced
with the Associated Press and The Independent (
And there’s the nostalgic Captain, a reluctant French mercenary-terrorist-turned-pilot-profiteer, who for 16 years, against his will, Mealer tells us, served Mobutu reluctantly. “He was chained to Mobutu's shadow at all times, even living four straight years aboard the lavish presidential yacht, the Kamanyola, as it drifted aimlessly down the Congo River.”
Drifted aimlessly? Chained
to Mobutu’s shadow? Hardly. This is fiction. There are deep cultural
stereotypes and subliminal fault lines at work here that have been inculcated
through decades of propaganda about Congo/Zaire. There is nothing but dross in
Mealer’s account, no mention of the brutalities suffered by Congolese people,
the strike-breaking and student massacres, or the rented crowds chanting
“Mobutu! Mobutu” and the empty slogans of Mobutu’s Movement Populaire de la Revolution party. There is no mention of
the hated Special Presidential Division
terror apparatus, the illegal arrests and detention without trial, the tortures
at underground dungeons like the “OAU-2” or the “corridor of death” in
“Buisine now led the simple life of a river rat,” Mealer tells us, “making his run six or seven times a year,” pointing out “whirlpools roiling in the deep spots, crocodiles camouflaged in the mud, or, along a wooded island, a tree whose leaves cured hemorrhoids.” 
Harper’s never mentions the agents of repression in such
places, because the American public is all too happy with the vainglorious version
of the beleaguered white hero challenging the savagery in the heart of
darkness. How many stories about
To cap the Harper’s silly
whitewash, the photographer that traveled up river with Mealer is based in
And that is why we have more
than 10 million dead in
I traveled on this river
more than once: in 2007 I also swam two-thirds of the way across it (at Lukutu,
where I hit an island and turned back); I also swam across the tributary
Been there, done that. Now it is time for us all to grow up.
At the height of the supposed disintegration of
The Blattner empire today is perpetuating massive
suffering in the interior, with slavery and all the abominations of
paramilitary fiefdoms occurring on the Blattner plantations.
None of this has been reported, but for those who wonder how the mortality rate
in the interior of the Congo could be so high—a sudden flash of awakening with
the release of the January 2008 International Rescue Committee statistics—the
answer lies in the capitalist enterprises of the Elwyn Blattners, the Maurice
Templesmans, the Etienne Davignons and Nicky Oppenheimers, and the IRC itself.
The Blattners frequently travel back and forth from
What is the IRC’s relationship to the plantation
slave-drivers and how did the IRC statistically figure the higher mortality
rates on plantations run by the Blattner or George Forrest Groups in rural
It Takes a Village
By the late 1990s, the
guarding of the diamond concessions in
Entire villages have been sacked and burned by militias and in some almost every woman has been raped during military campaigns of the past few years. More than 5000 children have lived on the streets in the center of Mbuji-Mayi town in the past few years—yet another generation of Congolese leaders lost—and recent systematic massacres of street children have occurred at the hands of militias, political groups and security forces.
How does the IRC mortality
study factor in the deaths of street children murdered in
After a century of exploitation and slavery, we find the DRC’s huge state diamond firm, MIBA, consistently withholding payment of salaries to starving Congolese laborers and middle managers for months at a time. April and May 2007 saw strikes and protests leading to the Kabila government’s arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of trade union organizers like Leon Ngoy Bululu; police have also shot protestors. So-called ‘illegal’ diamond workers—disenfranchised local Congolese people forced into “criminal” activities to survive—were summarily executed on MIBA concessions in Mbuji-Mayi. The BBC, in August 2006 reported that MIBA security guards were sniping unemployed diamond miners. Of course, the BBC never gives us the deeper story, it is only for expedience and some interest somewhere that they are saying anything revealing at all.
IMMEDIATE AND RADICAL—GOING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM—INTERVENTIONS TO AID THE PEOPLE AND MITIGATE SUFFERING IN THESE AREAS COULD BE ACHIEVED IF THE CORPORATIONS WORKING THERE WERE HELD TO ACCOUNT.
But as long as people in the West gobble up the corporate do-nothing nonsense peddled by the IRC, CARE, Save the Children, Newsweek, the New York Times, the BBC and the International Crises Group, it is, indeed, hopeless.
Workers and communities in and around these mines suffer due to state orchestrated repression, chemical mining processes and toxic runoff, tuberculosis, immune disorders, racial discrimination and slavery. There are all the standard treatable maladies (typhoid, malaria, tetanus, polio, malnutrition) as well. However, such stories are off the agenda for the North American, European, Japanese, Australian and Israeli media corporations providing the mainstay of English language indoctrination meant to instill racial superiority and a vast ignorance and obliviousness that leaves westerns populations shaking their heads and wringing their hands and clicking their tongues, while all the while wondering “what is to be done?” It does not cross people’s minds that their own hands are dirty, that their own consciousness has been falsified, that change is possible.
