Sanitizing Psychopathy International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Part 2 Part 1
FUBAR in Central Africa
The euphemistically named Refugees International (RI)—like the US Committee for Refugees—is tight with the US intelligence community and uses a ‘humanitarian’ front to project American power and nationalist interests through hegemonic pressure tactics and direct interventions. However, RI’s support for expanded militarization and global domination is easily unveiled.1
Indeed, the UNHCR has a much more incestuous relationship with the massive ongoing catastrophe on the ground in eastern Congo. One of the multinational corporations affiliated with UNHCR is PricewaterhouseCoopers International (PWC), an ‘accounting’ firm whose business revolves around balancing the books, financial audits and advising tax write-offs and other forms of financial shuffling for multinational corporations. Head-quartered in New York City, PWC earned $US 28.2 billion in revenues in 2008.
PWC is also a shareholder in the corporations involved in the niobium/tantalum (pyrochlore) mine at Lueshe, North Kivu, at the heart of Rwanda’s ‘Tutsi rebel’ occupation in eastern DRC.2 ,3
The mining ores from the Lueshe mine have previously been moved into international commerce through Rotterdam harbor, Netherlands, involving the following firms affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers International (US): Alfred K. Knight International (UK); Masingiro GmbH (Germany); Helvetia Transport (Germany); Gesellschaft fuer Elektrometallurgie GmbH (Germany); HSBC Bank (UK); A&M Minerals (UK); Mettalurg NY (US).
PWC was the dominant majority shareholder of Somikivu s.c.a.r.l., a company established in Congo (Zaire) in 1984, and controlled in North Kivu for numerous years past by troops under the command of Rwandan warlords Laurent Nkunda and Jules Mutebusi, both wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.4
“The crimes and war crimes committed by the management of the PricewaterhouseCoopers company Somikivu since the year 2000 up until now will not be quoted here,” wrote the authors of a 2006 letter calling on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to address PWC for violations of OECD guidelines for multinational corporations.5
In budget year 2008, PWC offices worldwide collectively ‘donated’ $US 1,511,982 to UNHCR.6
Affleck’s affiliation with Save the Children is equally problematic given their sponsorship by the giant Swiss multinational corporation Credit Suisse Group (CSG).
One CSG director is Peter F. Weibel, a CEO and executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich since 1988, member of PWC’s Global Oversight Board from 1998 to 2001, and CEO of PWC Zurich until mid 2003—a period when PWC continued to intervene in Congo—militarily and politically—through the Lueshe mine.7
Interestingly, PricewaterhouseCoopers has also served as the ‘Chartered Accountants’ for Banro Corporation from September 1996—the date of the first RPA/UPDF invasion of Congo—until November 2002, and was listed as such again for 2005 (at least).8
Another CSG director is Thomas W. Bechtler, also the Chairman of the Zurich Committee of Human Rights Watch. Of course, HRW ‘researcher’ Alison Des Forges wrote the HRW tome on genocide in Rwanda—Leave None to Tell the Story—the book that turned genocide in Rwanda upside down and set the stage for the total falsification of international consciousness.9
“This genocide resulted from the deliberate choice of a modern elite to foster hatred and fear to keep itself in power,” Des Forges wrote. Her assertions about a ‘planned’ Hutu genocide—”They seized control of the state and used its machinery and its authority to carry out the slaughter”—are now completely discredited.9
In contradistinction to the establishment narrative accusing the ‘Hutu leadership’ of an ‘organized’ and ‘planned’ genocide were the countless acts of genocide committed through a spontaneous uprising of the masses—people who had been brutalized, disenfranchised, uprooted and forced from homes; people who had witnessed massacres and rapes of family members; people who were themselves the victims of brutal atrocities. These were more than a million people, mostly Hutus, who had been terrorized by the Rwandan Patriotic Army from October 1990 to April 1994, as it butchered its way into Rwanda.
“She [Des Forges] concealed the fact that from 1990 the war caused an unprecedented economic poverty and that the one million internally displaced people tore the social fabric apart!” wrote Dr. Helmut Strizek, a former German official who has called for Alison Des Forges’ resignation from Human Rights Watch.10 “And these people knew that Tutsi rebels [RPA] caused their misery. They did not wait for ‘instructions’ in order to revenge, once no one was able to maintain public order after the April 6  assassination [sic] and resumption of hostilities by the RPF.”11
At one Harvard University lecture on October 14, 1998, Alison Des Forges proposed a hypothetical ‘decapitation’ scenario whereby military intervention by a team of elite operatives could have ‘stopped the genocide’. “The scenario calls for elite troops to enter Rwanda in the first 2 to 5 days of the genocide and kill or capture the 20 or so extremist leaders who were primarily responsible for mobilizing the genocide.”12
However, this is regime change, and it is in keeping with the new ‘humanitarian’ warfare paradigm, and it licenses special operations forces to commit human rights atrocities and acts of terror legitimized by one state (US) over its ‘enemies’. And, in any case, there was no regime in Kigali to change as the state had already been decapitated by the double presidential assassinations of April 6, 1994. Des Forges’ role has been to hide the US backed coup d’etat in Rwanda and to obscure the involvement of the United States military and its western military partners.
Between 1990 and 1994, the RPA waged a systematic, pre-planned, secretive but highly organized terrorist war aimed at eliminating the largest number of Rwandan people possible—bodies were hacked to pieces and incinerated en masse. From 1994, once the RPA violently seized power, a terror regime was created, and developed, and a criminal structure parallel to the state was set up to pursue pre-determined kidnappings; torturing and raping of women and young girls; terrorist attacks (both directly and by simulating that the same had been perpetrated by the enemy); illegal detention of thousands of civilians; selective murdering; systematic elimination of corpses either by mass incineration or by throwing them into lakes and rivers; indiscriminate attacks against civilians based on pre-determined ethnic categories for the elimination of the predominant ethnic group; and also to carry out acts of war in Rwanda and Congo.13
Ben Affleck has met with Rwandan ministers and he is investing in Rwanda. However, his ties to Paul Kagame run deeper than mere investments supported by Rwanda’s organized crime cartel.
A SUSTAINABLE CATASTROPHE
The 1996 Rwandan Patriotic Army invasion of eastern Congo—then Zaire—began with military attacks against refugee camps in the North and South Kivu provinces where more than two million Rwandan refugees were amassed. These death camps were created by the so-called international community—the ‘humanitarian’ business sector—and they revolved around massive profits for the corporate agencies involved, including Refugees International, Save the Children, World Food Program and UNHCR—all connected to the western military intelligence apparatus and integrated with multinational corporate plunder.
Refugees International’s operations during their involvement in the Rwandan refugee camps in Congo (Zaire), 1995-1996, were funded in part by Credit Swiss (CS) First Boston, a subsidiary of the Credit Suisse Group.14 Robert Weisenthall, a strategic advisor at CS First Boston in the same period, counted as clients Cox Communications, Time Warner and the New York Times—all involved in the big Rwanda genocide cover-up. Wiesenthall is today an executive with Sony Corporation, whose PlayStations depend upon columbium tantalite, one of the rare earth metals being plundered from eastern Congo.15
The Rwandan refugee camps were reportedly first shelled in a military operation involving the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the UNHCR’s main partners today.16 The IRC is an agency that does not work directly with refugees and has been criticized for its direct involvement in military operations.17
“Humanitarian organizations operating among the Hutu refugees in eastern Zaire and Belgian newspapers accused some US refugee non-governmental organizations, especially the [IRC] of being covers for CIA operations,” reported intelligence insider Wayne Madsen. “Two Belgian newspapers, Antwerp Gazette and De Standaard, reported that the IRC was actually engaged in ‘military operations and military support operations’ in support of [Laurent] Kabila’s rebels in eastern Zaire.”18
According to UNHCR documentation, IRC agents are allowed to move freely in and out of UNHCR and other UN field operations. It almost need not be stated, so obvious a conclusion is it, that so-called ‘humanitarian’ organizations are routinely and unquestioningly used for intelligence gathering and for identifying both friendly and hostile members of certain populations.
