imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Journalist Snow Offers Alternative View of Africa

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 at 5:08 PM (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Independent journalist Keith Harmon Snow began his February 5 presentation at San Diego's World Beat Center with a promise to "piss you off" — and he succeeded. He took on innumerable progressive sacred cows, including the United Nations, the Peace Corps, the Nation magazine, Jane Goodall and Ben Affleck, and he presented an alternative view of recent African history focused on the role of Uganda, Rwanda and the U.S. in the continued war and exploitation in the Congo.

Journalist Snow Offe...
snow.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x800

Journalist Snow Offers Alternative View of Africa

Promises to “Piss You Off” — And Delivers


Copyright © 2009 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

“What’s the quickest way to piss you off?” asked independent journalist and activist Keith Harmon Snow at the start of his talk February 5 at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park. During a three-hour appearance including slides (shown the old-fashioned way on an analog projector, which delayed the proceedings briefly because one of the meeting’s organizers had to go and find one), music and a question-and-answer period as long as Snow’s actual lecture, he delivered an alternative version of recent African history that slashed such progressive sacred cows as the United Nations, international charities, Jane Goodall and Ben Affleck, saying that all of them were essentially tools of the U.S. and the government of Uganda in their efforts to gain control over the resources of sub-Saharan Africa’s richest resource prize, the Congo.

“Let’s talk about the lies about Africa and the Congo,” Snow said, quickly seizing on the combative tone he maintained throughout his talk. “The statement is there’s a lot of environmental impact [from the civil war in the Congo]. This is true. Gorillas and chimpanzees are going to disappear because of the work of some of the people in the movement to ‘save’ them. The Jane Goodall Institute is involved in the civil war in the Congo and is directly funding some of the militias on the ground that they’re ‘protecting the gorillas.’ The people who live there are often involved in the bush-meat [gorilla and chimpanzee meat] trade because there’s nothing else for them to eat because of the Western economic system.”

For Snow, the root of all evil in the Congo remains the same as it’s been since 1885, when Col. Henry M. Stanley — a reporter-turned-imperialist and not the benign Stanley of the “Dr. Livingston, I presume?” legend — took control of the area and set up a resource-extraction operation for King Leopold II of Belgium, who had claimed ownership of the Congo not in the name of the Belgian state but as his personal property. “Stanley was hired by King Leopold to extract the two most important commodities of the time, rubber and ivory,” Snow explained. “The system of exploitation involved cutting off people’s hands if they didn’t deliver enough rubber and ivory.”

Along with the exploitation of the Congolese natives, Snow said, went a propaganda campaign to “sell” the West on the justice of imperialism. Part of the campaign argued that Leopold’s personal ownership of the Congo furthered justice by stopping the Arabs from enslaving the Congolese. Another was what Snow called the “Heart of Darkness” myth (though he conveniently ignored the fact that the principal villain of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness was a renegade white imperialist), which convinced Westerners that Africans were a bunch of primitive savages who would butcher each other if it were not for the beneficent rule of whites over them.

“As early as 1885 missionaries were sent into Africa, first to learn the languages of the area and then to translate the Bible into them,” Snow said. “If you want to assimilate a people, first you learn their language and then you take it over. In the war in the Congo, everything else has been decimated but the churches are untouched.” Showing one slide, he said, “This is where Stanley set up his ‘heart of darkness.’ I found one of Stanley’s plantations, and you can see the huge patches of rain forest that have been devastated, sometimes by the same people doing the exploitation on the plantations.”

Snow explained that by 1922 an elaborate infrastructure of machinery had been imported into the Congo by Western corporations and landowners to facilitate the exploitative system — and this remained in place until 1960, when the Congo was formally granted independence and the West destroyed much of the infrastructure and stopped maintaining the rest. Today, he added, the machinery in the plantations is decrepit and sometimes downright unsafe — but the planters keep it that way because they’re making so much money and have such a large potential labor force they don’t have to maintain it. If workers die, they simply replace them.

“There’s no problem getting technologies into the Congo,” Snow said. “The people could educate themselves if they had schools and books, which they don’t. The Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall foundations are the problem, not the solution, according to the people who live there” — at least in part, Snow explained, because their insistence on setting aside large tracts of the Congo as wildlife refuges just reduces even further the areas on which Congolese can live without having to take jobs on the plantations that will exploit and quickly destroy them.

What’s more, Snow said, this isn’t an accident. Throughout his presentation he noted that virtually all the major environmental organizations — including the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund — have board members who are also part of the corporations that are making money off the exploitation of Africa and its resources. “If you look at the board of directors of Conservation International, they’re all involved with defense companies, oil companies and mining companies,” he explained. “If you look at Santa Barbara today, you’ll hear that ‘environmentalists’ are negotiating with oil companies to restart offshore drilling — but these aren’t real ‘environmentalists.’ Likewise, the ‘conservation’ sector in the Congo is involved with the mining interests.”

