Scoping in on the Curious Activities of the

International Monkey Business


KONG: Part Five:


The Hanged Man


Georgianne Nienaber


keith harmon snow





“Due to the current security problem within the National Park, in spite of the ongoing civil war in Rwanda, it was not possible to continue with other plans to develop, manage and organize the national park. Fighting has been ongoing along the border to Rwanda and within the conservation area. Unfortunately, a park ranger lost his leg…”


Klaus Jurgen Sucker

Mgahinga National Park Uganda, 1992[1]




They say Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was beginning to look like the Silverback Gorillas he so tenaciously protected in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP). Friends noted that an eerie change took place in his physical form. His hair was turning a premature grey as he struggled to “out-Fossey Dian Fossey”—a term used to describe a conservationist who betters his or her predecessors—and find a way for humans and wildlife to co-exist both inside and outside of Mgahinga National Park.


Mgahinga is a tiny wildlife park in southwestern Uganda and adjoins the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a contiguous extension of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The 700 critically endangered mountain gorillas roam freely across the international borders of this rugged landscape, and the murdered American naturalist, Dian Fossey, is buried there.


In 1989, Klaus-Jurgen Sucker began working in the middle of a metaphoric fault line that was about to erupt with undreamed of consequences. Simmering like the volcanoes that gave birth to the Great African Rift Valley, the region had been a cauldron of ethnic unrest, tribal animosities, colonial control and multi-national meddling for centuries.


In 1990 the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)—the military wing of the exiled Rwandan Patriotic Front—launched an invasion of Rwanda from the mountains of southwestern Uganda. Backed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), the RPA guerillas waged a low-intensity war that would eventually overthrow the government of Rwanda amidst the “100 days of genocide” in 1994. The United States, Britain, Belgium and other outside military interests have not yet escaped the judgment of history for their parts in the cataclysm of 1994.


When Klaus Sucker arrived in Uganda the country was in shambles. The government of Yoweri Museveni—which has now survived for twenty-two years as a one-party dictatorship——had fought a bloody civil war and won significant control of the country in 1985. The government was controlled by the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) and backed by Western powers. Uganda needed foreign exchange, and gorilla tourism supported by the Western “aid” enterprise offered an easy and lucrative source of cash. Ugandan wildlife parks like Mgahinga, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale National Park and the Queen Elizabeth National Park were targeted for “reconstruction” and would soon be given the friendly facelift of public relations and advertising. But the wildlife populations in all of Uganda’s wildlife parks suffered massive declines as animals were slaughtered during the years of civil war.


Two German conservation organizations jointly founded the Mgahinga program, named the Gorilla Game Reserve Conservation Project, which Klaus Sucker managed. One, the Bergorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe (BRD), a non-profit organized in 1982, still works to support the eastern gorilla population, which includes the severely endangered mountain gorilla made famous by Dian Fossey. The other, Deutcher Tierschutzbund, is a member of the larger European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, an anti-vivisection organization.


Klaus-Jurgen Sucker died under mysterious circumstances. The sacrifices he made to conservation in Uganda were almost forgotten—or buried along with him. While Sucker was a leading agent of change at Mgahinga, the USAID reports from this era never mention Sucker by name; they speak about issues and risks only in terms of “needing to improve park management.”[2]  The promotion of Sucker’s life, legacy and work remains in the hands of the Bergorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe (BRD), his family, friends and loved ones.


“Klaus was a remarkable man; his dedication was something, at times even frightening. It's a great loss that he's gone,” Ulrich Karlowski wrote.[3]





On June 20, 1994, Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was found strangled in his house in Kisoro, Uganda. The official German and Ugandan governments’ reports want the world to believe this was a suicide—Sucker was found hanging from a rope.


Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was 37 years old, and an unlikely candidate for self-destruction. His sandwich was found sitting on a plate in his kitchen, half-eaten, and his feet were touching the floor. He was engaged to be married, and looking forward to it. He was the head of the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Project (MGNP) in Uganda, and while things weren’t as smooth as he might have liked, his journal entries and other communications made it clear he was looking forward to the future.[4]


Field reports from Mgahinga buried in the archives and data banks of USAID and written in the early 1990’s are very similar to conservation communiqués coming out of the Virunga National Park in Congo today. These reports universally frame the blame for “conservation” problems around rogue militias and rampant population explosion, generally castigating the local people for their own suffering, while never addressing the structural violence that insures this suffering and misery. Big “conservation” and “humanitarian” organizations uphold this structural violence, but like the governments and their “AID” machineries, these institutions are rarely challenged.


But Klaus Sucker’s reports from Mgahinga showed one ironic and important difference from those of Congo today. Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was at odds with the USAID-sponsored Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) —the international BINGO that had its own plans for the park. On the surface, CARE offered Mgahinga a humanitarian operation with a humanitarian agenda focused on emerging concerns for the environment. Behind the scenes, CARE’s true mission was—now as then—another kind of monkey business altogether.


“Sucker’s story is different,” wrote journalist Paul Salopek, in his Pulitzer winning series, Africa’s Wildlife Running out of Room, “because his most powerful opponents weren't the usual rogue’s gallery of xenophobic politicians or greedy wildlife dealers, but competing environmentalists who have launched what is, in effect, a sweeping, last-ditch battle for the soul of wild Africa.”


But journalist Paul Salopek’s reference to “environmentalists” competing in a “last ditch battle for the soul of wild Africa” is a poignant example of the misleading and patronizing discourse that currently holds sway over the minds of white Western readers—the members of a population who, by virtue of our privileged economic and political status, hold the greatest sway over the landscapes of Africa and the disenfranchised people who live there.


What is “wild Africa” and how can (mostly) white environmentalists “save” its soul? Sounds like the missionary enterprise that accompanied colonial exploitation and slavery. The hubris of these ideas is only exceeded by their actual implementation. Indeed, Congolese people equate modern “conservation” interests exploiting their local landscapes to the Christian missionaries and their evangelizing hidden agendas.

Today, Western conservation organizations with millions of dollars in annual budgets are falling all over themselves to lay claim to what may be the mountain gorillas’ last stand. Humanitarian organizations do the same in the “humanitarian” business sector. These are industries. The humanitarian or “misery” industry and the environmental “conservation” industries are nothing more than multinational corporate enterprises waving flags and brand names and logos, and the ultimate goal is to secure market share through uniquely defined niche marketing strategies. The Western press serves its function in photographing and thereby advertising the flags, the logos, the white doctors and primatologists in the field—all to drum up donor support from sympathetic hearts. It is a system of competition and exploitation, and nothing less than predatory capitalism.


What is CARE/USAID’s involvement in the “wildlife conservation” sector? Why are the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Jane Goodall Institute involved in population control in Africa?





At the very least, the BINGOs and DINGOs of our story ignore the fate of the humans that share the same habitat with the flagship species and “wild soul” of Africa they set out to “save.” Worse still, these organizations exacerbate the suffering and denigrate the local people, their communities, customs, knowledge, wisdom and sovereignty. The DINGOs build their campaigns on racist discourses and policies that perpetuate slavery, misery and massive loss of life, even as they claim to be working for the betterment of humanity and the global mission to save the earth and its biodiversity.


As recently as March 2006, a meeting took place in Washington DC to examine the BINGO’s tendency to promote “conservation-as-indigenous-dispossession.”

Writing for Indian Country Today, Washington reporter Jerry Reynolds quoted Chemonics International, a Washington based contractor for USAID that figures into the summary criticisms of Klaus-Jurgen Sucker’s work. Writing on its webpage, Chemonics professional’s described their expertise in indigenous issues in terms of parenting children. “Implementing a project with and for the benefit of indigenous peoples is analogous to parenting: there is no reliable ‘how to’ manual and every community, like every child, is unique.'' [5]

After expressions of “distaste” by members of staff for Senator Patrick Leahy and senior USAID staffers, Chemonics removed the offensive language from its website.

According to the mythologies perpetrated by the “conservation clique”—as one Congolese official correctly calls it—it is tribalism and savagery that is to blame for every atrocity committed against wildlife in Central Africa.


“For the ‘clique’ conservation is a flag which they work behind,” one Congolese wildlife professional told us, in an interview conducted in eastern Congo. The source—call him only “Ilungwa”—will not be named herein, as he has already been threatened and fears for his life. He is an expert in conservation in Central Africa, but he has been sidelined and threatened by the clique and their powerful allies.


