The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part II

by keith harmon snow
When Gabon President Omar Bongo died of a heart attack at age 73 in early June, multinational corporations and neocolonial leaders in Europe and the U.S. mourned his passing. He had served them well as the longest-running dictatorship in Africa.

The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part II

by keith harmon snow
Part I of this article appeared in the July 22 Issue of BAR. The article was originally published on keith harmon snow's web site, All Things Pass.
The strategic and corporate alliance with Bongo thrived under every U.S. president who sat during Bongo’s reign.”
While France was consolidating its control over Gabon it was also arming neighboring regimes: Omar Bongo was their African kingpin.
Under the cover of “humanitarian” flights, the Bongo government shipped weapons from Libreville to the Biafran war in Nigeria 1967-1970, and Bongo imported Biafran rebels connected to secessionist leader Emeka Ojukwu to luxurious lives in Gabon. France also supported the Biafra struggle, where a U.S./NATO/U.S.S.R. blockade led to some 500,000 to 2,000,000 deaths from starvation, disease and war. Shell-British Petroleum and the French state company Société Anonyme Française des Recherches et d’Exploitation de Pétrole (SAFRAP; now Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd.), were centrally involved in the bloodshed and exploitation.1
From 1970-1975 France provided over 300 Panhard armored cars to Mobutu in Zaire: this is a footnote in the long history of French arms transfers to dictatorships that served their interests in Africa.2 President Richard M. Nixon met with Bongo on August 2, 1973. At the time, the SDECE (Service de Documentation Exterieure et Contre-Espionage) and CIA were collaborating against the MPLA (Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola) government in Angola by training and arming UNITA and FNLA guerrillas.3 Elf Acquitaine backed both the MPLA government and UNITA rebels: Bongo was certainly involved in French interventions.4 In 1975, the SDECE hired the infamous Congo mercenary Bob Denard and twenty French mercenaries, all paid by the CIA station out of Zaire —Maurice Tempelsman’s gang Lawrence Devlin, Mark Garsin and others—for covert operations in Angola; the SDECE and CIA also worked with Bureau of State Security (BOSS) agents out of South Africa at the height of the Apartheid struggle.5 Omar Bongo was clearly aware of Washington’s covert terrorist operations in support of UNITA from the 1970’s to 1990’s. Bongo’s government allowed individuals in Gabon to back UNITA rebels in the brutal civil war in Angola, and in 1990’s Gabon was caught red-handed violating United Nations sanctions against UNITA.6
Bongo’s government allowed individuals in Gabon to back UNITA rebels in the brutal civil war in Angola.”
When Ian Smith’s white supremacist government needed support against the imperialist forces seeking to put a black face on power in Rhodesia, it was Omar Bongo who helped Smith bust the international sanctions by routing through Libreville aircraft ferrying contraband to and from Rhodesia and Europe; networks of organized crime worked through Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and Bongo’s officials in Gabon issued false certificates of origin and other fabricated documentation, while also taking their cut in profits.7
Bongo also maintained relations with Harvard University’s Liberian warlord Charles Taylor; Bongo was known to receive Taylor at his presidential mansion and certainly benefited from the blood diamond cartels Taylor was involved with.8,9
The Bongo government was complicit with the successive Nguema dictatorships (1968-1979, 1979-present) and their campaigns of terror and depopulation in Equatorial Guinea (E.G.). Under Bongo’s rule, Gabon violated the territorial sovereignty of E.G. through military occupation of southern E.G. islands and military incursions in the southwest near Rio Muni, all in search of oil and profits.10
Before his ascendancy to President by coup d’etat in 1979, Teodoro Obiang Nguema personally ran the notorious Black Beach prison in E.G.: his regime is today considered one of the most corrupt, ethnocentric, oppressive and undemocratic states in the world. U.S. corporate backing of the Obiang regime involved corruption and profiteering that was exposed in the U.S. Rigg’s bank investigations in 2004. U.S. companies—Exxon-Mobil, Amerada Hess, Chevron-Texaco, Marathon Oil and others—paid for scholarships for children of the country's leaders to attend elite schools like Pepperdine University (CA), formed business ventures with government officials, hired companies linked to Obiang and rented property from government officials and their relatives.11 Petroleum-connected U.S. officials like Condoleeza Rice have called Obiang a ‘good friend’ of the U.S., while Obiang has for years paid Cassidy & Associates some $120,000 a month to whitewash the regime. While the arrogance of oil wealth caused a small rift between the two dictators, Bongo’s importance to E.G. can be measured by Nguema’s decree of three days of national mourning after Bongo’s death.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema's regime is today considered one of the most corrupt and undemocratic states in the world.”
