Sunday, January 31, 2010
First Obama LIES everytime he says he's open to new ideas. Obama has consistently REFUSED to listen to the MAJORITY of the American People who want Medicare for All. But the corporate cronies don't want this. Obama has actually BLOCKED anhyone with a health care idea to the left of the center from having any seat at the healthcare table. Meanwhile, Big Pharma and Big Healthcare all paid lots of money and "viola" they filled the seats at the table. Then the doors were closed and the dark, back room deals took place.
Corporations would rather pay high health care premuiums and block the competition that would evolve as more people would start their own local businesses to compete against the corporations if we had healthcare for everyone. So as long as the only way to afford health care is to work for a corporations they have a cheaper labor pool available to them.
How can corporations yell private property and want to arrest anyone who is not marching in lockstep with the corporate agenda?
Hotels are NOT private residences.....There is a BIG? difference between private property and malls, etc that are open for public business.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Here's an example of CORPORATE Factory Dairy Farming. OF course the corporate media will never show you this truth. In fact, the corporate US government considers many of the whistleblowers of factory farm practices to be eco-terrorists.
This double standard is not just obvious in the Congress. Obama's promise of giving everyone a seat at the healthcare table was glaring in not giving a single seat to a progressive advocate of single payee and allowing Big Pharma and the Health Insurance Industry to buy seats and pack the healthcare debate. The writing is on the wall. Progressives should be creating a new party or making a bee line to the Green Party ASAP.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I am sick of Wall Street threatening to plummet whenever they want their way. Wall Street needs to go ahead and plummet and the US Congress needs to clean house and confirm a Federal Reserve Chair who is competent and can do the job in the public interest (not the Wall Street Interest).
Ben Bernanke was asleep at the wheel and did NOT see the financial crisis coming. We don't need a Federal Reserve Chair who prefers back room deals to sunlight. Ben Bernanke has failed on all counts and he is leading the cover up to prevent the US Congress and the American people from knowing where our money went.
Why Bernanke is even under consideration for another term raises the question of who remains in our federal government and Senate who is not captive to the Wall Street special interests?
Our Senators--Webb and Warner--need to decide of they are going to represent Virgnians or become Wall Street Waterboys.
Friday, January 22, 2010
It's ironic isn't it? If it's a bill that will benefit the American people it needs 60 votes....but if it's a bill that benefits Wall Street they only need 51 votes.
FIRE the Wall Street thinkers--Bernanke, Summers, and Geithner-- who created this huge disaster. Congress needs to start representing the people NOT the Wall Street Bankers.
Protect the American People NOT the wealthy corporate Interests.
Why is a bag of rice (or any food/water/shelter/clothes) worth more than a human life?
The Haitian people have done an OUTSTANDING job of working together to do what they can during this horrible crisis.
Unfotunately capitalists (backed by the Corporate tools--USA military, IMF, WTO) use violence in an attempt to push the Haitian people over the edge so they will riot and then provide the corporations with an excuse to take over the island. Then the profiteers that go everywhere with the US Corporate Army so they can pilfer the people's resources.
Unfortunately the USA thinks that importing troops and guns is a higher priority than medical supplies, doctors, water and food. But they will need those troops there for the riots that are supposed to be happening. A number of foreign governments trying to get necessary supplies into Haiti have complained to the United Nations about the US military's agenda of putting guns and troops before humanitarian aid.
REMEMBER how badly the US government treated it's own citizens in New Orleans? Now imagine what we do in foreign lands....and then THINK about how violence against others creates terrorism.
These Haitian police officers are the tools of the Haitian government that came to power with a US backed military coup that kidnapped the democratically elected President of Haiti and shipped him off to Africa.
Let's demand some real democracy instead of exporting this awful corporate agenda. Let's return President Aristide to Haiti. The Haiti people surely deserve to have the leader they elected and continue to support instead of these corporate police thugs who inflict violence so that maybe they can force the pople to riot.......
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
POLL: Do you agree that punishment for marijuana possession should be reduced in Virginia?
Delegate Harvey B. Morgan (R) is the chief patron of the Virginia House Bill 1134 which does not legaize marijuana but would reduce simple possession to a civil infraction - punishable by fine rather than by the current, prison sentence of 30 days. Read the story here.
Yes. A fine rather than prison time seems reasonable. (535 responses)
No. Marijuana is still an illegal substance and a stronger message should be sent to users. (219 responses)
No, because it shouldn't be illegal at all. (194 responses)
No. Virginia should control sales just like they do with alcohol and there would be enough tax money to run the state and then some (458 responses)
I don't know. (25 responses)
Finally there is a Republican in Virginia that this independent can endorse what he's doing. So, it looks like I will get an opportunity to actually send in a campaign donation to a Republican in this lifetime. Awesome. We need more Republicans like Del. Morgan who are willing to take a stand and do whats right. Info on the bill follows.
HB 1134 Decriminalization of possession of marijuana.
Sponsor -- Harvey B. Morgan, Republican
Summary as introduced:
Decriminalization of possession of marijuana. Decriminalizes simple marijuana possession. The bill does not make marijuana possession legal but creates a civil penalty of $500 for simple possession of marijuana, a penalty equal to the current criminal fine for simple marijuana possession. The bill also raises the quantities necessary for punishment of possession with intent to distribute so as not to punish amounts that may be possessed for personal use. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who grows no more than five marijuana plants grows marijuana for personal use and not for distribution, an offense punishable by the $500 civil penalty. The civil penalties collected are payable to the Literary Fund. The bill removes the two-year mandatory sentence for distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana and the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for distribution of more than one ounce of marijuana. The bill requires forfeiture of the driver's license of any minor found to have committed the violation of possession of marijuana. The bill reduces the penalty for possession of marijuana by a prisoner from a Class 5 felony to a Class 6 felony, the same punishment as is currently imposed for possession of a firearm or a knife by a prisoner or for setting off an explosive device in a prison.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Call the White House and INSIST that Obama honor this promise and refuse to sign any health reform bill that does NOT contain a strong public option (such as a Medicare buy in). Call 1 202 456 1414 to make your position known to "our" White House.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
By Georgianne Nienaber
Has it occurred to you that social networking is really not very social at all? We Twitter, cultivate relationships with hundreds of "friends" we have never met on Facebook, blog until we are emotionally blue, lovingly attend to our websites and never really "interact" with anyone. Discussions are limited to the Twitter character count and the one or two sentences you can ft into those tiny blue boxes on Facebook. This is dangerous territory for writers who 1) are always looking for an excuse NOT to write and 2) are prone to social isolation while we work on excuses not to write.
My New Year's resolution is that I will abandon virtual networking for authentic, human contact. It's time to venture into the heady world of writers and meet artists who excel at their craft. No mere dream-like avatars of the internet, these are verifiable, living, breathing originals, and you can find them at mostly unheralded literary events. So, the challenge is to locate them in a celebrity-soaked media environment. Let's face it. Most good writers are not rock stars, with a few exceptions, and we will get to that later.
Like a balm from storybook gods, the perfect opportunity just crossed my desk. The Savannah Book Festival is coming up on February 5-7. It's free--that's good because most writers are not making any money these days-- and I really like the Festival theme of "promoting reading, writing and civil conversation." Electronic communication has all but spelled the death of civil conversation. Talk radio, television, and especially the Internet have managed to dehumanize opponents in discourse. It's time to unplug, get off the grid and meet talented, successful wordsmiths, inhale new ideas, embrace our similarities and respect our differences.
Savannah is the perfect venue. A beautiful southern city, it offers a temperate climate as respite from this brutal winter, and convenient access to the Georgia Sea Islands as well. The festival is scheduled to take place in Savannah's Telfair Square in the midst of understated architectural beauty. If you have never visited the historic district and strolled past Telfair Academy, Trinity Church and Jepson Center for the Arts, be prepared to fall in love with a city. Combine the setting with southern hospitality and a world class list of writers, and there is no better venue to build genuine relationships with kindred souls and feed writers' and book lovers' hungry souls.
There is something about the South that is achingly beautiful. It's touch is like a lover's hand.
Image: Forsyth Park © www.VisitSavannah.com
The media landscapes of television and radio have been a minefield of hate spewed by all elements of the political continuum. It goes far beyond the talking heads of the political left and right. You can find virtual hate speech on Twitter and Facebook as well, and if you are not absolutely "politically correct" in your chatter there and read the "wrong" book or compliment the "wrong" author, the attacks just might show up on your Facebook Wall.
No matter what our political or social leanings, we are all kindred souls by virtue of our shared humanity. We cannot lean, we cannot expand our understanding of the world by clinging to narrow ideologies. Literary events are the perfect opportunity to examine our similarities as we grapple with more universal themes. Words are the way we do this. And in this contentious world, it would do us all well to learn to choose words more carefully.
In Savannah, I am looking forward to hearing and hopefully meeting fellow "conservative" Minnesota writer Vince Flynn. I want to learn more about the way he uses words so carefully and eloquently to spin his stories. How in the world does he construct such complicated plots? Does it take him forever to come up with the exact word, or is it easy for him? When it comes to creating art, labels mean nothing. I know I could learn from the man. Flynn will kick-off the 2010 Festival with a Keynote Speech on Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 5:30pm. The speech is free and open to the public. Flynn's biography has a very interesting and surprising element that was tucked deep within the paragraphs of the press release.
Mr. Flynn will talk about his life in letters and his eleven novels, several of which are a part of the beloved Mitch Rapp series. Mr. Flynn, who overcame dyslexia and went on to fame and fortune as a writer, supports many worthy charities, including Tee it Up for the Troops and the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.
Who knew that Flynn overcame dyslexia along the way? That really hit me. Heck, I feel dyslexic most of the time when I try to string words, thoughts and emotions together. I cannot wait to talk with him about that. What inspired him to overcome one of the greatest challenges that could possibly face a writer? And win? What can I learn from him?
West cost literary fans will want to know that Los Angeles author Reza Aslan will be a featured speaker. Aslan is an internationally acclaimed scholar of religions and a contributing editor at the Daily Beast. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. If that were not enough, Aslan serves on the board of directors for both the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues, Abraham's Vision, an interfaith peace organization, and PEN USA.
How does the man manage his time? What drives him to write? Have his humanitarian concerns imbued him with a feverish compassion for others? I want to know. Is it possible to use words to convey truth without manipulation?
East Coast and New Orleans lovers of good writing might want to hook up with Julia Reed. She grew up in the Mississippi Delta but went off to the Madeira School just outside of Washington, D.C., at 16. As part of the school's "Wednesday Job" program, she got a job as an intern in Newsweek's Washington bureau, and stayed. Today, Julia is again at Newsweek, where she writes dispatches on New Orleans politics as well as the magazine's new monthly "Food and Drink" column. Reed is a also contributor at Vogue, where she has written profiles of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Condoleezza Rice.
I wonder how she manages to get those coveted interviews. My motivation for meeting Reed is purely mercenary. She lives in New Orleans and is on the board of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. I have a musical idea I want to pitch to her and have not made the right contacts there yet.
The Savannah Book Festival organizers promise that there will be no panel discussions to put distance between participants and speakers.
Finally, the Festival is also offering a fantastic musical event. Five-time Grammy Award-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter and three other renowned singer-songwriters will perform a unique tribute to the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern writer Eudora Welty the evening after the Savannah Book Festival on Saturday, February 6th, 2010, in Trinity Church.
Mary Chapin Carpenter
The concert will feature the iconic Carpenter, along with fellow southern songwriters Kate Campbell, Claire Holley and Caroline Herring. Herring has been burning up the Folk Music charts with her new release Golden Apples of the Sun and just had a solid interview at NPR about the songwriting process.
These four women know how to use words to tattoo the human experience upon the heart.
In an interview last April, Mary Chapin expressed how the carefully-crafted words of Eudora Welty in One Writer's Beginnings influenced her songwriting.
The book is a bible, a talisman of sorts. It has meant so much to me. I was living in a scummy little apartment trying to be scrappy and eke out a living, when a very dear friend of mine quoted the very last line of the book. Our conversation was about struggle, and after I heard the quote I ran out and got it. I basically devoured it and found myself returning to it over and over again through the years. To this day I recommend it to any person I meet who is trying to establish a creative life within the requirements of making a living. It reaffirms what I am trying to accomplish for myself. Sometimes you are not sure of what you are trying to do; you are just trying to be happy.
Tickets are being sold beginning tomorrow, January 7, through the Savannah College of Art & Design's box office.
This writer was at the premier of this amazing concert in April 2009 at the Eudora Welty Centennial celebration in Jackson Mississippi. You can read about it here. Don't miss this opportunity. I would be very surprised if this concert is not picked up by Public Television along the way. It is that good.
All good things won't come to those who procrastinate, though. And we writers are experts at procrastination. It's my mantra. According to Katherine Oxnard, Assistant to the Festival Director, it's best to start making reservations.
As for hotel availability, I don't know exactly, but I believe the hotels, inns and B&Bs listed on our website on the TRAVEL page will probably experience a surge of reservations as we get closer to the Festival dates. I certainly would encourage people to reserve rooms as early as possible, because particular authors--Vince Flynn, Rick Bragg, Mary Alice Monroe, Lauretta Hannon, Reza Aslan, Gretchen Peters and Julia Reed to name a few, and of course the four women performing in the concert--will draw audiences from far and wide. People should certainly buy their tickets to the concert and the brunch, our only ticketed events, sooner rather than later, as we expect both events to sell out.
Totally pumped now, I want to hold a real book in my hand, crack the spine and smell the ink. I want to shake hands with the authors and hope that some genius rubs off on me in the process. I want to hear their words ringing in my ears without the filter of a set of earbuds and an audio book between us. I want to bridge the gap of ideology and experience fellowship and a true exchange of ideas. Time to plan. With a glass of wine in hand, it's time for one last, longing look at my Facebook Page.
These Words from another great Southern songwriter, Lucinda Williams, are taped in my notebook:
I would rather suffer in sweet silent solitude
Deathly defiant from drowning out
Filthy sounds stumbling ugly and crude
Between the lips of your beautiful mouth...
They (words) still remain my only companion
Loyal and true to the very end
They'll never ever completely abandon
Ever give up the paper and the pen
Words to live by.
Whether you a writer, an avid reader of good literature or simply curious about the world of writing, he Savannah Book Festival is the place to be during the first week of February.
For the full schedule and all you need to know, here is the link.
Monday, January 04, 2010
I was thrilled this past weekend to see that National Public Radio realized what we folk fans have known all along. There is a hidden jewel in the mix of thousands of folk albums released in 2009, and her name is Caroline Herring. With a honey-coated voice and a literary sensibility that is unparalleled, it is about time that Herring gets national recognition. After the interview, Herring burned up the sales charts at Amazon.com, which shows that folk fans are hungry for something poetically beautiful. Fan comments and reviews at Amazon say as much. Read them for some insight.
Sure, I posted most of my Mosquito Blog there also, but this is what social networking is all about. Artists like Herring don't have a massive PR machine behind them. They work quietly and diligently, raising families and creating their art with little in the way of accolades. They rely upon fans, friends, and word of mouth to get their work out there.
Herring's music is truly food for the soul and as we begin a New Year with hope in our hearts for a better world, I for one am glad she is out there. Readers should also know that her donation to the Congos Angels compilation "Fair and Tender Ladies" was a favorite on the radio in Goma, DRC over the Christmas season.
It doesn't really matter that there was no press release about that. All that mattered was that her music gave hope and solace to the forgotten women of eastern Congo. The midwives know who she is and love her for it. I know. I have the emails from Congolese to prove it.
Here is a nice little movie, made by Caroline's sister, Christie Herring, that is a beautiful window into the evolution of the artist/songwriter.
Feed your soul.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
By Georgianne Nienaber
Eastern Congo awoke in the early hours between Friday and Saturday there to the eruption of Mount Nyamulagira, located 16 miles from the provincial capitol of Goma. Lava is flowing into the World Heritage Virunga Park, burning the forest, and threatening endangered chimpanzees at the Tongo Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Fortunately the 200 or so mountain gorillas are not near the lava flows at this time.
Image from Virunga Park Headquarters © Gorilla.cd
We reached Park Director Emmanuel DeMerode by mobile phone this morning, Saturday. DeMerode told us his main concern at this time was danger to human settlements.
Unfortunately having the forest burn is just part of nature. It is devastating, but our main concern is human settlements that may be in the path of the lava flow. There were initially three flows, but they have merged and the remaining flow is moving south-southwest toward the town of Sake. If this continues for 17 days, Sake will be destroyed. The possibility is remote, but it must be monitored carefully.
DeMerode directed us to the park website for photos taken early this morning. There is a seven-hour time difference between New York and Goma. Rangers have been deployed to monitor the lava flow and United Nations helicopters are assisting.
