V for Vendetta

This is from the original Wachowski brothers script for V for Vendetta. The movie version removed all traces of the anarchy theme from the speech to the citizens of London:

Good evening, London. I thought it was time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin. Right now, I imagine there are hundreds of soldiers rushing here to kill me because someone does not want us to talk. They are afraid that I am going to say the things that are not supposed to be said. They are afraid that I am going to say the truth.The truth is that there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? If you look about, you witness cruelty, injustice and despotism. But what do you do about it? What can you do? You are but a single individual. How can you possible make any difference? Individuals have no power in this modern world. That is what you’ve been taught because that is what they need you to believe. But it is not true. This is why they are afraid and the reason that I am here; to remind you that it is individuals who always hold the power. The real power. Individuals like me. And individuals like you. I have come to offer you a deal. If you accept, I will give you a different world. A world without curfews, without soldiers and surveillance systems. A world that is not run by other men but that is run by you. I am offering you a second chance. Four hundred years ago, a great citizen made a most significant contribution to our common culture. It was a contribution forged in secrecy and stealth although it is best remembered in noise and bright light. To commemorate that glorious night at precisely the stroke of midnight, the edifice of their world will erupt with enough sound and fury to shake the earth. All I ask is that you join me at the gates to watch as the past is erased, the pathway cleared so that together we can start toward a new day. But, you ask, who am I to make such promises? A fair question but hardly necessary as you know me already. To know me any more you need only look to a mirror. Truth be told, this wasn’t even my idea, was it? If you think back, you’ll remember that night, whispering in your lover’s arms. I became a part of your plan just as you have now become part of mine. Give me the line of the queen and I’ll give you your secret dream. On the twelfth stroke of the fifth day of the eleventh month, I hope we shall all meet again. Until then, I bid you goodnight.

V is an anarchist, make no mistake about it, although the Warner Bros. film does not use that word, for it is forbidden to be used outside the context of association with chaos and disorder. We are all programmed to believe at a very young age, that anarchy is absolute mayhem, that humans are so violent, aggresive, and stupid that we are incapable of ruling ourselves, therefore we have to elect “Rulers”, to lord over us, in order to prevent “chaos”… It is all a lie. As the website “a for anarchy” which is dedicated to setting the record straight says:

In V for Vendetta, a masked hero attacks the institutions and leaders of state that rules with fear, torture, incarceration, and propaganda and inspires the masses to rise up and overthrow this morally bankrupt government. But–then what? Was V fighting for a better government? Or NO government? The V for Vendetta movie is based on a graphic novel (book sized comic book) by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (online here). While the movie seems to leave V’s politics at “Freedom! Forever!,” in the graphic novel V passionately tells us that a free society is one where we don’t cede our power to government, where we don’t let leaders run our lives. The V movie ads say “People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” To the V of the graphic novel, government shouldn’t just be feared by the people– it should be ELIMINATED by the people.

Here is the original speech from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, note that it is quite different:

Good evening, London. I thought it time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you here this evening. Well, you see, I’m not entirely satisfied with your performance lately…I’m afraid your work’s been slipping and…and well, I’m afraid we’ve been thinking about letting you go. Oh, I know, I know. You’ve been with the company a long time now. Almost…let me see. Almost ten thousand years! My word, doesn’t time fly? It seems like only yesterday…I remember the day you commenced your employment, swinging down from the trees, fresh-faced and nervous, a bone clasped in your bristling fist…”Where do I start, sir?” You asked, plaintively. I recalled my exact words: “There’s a pile of dinosaur eggs over there, youngster,” I said, smiling paternally all the while. “Get sucking.” Well, we’ve certainly come a long way since then, haven’t we? And yes, yes you’re right, in all that time you haven’t missed a day. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Also, please don’t think I’ve forgotten about your outstanding service record, or about all of the invaluable contributions that you’ve made to the company…Fire, the wheel, agriculture..It’s an impressive list, old-timer. A jolly impressive list. Don’t get me wrong. But…well, to be frank, we’ve had our problems too. There’s no getting away from it. Do you know what I think alot of it stems from? I’ll tell you…It’s your basic unwillingness to get on in the company. You don’t seem to want to face up to any real responibility. To be your own boss. Lord knows you’ve been given plenty of opportunities… We’ve offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you’ve turned us down. “I couldn’t handle the work, Guv’Nor,” You wheedled. “I know my place.” To be frank, you’re not trying are you? You see, you’ve been standing still for far too long, and its starting to show in your work…And, I might add, in your general standard of behavior. The constant bickering on the factory floor has not escaped my attention…nor the recent bouts of rowdiness in the staff canteen. Then of course there’s…Hmm. Well, I didn’t really want to have to bring this up, but…Well, you see, I’ve been hearing some disturbing rumors about your personal life. No, never you mind who told me. No names, no pack drill… I understand you are unable to get on with your spouse. I hear that you argue. I am told that you shout. Violence has been mentioned. I am reliably informed that you always hurt the one you love…the one you shouldn’t hurt at all. And what about the children, its always the children who suffer, as you’re well aware. Poor little mites. What are they to make of it? What are they to make of all your bullying, your despair, your cowardice and all your fondly nurtured bigotries? Really, its not good enough, is it? And its no good blaming the drop in work standards on and management either…though to be sure, the management is very bad. In fact, let us not mince words…The Management is terrible! We’ve had a string of embezzelers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was you! You who elected these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was “No.” You have no spine. You have no pride. You are no longer an asset to the company. I will, however, be generous. You will be granted two years to show me some improvement in your work. If at the end of that time you are still unwilling to make a go of it…You’re fired. That will be all. You may return to your labors.