Albert-Bernard Bongo is the son-in-law of Dennis Sassou-Nguesso, another dictator who has reigned for two decades, with a gap from1992-1997, sustained with millions of Elf petrol dollars: Sassou-Nguesso’s elite Cobra militia were also trained by French advisers and, like Mobutu, Sassou-Nguesso relied on Israeli security and intelligence for protection. Omar Bongo backed bloodshed in the recent Congo-Brazzaville war(1997-2000) by offloading planeloads of weapons and shipping them across the border to Sassou Nguesso’s home village of Oyo.12 Bongo’s government was also accused of airlifting Rwandan and Moroccan mercenaries into Congo-Brazzaville, even as Bongo was preparing to lead negotiations between Sassou-Nguesso and Congo-Brazzaville’s more openly U.S.-backed President Pascal Lissouba, and after a ceasefire had been declared in July 1997.13 All sides were involved in ethnic cleansing. The French military, the Elysée Palace and Elf Aquitaine all actively supported Sassou-Nguesso, who fought his way back to power on October 25, 1997 with the assistance of Chadian troops backed by French logistical support.14
After France, Bongo maintained his closest alliance with Joseph Mobutu’s CIA client state in Zaire.
On the morning of March 3, 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter had a conversation with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. Later in the afternoon President Carter met with Omar Bongo; also in attendance were Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Robert Bongo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Gabonese Republic and nephew of President Bongo.15 Less than 10 days after Bongo met with Carter the U.S. and Belgium shipped weapons to Shaba (Katanga), Zaire, and on March 16 Secretary of State Vance appeared before the U.S. Congress to justify the intervention as critical to protect the flow of Shaba’s copper from Zaire, but it was the cobalt of the copperbelt veins, stockpiled by the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency and essential to the western permanent warfare enterprise, that the national security apparatus was concerned about.16,17,18 Bongo met with Carter again on October 17, 1977, and he thus played a definitive role in backing the western terror apparatus in Zaire, in sharp contradistinction to the propaganda system’s salutations as “peacemaker” on the continent.
Omar Bongo backed bloodshed in the recent Congo-Brazzaville war.”
In June 2002, Robert Bongo was appointed as a United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC.19 Brzezinski is a high level adviser to the International Crises Group, a flak organization promoting peace through war in Sudan, Uganda and Congo, and was advising Barack Obama in 2008. As National Security Advisor under Carter, Brzezinski reportedly commissioned the March 17, 1978 document Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC 46; entitled Black Africa and the U.S. Black Movement, the classified “Secret” document advocated for clandestine U.S. support to (Apartheid) South Africa and called for a special covert U.S. program to “perpetuate divisions in the black movement; to neutralize the most active groups of leftist radical orientation and diminish their influence among blacks; and to stimulate dissension and hostility between organizations representing different social strata of the community…” 20,21
For 20 years President Bongo has led his country in an era of stability and progress,” said President Ronald Reagan during an October 2, 1987 meeting with Bongo in Washington. “Under his leadership, Gabon has consistently encouraged the peaceful settlement of regional disputes, siding with reason, dialogue, and moderation over bloodshed, war, and terror.”
Reagan pledged to increase U.S. investment in Gabon—and it happened—and Gabon’s financial programs were subsequently restructured in keeping with western “shock doctrine” economics of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) arranged with and for Bongo’s elite clique. The U.S. media called the deal “U.S. Aid to Gabon.” Meanwhile, SAPs shattered the social fabric and further ruined hundreds of millions of ordinary people’s lives from Gabon to Bolivia to South Korea.22
The classified 'Secret' document advocated for clandestine U.S. support to (Apartheid) South Africa and called for a special covert U.S. program to 'perpetuate divisions in the black movement.'”
The strategic and corporate alliance with Bongo thrived under every U.S. president who sat during Bongo’s reign—Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, G.H.W Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush—and the imperial relations and structural violence were perpetually whitewashed by the western propaganda system.
Gabon provided military logistical support to the Laurent Kabila government during the second phase of war in DRC (1998), but later and/or simultaneously Bongo backed Jean-Pierre Bemba and his Movement for the Liberation of Congo. Bemba was another Mobutist warlord who was close to Congo-Brazzaville’s Dennis Sassou-Nguesso. Until his death, Bongo was sending $US 20,000 a month to Bemba’s legal fund, along with Sassou-Nguesso, Moamar Gadhafi and a fourth (unidentified) African President (for a total of $US 80,000 a month).”23
Bongo even financed small politicians with no hope,” says one Congolese businessman, “he gave money to everyone, that’s how he maintained access. In DRC, for example, he even gave money to Alou Bonioma Kalokola—a lawyer who has lived his entire life as a hustler. Bonioma was married to [Dennis] Sassou-Nguesso’s step-daughter, and Sassou-Nguesso’s wife is from DRC. Alou knew he would get money from Bongo so he ran for president [in the 2006 elections].”24
