3 September 2001. Thanks to Wayne Madsen.

From 14 August 2001 issue of Trends (Belgium). English translation from Flemish.


Interview with Wayne Madsen

The US (under)mining job

During its presidency of the European Union, Belgium wants to declare war on blood diamonds, arms traffic and the pillaging of the Congolese mineral wealth. Very ambitious according to Wayne Madsen, who wrote a revealing book on the tug-of-war for Africa.

Washington D.C. (United States)

After the fall of the Berlin wall American companies had free play in Africa. Despite the apparent chaos, they realised just how wealthy the continent was. "That is why every available means had to be employed to bring black Africa in America’s sphere of influence," says Madsen, investigative journalist of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (Epic) in Washington D.C. Communism was brought down and the Asian economic wonder was flourishing (the Asian crisis had not yet nipped "the century of the Pacific" in the bud). The Clinton administration was on the look-out for new Africa leaders, they were looking for "new and better ones" and pushed them to the fore as from the beginning of the nineties. Finally they would open up the continent to world trade, to legally well grounded foreign investments and solid public services.

In his book "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999" Wayne Madsen puts the developments in Central Africa (three million deaths according to the United Nations), the wars in East and West Africa (between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda and in the diamond fields of Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia) against a background of what an American ambassador once called "the appetite for Congo caviar". With which, after the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, he meant the motive of Western intelligence services in the seventies to keep a grip on Congo’s wealth via straw men.

Three to four decades later, the resemblance is remarkable: after the fall of the Soviet empire the Congo caviar would become the starting point to get a hold of the entire Africa caviar. Geostrategists of the Clinton administration and about a hundred American companies around the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) brought down difficult dictators like Mobutu of Zaire, Abacha of Nigeria, leaders of Liberia and Sierra Leone, Savimbi of the Angolan rebel movement Unita and other veterans. Strangely enough, they were not afraid to use violence to bring old Marxist and anything but democratic guerrilleros to power.


"Business interests do not only control Congress, but the White House as well."

 In 540 pages, published by The Edwin Mellen Press, Madsen illustrates how the new batch were presented as reform-minded democrats after a conversion at American military elite schools: Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagane of Rwanda, Edouardo Dos Santos of Angola, even Laurent-Désiré Kabila were praised by Clinton’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Madeleine Albright, as being beacons of hope. According to Madsen this happened with the active assistance of the CIA, DIA, NSA (Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency respectively) and derived secret intelligence services. Most of the time accompanied by private militias.

Although he is not an Africanist, Wayne Madsen was intrigued by the taking down of the airplane of Rwanda’s president, Juvenal Habyarimana, on April 6, 1994. He started his own investigation. The non-governmental organisation Epic tracks down invasions of privacy in electronic data transmissions. Madsen focuses on the activities of intelligence services. He knows their working methods from the inside, as he worked for the US Navy on monitoring technology for the NSA. The poacher became a forester: "I know where they hide their corpses," he jokes.

"A CIA report considered 500 to 500,000 deaths after the attempt on Habyarimana to be an acceptable risk."

Madsen travelled to Uganda and Rwanda where his suspicions were confirmed by informal talks with US soldiers: "Apart from my investigation which pointed out the American military intelligence service DIA as the brain behind the attempt, the French parliamentary committee of inquiry Quiles reached the same conclusion in 1998. Which suffices for some to call me an agent of the French intelligence service DGSE."

The Americans are after the mineral wealth, urge for the huge telecom market in Africa and new outlets. Did they want to take Africa because of the then rising "Century of Asia"?

WAYNE MADSEN. "There is a race going on between French and American intelligence services to grab the open market for wireless telecommunication via partner companies. However, France is under pressure to give up its chasse gardée on other fields as well. The French guilty conscience after the genocide in Rwanda was a good means to clip their wings, whereas precisely the American plan to get rid of Mobutu via Rwanda ended up in a human tragedy. The United States were interested in the country without mineral wealth because Kugame’s RPF was the ideal vehicle to fill up the wish list of its companies: Barrick, American Mineral Fields (AMF), Banro Resources, Bechtel, Tempelsman & Sons, Halliburton (editorial note – of which present vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, was CEO). Microsoft was on the look-out for coltan ore. Walter Kansteiner, whose father is a trader in tropical raw materials in Chicago, now is assistant secretary of State for Africa in the Bush administration. On October 16, 1996, he made a plea for the splitting up of Zaire in The Forum for International Policy. At about the same time Laurent-Désiré Kabila started his Blitzkrieg towards Kinshasa – with the active co-operation of American intelligence services. Nowadays that man determines the US Africa policy."

You see this US offensive as one big conspiracy. Wasn’t the tragedy rather the consequence of the terrible ignorance of overconfident geostrategists?

MADSEN. "Hilary Clinton showing off a diamond ring of American Mineral is just the tip of the iceberg. Companies active in Africa also hung about Clinton’s electoral campaign. Business interests do not only control Congress, but the White House as well. As for that, there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. There was a strategic plan for Africa. In a CIA report of January 1994 the number of possible deaths involved in taking down Habyarimana’s airplane was estimated at minimally 500, maximally 500,000. The latter figure became reality. They were prepared to take the risk. Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, was officially in Rwanda to clear away land mines. In fact, they trained Kagame’s men, as Brown & Root is linked to Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI), a private mercenary supplier from Virginia, which guarded diamond concessions of American Mineral Fields in Angola. The American military intelligence service DIA recruits amongst MPRI people. You can keep going on like this; read my book."

"Certificates for blood diamonds are the ‘feel good factor’ to forget about the caused mess."

In Genoa G8 claimed they wanted to tackle Africa’s crucial problems.

MADSEN. "What are Africa’s crucial problems? Colin Powell, the current Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is in favour of private militias like MPRI. They used to be called "mercenaries", now they are called PMCs: Private Military Contractors. They are efficient and cheaper than an official army. Kansteiner, Powell’s right hand for Africa, said in August 1998 – at the time of the second invasion of Congo against Kabila – that "the disintegration of Congo is now more probable than it was thirty years ago". The opposite is true. Whoever keeps a little track of Congo, knows that the Congolese population, from the north to the south and from the west to the east, are now more than ever devoted to that one great nation. Richard Armitage as well, Powell’s number two, considers Africa to be a sandpit, in which you can play all you want. Armitage was directly involved in Irangate. Colin Powell is an African American, but he brings continuity: in first instance intelligence services serve American business interests. The E-IMET programme (editorial note – Enhanced International Military Education and Training) and the intelligence service DIA accompanied Laurent Kabila’s march on Kinshasa in 1996 and in 1998 they supported the rebellion against the same Kabila."

Western politicians plead as excuse for their incapacity the fact that the current African leaders determine the agenda themselves.

MADSEN. "To cover up their responsibility in this drama, they like to forget who set the fire to the fuse. It took Mobutu and the likes of him decades to become the so-called "monsters of Frankenstein"; Kabila senior only needed two years. Even the firmest of pawns got out of control: Kagame and Musevani put each other through hell; the exemplary leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea did the same. Dictator Charles Taylor of Liberia is a thorn in the flesh of Washington. However, he was Jesse Jackson’s favourite, Clinton’s official envoy to put forward democracy in Africa. The puppets quickly started living their own lives. But the assassination of the president of Rwanda was the igniter of an adventure, which the Pentagon no longer controls. Nevertheless, Kagame remains the favourite. Two weeks after the assassination of Laurent Kabila he got round the table in Washington with George W. Bush and Joseph Kabila. The body of daddy Kabila was still warm."

You claim to have evidence that the missiles with which the airplane of the president of Rwanda was brought down were delivered by the US?