Lies, Lies, Those Slippery (Petroleum) Lies
German diplomat Albrecht
Conze is the deputy political director of the United Nations Observers Mission
in Congo (MONUC). In an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel,
after the first round of elections in August 2006, Conze “predicted” the
inevitable return of white patronage in
above statement is consistent with the perpetual lies by powerful interests who
benefit by always downplaying or hiding
first petroleum refinery in the
heartland of the
In Eastern DRC, petroleum
under Lake Albert is being tapped on the Ugandan side by
“This is an oil country,”
As always, the exploiters
try to minimize the awareness of the resources they are targeting. Contrary to
the statement by MONUC’s German diplomat Albrecht Conze—as the Congolese,
Rwandan and Ugandan people know all too well—the “terrorists” are all over
Conze’s behavior epitomizes
white supremacy masked by “humanitarianism” and “peacekeeping” in
MONUC officials say nothing
of substance about mining in
With top MONUC security
officials taking high paying jobs with companies involved in the atrocities,
one begins to see the nature of an organized, armed, free-for-all for
This journalist reported in July 2007 that MONUC officials were accepting kickbacks from warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba, and there is evidence of MONUC collusion with other individuals capitalizing on war and plunder in Congo. In December 2007, it was reported that a special task force for the United Nations “uncovered a pervasive pattern of corruption and mismanagement involving hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for fuel, food, construction and other materials used by U.N. peacekeeping operations.” 
But this is the tip of the
iceberg and the United Nations actions are weak and, often enough, meaningless.
Finally, the MONUC mission in Congo institutionalizes the inequality and
suffering endured by Congolese people by maintaining double standards about
labor and employment packages provided to MONUC employees who live in the host
country: In August 2007 a major “stop work” strike was undertaken by Congolese
nationals in the MONUC system due to the entrenched and continued injustices
served on Congolese people working for the mission, in comparison with the more
comprehensive employment packages provided to expatriate foreigners. The strike
was almost entirely unreported by the MONUC public information offices. The international
press—in keeping with their role as gatekeepers of suffering in
Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles
The United Nations and
European Union Forces (EUFOR) involved in
Advanced technologies like
Israel Aircraft Industries/Belgian Hunter UAVs (Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles)
intelligence platforms are now used by Belgian defense forces in flying
Three cheers for the rogue
Congolese soldier with the battered Kalashnikov AK-47 whose single shot at one
of the EUFOR’s robotic UAVs flying overhead (at 1200 feet) penetrated the wing
joint, pierced a structural weak point and caused the wing to crumble and the
UAV to crash. Of course, the poor man has disappeared into the dungeons of hell
The Belgian military described the man as a “lone gunmen with a known criminal record.” But the hubris of this statement defies articulation when we remember the known criminal records of the white men involved in devastating Congo, then Zaire, and now Congo, since the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley and his blood-rubber and hand-chopping-off enterprises in the 1870’s.
Where is the international rescue committee?
As of January 2008 there are
consistent reports of starvation in
 Biography, J. Stapleton Roy, Freeport McMoRan web site.
 Major Thomas P. Odom, Dragon
Operations: Hostage Rescues in the
 keith harmon snow, “
 See: Edward S. Herman, “Genocide Inflation is the Real Threat,” Z-Net, Oct. 26, 2007.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and
Covert Operations in
 See, e.g., Eric Thomas Chester, Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee, and the CIA, M. E. Sharp, 1995.
 On Mobutu in Tel Aviv see: “Mobutu
 Jerry Funk, Life is an Excellent Adventure: An Irreverent Personal Odyssey, Trafford, 2003.
Bryan Mealer, “The River Is
 keith harmon snow, human rights
research and investigations in
 What Future? Street Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch, April 2006, <http://hrw.org/reports/2006/drc0406/5.htm#_Toc129594720>.
 See: “ICEM protests
 “Diamond miners killed in DR Congo,” BBC News, 7 August 2006, <http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:z9WCcOGeL8MJ:news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5254006.stm+%22MIBA%22+%22illegal+miners%22&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4>.
 Personal investigation,
 Hans-Jürgen Schlamp, “
 Minerals Yearbook Area Reports: International 1968 Bureau of Mines, 1970: 215-216.
 Private investigations and site viewing, Mbandaka, DRC, 2007.
 See: Annual Report of Consolidated Trillion, October 8, 1999. Trillion Resources was renamed Consolidated Trillion Resources in 1999, and it had merged with US.-based Viceroy Explorations Ltd. by 2002.
 Joe Bavier, “
 His name is known, but he threatened to track down and break the author’s legs if he is revealed.
 keith harmon snow, “Behind the Scenes:
Warlord’s Deadly Battle in
 “Local U.N. workers strike in
 “Belgium Resumes Congo UAV
Operations after Belgian-B is Shot Down,” Flight International, August
 “IAI-Eagle-B Hunter UAV”: http://belmilac.wetpaint.com/page/IAI+-+Eagle+B-Hunter+UAV+(Unmanned+Aerial+Vehicle)?t=anon>.
 Private communications from