The CIA’s “Softer” Sidekick Hosts Guinea’s Alpha Conde for Democracy Discussion – It Was Anything But

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a “democracy” promotion organization. In 1991, Allen Weinstein who helped draft the legislation to establish NED, in an incredible moment of candor said:  “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”  Both theNED and the CIA maintain that their work supports democracy. Yet, the governments and movements whom the NED targets call it “destabilization.”NED of USA

The NED was established in 1983 by Ronald Reagan, not for democracy promotion, but to fill a void created by a 1975 Executive Order signed by Gerald Ford which banned US-sanctioned assassinations against foreign leaders The work of NED can be boiled down to two themes: achieving regime change without assassinating leaders and keeping other leaders in place well beyond term limits and the toleration of its people. The latter theme appears to be the reason Alpha Conde appeared at NED’s National Democratic Institute this past Monday. In addition to hosting Alpha Conde, NDI president, Ken Wollack, stated that his organization will be helping out with the upcoming legislative elections and the NDI office in Guinea is already making preparations. It’s tempting to give kudos to those trying to get Guinea’s legislative elections on track, but given that NDI is involved, it would be wise to hold your applause.

What a show Alpha Conde put on at NDI. Much to everyone’s shock, Conde began with a ten minute lecture defending his win in the November 2010 election! Given ample evidence that he did not win the election and, in fact, stole it, you would think this would be the last topic he would bring up. Amazingly, he talked about things he did to steal the election andthen pinned them on rival candidates.

When Ben Sekou Sylla, president of Guinea’s electoral commission, the CENI, died, Conde and then interim president, Sekouba Konate placed a party operative by the name of Louceny Camara at the helm of the organization for the express purpose of stealing the election for Conde from the inside.

Camara committed several acts of voter fraud on behalf of Conde, but when charges were brought against him, they were ignored by authorities, causing great discord throughout the country and a several month delay in getting to the second round.

When Conde proceeded to blame his political rivals for fraudulent activity, the audience gasped. Conde explained that fellow presidential candidate, Sidya Toure, controlled the CENI! Further, Conde claimed that his primary rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, was in charge of the election computers which he maintains were rigged against him. These were truly preposterous claims given that the Camara-controlled CENI fudged the numbers in order to knock Toure out of the second round replacing him with Conde and it was Camara’s manipulation and control of election computers that allowed this and Conde’s theft of the second round of the election as well.

As Conde provided this detailed, but fictional account of the election, members of his entourage and his US-based backers in the audience began squirming in their seats, exchanging hand signals, trying to figure a way to stop his bizarre exposition. Lying throughout, Conde waded into dangerous territory solely so he could blame his rivals for things for which he is culpable and that can be fact-checked easily.

Later, Conde received various questions regarding human rights, including his use of anti-Peul rhetoric, following up on human rights abuses associated with September 28, 2009, and keeping Claude Pivi and Tiegboro Camara, both implicated in the September 28 atrocities, in his cabinet.

He said people accuse him of being anti-Peul, but he wants everyone to know he is president of all the people of Guinea. He followed up quickly by saying that he intends to focus on issues of corruption and monopolies. “Monopolies” is code for Peul business people and given Conde’s numerous public statements that Peul business people destroyed the country’s economy, he is providing yet more evidence that he is, indeed, anti-Peul.

Regarding September 28, 2009, massacre against opposition members, Conde was downright flippant. He said that a lot of people were killed at Camp Boiro under Sekou Toure, too. He said he was not responsible for human rights and that he cannot stabilize the army to please human rights organizations.

Conde claimed that Pivi and Camara, well-known participants in the September 28 massacre, were no longer, in his cabinet. Regardless of their title, these two henchman remain at the service of Alpha Conde – something that is of concern to the people of Guinea as well as the international human rights community. He excused his hiring of Pivi and Camara by saying that it was done at the behest of Sekouba Konate, former interim president. Conde said he isn’t crazy (this is debatable) and as Guinea’s first civilian president he wasn’t about to go up against General Konate. He closed the topic by saying as long as people are not “condemned,” why shouldn’t he work with them??