“If we consider conservation as a flag, it will never be possible to change the values of the clique,” Ilungwa told us. “They are interested in money, retirement, making a good career. The aim of the clique is to survive. When the money comes to Congo they make sure the money is well—shared amongst the clique. When someone—Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for example—gets CARPE funding they will organize a posh V.I.P. dinner at a posh hotel. They will invite the Governor and military leaders and heads of other projects. They tell them they have a big project, lots of money for the next few years. They make promises—hospitals, schools, road improvements—in the name of conservation. They are like hyenas: ‘we have a kill, if we need to split up and work alone we will, but let’s try to work together and share the kill.’ And the kill is the big money, and the clique has its own rules and its own accountings. But there is no accountability, and that is why Congolese people are dying and wildlife is disappearing.”


The discourses of the exploiting organizations—conservation and humanitarian—vary according to the reader or listener being targeted by the suave propaganda. The language and syntax of fundraising campaigns exploit deeply held beliefs to “do good,” and sustain and cycle the cash flow of contracts, grants, private donations and other funding. For black people in rural Africa—both educated and uneducated—other tactics and strategies are employed, with a completely different syntax and language. But the effects are the same on all sides of the divide: millions of people in Africa suffer, and they are blamed for their own suffering, and denigrated for living at all.


“The strategies and methods used by the clique are used beyond Africa, beyond borders, beyond what you can touch,” Ilungwa, the clique insider, explained. “At the end of the system, the end result is to get the money, and the money circulates and circulates. The discourses from the clique are very different from what they do. And the clique is very powerful: if you challenge the funding and spending and corruption—they will destroy you.”


Did the conservation clique in Central Africa destroy Klaus-Jurgen Sucker?





Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was no fool. He certainly realized that the life of a high profile gorilla conservationist had inherent risks. Dian Fossey had been murdered in 1985, a few years in time and a short distance in kilometers away, on the other side of the mountain at her Karisoke research station. Like Fossey, Sucker was unpopular with poachers, smugglers and others who had vested interests in the park. Sucker, too, was threatened by armed militia and ordered to surrender his research. His response was to invite the invaders to shoot him with their fierce Kalashnikovs. They declined, and instead they left Sucker’s fate to others.


In 1989, Klaus Sucker’s initial partners in the venture to restore the dilapidated Mgahinga National Park were Thomas Butynski and Samson Werikhe. Butynski would go on to be a senior conservation biologist with Zoo Atlanta, which has a special relationship with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGF-I). Recall that Clare Richardson, current CEO of DFGF-I, was once a fundraiser for Zoo Atlanta, and that Zoo Atlanta’s partners are corporate entities hostile to true conservation objectives. (See Kong: Part Four: The Map.) Butynski also went on to become director of Conservation International’s Eastern African Biodiversity Hotspots Program and vice-chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Primate Specialist’s Group, Africa Section. He is very much an insider in the conservation clique that rules over Central Africa.


Curiously, documents received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)—in Kong: Part Four: the Map we outlined USFWS involvement in Central Africa—have blacked out the dates that Thomas Butynski was in Uganda working with Klaus Sucker; other details are also redacted.


In one document Butynski wrote: “I am a primatologist who has been involved with primate field research and conservation since (REDACTED) mostly in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea….” [6]





Samson Werikhe, the third partner who began working with Klaus Sucker and Thomas Butynski at Mgahinga in 1989, made the news in colorful fashion in January 2003, when the Ugandan news outlet New Vision reported that Werikhe fled to the United States amid allegations of corruption and embezzlement in the USAID-funded Wildlife Clubs of Uganda (WCU). New Vision reported that the entire twelve member staff of WCU resigned after the scandal broke.


“Werikhe took over the [WCU] clubs three years ago from Violet Kajubiri, who had built a strong secretariat which benefited from donor funds, including USAID,” reporter Gerald Tenywa wrote from Kampala for New Vision.

“We had an impending audit before Werikhe left the country,” Mr. Douglas Lugumya, the chairperson of the governing council, said.[7]


Samson Werikhe is now in the United States, and he is not keeping a low profile. Werikhe’s biography for 2005 places him as a “conservation intern” at the U.S. Air Force’s Beale Air Force Base. The biographical reference appeared in an article Werikhe wrote for The Magpie, a conservation bulletin published in the Sacramento, CA area.[8]


“All in all, [the] life of a wildlife biologist in Africa is sometimes difficult to predict because he is faced with unique problems…funding and issues of wildlife vs. man,” Werikhe wrote. This was an unbelievable understatement, considering his past in Uganda, and one wonders if the fate of Klaus Sucker ever crosses his mind.


Bearing in mind the proliferation of maps in this KONG epic, and the other many defense and intelligence interests, it is noteworthy that our Ugandan wildlife official-on-the lam took refuge at Beale Air Force Base. According to readily available information posted on its website and elsewhere, “Beale AFB is a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft base, located in the Sacramento Valley, and home to the only stateside reconnaissance wing of the USAF. Beale AFB recently flew the SR-71 Blackbird and still flies the nation's fleet of U2 spy planes. Beale is also one of four U.S. locations for the Phased Array Warning System, a unique radar system housed in a large pyramidal building. Also called PAVE-PAWS, the system tracks airborne and space-borne objects over the Pacific Ocean (a Cape Cod PAVE-PAWS looks out over the Atlantic). The base covers 23,000 acres and employs around 4,000 people.”


Beale A.F.B. is deeply connected to aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin, one of the partners of Zoo Atlanta and a financial sponsor of CARE International, and the maker of the SR-71 Blackbird.


Samson Werikhe’s comments in The Magpie about wildlife versus man, and his association as a “conservation intern” at Beale, begs the question as to exactly how many Blackbirds are baked into this gorilla conservation pie.


Werikhe is also closely tied to the United Nations World Heritage Program, one of the many questionable institutions that have been intensely lobbying for “gorilla protection” in the beleaguered Virunga National Park in DRC, and yet another massive enterprise that does not show an equitable concern for the innocent Congolese people caught in a decade of war and corporate plunder.


“UNEP-WCMC has been identifying and compiling information on the protected areas of the world to produce comprehensive global dataset and maps,” according to its website. [9]


More global datasets and wildlife conservation mapping? Maps, maps, the Empire and its predilection for maps…


Samson Werikhe is also on record as co-authoring a joint presentation to UNEP-WCMC, in September 1997, on behalf of the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This presentation was held in South Africa and it discussed the impact of war on protected areas in these three countries —in terms of wildlife and environment—and presented a case study of the Virunga Volcano region. [10] 


The presentation and report offer the standard propaganda about war and high population densities—another example of powerful external institutions delimiting Central Africa’s problems in terms of the proliferation of its populations. These indigenous populations have little or no say in the unfolding drama of the CARPE landscapes of the Mwami’s Tale (of our series) and other massive programs premised on the access to, and control of, the very land they live on.


The potential for addressing population “pressures” jointly with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was noted, and it was suggested that a dialogue should be established between UNHCR, IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and other relevant parties.


In a departure from the usual cartographical angst about overpopulation, the well-respected Annette Lanjouw of the International Gorilla Conservation Project (IGCP), based in Nairobi, Kenya, attended the same conference and suggested possibilities for the establishment of a peace park in the Virunga Volcano region. Lanjouw noted the need for a strategy that addresses both human needs and conservation of species. The constraints in establishing such a park were outlined, including the security situation and the extremely limited resources for the establishment and management of such areas.[11]





Samson Werikhe was also a principal player in the enigmatic 1996 “Project Elgon,” sponsored by the University of Aberdeen, U.K. Available and somewhat sketchy descriptions of the project indicate it was designed to “assess human activities…by examining the sustainability of current land use practices, and attitudes towards sustainable land use practices, as well as assessing the use of and attitudes towards family planning,” in Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda.[12]


High-resolution satellite maps of Mt. Elgon, taken by the NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) mentioned earlier in this series, are available on the web in “cleaned up” versions. Readers can look for themselves at:


The buzzwords for the Mt. Elgon Project were all there: “sustainability,” “land use,” “community development,” and “family planning”—the euphemism for population control—“family planning.”


