Ghana View comments     
1952 BBC report ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Dr Kwame Nkrumah is elected as the country's first prime minister.           
1957 BBC report ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Ghana becomes the first black African country to shake off the chains of colonial rule. In leading the country to independence, Dr Nkrumah becomes an international symbol of freedom, spearheading the struggle for independence in much of sub-Saharan Africa.           
1961 BBC report ( cached ) See also: 1 
       In his book 'I Speak of Freedom', Nkrumah writes of the need to unite Africa - 'Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world'. He calls for an anti-imperialist, pan-African organization and non-alignment in the Cold War.           
1964 BBC report ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Nkrumah declares himself himself president for life and bans opposition parties.           
Oct 1965 Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Nkrumah publishes his famous work - "Neo-Colonialism - The Last Stage of Imperialism" - in which he predicts, quite accurately as events soon prove, that Africa will suffer persistent meddling by the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, particularly the CIA and the KGB. The book introduces the term 'neo-colonialism', whereby a state is theoretically independent, but in reality, has its economic system and political policies directed from outside.           
Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The US government reacts by sending Nkrumah a note of protest and cancelling $35 million in aid to Ghana.           
1966 Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       A CIA-backed military coup overthrows Nkrumah.           
US Govt archive ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Documents declassified only in 1999 finally provide definitive proof of the US role in the coup. In memorandum 253 Robert Komer writes 'FYI, we may have a pro-Western coup in Ghana soon. Certain key military and police figures have been planning one for some time, and Ghana's deteriorating economic condition may provide the spark. The plotters are keeping us briefed, and State thinks we're more on the inside than the British.'.           
Article ( cached )
       Following the coup, conditions in Ghana worsen rapidly.           
Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       IMF involvement in Ghana follows, and Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) are activated in 1983. Seen as a "star pupil" by the World Bank and the IMF, Ghana privatizes more than 130 state enterprises including the mining sector (its main source of revenue), removes tariff barriers and exchange regulations and ends subsidies for health and education.           
1999 BBC article ( cached )
       BBC listeners in Africa vote Kwame Nkrumah their "Man of the Millennium".           
Today BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Ghana today provides an example of the end results of IMF's policies. 20% of Ghanaians are unemployed and the cost of food and services has gone beyond the reach of the poor. GDP per capita was lower in 1998 ($390) than it was in 1975 ($411); 78.4% of Ghanaians live on $1 a day and 40% live below the poverty line; 75% have no access to health services and 68% none to sanitation. User fees in education have raised the primary school dropout rate to 40%.           
BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       These conditions prevail despite Ghana being the second largest gold producer in Africa. SAPs have compelled Ghana to sell the gold mining sector to Western multinational corporations which now own up to 85% of the large-scale mining industry. More than half of the 200 active gold concessions belong at least in part to Canadian companies. The corporations can repatriate up to 95% of their profits into foreign accounts and pay no income tax or duties. This means that Western companies virtually monopolize Ghana's gold which contributes little to its economy.           
Article ( cached )
       The Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) imposed on 36 African countries since 1980 have devastated the continent, decimating national economies and health and education systems. SAPs offer loans on condition that governments drastically reduce public spending (especially on health, education and food subsidies) in favor of repayment of debt owed to Western banks, increase exports of raw materials to the West, encourage foreign investment and privatize state enterprises; the last two steps mean selling whatever national assets a poor country may have to Western multinational corporations. Under SAPs, Sub-Saharan Africa's external debt has actually increased by more than 500% since 1980, to $300 billion today. In 1997, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stated that in the absence of debt payments, severely indebted African countries could have saved the lives of 21 million people and given 90 million girls and women access to basic education by the year 2000. The All-African Conference of Churches has called the debt "a new form of slavery, as vicious as the slave trade."

After twenty years of SAPs, 313 million Africans lived in absolute poverty in 2001 (out of a total population of 682 million), a 63% increase over the 200 million figure for 1994. Life expectancy has dropped by 15% since 1980 and today is 47 years, the lowest in the world. 40% of Africans suffer from malnutrition and more than half are without safe drinking water. Health care spending in the 42 poorest African countries fell by 50% during the 1980s. As a result, health care systems have collapsed across the continent creating near catastrophic conditions. More than 200 million Africans have no access to health services as hundreds of clinics, hospitals and medical facilities have been closed. This has left diseases to rage unchecked, leading most alarmingly to an AIDS pandemic. More than 17 million Africans have died of HIV/AIDS which has created 12 million orphans.