Then, in response to a question about why he did not have people from “across the spectrum” in his government, Conde explained over the course of several minutes, that his cabinet was more multi-ethnic than it appeared. He gave examples of ministers in his cabinet with the same last name, but who are of different ethnic groups – Malinke, Soussou and Forest. Many in the audience seemed dumbfounded with the the excruciating detail he offered to support his claim while his entourage stared nervously at the clock and probably prayed for the fire alarm to go off.

Conde discussed his plans for reform of the justice sector including plans for training judges. Every time Conde spoke of reform of the justice sector, he said the same thing:  In order to attract investors to Guinea two things are necessary — security and justice. Never once did he mention the importance of security and justice for the people.

At the end of the program, the audience heard from other members of the panel: Ken Wollack, Director of NDI, Dave Peterson, Director of the Africa Program at the National Endowment for Democracy, and Jennifer Cooke, director of Africa Programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Wollack reiterated NDI’s interest in helping out with Guinea’s upcoming legislative elections.

Peterson said emphasis should be placed on the fact that Guinea is an independent and sovereign country that “has democracy now.” Sure, it does.

It was Ms. Cooke who drew thunderous applause with her comment to Conde that human rights should be the ultimate concern of the Guinean government.

Thankfully, the meeting adjourned on this upbeat note and Conde headed back to Guinea.

Mr. Conde’s performance was as egotistical as it was ridiculous. Guinea Oye! lost count of the half-truths, innuendo, and outright lies and is more convinced than ever that the good, brave people of Guinea are saddled, once again, with a leader who is not worthy of them.

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Guinea and Impunity: Rapist-Soldiers and Ethnic Cleansing

Four young Peul women in Labe, ranging in age from 18 to 24, were viciously and repeatedly raped by Guinean military during the last two weeks of November 2010.  All were kidnapped.  Two of the women were taken to rape houses, where one was held for two days along with five other women.  The other two victims were raped in the back of  pick-up trucks.

The military rapists dropped off the 20 year-old woman near a hospital leaving a note, probably of a threatening nature, for the prefect, Safioulahi Bah.  The victim was found later, rushed to the emergency room, and resuscitated.  Dropping this young woman near a hospital was not a humanitarian effort on the part of her rapists, rather it was an attempt to escape a murder charge — if she was going to die, they wanted her to do it at the hospital, not in their rape chamber.  Peul women have been raped by military soldiers in other parts of the country, including Dalaba and Pita as well.

Rape is a violent crime and a weapon of intimidation regardless of the circumstances. When members of the military rape it is a state-sponsored crime and everyone from the commanding officer, to the defense minister to the head of state is responsible.  The fact that the military targeted Peul women to rape means that the transitional government is engaged in yet another facet of its overall program to ethnically cleanse Peuls. 

Beneath the nose of the international community, the 2010 presidential election in Guinea was a showcase for ethnic targeting of Peuls.  The line was drawn in the sand early.  The “anyone but a Peul” for president was uttered repeatedly to discount Cellou Diallo’s candidacy from the start.  In the second round of the election, the Conde campaign’s rhetoric was often littered with anti-Peul slurs.  And, now we know more about the massive fraud the Conde campaign used to ensure that the Peul, Diallo, would not be able to put a toe inside the presidential palace.   We know that the electoral commission, the CENI, was infected by Louceny Camara who began stealing votes from Diallo in the first round.  We know numerous election computers were sent out of the country to be tampered with in Conde’s favor.  We know that all manner of voter list, ballot and voting station fraud was set into motion by the Conde campaign to steal Diallo’s votes.  We know Conde received financing for his campaign from the Guinean government and we know that the government worked collaboratively with Conde in the commission of fraud.

Yet, it was shortly before the election, when we witnessed the lengths to which the Conde campaign would go when it debuted an audacious anti-Peul scheme which would end in death, destruction, and displacement of Peuls.   In early October, Conde stated that Peuls had poisoned his campaign supporters through water distributed during a rally in Conakry.  While it is true that some of his supporters did become sick at the rally, it was from eating yogurt that had gone bad, not “poisoned” water.  The bad yogurt,  distributed by a Malinke businessman and friend of Conde’s, did send some to the hospital.  To beef up his “poisoning” lie,” Conde  paid several of his supporters to go to the hospital and pretend to be sick.  The more arrivals at the hospital of “poisoned” patients, the more entrenched the lie became and the more agitated Malinke supporters of Conde became.  Instinctively, Guineans knew where this was heading — a violent Malinke attack on Peuls, but only Conde and his crew knew where and when. 