Bongo was connected to the Corsican mafia through the French ministers and shady businessmen, including Michel Tomi and son Jean-Baptiste, and Robert Feliciaggi (assassinated in a professional hit in Corsica, March 10, 2006), his son Jean-Jerome and brother Charles. Alleged to run French money-laundering schemes through casinos, lotteries and betting shops in Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon, Jean-Jerome is close to Sassou-Nguesso, and Charles’ business supplies the Presidential Guard of diamond and petroleum magnate Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in Angola; the brothers held the second biggest bank accounts —after Elf-Aquitaine—at France’s now defunct FIBA bank, the conduit for Gabon and Angola’s plundered oil wealth.25
Gabon’s wealth was also siphoned off through the BGFI Bank, Gabon’s biggest investment bank. Created in Libreville in April 1971, the Bank was born out of a partnership between private Gabonese investors and the Banque de Paris, under the name “Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas Gabon.” In view of the majority share of capital held by private Gabonese, the Bank took the name of Banque Gabonaise et Française Internationale (BGFI) in April 1996. To reap the plunder of nearby dictatorships, BGFI opened major branches in Equatorial Guinea (2001) and Congo-Brazzaville (2004). BGFI directors include Jean Ping (once married to Bongo’s daughter) and Christian Bongo; director Yves Abouab is also an executive with the Banque Belgolaise in Paris. Christian Bongo is also a director of the Banque Gabonaise de Development.
Jean Ping is one of the most powerful members of Bongo’s clan des Gabonaise, and an unapologetic agent for western capitalism’s enterprise of plunder and depopulation in Africa. Ping has played a pivotal role, for example, in furthering the “new humanitarian” [read: same old imperialist] policy doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect.”
In 1999, the U.S Congress flagged Bongo’s huge accounts at Citibank in a money-laundering probe.”
Corsican Michel Tomi operates through Groupe Kabi in Gabon, involved in private airlines, communications and gaming, and winning lucrative construction contracts from the Bongo government.26 An adviser to Omar Bongo in the 1990’s, Corsican Andre Tarallo was boss of Elf-Corsica from 1987-1988, and he funded the anti-Marxist guerrilla movement FLEC in neighboring Angola in the 1980’s.27 Tarallo managed Elf’s Africa interests for more than 30 years, and he ended up in a French jail (2004) over the Elf petroleum bribery scandals, where he testified about payoffs to Bongo, Sassou-Nguesso and Teodoro Obiang Nguema.28,29Another member of the “Clan Corsican” at Bongo’s disposal was former French Minister Charles Pasqua, one of Jacques Chirac’s former aides, described as a mafia godfather.30
Omar Bongo, Charles Pasqua, Jean-Christophe Mitterand and other officials were involved in Angolagate, the French arms-for-oil scandal involving shady arms merchants, oil executives, intelligence operatives and others in France and Africa. In 1999, the U.S Congress flagged Bongo’s huge accounts at Citibank in a money-laundering probe.31 Omar Bongo and friends have also bankrolled French politicians: Former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing accused former President Chirac of receiving party financing from Omar Bongo in a 1981 campaign.32
Gabon received $850,000 dollars in foreign military financing from the Pentagon from 2005 to 2008, with $1,597,000 in International Military Education & Training funds from 2001-2007, and with 192 Gabonese military trained in the US IMET program from 1950-2007; ninety of these Gabonese soldiers were trained in the U.S. between 2000 and 2007.33,34
Through the Pentagon’s Gulf of Guinea Initiative, Gabon is involved with the US Navy’s Maritime Partnership Program and the Africa Partnership Station, programs that militarize the Gulf of Guinea to assure and secure U.S. control of oil infrastructure, shipping lanes, offshore sea-bed mining, illegal fishing, toxic dumping and other corporate piracy. Gabon also provides the Pentagon with air naval base access for Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs) and Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). All of these programs are conduits for U.S. covert operations and facilitate the involvement of private military companies and transnational corporations in resource plunder and depopulation.35
Gamba town is the urban centre of the wild Gamba Protected Area Complex, an enclave of white, gated western privilege surrounded by dense forests, impenetrable swamps and deep estuaries where you might see an elephant swimming across open water or ambling across a grassy field. This is Shell country in Gabon, and the only way in is on an expensive Air Gabon flight.
If I have to describe Gamba to someone,” confided one French expatriate in “Shell’s Best Kept Secret,” a blurb in a Royal/Dutch Shell public relations brochure, “I always say it is a Club-Med in the middle of the jungle. You have the freedom and opportunity to do things you thought you’d only ever dream of and all with an amazing backdrop of jungle and unspoilt beaches and lots of wildlife right on your doorstep! … We are quite a sporty bunch in Gamba. We have our own 18 hole golf course, there is the Yenzi Boat club a sailing club, tennis, football, tae-kwon-do, yoga, fitness, swimming, aerobics & step classes, volleyball, badminton, squash, hockey, rugby and much, much more...not to mention that every so often you can take part in our triathlon!” 36