Project Elgon began in 1996, when a few hundred thousand Rwandan refugees returned from eastern Congo to Rwanda across the border at Gisenyi, a small town across from Goma, on the shores of Lake Kivu. At least 800,000 refugees were in the refugee camps in Goma alone. (This does not take into account the numbers in Uganda or Tanzania.) The camps were shelled by the Rwandan government in September of 1996 in violation of international humanitarian law, and with complete support of the Pentagon, and the Rwandan military attacks were amongst the opening forays in the Pentagon-backed war to overthrow the government of Joseph Mobutu and reorganize the power structure in Congo/Zaire.[13]


Hundreds of thousands of refugees—mostly women and children—also fled west into Congo’s forest and were hunted down and slaughtered by the RPF and UPDF forces; some were reportedly located with the aid of remote sensing satellite technologies and the awareness and even support of U.S. government officials.[14] Sources in Congo are adamant that U.S. government and United Nations (World Food Program) officials tolerated and even aided the massacres, which were generally blamed on the Congolese “liberation” forces and the now assassinated Laurent Desire Kabila that ostensibly led them.[15]


At the same time, the Pentagon had launched major covert operations from Uganda, including Special Forces operations in western Uganda. The Pentagon set up high-tech outposts—communications, command, control and intelligence—in the Ruwenzori Mountains on the Uganda/Zaire border and on Idjwe Island in Lake Kivu on the Rwandan/Zaire border. The Ugandan air base at Entebbe served as the U.S. military’s premier base for weapons shipments into Central Africa: C-130 transport airplanes reportedly landed around the clock for months during the 1996-1997 invasion.


U.S. Special Ops also set up a covert military operation at the Makerere University Biological Field Station in Kibale National Park, a remote research compound shared with foreign wildlife conservation interests, some thirty minutes by four-wheel drive from Fort Portal, Uganda, near Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks. The Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology managed the research station; the latter has been heavily funded by USAID.


An undated Memorandum of Agreement lists Thomas Butynski, the former partner of Klaus-Jurgen Sucker, and Eastern Africa Biodiversity Hotspots director for Conservation International, as one of thirty-three signatory individuals committed to supporting the objectives of the Kibale field station.[16] Permissions to conduct the research came from Museveni himself—the Ugandan Office of the President—and other Uganda agencies. [17]


Notably, in one research publication focused on work at Kibale, the authors described the detrimental impact caused by the massive infusion of USAID funds in the years just previous to the U.S. military training at the station. “In the early 1990s the field station received some large foreign aid grants, primarily from USAID. The amounts were more than 1500% of any annual budget previously required by the project. They induced conflict over spending, very wasteful allocations to structures and items never used, and created resentment among Ugandan participants.” [18]


“We saw these Special Ops coming and going,” said one wildlife conservation professional working on a research project based at the time inside the shared compound in Kibale. As usual, the source refuses to be identified out of fear of retaliation and the ruination of his career. [19]


“Everyone knew it was the U.S. military but nobody asked questions. They were obviously authorized by the Ugandan Government to be there because they were training Ugandan soldiers to fight in Congo.” The source reports that the project was funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society, National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the National Council for Science and Technology, Makerere University, Harvard, University of Florida and the University of California at Irvine.”


“This was a very remote station in the jungle. We saw the U.S. military at hotels in [nearby] Fort Portal, and we saw them in the jungle. In was quiet in the beginning [1996] but during the invasion of Zaire/Congo, military planes heading to Congo were flying low over us all the time. All these colleges and universities from the U.S. use the research station and it’s huge, and the military were there when we were there, when the shit was hitting the fan in Zaire [Congo], in 1996 and 1997.”


The timing of the massive infusion of USAID funds for “conservation” at Kibale raises questions about whether these funds were intended to construct new facilities soon to be used by the U.S. military for covert training and covert operations based out of a remote forest. We also wonder how many of Uganda’s National Parks and “conservation” research facilities serve as similar covert operation bases.


But back in 1992 the shit was hitting the fan elsewhere—the battle being waged was for the control of tiny Rwanda. In one of his last communications, Klaus-Jurgen Sucker would remark on the U.S. military interest targeting Rwanda from Mgahinga, which straddled the border of northwestern Rwanda.


The maps and the mapping agencies, the money, the wildlife, the scientists, the humanitarians and family planners, and the crooks on the run all converged on little Mgahinga Gorilla Park—and Klaus-Jurgen Sucker faced them all alone. After Sucker’s death in 1994, the Mgahinga cast of characters—taken straight from the Kong screenplay—were kept busy mapping and, as we have shown, they all met again on Mount Elgon, in eastern Uganda, in 1996.


Sucker’s big mistake was that he opposed big “conservation” and big “humanitarian” interests. Like Dian Fossey, his hopes for a functioning park which provided a haven for wildlife was perhaps a myopic vision. He had no idea what or whom he was really challenging.


There are other critical associations between BINGOs and DINGOs of today, the world of Klaus Sucker, and powerful U.S. interests, and these go far beyond “conservation” interests involved in equatorial Africa. But the story of Klaus-Jurgen Sucker illuminates the dangers inherent in opposing agendas cloaked in the oxymoron of “conservation”. It seems that Sucker, like Dian Fossey, paid the ultimate price for his dedication to conservation for its own sake.





To understand the deeper relevance of the Klaus-Jurgen Sucker’s story in today’s conservation arena it is necessary to take a little detour back to the future. Some twelve years down the road from the death of Sucker we can gain some insight into the “conservation” priorities and ethics of the people Sucker was then dealing with.


In June of 2006 Sucker’s former partner, Thomas Butynski, came under criticism for a letter of support, which he wrote on Conservation International letterhead, of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Permit Application (PRT-837068) that would allow the Yerkes National Primate Center in the United State to engage in the “lethal taking” of wild Mangabeys (monkeys), over a 5-year period, the from Ivory Coast.


An additional letter of support for the Yerkes application came from Dr. Terry Maple, a Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGF-I) director and former CEO of Zoo Atlanta—and also Butynski’s former employer after the Sucker episode. Dr. Terry Maple now runs the Palm Beach Zoo. In his own words, he supported the killing of captive Mangabeys “with enthusiasm,” and noted that his experiences in Africa dated to 1978.[20] In fact, Dr. Maple also noted his DFGF-I association, although his letter was not on DFGFI’s letterhead, but on the letterhead of Georgia Tech University.


Recall that Dr. Faust, The Mad Scientist of Kong: The Map, was associate director of the Georgia Tech Center for GIS and one of the principal DFGF-I research scientists for GIS projects. Dr. Faust was one of the key architects of the GIS terrain surveys with the Rwandan government, DFGF-I, and the National University of Rwanda (NUR)—the surveys where datasets were turned over to the Rwandan military. Conservation International’s (CI) letter on behalf of the Yerkes’ application was surprising to some animal rights’ groups.


According to the International Primate Protection League, “CI has over $192 million dollars in assets and could well afford to fund the Ivory Coast project from its own treasury. It should not be endorsing a project with a component that involves killing of captive Mangabeys in the United States.” [21] In essence, the deal was to trade a field research project on the Ivory Coast for monkey lives in the Yerkes laboratory in the U.S.


“Yerkes stated that it would pay $30,000 per year to a Mangabeys study project in the Tai Forest, Ivory Coast, West Africa, run by Scott McGraw of Ohio State University. In return Yerkes asked to conduct AIDS-related research on its Mangabey colony and even to kill “superannuated [old] animals,” as well as monkeys who are “genetically over-represented” (meaning having too many relatives).” [22]


In April 2006, The Georgia Consortium for Health and Agro Security submitted a proposal to locate the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) in Georgia. The proposal noted the “world class bioengineering programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology,” and that the NBAF program “reflects a growing appreciation of the need to study…related bioterror pathogens through the lens of animal, as well as human medicine.” It also mentioned “unique resources such as the Yerkes Primate facility.” [23]


Due to intense lobbying by animal rights’ groups, the Yerkes application was rejected. The involvement of the DFGF-I and CI interests in the Yerkes case makes clear the powerful interests these organizations are prone to serve, including interests involved in biological warfare and animal experimentation.





Friends and family say Klaus Sucker had a life-long dream to work with the endangered mountain gorillas and other threatened wildlife in the Great Lakes region of Africa. When he started in 1989, the Mgahinga Forest reserve was devastated and almost devoid of wildlife, much like the Parc des Volcans of Rwanda was when Dian Fossey began her tenure there in 1967—and much like the embattled Virunga National Park and others in the Democratic Republic of Congo today.