Snow’s contrarian view of recent African history challenged such well-accepted “truths” as the so-called “100 days of genocide” in Rwanda in 1994, dramatized in the film Hotel Rwanda, in which members of the Tutsi tribe were supposedly massacred by the majority Hutus. The truth, according to Snow was that Rwanda underwent a four-year civil war started, and eventually won, by a handful of Tutsi leaders who settled in Uganda and cut a deal with Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, to take power in Rwanda with the help of the Ugandan army and Museveni’s ally, the U.S.

“In 1990, the U.S. backed Museveni to invade Rwanda and started accusing the Rwandan government of genocide,” Snow explained. “In 1994 the U.S. called it ‘genocide’ but it was really a four-year war in which we backed a rebel movement. You’re supposed to believe the propaganda that it was 100 days of killing of the Tutsis by the Hutus, but the reality is the people who were responsible for the killing are the people in power [in Rwanda] today” — including current Rwandan president Paul Kigame, who according to Snow didn’t even hold Rwandan citizenship when Museveni’s U.S.-backed army installed him in power. What’s more, Snow said, before Museveni made him president of Rwanda, Kigame had been the Ugandan official in charge of Uganda’s own genocide against the Acholi people in the north of the country.

If any Tutsis were killed in Rwanda, Snow added, they were either free-lance revenge killings or Kigame’s government executing Tutsi leaders who hadn’t fled to Uganda and therefore were mistrusted and regarded as potential competitors by those who had. Snow mentioned the incident of April 6, 1994 when a helicopter containing the indigenous leaders of the Hutus and Tutsis was shot down on their way to negotiating a peace settlement, and said the CIA was responsible for this crime, which decapitated Rwanda’s indigenous leadership and set the stage for the so-called “genocide.”

“The governments of Rwanda and Uganda are absolute terrorists,” Snow said. “Most of the people in power in Rwanda now are Ugandans. Uganda is the place to look at as the center of the war in Darfur. They’re in Kenya, in Burundi and in the Congo. Uganda’s government today is a nasty enterprise. Uganda’s point in [intervening in] Rwanda was getting rid of the Hutus, and the system has totally dehumanized the Hutus. The ‘international genocide project’ is a one-way system of justice,” he added, saying that the tribunals on Rwanda have been set up to justify the Tutsis’ killing of Hutus while treating the Hutus — the real victims, according to Snow — as less than human and deserving of their fate.

Once Museveni and Kigame had tightened their control over Rwanda, they sought to gain control over the far larger, richer and more exploitable Congo, Snow said. “In 1997 the rebel movement in Rwanda invaded the Congo and overthrew the government of Mobutu Sese Seko,” he explained. “Some of the people involved were from Belgium, Israel and the U.S. … The Rwandan army marched across the Congo with U.S. forces and equipment. The U.S. military has been on the ground in the Congo quite a long time, but they’ve become more open about it since Obama came to power. There’s also a so-called ‘humanitarian’ operation that isn’t really humanitarian at all.”

This time, Snow said, their puppet was former freedom fighter Laurent Kabila, whom the U.S. and Uganda recruited to rule the Congo on their behalf — only to have him killed four years later for trying to run the Congo on behalf of its people rather than his American and Ugandan overlords. According to Snow, they chose to kill Kabila on the 40th anniversary (give or take a day) of the murder of indigenous Congo leader Patrice Lummumba, whose attempts to better conditions for the Congolese people in 1960 got him called a “Communist” in the U.S. media and ultimately killed.

In answer to the question of just why U.S. and global imperialism regards the Congo as so important, Snow showed a slide containing a “resource map” of Africa revealing the immense mineral deposits in the sub-Saharan region. His map showed Sudan as almost one enormous oil field and also indicated major oil reserves in Madagascar — and said the Congo is a convenient geographic jumping-off point to exploit those countries, in addition to its own mineral wealth. “The biggest commodity from the Congo today is cobalt,” said Snow, “which is used for ship and tank armor, spacecraft, nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors, and the man responsible for it is Maurice Tempelsman, who’s the focus of a new campaign called One Man in the Congo.”

Throughout his lecture Snow referred to Tempelsman as the lover of Jackie Kennedy Onassis — which is accurate; she started dating him after Onassis’s death in 1975 and was living with him when she died in 1994. (One Internet source also links him with Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, saying that they started dating after Jackie’s death.) Tempelsman is a dealer in diamonds and architect of the so-called “Kimberley Process,” which claims — falsely, Snow says — to authenticate diamonds from Congo and Angola as “clean,” untainted by war, exploitation and forced labor.