Despite the removal of all things Anarchy, I still think the film was fantastic, especially for a hollywood film. Finally, here is the V’s television address to London from the film (emphasis is mine):

* Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle are celebrated with a nice holiday. I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillence coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence.

Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

Does Cheney know about peak oil?

This is being reproduced with the permission of William R. Clarke, author of the new book Petrodollar Warfare. This is probably the most concise, obvious, and shocking assesment of the current situation that I have read.

You can be sure that Cheney read the IHS Energy (formerly Petroconsultants Inc) reports back in 1997-2000. The most interesting thing that alludes to Cheney's world view from that 1999 speech in London is this sentence:

Well, the end of the oil era is not here yet, but changes are afoot and the industry must be ready to adapt to the new century and to the transformations that lie ahead.

Of course the "transformations" that he spoke of did not become apparant until after 9/11, but it is obvious to every dispassionate observer that the plan is for the US military to gain strategic control of the world's oil and gas reserves under the guise of the perpetual "war on terror." Of course Cheney knows all about Peak Oil. He seems to have been brought into the Bush administration to specifically do something about it. In Feb 2001 his frist assignment was to develop a National Energy Plan Development Group (NEPDG). Michael Klare, an international expert on natural resource conflict and author of Resource Wars and Blood for Oil, provided the following analysis of the NEPDG report. The report made three key points about US energy challenges between 2000 and 2020:

• The United States must satisfy an ever-increasing share of its oil demand with imported supplies. (Note: By 2020, daily US imports will total nearly 17 million barrels per day, over 65 percent of consumption, up from 10 m/bl/d, or 53 percent in 2000.)

• The United States cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada. It will also have to obtain substantial imports from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and West Africa.

• The United States cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies.

Instead of advocating various policies to reduce America’s consumption of oil, either through conservation, improvements in efficiency, or the development of large-scale alterative energy sources, the 2001 Bush/Cheney energy policy implicitly assumed the US will continue to consume what is almost universally regarded as excessive oil consumption. According to Klare this was a “fateful decision.” It means the US must find a way to increase oil imports from 11 mb/d to 18.5 mb/d by 2020. Klare noted, “Securing that increment of imported oil — the equivalent of total current oil consumption by China and India combined — has driven an integrated US oil-military strategy ever since.” The 2001 NEPDG energy plan obliquely inferred that the primary role of the US military in the beginning decades of the 21st century will be to “secure” physical control of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves. The problem? As evidenced in Iraq and Iran, US and/or UN sanctions have prevented US oil and gas companies into these two countries (until Iraq was overthrown and the US/UK gained control of the oil). Elsewhere in Central Asia, US energy companies will have to compete with European, Chinese, Russian and ultimately Indian oil and gas firms for those deposits. To reiterate the item highlighted by Cheney 2001 energy plan:

The United States cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies

How do you overcome this "foreign resistance"? Well, as the famous Prussian war strategist Karl von Clausewitz stated:

"war is merely the continuation of policy by other means."

In May 2001 Cheney was as put in charge of a domestic terrorism task force – supposedly to protect the nation according to a statement by Pres. G.W. Bush:

Therefore, I have asked Vice President Cheney to oversee the development of a coordinated national effort so that we may do the very best possible job of protecting our people from catastrophic harm. I have also asked Joe Allbaugh, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to create an Office of National Preparedness. This Office will be responsible for implementing the results of those parts of the national effort overseen by Vice President Cheney that deal with consequence management.

