Abundance of Possibility.
keith harmon snow
Tarzan and the Lion Man–copyright 1934 by Edgar Rice Burroughs—was set in the Ituri forest in Congo, a place I have been to, and one I will tell you about. “It has the makings of a good story,” the publisher wrote, on the Tarzan book jacket. “A motion picture company in the wilds of Africa, two beautiful girls, ruthless Arabs [emphasis added], a half-maniacal scientist, a tribe of gorillas that he has taught to speak English, a coward who looks like Tarzan, and Tarzan himself.”
Like the French philosopher Foucault, we might examine the publisher’s enunciation of this list of characters above and arrive at some archaeological deconstruction of the way Africa is seen by non-Africans. Tarzan was a phenomenon, and the novel sold millions of copies and it laid the groundwork for today’s thinking about Africa.
Using the standard cliché, the Ituri region is Africa’s darkest heart, and such language of ethnicity and fear is almost universally attached to it. “The Horror, the Horror,” wrote Joseph Conrad, in Heart of Darkness, his expose’ on the atrocities committed by King Leopold’s colonial administration of the turn-of-the-century Congo. “The Horror, the Horror,” wrote Newsweek (1997) in one of their brief “news” fictions on war in Congo.
In the cultural milieu of the West, with its prolific imagery and the attendant proscription of ideas, Ituri is the darkest of the dark. Ituri is more deadly, and more completely subhuman, than anywhere else on earth: the Ebola virus; Mai-Mai tribes; cannibals; headhunters; naked warriors festooned with bathroom fixtures on their heads, walking backwards under a spell of presumed immunity to bullets (Newsweek, 1996).
Ituri is the stereotypical swamp, slimy and primordial, bespeaking the origins of humanity, the place where we slithered out of the mud, fell from grace, from Eden; the place where we copulated, in sin (and the slime that attends it); where snakes slither through the jungle and inhabit our psyche. If technology is grand, it is because that is where we came from, and where we might end up, should our technological progress stall.
Growing up with the Tarzan phenomena, I have always associated Tarzan with the wickedly wild and hostile landscapes of Africa as re-presented by non-Africans. Here is this guy Tarzan, wearing hardly any clothes, who is, as imagination had it, raised by wild animals amidst savagery and brutality. Tarzan’s code of ethics is the law of the jungle: kill or be killed. It is the same portrayal of heroism and ethics seen in real life today with Special Operations Forces and other warriors now fighting the ‘war on terror’. It is no accident that the Tarzan novels also demonize Arabs (Islam).
By the early 20th century, Tarzan’s persona was branded on our psyches through the unprecedented profusion of mass media (television, radio, comic books, novels, films). Mixing science with fiction, other mythical superheroes like Hulk, Spiderman and Batman captivated the public mind. TV shows like Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Wild. Wild West fictionalized a very real spy culture involving very real agencies–the CIA, S.D.E.G.E., SAVAK, MI5, MI6, MOSSAD, KGB–while the 1970’s TV adventure hero, Six Million Dollar Man, glamorized both the Central Intelligence Agency and the militarization of space. ()
In a parallel media universe the public mind was saturated by the not-to-be-disbelieved explorer-conqueror stories in the National Geographic–the great white hunters, settlers, miners, and missionaries; legends like Cecil Rhodes, Mungo Park, Henry Morton Stanley, and the fantastic stories that survived them. Distilled from myth and reality, the stories that they told and those that were/are told about them, ad infinitum, have expropriated other, more pertinent stories.
Tarzan challenged and confronted the natives on their own primitive turf. Burroughs’ natives are ‘savages’ and ‘monkey men’ and ‘niggers,’ and his books are full of ‘Polacks,’ ‘Chinks,’ ‘Japs,’ ‘dirty Arabs’ and ‘tramps’ (promiscuous white girls). There was always some slim, seductive female hovering around the plot. Such themes translate into the present in myriad ways.
“We have to reserve the right to bomb niggers,” Noam Chomsky quotes Lloyd George (1932) to say. “That’s a very essential principle of statecraft. And that, quite candidly, is why Japan was A-bombed… ‘We have to reserve the right to bomb niggers…Niggers threaten us.’ –that’s the leading principle.” 
Like the savages Tarzan is confronted with, Tarzan wore only a loincloth. After all, those primitive and licentious savages are nymphomaniacs. That’s how the New York Times portrays Africans–if we decode their language–with every mention of AIDs. Tarzan had his Jane, and she was often a passive, busty, sassy beauty. “You Tarzan, me Jane.” At the end of the day there is ‘boy’.