Days after the supposed “poisoning incident,” Dr. Diallo, superintendent of Donka hospital, stated that rather than poisoning, it appeared that patients had a reaction to food that had gone bad and that the illness did not appear to be serious.  Out of nowhere, Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore condemned Dr. Diallo for her remarks and suspended her.  What had Dr. Diallo done wrong?  She gave her medical opinion and, because it ran counter to the “poisoning” hoax narrative, she was “disciplined” by Dore.  By intervening, the Prime Minister elevated a dangerous political campaign lie to a matter of state and, in doing so, the Guinean government formally adopted the position of pitting one ethnic group against another in which it knew there would be a violent attack.  That is ethnic cleansing.

The lie was repeated over and over and, in late October, the Conde campaign incited an attack by Malinkes in Siguiri and Kouroussa, highly populated with Peuls, most of whom were supporters of Diallo.  Further evidence of the state’s policy to support ethnic cleansing came when it lent its security forces, dressed in plain clothes, to attack Peuls side-by-side with Malinkes.  As we know now, several Peuls died, hundreds were injured, and hundreds of businesses and homes were burned.  The attack was so brutal and destructive that Peuls were forced to flee to other areas of the country.  Yet, immediately after the attack, it was not clear as to what advantage this offered Conde.  It became clear as election day approached:  the attack was designed to force thousands of Peuls to flee to other parts of the country in order to prevent them from voting in their home districts on election day, resulting in the disenfranchisement of thousands of supporters of Conde’s opponent, Cellou Dalein Diallo.  Conde and the transitional government worked collaboratively to provoke a deadly civilian-military attack against Peuls — their fellow citizens.  This is state-sponsored ethnic cleansing

But, the template for ethnic targeting of Peuls came a year before on September 28, 2009, when a state-sponsored massacre and rape took place in and around a Conakry stadium filled with opposition demonstrators.  After a march, demonstrators headed to the stadium for a rally.  Guinean security forces waited for the stadium to fill, locked the doors and proceeded to fire upon, stab, and rape primarily Peuls.  Hundreds were killed, over a hundred women raped and tortured and Guineans, who have seen terrible violence in their country, had never witnessed before such wholesale carnage and mass violation of women.

The manner in which the soldiers raped women at the stadium provides a clue to one of the state’s primary objectives that day. Virtually all the women raped reported that their attackers used anti-Peul slurs.  The rapes were done outside, in the open which demonstrated the height of military impunity and determination to humiliate the women.  The rapists often stabbed women and cut off  breasts as well — mutilation is a particularly degrading form of violence and the psychological/physical effects remain forever.  Yet, the worst part came when their attackers used sticks and the barrel of guns to rape the women.  Some women were shot in the vagina.  It became clear, through the use of this technique, that the rapes were not just to intimidate, humilate or mutilate Peul women, but were meant to injure them so badly that many of them will never be able to bear children again.  This is ethnic cleansing through the womb.

Wikileaks cables reveal that the US, France, and Morocco did not want a quick ICC indictment of former military junta leader, Dadis Camara, for crimes committed on September 28, 2009, fearing a Guinean military uprising would disrupt the process they were putting in place for Guinea’s transition to a “democratic” government.  Nearly 15 months have passed since the stadium massacre and no one has been indicted.  By delaying ICC action, the West prevented timely punishment for the heinous stadium crimes, allowing impunity to become thoroughly institutionalized in Guinea’s military.  Is it any wonder then, in the post-electoral period, that commanding officers ordered extrajudicial executions of Peuls and rape of Peul women?  Is it any wonder that neither Konate, nor Dore, nor Conde condemned these military actions?

Most ethnic cleansing travesties begin in the same manner:  it starts out as jealousy, but quickly changes to hatred, especially when manipulated by governments intent on fanning the flames of violence of one ethnic group against another.  The perpetrators of the cleansing never see themselves as being able to overcome their hatred and are convinced that the only alternative is to eliminate their “foes.”  The stakes are even higher if the hated ethnic group outnumbers other ethnic groups.  This spawns paranoia and, when combined with hatred, the concoction is deadly.  While exact figures are not available, it is believed that the Peul ethnic group is much larger than the often reporterd 40 % of the population.  

