The DRC: Natural Resources, Silent Hidden Holocaust – Seminar Sat. 4 Aug. Cape Town

By Terry Crawford-Browne, World BEYOND War South Africa Coordinator, July 17, 2018


World BEYOND War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are partnering with the Congolese Civil Society in South Africa to hold a symposium on Saturday 4 August in the South Africa Museum here in Cape Town to observe the 73rd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the uranium for which was mined in the Congo, then a Belgian colony. An estimated 10, 000 Congolese refugees now live in Cape Town, and many more elsewhere in South Africa.

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost chronicles the atrocities of the period from 1885 until 1908 when the Congo was purportedly King Leopold’s private property. An estimated ten million people (half the population) died and/or had their hands cut off if, as slave labour, they failed to collect sufficient rubber. International outrage finally caused the Belgian government to take over the territory as a Belgian colony instead of the King’s personal domain, but little improved.

The Shinkolobwe mine was closed when the Congo became independent in 1960. Cement was poured into its shafts to prevent supplies of its uranium from reaching the Soviet Union. The Central Intelligence Agency (in conjunction with American and South African diamond interests) then orchestrated the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, and subsequently the coup d’etat in 1965 that placed President Joseph Mobutu in power until 1997.

The Congo is endowed not only with uranium, but also copper, cobalt, diamonds, gold, tin, oil, coltan and manganese. The Congo was again plundered during Mobutu’s kleptomaniac regime, but its circumstances have deteriorated even further since the Kabilas (father and son) took over. With Mobutu’s demise, the Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler organised a loan from the Union Bank of Israel to purchase weapons and to fund Lawrence Kabila’s takeover of the country.

The resultant looting and war have caused the deaths of an estimated twelve million people, hence the description as “Africa’s First World War,” the root cause being raw materials required by the “first world’s” war business. Gertler is now the largest foreign investor in the Congo. His investments are invariably held via front companies in tax haven jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands which, in turn, are notorious for money laundering and tax evasion operations.

Gertler provides “security” for President Joseph Kabila against lavish concessions to exploit the Congo’s natural resources, and in which Och-Ziff in New York is implicated. In turn, the US government has blacklisted Gertler and has subpoenaed Glencore (the world’s largest mining and commodities company), which was established by the late Marc Rich (who was notoriously pardoned by President Clinton in 2001).

Given that the financial proceeds of the plunder are laundered through the international banking system, World Beyond War – South Africa (in partnering with the Congolese Civil Society in South Africa) is presently investigating the practicalities of action within the European Union in terms of articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute that pertain to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Join us for a symposium on August 4 in Cape Town, in anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as we connect the dots between uranium mining and resource exploitation in the Congo, the WWII bombings in Japan, and the global military industrial complex.


For more information, contact Terry at

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