Encoded in the expositions of male and female flesh that have become universal and global are deep messages about domination, body image, body shape, sexual availability and sexual desire, and they portray women as physically weak, seductive creatures. But the stereotypes are confusing and ambiguous: in the new entertainment and warfare genres we also have the independent warrior archetypes embodied by the femme fatales of films and video games like Final Fantasy.
Advertisements routinely display white females in ultra-futuristic or technological formats, or wearing nothing at all, and they are universally embedded in infotainment media. Often juxtaposed with “news”–stories that people mistakenly identify as unequivocal truth–these venues inculcate stereotypes that disempower both the accepted (white) and marginalized (non-white) populations.
Just as Hollywood’s army of James Bond clones legitimized the cult of western intelligence, so did Burroughs’ Tarzan emulate the Special Operations Forces (Special Ops) capable of brutal (but always explained as necessary) conquest over ruthless military enemies, wild beasts, ferocious savages, unscrupulous businessmen, hardened criminals, and pretty white girls.
Back to the future, the Hollywood assembly line of super action heroes creates legends like Mel Gibson and Sylvester Stallone, and the clean-cut soldier-warriors like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, and the many American G.I. Joes of the film Black Hawk Down. Some of these guys are like the sleek, cool, sexy protagonists of the 1980’s TV series Miami Vice—fighting drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism in an Armani suit. Others are just muscle; brawn; beast–by necessity.
Our cult heroes personify both the ‘Scar’ archetype and the ‘Mufassa’ archetype brought to life in Walt Disney’s The Lion King which, through animation, inculcates its own unique set of confusing mythologies, distorted values, simplistic stereotypes and coded meanings in children. Note that the Africans are absent from The Lion King landscapes, a message that is convenient to the ongoing displacement of Africans from their own lands. (Disney has always favored Africa’s animals.)
Here is where the mythmaking begins, and where the mythologies end. Like a metaphorical hazing of the brain, Disney initiates children into a belief system premised on the cult of conquest, technology and permanent warfare. It is, in fact, a psychological operation–or PSYOP in Special Ops lingo–masked as animation. Indeed, Walt Disney Imagineering laboratory employs General (ret.) Binford Peay as a private consultant: Peay is also a private consultant to defense contractor Boeing Corp., and a director of the massive Allied Defense Group (ADG). General (ret.) Ronald H. Griffith, another ADG director, is executive V.P. and CEO of Military Professional Resources, Inc., an unaccountable private mercenary firm out of Washington D.C. with a track record of terror. 
Rambo offered an apt contemporary analogy to both Tarzan and the Special Ops forces. Of course, Rambo is the rogue, Hollywood’s deified exception to the rule (of law), the man-machine whose heart is in the right place, who is martyred for God and country. ‘Cut these soldier boys a little slack,’ is the message, ‘so what if they kill a few innocent people’ or go a little haywire. Ergo, the psychological repercussions of war are inevitable. Ergo, we—the Pentagon—are not responsible for loose cannons or a few potentially unaccountable commandoes. Such things can’t be helped. That is the price of your security. Now shut up and support your country.
There has always been some underlying code of ethics attached to these superheroes. There are good guys and bad guys, ‘good’ girls and the ‘bad’ girls, and they are usually ‘girls’, not ‘women’. There are dangerous girls sleeping with dangerous men. There are the bimbos, the seductresses, and those who are prim and proper and everything a ‘good girl’ should be. (There is no hair under Trinity’s armpits) In almost every case, the virtual woman makes us (men) want her or (women) want to be her.
Controlling and defining our daily realities—male versus female, us versus them, terrorist versus liberator, fact versus fiction, truth versus lie—is the domain of the virtual entities we increasingly share our natural spaces with: TV, MTV, VCR, HDTV, DVD, the Internet–and the emerging mutations of these. These domains have served as platforms, sales devices and delivery vehicles to distribute and inculcate a greatly proscribed set of cultural norms and values—no matter how monolithic or disparate they might seem at times—that are important to the gatekeepers who determine what we do and do not see, hear or feel. The media insures a globalization of values.
Cellphones, Playstations, DVD’s and on-line interactive entertainment are the new delivery mediums mutating people’s capacity to understand, promoting misinterpretation of environments, relationships, and selves. We are becoming adaptively dependant on electronic devices, digital systems, automated environments, and the invisible electromagnetic energies they thrive on, and irradiate us with. But no one wants to talk about the electromagnetics of it, for example, and the phenomenal rates of change we are seeing, in everything, are taken for granted. Everything is moving faster. We are inundated with virtual recompositions of the natural world that neutralize the potential for a healthy, happy negotiation of being.