Poaching, smuggling, pit-sawing[24], cattle grazing and various forms of “illegal” encroachment were common. Mountain gorillas and other rare animals like golden and blue monkeys, elephants, golden cats, bushbucks, duikers, tree-hyraxes, and giant forest hogs had retreated to the high regions of the Muhavura, Sabinyo and Gahinga volcanoes.[25] Then, like today, there was a constant conflict between humans’ struggle to survive and the threat to wildlife.


Sucker faced the same ethical conflicts that perplexed Dian Fossey. The park thrived under his leadership, but he also resisted the rights of the local people to hunt and gather within the park. Fossey initially had the same mindset, but by the time of her murder in 1985 she had realized that humans and wildlife must find ways to coexist.


In a heartbreaking midnight conversation with the murdered gorillas, “Digit” and “Uncle Bert”, Fossey agonized over whether or not the publicity she generated for the gorillas would lead to their demise.


“It was black as coal and I could only dimly see the [gorilla grave] markers. I stood beside Digit a long time still not knowing what to do, but Digit knew, and Uncle Bert and all the others.” [26]


The latest gorilla deaths then seen at Karisoke were due to human worm infestations introduced by tourists and researchers, not from the native population, and Fossey blamed herself for introducing the habituation process whereby gorillas accepted human presence. The Mountain Gorilla project had instructed that necropsy results of recent gorilla deaths not be shared with Fossey, ostensibly due to the fallout which would descend upon the fledgling tourism industry in Rwanda.


Accounts vary as to the relationship Sucker had with local villagers. Like Fossey, the most vehement criticism Sucker faced came from big conservation organizations that wanted access, tourism, and the dollars that went with it.


While alive, Klaus Sucker was viciously disparaged by CARE for allegedly violating the rights of indigenous people, especially the Batwa Pygmies, who relied upon the park for hunting and gathering. However, it seems the BINGOs may have been seeking to get rid of Sucker at all costs, and so were prepared to use any argument that served their interest. Indeed, immediately after Sucker’s death, the tune of the conservation organizations changed as they pointed their satellites at the villagers “encroaching” on the gorilla habitat, and then produced their fancy remote-sensing maps to prove it.


In his article exposing the double standards and vested interests of the BINGOs and DINGOs like Conservation International, writer Mark Dowie opens with a discussion of how the Batwa of Uganda were blamed for eating silverbacks—an accusation the Batwa deny—while forcibly being expelled from their communal forests. Dowie goes on to explore the role of the BINGOs and DINGOs of conservation as “culture-wrecking” institutions.


“It's no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture,” Mark Dowie wrote in his story Conservation Refugees. [27] “But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention,” 


Notably, Jane Goodall is on the Advisory Board of the Orion Society, the group that published Dowie’s article in Orion Magazine.


The Batwa people of Uganda have been severely marginalized, their human rights universally violated. Even the USAID affiliated reports that complained about Sucker flagged the urgent humanitarian crises faced by the Batwa pygmies. Little has changed in their favor.


In his year 2000 Pulitzer series, Chicago Tribune journalist Paul Salopek quoted Jaap Schoorl, “a Dutch environmental consultant who worked in Uganda when the German [Sucker] was still booting villagers” out of Mgahinga National Park. “But we have to face the reality that Africa's wild places are shrinking islands surrounded by a growing sea of people. Unless we do something drastic, we're lost,” Salopek quoted Schoorl to say.


But Paul Salopek misidentified Jaap Schoorl, just as he failed to explore the deeper interests presented as “conservation” organizations in his articles.


Ulrich Karlowski is the brother of Klaus Jurgen Sucker’s fiancé, and one of the people who independently tried to investigate Sucker’s death. According to Karlowski’s testimony in the Gorilla Journal, Jaap Schoorl was on payroll with CARE as a “technical advisor” for CARE’s Development through Conservation (DTC) program. Schoorl was advising on “park management and law enforcement” in the neighboring Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, another reserve targeted to be a gorilla Mecca for tourists. Salopek already used two CARE/DTC consultants as “experts” to support his article, and perhaps that’s why Schoorl was identified merely as a Dutch environmental consultant: two is a couple, and three was one too many CARE blackbirds for Salopek’s “conservation” pie.


Schoorl’s job description can be independently verified in the CARE project summary reports, prepared by the private U.S. consulting firm Chemonics International.[28]


In November 1994—Sucker died in June—Schoorl showed writers for the Gorilla Journal a map of the national park with multiple-use zones and areas of increased poaching; they overlapped nearly completely. [29] The evidence clearly showed that the “multiple-use” programs implemented by the CARE/DTC program were detrimentally affecting wildlife and deterring conservation.


Jaap Schoorl’s cartographic career advanced rapidly, and by 1998 he was the Director of Operations for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Cameroon, giving the opening address at a “Conference Report on Capacity Building in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for World Wide Fund for Nature.”[30]


The Kribi conference feted the ArcView 3.01, desktop GIS software from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), Redlands, California, USA. Of course, ESRI is the secretive intelligence and defense mapping agency allied with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Conservation International in the Kong: Part Four: the Map segment of our series.


Klaus Sucker had been every bit as tenacious as Dian Fossey, and he established regular patrols, stalked and harassed the poachers, pit saw operators and smugglers. Like Fossey, Sucker confiscated cattle that grazed in the protected areas, but stopped short of spray-painting them as she had. The rangers, like Fossey’s, were well taken care of, and Sucker made sure they had shelter. He organized conservation education programs for the people living on the borders of the protected area. The conservation project that was initially named the Gorilla Game Reserve Conservation Project (GGRCP) was thriving and very successful, according to existing reports from the time.


There is also evidence that local public opinion was on Sucker’s side. In July of 1994, the Ugandan New Vision published a letter that accused the CARE-DTC project leaders “for a long time [being] on the neck of this man. His death reportedly by hanging himself in a window leaves a trail of suspicion.” [31]


Sucker was also commended for doing more on the ground than “CARE-DTC can ever think of doing.” After Sucker’s death, the surrounding area and Bwindi became “infested with poachers, gold miners, and pit-sawyers” due to the “instability” created by CARE. Mining had now entered the picture.


Friends readily list Klaus Sucker’s many achievements. He confiscated and destroyed 7000 animal traps and snares, stopped destruction of the forest, ended smuggling and illegal grazing of cattle, recolonized plant species, established environmentally-friendly gorilla tourism (although Fossey thought there was no such thing), and created 1500 jobs that were “well paid by local standards.” [32] His friends and supporters have set up a website to document his achievements (, but are reluctant to speak with researchers, due to the terrible aftermath of the story. Our last in-depth contact with Ulrich Karlowski, Sucker’s then soon to be brother–in-law, was in 2005. He recently has indicated that there is not much more he can add to what he has already offered—but perhaps we can.


According to accounts written in the Gorilla Journal, Ugandan authorities soon realized that they were sitting on what was probably the “most successful conservation project in all of Africa.” As a consequence, the Mgahinga forest was designated a national park and Klaus Sucker was appointed chief warden. He had out-Fossied Dian Fossey and successfully turned an unprotected area into one of the “best functioning national parks in Africa.” Of course, Fossey’s experiences and research had paved the way for this success. Eventually, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park had the highest density of rangers per square mile than all of Uganda’s national parks. However, there are no interviews or reports from the villagers who were also a part of this (his-) story.


According to Sucker, by June of 1992, the protected area was enlarged and some 1305 farmers, who had been “illegally” using the recently annexed “Zone 2” of the park, gave up their animal husbandry practices and left the area. Supposedly, this was done on a voluntary basis after all concerned had a democratic vote and some 273 affected families received financial compensation.


Sucker’s report, published in the August 1993 Gorilla Conservation News, documented a “compensation for the former encroachers” which was “underway with USAID and CARE in Kampala (Uganda).”


Again there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the same sort that was peddled to the Mwamis in the Tayna Reserve of Part Three of our Kong series: The Mwami’s Tale.


“The encroached Zone 2 of MGNP was voluntarily left by the illega1 settlers and land-users following a time-table, which was agreed up on in the memorandum of understanding. Between June and December 1992 this process went on in a peaceful and orderly manner. Violence was avoided from the beginning under the control of the Ugandan National Park (UNP) and the project. People shifting their homesteads from the National Park were supported by UNP with poles and bamboo taken from Zone 2. People were allowed to harvest their remaining crops until certain dates agreed in the memorandum of understanding. Cattle grazing and the grazing of domestic animals were stopped by the catt1e grazers according to the dates agreed,” Sucker reported.


This resettlement project became a model for similar projects in other national parks. It looked as if it might be really possible to enlarge the habitat of the mountain gorilla. For the first time in history, there could be, and there was, a reversal in habitat loss through cooperation and promises made and kept.


The animals thrived. The number of observed gorillas in the Mgahinga forest increased from 25 to 45 and they stayed for longer periods and more often. One group of gorillas spent an entire year in the forest, the first time such an event had been observed in more than 40 years. Buffalos and elephants returned and were seen in areas that had been abandoned by their species.


There is no doubt that the Mgahinga project, with Sucker running it, was a success for wildlife. This is not the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo today, despite the massive influx of “conservation” dollars into the region. As we pointed out previously, the northern white rhino of Congo’s Garamba National Park is all but finished, but the news has yet to be revealed for fear of upsetting donors and raising untidy questions. Wildlife and environmental protection has failed miserably in the DRC, for all the CARPE landscapes, National Reserves and National Parks. Judging by the constant flow of press releases and gruesome photos of severed gorilla heads from conservation organizations bemoaning the loss of gorilla after gorilla, and the steady accumulation of gorilla orphans, nowhere is this failure more evident than in the DRC’s Virunga National Park.


Again, there are no reports that we have found that document how the villagers felt about the unfolding changes at Mgahinga. Were Sucker alive and running the project at Mgahinga based on today’s exclusive Western model of conservation, we might as quickly be criticizing Sucker for marginalizing the local population and remaining silent about the green political issues at stake in Uganda, just as we are doing with the BINGOs and DINGOs involved in DRC. But the information is missing from Mgahinga and Sucker is dead.


It may be that Sucker’s reports were optimistically biased in favor of his own interests. More than 2000 people were displaced or evicted from Mgahinga after the national park was declared in 1991, and the average compensation paid was some $27 per person. Compensation was paid for physical structures and permanent crops, but there was no compensation paid for losses of land or land ownership; some people got nothing at all.[33] By any standard, the legitimate landowners and long-term residents were short-changed in the deal.


Mount Elgon is another story for which information is available. The villagers there have a voice, and the evidence is damning to modern conservation.


In 1993, three years before the genesis of Project Elgon, and one year before the death of Sucker, the Ugandan government gazetted Mount Elgon as a national park. Writing in the 2006 New Internationalist Magazine, Timothy Byakola and Chris Lang said, “The people living within its boundaries lost all their rights.”


According to Byakola and Lang, SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance) thinks the villagers never had any rights to begin with. “The encroachers have never had legal rights to farm the land and the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) is legally entitled to evict settlers from inside the boundary.”


SGS is a company contracted to oversee a current carbon offset project on Mt. Elgon, whereby guilty carbon users can pay a Dutch organization, Forests Absorbing Carbon-dioxide Emissions (FACE) to have trees planted to counterbalance their carbon emissions.


This “ruthless” eviction of villagers, without compensation, is a story we have heard repeatedly, ad nauseum.


The testimony given by Byakola and Lang is very specific.


“In March 2002, UWA evicted more people from Mount Elgon, many of whom had lived on the land for over 40 years. Park rangers destroyed villagers' houses and cut down their crops. With nowhere to go, the evicted people were forced to move to neighboring villages where they lived in caves and mosques. The families living in the caves had to keep fires burning all night to protect their children from the cold.” [34]


“UWA's park rangers receive paramilitary training,” New Vision reported. The article quoted David Wikikona, a Member of Parliament for the region. “The wildlife people who operate there are very militarized, and have killed over 50 people. People feel that the Government favors animals more than the people.”


New Internationalist Magazine quoted village elder Cosia Masolo, who lived in a nearby village for over 50 years: “When the UWA people came with their tree-planting activities, they stopped us from getting important materials from the forest. We were stopped from going up to get malewa (bamboo shoots), which is a very important traditional food here and is a source of income.”





Things were looking unbelievably good in Mgahinga Park from a strictly conservation for-its-own-sake point of view until 1993, when the BINGO, CARE, materialized with planned projects for multiple-use of the Mgahinga forest. Fossey faced the same opposition from the USAID sponsored Mountain Gorilla Project in Rwanda in 1978. After the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro of 1993, “sustainable use” was the magic phrase that would guarantee funding.


If CARE was going to get funding for “sustainable use” in Mgahinga Park, the first order of business would be to allow honey collectors, herb harvesters, bamboo cutters and other indigenous people access to the park. Sucker was in vehement opposition to these plans. While it was a noble thought to preserve traditional forest uses, the reality of increased population pressure, i.e., more users, he reasoned, would be destructive to the environment.


Klaus-Jurgen Sucker was not alone in his opposition to these plans—international scientists and the Ugandan National Parks organization backed him up. Mgahinga consists of 35 square kilometers, of which two square kilometers were in the “degraded Zone 2.” The fear at the time was that any disturbance would cause the gorillas and other animals to retreat back into the mountains. CARE forged ahead with its sustainable use trials, which resulted in the gorillas and other animals suffering the consequences, just as Sucker had predicted. A group of mountain gorillas with a newborn left the area and did not settle down for days, according to field reports Sucker left behind.


Phillip Franks and Rob Wild were the CARE-DTC Project leaders who swooped into Mgahinga Park with briefcases full of cash and utopian visions of sustainable use. A conflict with Sucker was inevitable. Friends of Sucker say that lobbying the CARE leaders was useless. They also charge that attempts were made to bribe Sucker into silence and complicity, but that Sucker refused the unholy pact.


Meanwhile DTC scheduled regular meetings with villagers to convince them that the involvement of CARE would improve their surroundings and standard of living. Agro-forestry was the first idea, but the farmers only received some bamboo shoots that had been taken from the gorilla habitat. Sucker’s friends and critics of CARE say that CARE was totally unwilling to cooperate with the established conservation projects. By giving the villagers bamboo shoots taken from the gorilla habitat, CARE indicated that it was trying to take over the conservation project and become the sole organization working in Mgahinga. Fossey fought the same battle with the Mountain Gorilla Project that encroached on her turf.


CARE/DTC wanted Mgahinga and the millions of aid dollars that would flow with it.


Eventually, the Ugandan national park system capitulated to the forces behind CARE and ordered Jurgens’s transfer to another Ugandan park on short notice in 1994; he was ordered to leave by August 1994. On June 16 he returned from a trip to Kampala to his home in Kisoro. He had traveled to Kampala to ascertain the reasons for his transfer, and while there he received warnings that his life was in danger. His fiancé said that he was not able to learn more about the reasons behind the threats. Friends say that Sucker felt as if he was in danger in Kisoro and took every precaution to keep his departure and whereabouts a secret, according to testimony in the Gorilla Journal. Nobody, not even his neighbors, knew about his plans.  


Sucker started to pack and made preparations for a transition to the new park warden’s position. He was found dead on June 20, with “a noose around his neck and his feet on the floor.” [35] The other end of the bright red rope was attached to the window bars. The remnants of his last lunch were on the table and packed boxes were everywhere. Everything suggests that Klaus Jurgen Sucker was prepared for the transfer, looking forward to his marriage, and eating his half-finished lunch.


Ugandan and German authorities were quick to speculate that Sucker committed suicide out of the disappointment of his imminent transfer. However, friends insisted that Sucker was eagerly looking forward to starting a family and anxious to marry his girlfriend of nine years. His fiancé maintains that they were shadowed in the weeks preceding his death—there was no farewell letter, and he had another job lined up.


The authorities ultimately listed suicide as the cause of death. However, friends and associates insist to this day that Klaus Jurgen Sucker was murdered.


The autopsy was performed under German conditions, according to Karlowski, and therefore did not take into account the unique situation of the African environment. The official wording was ambiguous: “The situation in which the deceased body was found and the pathological-anatomical evidence do not exclude suicide by hanging.” [Emphasis added.]


Hardly a “CSI-worthy analysis,” Karlowski says, invoking the popular television program.


Fossey’s murder investigation—or lack thereof—including the lost and found again evidence, and lost and found again hair, dueling French and FBI lab reports, bloody flashlights, and another mysteriously hanged man—possess striking similarities.


The reasons friends and associates do not buy the suicide analysis include the obvious facts that Sucker was a dedicated conservationist who clearly had many enemies. These ranged from poachers and smugglers to the leaders of the developmental aid projects that wanted to establish sustainable use projects in such a small national park. Like his predecessor, Dian Fossey, Sucker’s first priority was the protection of the plants and animals that inhabited the park—and he paid the price with his life, they say.


Dairy entries from a dead man provide interesting fodder for a deeper analysis of the monkey hole, and a voice whispering from beyond the grave. Sucker’s entries make stark reference to CARE-DTC personnel Rob Wild and Philip Franks who arrived on the Mgahinga scene in 1993.


On March 16, 1994 Sucker wrote:


“The extension of my work permit is prevented by USAID and Rob Wild.”


On March 28, Sucker described a meeting he had with Eric Edroma, the then director of the Ugandan National Parks.


“He (Edroma) took me aside and confided that Rob Wild, Rob Clausen (Director of CARE in Uganda) and somebody else had stormed into his office and vehemently protested against the prolongation of my stay. Edroma tried to straighten things out.”


Diary notes from April 17:


“Philip Franks told Edroma that he feels I am opposing everything that comes from DTC. The work permit has still not come through.”


According to the written testimony of Ulrich Karlowski, Edroma told Sucker that CARE and USAID were blackmailing him. USAID would pull all of its funding they said, if Sucker did not leave Mgahinga. According to Karlowski, three independent sources confirmed his testimony.


By May 1994, there were allegations of pilfered mail from the post office and other machinations by all parties involved.


But it is the diary entry of May 18, 1994 that perhaps sheds the most light into our monkey hole and explains exactly why USAID would be so interested in little Mgahinga Park, its mobile gorillas and Batwa honey gatherers.


“It is apparent that the US-American (sic) government is placing great effort into trying to control the frontier areas into Rwanda. The Mgahinga Project is located in one of these frontier areas which supposedly is (sic) valued for its potential to control, aid, and stabilize the neighboring country.”


In May of 1994, Rwanda was smack in the middle of the 100 days of carnage known as the Rwandan genocide.


Giving the eulogy at the 2006 memorial service of the respected American ex-patriot and African philanthropist, Rosamond Carr, the Reverend Ted Cleary vividly recalled the events of 1994: “In the spring of 1994 there was a tremendous holocaust which hit this country (Rwanda) in a most unimaginable way. It fell into a terrible abyss and seared its mountains and its valleys.” [36]


CARE had made many promises to the local population, but in the year following the death of Sucker only one representative of CARE briefly visited the park headquarters, according to Ulrich Karlowski (brother of Sucker’s fiancé). Feeling abandoned by CARE, the villagers welcomed Bergorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe (BRD) representatives Karlowski and Karl-Heinz Kohnen in November 1994. The villagers expressed disappointment and said they were “deceived” by CARE/DTC.


In the aftermath, Philip Johnston, at that time director of CARE USA, delivered an ultimatum to BRD that they must recant all allegations against CARE and its employees in the death of Sucker. If BRD did not meet this demand, CARE would demand immediate action from the German consulate. Wishing to avoid an international incident, BRD suggested an inquiry and re-evaluation involving CARE, USAID, Uganda National Parks (UNP) and persons from the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP).  BRD backed the proposal by saying that if CARE’s staff had nothing to hide, they would welcome the re-evaluation.


Ten days before Johnson’s threat, BRD received a letter from Edroma, Director of Uganda National Parks, suspending all research work in Mgahinga. This included all studies, not just those of BRD. All access to the gorillas was denied.


In May 1995, after passions had cooled, BRD again went to CARE to see if a compromise could be worked out which would benefit the gorillas and conservation work in general. Philip Johnson said he welcomed the overture, but never stood up to an offer he made for a meeting of all parties involved, including CARE, UNP and BRD, according to Karlowski.[37]


Finally, by August 1995, Edroma called for bids for donor support to the Mgahinga National Park. The organization with highest bid would get the opportunity to manage the park. CARE was ostensibly backed by a 57 million dollar budget from USAID.[38]


Klaus Jurgen Sucker saw his work at Mgahinga as a success that threatened powerful interests beyond his grasp.


 “Although this final report should be viewed with consideration to the fact that my involvement in the MGNP (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park) was prematurely terminated,” Sucker wrote to BRD colleagues prior to his death, “the goals of the project, i.e. to establish a functioning national park and to improve the protection of the local flora and fauna, were successfully met. To install another person to continue the project is unrealistic and of high risk, particularly in view of the possible motives for my transfer. Unfortunately, the remaining time available to me before my transfer on August 1, 1994, does not permit me to travel to Germany right now to personally inform you of the current situation. I will undertake everything in my power to personally get in touch with you as soon as possible.”

These are Klaus-Jurgen Sucker's concluding lines in his final letter to the German NGO Deutscher Tierschutzbund, dated June 15. The letter arrived after his death.[39]


Phil Franks is still working with CARE.


A long time CARE executive, Philip Johnston was voted to CARE’s Presidency in 1989. From October 1992 through March 1993, Dr. Johnston served as Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance for the United Nations in Somalia (UNOSOM) at the request on the U.N. Secretary General. Stationed in Mogadishu, he directed the integration of all “humanitarian” organizations with the military in the wake of civil war and famine. Dr. Johnston was received at the White House by President Bush and thanked for his accomplishments. Of course, Somalia was a debacle where the “humanitarian” community—the misery industry—was the principal agent in the deconstruction of Somalia and the rise of war and suffering. It was all about private profits, and CARE—like Save the Children and UNICEF—were all there for a piece of the donor pie. Journalist Michael Maren exposed the realities in his book the Road to Hell: the Ravishing Effects of International Aid and Foreign Charity (The Free Press, 1997).


By June of 1994, Philip Johnson was the spokesman for CARE in Rwanda, during the height of the atrocities there. Quoted by Knight/Ridder News in a special to the Boston Globe, Johnston commented on the death of local CARE workers—all of CARE’s foreign nationals were evacuated—and predicted a famine in the region.


“Philip Johnston, director of CARE, the world's largest private relief and development agency, said Friday that the confirmed death toll among CARE employees caught in Rwandan civil strife had risen to five and that the fate of many others and of their families, a number in the hundreds, was unknown.”

“Meanwhile, Johnston said, a deepening drought in East Africa threatened as many as 20 million people. In nine countries centered in the Horn of Africa ‘famine is only a few months away,’ he said.[40]


Johnston said nothing about the U.S. military involvement, just as he supported the Pentagon’s true mission in Somalia.


Johnston continued as CARE President until 1996.


Putting the whole (his) story of conservation in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa under the monkey scope, CARE’s foray into Uganda has remarkable similarities to the Conservation International/DFGF-I landscape projects in DRC today.


CARE officials in Congo have not responded to our communications about CARE projects in the USAID-funded CARPE landscapes that stretch across Central Africa.





Reporting for the Chicago Tribune, Paul Salopek’s Pulitzer-prize winning reportage is full of de facto advertisements peddling the interests of the BINGOs and DINGOs operating in central Africa. There were three CARE spokesmen, though one was not identified as such, in one article alone. Salopek quotes WWF experts as if they are purely involved in what we—the general American public—have erroneously come to perceive as wildlife “conservation” dedicated to “environmental” protection. As we have previously shown in this series, and will show more, these BINGOs and DINGOs are involved in all kinds of nefarious activities, even siding with logging companies—in both Congo-Brazzaville and DRC—and petroleum companies—in Gabon—against local people and indigenous resistance movements. Paul Salopek never challenges the hidden agendas of the organizations whose professional experts speak freely in his stories.


One WWF top-level official, a member of the WWF-USA National Council, is Douglas C. Yearley, currently Chairman Emeritus of Phelps Dodge Corporation—a mining giant involved in illegal mining in Congo’s Katanga province. Douglas C. Yearley is also a director of Lockheed Martin, a corporate partner of Zoo Atlanta and a military contractor connected to Beale A.F.B. Of course, World Wildlife Fund is partnered with USAID and CARE in “conservation” projects all over Central Africa. They are also throwing sand in the eyes of the local people.


In “Africa’s Wildlife Runs out of Room,” Salopek quotes Jackson Mutebi, a biologist also working for CARE’s Development through Conservation Program, and the article presents the appearance of being balanced, even critical of Western conservation agendas.


