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“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
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“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
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“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers

19. American Companies Exploit the Congo


Dollars and Sense
July/August 2001
Title: The Business of War in the Democratic Republic Of Congo: Who benefits?
Authors: Dena Montague, Frieda Berrigan

Voice (Pioneer Valley, MA)
March/April, 2001
Title: Depopulation and Perception Management (Part 2: Central Africa)
Author: keith harmon snow

Honorable Mention: From Previous Censored Yearbook 2001
Title: U. S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
Source: CovertAction Quarterly
Date: Summer 2000
Title: U. S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
Author: Ellen Ray

Faculty evaluator: Philip Beard,
Student researchers: Arinze Anoruo, Chris Salvano

Western multinational corporations’ attempts to cash in on the wealth of Congo’s resources have resulted in what many have called “Africa’s first world war,” claiming the lives of over 3 million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been labeled “the richest patch of earth on the planet.” The valuable abundance of minerals and resources in the DRC has made it the target of attacks from U.S.-supported neighboring African countries Uganda and Rwanda.

The DRC is minerial rich with millions of tons of diamonds, copper, cobalt, zinc, manganese, uranium, niobium, and tantalum also known as coltan. Coltan has become an increasingly valuable resource to American corporations. Coltan is used to make mobile phones, night vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitators used to maintain the electrical charge in computer chips. In December of 2000 the shortage of coltan was the main reason that the popular sale of the Sony Play Station 2 video game came to an abrupt halt.

The DRC holds 80% of the world’s coltan reserves, more than 60% of the world’s cobalt and is the world’s largest supplier of high-grade copper. With these minerals playing a major part in maintaining US military dominance and economic growth, minerals in the Congo are deemed vital US interests.

Historically, the U.S. government identified sources of materials in Third World countries, and then encouraged U.S. corporations to invest in and facilitate their production. Dating back to the mid-1960s, the U.S. government literally installed the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, which gave U.S. corporations access to the Congo’s minerals for more than 30 years. However, over the years Mobutu began to limit access by Western corporations, and to control the distribution of resources. In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo. The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments which continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the United States. Our government and a $5 million Citibank loan maintains the rebel presence in the Congo. Their control of mineral rich areas allows western corporations, such as American Mineral Fields, to illegally mine. Rwandan and Ugandan control over this area is beneficial for both governments and for the corporations that continue to exploit the Congo’s natural wealth.

American Mineral Fields (AMF) landed exclusive exploration rights to an estimated 1.4 million tons of copper and 270,000 tons of cobalt. San Francisco based engineering firm Bechtel Inc. established strong ties in the rebel zones as well. Bechtel drew up an inventory of the Congo’s mineral resources free of charge, and also paid for NASA satellite studies of the country for infared maps of its minerals. Bechtel estimates that the DRC’s mineral ores alone are worth $157 billion dollars. Through coltan production, the Rwandans and their allies are bringing in $20 million revenue a month. Rwanda’s diamond exports went from 166 carats in 1998 to 30,500 in 2000. Uganda’s diamond exports jumped from approximately 1,500 carats to about 11,300. The final destination for many of these minerals is the U.S.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR DENA MONTAGUE: Nearly four million people dead in four years of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the world remains silent in the face of an abominable atrocity. The war in the DRC is not only significant because of its infamous status as the world’s deadliest war; but also because of the active participation of an international contingent of multinational corporations, terrorist networks, arms brokers, and governments all clamoring for the legendary wealth of the Congo while exacerbating the war.

Ugandan and Rwandan backed rebels and the Congolese central government met for nine weeks beginning in March 2002 in Sun City, South Africa to negotiate aspects of the Inter-Congolese dialogue as a part of the Lusaka Peace Accords. In a significant development emerging from the Dialogue – Jean Pierre Bemba, a known Mobutuist and leader of Uganda sponsored rebel party, Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), has been appointed Prime Minister of the DRC in a power sharing agreement strongly encouraged by western governments. Rather than being held accountable by the international community for war crimes committed against Congolese civilians and the massive exploitation of Congolese natural resources detailed by the UN during the four-year war, Bemba, a multimillionaire will be leading the country he helped decimate.

In response to its isolation from the power sharing agreement, Rwandan backed RCD has formed an alliance with veteran Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Rwanda has not ceased discussions of an enduring armed partition of the DRC, of which it remains in control of approximately one third of the country. The power sharing agreement emerging from Sun City has effectively marginalized civil society groups who have been organizing peacefully for democracy, and instead rewards armed struggle in the country. Meanwhile, Rwanda and Uganda continue to attract international investors as well as military assistance from the U.S. and others. Thousands of Rwandan troops are currently engaged fighting in the eastern region of the country at the continued expense of civilian lives.

The war in the DRC is layered in such a way that it appears as a wartime telenovella. Its complexity tends to distract the layman observer from the fundamental facts. This war is yet another stage in international efforts to control the wealth of the Congo-a story that dates back to the 19th century.

The only major U.S. media response to the war in the DRC has been a weeklong Nightline report, “The Heart of Darkness” that was originally scheduled to air the week of September 11th and was postponed until February. Although the Nightline special was significant in drawing attention to the neglected story and the unbearable suffering of the Congolese people, it did little to explain the root causes of the war. Other than the Nightline report, only an occasional story on the fledgling peace process appears in major newspapers.

There are few outlets that give a comprehensive account of the war. International Crisis Group has published a series of in-depth reports about the conflict.

Occasionally the Washington Post covers the DRC. Reporter Karl Vick was one of the first to uncover the story of coltan mining. compiles daily reports on the DRC. Other magazines that are less accessible frequently cover the war – New African Magazine and Africa Confidential.

For an historical perspective on conflict in the Congo- Books: King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild, and The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba by Ludo De Witte.

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