You have come a long way, baby, to get where you got to today…  The language deployed by the new media often relies on an impoverished vocabulary and an elementary syntax, thereby limiting the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. And, like the venues that deliver them, the Tarzan archetypes have been transformed into techno-warriors sporting military hardware. Atari’s Terminator 3, for example, lets you fight for or against (or as) Arnold Schwarzenegger–in the battle for humanity’s future. Here is the short-circuiting of imagination.
Enter the M.M.O.R.P.G.s—massively multiplayer on-line role-playing games—the emerging “entertainment” venue where you no longer have to stand passively by like a spectator watching a movie, frustrated by the incapacity to determine the outcome of events. Now you can enter the scene interactively and fight for what you want. Now you are the superaction hero and your mission invariably involves fighting.
A new title called Kya: Dark Lineage, is a fighting game primarily for girls. Executives are already peddling such commodities to the pre-school children’s market. Globally, the interactive entertainment industry earned at least $US 28 billion in 2002. According to Fortune magazine, Americans will spend more time playing video games this year than watching rented videos and DVDs, and up to 60% of Americans were believed to be using interactive video games by 2000. The most popular M.M.O.R.P.G., Lineage, has four million subscribers worldwide, primarily in South Korea, “where the game is an outright phenomenon.” ()
We have the technology… we can rebuild him. Better, faster… Indeed, with today’s technology, far surpassing the fictions of yesteryear, we can do anything we want… Or can we? Perhaps, instead, we are rather drowning ourselves in the seas of our own media hype, or the dungeons of our definitions, where the most important insights are gained not in understanding what is defined, or how, but in deciphering the cues to determine who is doing the defining, and why, and what is being hidden from us behind the smoke and mirrors.
Enter The Matrix is the video-game version of the apocalyptic three-volume film—you know, Morpheus, Neo, Trinity, the Oracle—introduced in 2003. The truth about The Matrix is not so much that someone is deceiving us and we can’t see it—which is certainly true, no matter how conspiratorial—or even that there might be someone at the center of it all, running the show, which there both is, and isn’t. The truth is that our world is perpetually and incoherently manipulated by wealthy and powerful elites operating outside of normal channels of our society–channels defined by privilege and class–to maximize capital and profits in a predatory high-technology system predicated on religious, class, race and gender warfare.
The ‘truth’ of The Matrix is that such ‘entertainment’ blurs the lines, and hence our perceptions–and hence what can be gotten away with–between the social constructs of warfare and sexuality and environment and terrorism and technology and myth and reality. Ergo, everything is connected. Ergo, throw in an adrenaline rush, a perpetual but unhealthy undercurrent of fear (and a regular infusion of alcohol?) and you can get people to do, or at least think, anything you want.
Ergo, just as Luke Skywalker and the Star Wars trilogy prepared the public mind for ultra-futuristic warfare technologies—like the fully armed and lethal remotely piloted unmanned aerospace vehicles (UAVs) now routinely operated as ‘drones’ over ‘hostile’ territories (in contravention of international law)—these emerging video media are the coup-de-gras on the manufacture of consent.
The Matrix portfolio, for example, distracts the public mind from the reality that we have subsidized (read: taxes) something that:  we may otherwise not have been interested in paying for: biotechnology, bioengineering, the human genome project, and cloning; and  may kill us. They also condition us to live without nature in a world increasingly dominated by machines, and weaponry. Also a sales device for cellphones, the film provides brand recognition for at least one Sogo shosha: Matsushita (Panasonic). It is pure hype, and the antithesis to meditation.
Dropping out of western civilization and into the African
bush is an exercise in recovering your humanity. The disconnect between what is
real and what is virtual is nowhere so starkly obvious, and sometimes horrible,
and universally beautiful, as it is when you exit technological
‘civilization’–the matrix of indoctrination or conditioning, that revolves
around constant stimulation and bombardment of the senses–and enter the
‘uncivilized’ environments of rural Africa.