Yet, as you would expect from a candidate who started out with only 18% of the vote in the first round running against a man with 44% , all of the Conde campaign’s fraud and killing and maiming and destruction of homes and businesses of Peuls, could not help him beat Diallo by the numbers.  While the Supreme Court selected Conde for the presidency, he continues campaigning on ethnic grounds.  Recently, on more than one occasion, he has stated that it is the Peul businessmen who are ruining the economy.  Will this be the first ethnic cleansing battleground?  Conde has an anti-Peul agenda and a Malinke military that will be only too happy to oblige.  After the September 28, 2009, massacre and rape of Peuls, after the post-electoral murder, maiming, and rape of Peuls by the military, and now with Conde, the man who instigated the electoral season’s ethnic cleansing attack in Siguiri and Kourroussa, who has just assumed the presidency, this is a very dangerous time for Peuls in Guinea — they will need all the help the Diaspora can offer.

And, the four young women discussed at the beginning of this post?  Thanks to the kindness and generosity of the US-based Amadou Diallo Foundation, they have been transferred to a medical facility in Senegal.  Before leaving Guinea they wanted to know if there would be police or military around them in Senegal.  They were relieved to hear that the answer was “no.”

African Union Taps Konate for Leader of Standby Force: The West’s Quid Pro Quo

It’s interesting that the AU would appoint someone to such a demanding position who is reported to be very ill, suffering complications from alcoholism.  All signs suggest, and Wikileak cables confirm, that the West’s biggest concern about Guinea is the potential for its 50,000 soldier army to destabilize the country.  Given these concerns, it appears Konate’s appointment is in keeping with the West’s idea to syphon off Guinean soldiers into international peacekeeping efforts as one way to recduce the size of the military.

Konate’s new appointment  is likely to keep the International Criminal Court at bay, ending once and for all  any hope that he might be investigated for his role, as Defense Minister, in the massacre of September 28, 2009, and for his administration’s policy to use the Guinean military to ethnically-target Peuls, including murder and rape, for political gain in the 2010 election campaign. 

Through Wikileaks cables we learn that the West thought Konate was the only person who could simultaneously  transition Guinea to a democracy and keep the military cool at the same time.  Of course, Guinea did not get a democratic transition, it got a state-sponsored candidate who had to commit massive fraud to even appear competitive in the race.  Conde, the loser, was selected as the winner.  And, as for keeping the military cool, Peul communities throughout the country would disagree.  Yet, for sticking in there all these months, the West owed Konate one thing — a stay out of jail card — and it appears this recent appointment does just that. 

A.U. Reportedly Taps Guinea’s Transitional Leader for Standby Force

Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa Program at the CSIS says African countries may be ready to completely assume peacekeeping roles

James Butty | Washington, D.C.08 December 2010

The African Union has reportedly named Guinea’s interim president, General Sekouba Konate, to lead the efforts for creation of the African Standby military Force.

Reports quoting A.U. Commission Chairman Jean Ping said General Konate’s title will be “High Representative of the African Union for the Operationalization of the African Standby Force.”

Jennifer Cooke, director of the Africa program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies told VOA if the news of General Konate’s appointment is true, it could mean that creation of the standby force could be nearer.

“I think it’s an evolution for the African Standby Forces. These were originally envisioned back in 2003 for each African region to provide a brigade that could be deploy quickly into areas of disaster assistance or into peacekeeping operations. And, I think the various regional command brigades may be evolving to a point where the African Union feels they warrant an overarching leader at this point,” she said.

Cooke said lack of political will on the part of African countries might have partly contributed to the delay in bringing about creation of the African Standby force.

“The contributing countries obviously have many priorities of their own. I think part of it is a question of political will and attention. But, it’s also difficult to coordinate across countries, in certain instances, to do joint training, for example, and communication and so forth. And, that’s really, I think, the challenge that the African standby forces are intended to overcome,” Cooke said.

She said the new development in the establishment of African Standby Force could also mean that African countries are ready to completely assume peacekeeping roles on the continent.

“I think more and more the international community is looking at the African Union to provide troops to places like Somalia, to Sudan and Darfur, to the operation in Burundi, for example. So, I think it’s two-pronged. Yes, the international community is looking to the African Union to do more and I think African states are looking to take on more of those challenges on their own,” Cooke said.

Cooke said the African Union is probably rewarding General Konate for the role he played in guiding a troubled country through a successful election.

“I tend to think he (General Konate) had a fairly good reputation with the African Union. They did help negotiate the immediate crisis backed by the United States. So, he’s in good standing with the African Union and with the United States and I think the broader international community. They see him as having played a fairly neutral and effective role in overcoming Guinea’s electoral crisis,” Cooke said.

She also thinks the African Union might have also been trying to remove General Konate from the Guinea political environment.

“I don’t think they see him as going back to intervene militarily in Guinea in any way, but, maybe, just a nice out (way) for him to distance himself now from the political situation in Guinea,” she said.

Cooke said a unit like the African Standby Force could be sent to Ivory Coast, especially if that country disintegrates further.

“If Cote d’Ivoire disintegrates further, there may actually be a greater role for peacekeepers, and I think the African Union will be called upon to do that. My hope is the African Union civilian leadership, together with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), can prevent disintegration into violence and do away with the need, ultimately, for greater peacekeeping and military intervention,” Cooke said.

Conde Planning Truth Commission on Violence: Shielding the Guilty and, Once Again, Robbing Guineans of Justice

Ethnic Peuls forced to flee parts of Guinea after the Conde campaign incited Malinke riots in which Peuls where killed, wounded and hundreds of businesses and house were destroyed.  Because of the displacement of the Peuls following the violence, virtually none of them were in their home districts to vote on election day.  With this, the Conde campaign achieved its goal of disenfranchising thousands of supporters of presidential candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo. 

Truth commissions are hollow places where governments retreat to avoid punishment as well as that of their proxy henchmen and where the aggrieved receive precious little satisfaction and no justice.  For hundreds of years, the process has been the same:  those who commit crimes are subject to a trial under the law and, if found guilty, are imprisoned. In cases like Rwanda and apartheid South Africa, where there were so many perpetrators and victims, establishing trials to determine the guilty were not always plausible.  The goal of truth commissions generally is to produce a modicum of social harmony so that people can “get on with their lives.”  But, does this happen?   Not really, because it never completes the necessary process for the victims to heal — punishment of the perpetrators.  Accounts from victims and/or their families in Rwanda have shown repeatedly that they wanted justice in a court of law, incarceration of the criminals so that they are prevented from committing similar crimes in the future, and the use of imprisonment as a deterrent to others considering similar crimes.

In the following article by Saliou Samb of Reuters Africa, who wrote most of Conde’s campaign propaganda for Western consumption, we get a glimpse of the script that Alpha Conde will use for his truth commission.  By imposing a truth commission on Guineans, Conde does not intend to ease the pain of ethno-political violence as he claims, but to shield current military and national officials from indictment by the International Criminal Court.  Their liability spans from the September 28, 2009, massacre to the Conde-/ state-orchestrated murder and pillaging in Siguri and Kouroussa in late October and through to the last Guinean shot by state security forces after provisional electoral results were announced on November 15.  All of these atrocities were state-sponsored attacks in which the Peul ethnic group was targeted and none are the result of ethnic “clashes,” as Mr. Samb so often  maintains.  

Rather than explaining how a truth commission might work , Mr. Samb spends nearly half of the article treating us to a gruesome recitation of the state-sponsored crimes of Sekou Toure.  He also refers briefly to transgressions by Lansana Conte and Dadis Camera’s responsibility for the September 28, 2009 massacre.  But Toure and Conte are dead and unlikely to show up at the Truth Commission and we have known for a long time that Mr. Camara, will have to answer to the ICC.  But, something strange is going on in that Mr. Samb does not mention any of the recent election-related crimes.  Once again, rather than reporting, Mr. Samb is framing the truth commission discussion for us. By inundating us with the horrors of  Guinea’s first three presidents and not a word about the atrocities of 2010, is he suggesting that the election-related crimes pale in comparison?  Of course he is.  If the 2010 atrocities are placed on the Truth Commission’s agenda, it will be the first step in implicating the primary perpetrators of those crimes:  Konate, Dore and Conde himself.

-The bottom line on the Truth Commission is that the most recent crimes will not be addressed, Dadis Camara will be taken care of outside the Commission process at the ICC for September 28, 2009, (even though Sekouba Konate, as Defense Minister at the time, should be at the ICC with Camara because he must have known what was afoot) and Conde will select a few military men to publically express forgiveness to victims of September 28 and that will be it.