“The rich world wants places like Mgahinga preserved, and they usually get their way, but it’s always at the expense of the local people who live here,” Salopek quoted Mutebi to say. “When these places became parks in the early 1990’s, thousands of villagers lost access to firewood, building materials, food and medicinal plants overnight. They were so mad they were ready to hunt gorillas out of revenge. Our job is to try and find ways to compensate their losses.”


Salopek’s next paragraph presents CARE biologist Jackson Mutebi (quoted above) doing just what he says needs to be done. “Dozens of local workmen were putting the finishing touches on a gigantic water tank,” Salopek wrote, noting Mutebi’s leadership. “The metal cistern, paid for by the United Nations, eventually will supply 36,000 nearby villagers with tap water. The water is being piped from a wetland inside the park. Prime gorilla habitat.”


However, in the equations of power that exist today the net losses to the environment and people in Uganda are huge. These equations of power—structural factors dictating structural violence—are not explored by Paul Salopek or the Chicago Tribune.


While CARE’s DTC project will pump water from a swamp in “prime gorilla habitat” to some 36,000 villagers, the national water supply annually suffers a massive loss of fresh water from Coca Cola bottling operations in Uganda. A typical Coke plant will annually turn some 1,000,000 gallons of water—no matter how you look at it—into sludge.


Mining and petroleum operations in Uganda further devastate water and soils, and big multinational agribusiness—some of the partners and corporate sponsors of BINGOs like CARE and the IGCP partner Fauna and Flora International—dump tons of pesticides into the environment. Genetically modified crops are another blight on the commons of Uganda and these too come with the partners of the BINGOs and DINGOs.


Coke is a major partner of CARE. “Coca-Cola and CARE have been partners for decades as investors in a better world,” CARE’s corporate alliance PR reads. “The Coca-Cola Company and CARE are working hand-in-hand to create significant, effective and sustainable solutions to address global water and sanitation concerns.”


This is greenwashing.


Any positive impact of CARE’s operations in Mgahinga is more than offset by the detrimental and sustainable exploitation of Uganda by CARE’s corporate allies. These include big pharmaceutical companies (Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer); big agro-business (ConAgra, Cargill, McDonalds), big nuclear (GE, Exelon), big transport (Boeing, Daimler-Chrysler, Delta, Ford, General Motors), big chemical (3M, Abbott Labs), big timber (Weyerhaeuser, also a member of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership), and big defense and intelligence (Boeing, Ford, GE, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Lockheed Martin).


President Museveni personally sampled the first Coca-Cola products produced at the Coke bottling plant constructed in Uganda in the late 1990’s.


CARE is also partnered with ORACLE, the intelligence and defense company involved in high-tech satellite mapping, the company we met in Kong: Part Four: the Map.


But these “conservation” and “humanitarian” organizations’ ties to devastation and despair in Central Africa—as opposed to development and prosperity—run deep and silent. U.S., U.K. and Israeli interests are all over Uganda, and Uganda—like Kenya—serves as a major base of military operations and support for U.S. military and economic agendas in Somalia, Congo and Sudan. USAID is pivotal, and is now considered a major affiliated partner in the new AFRICOM—the Pentagon’s Africa Command.[41]


“AFRICOM aims to bring together intelligence, diplomatic, health and aid experts. Staff will be drawn from all branches of the military, as well as USAID and the departments of state, agriculture, treasury, and commerce. These nonmilitary staff may be funded with money from their own departments as well as the DOD.” [42]


USAID is a “soft” asset of the U.S. Department of Defense, and USAID has been involved with the Pentagon’s so-called “counter-terrorism” and other initiatives for years. According to one USAID document, “Combating terrorism also requires closer coordination between the Department of Defense (DOD) and USAID.” [43]


USAID is also aligned with the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa (PCHPA). PCHPA’s advisory committee members today include Olivier Legrand of Conservation International, three USAID directors, and the President of the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa from the U.S.


PCHPA co-chairmen from 2000 to at least 2004 included President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni. Other members included Peter Seligman, CEO of Conservation International and George Rupp, President of the BINGO International Rescue Committee, and a member of the board of the Pulitzer Prize committee for 2001, the year Paul Salopek won a Pulitzer for articles.


The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa is deeply tied to interests connected to the DINGOs of the “conservation” arena, including the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Conservation International. Africa Society sponsors include Archers Daniels Midland, Coca-Cola, Chevron-Texaco, Exxon-Mobil, Daimler Chrylser, and Ford—many of the same corporate partners of CARE.


Not only involved with CARE, the African Wildlife Foundation is one of the BINGOs involved with USAID, CI, WWF, JGI and the DFGF-I. AWF partners include the European Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and USAID. It is not surprising to find that one of the AWF’s premier sponsors is Barrick Gold Corporation. It is also not surprising than one AWF director, Walter Kansteiner, is deeply connected to gold and coltan mining in eastern Congo today, and was a National Security director for William Jefferson Clinton.


“CARE works with poor communities in more than 70 countries around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty,” reads the CARE USA web site. “We look at the big picture of poverty, and go beyond the symptoms to confront underlying causes. With a broad range of programs based on empowerment, equity and sustainability, CARE seeks to tap human potential and leverage the power of individuals and communities to unleash a vast force for progress.”


CARE USA is based in Atlanta, Georgia, the corporate base for the Georgia Institute of Technology, Goodworks International, Georgia Research Alliance, Zoo Atlanta, and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International—the mapmakers, monkey smugglers, and Mayor of our Kong series who are exploiting central Africa.


CARE doesn’t care about people, or the environment, and they didn’t set out to build local capacity or any kind of equitable “development” in Mgahinga National Park, just as they are not doing in Congo. CARE and DFGF-I and Chemonics set out to capture donor funding: they want to get at the money, and grow their organizations, and cycle the money back to themselves, and to do that they must have control of the land, the natural resource base, and the gorillas—a saleable commodity.


Klaus Jurgen Sucker stood in the way of CARE’s control of the landscape. With Sucker gone the proposals could be written, the promises made, the funds captured. But the actual work didn’t need to proceed in the field with any seriousness, just as “capacity building” in Congo is meaningless as long as a clique of powerful white interests—with their requisite black partners bribed and rewarded—controls and manipulates the system from start to finish.


Accountability for these projects is unnecessary, because this is Central Africa. The territory is inaccessible territory—the promised roads never repaired. The leaders are corrupt—because they are rewarded for corruption and are working for a corrupt clique. The Congolese and Ugandan people can’t run their own show, they are uneducated—the promised schools never built, the education stunted. Where schools do exist, they are typically the most rudimentary and insulting examples of patronage, still they are held up as evidence of our generous support. The “education” itself is the most elementary: no books, no computers, no desks, no windows, and no paper: nothing to insure that students will be able to take charge of their own future and compete with foreign “experts” for the only paying jobs that might exist. And it is impossible to learn when one is sick and hungry.  Outsiders who question the state of affairs maintained by the misery and conservation industries—and their elite cliques—are either ignored altogether, or are quickly and arrogantly challenged. “Who are you? What do you know about it anyways? You have not been here. You don’t know what it is like. This is Africa.”





The ongoing war in northern Uganda involves massive rapes, killing, tortures, and extrajudicial executions as a policy by the Ugandan military. Some 1.3 million people have been displaced in the Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts of northern Uganda. There are over 73 camps with from 1000 to 50,000 people in them, all forcibly displaced by UPDF soldiers, with over 350,000 people out of some 400,000 people displaced from the Gulu district alone.[44]


Forced displacements occurred after UPDF bombed, and burned Acholiland villages, and beat, killed, raped and threatened people into moving. Some of the displacements occurred prior to 1993, but the most recent round of forced displacements began in 1996 and peaked in the years 2002-2005.[45]


The entire “conservation” community, as in Congo, and Rwanda, is silent. Paul Salopek said nothing about the Ugandan military “adventures” in Rwanda, Congo, or Sudan, involvement in war and devastation, but ultimately aimed at private profit and resource plunder. The Chicago Tribune has not reported on the true causes for the conflict and suffering in northern Uganda: almost no one has. Of course, they have not reported on the big oil and gold investments in these areas either.


Indeed, this is Africa. Things fall apart.