In October 2004, paramilitary police in Gamba killed two locals who protested against Shell’s injustices. A survey of local attitudes revealed a climate of fear seething beneath the surface. Locals reported routine oil spills where Shell and contractors Halliburton and Schlumberger have for years and years burned off oil spills as a form of remediation.37
French expatriates have considered Gabon their private property since the colonial era.”
With a certain arrogance that comes with white society beliefs about entitlement, French expatriates have considered Gabon their private property since the colonial era, and Gamba is one of their hideaway playgrounds.38 One French expatriate in Gamba, Louis Rigon, runs a high-end sport fishing and “ecotourism” business, with private luxury camps and powerboats in the bush.39 He also provides a logistic base for oil exploration when companies like Transworld Exploration Gabon—a Houston Texas oil company—arrive in Gamba (2006) for seismic testing in Loango National Park. It is families with names like Louis Rigon and Pierre Goods—a Transworld director based in Port-Nice, Gabon—who float their 4-WD safari land rovers from Sette Cama, across the estuary on a barge, off-load in Loango National Park, and casually joy-ride some 50 kilometers down the pristine beach—as they did when I was there. This is their version of “ecotourism”—another buzzword and the cutting edge of the white, western, corporate invasion of wilderness.
Oil exploration in the Loango wilderness was not the only reality I found incongruent with the slick propaganda about “Saving Africa’s Eden.” The western diamond firm Southern Era was prospecting in the newly designated Lope Reserve—J. Michael Fay’s newly “discovered” Eden in northeastern Gabon—and all the BINGO conservation groups involved in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership knew this. None had said a word.
Southern Era began prospecting in Gabon in 1999 and when the CBFP came along—and Bongo created the new parks—they were issued permits for the Lope region from the Bongo regime. Southern Era is a fully owned subsidiary of Mwana Africa—another secretive mining company involved in the blood-drenched mining operations in eastern Congo (also Angola and Botswana’s blood diamond areas)—connected to the U.S., U.K. and South Africa.40
Tracking elephants in the Loango reserve turned up the remains of a research camp in the savannah. My local guide and WWF-paid ranger Robert (not his real name) took me to the place where the Smithsonian Institute set up a massive animal and plant collection operation; teams of researchers descended on the Loango wilderness and began catching, counting, cataloging, categorizing, and collecting species and genetic material. Claiming a universal benefit to all humanity—and to the people of Gabon, of course—the Smithsonian’s Gabon Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Program involves U.S. universities and scores of western researchers and tens of millions of dollars in funds; it is also backed by Shell Oil Corporation.41 These funds cycle to and from western economies bringing little benefit to Gabonese people like Robert, and nothing of benefit to the average Gabonese citizen. Smithsonian scientists reported that they have “recorded” over 2019 species of trees and thousands of species of birds, reptiles, snakes and amphibians, but they didn’t merely “record” these species, they collected them.42 “Voucher specimens were injected with formaline (5%), then preserved in 70% ethanol, and will be housed in several scientific institutions.”43
It was easy for the Smithsonian to come in to Gabon and steal Robert’s intellectual property and pay him approximately one dollar and fifteen cents an hour.”
They paid us 6000 CFA (US $12) per day to collect birds, snakes, lizards,” says Robert, “They killed them and packed them up in jars and boxes. We worked hard, setting traps and checking nets, all day and night sometimes. It wasn’t much money.”
Robert was hired because he knew how to catch birds, where to hang nets, where bat species might be found, the habitat of rare snakes—you know, simple stuff, like where a rodent will hide—but based on years of painstaking study and intimate knowledge of the local environment for which Robert has dedicated his heart and soul all his life. Robert didn’t know anything about genetic engineering, cloning, or intellectual property rights, and that’s why it was easy for the Smithsonian to come in to Gabon and steal Robert’s intellectual property and pay him approximately one dollar and fifteen cents (sic) an hour.
Robert was hired as a grunt for an exclusive western program that offers the perfect example how white supremacy operates in Africa: lucrative contracts, travel perks, capital equipment budgets, romantic interludes in paradise for whites; hard labor, theft of expertise, downward mobility, obtuse explanations for blacks. It’s all about access. People like Robert will always be collecting dead birds, while someone else will be flying in and out of Gabon, presenting papers at conferences, getting PhDs, ostensibly saving the earth, murdering wilderness as fast as they are murdering the truth.
Under Bongo life is hard,”Robert told me. “Many people are malnourished, many people are poor. There is no work. It’s terrible.”
Under Bongo life is hard.”
The Smithsonian proceeded with the support of President Omar Bongo, the Pentagon, U.S. State Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA and other predatory agencies. Massive physical, economic and intellectual (property) thefts are underway, and it occurs on the backs of eager, willing, hopeful, yet unfreedomed Africans.44