-Contrary to Samb’s statement that human rights groups will see Conde’s Truth Commmission as a positive step, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group and others have observed enough in Guinea to know that, before it even starts, the Truth Commission is a hoax. 

-Keep an eye on Mr. Samb regarding future articles on this topic.  Samb is very good at sewing together a public image for Conde and, as such, he only writes about what Mr. Conde wants you to know.

Guinea’s Conde plans truth commission on violence

Sat Dec 4, 2010 10:37pm GMT

* Truth and reconciliation process modelled on South Africa

* New leader says forgiveness will be important step

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Guinea will form a truth and reconciliation commission aimed at healing the wounds of ethnic and political violence that has plagued the West African country for decades, President-elect Alpha Conde said on Saturday.

The move will be modelled on South Africa’s post-apartheid commission formed by Nelson Mandela and is likely to be well received by human rights groups which have condemned the country’s repeated spasms of violence.

This is “so that those who have made mistakes can ask forgiveness and that victims can accept this forgiveness”, Conde said on state television, days after Guinea’s Supreme Court validated his win in a hotly contested Nov. 7 poll in which voters largely followed ethnic lines.

“I know that forgiveness does not replace the dead or the arms that were chopped off, but it’s an important step.”

Conde, winner of Guinea’s first free election since independence from France in 1958, said reconciliation was critical to rebuilding the poor and unstable country.

Guinea, the world’s top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite, has seen numerous bouts of violence over past decades. At least 10 people died in election clashes last month.

Among the most grim examples, former dictator and first post-independence leader Sekou Toure’s Camp Boiro still stands in the capital Conakry. Rights group Amnesty International says more that 50,000 political detainees died in horrendous conditions in the prison, now a military camp.

“DARK DIET”

According to some witnesseses, Toure’s prisoners were locked into cells where they were given neither food nor water and their screams were ignored until they died — a slow form of execution the regime called the ‘dark diet”.

Conde himself was sentenced to death in absentia by Toure’s regime, after he was implicated in a coup plot.

Under Lansana Conte, Guinea’s second post-independence leader, at least 130 protesters were shot dead by soldiers in downtown Conakry. Nearly two years of military rule followed his death in 2008.

Last year, now-exiled junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara drew condemnation after his security forces killed more than 150 pro-democracy demonstrators and raped scores of women gathered in a stadium.

The violence is widely believed to have been driven in part by centuries-old tensions between the country’s two most populous ethnic groups, the Peul and the Malinke.

The United Nations’ top official in West Africa has urged Guinea’s next government to put reconciliation high on the agenda and end the perceived impunity of its notoriously indisciplined army. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

GUINEA ELECTION UPDATE: Konate Hospitalized in Morocco, Lounceny Camara Up to Old Tricks, and Thursday is Deadline for Supreme Court Election Decision

GUINEA AND GUNS

Guinea Election Update:

General Konate,who left for a medical visit for Rabat, Morocco last week, is reported to be critically ill.  Konate has been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and has gone out of the country frequently for treatement.  Various reports from Guinean webesites state that he is in a coma and has undergone an operation.  He was supposed to have returned to Conakry today, but that will not be happening.

Lounceny Camara, not content with committing massive fraud in the first and second rounds of the presidential election, is trying to manipulate the Guinean Supreme Court  concerning its final decision on the election.   Mr. Camara has been making quite a pest of himself by repeatedly trying to access members of the Court via its spokesman, Robert Guilao.  So far, no luck.  In addition, none other than PM Jean-Marie Dore is reported to have tried on numerous occasions to arrange a meeting  with the President of the Supreme Court, but the judge isn’t returning his calls.

Thursday, December 2nd, is the deadline for the Supreme Court to render its decision regarding the second round of the election.  Between now and then, you might want to keep an eye on seemingly unrelated events unfolding and see if they relate any better by the end of the week:  Konate’s absence due to health problems, border closings, large numbers of Guineans leaving Conakry for other parts of the country for fear of violence in the wake of the Supreme Court announcment, and demotion of a high military officer by Konate, presumably from his sickbed in Morocco.

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.  

 Additional comment: 

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.