Exit the matrix; enter Pochalla, Sudan. In January 2004, I found myself helping refugees forced out of southern Ethiopia after government soldiers attacked the indigenous Anuak minority people. Unreported by the New York Times, and every other ‘news’ agency, it was not tribal, it was conquest provoked by multinational corporations hungry for raw materials–in this case oil and gold,
Arriving by U.N. plane to a dirt airstrip in rural Pochalla, you are greeted by some sleeping tanks and artillery, camouflaged by the drought-stricken land, but waiting to lurch into action. Dwarfed but undeterred by hundreds of curious, hungry, homeless refugees, a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (another Orwellian title) soldier meets the plane: two obsolete-looking Kalashnikov machine guns hang from his bony shoulders. The word ‘Kalashnikov’ conjures up devious Russians spies and their ‘Cold War’ distribution of such weaponry, and the demons of communism. However, I don’t buy it: I have read enough Noam Chomsky and seen enough of the real world to decode a glitch in the matrix when I see it.
Petronas (Malaysia) oil company and the China National Oil Corporation were both caught shipping weapons into rural Sudan by international human rights organizations. Petronas has partnered with Canada’s Lundin Group; Sweden’s Adolph Lundin is a close associate of George H.W. Bush. Petronas and CNOC are both after Anuak oil, and both are pumping oil in Sudan, where some 1.2 million people have died during a war that was bloody, protracted and horrible.
Dead people tell no tales, and they don’t matter. Just like a video game. Soldiers in southern Ethiopia have raped Anuak women and girls with impunity, and this mass rape continues, but it remains unreported, as of March 2004, because these people have been targeted for deletion.
The facts don’t matter here either. The question is, will they matter in the world court? It is impossible to tell if the evidence of atrocities, suffering children, rape, will matter in the court of public opinion, because reality is distorted, denied, dismissed as irrelevant, or lost altogether amidst the electronic clutter and noise generated by infotainment, public relations and advertising. Multinational corporations and their military gatekeepers produce this noise.
The U.S. has armed, trained and funded combatants, everywhere, using its ubiquitous Tarzans, Rambos, and Clooneys, whose invisibility is programmed into the matrix. Take Sony’s interactive video construct SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals, which let’s Playstation-2 couch commandos mimic actual Navy SEAL tactics (minus the torture). Or Kuma Reality Games’ series of downloadable episodic video simulators based on actual military engagements: Kuma:War simulates hyperrealistic missions in Iraq, Korea and Afghanistan, the latter to rescue U.S. soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (Special Ops) trapped during an actual 2002 firefight.
Billed as “highly interactive alternatives to CNN,” Kuma’s simulations use actual DOD schematics, satellite imagery, and CNN news footage (which is militarized to begin with). Filtering actual CNN news feeds cleared by the Pentagon [read: sanitized] into these simulation programs serves as a feedback mechanism on the way news is subsequently processed by consumers in real time. And just as the Pentagon pays Hollywood imagineers up to $1000 a day in consulting fees to design new technogadgets later deployed against real people, Kuma Reality Games employs retired Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson to provide military analysis of the product (read: a reality check). Of course, the innocent women and children massacred by the 10th Mountain Division are absent in these simulations (unless our heroes are saving them) because they were deleted by CNN to begin with. Afghan people, after all, are dirty Arabs.
If anyone anywhere hears anything about Pochalla, Sudan, it might be that the oil company who won the war—based on the most ruthless geopolitical maneuvering—has spent maybe $10,000 building a school for the local people, who have never had much of a school, and don’t have anything but bibles to read. The school, from now on, will indoctrinate the children to accept the lot in life they have been given. The billions-of-dollars in profits generated from the local oil fields go unmentioned, because the basic premise of corporations is that the natural resources do not belong to the people who live there.
There has never been much for running water in rural Pochalla, where drought and famine are partially insured by a global climate mayhem that revolves around the economies of Euro-America and the Asian ‘Tigers’—you know, fossil fuels, ozone depletion, deforestation, cars, cars and more cars—no matter the talk about the Kyoto Climate Treaty, which, even if implemented, will be too little, too late. There is almost no medical care. There are plenty of guns and more landmines. And while you can’t see the latter, you know they are there, because a few exploded children survive to hobble into another day of hunger and disease.
Indeed, the entire juggernaut of capitalism and its ‘achievements’—if global dominance, pollution, disease and genocide count as achievements—and the global onslaught of the multinational corporation is based on the expropriation of raw materials from Africa and the perpetual re-supply and re-stimulation of the ‘global’ economy for the production of unnecessary and unwanted products peddled by unnecessary and unwanted corporations.
In Pochalla, Sudan, many of the children are naked and hungry and some so skinny and sorrowful that they have forgotten how to cry. Two children die in the four days I am there.
Exit the matrix, enter Ituri, a province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)–a name tagged on a place and people brutalized beyond description by multinational corporations and private armies (MPRI) and soldiers of the local people’s misfortunes. This is not a country, and there is nothing democratic about it. Indeed, Joseph Kabila, the current “president” of DRC, the supposed son of Laurent Desire Kabila, the assassinated leader of the supposed 1996 “rebellion” in Congo, is really Joseph Kanambe, a Rwandan believed to be the actual assassin. The real Joseph Kabila is imprisoned in South Africa, courtesy of S.A. President Thabo Mbeki, another gatekeeper of the matrix. Ergo, in the matrix, Mr. Smith is everywhere.
On the outside, in the world of video realities and shopping malls, Ituri is invisible: the killing; the reasons; the perpetrators involved, are invisible. On the inside it is awash in blood and suffering.
“If there is anything disturbing about the relationship between video games and actual homicide,” Jonathan Dee writes, in Joystick Nation, “it’s not that the games have become too realistic; it’s that killing, particularly the warlike variety, has become far too much like a video game.” 
If there is anything accurate about Mr. Dees thesis, it is that the proliferation of terror and death can be directly equated to the experiences young people have gained through virtual technologies. That is why the DoD increasingly uses simulation programs to condition soldiers. The man-machine interface is used not because it is artificial, but because it is effective, and it can be perfected, honed, tuned, modified. We can make him better; we have the technology…
The proliferation of interactive media in the commercial sector is achieved through military spin-offs and dual-use R&D programs. The entertainment industry is deeply enmeshed with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which serves, de facto, as a pimp providing protection and customers for Asian corporations in exchange for their cooperation in housekeeping the matrix.
Q: Is it merely incidental that retired U.S. General Alexander Haig, former U.S. Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan (an actor), is on the board of directors of both Metro Goldwyn Meyer, a major film producer, and United Technologies, a multinational corporation annually reaping $US billions by peddling permanent warfare? A: No.
MAK Technologies’ video game Marine Amphibious Assault was co-developed by the DoD and the “entertainment” industry. Offering two modes of user-selectable levels of reality, “the realistic mode will closely follow military tactics, and a fun mode will provide instant gratification (read: killing) to the game player.” MAK CEO Warner Katz is “an expert in the collaboration between the defense and video game industries.” MAK also developed Spearhead, a multi-user tank simulation game that can be played over the Internet. 
A video game developer for both Martin Marietta and
Lockheed-Martin in the mid-1990’s, Steven Woodcock was responsible for all
weapons code development, testing, integration, and documentation for ARGUS–the
Advanced Real-time Gaming Universal Simulation–an interactive simulation
focusing on Ballistic Missile Defense (Reagan’s “Star Wars” program). In 1996
he was also artificial intelligence (AI) and game engine developer for a Sony
PlayStation project named Thundering
Death; his AI developments are now basic components of every videogame.
In the DoD directive 1500.55 (1996), Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Charles C. Krulak wrote: “The use of technological innovations, such as personal computer (PC)-based war games, provide great potential for Marines to develop decision making skills, particularly when live training time and opportunities are limited. Policy contained herein authorizes Marines to use Government computers for approved PC-based war games.” 
The U.S. Army in August 1999 gave $45 million to create a
research center to develop advanced military simulations. Since then, the
Institute for Creative Technologies has enlisted film studios and video game
designers and it reflects the extensive overlap between Hollywood and the
Pentagon. Officers from Special Ops sectors of the DoD play an integral part in
developing these simulations. ICT video games Full Spectrum Command and Full
Spectrum Warrior use the Xbox and Sony Playstation platforms. Pac
Man, Game Boy and DOOM were all used by the military.
In 2002, the U.S. military released its new videogame, America’s Army: Operations. Intended as a recruiting device, the game is distributed free on the Internet. On the first day of its release the military added additional servers to handle the some 500,000 downloads of the game. The site continued to average 1.2 million hits per second through late August 2002. 
Exit the matrix. If you can play a video game, if you can watch Black Hawk Down or navigate a computer, then you can read the story of what is happening to real people, in a real place, and how it is connected to technologies that dictate the future of earth, and to your own life, whether you are American or Chinese or African. That is the nature of globalization. This is the un-prettiness of it.
I met Yafali Kulu-Kulu and his family in Ituri, in 1991, where he lived in a stick-and-mud hut. Imagine no possessions! We sat around his fire, out of the rain, and children came in droves out of the bush to be treated for infections from a two-dollar tube of Neosporin. I don’t know what happened to Yafali, but war over the past decade left over four million dead in the Congo, and eastern DRC was hardest hit. I believe that his entire family was massacred. Even babies. Welcome to the desert of the real.
The suffering in Ituri is unimaginable; countless massacres of women and children; whole villages burned with people inside their homes; pillaging and looting; soldiers paid in U.S. dollars targeting innocent, defenseless civilians, over and over. Just like a video game, these lives do not matter. There are no feelings attached to these deaths. They are Africans: to the matrix they are invisible.
Tarzan and the Lion Man is infused with subliminal allusions to a rape fantasy (and Japanese “comic” books?), and rape fantasies universally predominate in contemporary video games; they are perpetuated by techno-masculine archetypes and the coded messages about female sexual availability delivered by a highly sexualized media rife with subliminal seductions.
In Ituri, women are brutally raped as a tactic. There has perhaps never been so severe a campaign of mass rape as has persisted in eastern DRC: girls are routinely gang-raped. Atrocities are staggering. Customers should perhaps be required to listen to the testimony of rape survivors suffering the most brutal physical and psychological trauma as a prerequisite to purchasing a Sony product. Four million civilians dead… Sony’s advertising slogan? “Live in your world. Play in ours.” 
What the matrix has done to Central Africa is total pacification: a coordinated effort, supported by the policies of governments, to eliminate or neutralize the population. This is achieved through the institutionalization of the mythologies of tribalism, chaos and anarchy, which the media—advertising tribalism, chaos and anarchy—uses to dissuade affluent and controlling populations (Asian, American, European) that nothing can be done to stop it, that it is hopeless.
The players in this huge interactive unconsciousness include NHK, BBC, Japan Times, WIRED, Asahi Shimbun, Far East Economic Review, National Geographic, The Observer, the Guardian, Le Monde, the Conde Naste Group’s family, fashion and travel magazines, and every news provider that syndicates their reportage. Of course, we the people, the consumers of ‘news,’ have the economic clout, but people refuse to boycott these corporations, because readers underestimate and misinterpret the deceptions and the media’s capacity to manipulate our psyches and behavior.
Tarzan entered the matrix through Rwanda in 1994, where U.S. Special Ops forces were deeply involved. From Rwanda they invaded Congo, with the help of military corporations. Within 75 miles of Yafali Kulu-Kulu’s home are the Kilo Moto gold mines where Barrick Gold Corp. wields a major controlling interest. Among the directors and advisers of Barrick are former prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney and former U.S. President and CIA director George Herbert Walker Bush.
Diamonds exit Africa through DRC, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Uganda—four countries intimately linked to the techno-economic interests of Japan, Korea and Malaysia—and they enter the matrix through Belgium. Maurice Templesman, who has often sailed with the Clinton’s off Martha’s Vineyard, and the Clinton’s themselves, have profited from warfare-as-cover for diamonds out of the DRC, Angola and Sierra Leone. Templesman’s diamonds enter the matrix through Lazare Kaplan Japan. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses lists some 50 Japanese companies in good standing; names like Fukui, Shinwa, Fuji and the Japan Gold Company. Of course, as their virtual PR ever reminds you: “Ethics, good business practice and morality are paramount…” 
The direct link between the horrors of seemingly innocuous products like the Sony Playstations and the suffering obscured by their simulated universes, is the piracy of columbo tantalite, or coltan. Some 80% of world supply of coltan exits DRC and enters the matrix through Sony, Motorola, Nokia, Microsoft, Atari, Nintendo, Hitachi, Samsung, Siemens, Daewoo, Panasonic, NEC, and Apple luxury goods.
Cellphones, Playstations, palm pilots, computers, HDTV… all are enabled by coltan-based technologies. Under cover of the matrix, these corporations will deny their involvement: some 1500 tons of coltan left DRC between 1998 and 2000. The damage is done, in any case, and the violence is more horrible than any video game yet imagined, because it really happens.
Sony director Goran Lindahl, a Swede, was formerly the under-secretary general and special advisor to U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, even while the war in DRC raged on. Lindahl is today a director of Anglo American, partnered with Barrick Gold–and both are devastating Africa. Lindahl is also a director of Dupont and Nanomix, and he was affiliated with Nanoventures, whose 2003 sponsors included JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and BakerBotts, the law firm of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker (also allied with Clinton diamond interests).
Nicole Seligman, the legal counselor to President William Jefferson Clinton during the U.S. proxy wars in Central Africa, is today Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for Sony America. Ms. Hope Boonshaft of Sony Pictures participated in the DoD’s 1997 Joint Civilian Operations Conference and she attends DoD press briefings.