The markets in Gamba are muddy, dirty, run-down sites of suffering where a scattering of local people peddle bush-meat, manioc, cassava, little packets of salt and sugar, some traditional foods and forest products, bananas and mangos, and whatever manufactured commodities they can get their hands on and resell at a small profit. In the enclave of Sette Cama, a few miles across the estuary and down the beach, the people live by small-scale fishing and farming cassava. But for a few crumbs splashed their way—where the (mostly white) benefactors reconcile their entitlement and privilege behind assumptions that their pitiful charity is further evidence of their goodness and morality—the local people do not benefit from the itineraries and budgets of foreign eco-tourists. Misery is endemic.
Gabon has been a major oil producer since 1962. Historically, oil revenues accounted for approximately 60% of the government’s budget, more than 40% of GDP, and 75% of export earnings. Despite half a century of production from Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil reserves, the majority of Gabon’s citizen’s exist in a Hobbesian nightmare where life is nasty, brutish and short.
In a country of approximately 1 million people, only about eight percent (80,000) have access to any kind of running water or electricity. Adding insult to injury, in 1992, the French corporation Lyonnaise des Eaux took control of the state-owned Societé d’Electricté et d’Eaux du Gabon (SEEG): Bongo signed on with the U.S. International Finance Corporation and IFC/Japan to privatize Gabon’s water and electricity sectors, leading “one of the first privatizations of electricity and water services in sub-Saharan Africa,” over a decade ago.45
In 2003, another beltway Maryland (U.S.A) company—Decision Analysis Partners (DAP)—won a lucrative contract ostensibly to map out the eco-tourism infrastructure for five of Bongo’s newly gazetted Gabon parks. But DAP’s deep ties to the Pentagon and intelligence networks suggest that there is, as usual, some hidden military agenda.46
Despite half a century of production from Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil reserves, the majority of Gabon’s citizen’s exist in a Hobbesian nightmare.”
There are no accurate census figures for Gabon because the Bongo government benefited by inflating population statistics to maximize the regime’s profits skimming off the so-called “development aid’ business sector. Infant mortality is very high in Gabon due to malaria, malnourishment, diarrhea and starvation. Malaria, the principal cause of hospitalization, is of epidemic proportions: 40 per cent of children aged 0 to 5 years and 71 per cent of all pregnant women suffer from the disease. Some 64 percent of all households are in communities where waste is disposed of untreated.47
There are separate schools in Gamba for white expatriate children, and for black African children: Shell and Elf back the expatriate schools.48 The housing and levels of health and community development are also unequal. Whites hire blacks as maids, nanny’s and housekeepers, and blacks are used for the most grueling and dangerous physical labor. The educational books that are produced in France and sent to Gabon are different for African children than the books for French children of the same ages and developmental levels. “Less content, less substance,” said one French woman. “It is the calculated imposition of ignorance and it’s happening throughout French speaking Africa.”49
Companies like Shell, Elf and Total are deeply tied into dictating public policy through their control of advertising, schools, arts venues, TV news and wildlife programming—both in Gabon and the USA, Europe and Japan—and funding for all of these: their corporate logos are branded everywhere.
Education is also privatized: Shell is partnered with WWF and the Ministry of Education through the Shell program “L’Ecole Que J’Aime” [“The School I Like”]. Further, the basic commodities (and luxury goods) available to expatriates connected to the oil industry are denied to poor Gabonese, and the black slave sector couldn’t afford them if they were, and there are stores (pools, clubs, etc.) where most blacks are not allowed.
This is Apartheid. It is also environmental racism.
It’s family living in an African Paradise,” wrote expatriate Louise Tasker in a Royal/Dutch Shell magazine for expatriates, “Apart from wildlife and beaches, Gamba offers children a chance to really enjoy childhood rather than grow up too fast… Flights in Gabon are very expensive, so you may not have as many visitors as you’d like.”50
Just as there is Apartheid on the ground, you won’t see the average Gabonese flying on Air Gabon: it is an airline for people of the privileged classes—and the black people allowed to join the club.
Journalists in Gabon were jailed and whole publication runs confiscated in March 1997 after they reported that Air Gabon was involved in ivory smuggling.”
All air travel in Gabon was for more than 45 years controlled by the so-called “government-owned” national airline whose financial interests were also held by Air France,51 and whose directors included Omar Bongo’s relative Robert Bongo. Journalists in Gabon were jailed and whole publication runs confiscated in March 1997 after they reported that Air Gabon was involved in ivory smuggling.52 In another international scandal, Air Gabon—the airline of the elite in Gabon, tied to petroleum companies and run by the most powerful people in Gabon and France—went belly up in 2005.