With the support of his friends in the RPA, Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani traveled to the Kivus shortly after the 1996 invasion of Congo (Zaire). Mamdani and RPA backer Jacques Depelchin produced a report that documented the genocidal RPA campaign against Hutus, and the devastating effects of the AID enterprise on eastern Congo.19 Mamdani described the ‘dollarization’ that destroyed the local economy; how rents were driven up by the influx of an army of ‘AID’ workers; how local people found basic needs increasingly beyond their reach.20
“To talk to civil society leaders in Kivu about the experience of hosting two million plus refugees resourced through international NGOs,” Mamdani reported, “is to listen to a litany of troubles—criminality, ill health, increased prices, lowered production, mounting insecurity—all traced to that single experience.”20
The eastern Congo never recovered from the combined devastation wrought by the post-1994 Rwandan Patriotic Army terror regime in combination with the Rwandan refugee influx. Then as now, the enterprise spawned one disaster after another and the situation today can only be explained as a manufactured disaster.
The Ben Affleck Gimme Shelter film is part of an ongoing propaganda campaign to whitewash the international catastrophe created, and sustained, in eastern Congo, by the conflux of so-called ‘humanitarian aid’ operations and so-called ‘international peacekeeping’ operations with multinational corporate plunder.
“Ordinary people in Goma, DRC, struggling with economic consequences of war have accused rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda of waging a war that is beneficial to the whites,” reported Zimbabwe News. “Deniece who runs a vegetable stall in north Kivu, said the conflict is good for the well-paid members of the 18-nation MONUC peacekeeping force, aid agencies and news organizations.”21
What is obvious to peasant vegetable sellers is that the Democratic Republic of the Congo offers a very clear example of a corporate sustained catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.
THE OBTUSE MONUC MISSION
The United Nations Observers Mission for Congo (MONUC) supported Ben Affleck’s visit to eastern Congo. This mission is increasingly seen as a boondoggle, and it appears more and more likely that MONUC’s ‘failure’ is by design. How do we measure the overall failure or success of the MONUC peacekeeping mission?
Any discussion of the role of MONUC in Congo is absent from Affleck’s film. Instead we only see a few passing images of MONUC blue helmets, armed Pakistanis or Indian troops, suggestive of an efficacious and honorable security force selflessly defending the Congolese people.
The MONUC Public Information Office (PIO), responsible for disseminating information about the MONUC mission, might best be described as a ‘disinformation’ office for the false information that they have provided, on many occasions, regarding MONUC realities.
“In La Potentiel today,” wrote Great Lakes analyst David Barouski, in January 2008, “UN civilian sector spokesman Mr. Kemal Saiki reported that the [Rwanda Defense Forces] is not present in Congo. This is not the truth and I cannot imagine that Mr. Saiki is so poorly informed that he honestly does not know they are there. Such an act degrades MONUC’s credibility with the Congolese people and the international community, who already know the RDF is there.”22
This was not the first time that Public Information Officer (PIO) Kemal Saiki clouded the truth with intentional disinformation. At the beginning of 2007, MONUC troops opened fire on angry civilians who rushed a MONUC vehicle: people were shot dead. When asked about the incident, Saiki denied that MONUC has opened fire on the crowd and insisted that the MONUC forces only ‘shot into the air.”23
MONUC PIOs have also supported the establishment claims about Ugandan military (UPDF) withdrawals, and they have refused to report UPDF incursions in the Orientale region.
Not only does MONUC makes it possible for western mining companies to loot Congo, but MONUC contingents have also participated in illegal minerals plunder from DRC.24
On October 17, 2007, MONUC spokesperson Kemal Saiki told journalists that the MONUC mission categorically denied recent reports in the Congolese press that the peacekeepers were in any way supporting the factional forces loyal to Rwanda’s in-country agent, General Laurent Nkunda.25
Can MONUC PIOs be believed? Can MONUC press reports be trusted?
While certain political actors, including FARDC troops, have sometimes played a hand in civilian protests against the MONUC ‘peacekeeping’ mission in Congo, civilian attacks have become routine as the besieged Congolese people wage frustration battles against the forces of intervention that many believe—based on their personal experiences—are both contributing to and profiting from chaos in the region. The Congolese FARDC army also distrusts the mission: a MONUC convoy moving militia soldiers was recently stopped by FARDC forces and the militia soldiers forcibly removed.26
December 28, 2008 saw fresh allegations that MONUC blue helmets were involved in sexual violence and other abuse against civilians in North Kivu.27 Simple investigations in Bunia, capital of Orientale, found at least five cases of young women who had been raped by MONUC personnel; in one case, the young girl killed her baby and went to prison, but the civilian MONUC official, unpunished, was apparently transferred to another post.28 Is this an example of MONUC’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ against sexual violence by MONUC personnel?