Nyamulagira, with an elevation of 10,033 feet is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa.
Residents of Goma are also feeling the effects. We received this email from a resident there.
Another point is that we start the year 2010 with the Volcano eruption. Since last night at 3.00 pm the NYAMULAGIRA volcano has been spitting lavas. Fortunately, unlike the Nyiragongo that sends its lavas on Goma town, the Nyamulagira is sending its in the Virunga Park. This will surely have a negative impact on some rare species in that part of the park. But people in Goma have been warned about the danger of dust resulting from this. We are still following the situation.
Friday, January 01, 2010
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Get busy folks. The time for talk is over. It's time to do something constructive for real change!
The American People were hoodwinked into voting for a new face on the old Bush/Cheney policy of terrorizing civilian populations around the world and protecting the special corporate interests via Wall Street and Health Insurance Corporate Bail Outs.
The Washington bubble is doing its job so No Hope Obama doesn't have to hear the cries of the people.
Killing civilians creates terrorists and does NOT make us safer. Where's the change No Hope Obama promised us?
Hat Tip to Omar Shah at the Huffington Post.
The notoriously failed Kimia II operation in eastern Congo has ended today, December 31. Soundly and forcefully criticized by Human Rights groups for the devastation it wrought on civilian populations, it will be replaced sometime in January with a new mission, dubbed Operation Amani Leo, sources say. North and South Kivu commanders Colonel Bobo Kakuji and Colonel Delphin Kahimbi will have their respective operation zones closed, according to information received from sources close to MONUC. Former Nkunda loyalist Colonel Makenga Sultani will lead a military sector, and this will hopefully reduce and or limit the influence of wanted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda who has established a parallel government administration in Masisi territory, sources add. It was Ntaganda who orchestrated the military coup against CNDP General Nkunda in January 2009.
In addition, 180 captured CNDP casualties from the last years of fighting have been relocated into barracks in the Katindo neighborhood 5 km from Goma and at the Himbi District of Goma under the auspices of the "Social Affairs" advisor to Governor Julien Paluku Kahongya, Theophile Mpabuka. A former CNDP official, Mpabuka was kidnapped by Mai Mai at the Kiwanja massacre in November 2009.The Mai Mai executed two of those in custody, tried to kill two others who managed to escape, and released Mpabuka in return for a promise of ransom.
The goal of the transfer of the CNDP combatants is said to be so that Ntaganda should "have no reason or pattern" to continue his illegal collection of taxes at the villages Kilolirwe and Mushaki" in Masisi territory.
Image: For Information only (from jrs.net)
This potential shift in personnel, combatants and allegiances coincides with the end of a controversy-plagued UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). A twelve-month extension was changed to a five-month mandate, which will require additional UN oversight. The Security Council approved the resolution to impose the mandate on December 23 after reviewing the recommendations of the Panel of Experts. (See Final Report) The Council also requested that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon submit a review by April 1.
Although critical of MONUC's role in abuses endured by the civilian populations in eastern Congo, Human Rights Watch cautions that troops should not be withdrawn until some kind of safety mechanism is in place.
"The civilian cost of the current military operations in eastern Congo has been catastrophic," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The secretary-general should ensure that MONUC's new mandate is implemented in a way that ensures peacekeepers do not find themselves aiding those who are committing war crimes."
Human Rights Watch called for MONUC's conditionality policy that sets out conditions for the mission's support to Congolese army units to include the removal of Congolese army commanders with a documented track record of grave human rights abuses.
Al Jazeera, the only news organizations with consistent video and reports coming out of DRC, released this video today. It sums up the conflict, the spin, and the effect upon the civilian population. If you do nothing else today, watch this report.
So what does this all mean? In Congo, nothing is certain, but if ground reports pan out it does indicate that Bosco Ntaganda has outlived his usefulness to the regime of Joseph Kabila. "Regime" is a loaded word, but to call the failed state of DRC a "government" seems to fly in the face of reality there. When Ntaganda engineered a coup against the commander of the CNDP rebel group in January 2009 because of a secret deal negotiated between former enemies in the capitols of Rwanda and DRC, the CNDP was expected to integrate with the Congolese army (FARDC). Talk to the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) or Nkunda loyalists, and the answer morphs from completely integrated to up to 90 percent remaining loyal to Nkunda.