Amongst the greatest causes of sickness in Gabon and its neighboring countries are unregulated corporate mining and pollution from extractive industries: gas flaring, uranium and manganese mining, all contribute to toxic environments. Gas-flaring by Royal/Dutch Shell, alone, in Africa, alone, is a leading cause of global warming.53 Yet, looking at the fancy public relations of the Shell Oil Foundation, we find that the corporate perpetrators of violence and destruction are blaming the victims for their own suffering. “More than half the world’s population uses open fires or traditional biomass-burning stoves to cook in their homes,” reads the disingenuous propaganda, where Shell wields a World Health Organization statistic. “There is also growing evidence that this pollution contributes to global warming.”54
Does the World Health Organization challenge Shell, Elf, Total or Mobil for the massive and devastating carbon footprint of gas flaring? No. Of course, next to Shell’s support for dictatorships where petroleum flows are insured through rape, torture, and murder—the case of the Niger River Delta offering the most thoroughly documented example—Shell’s gas-flaring is perhaps one of the less troublesome aspects of petroleum operations in Africa.55 Meanwhile. In 1999, Shell flared some 25.6 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, in the Gamba complex Rabi concession alone—and this in a year where Shell—as supposed evidence of their benevolence—reported “reductions” in their flaring footprint from 30 mmscf/d in 1998.56 On this basis, and given the past six decades of their operations, Shell’s contribution to global climate mayhem is unimaginable.
Gabon offers a perfect example of how the propaganda system covers for the western terrorist apparatus.”
The evidence that multinational corporations and their government, academic, scientific and “philanthropic” partners are decimating cultures and landscapes is overwhelming.57 What is underwhelming is the extent to which the general public—U.S., Canadian, European, Australian and Japanese citizens, ostensibly concerned about human rights and the environment, for example—are unable to recognize and name these rich-man poor-man relationships for what they are: genocide.58 An agent of predatory western capitalism, Omar Bongo played a major role in that, too. Gabon offers a perfect example of how the propaganda system covers for the western terrorist apparatus, always maximizing profits for the white-based economies of permanent warfare, depopulation and elite control.
On the cutting edge of this massive project of conquest over people and places of color are white people like J. Michael Fay, with their mega-transects and mega-flyovers,59 and their Pentagon connections, and the agendas they serve, even as they deny that they are in any ways involved, while peddling the new, old white power projects of conservation and humanitarian intervention in Africa. Meanwhile, the Hollywood dimension of modern day genocide involves such reality TV productions as Survivor Gabon—Earth’s Last Eden.60
I’d be more than happy to meet a couple of cute girls on the island,” says Survivor’s arrogant tarzan-stud Marcus Lehman, who thinks the “remote Gabon coast” is an island. “It is Earth’s last Eden, so I’ll be Adam, she can be Eve, and see what goes on.” 61
Such is the nature of white supremacy, with all its attendant obliviousness, and assumptions of innocence, and power relations, and subliminal sexuality, and this is the true face of the globalization of terror.62 The history of Gabon is the history of slavery, alive and well in Africa’s gardens of Eden.
keith harmon snow is an independent (non-corporate) freelance journalist and investigator whose work revolves around truth, freedom and equality. Entirely dependent on individual donations and voluntary contributions to sustain this work, he has lived under the poverty line for over a decade, while continuing to work as a volunteer for three non-profit humanitarian organizations. On his missions to Africa, keith has provided food, medical supplies and basic health necessities to many, many indigent and suffering people. He is a believer in direct action, non-violent social protest, and civil disobedience. Without your support, he cannot continue to do this important, unique, independent and insightful work. He can be contacted through his web site, All Things Pass.
1Biafra-Nigeria, 1967-1969, Political Affairs, Confidential U.S. State Dept. files, ISBN 0-88692-756-0.
2 John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, Replica Books, 1978: p. 176-192.
3União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) and Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA).
4 Toby Shelley, Oil: Politics, Poverty & the Planet, Zed Books, 2005.
5 John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, Replica Books, 1978: p. 188.
6See: Report of the Panel of Experts on Violations of Security Council Sanctions Against UNITA, UN Doc S2000/203, 10 March 2000. See also Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, 2002.
7James Mukuwire, “Omar Bongo Rescued Ian Smith,” Zimbabwe Times, June 11, 2009,
8 Charles Taylor has the distinction of having attended Harvard University; being arrested in Boston (MA), for international warrants relating to embezzlement of funds in Liberia; being held in a Charlestown (MA) prison; and being ‘broken out’ with no trace or trail of his having been there.
9 See: keith harmon snow and Rick Hines, “Blood Diamond: Doublethink & Deception Over Those Worthless Little Rocks of Desire,” Z Magazine, June & July 2007.