“The Congolese people no more have trust in MONUC. We think that they are supporting the rebels,” North Kivu resident Adili Amani Romauld is reported to say. “And there is a rumor that MONUC profits from the business of the rebels because people have seen soldiers of MONUC saying that ‘no Nkunda, no jobs.’ This is what the Congolese say they saw soldiers of MONUC saying… but from the time they say MONUC came to this country, nothing has changed. So we no more expect anything good from them.”29
The annual MONUC budget is $US 1.13 billion, of which approximately 40% is annually spent on air transport in and between DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.30 The air transport system therefore provides massive incomes to foreign companies involved in aviation, for fixed wing and helicopter leasing.31 Meanwhile, the leased jumbo jetliner oil burners traveling the long transnational air routes for MONUC are at times over 80% empty.
The MONUC air transport infrastructure maintains structural violence by diverting funds that should be available, and used, for development of Congo’s national transportation infrastructure (especially an appropriate road or light rail system) to the private profits of foreign corporations and governments.
MONUC also rents properties and facilities in Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (approx. $US 370,000 annually) and pays some $US 93 million annually to oil companies.31 One of the primary providers of air support services for MONUC is Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), a subsidiary of the U.S. aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin Corporation. Most importantly, the MONUC air transport system is highly exclusive, unavailable to most Congolese people, but open to many highly paid white personnel working for the NGO sector.
Evidence of the structural violence against the Congolese people is prolific, seen with the swimming pools and water yoga classes filled with white expatriate AID professionals—where 99% of blacks are excluded due to their economic (slavery) status—and with the MONUC mission’s expenditures on entertainment infrastructure.
MONUC’s Pakistani and Indian brigades, for example, constructed cricket and soccer (football) facilities. The MONUC cricket games, soccer matches, marching bands, bagpipes and kilts on Sundays and special celebrations are very curious: the construction of athletic facilities and provision of leisure activities are seen by some as examples that MONUC is in it for the long term. Is this a serious ‘peacekeeping’ mission? Or part of a prolonged and lucrative sustainable catastrophe?
UN Messenger for Peace George Clooney, appointed January 31, 2008 due to his high profile role in Darfur, Sudan, also visited the MONUC Indian brigades in DRC’s Kivu provinces, where he painted a picture of MONUC troops as selfless soldiers for good. “We were in Congo and met with the Indian Kivu brigade in January,” he said, in October 2008. “We saw the incredibly important and tough work they are doing every day.”32
Isn’t the MONUC military mission just another faction involved in Congo’s conflagration, a faction of foreign mercenaries backed by multinational corporations? Like the United Nations itself, the MONUC mission is compromised at the highest levels, and the hands of the good people in the mission are tied and their voices silenced.
According to MONUC staff in Kinshasa, the Special Representative of the Secretary General to the DRC, current MONUC Head of Mission Alan Doss, a US citizen, has violated MONUC mission protocol prohibiting family members from joining mission employees. Doss brought his wife to DRC, against regulations, and she is reportedly provided a personal maid, a MONUC 4×4 Toyota SUV with a MONUC driver, for personal use, all paid for by the MONUC mission.
“Everybody cannot believe that Doss is so corrupt,” says one MONUC insider. “He knows nothing about Congo… he is breaking rules every day. Mrs. Doss gave a big reception in Kinshasa to receive George Clooney at the Grand Hotel. It was paid for by MONUC and Doss didn’t even clear the party with the Chief of Division [according to protocol]. People are very angry but they cannot say anything and morale is very low, because everyone sees that the MONUC mission they are part of is a failure.”33
What constitutes success or failure of a United Nations ‘peacekeeping’ mission of MONUC’s stature? What about the failure to displace Rwanda’s guerrilla forces from eastern Congo? What about the failure to intervene and/or halt the ongoing minerals plunder?
Does the involvement of MONUC soldiers in sex trafficking or minerals smuggling constitute the mission’s failure? What about millions of people dead and millions more displaced during the years of MONUC’s involvement in DRC, circa 2001 to 2009?
To his credit, on December 17, 2008, MONUC Chief Alan Doss publicly announced that the MONUC ‘peacekeeping’ mission with its 17,000 soldiers and its $US one billion annual budget “was not equal to the task.”34
Alan Doss inherited a catastrophe from his predecessor, William Lacy Swing—a US State Department official who’s diplomatic career spanned some 40 years including five postings as Ambassador to African countries each under long term organized assault by white collar crime, corporate plunder and covert military interventions: South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, Zaire (now DRC), and the former People’s Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville); Swing is also deeply tied to the malaise in Haiti.
At this writing, MONUC staff in Congo are dealing with labor violations due to inequitable treatment and poor working conditions: the promises made by MONUC officials after MONUC in-country staff organized a stop-work strike more than a year ago have been entirely ignored.35
On December 18, 2008, President Bush released $US 6 million in “AID” funds for Congo from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund, ostensibly to ‘aid refugees’.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
After one of Ben Affleck’s promotional visits to Rwanda, Francis Gatare, Director General of Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency, quoted the Oscar winner as saying: “When you are cheated in a place like Seattle in the US, it’s very easy to think that Rwanda you saw on CNN in 1994 is still the same. Seeing is believing, and I am happy to have come to Rwanda to witness how the peace and security in the country is real and should be communicated to the world.”36
However, Rwanda’s ‘peace’ has come about through a campaign of absolute terror against the people and depopulation of the Rwandan countryside.37
But Rwanda pimps its sanitized image through numerous celebrities. In 2007, actress Natalie Portman joined other global celebrities to name baby mountain gorillas for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Virunga National Park; actress Daryl Hannah has also played that role. Actress Sigourney Weaver is officially tied to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. William Taliaferro Close, the father of actress Glen Close was for many years the personal physician for Zaire’s president Joseph Mobutu.38 Ewan McGregor also boosts Rwanda’s image by traveling there in league with the regime.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Jane Goodall Institute are two big profit-based ‘conservation’ NGOs directly tied to militias involved in extortion, land theft and other organized crime in North Kivu province.39 Jane Goodall is currently a United Nations Messenger of Peace but she is so busy giving “Save the Chimp” lectures worldwide that she doesn’t know what she is talking about, and is blind to the crimes that the Jane Goodall Institute is committing, in her name, in Congo.40
A number of other big international names, including Quincy Jones, and the CEOs of Starbucks, Microsoft, Google and CISCO, have previously visited Rwanda on business missions. Kagame’s strategy of surrounding himself with big business to shield his regime against criticisms or indictments for war crimes and acts of genocide has paid off. Big business leaders, business web sites and public relations campaigns the world over describe Paul Kagame as ‘The Entrepreneur President.’41
President Obama’s Christian right evangelist fanatic Rick Warren has also gotten in on the Kagame game. “In 2005 Rwanda became, at the request of its president Paul Kagame, the initial testing ground for Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E Plan and the first nation in the world to implement Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life and Leadership training program” on a national level. Warren has made at least ten separate trips to Rwanda and has been photographed multiple times with Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame.”42
It seems that birds of a feather flock together. Former US President George W. Bush has also had his image buffed by spotlight celebrities. In February 2008, soon after Bush departed Kagame and Rwanda on Air Force One, Bob Geldof—another of Africa’s Great White Hopes—praised Bush as one of the greatest humanitarian Presidents, due to Bush’s supposed concern for Africa —measured in big business financial allocations ostensibly for African people.
Andrew Young, the former US Ambassador to the UN and former Mayor of Atlanta has promoted Rwanda through his corporate consulting firm Goodworks International; Young is also a close sponsor and partner of the US-Uganda Friendship Council, a multinational corporate organization involving and protecting Yoweri Museveni. In 2007, Young’s perception management firm produced the pro-Kagame whitewash titled Rwanda Rising. Billed as a documentary and entered into film festivals, the promo starred Paul Kagame, William Jefferson Clinton and musician Quincy Jones.
Andrew Young is reportedly building a mansion on Lake Muhazi in Rwanda, where Kagame also owns a mansion, and next to exclusive multi-million dollar lakeside resorts and golf courses. Quincy Jones has bought an island on Lake Muhazi.