From 1997 to 2000, Goran Lindahl was a director of Asea Brown Baveri (ABB), another of the primary architects of the matrix, whose then directors also included Donald Rumsfeld, current U.S. Secretary of War. ABB retained a contract with the Islamic government of Sudan, even as the U.S. state department and human rights activists decried government massacres of southern Christians. ABB has intimate ties with Asian governments, and it is another corporation that revolves around machines. Ergo, the deeper you tunnel into the machine world, the darker it gets.
The copperbelts of DRC and Zambia provide the essential element for super-alloys required for every extreme operating environment. Space weaponry, nuclear reactors, submarines, chemical refineries, petroleum derricks, smelters, blast furnaces, oil tankers, and nuclear warheads all revolve around cobalt-based superalloys. Cobalt is a strategic mineral and it is stockpiled by the U.S. Defense Logistics agency. Since the 1962 assassination of Patrice Lumumba and the CIA coup that installed the ruthless 36-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, tens of millions of people have died for it. Ergo, everything is connected. Ergo, the Congolese deserve a free ride on the Shinkansen.
The uranium that enabled U.S. weapons of mass destruction to annihilate innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from the Shinkalobwe mines in DRC. Hard-wired to the matrix at the deepest levels, Japan sucks the uranium out of the Sahara through the Overseas Uranium Resources Development (OURD) Corporation, in cooperation with U.S., Israeli, German and French corporations. Indeed, the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Niger, in Japan, is reached “c/o Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd.” offices in Tokyo.
Niger is among the “poorest” countries in the world–not although, but because the OURD has mined Niger’s uranium for decades. Sumitomo exploits too many poor countries to mention, though poverty-stricken Burkina Faso is notable: Sumitomo and Barrick Gold have abutting gold concessions. The world banking institutions (IMF, EX-IM, ADB, IFC) fund the machines, and the black holes they dig, and Asian banks are deeply hardwired to the matrix mainframe. Like their Euro-American counterparts, at least 23 Asian multinational corporations perpetuate the nuclear viruses of the matrix using raw materials stripped out of Africa at fire sale prices. 
Teikoku Corp. and the Japan Oil Corporation have sucked oil out of DRC and Angola for years, no matter the brutality of the regimes or their atrocities against innocent civilians. Ditto for the Japan Energy Corp. in Somalia. If Algeria is a “terrorist state” as defined by the Pentagon what is Teikoku doing there? Another glitch in the matrix…
Asian logging firms stripping the Congo Forest Basin rely on dictatorships to, quite literally, get away with murder. In the matrix, machines preside over human beings. Propaganda inverts the equation, and it keeps us fooling ourselves, and each other.
Mainstream “environmental” organizations legitimize the plunder. Ergo, it is no accident that Kazuo Aichi, a Member of the House of Representatives in Japan, is also a Global Council Member for the World Resources Institute, a virtual reality directed by executives with deep investment banking, chemical, automobile, nuclear and defense interests. Ditto WWF-Japan, who in the early 1990’s neutralized the Japanese arm of TRAFFIC, the international agency that oversees adherence to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species.
WRI, WWF, the Government of Japan, have all signed onto the euphemistic Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) recently negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. According to the virtual projections of the matrix, the CBFP will secure untouched rainforests, protect endangered species, establish ecotourism, and support local communities. You can read the matrix projection of this fiction, “Saving Africa’s Eden,” in National Geographic (Sept. 2003).
However, the matrix obscures the “national security” aspects, the hidden agenda of NASA, the petroleum, timber, and other mining interests. Mass graves of the 2000 people massacred in the oil city of Port Gentil, Gabon in the early 1990’s, remain of interest to only the most rogue humans and, of course, to the families of the dead who–terrified–remain silent. The matrix deletes undesirables: there is no column for them on corporate spreadsheets. Dead bodies are very untidy.
The equitability of the matrix projected by PR and the language of philanthropy–a.k.a. humanitarian relief, aid or sustainable development in Africa–can be best summed up through the portal of economies of scale. Ergo, Japan’s total bilateral aid to Africa from 1993 to 2003 amounted to some $US 12 billion. The estimated operating revenues of ten leading Japanese corporations in the same decade are–conservatively–$US 6.6 trillion. How many Asian multinationals are there?
