Museveni: Washington's Criminal Friend In Africa

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[Black Star News Editorial]

The term my enemy's enemy is my friend has been taken to its most abominable level with respect to the United States' relations with Uganda, under the dictatorship of General Yoweri Museveni.

U.S. taxpayer money continues to fund this African dictator and his destructive military machine. Uganda is the only African country to provide significant numbers of troops to prop up the weak U.S.-installed regime in Somalia. Seemingly, Washington fears Al-Qaeda sympathizers are gaining firm control in Somalia.

Other major African democracies such as South Africa and Ghana would like to help their sisters and brothers in Somalia --but they won't send any troops so long as the operation remains limited in scope determined by America's all-consuming anti-Al Qaeda lens. So what that countless Somali civilians continue to die? Popular media have demonized them as a nation of pirates and terrorists after all.

Enter Uganda.

General Museveni, perhaps the most shrewd and ruthless opportunist in Africa, has sold himself as a U.S. ally in the "war against terrorism." He knows that the "war" will not end so long as more African nations aren't brought to the table to help Somalia. In the meantime, the war provides political and financial sustenance to the Ugandan, a U.S.-ally, who is himself responsible for war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and crimes against humanity within Uganda.

It's a strategy General Museveni has used smartly during every successive U.S. Administration since Ronald Reagan's --renting his services, and that of his army, to fulfill U.S. interests.

Mobuttu Sese Seko once played this card, mortgaging the welfare of his country, and that of Africa, in what was then Zaire, and lasted in power for 32 years. Museveni has been in office for 25 and if he successfully steals next year's vote --as he did with the past two elections-- will give Mobuttu a run for the money.

The United States, especially under the Obama Administration, with all the President's mouthing about "democracy" when he was in Accra last year, should be ashamed. But that's not what moves politics. It's information and mobilization. Most Americans aren't aware of the heinous nature of the Museveni regime.

Here is a brief primer:

This week The New York Times reported that Uganda is the training ground for child soldiers --some as young as eight years old-- from Somalia. These children are then sent back to fight for the U.S. puppet government in Somalia. The New York Times
reports that U.S. taxpayer money is likely being used to pay for the salary of these child soldiers. Of course it is; U.S. largesse is Somalia's only source of income for the government.

Deploying child soldiers is a violation of United Nations conventions. What's more, the U.S. is hypocritical--President Obama recently signed a law that authorizes the U.S. to work with countries such as Uganda to fight against the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA have been widely condemned for using child soldiers. Now it turns out that Uganda is training child soldiers for Somalia and that the U.S. is paying for it; this clearly makes the U.S. culpable in this war crime.

The U.S. Congress in December issued a Congressional Directive to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to monitor the preparation for presidential elections in Uganda and the vote itself next February.

Clinton is to issue a report every four months and one month after the vote. Her initial report was damning--noting that the Election Commission isn't independent and that security forces harassed opposition figures and even beat women who were demonstrating in demand for an independent election commission.

The International Criminal Court, which had been protecting Gen. Museveni, finally announced unequivocally, a few weeks ago, that it was investigating alleged crimes committed by Uganda's national army, the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) in the northern part of Uganda. The announcement came from Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC Prosecutor, in response to a challenge from Olara Otunnu, a former United Nations Under Secretary General and now leader of Uganda People's
Congress opposition party.

Ocampo restated the ICC's decision to investigate the Ugandan government in response to a question posed by this newspaper when Ocampo appeared on the Voice of America's "Straight Talk Africa" program last Wednesday. Responding to the question, he said, "On UPDF crimes we are collecting information about different crimes committed in Uganda.."

Ocampo also added, "Whoever has information about crimes that we can investigate, they can be sent to our office. We can do that. And we will answer their requests for investigation."

It's believed that the atrocities committed by the LRA pale in comparison to the UPDF's in the Acholi region; and most definitely in comparison's to UPDF's crimes in DR Congo. Yet, this same Uganda army is together training children, who are then paid for with U.S. money, for Somalia's army--when in fact some of the commanders of Uganda's army --including commander in chief
Museveni-- are possibly unindicted war criminals. Ocampo has asked for "evidence." He should start by consulting the annual reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on Uganda. He should also visit the mass graves in Acholi. And in any case, since when does a prosecutor of mass murder ask the victims to produce "evidence"?