MADSEN. "James Lyons, who led the UN investigation, presented evidence to the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) corroborating my proposition. The SAM missiles were seized during Desert Storm in Iraq and brought from Cairo to Kigali. The missiles were stored in warehouses of a Swiss company working for the CIA. Two RPF soldiers fired the SAM-16s from Massaka and the Gasogi hill. These soldiers were trained in Phoenix, Arizona to work with this kind of projectiles. I proved this, apart from Lyons’ investigation and from the French Quiles committee. Everyone comes to the same conclusion, Rwandan witnesses as well. But ICTR judge, Louise Arbor, closed the case when she felt Madeleine Allbright breathing down her neck.

The plundering of Congo by the neighbouring countries probably is the best example of things getting out of hand. Western mining groups get entangled in their own nets and now eat the dust.

MADSEN. "As Laurent Kabila did not live up to the expectations, they organised a second invasion of Congo in August 1998. Other straw men were supported by the US Army Rwanda Interagency Assessment Team (RIAT). But Zimbabwe and Angola unexpectedly spoiled the fun, putting the South Africans in an awkward position."

Joseph Kabila seems to be a new ‘Mobutu from 1965’. Democratisation and legal security in Congo are just as far off as in say Nigeria, Rwanda or Sierra Leone. Despite British criticism, president Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe remains a useful counterweight for the Angolan president Edouardo Dos Santos.

MADSEN. "For the time being Mugabe is useful to the Americans and the South Africans. Traditionally Pretoria leans towards the Angolan rebel movement Unita. At the end of last year Angola and Uganda made overtures to each other, two enemies in Congo. The Ugandan Museveni was prepared to ditch Unita, if Dos Santos would do something to ‘clear’ the situation in Kinshasa. The popular Angolan general Joao de Matos, responsible for the safety in Kinshasa, was unwilling to do that. De Matos was fired by Dos Santos on January 15, one day before the assassination of Laurent Kabila."

In April 2001, American member of Congress Cynthia McKinney held hearings. Your findings on ‘covert operations’ were not contradicted.

MADSEN. "I confirmed it all under oath on May 17 2001 before the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives, together with other witnesses."

"Human rights and democracy were either the motive or an alibi. A human ravage is the result."

Driven by despair, the Somalia syndrome and the fear of losing soldiers, even in UN circles the mobilisation of private militias is considered to be an acceptable alternative.

MADSEN. "The idea sounds good. After all, they insist on watertight parliamentary controls, but that is in theory. The army is subject to the US Freedom of Information Act, but then they call upon the "state secret" all too easily. Controlling private militias is a fairytale all together. The attractive aspect of Private Military Contractors is that military involvement can be creatively concealed. By way of a jumble of postbox and offshore companies PMCs and mining interests are linked to each other in an obscure manner. Journalists and representatives get lost in those ingenious legal constructions. But even very simple aberrations seem to be possible: Ukrainian Cargo Airways flies in weapons to Congo for the fighting parties and subsequently UN troops to keep them apart.

Could certificates of origin settle the struggle against ‘blood diamonds’?

MADSEN. "For the major mining groups it is the solution to keep an obtrusive population, which does not have another economic alternative, from their diamond fields. Before the end of his term of office, Bill Clinton invited the diamond boys to the White House. A certification system is the feel good factor to forget about the caused mess. The destabilisation of the diamond fields follows the same scenario as in the area of the Major Lakes."

The new Africa leaders are hardly any different. What now?

MADSEN. "The Opportunities and Growth for Africa Act has been passed by the American Congress and G8 has embraced the Millennium Africa Plan of South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki. Is that good news for Mr Average in Africa? Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Black leaders who are concerned about that – and there are – are muzzled. It is a fact, they are being crossed. The Western myth of the heart of darkness is tough. Has anything changed since the liquidation of Lumumba?

Further information on www.trends.be

Testimony of Wayne Madsen before the House of Representatives.