From Jim Perkins(the Economic Hitman) excerpted from the book The Secret History of the American Empire the Truth about Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World by John Perkins p254 Jenny Williams, worked with NGOs in Africa - emailed John Perkins in September 2006 We're [NGOs} like a fig leaf that Western governments hide behind when they don't have -or want - a diplomatic or political solution," one [NGO] coworker told me. "In any conflict, any crisis, who goes in first? Aid organizations of course, so the West can say 'look, we're doing something,' even if they don't really want to solve the real problems in the end." ... the West has a real stake in keeping Africa poor. People in Western countries have sincere feelings of charity and they have faith that aid works-but Western governments and multi-national corporations reap enormous benefits from the continued instability and destitution of African countries. The successful manipulation of cheap labor and agricultural products, smuggled resources, and arms trading relies on corrupt politicians, prolonged warfare, and an underdeveloped civil society that lacks the capacity to stand up for its rights. If there were peace and transparency in the Congo, it would be much more difficult-if not impossible-for foreign corporations to exploit the mineral resources; f there were no rebel groups or tribal conflicts, there would be no market for small arms. ... if the West truly wanted to see a stable, developed Africa, the continent would be well on its way. Instead, the situation is worse after decades of Western involvement and billions of dollars of aid money. p256 Congo Four million people have been killed in what is euphemistically called the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) since 1998. They have died so that wealthier people can buy inexpensive computers and cell phones. Although the country won its independence from Belgium in 1960, it soon fell under Washington's influence. TIME magazine, in a 2006 cover story entitled "The Deadliest War In The World," stated bluntly that Congo's "first elected Prime Minister (Lumumba) had been killed by Belgian- and U.S.-backed opponents because of his growing ties to the Soviet Union." After Lumumba's assassination army general Mobutu Sese Seko eventually took control. In TIME's words, "A U.S. favorite during the cold war, Mobutu presided over one of the most corrupt regimes in African history." Mobutu's long rule was ruthless, as well as corrupt, and deeply disturbing to neighboring countries. In 1996 and 1997, Rwanda and Uganda sent soldiers into Congo, overthrew Mobutu, and installed the rebel leader, Laurant Kabila, as its new president. However, social and economic conditions deteriorated rapidly under Kabila's administration. Uganda and Rwanda invaded again in 1998. Six other countries, seeing this as an opportunity to take advantage of Congo's rich resources, joined what became known as Africa's first world war. Ethnic, cultural, and tribal conflicts played a role in the war; however, mostly it is a struggle over resources. According to TIME: Congo's "soils are packed with diamonds, gold, copper, tantalum (known locally as coltan and used in electronic devices such as cell phones and laptop computers) and uranium." The country is vast-about one and a half times the size of Alaska-and is covered in many places with lush tropical forests and fertile agricultural lands. As I had discovered in conducting my studies of this region, the waters of the Congo River have the potential of providing hydroelectric power to much of the continent. Without Congo's tantalum, we would not have many of our computer-based products (for example, a tantalum shortage resulted in the scarcity of the Sony PlayStation 2 during the 2000 Christmas season). Militias from Rwanda and Uganda may justify invasions on the grounds that they are defending their people against rebels, but they earn billions of dollars from the tantalum they collect and smuggle across borders during these raids. EHMs, jackals, and government agents from the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa constantly flame the fires of conflict. Fortunes are made from arms sales to all sides. War enables corporations to dodge the scrutiny of human rights and environmental groups and avoid paying taxes and tariffs. Congo is but one of many places where similar things are happening. U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) exposed many aspects of this "Anglophone conspiracy" during a hearing she chaired on April 16, 200! Her opening statement included the following indictment: 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. The investigations into the activities of Western governments and Western businessmen in post-colonial 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 policy designed to access and plunder Africa's wealth at the expense of its people. ... 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.. . 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... Western countries have incited rebellion against stable African governments ... have even actively participated in the assassination of duly elected and legitimate African Heads of State and replaced them with corrupted and malleable officials. p258 Although the United Nations has committed to halting the bloodshed in Congo (in the summer of 2006, the largest U.N. force in the world was stationed there), the United States and other G8 countries have not cooperated. In TIME's words: ... the world has been willing to let Congo bleed. Since 2000, the U.N. spent billions on its peacekeeping mission in Congo... In February the U.N. and aid groups working in Congo asked for $682 million in humanitarian funds. So far, they have received just $94 million-or $9.40 for every person in need. p263 former Peace Corps volunteer Cindy Platt to John Perkins ... USAID and Monsanto were working together to rewrite Malian legislation. We learned directly from someone inside USAID-Mali that the U.S. government agency is working with Monsanto to write into the Malian constitution language that will allow the introduction, sale, and patent rights of GMO crops. ... By allowing American farmers to sell their cotton at artificially low prices, our government undercuts African producers in world markets. African farmers often have to store their cotton for a year or more and then may be forced to sell at rock-bottom prices, or not at all. To make matters worse, our 'experts' are persuading farmers to shift from food crops to cotton, as a cash crop. p264 former Peace Corps volunteer Greg Platt ... economic development in Mali is driven by corporate interests. The faces of the development organizations appear benevolent. They depict themselves as aid organizations that work to improve the lives of these folks. However, the publicity campaigns serve to mask their true intentions, the control of natural and human resources and the domination of markets. Because economic development in Mali is corporate driven, the process is not democratic. The great majority of programs are not requested, initiated, managed, or governed by Malians. The results are often devastating, leaving Mali in worse economic and social situations than before. Furthermore, the development industry has created a large sector of highly paid foreigners who live luxurious lives and who are out of touch with the very people they are supposed to serve."