Ocampo claims he can't investigate crimes that predate the ICC's 2002 creation. First of all, there is no statute of limitation on crimes of murder; secondly, the crimes committed by the UPDF after 2002 may exceed those prior to 2002.

In 2005 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable for what amounted to war crimes --massacres; rapes of both men and women; torching of homes with people inside; looting of Congo's wealth-- in DR Congo and awarded Congo $10 billion in compensation. Uganda has yet to pay a dime--and nothing will bring back the 7 million Congolese who died in the years of fighting, after the Uganda invasion.

Congo's president Joseph Kablia then referred the same matter to the ICC for investigation, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006. It's more than reasonable to expect that the ICC would return with a similar conclusion. Certainly General Museveni knows his culpability and according to The Wall Street Journal article, he urged then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to block the ICC's investigation. Yet, this same dictator, who knows that he belongs at the
Hague --judging by his own actions as reported in The Journal-- remains a U.S. "ally" in the fight against "terrorism."

You can't use a mass killer to help fight "terrorism." Mass killing is essentially "mass terrorism."

After years of training, in October 1990, Uganda sent an invasion army into ethnically volatile Rwanda. Paul Kagame, the commander of the invading force, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) had been Chief of Military Intelligence in Uganda's army. Gen. Museveni sent Kagame to train at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas; after the invasion, he was installed as RPF commander.

Uganda is believed to have provided the RPF with the missile that was used to shoot down the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi--the assassination accomplished its goal. Mayhem and massacres erupted; the RPF then seized power, claiming to stop the ethnic conflagration which in fact it had set in motion with the Uganda-sponsored invasion and assassination of the two presidents.

Yet for years major media outlets such as The New York Times, BBC and New Yorker magazine --with the articles of the notorious Kagame apologist Philip Gourevitch-- have been selling the Hollywood fantasy of General Museveni's former
intelligence chief, Kagame, as an angel who rescued Rwanda.

Well the truth has a funny way of rearing its head when you least expect. With elections approaching in Rwanda, Kagame's true colors are now exposed for the whole world to see: He has locked up a major presidential contender Ms. Victoire Ingabire, and her American lawyer Peter Erlinder.

Repression is rampant and even Kagame's top generals are now fleeing.

Within Uganda itself political repression is increasing, although it may take 10 years for The New York Times' Kenya-based correspondent to write an article --even though stories appear daily in the Ugandan papers and Kenya's Daily Nation.

This is the same U.S. ally who had a lawmaker, David Bahati, from Museveni's National Resistance Movement, introduce a bill that calls for execution of homosexuals.

After global outcry, Museveni then stepped forward to make it appear as if he's the level-headed peacemaker, when in fact he was behind the crusade, as demonstrated by his own hateful pronouncements in the past. When he met his party officials he told them to "go slow" because the gay community had clout in the West.

He said he had once been in New York when 300,000 gay people appeared at a rally. He neglected to say that just a few year's earlier, he had told Uganda media that if 300,000 gay people ever assembled in Uganda, he would "disperse" them. He is a master of Newspeak.

Last year General Museveni's security forces blocked the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the powerful monarch of Buganda, a traditional hereditary kingdom within Uganda, from traveling to a part of Buganda. It sparked an uprising and dozens of civilians were mowed down in Kampala.

The Baganda form Uganda's largest ethnic group and it's believed that a nod by the Kabaka towards a candidate could enhance his chance of winning the next presidential election; the Kabaka and Museveni have had a falling out.

A few months after the Kampala massacre, The Kasubi Royal Tombs, which contained the remains of previous Kabakas --Mutebi's ancestors-- was razed in a mysterious arson.

General Museveni has accused his political challengers, including Olara Otunnu, of playing sectarian and ethnic politics.

This is absurd coming from a first class racist -- in a 1994 interview in The Atlantic Monthly magazine, Museveni said: "I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid you should be taken a slave."

This is the best friend that Washington can find in Africa to help fight "terrorism" in Somalia? It's like Interpol recruiting a Mafia don to help fight organized crime.

No wonder Somalis fight with even more determination. They know that the United States' Africa policy is hypocritical and duplicitous.

It contains not a shred of moral fiber.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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