Cheney did nothing depsite the warnings…. until the aftermath – then he made sure the 300 page US Patriot Act was passed (see Enabling Act of 1933). Meanwhile Bush and Cheney both "asked" Sen. Daschle not to investigate 9/11- which is something that has never happened in US history after a national tragedy (Pearl Harbor, JFK, RFK, Oklahoma City bombings, etc). http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/01/29/inv.terror.probe/ Along with a subservient press, that event paved the way for the pre-planned invasion of Iraq. The world was not amused – with the largest protests in history taking place Feb 14-16, 2003 (estimated to have included 12 million people in 700 cities, representing 60 countries). One of the reasons for the rampant "anti-Americanism" around the globe is the realization of Bush and Cheney's geostategy re hydrocarbon energy supplies. Even some decent British MP's object. For example: In 2003 former British MP Meacher has characterized US strategic maneuvers as revolving around a “bogus” war on terror. After reviewing the goals outlined in PNAC doctrine, Meacher concluded that “the ‘global war on terrorism’ has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda — the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.” On what evidence can Meacher and others point to? Here's a few facts: In May 2001, four months before 9/11, General Franks reviewed war plans that were to be used in the upcoming campaign in Afghanistan. Around that time, Michael Klare observed that US military planning had become increasingly defined as providing “resource security as their primary mission.” Although this was hardly addressed in the US media, in April 2002 Franks testified that one of his key missions as commander of the Persian Gulf-South Asia region was to provide “access to [the] region’s energy resources.” The funny thing is that these US policy makers are not really taking about "access" at all – which all industrialized economies have to oil and gas deposits – they are disguising their true intent with Orwellian terminology. The post 9/11 US military base structure belies the real agenda – which is all about US strategtic control or domination of the world's energy supplies. Period. While it is true the US Navy plays an important role in keeping the sea routes safe for the transportation of oil, it is interesting to note that in the months prior to 9/11, US policy planners were increasingly devising military frameworks around potential energy issues. According to Klare’s book, Blood and Oil, a top-secret document dated February 3, 2001, directed the “NSC [National Security Council] staff to cooperate with the NEPDG in assessing the military applications of the energy plan.” What other country uses "energy policy" and "military applications" in the same breath? It gets worse… According to Jane Meyer of The New Yorker, who has reportedly seen a copy of the document, it envisioned the melding of two White House priorities: “review of operational policies toward rogue states” [such as Iraq/Iran] and actions regarding the “capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.” Klare deftly appraised the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review and related US joint energy-military policy documents as follows:

In fact, it is getting harder to distinguish US military operations designed to fight terrorism from those designed to protect energy assets. And the administration’s tendency to conflate the two is obvious in more than just the Gulf and Caspian areas. In Latin America, the US Southern Command has been ordered to strengthen the Columbia army’s ability to defend oil pipelines against guerrilla attack — again on the basis of expanding the war against terrorism. In the Caucasus, the European Command is doing its part in the war on terror by training Georgian forces to protect the soon-to-be-completed Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline; terrorism and the vulnerability of the oil supplies are also providing the justification for Eurcom’s efforts to enhance America’s power-projection capacity in Africa. Recent strategy documents prepared by US government officials, remarks by high-ranking members of the US armed forces, and the building of new overseas military bases amount to an open declaration by both the civilian leadership and military commanders that the military’s role in the new century is not limited to protecting the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic, but include gaining access to, or more accurately, domination over, the world’s largest oil reserves — all under the guise of the “war on terror.”

The governments of Europe, Russia, and China are naturally resisting the Bush administration’s destabilizing imperial strategy. Meanwhile, US political leaders continue to use ambiguous and euphemistic phrases to justify their imperial goals such as fighting evil, protecting freedom, and spreading democracy. Despite these proclamations, most industrialized and developing nations engage in legal trade agreements with the nations that export their natural resources such as oil, and typically leaders do not resort to Orwellian phraseology to justify faraway wars against “terror” or obfuscate their agendas with misleading but impressive-sounding slogans. According to Cheney’s energy plan from 2001, US oil consumption is projected to grow by an additional 7.5 mb/d by 2020. Current global production is around 84.5 mb/d, which is stretching the supply of all oil producers. Saudi Arabia has not increased its oil production since 2003, and OPEC's president stated in 2004 that there was no extra supply. In 2005 senior Saudi Arabian energy officials were reported to have privately warned US and European counterparts that OPEC would have an “extremely difficult time” meeting projected oil demand by 2015 to 2020, stating that there will be a 4.5 mb/d gap between what the world is projected to need and what the kingdom can provide. If these sentiments by energy experts are accurate, one must ask how the projected 18–20 percent increase in demand by 2020 will be met. Technical data on oil discovery and production, in conjunction with analysis by numerous veteran oil geologists, clearly indicate that an of additional oil supply 7.5 mb/d to the US may be possible under only one ominous scenario: strategically using the US military to redirect to America oil exports from the Middle East earmarked for China, India, Japan and the EU. It is farcical to even ponder whether or not Cheney knows about Peak Oil. So, let's recap the events 2001-2005: current US geostrategy, as articulated by PNAC documents and subsequent National Security Strategy policy, is a bold attempt to justify unilateral US military action anywhere on the globe (and in space) to maintain US hegemony and secure the oil that feeds it. This remarkable merging of foreign policy with overt military force projection provides further evidence that plenty of US policymakers are acutely aware of global Peak Oil and its implications. An understanding of these connections easily explains current geopolitical tensions and the growing expansion of US military deployments in the Middle East, Central Asia, West Africa, and Latin America. The modus operandi of the Bush/Cheney administration — since day one — is obvious for those who follow the facts…