According to human rights groups, Ntaganda became the region's worst nightmare, setting op a parallel administration in Masisi territory. Ntaganda had expected the government of the DRC to negotiate his warrant arrest by the Hague, however the outcry from human rights organizations and especially support from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for his arrest made that impossible.
A hardened rebel fighter, Ntaganda won the support of the Congolese government by retaining control of the region as well as some operational successes. That is not all he accomplished. The report of the UN Panel of Experts on DRC details pilfering of funds earmarked for soldiers' salaries, illegal timber harvesting and sales, smuggling across the Ugandan border at Bunagana, and collusion with the Rwandan rebel army (FDLR). The humanitarian havoc wrought by the FDLR in eastern Congo was the impetus for the disastrous joint Rwanda/DRC operations in the first place. It has become exponentially worse as detailed in human rights reports.
Meanwhile, sources say Ntaganda has taken his ill-gotten wealth and purchased buildings, cars, motorcycles, cows, and even a fuel station in Goma. The fuel station should raise some eyebrows. Ntaganda has taken advantage of the frustrations of rebel groups in both North and South Kivu provinces that promises made by the DRC government of Joseph Kabila in March 2009 have not been fulfilled. In order to protect himself, Ntaganda has formed a political collective, CPC, with the support of Ugandan Tutsi generals to fight FARDC. The alleged goal is control of an oil rich zone along the Ugandan border which falls within the confines of Virunga Park, from the Mabenga Bridge on the Rutshuru River to the Ishasha custom station.
Here is where it gets really interesting. According to sources, Heritage Oil made a secret visit to the Kasoso stream near the Nyakakoma fishing village. Heritage Oil is the same company that exploited oil in Ituri during 2003-2004.
Ntaganda was in Ituri during this same time period. The atrocities allegedly committed by Bosco in Ituri as documented by human rights reports including the following: August 2002: Massacres of civilians, burning of homes and looting in Songolo, Zumbe, Lipri and other villages; November 2002: Massacres of civilians because of their ethnicity, in the towns of Mongbwalu, Kilo and surrounding area in the Ituri district; August 2002 to March 2003: Ethnically-targeted arrests, torture and killings of Lendu and Ngiti civilians 2004: Murder of a UN peacekeeper in June and abduction of another later that year. (Source: International Center for Transitional Justice)
Now, sources say that in Goma, Beni and Butembo, petrol with a "light red color, totally different from the petrol normally imported from Kenya," is being sold. Government sources confirm that Dominion Oil has also been exploring in the same corridor. The Congolese Ministry of the Environment has ensured UNESCO that there will be no oil exploration within Virunga, but exploration maps tell a different story.
Sector 4 is the focus. It is in Virunga Park which is to the west of Lake Edward
A consideration of the roles of Colonel Bobo Kakuji and Colonel Delphin Kahimbi, and the introduction of Colonel Makenga Sultani to a possible command position is also in order.
Kakuji has been the operational commander for Kimia II in North Kivu since March, where many of the atrocities against civilians have occurred. Kahimbi is the Deputy Commander of the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratic du Congo (FARDC) in North Kivu.
According to section 184 of the Report of the Panel of Experts, Sultani is a very interesting choice if he assumes command of a military sector.
According to interviews with several members of CNDP in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the decision to remove General Nkunda caused a division within the CNDP officer class, many of whom felt betrayed by General Ntaganda and remained fiercely loyal to General Nkunda, notably Colonel Sultani Makenga, formerly the third most senior officer in CNDP. In particular, these divisions culminated in a near shoot-out between rival factions of CNDP at the Grands Lacs Hotel in Goma on 5 June 2009, following an argument over the control of the smuggling of timber sourced from Rutshuru and Masisi territories through the Bunagana border post. Active CNDP elements have informed the Group that these internal divisions are still significant, although there have also been moves by top CNDP political and military figures to bridge these divides. A fuller discussion of these political movements will also be outlined in the present section of the report.
If all of this unfolds as sources predict, will the "divides" be "bridged?" Or is this an occult move by the Kabila government to sit back and see who ultimately becomes the winner in a war that has claimed six million? With Big Oil now in the mix, it is anyone's guess and everyone's fear.
Researcher Sarah Markworth contributed cross-referencing with UN documents to this report.