In 2005, Kagame was awarded the annual Andrew Young Medal for Capitalism and Social Progress by Georgia State University. In 2007 Kagame received the “Abolitionist of the Year Award” after Rwanda abolished the death penalty, a rather ironic result given Kagame’s role in mass death in Congo and Rwanda. But Kagame’s award for being a capitalist couldn’t be more apropos, given the predatory nature of western capitalism as practiced by Kagame’s gang in the Great Lakes region.
Operating in Rwanda and Uganda is the Canadian company Vangold Resources, connected to Robert and Eric Friedland, two of the Friends of Bill Clinton linked to the bloodletting in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda through their multiple interlocking companies and offshore holdings.43
Vangold copper, cobalt and gold mining operations proceed in Uganda’s western border districts.44 The West Nile district mining occurs near the sites of the massive Ugandan government backed atrocities and concentration camps that confine some 1.2 million indigenous Acholi people. Vangold has interests in Kenya, and holds a 1,631 square km (630 sq. mi) petroleum concession bordering Congo in northeastern Rwanda.45
Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister (1997-2007) at the time of the first and second Anglo-American invasions of Congo, led by the proxy forces of Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, has been a personal advisor to President Kagame since January 2008.
Another high profile mover and shaker who helps legitimize the Kagame regime is Harvard University doctor Paul Farmer, who moved his family to Rwanda in 2008 and became a citizen there. Farmer’s Partner’s in Health project has received millions of dollars from the Clinton Foundation and Clinton HIV/AIDS programs—money rinsed from the blood diamonds and indigenous genocides in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Congo.46 Maurice Tempelsman, the Clinton/Kennedy family diamond broker, Democratic Party sponsor and an architect of covert operations in Africa, is the Chairman of the board of Harvard University’s euphemistically named AIDS Institute; HAI is partnered with the US Military HIV Research Program.47 ,48
Paul Farmer is also linked to the Kagame regime’s network in Boston, where agent’s of the Kagame regime operate an intelligence cell used to identify, repress and criminalize any Rwandan people who in any way challenge the criminality or injustice of the current regime.49
Paul Farmer wrote an excellent book on structural violence titled Pathologies of Power. In the introduction, Farmer discusses Rwanda and, for example, he comments on the ‘blinkered analyses’ by aid workers in “most settings where massive human rights violations are about to occur.”
“How, one wonders incredulously,” Farmer asked, “could anyone working on behalf of the Rwandan poor [before 1994] have failed to anticipate the oncoming cataclysm?”50
How, one wonders incredulously, could anyone working on behalf of the Rwandan poor today have failed to challenge or distance themselves from Kagame’s Rwanda and its terrorist enterprises, in Congo at the very least, and instead works with the regime and its agents?
Farmer cites the work of Samantha Power, about how the Clinton administration knowingly let genocide in Rwanda happen, as opposed to playing the active role it did in backing a covert coup d’etat and Hutu genocide.51 This fabricated ‘bystanders to genocide’ thesis, intentionally obtuse, won Samantha Power—a founder-director of Harvard’s highly biased Carr Center for Human Rights—a Pulitzer Prize.52 Farmer’s additional references and citations regarding ‘genocide in Rwanda’ are equally misinformed, examples of propaganda that intentionally blinds people.53
Michael Porter, a Harvard professor and ‘intellectual entrepreneur’ from Brookline, Massachusetts, also has close ties to Kagame, both in Massachusetts and in Rwanda. Porter is one of Paul Kagame’s primary economic advisers, “helping that nation craft an economic plan, develop the private sector and build relationships around the world.”54
Ben Affleck’s hometown is Boston, Massachusetts, and this is the stage for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s film Good Will Hunting. Boston, it turns out, is also Paul Kagame’s most important power base in the United States, and Cambridge (Harvard University) and Brookline are two influential suburbs.
On January 27, 2009, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman will moderate a panel about Dr. Paul Farmer’s Partner’s In Health mission in Haiti. Panelists will include Paul Farmer and Matt Damon and the panel will be held at Kennedy Library in Boston.