If you want to rule the world, you need to control the oil. All the oil. Anywhere. — Michel Collon, Monopoly (2000)

African Great Lakes, and “Darwins Nightmare”


Probably the most alarming thing I have seen in a long time, is this documentary called "Darwins Nightmare" Devilstower at the Daily Kos wrote a great summary here. It is about the typical exploitation that occurs every day in Africa, especially the Great Lakes region, where much of Africa's wealth lies. It explores the current exploitation of fish, in Lake Victoria. From the website:

Said to be the birthplace of mankind, "The Great Lakes Region" is the green, fertile and mineral rich center of Africa. The region is also known for its unique wild life, snowy volcanoes and famous National Parks. At the same time, it is truly the "Heart of Darkness" of our world. Massive epidemics, food shortages and of course civil wars rage in this area, taking place in a kind of moral oblivion. These armed conflicts are the deadliest ones in history since the second World War. In the Eastern Congo alone, the casualties of war on each single day equal the number of deaths on September 11th in New York. If not totally ignored, the uncountable wars are often qualified as "tribal conflicts", like those of Rwanda, Burundi or Sudan. The hidden causes of such troubles are, in most cases, imperialistic interests in natural resources.

In this case we are talking about fish, Nile perch to be specific (above)

So what is happening there? Basically the Nile Perch fish are being flown out to 1st world countries because in the "free market" we are willing to pay more than Africans can for the fish. It used to be there main staple, but now they can't afford to BUY the fish that used to be free, however, never fear, they are allowed to eat the rotting guts, and fish heads. Sauper points out:

The idea of this film was born during my research on another documentary, KISANGANI DIARY that follows Rwandese refugees in the midst of the Congolese rebellion. In 1997, I witnessed for the first time the bizarre juxtaposition of two gigantic airplanes, both bursting with food. The first cargo jet brought 45 tons of yellow peas from America to feed the refugees in the nearby UN camps. The second plane took off for the European Union, weight with 50 tons of fresh fish. I met the Russian pilots and we became "kamarads". But soon it turned out that the rescue planes with yellow peas also carried arms to the same destinations, so that the same refugees that were benefiting from the yellow peas could be shot at later during the nights. In the mornings, my trembling camera saw in this stinking jungle destroyed camps and bodies.

Everywhere you go in Africa, if there is a valuable resource to extract, it is being extracted, and the results are always the same:

In DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE I tried to transform the bizarre success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this "fittest" animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the New World Order. I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone, only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria or Angola, crude oil. Most of us I guess, know about the destructive mechanisms of our time, but we cannot fully picture them. We are unable to "get it", unable to actually believe what we know. It is, for example, incredible that wherever prime raw material is discovered, the locals die in misery, their sons become soldiers, and their daughters are turned into servants and whores. Hearing and seeing the same stories over and over makes me feel sick. After hundreds of years of slavery and colonisation of Africa, globalisation of african markets is the third and deadliest humiliation for the people of this continent. The arrogance of rich countries towards the third world (that's three quarters of humanity) is creating immeasurable future dangers for all peoples.

I often use that very concept to try and convey to people why these things continue. We don't really SEE the machinations of modern capitalism, we may hear about them, but they are not broadcast on the nightly news, so we really don't understand the problem. In these times of electronic media, 100's of television channels, and the collective narcosis that compromises are better judgement, when we don't see the horror, we don't believe it. If it is not on CNN, or printed in USA today, it didn't happen.