Between 1986 and 1996, per capita education spending in Africa fell by 0.7% a year on average. Forty per cent of African children are out of school and the adult literacy rate in Sub- Saharan Africa is 60%, well below the developing country average of 73%. More than 140 million young Africans are illiterate. Given the annihilating social impact of SAPs all over Africa, it is not surprising that Emily Sikazwe, director of the Zambian anti-poverty group "Women for Change," asked: "What would they [the World Bank and the IMF] say if we took them to the World Court in The Hague and accused them of genocide?"
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Congo View comments     
1959 Article ( cached )
       Popular revolts and demands for independence from Belgium force the Belgian government to negotiate with the rebellious parties.           
June 1960 Article ( cached )
       Lumumba, already recognized as one of Africa's most vociferous leaders of anti-colonial liberation movements, is elected prime minister of the Congo Republic immediately before the country's independence.           
Aug 1960 Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The US is concerned that Lumumba will be the new Castro. Eisenhower tells CIA chief Allen Dulles to 'eliminate' Lumumba at a National Security Council meeting.           
Church report ( cached ) See also: 1 2 
       The Church committee hearings of 1975-1976 would later confirm that Eisenhower gave the order to assassinate Lumumba, as well as revealing several CIA plots to assassinate Lumumba.           
Aug 1960 Washington Post article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The CIA establishes Project Wizard, a CIA covert action program aimed at removing Lumumba. Not to be outdone, the Belgians also initiate their own plot to kill Lumumba later in October, entitled 'Operation Barracuda'.           
Washington Post article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Over the next few months, the CIA works with and makes payments to eight top Congolese, including Kasavubu (who would replace Lumumba) and Mobutu (then army chief of staff). All eight play roles in Lumumba's downfall.           
Sept 5, 1960 Washington Post article ( cached )
       Lumumba is ousted and placed in captivity.           
Sept 19, 1960 Telegraph article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The British foreign minister meets with Kissinger, pressing him to kill Lumumba. During the meeting, Kissinger expresses his wish that 'Lumumba would fall into a river full of crocodiles'.           
Oct 1960 Washington Post article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The CIA provides Mobutu with $250,000 to win parliamentary support for a Mobutu government. However, when legislators balk at approving any prime minister other than Lumumba, the CIA prevents the parliament from reopening. The following month the CIA is authorized to provide arms, ammunition, sabotage materials and training to Mobutu's military in the event it has to resist pro-Lumumba forces.           
Jan 1961 UN report ( cached ) See also: 1 2 3 4 
       Lumumba and two of his comrades are killed, allegedy while attempting to escape confinement. It is recently revealed that he was actually executed by a firing squad commanded by a Belgian.           
Jan 1961 Washington Post article ( cached )
       Barely three weeks after his death, the US authorises new funds to be given to the people who arranged Lumumba's murder.           
1965-1997 Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Mobutu seizes full power and reigns as a despot for 35 years with US support. In 1980 he bans all political parties except his own. He personally controls 70% of the country's wealth, valued at $5 billion. At his death in 1997, he is personally responsible for 80% of his country's debts.           
Article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       During this period (up till 1991 when the US cuts aid), Mobutu receives over $1.5 billion in economic and military aid from the US while US companies increase their share of Congo's fabulous mineral wealth.           
1997 BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 2 3 4 5 
       Laurent-Denise Kabila forces a dissipated Mobutu from power. He inherits a country in ruins which soon finds itself in a brutal civil war in which to date an estimated 3 million people have been killed. The resource rich Congo, once the most promising of the liberated central African countries, after 35 years of US involvement in its affairs, is an economically, politically and socially bankrupt nation.           
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Diego Garcia View comments     
1965 BBC article ( cached )
       The US wants a base in the Indian Ocean, however one without a 'population problem' which might upset the base's operation. Diego Garcia is chosen, however there is a slight problem - the islands are home to some 1800 people.

To deal with this problem, British politicians, diplomats and civil servants begin a campaign - in their own words - 'to maintain the pretence there were no permanent inhabitants' on the islands. One official writes 'There will be no indigenous population except seagulls'.
1966 BBC timeline ( cached )
       Britain leases the Chagos islands (the largest atoll of which is Diego Garcia) to the US for 50 years.           
1966 BBC timeline ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Britain begins a program to drive out the residents of the Chagos islands (who had been living there for 200 years). Most are sent to Mauritius.           
1970 BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The Americans arrive on the island, and the remaining natives on Diego Garcia are called together and told they will have to leave.           
CNN transcript ( cached ) See also: 1 
       They are not allowed to take anything with them except a suitcase of their clothes. Without possessions or any professional skills, the islanders receive no help resettling or recompensation, becoming squatters in a foreign land.           
CBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The evacuation is kept a secret from the world for the next 30 years, with the official story being that Diego Garcia had no native people.           
1971 US Navy site ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Construction begins on a US naval base on Diego Garcia           
1999 CBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       Recently declassified documents are discovered, revealing that the colonial officials thought no one would notice if they deported the islanders. One document reveals that 'evicting the people and leaving the island to the seagulls' was done at the request of the US. It reads: 'The United States Government will require the removal of the entire population of the atoll by July.', a requirement the British were only too happy to oblige.           
Sept 2000 Guardian article ( cached )
       With the islanders fighting in high court in London for the right to return to home, the US exerts pressure on the British Government to prevent the return home of the islanders.           
Nov 2000 Guardian article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       A court in London rules that the deportation was illegal. The islanders win the right to return 'home' to two islands on the archipelago, however not to their original home - Diego Garcia, as the US refuses to allow this. The court also fails to provide any compensation to the islanders.           
Nov 2002 Guardian article ( cached )
       The US makes a formal request to launch 'offensive actions' from Diego Garcia as America continues its build-up for the campaign against Saddam Hussein. Although the US already has a military base on the island, it can be used only for defensive and training purposes, unless Britain permits attack operations.           
BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The US base on Diego Garcia is the largest outside the continental United States, and has been used by the US to launch B-2 and B-52 bombers in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars.           
Dec 2002 Guardian article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       A report is released revealing that torture has been used by the CIA on al-Qaeda suspects being held by the US on secret overseas detention centres including Diego Garcia.           
Today BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       The islanders have never fully integrated into their adopted communities and say the expulsion condemned them to a lifetime of poverty.           
BBC article ( cached ) See also: 1 
       They are currently suing both the US and the British governments for compensation and the right to return to their home.           
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