Paul Kagame and his wife Jeanette are regular visitors to Boston, where they have wooed many business leaders, including Mayor Thomas Menino, and where they are tight with the Jewish community. The Tutsis, after all, are the ‘Jews of Africa’ and Rwanda the ‘Israel of Africa’, according to the efficacious mythology perpetuated in part by New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch, in part by Israeli officials.55 Of course, Israel is also fueling the holocaust in the Congo.56
Kagame has given numerous “we the poor victims of genocide” speeches at Boston area colleges. Such speeches usually provoke guilt about the moral failure of us in the west, and all dissent is stillborn for fear of being accused of genocide denial. The result is a hysterical western ‘news’ consuming public—a hysteria amplified by visits to skeleton ‘memorials’ in Rwanda.57
At Boston College in 2005, Kagame was joined by Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. Prosper is a member of Boston College Board of Trustees and has repeatedly visited Rwanda since 1995. Prosper played a major role in neutralizing the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and in derailing the attempts by ICTR prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to prosecute the RPA for war crimes.58 Prosper echoed the big Rwanda deception about a systematic genocide committed by the Hutus, and he followed with the usual coup de grace on truth: he criticized the international community for ‘failing to act’ and, completely inverting reality, said that the US media “did nothing to explore the genocidal machine that was under full operation in Rwanda.”59 In reality, the US ‘news’ system facilitated the RPA coup d’etat.
Kagame followed with the typical speech filled with the usual platitudes about ’100 days of killing’, with ’800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis slaughtered’—the language that the propaganda system has, by constant repetition, cemented into the minds of western ‘news’ consumers, thus fostering a sort of mass hysteria about Rwanda that is echoed, mindlessly—even self-righteously, by everyone from the miseducated masses to over educated intellectuals—everywhere. As usual, Kagame turned reality on its head, falsely stating that “the genocide was engineered by the government” of Juvenal Habyarimana.
“It was deliberate, calculated, and cold-blooded,” Kagame said. Indeed it was, as Paul Kagame knows only too well.
Although Paul Kagame has criticized western society and pontificated on the importance of Rwandans being educated in Rwanda, his children attend school in Boston, where they are sheltered by an extensive network, and Ben Affleck—Congo’s new hero and an avid Red Sox fan—has taken the Kagame youth to Boston Red Sox baseball games.60
This is the kind of hidden interest, according to Congolese who have now learned about Affleck’s Kagame and Rwanda connections, that one cannot, in good conscience, ignore. While it might seem endearing that Affleck takes Kagame’s children out to the ball game, it exemplifies Affleck’s close relationship to an internationally renowned war criminal and his conflict of interest in Congo.
The Gimme Shelter campaign is but the latest smokescreen by the western propaganda systems deployed to protect private profits, hidden agendas, and white-collar war crimes in Central Africa. In this equation, the actors and actresses themselves are being used like brand names. UNHCR has the Angelina Jolie brand. UNICEF has the Mia Farrow brand. Save the Children and UNHCR share the Ben Affleck brand name.
Such smokescreens immunize people in North America, Europe, South Africa, Israel and Australia against our own waking up. Using words like ‘humanitarian’ and ‘AID’ and ‘relief’ and ‘peacekeeping’ to misname what are otherwise profitable white operations that are reliant purely on markets—where the commodities are people of color who have been uprooted and displaced, physically and sexually traumatized, and murdered en masse—is another way to justify the exploitation that proceeds both in plain site (refugee operations, peacekeeping interventions, media productions) and behind the scenes (extractive industries, weapons proliferation, multinational dumping, covert operations).
In eastern Congo, it is clear that the goal is to create chaos, to mobilize and dispossess millions of people of their lands and their agency, to herd them and intern them in ‘refugee’ concentration camps, where they die of starvation and disease, where they become test populations for pharmaceutical corporations, where every justification is used—by the white people who serve them—before we go off to the swimming pool or take a vacation.
But most of all, the goal is to create a hopeless and destitute people, who don’t know if they are coming or going, who are traumatized, shattered, apathetic, afraid of everyone and everything, where even the most vile forms of corporate exploitation can appear, almost magically, as promising solutions.
The Gimme Shelter video—like so much of the western capitalist communications apparatus—allows whites to justify our ignorance, to inculcate and nurture our apathy, and to simultaneously hide behind our ‘innocence’. Ben Affleck offers a stellar performance of the ostensibly innocent white man, the latest white savior for Africa, taken to the extreme.
“But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent,” wrote African American James Baldwin. “It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”61