The absolutely most heart wrenching thing about it is, the documentary is told through the eyes of a little girl, Devilstower writes:

As part of his documentary, Sauper focuses on the life of one young girl. Beautiful and educated, the girl can speak enough English to communicate with the visiting pilots. This opens to her the only job available, that of prostitute. When the girl is then killed by one of her drunken clients, a quick bribe is enough to see that the guilty party escapes the country without prosecution. That's Africa. That girl tells the story of the whole tropical world in her short, tragic life. We're working hard to see that it stays that way

And as long as the citizens of western nations continue to ignore the actions of their governments, and their multi-national corporate overlords, it will continue to stay that way. As Keith Snow pointed out, at Cyntia McKinney's forum:

And all this is hidden by the US media. Even the village idiot, if he opens his eyes, can see that the directors of the media corporations are the same directors of those corporations raping Africa. But too many people have a paycheck to worry about. And that includes humanitarian organizations and the United Nations and the OAU and the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Special torture centers and death squads and massive repression of the population are the rule in Togo, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, and were so in Zaire. And these people–Eyadema, Biya, Bongo, Obasanjo, Abacha, Babangida, Mobutu, Compaore, Rawlings, Banda, Kaunda, Moi, Habyarimana, Kagame, Museveni, Garang, Ratsiraka–they provide the environment for pillage, and they are duly rewarded, with power, with all the perks.

Snow explains how the complexity issue of our modern culture helps to maintain the violence and chaos:

And then you have the whole misery industry, which profits from the wars and repression and population displacement which their affiliated institutions and their funding banks and materials-providing multinationals create. Again, you don't need a Ph.D. to figure out that thousands of highly paid western AID workers would be out of a job if there were peace in Sudan. And Toyota wouldn't sell all those shiny 4-WD SUVs. And who would buy the US made weapons? And all that business of feeding and clothing and interning the refugees would be lost by these multinationals who get huge tax write-offs and subsidies and whose products are purchased by USAID or other government agencies. And some of these relief organizations also have close ties to the corporate media executives. So I see it as a policy of depopulation in Africa. Because what I am talking about is access. That's all. Access to the animals. Access to the game parks and trophy fishing. Access to the minerals. Access to the cheap and replenishable labor pool. Access to uninformed populations to dump inferior and toxic and outdated products on. Access for military adventurism and special forces training and psyops operations. Access to biological and pharmaceutical testing grounds. Access to markets. And while at times it seems contradictory, at times it is, but it's all completely unethical, entirely arrogant and racist. It is driven purely by greed. And the profound human suffering is totally unnecessary.

While this activity has escalated in recent decades due to the dramatic drawdowns of resources required for a perpetual growth world economy, it is by no means a new tactic. In the second decade of the 20th century, General Smedley Butler, the most decorated marine in US history wrote:

"I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. I was a high class muscle man for Big Business, Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." -Brigadeer General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corp.

Africa

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Although I had originally intended my first post to be introductory,

A post at peakoil.com describing the situation in Zimbabwe, really boiled my blood this morning:

Blacks kill white farmers and than starve to death, is this news? Wasn’t all this predictable once the USA worked to end apartheid? IMHO, This should serve as a good example of what will happen to Europe and the US if we continue to let in people with this repute. (Muslims, Blacks and Mexicans).

It seems this is a common argument, especially among racist, white supremacists, like the person quoted above, when it comes to Africa. Even decent people say “Oh well, there is nothing I can do about those crazy savages who keep killing each other”, and I respond, spare me the Dogmatic Imperialistic Neofascist Groupthink (DING for short). Comments like these are always short, overly-simplistic, and plain stupid. Never followed by any sort of evidence of such condemnation, just DING. Everybody believes it, so it must be so, besides, there is nothing I am doing to perpetuate these massacres, right? Lets take a trip into the heart of darkness, the geopolitical and socioeconomic quagmire that is Africa, and find out. Zimbabwe is a very complicated situation, which I will have to lead into. First we must understand the source of the problem. A good starting point is the central African Great Lakes region (depicted above), which includes Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda as well as portions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya. This is a very resource rich area, and of course this means there is constant warfare. Why? lets look at a speach that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney gave in 2001:

I want to thank you all for coming today. I especially want to thank our esteemed speakers for traveling, in some instances quite a long way, to be with us today. Our speakers are courageous individuals who have gone to many of Africa’s most dangerous and desperately poor locations, not for wealth or riches, but in order to merely discover the truth. They provide us with a remarkable insight into what has gone on in Africa and what continues to go on in Africa today. Much of what you will hear today has not been widely reported in the public media. Powerful forces have fought to suppress these stories from entering the public domain. Their investigations into the activities of Western governments and Western businessmen in postcolonial Africa provide clear evidence of the West’s long-standing propensity for cruelty, avarice, and treachery. The misconduct of Western nations in Africa is not due to momentary lapses, individual defects, or errors of common human frailty. Instead, they form part of long-term malignant policy designed to access and plunder Africa’s wealth at the expense of Africa’s people. In short, the accounts you are about to hear provide an indictment of Western activities in Africa. The West has, for decades, plundered Africa’s wealth and permitted, and even, assisted in slaughtering Africa’s people. The West has been able to do this while still shrewdly cultivating the myth that much of Africa’s problems today are African made–we have all heard the usual Western defenses that Africa’s problems are the fault of corrupt African administrations, centuries-old tribal hatreds, the fault of unsophisticated peoples. But we know that those statements are all a lie. We have always known it. The accounts we are about to hear today assist us in understanding just why Africa is in the state it is in today. You will hear that at the heart of Africa’s suffering is the West’s, and most notably the United States’, desire to access Africa’s diamonds, oil, natural gas, and other precious resources. You will hear that the West, and most notably the United States, has set in motion a policy of oppression, destabilization and tempered, not by moral principle, but by a ruthless desire to enrich itself on Africa’s fabulous wealth. While falsely pretending to be the friends and allies of many African countries, so desperate for help and assistance, many western nations have in reality betrayed those countries’ trust–and instead, have relentlessly pursued their own selfish military and economic policies. Western countries have incited rebellion against stable African governments by encouraging and even arming opposition parties and rebel groups to begin armed insurrection. The Western nations have even actively participated in the assassination of duly elected and legitimate African Heads of State and replaced them with corrupted and malleable officials. Western nations have even encouraged and been complicit in the unlawful invasions by African nations into neighboring counties. Something must be done to right these wrongs. I invite you to listen and learn first-hand of the West’s activities in Africa.

Shocked?, Of course, since most people get their information from CNN, this is certainly shocking. The worst offenders, as any conservative will tell you, are the New York Times and Hollywood, and they are right. But not for the stated reasons of liberal bias, no no, that is just a distraction. The bias is a “Corporate” bias, not a narrowly defined “American Politics” bias. For example, the movie “Hotel Rwanda” really got your emotions stirring, didn’t it?, with the feel good slogan of “Never Again” and the story of the villified Hutu’s genocide of the Tutsies. So what actually happened in Rwanda, in 1994? Lets look at the excellent reporting of Wayne Madsen and find out:

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. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was fond of calling pro-U.S. military leaders in Africa who assumed power by force and then cloaked themselves in civilian attire, “beacons of hope.” In reality, these leaders, who include the current presidents of Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola, Eritrea, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo 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.

But what does this have to do with DING, and Hotel Rwanda, you ask? President Clinton has solemnly said his biggest regret was not stopping the Rwandan genocide. Really?

The present turmoil in central Africa largely stems from a fateful incident that occurred on April 6, 1994. That was the missile attack on the Rwandan presidential aircraft that resulted in the death of Rwanda’s Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana, his colleague President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, Habyarimana’s chief advisers, and the French crew. This aerial assassination resulted in a genocide coordinated by the successor militant Hutu Rwandan government that cost the lives of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This was followed by a counter-genocide orchestrated by the Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) government that resulted in the deaths of 500,000 mostly Hutu refugees in Rwanda and neighboring Zaire/Congo.

So why couldn’t the presumably most powerful man in the world at the time, Bill Clinton, stop the genocide in a small African nation? simple, he (and his masters) were causing it:

Also, particularly troublesome is a conclusion the CIA is said to have reached in an assessment written in January 1994, a few months before the genocide. According to key officials I have interviewed during my research, that analysis came to the conclusion that in the event that President Habyarimana was assassinated, the minimum number of deaths resulting from the mayhem in Rwanda would be 500 (confined mostly to Kigali and environs) and the maximum 500,000. Regrettably, the CIA’s higher figure was closer to reality. Certain interests in the United States had reason to see Habyarimana and other pro-French leaders in central Africa out of the way. As recently written by Gilbert Ngijol, a former Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN to Rwanda in 1994, the United States directly benefited economically from the loss of influence of French and Belgian mining interests in the central Africa and Great Lakes regions.

The way the corporate media lie to us is through omission, instead of fabricating wholey false allegations, they tell half truths, which can’t be disproven, the Hutu Rwandan government DID kill 800,000 Tutsies, but the filmakers and the NYTimes didn’t tell you that after the movie ends, the new Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) killed almost the same number of Hutu refugees. The movie, as all African themed movies do, never mentions the assasination, and they certainly don’t mention that the leaders on the plane were returning from peace talks, in an attempt to bring stability to the region. So why would the US media, and its overlord multi-national corporations, want people to believe that the millitant Hutu’s were to blame?, simple, the US was currently fueling the wartorn area by supporting the RPF, the very same government that came to power after the initial genocide of the Tutsies. Madsen reports:

Immediately after the attack on the presidential plane, much of the popular press in the United States brandished the theory that militant Hutus brought it down. I suggest that following some four years of research concentrating on the missile attack, there is no basis for this conclusion. In fact, I believe there is concrete evidence to show that the plane was shot down by operatives of the RPF. At the time, the RPF was supported by the United States and its major ally in the region, Uganda. Prior to the attack, the RPF leader, the current Rwandan strongman General Paul Kagame, received military training at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Many of Kagame’s subordinates received similar training, including instruction in the use of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) at the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. It was Soviet-designed SAMs that were used to shoot down the Rwandan president’s airplane. By its own admission, the U.S. Defense Department provided official military training to the RPF beginning in January 1994, three months before the missile attack on the aircraft.

