Kinshasa falls to rebels

As his troops entered the capital Kinshasa, Kabila said in a statement read at a news conference in Lubumbashi that he was taking over as head of state with agreement of generals in Kinshasa. Kinshasa's liberation on May 17, by the victorious Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) moved quickly to begin to dismantle the corrupt and repressive state machine of the Mobutu dictatorship. The ADFL reinstated the name Democratic Republic of Congo and reintroduced the blue with yellow stars post-independence flag and national anthem. We are starting the second phase of our revolution -- the reconstruction phase, announced the foreign minister in the new government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bizima Karaha.

Mobutu had been in power officially 30 years (unofficially more than 34 years). He was one of the five richest individuals in the world,worth an estimated $10 billion. Zaire had a national debt of $7 billion, and its national bank has $5,000 in assets.

Mobutu can to power in a CIA organised conspiracy on Jan. 17, 1961 against Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of what was then called The Democratic Republic of Congo. The CIA conspiracy of Mobutu, Moise Tshombe, Joseph Kasavabu, and Belgian mercenaries assasinated the President Patrice Lumumba. At the time Mobutu was a prominent officer in the army. Tshombe was a leader of a CIA-backed secessionist movement of Katanga (now Shaba) province. Shaba, Swahili for copper, was the province of greatest concern to neo-colonial interest. Kasavabu, first president of parliament, publicly took a neutral position on Mobutu's prior bloodless removal of Lumumba from office, but later he was revealed to be part of the assassination plot. Lumumba distinguished himself as a great Pan-African leader by signing an agreement with Kwame Nkrumah to unite with Ghana and Sekou Toure's Guinea in a future continental government, the United States of Africa.

The CIA's role in the 1961 murder of Patrice Lumumba, was first revealed publicly by the former chief of the CIA's Angola division, John Stockwell, in a book titled In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story. In that 1978 expose, Stockwell asserts that the Congolese leader had been eliminated to preserve "a half-billion-dollar investment in Zairian mineral resources," which the west felt would end up in the wrong hands if Lumumba controlled the vast central African nation.

In his book, Stockwell also recalls a conversation with a fellow U.S. operative who told of "driving about town after curfew with Patrice Lumumba's body in the trunk of his car, trying to decide what to do with it." According to Stockwell (and confirmed in testimony given before Congress), Richard Helms, CIA director from 1966 to 1973, had ordered the destruction of numerous records re-lating to the assassination of Lumumba.

Aboriginal stolen children should be compensated

Australia is bound by international law to pay compensation for the "genocidal" removal of as many as 100,000 Aboriginal children from their parents between 1910 and 1970, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry into the "stolen children" has found.The commission also recommends reparations be extended to affected families and communities and calls for an apology by all Australian parliaments and police forces.The 689-page report concludes that the policies of forced removal constituted a "crime against humanity" which amounted to genocide.

"Systematic racial discrimination and genocide must not be trivialised and Australia's obligation under international law to make reparations must not be ignored," the report says. As well as a national compensation fund, it also recommends a national "sorry day" each year to commemorate the history of forcible removal of children and moves towards giving indigenous people self-determination over issues such as welfare and justice.

The Human Rights Commission report, titled Bringing Them Home, estimates that between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families between 1910 and 1970. Many children experienced contempt and denigration of their Aboriginality and many were told that their families had rejected them or were dead.

"Subsequent generations continue to suffer the effects of parents and grandparents having been forcibly removed, institutionalised, denied contact with their Aboriginality and in some cases traumatised and abused," the report said. The commission documented a history of children taken away not because they were being neglected by parents but because they were Aboriginal.

The report said that, under the UN convention on genocide, ratified by Australia in 1949, genocide could be committed by the forcible transfer of children.". . . the predominant aim of indigenous child removals was the absorption or assimilation of the children into the wider, non-indigenous community so that their unique cultural values and ethnic identities would disappear, giving way to models of Western culture," it said.

"Removal of children with this objective in mind is genocidal because it aims to destroy the 'cultural unit' which the convention is concerned to preserve." The inquiry found that, while usually authorised by law, forced removal violated fundamental common law rights enjoyed by other Australians. Separate laws for indigenous children also breached the international prohibition on racial discrimination.

While no measures could fully compensate for the effects of these violations, there was an international legal obligation to give victims means of rehabilitation and where applicable compensation.The deputy chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dr Alex Boraine, urged the Prime Minister to offer a symbolic apology on behalf of the State.