Insight into the priorities of the “international community” can be gained by examining the 2001 report Beyond Boundaries: Transboundary Natural Resources Management for the Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga-Bwindi Region, published by the Biodiversity Support Program, a consortium of the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Resources Institute, that was funded by USAID. [46]


From 1998 to 2001, the BSP effort (1998-2001) brought together the “conservation” authorities from three warring states: the Office of Rwanda Parks and Tourism and National Parks, the Institute Congolais Pour a Conservation de la Nature (I.C.C.N.) from Congo, and Uganda Wildlife Authority. As the title of the report indicates, these experts addressed difficult issues affecting the transboundary gorilla habitats in the Great Lakes region—those nomadic gorilla groups and the inconvenience of the international borders of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.


The report offers insights into the mechanics of international wildlife protection applied to a war zone that has claimed millions and millions of people’s lives.


“In all three countries the park staff also works closely with military authorities, to ensure security in and around the parks for park staff as well as visitors to the parks,” the authors reported. “In Rwanda and DR Congo the military has provided training for park guards, and park management has held special training sessions with military staff on the value of conservation and the forest. Owing to the political climate, the park guards patrol and monitor the park accompanied by military staff. Joint military-park patrols are currently the norm in all three countries, and joint patrols between countries also involve both park staff and military. The military also provides protection for tourists, researchers and veterinarians entering the park to conduct their normal activities.”  [47]


How do conservation organizations achieve what the United Nations, the Security Council, the “international community,” and national governments cannot achieve? How is “international cooperation” to protect gorillas and gorilla habitat achieved in a landscape awash in human blood? Why is the protection of wildlife a higher priority than the protection of the millions of people who live in the Great Lakes region?


It is notable that conservation agents from National Parks and their agencies are jointly patrolling parks with military staff, but it is even more intriguing that the militaries of the three countries can maintain “joint patrols between countries.”  Yet—even after the production of monumental United Nations Panel of Experts reports qualifying the operations of these government militaries and their elite trafficking networks in destabilizing the region and naming both the regional and international agents and corporations involved—little has been done to stem the illegal commerce in natural resources, illegal weapons shipments, the money-laundering or extortion, or the massive slaughter of innocent men, women and children.


Said differently, while the DFGF-I and CARE and USAID and the International Gorilla Conservation Project secured the international and in-country political will to protect some 700 mountain gorillas, and even institutionalized the economic, political and military infrastructure to make such massive protection initiatives possible, they have also willfully secured the political will to allow, even facilitate, widespread and sustained looting, torture, rape and massacres. These are institutionalized, as well, in their own ways, as international and regional policies for land acquisition and depopulation.


This is structural violence. This is what the Western mass media is silent about. This is what the mythologies of the Western mass media are all about, and what the conservation organizations and humanitarian agencies are covering up or deflecting attention from.


The juxtaposition between the atrocities—massive war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide—and the hustle and bustle of international tourism, with military chaperones into the gorilla areas is perhaps the most telling. Is it any wonder that Daryl Hannah and her escorts encounter locals who “look angry, as though we are insulting them by driving past, as foreigners do each day, on $1,000-a-day safaris to see the gorillas?” [48]


“Privately,” Paul Salopek wrote, in one of his central Africa pieces, “some of the wildlife biologists involved [in Central Africa] admit that a fierce game of public relations one-upmanship—rooted in competition for donor funding—has marred the race to conserve Africa’s last true wilderness.”


It was a massive understatement.


“There's a lot of talk that goes into thin air," said a foreign park planner in Cameroon, Paul Salopek continued. “We don't cooperate, we don't even talk to each other, and a lot of effort gets duplicated.”

Closing out his article on Mgahinga, where he disparaged Klaus-Jurgen Sucker as a bulldog warden whose work paled in comparison to the BINGOs who ruined him, Paul Salopek points readers a few miles to the east, across the Congo border. Salopek’s trip in 2000 from Mgahinga to the Virunga’s National Park in Congo—home to the other half of the world’s gorilla populations—found a “spooky, derelict national park that [had] doubled as a battlefield for nearly two years.”


That’s where we took the Road to the Tayna Conservation Center in 2007. We set off to find out about the millions in USAID funds disappearing in a landscape where the same has happened to millions of innocent people. We wanted to check out the initiatives of the BINGOs and DINGOs, like the population control programs of the Jane Goodall Institute and their USAID and Conservation International partners.  ~






“The Road to Tayna—Fear and Loathing in the CARPE Landscapes of Central Africa”


[1] Klaus J. Sucker; “The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park,” article in Wildlife Clubs of Uganda 1992, pp.27-29


[2] Mid-term Evaluation of the CARE Development Through Conservation (DTC) Project; Grant Number 617-0124-G-00-91-01-00;

[3] Communication between Ulrich Karlowski and Georgianne Nienaber, June 26, 2007.

[4] Testimony regarding Klaus Sucker’s reports and diary entries in this investigation is generally taken directly from the written remarks of Ulrich Karlowski, the brother of Klaus Jurgen Sucker’s fiancé.


[5] Indian Country Today; March 3, 2007

[6] Letter from Tom Butynski to United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; December 13, 2005.

[7] <>.

[8] <>

[9] <>.

[10]   <>.

[11] <>.

[12] <>.

[13] See: Howard W. French, Africa: A Continent of the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa; and Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen Press, 1999.

[14] See: Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen Press, 1999; keith harmon snow and David Barouski, “Behind the Numbers: Suffering in Congo,” Z Magazine, July 2006; “Stolen Goods: Coltan and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Dena Montague, SAIS Review, Vol. XXII, No. 1,Winter-Spring 2002.

[15] Private interviews, keith harmon snow, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004-2007

[16] <>.

[17] Colin Chapman, et al, “Thirty Years of Research in Kibale National Park, Uganda, Reveals a Complex Picture for Conservation,” International Journal of Primatology, Vol. 26, No. 3, June 2005; DOI: 10.1007/s10764-005-4365-z.

[18] Colin Chapman, et al, “Thirty Years of Research in Kibale National Park, Uganda, Reveals a Complex Picture for Conservation,” International Journal of Primatology, Vol. 26, No. 3, June 2005; DOI: 10.1007/s10764-005-4365-z.

[19] Interview, September 2006, keith harmon snow

[20] Letter from Terry L. Maple, PhD. To U.S. Department of the Interior, December 10, 2005

[21] <>.

[22] Ibid

[23] <>.

[24] Traditional sawing: a log is positioned over a pit with a man above (lifting) and one below (guiding).

[25] Gorilla Journal.

[26] Fossey Archives, McMaster University, Hamilton ON and Woman in the Mists, Farley Mowat p. 349.

[27] Mark Dowie, “Conservation Refugees,” Orion Magazine, November/December 2005.

[28] Evaluation of the  Development Through Conservation (DTC) Project; Grant Number 617-0124-G-00-91-01-00;




[31] Letter from Sam Tumuhaise to New Vision,  July 23, 1994

[32] Ulrich Karlowski. “For a Fistful of Dollars,” Gorilla Journal, 1996


[34] New Internationalist, July 1, 2006


[36] Video record of Rosamond Carr Memorial Service, November 2006.

[37] Ulrich Karlowski. “For a Fistful of Dollars,” Gorilla Journal, 1996

[38] BRD Archives:


[40] Randolph Ryan, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 4, 1994.

[41] Numerous USAID and U.S. State Department media advisories cite USAID’s support of AFRICOM and discussions with the Pentagon about support of AFRICOM.

[42] Stephanie Hanson, The Pentagon’s New Africa Command, Council on Foreign Relations, May 3, 2007,

[43] Doug Menarchik, USAID and the War on Terrorism, USAID Summer Seminar Series, August 9, 2005: 

[44] Karen Parker, Forced Displacement in Northern Uganda, United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,

[45] keith harmon snow, “Hidden War, Massive Suffering: Another White People’s War for Oil,” Global Research, May 26, 2007

[46] The BSP began in 1988 and reportedly closed down in 2001.

[47] Annette Lanjouw, et al, Beyond Boundaries: Transboundary Natural Resources Management for the Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga-Bwindi Region, Biodiversity Support Program, c/o World Wildlife Fund, Washington DC, 2001: P. 27.

[48] Richard Bangs, “Silverback Mountain: Where Gorilla Roam,” Richard Bangs Adventures:;_ylt=AmDtN9V6xjqmWv3YnomVQsTDW8sF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjamtzcG1mBHNlYwNoei1zdG9yeQ .