Basically what happens is the first world corporate mining interests are duking it out over the mining and mineral rights of the African great lakes region. In this case it was French and Belgian interests versus American and Canadian interests. These “liberation” forces, are almost always financed by first world powers, with the purpose of creating conflict in resource rich nations, and the offenders often have connections to powerful people:

One of the major goals of the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD), a group fighting the Kabila government in Congo, is restoration of mining concessions for Barrick Gold, Inc. of Canada. In fact, the rebel RCD government’s “mining minister” signed a separate mining deal with Barrick in early 1999. Among the members of Barrick’s International Advisory Board are former President Bush and former President Clinton’s close confidant Vernon Jordan.

Would anybody reading the New York Times, believe a group of rebel forces in war-torn Congo, would have the stated goal of “restoring mining concessions for Barrick Gold, Inc.”, I don’t think so, it is much easier to tell one side of the story, and shout slogans like “Never Again”. The atrocities go on, and you don’t hear about them unless they serve some political purpose. The Democratic Republic of Congo, is the main source of this conflict, as evidenced by Madsen:

Currently, Barrick and tens of other mining companies are stoking the flames of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each benefits by the de facto partition of the country into some four separate zones of political control. First the mineral exploiters from Rwanda and Uganda concentrated on pillaging gold and diamonds from the eastern Congo. Now, they have increasingly turned their attention to a valuable black sand called columbite-tantalite or “col-tan.” Col-tan is a key material in computer chips and, therefore, is as considered a strategic mineral. It is my hope that the Bush administration will take pro-active measures to stem this conflict by applying increased pressure on Uganda and Rwanda to withdraw their troops from the country. However, the fact that President Bush has selected Walter Kansteiner to be Assistant Secretary of State for African, portends, in my opinion, more trouble for the Great Lakes region. A brief look at Mr. Kansteiner’s curriculum vitae and statements calls into question his commitment to seeking a durable peace in the region. For example, he has envisaged the splitting up of the Great Lakes region into separate Tutsi and Hutu states through “relocation” efforts and has called the break-up of the DRC inevitable. I believe Kansteiner’s previous work at the Department of Defense where he served on a Task Force on Strategic Minerals and one must certainly consider col-tan as falling into that category — may influence his past and current thinking on the territorial integrity of the DRC. After all, 80 per cent of the world’s known reserves of col-tan are found in the eastern DRC. It is potentially as important to the U.S. military as the Persian Gulf region.

Go look at the Hotel Rwanda website:

Over the course of 100 days, almost one million people were killed in Rwanda. The streets of the capital city of Kigali ran red with rivers of blood, but no one came to help. There was no international intervention in Rwanda, no expeditionary forces, no coalition of the willing. There was no international aid for Rwanda. Rwanda’s Hutu extremists slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors and any moderate Hutus who stood in their way, and the world left them to it.

No mention of the aftermath of continued genocide against Hutu’s, or the actions of the US trained and supported Kagame regime (RPF) after they gained power:

There is also reason to believe that a number of people with knowledge of Kagame’s plot against the presidential aircraft have been assassinated. These possibly include Tanzania’s former intelligence chief, Major General Imran Kombe, shot dead by policemen in northeastern Tanzania after he was mistaken for a notorious car thief. His wife maintains he was assassinated. Kombe had knowledge of not only the planned assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents but a plot against Kenya’s President Moi and Zaire’s President Mobutu, as well. There is a belief that Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, Emmanuel Kataliko, was assassinated last October in Rome by members of a Rwandan hit team acting on orders from Kagame. Other Tutsi and Hutu leaders who oppose Kagame’s regime continue to flee Rwanda to the U.S. and France in fear of their lives. Rwanda’s figurehead Hutu President Pasteur Bizimungu was forced to resign last year under pressure from the only power in Rwanda, his then-Vice President, Paul Kagame. Deus Kagiraneza, a former intelligence officer in Kagame’s Military Intelligence Directorate (DMI), interim Prefect of the Ruhengeri province, and member of the Parliament, is now in exile in Belgium. He charges that Kagame’s top government and military are responsible for torturing and executing their political opponents. Kagiraneza maintains that the RPF has pursued such policies since the time of the 1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda.