10Max Liniger-Gourmaz, Small is Not Always Beautiful: The Story of Equatorial Guinea, 1988.
11 Justin Blum, U.S. Firms Entwined in Equatorial Guinea Deals, Washington Post, September 7, 2004.
12 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen, 1999.
13 “Congo: Truce Broken,” Africa Research Bulletin, July 1-31, 1997, p.12760.
14 See, e.g., Guy Robert, France’s African Policy in Transition: Disengagement and Redeployment, Paper prepared for presentation at the African Studies Interdisciplinary Seminar, Center for African Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Il, March 3, 2000.
15 Daily Diary of Jimmy Carter, March 3, 1977;
16 Bernard Gwertzman, “Vance Says Invaders in Zaire Threaten Vital Copper Mining; Calls Situation ‘Dangerous’,” New York Times, March 17, 1977: p. 61.
17 On western interventions in Shaba (Katanga) during the Ford/Carter years see: Antonio Tanca, Foreign Armed Intervention in Internal Conflict, Martinus Nijhoff, 1990; and William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WW-II, Common Courage, 1986.
18 See, e.g., Defense National Stockpile Center, Gecamines (DRC) Cobalt,; Rae Weston, Strategic Minerals: A World Survey, Croom Helm, 1984.
19Decisions of the Seventy-Sixth Ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers / Eleventh Ordinary Session of the AEC, 28 June to 6 July 2002, Durban, South Africa, CM/Dec. 661-670.
20 “US-Africa: Genuine Leak or Disinformation?” Africa Confidential, 1984.
21 Of course, the African American community had long (since the 1960’s) been under attack in the U.S. through domestic COINTELLPRO terrorist operations. See, e.g., Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party an the American Indian Movement, South End, 1988.
22 “Reagan Promises to Boost U.S. Aid to Gabon,” Washington Post, August 2, 1978.
23 Personal communication, businessman, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 2009.
24 Personal communication, businessman, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 2009.
25France/Africa: Professional Risks,” Africa Confidential, Vol. 47. No. 6, March 3, 2006.
27Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda, FLEC.
28President Bongo Loses Court Case Against Ex-Official at Oil Group Elf,” African Oil Journal, December 26, 2007,; and Toby Shelley, Oil: Politics, Poverty & the Planet, Zed Books, 2005.
29 Sophie Coignard & Marie-Théres Guichard, French Connections: Networks of Influence, Algora, 2000.
30France/Africa: Professional Risks,” Africa Confidential, Vol 47. No. 6, March 3, 2006.
31 Ken Silverstein, “Good Press for Dictators,” The American Prospect, April 8, 2001.
32 “They Came to Bury Him Not to Praise Him,” The Economist, June 18, 2009; .
33Historical Facts Book, U.S. Department of Defense, December 30, 2007.
34 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen, 1999, p. 251-253.
35Wayne Madsen, “AFRICOM: The Recolonization of Africa by Uncle Sam,” Wayne Madsen Report, January 3, 2008; see also Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen, 1999, p. 251-253.
36 Jet Hoeve and Sue Garrone, “Shell’s Best Kept Secret,” Destinations, a Royal/Dutch Shell public relations expatriate magazine, Issue 39, Vol. 11, No. 2, June 2006, p. 8:; see also Yenzi Boat Club, .
37 Private interviews, Gamba Complex, December 2004.
38 See: “Les Anciens de Gamba,”
40 keith harmon snow, Merchant’s of Death: Exposing Corporate Financed Holocaust in Africa, September 2008,; see also: and .
42Gabon Biodiversity Program, Publication No. 20, February 2003,
43Gabon Biodiversity Program, Publication No. 20, February 2003,
44 Nobel economist Amartya Sen describes “unfreedoms” in his book Development as Freedom (Sen, 1999).
45 “Lyonnaise to Manage SEEG,” Africa Intelligence, December 10, 1992.
46decision/analysis partners Awarded National Park Transportation Development Study for Gabon,” PR Newswire, September 14, 2004,; and DAP, .
47Draft Country Programme Document for Gabon (2007-2011), United Nations Development Program, May 1, 2006.
48 Kees Cline, Tracey Cripps and Terry Boyle, “Schooling in Camp Yenzi, Gabon,” Destinations, a Royal/Dutch Shell public relations expatriate magazine, Issue 39, Vol. 11, No. 2, June 2006, p. 7:
49 Interview in Libreville: Elaine Muerat (Responsable Librairie), SOGAPRESSE, Libreville, Gabon.
50 Louise Tasker, “Family Living in an African Paradise,” Destinations, a Royal/Dutch Shell “OUTPOST” public relations document, Issue 39, Vol. 11, No. 2 June 2006, p. 13:
51Flight International, March 29, 1986.
52 Committee to Protect Journalists, Country Report:Gabon, December 31, 1998.
53 Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil, Verso, 2003.
55 Royal/Dutch Shell’s involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide in Nigeria is incontrovertible.
56 Royal /Dutch Shell statistics, 1998, 1999.
57 See, for example: Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil, Verso, 2003; Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennett, Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon, Harper Collins, 1995; Max Liniger-Gourmaz, Small is Not Always Beautiful: The Story of Equatorial Guinea, 1988; and Bruno Manser Fonds,
58 See: Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, City Lights, 2001.
59 See: David Quammen, “Views of the Continent,” National Geographic, September 2005; and J. Michael Fay, “Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma,” National Geographic, March 2007.
60CBS reveals the castaways of 'Survivor: Gabon—Earth's Last Eden’,” Reality TV staff, 8/27/08,