In 2003, Japanese donors provided some 30% of the $US 28 million budget of the U.N. World Food Program, and Japan was the largest donor. By comparison, Sony corporation sales and operating revenues in 2003 were some $US 62.3 billion; net income was $US 963 million. In 2003, Sony director Yotaro Kobayashi alone earned millions of dollars in compensation, stock, pension and retirement benefits, and special bonuses, and he is the director of at least three major corporations offering similar compensation. Sony director Yoshihiko is also the director of Orix Corporation, whose 2003 assets exceed $US 55 billion. One needn’t consult the oracle to see that Sony spends more money annually on public relations–selling the idea of “good corporate citizenry” and “environmental stewardship”–than it does on actual of aid.
When corporations peddle benefits to society, it is almost exclusively in pursuit of interests. Ditto for USAID, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Just deeds expenditures translate into tax benefits and adjustments to the bottom line. In the energy balance of institutions–and the soldiers that secure their interests and freedoms–Africans are the big losers. It’s not only that they are niggers, which is certainly true in the hierarchy of the matrix–or the gaijin labor pool in Japan–but that the system operates to perpetuate modern forms of slavery.
“Corporations are the dominant institutions in modern society,” says Noam Chomsky. “They are designed by law to be pathological… They were granted the rights of pathological persons, and they are required to be pathological. Corporations are permitted to act like decent persons, but only if it is pure hypocrisy. If that corporation wants to give away free drugs to the poor, they’re allowed to do that if it’s for public relations purposes, to maximize their profit and power.” 
"If a Martian came to earth and read the UN's millennium development goals, and then looked at what we're doing, you'd think we were mad,” said World Bank President James Wolfensohn (2004). “We are spending a trillion dollars a year on defense,” he said, condemning defense expenditures by developed countries as "madness" compared with sums committed to aid projects. 
Challenging the matrix to modify itself, to self-regulate and self-organize around human beings–instead of machines–should never lead to the suspension of aid: it should lead to an admission of error. However, we are an immature species, overwhelmed by technology, stifled by the machines we have created. People are easily scared, and offended, and stubborn, and we revert to the staid course of past experience. “You’ve already been down that road,” Trinity tells Neo, in The Matrix, “and you know exactly where it leads.” People chose the familiar path, because it is less scary than the unknown, no matter its pitfalls.
This story barely scratches the surface of the problems. I have ignored fisheries, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness interests in Africa, because to equitably do so requires the introduction of viruses, biological warfare, genetically modified foods, the intentional displacement of people, and the uses of food as a weapon. And then there is the trafficking in females. If the matrix cared about people, it would feed them. It would clothe them. It would house them. Corporations do not care about people. Indeed, under the virtual realities of the matrix, some “humanitarian” agencies routinely ship weapons. Food is available, but it is denied, the victims are blamed for their deaths.
In the future, which millions of people in Africa don’t have, things will certainly be different, one way or another. These are the brutal realities, and they are shared from a place of deep compassion. The solution is simple: tune out, shut down, turn off, and stop the machines. Boycott the media. Exit the matrix. Reformat your life and reprogram your future to maximize joy and compassion. And then welcome your self to the abundance of possibilities. Love will self-replicate. Go.
 The pilot in the Six Million Dollar Man was perhaps modeled on now U.S. Senator and former NASA pilot John Glenn.
 Noam Chomsky interviewed by Asano Kenichi, in “Turbulence in the East,” Kyoto Journal, No. 54, October 2003.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellon Press, 1999.
 “…you’ve got your own cigarette now baby, you’ve come a long, long way.” A tobacco company jingle (advertisement) popularized by mass media in the 1960’s and ‘70’s.
 Jonathan Dee, “Joystick Nation,” The New York Times Magazine, December 21, 2003.
 Jonathan Dee, “Joystick Nation,” New York Times Magazine, December 21, 2003.
 General Charles C. Krulak, Marine Corps Order 1500.55, "Military Thinking and Decision Making Exercises," online at http://www.tediv.usmc.mil/dlb/milthink/ .
 Lenoir, Lowood, Theaters of War: The Military-Entertainment Complex, Stanford University.
 A Sony advertisement in WIRED, March 2004.
 Quoting the web site of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.
 Including: Tokyo Electric Power, Hitachi, Chubu Electric, Kyushu Electric, Mitsubishi; CLP Holdings H.K. and Hong Kong Electric; Korea Electric Power (eight companies); Powergrid (Singapore); The Taiwan Power Company; the Electric Generating Authority of Thailand; and China’s Electric Power, Jiansu Electric Power, Huaneng Power and Electric Power of Henan.
 Interview with Noam Chomsky, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 14, 2003.
 David Fickling, “World Bank condemns defence spending,” The Guardian, 02/14/04.