In conclusion, the movie “Hotel Rwanda” supports the notion that the crime committed was that of disinterest. That Clinton’s government was just ignoring the issue, which of course, is the furthest thing from the truth. Keith Snow, who addressed the same forum, writes:

The US took all the right decisions to allow the Rwanda genocide to unfold. And Clinton’s comment that “we didn’t know what was going on at the time” couldn’t have been a bigger lie. Do you suppose it was coincidental that a Rwanda delegate rotated on to the security council early in 1994 and then worked with US representatives to block all subsequent attempts to deal appropriately with the unfolding slaughter?

Plundering poor countries, murdering innocent people, for profit, this is the American way, the only way it has ever been done. And what is left behind after the plundering of Africa’s resources?

Multinational corporations– a very significant constellation of US companies and/or US citizens included, are everywhere stripping the resources, leaving pollution and disease and environmental disasters in their wakes. And you might probe into the whole classified nuclear waste transshipments programs. Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Togo, Niger, Madagascar and Burkina Faso provide examples, being massively exploited, where military repression and structural adjustment and the concomitant destitution suffice to enable lucrative western control and exploitation. Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and Ghana are a few more examples where I have similarly witnessed profound human suffering amidst huge multinational profits and SAP. I mean, 120 years after the British invasion of western Zambia this is an area heavily burdened by refugee flows out of Angola and DRC and the concomitant insecurity of insurgent nomadic military forces — the people have absolutely no possessions. The schools don’t exist and even if they do there are no books and the kids are so destitute that they often can’t attend in any case. You can’t buy basic staples. I mean absolutely no food, no medicine, no drugs for malaria. Some 30% of people in Zambia don’t even know that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. But you can buy Coca-Cola and Sprite and Fanta virtually everywhere, but there are usually no basic foodstuffs, no books, no medical supplies. You cannot imagine the suffering until you live it yourself.

And it is not only the Great Lakes region where this is happening, anywhere natural resources exist, you will find horrible atrocities, like in the Niger Delta, as the US media today, paints the picture of murderous terrorists, kidnapping innocent Shell employees. But, once again, the truth is out there, you just have to look for it:

In Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Niger in 1997, I found abundant evidence of unrestricted raw materials extraction by interests associated with the United States. The people of the oil-producing areas of the Niger River Delta are suffering horrendous atrocities. Again, on the Niger border with Burkina — famine, disease, despair, political repression for the most trifling reasons — and right next door there is a Barrick Gold mining operation. And Sumitomo and the Keidanren (Zaibatsu) out of Japan are all involved. And people in these (African) countries know what is going on, but they can’t tell their stories because most westerners are completely caught up in the mental illness of colonialism and imperialism, which disallows the simple truth to be seen. And those who tell their stories are often brutalized or disappeared.

For a great summary on the Niger river delta situation, and Royal Dutch Shell’s crimes, see Naomi Klein’s article A Noose, Not A Bracelet, (Also check out Naomi’s website, NoLogo.org). There you will read about Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, one of the so-called “terrorist” groups kidnapping Shell employees, and blowing up oil pipelines and platforms, personally I actively root for them, why? At the recent G-8 meeting, with all the humanitarian talk about using the Middle East countries oil wealth to help Africa, and debt forgiveness, Naomi points out the following:

With all this noblesse oblige focused on saving Africa from its misery, it seems like a good time to remember someone else who tried to make poverty history: Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed ten years ago this November by the Nigerian government, along with eight other Ogoni activists, sentenced to death by hanging. Their crime was daring to insist that Nigeria was not poor at all but rich, and that it was political decisions made in the interests of Western multinational corporations that kept its people in desperate poverty. Saro-Wiwa gave his life to the idea that the vast oil wealth of the Niger Delta must leave behind more than polluted rivers, charred farmland, rancid air and crumbling schools. He asked not for charity, pity or “relief” but for justice.The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People demanded that Shell compensate the people from whose land it had pumped roughly $30 billion worth of oil since the 1950s. The company turned to the government for help, and the Nigerian military turned its guns on demonstrators. Before his state-ordered hanging, Saro-Wiwa told the tribunal, “I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial…. The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come.” Ten years later, 70 percent of Nigerians still live on less than $1 a day and Shell is still making superprofits. Equatorial Guinea, which has a major oil deal with ExxonMobil, “got to keep a mere 12 percent of the oil revenues in the first year of its contract,” according to a 60 Minutes report–a share so low it would have been scandalous even at the height of colonial oil pillage. This is what keeps Africa poor: not a lack of political will but the tremendous profitability of the current arrangement. Sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest place on earth, is also its most profitable investment destination: It offers, according to the World Bank’s 2003 Global Development Finance report, “the highest returns on foreign direct investment of any region in the world.” Africa is poor because its investors and its creditors are so unspeakably rich.

Next, “African Great Lakes, Darwins Nightmare”