By Georgianne Nienaber, with Keith Harmon Snow

Extracted from: [2007] Deconstructing Newsweek and the Gorilla Killings in Congo By Georgianne Nienaber with Keith Harmon Snow

 August 1, 2007

An understanding of the decade of warfare and depopulation in Central Africa can be gained by examining the positions of power, corporate directorships and new corporations and alliances that have quietly emerged from the killing fields in the past several years.

While the mass media, policy institutes like the International Crises Group (ICG), human rights agencies like Human Rights Watch, and “humanitarian” organizations like the International Rescue Committee appear to offer some coverage of events in Central Africa, they barely scratch the surface. More often, they offer only limited critiques of events, interests or developments, without ever challenging any significant deeper interests, or holding them to account.

One of the key agents behind the machinery of change in Central Africa is Walter Kansteiner III.

In the 1980’s Kansteiner was director of Economic Studies at the far-right Institute on Religion and Democracy. The IRD called itself “centrist” but was deeply hostile to social movements around the world, particularly in Africa, and it attacked mainstream Christian religious institutions.

In his 1990 book Kansteiner systematically attacked Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC), characterizing the ANC as a group of violent revolutionaries engaged in an “unjustified” and “Marxist” struggle against the government, without a mandate from the South African people.

Kansteiner was a member of the George H.W. Bush State Department’s policy planning staff from May 1989 to June 1991, Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, 1991-1993, and the Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs from April 1992-1993.

Kansteiner also served in the U.S. government as director of African Affairs on Clinton’s National Security Council staff. He was President Clinton’s personal representative to the G8 Africa Process.

Kansteiner was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under George W. Bush from June 2001 until November 2003, advising on U.S. foreign policy in Africa.

Walter Kansteiner and Maurice Tempelsman—and Corporate Council on Africa members from Halliburton, Boeing, Cargill, Exxon-Mobil, Freeport McMoran and Oracle Corporation—were the architects of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s NAFTA for Africa.

The AGOA destroys local markets, erects discriminatory trade barriers, undermines local economies to enrich elites and impoverish the masses—a.k.a. in the language of doublespeak, the AGOA promotes free trade.

As a founding principal of The Scowcroft Group, Kansteiner’s ties to the intelligence and defense sector run still deeper. Brent Scowcroft is a former National Security Adviser to George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) and Gerald Ford (1975-1977), and National Security Council member under Henry Kissinger.

Kansteiner is also a Fellow at the Forum for International Policy, a think-tank whose Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Lawrence S. Eagleburger, a director of numerous corporations—including Halliburton—and the former Deputy Secretary of State (1989-1992) and then Secretary of State (1992-1993) under George H.W. Bush. Other FIP notables are deep intelligence insiders, including John Deutch and Brent Scowcroft, and Archers Daniels Midland director Dwayne Andreas.

The International Crises Group executive John Prendergast’s role in manipulating world consciousness around war and genocide must be situated not in the “humanitarian” front that the ICG gives him, but in his role as National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, with Walter Kansteiner III. The ICG is silent about the proliferation of dubious and illegal mining by firms like Moto Gold Mines, and their “crises group” research papers never identify any of the significant players behind the scenes in Congo (or Darfur).

Walter Kansteiner III is also a Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which today counts among its members Alexander Haig, Brent Scowcroft, John Deutch, Donald Rumsfeld,, Henry Kissinger, and many other deep intelligence and defense insiders.

Many of the same players noted above are involved behind the scenes in Somalia, Chad, Ethiopia and Sudan—the “Save Darfur” interests and lobby behind “genocide” in Darfur—and profit from warfare and “humanitarian relief” while millions and millions of Africa’s people suffer and die.

At this writing there are 1.2 million Acholi people suffering miserably in death camps in Northern Uganda subject to terrorism as policy orchestrated by Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. One hundred fifty additional U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in Uganda in March 2007, and Museveni has now instituted compulsory military training in support of the DOD’s AFRICOM and the US/UPDF military campaigns in Sudan (Darfur), Chad, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. Petroleum operations in western and northern Uganda are expanding: Bechtel subsidiary Nexant is one of the companies building the pipeline across Uganda to the US military port in Mombasa, Kenya. The genocide against the Acholi people in northern Uganda is in media whiteout.

The international logging sector in Congo is another scandal never illuminated with similar zeal by the Washington Post and Newsweek—who target Congolese charcoal as the problem. The Portuguese Trindade brothers—Jose Albano Maia Trindade and João Manuel Maia Trindade—are the owner-operators of four companies: SODIFOR, SOFORMA, FARABOLA and Compagnie Forestière et de Transformation. Their concessions total 5,959,817 hectares in four Congo provinces.

Logging operations of other Western companies—the American Blattner family, George Somja of Belgium, George Forrest, the German Danzer Corporation (2,421,871 hectares), and others—comprise an additional 26 million hectares, and the World Wildlife Fund rubber stamps their operations. The profits and the expropriation of Congolese land for the international logging sector swamp the $30 million a year charcoal industry run by and for Congolese people. While there has been much fanfare in the international media about “canceling” logging and “reexamining” mining contracts—rewriting the mining and logging codes—little substantive change has been made. The question of land belonging to the Congolese and their access to it must be seen in the light of the logging industry in DRC.

At one Blattner operation (SAFBOIS, Isangi, DRC), the WWF field station is located within the deep forest compound of the company. The BBC publishes WWF press releases verbatim, and WWF has actively undermined indigenous people’s resistance in the face of the logging onslaught in Congo. Like the massive rainforest rip-off underway, the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek and BBC have reported none of this.

Instead, Newsweek blames poor Congolese "charcoal gatherers."

Mainstream media has it wrong—again.