Tempelsman is also a major contributor to the Democratic Party and president of the American Jewish Congress, described by Web journalist Alex Constantine as “a Zionist pressure group that claims it works closely with the Israeli military,” and both Constantine and Snow claim he worked closely with the CIA to assassinate Lummumba in 1961 and install a military dictatorship in Congo that lasted until the Ugandan/Rwandan invasion in 1997. “SEC filings show that LKI [Tempelsman’s company] directors are high-rolling Zionist lawyers and investment bankers,” Snow wrote in 2007 []. “One director belongs to the law firm that once represented President Kennedy — another Tempelsman friend. LKI is also connected to the euphemistically named United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”

One set of slides Snow showed during his lecture depicted the grim conditions under which Congolese workers on palm date plantations live. Palm dates are the source of palm oil, which is in turn the world’s principal source for vitamin A. Snow’s slides showed not only the excruciating conditions under which the Congolese who harvest palm dates and process them into oil work, but also the ferocious level of control plantation owners exert to make sure they don’t keep any palm dates for themselves, including an entire paramilitary operation that regularly invades people’s homes to see if they are hiding palm dates.

“The workers work nine to 10 hours a day, with no lunch, no breaks, and their quotas are so high it’s almost impossible to meet them,” Snow said. “If you don’t meet them, they dock your pay and threaten to fire you. the workers make about per month, and if they complain they’re immediately removed and their families are thrown out of their plantation-owned housing.” Snow showed a picture of a child carrying a container of water and said, “This child’s job is to walk back and forth in 120° heat and give the workers small amounts of water. This is child slavery.” Snow also showed a picture of an 80-year-old house, so dilapidated it’s little more than a frame without windows or much in the way of walls, and said this was where the plantation workers typically lived.

Snow said that during his successful infiltration of a Congolese palm date plantation, the temperature in the area in which the nuts from the palm dates are heated to extract the oil got so hot “one of my cameras malfunctioned. These guys are working under terrible conditions, are not given health care and are easily replaced. … The equipment they use is old, constantly malfunctions and is not being replaced because the owners are making so much money as it is.” The plantation owners are generally able to keep outside observers from seeing the conditions there — Snow recalled a warning he got that “if I walked down the plantation streets without a director, I’d be arrested” — and said that when a few courageous plantation workers tried making a complaint to the International Labor Organization (ILO), they found it was controlled by all-purpose Congo exploiter Maurice Tempelsman.

In addition to the low pay, horrific working conditions and omnipresent threat of replacement — it was clear the Congolese plantation owners consider their work force a disposable resource -— Snow said the Congolese are suffering from an artificially induced health crisis. He cited studies that the health and life expectancy of the few remaining Congolese who have maintained a lifestyle outside the capitalist system are far better than those of the plantation workers, and noted the grim irony that instead of allowing the Congolese access to their own vitamin A-containing palm dates, the World Food Organization (WFO), an arm of the United Nations, is subsidizing major pharmaceutical companies to provide the Congolese vitamin A products.

“Mosquitoes are all over the place,” Snow said, “and they define anyone who’s sick from malaria, tuberculosis, river blindness or yellow fever as having ‘AIDS’” — which, of course, becomes yet another pretext for a giant subsidy to major drug companies in the name of “helping” a Third World nation. “The media report some of the abuses,” Snow said, “but blame them all on the African people. … You’ll never see a story about a guy like Alvin Blattner [the owner of the plantation on which Snow took his photos]. Instead, [the coverage] is designed to help you ease your conscience by sending to Doctors Without Borders.”

Snow continued for over an hour and a half of prepared presentation and a question-and-answer period that was almost as long — at times he seemed to be goading the audience into keeping it going — and merrily slashed away at various liberal and progressive sacred cows. Asked if the United Nations, virtually all of whose agencies (including UNICEF and UNESCO) he’d denounced during his talk, was “clueless or compliant” in the abuses he was describing, Snow said, “Both.” Snow also denounced the Peace Corps as “a recruiting program for the CIA” and The Nation magazine on the ground that the father of its current editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, once served on the board of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with Henry Kissinger.

Indeed, Snow’s description of the world’s ruling elite was so vast, conspiratorial and seemingly all-powerful that at least two audience members told him his presentation was leading them more to despair than to activism. Asked what people can do, he said he thought street marches were useless — “The only people who made a difference by marching on Washington were the Black Bloc anarchists, who actually caused damage” — he said — and instead said, “Don’t pay your taxes. Alexander Haig once said, ‘They can march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes.’”

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

Millions Boycott The Sponsors Of Laura Ingraham A05 11:36AM


The US, the Dollar, IS and Saudi Arabia A05 3:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy