EU Electoral Observation Mission Head Flies Into a Hornet’s Nest Re: Ethnic Cleansing — Let’s Keep Him There
Late last night, Guinea Oye! posted an update on the Guinea election which included several news stories. One story stands out from the others because it provides a clue as to why the international community will most likely be in unison to support the outcome of this outrageously fraudulent election. Here is the story we posted last night about Alexander Von Lambsdorff, Chief of the EU electoral observation mission in Guinea followed by additional analysis from Guinea Oye!
-CHIEF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSION IN CONAKRY, ALEXANDER VON LAMBSDORFF, SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS ARE NOT WELL INFORMED ABOUT THE SITUATION IN GUINEA!
Mr. Von Lamsdorff should start looking over his shoulder a little more often now that he decided to take on the BIG international human rights organizations over the credibility of their data concerning the state of human rights in Guinea. Secondly, Von Lambsdorff refutes the one thing that the world is beginning to see clearly: in the post-election period, Guinean state security forces sought out unarmed Guineans of the Peul ethnicity and shot them, killing several and wounding hundreds. Von Lambsdorff maintains that there is no systematic violence against a particular Guinean community (of course, he doesn’t say Peuls, but they are who he is talking about) and he doesn’t want Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, etc. mucking things up by saying the opposite.
Of course, the primary question is why is Von Lambsdorff trying to quash this awful truth when video evidence is popping up from many parts of Guinea. The only reason to deny the truth publicly is that acts of systematic, ethnically-targeted, state-sponsored violence usually end up in the lap of the head of state — that is, Konate. Remember that Konate is not out of the woods on the state-sponsored massacre of September 28, 2009, or one would hope. It’s quite possible that the international community made a deal with Konate. Desperate to have a conclusion to the Guinean electoral saga and to keep Guinea’s military of 50,000 under wraps, Konate may have been promised that he would be protected from prosecution by the International Criminal Court concerning the 2009 massacre, if he produced an election pronto. Another instance of ethnic cleansing could make it difficult for members of the international community to continue defending him.
In addition to Von Lamsdorff’s very interesting stories about human rights in Guinea, he stated that he will issue a comprehensive report on the election after the decision of the Supreme Court is announced. Can’t wait.
After further thought, it is clear that the international community, while anxious for Guinea to hold elections, is far more interested in having Konate remain a fixture in the country to keep its huge military under wraps. The election is secondary and the only thing that matters is that it is concluded quickly, not whether it is conducted in a democratic fashion. Interestingly enough, at a recent US Institute of Peace panel discussion about Guinea, William Fitzgerald, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, US State Department, repeatedly emphasized a point that rings more true now ever. He admitted that the US was more concerned about Guinea’s huge military than anything else, including the election.
When Konate was first informed by the international community that was to put on a “democratic” election, he began strategizing about how to get out of it. The answer was simple: punt the election to the Prime Minister and the presidential candidate, whom the transitional government would anoint as the next president, Alpha Conde. In addition to receiving lucrative funding from the transitional government for his campaign, Conde had access to all aspects of the electoral process including computers,voter registration lists, ballots, voting cards and his expert on voter fraud, Lounceny Camara, at the electoral commission . While there is no dispute that Diallo won the election, he has no chance of being named the winner. Regardless of the final numbers, the transitional government was hellbent on putting Alpha Conde at the helm of the country and an international community, with formidable intelligence services, knew all about it.
Now, it is obvious that the international community wants Konate to stay past the election to babysit the army and this is why, even before final election results are announced, Konate stated he would be glad to serve as Minister of Defense if Conde asked him. This seemingly premature and somewhat abrupt announcement was not meant for general consumption, rather it was a targeted message to reassure restless soldiers that he would be around for a while. What Konate gets from pretending to put on a democratic election and a vow to continue “managing” the military in the Conde administration, is a detour away from the International Criminal Court for crimes committed in the September 2009 massacre. And, this is where Mr. Von Lamsdorff statements about ethnic cleansing come in.
Von Lambsdorff’s responsibility is to use the heft of the EU to obliterate detailed evidence gathered by international human rights organizations that the Guinean army specifically targeted unarmed Peuls, shot them, killing several and wounding hundreds. A similar scenario played out in the arrest and detainment of prisoners by state security forces during this same time period — virtually all were Peul. Lambsdorff’s job was to destroy the validity of the evidence collected by Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group to prevent it from becoming an integral part of the ICC’s deliberations. Otherwise the evidence could bring down a carefully built house of cards in which the international community forged a cozy and shameful relationship with Konate which might possibly leave him out in the cold with nothing but a one-way ticket to The Hague. More than anything, the international community fears the reaction of Guinea’s 50,000 soldier army should Konate be hauled away in handcuffs along with some of his commanding officers thrown in the trunk for the ride.
The problem with Von Lambsdorff, like most people coming from a superior stance, he thinks no one will catch on to what he is trying to do. Two Guinean websites had skewered him already by early this morning and no doubt more are in the hopper. Von Lambsdorff’s arrogance, caused him not to do his homework. Ethnically-targeted violence is part of the fabric of Guinea. Yet, Von Lambsdorff, in an attempt to carry the EU’s water by trying to discredit international human rights groups, should have known that it would be a great insult to the people of Guinea to say that state security forces did not engage in systematic targeting of the Peul in the government crackdown after the preliminary results were announced. Does Von Lambsdorff not know or not care that ethnic cleansing has a very recent precedent in Guinea? All studies on the military massacre and rape of opposition supporters on September 28, 2009, have concluded that the military repeatedly used anti-Peul epithets when conducting their crimes and told their victims they were being harmed because they are Peul. Does Von Lambsdorff not realize that equally revealing and damaging evidence exists of the state-sponsored ethnic-targeting in the most recent spate of violence?
Mr. Von Lambsdorff, lie to your wife, your boss, or your kids, but do not come to another country about which you understand little and lie about something as serious and traumatic as ethnically-targeted violence. Too many Guineans have died, too many women have been destroyed by rape, and too many families are in mourning for you to lie in an attempt to keep Konate and his high-ranking officers out of prison and to hold a murderous military in abeyance. You owe the people of Guinea a public apology.
Finally, a quick word about Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group. It is because of both of these organizations that the world knows the truth about September 28, 2009, and now, post-electoral violence in Guinea. We are sure that both organizations will respond to Von Lambsdorff’s accusations and any respone they produce will by posted on this blog. Oh yes, and Mr. Lambsdorff, you owe these two groups a public apology as well.