New York Times Finally Sees Nkunda's Congo Genocide
Although The Times report is long overdue; better later than never. The Black Star in an editorial last month also accused The Times and the BBC, the propaganda arm of the British government that masquerades as a media outlet, of aiding and abetting Nkundaâ€™s genocide by fawning over him
It may have taken over 10 years, but The New York Times has begun finally to write about the terrorist Laurent Nkunda’s genocidal campaigns in Congo without kneeling before his feet.
Nkunda has been tolerated by Western media because major corporations have financed his brutality in order to steal the Congo's resources without paying taxes to the Central government; similarly, Uganda's earlier intervention in Eastern Congo also had the blessing and support of major corporations, and Washington and London.
Millions of Congolese lives have been bartered for gold, diamonds, coltane and timber.
Today, The Times finally in an article titled "Congo Warlord, Linked to Brutal Abuses, Seeks a Bigger Stage," followed up on The Black Star News’s scoop from last month, and reported on its December 20, 2008 issue: "General Nkunda is all but certain to face an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for atrocities committed during his years fighting here, human rights investigators say, most recently in Kiwanja, where his men executed civilians and torched camps that housed 30,000 displaced people."
The Black Star News had already reported on November 2, 2008, in an article titled, "Laurent Nkunda, Congo’s Genocidal War Criminal," that "Nkunda is being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague on alleged war crimes, the Black Star News has learned."
Nkunda's chief of military staff already was indicted by the ICC earlier this year.
(Separately, in an earlier report, The Black Star reported that Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, mentor to Nkunda and Gen. Paul Kagame, also was being investigated by the ICC on alleged war crimes committed by Ugandan soldiers in eastern Congo during the period it occupied the region between 2003-2005. Already Uganda was found liable in 2005 by the International Court of Justice in the civil case and assessed $10 billion; the ICC investigates the criminal part.)
Although The Times report is long overdue; better later than never.
The Black Star in an editorial last month also accused The Times and the BBC, the propaganda arm of the British government that masquerades as a media outlet, of aiding and abetting Nkunda’s genocide by fawning over him and ignoring his numerous massacres; the same hypocrisy applies to the coverage of Uganda. The Times has decided to start catching up; the BBC is still out to lunch.
Times reporter Lydia Polgreen was not impressed with Nkunda’s neatly pressed uniform and his penchant for charming or seducing journalists; she wrote, of Nkunda, that, "beneath the veneer lies a ruthlessness of a piece with Congo’s unbroken history of brutality," and referred to the military campaign he’s waged against the Congolese people since October.
Regarding Nkunda’s fantasy of playing a role in Congo as a national leader, the reporter observed that the prospect "is a chilling thought for many Congolese."
"General Nkunda’s campaign began as a local insurgency aimed at redressing the grievances of a Tutsi minority that felt threatened by the aftershocks of the Rwandan genocide," continued the Times’ reporter, finally refusing to allow Nkunda to keep playing the "Tutsi card," to mask his criminality, "But it has grown into a rebellion with a broad set of aims that include the removal of President Joseph Kabila, who was elected in 2006 after more than 40 years of tyranny and war in this country."
Many people still play the Tutsi card; they take advantage of the terrible suffering inflicted upon the minority Tutsi in Rwanda and Eastern Congo to advance their own corrupt aspirations.
"General Nkunda is despised by many in eastern Congo for his brutal tactics," reported The New York Times’ Polgreen. "He is also widely perceived as a proxy for Rwanda, a country whose meddling is largely detested by Congolese citizens."
How is it that The New York Times finally sees that terrible crimes are being committed in Congo when the genocide has been visible for all these years? The Times would not be changing the focus of its coverage unless editors and reporters at the newspaper –a corrupt corporate media outlet—have gotten a signal from official sources, including the U.S. Department of State that U.S. policy will shift.
The Black Star News has learned that part of the new focus may be a result of briefings on regional East African politics by Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga to President-Elect Barack Obama.
The newspaper also reported that Nkunda’s campaign has eroded Congo president Joseph Kabila’s popularity. "In eastern Congo, many people are unhappy at his failure to halt General Nkunda’s relentless military advance," reported the Times, and referred to Kabila’s harsh clampdown, "A Human Rights Watch investigation found that 500 people had died and 1,000 had been detained in these crackdowns."
Yet, the bulk of the Times’ report was devoted to Nkunda’s genocidal campaign, and even reported on past atrocities, noting for example that, "in 2002, when General Nkunda was a commander in a different rebel group, he participated in the mass killing of 160 mutineers in the city of Kisangani, human rights groups say. According to Human Rights Watch, ‘Forces under Nkunda’s command bound, gagged, and executed twenty-eight persons and then put their bodies in bags weighted with stones and threw them off a Kisangani bridge.’"
"Two years later, his men took the city of Bukavu, and days of killing and rape followed, investigators say," The New York Times continued, " Since 2005, when he formed his own rebel group, known as the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or C.N.D.P., his forces have carried out a number of massacres, according to human rights investigators, most recently at Kiwanja, in early November, where 150 people were executed."
What’s more, Polgreen reported that Nkunda’s soldiers extort money and food from Congolese farmers, and places levies on coltane and other minerals ferried from Congo through Uganda. Nkunda forces "collect taxes on virtually every commercial vehicle and bushel of crops that come out of territory they control, according to residents and a United Nations report released last week," the Times’ reporter wrote.
Polgreen also reported on boys as young as 13 being forcefully recruited by Nkunda; which itself constitutes war crimes. One of the boys is now traumatized and can’t properly sleep. "’Too many bombs,’" she quoted the boy, now slightly older, saying. "’Many of us were boys… They would send us out first, then the men,’" she further quoted the boy as saying. "I always felt bad to kill other children, because I knew they had been forced to fight just like me," the boy also told Polgreen.
The Times’ reporter also wrote of Anorite Zawadi, a 27 year old "whose 8-year-old daughter disappeared when General Nkunda’s troops razed the camp in which her family lived. The girl has not been seen since."
"Nkunda destroyed my life," Polgreen quoted Zawadi, as saying, "He has no mercy on us….He brings only death and sorrow."
Hopefully Nkunda will eventually be at the mercy of the ICC at the Hague.
Black Star News Editor's Note: Readers please continue calling The Chief Prosecutor at the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, at 31 70 515 85 15 or via fax at 31 70 515 85 55 and supply him with specific information and documentation on the alleged role played in genocide by any of the East African presidents.
Senior military officers or government ministers could try to secure deals with Ocampo in exchange for documented evidence linking any of the Presidents and other military officers to genocide. Play a patriotic role in ending the mass killings that erode the dignity of Africans and Black people all over the world.
A the very least do it for the children of Africa.