62 See: keith harmon snow, Towards an Anthropology of White Man in Africa: A Call to Explore the Militarized White Project of Dark Continentalism, Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, December, 2007. 


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your post is much

your post is much share many points about the Omar Bongo in this post.i don't know about her but your post help me to know.thanks for this post.

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The crime of  Bongo part

The crime of  Bongo part second is interesting like part add many things related to Bongo in this post.thanks for this post.

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i think Bongo's government is

i think Bongo's government is benifited for the discus in detail about post a quality content with detail.i like your post and your work is really appreciate.

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its really shocking that crimes of bongo reaching to extreme has created lot of terror in africa and in the gardens of eden.thanks for sharing this informative article.keep it up!

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i agree with these crimes of

i agree with these crimes of Bongo but i am confused why you discus these crimes after her death.i think now  discustion of these crimes are a wastage of time and nothinng.

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Bongo's crimes are

Bongo's crimes are unbleiveable.her criminal activities in Africa are much which is show that about her personality.your post is so good you really discus good topic in this post.

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bloodshed and exploitation

Informative read  is surpring.From 1970-1975 France provided over 300 panhard armored cars to mobutu in zaire ..the Bongo government was complicit with the successive Nguema dictatorships ..I'll be waiting for your next article.

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Globalization of terror

i think that under Bongo life is  is the true face of the globalization of terror ..thanks for sharing this informative article.keep it up!

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Nice post.its really shocking that under bongo life was miserable.many people are malnourished.there is no work. It’s terrible and people were so poor.thanks for sharing this informative post..!

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its a bitter fact that despite half a century of production from sub-Ssaharan africa’s third largest oil reserves, the majority of gabon’s citizen’s exist in a hobbesian nightmare..thanks for this nice information.keep it up!

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Great post .its extremely

Great post .its extremely shocking that gabon has been a major oil producer since 1962 but in this country of 1million people,only eight percent have access to electricity.this was so poor condition.thanks for sharing this informative article.keep up the great work.

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