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PODCAST: Washington Post Attacks Burundi

KPFA Radio

January 1, 2017

by Ann Garrison

 

“The end of the unipolar, U.S.-led global order is most dramatically signified by the U.S. loss of its proxy war with Russia in Syria, despite dropping bombs faster than U.S. weapons industries could manufacture them. For the past year and a half, a much quieter struggle has been playing out in the tiny East African nation of Burundi. This week the Washington Post launched its latest salvo in the West’s propaganda war on Burundi.”

 

The end of the unipolar, U.S.-led global order is most dramatically signified by the U.S. loss of its proxy war with Russia in Syria, despite dropping bombs faster than U.S. weapons industries could manufacture them. For the past year and a half, a much quieter struggle has been playing out in the tiny East African nation of Burundi.

The U.S. and E.U. nations have repeatedly demanded that Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza step down, but Russia and China have stood up for Burundi, as for Syria, on the U.N. Security Council. Despite its small size, Burundi is, like Syria, very geostrategically situated.

To the east, it borders the scandalously resource rich Democratic Republic of the Congo. To the north, it borders longstanding U.S. ally and military proxy Rwanda. To the East, it borders Tanzania, which also favors Russia and China and borders the Indian Ocean.

Russian and Chinese firms have won Burundi’s major mining contracts, and Russia and China have repeatedly blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions to condemn, sanction or send armed force to Burundi. The U.S. and E.U. nations have punished Burundi by cutting aid, imposing sanctions, and turning a blind eye to Rwanda’s cross border aggression.

Western press and officials, including U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, have also waged a relentless propaganda war against Burundi. On December 26, 2016 the Washington Post published an attack on Burundi with no more evidence than its PropOrNot denunciation of independent news sites or its claims about Russians hacking DNC computers and even the U.S. power grid in Burlington, Vermont.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza

The story was first titled “They served an abusive regime. The U.N. made them peacekeepers anyway” but was later changed to “U.N. discovers that some peacekeepers have disturbing pasts.” This referred to the 1,130 Burundians serving as U.N. peacekeepers, primarily in Somalia and the Central African Republic, making it the 23rd greatest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations as of July 31, 2016.

Aside from its reliance on anonymous witnesses and its dateline Rwanda, the Washington Post story failed to mention that the top 10 contributors of U.N. peacekeeping troops include infamous human rights abusers Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Nepal, Egypt and Indonesia. Ethiopia, where the 6 percent Tigrean minority rules with an iron fist, is the top contributor of U.N. peacekeeping troops, with 8,333 peacekeepers deployed, seven times more than Burundi.

Washington, D.C.-based Ethiopian human rights activist Obang Metho, founder of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, says that Ethiopia escapes criticism by serving the West. “The Ethiopian government – the ruling ethnic minority regime that terrorizes its own people – they are not being criticized because they are the darling of the West. They’re pretty much that from Bush till Obama. Anything that the West will ask of them, they will do that.”

Metho also calls Ethiopia an ethnic apartheid regime. “Ethiopians call it not only an ethnic minority group. People also call it an ethnic apartheid group, because it’s almost like the way it was in South Africa and other countries. This tiny ethnic group, they control the security, the intelligence, the economy – almost every sector – and then they use it to divide and conquer, to divide one ethnic group against the other.”

The U.S. has never called on Ethiopia’s President Mulatu Teshome or his predecessor, Meles Zenawi, to step down, as they have Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. National Security Council Advisor and Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice gave a 15 minute tribute to Zenawi at his funeral.

 

[Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 9, 2016

by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Part three

 

In Part 3 of this series, Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer break down the funding and high-profile players and corporations behind the non-profit industrial complex who have been the soft power behind the climate change agenda and actions in recent years. From ice cream tycoons to liberal author darlings, there are deep connections to resources that have strategically co-opted the climate justice movement in its entirety. The spread of activist fervor is being harvested as a potential source new “consumer-activism.”  The consumer-activism is guided by bestselling playbooks for nonviolent revolution and a global network of trainers with a common “indigenous led” pedagogy.

Indigenous Ally: Unilever

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“Never Waste a Good Crisis” – Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever

“Standing with Standing Rock” is racist Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s.

In 2010, Unilever’s brand “Vaseline” launched a Facebook app in India to encourage users to whiten their skin in profile pictures. Further, Unilever owns “Fair and Lovely” — a deeply problematic line of skin bleaching products sold around the globe. [Source: Ben & Jerry’s is supporting Black Lives Matter — but will it make a difference? October 7, 2016 ] The question is: how did Indigenous Nations end up partnering with a corporation that shames people of colour and why does such a partnership continues?

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Unilever’s Kodaikanal mercury poisoning is one of the well chronicled cases of toxic pollution anywhere in the world. Kodaikanal Pollution is a proven case of mercury contamination by (Hindustan Unilever) during the process of manufacturing mercury thermometers for global export. In 2016, following 15 years of legal action, a settlement between Hindustan Unilever and the 591 former workers of the thermometer factory in the southern Indian hill town of Kodaikanal was reached. The amount was not disclosed. [Kodaikanal Won’t Video]

According to the Ben & Jerry’s website, this corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever with an independent Board of Directors. Upon purchase, Unilever agreed to a one-time gift of $5 million to The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to be administered by the foundation trustees. Board of directors include Annie Leonard (Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.” and co-founder of Earth Economics, a newer NGO that will provide tools for the financialization of nature)[1], and Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s (owned by Unilever) is in partnership with United Nations, 350.org, Avaaz and BICEP (a coalition of more than 20 leading consumer brand corporations created by 350.org divestment campaign partner Ceres). Campaigns include Save Our Swirled campaign and the recent Pathway to Paris campaign. Unilever  is also a partner to The B Team (the NGO founded by billionaire Richard Branson) as well as partner of the Avaaz sister organization, Purpose Inc., the for-profit marketing firm specializing in behavioural change. Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans also serves the B Team. Both Unilever, B Team and Purpose are all united under the NGO “We Mean Business” . [Further reading: PATHWAYS TO SPECTACLE | CONSUMERISM AS “ACTIVISM”]

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As an alternative to the American/colonial “Thanksgiving” dinner, a “Water Protectors Community Appreciation Dinner” was held on November 24, 2016 at the Standing Rock Community School on the reservation. Ben & Jerry’s donated the ice cream for dessert. As David Jones, former Global CEO of Havas Advertising and co-founder of TckTckTck as well as One Young World, foresaw in 2010, “who cares wins.”

“The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Indigenous Environmental Network to help them bring food and water to the camp and provide medical and legal aid for the protestors.” Ben & Jerrys website

On a similar note, in April, 2013 Upworthy (co-founded by Eli Pariser: Avaaz co-founder, Open Societies Foundations Advisory Board member) announced its initial revenue approach, “and that Unilever will become the first commercial brand to join a new “Upworthy Collaborations” advertising and sponsorship program…. Participation in the Upworthy Collaborations program will extend to brands, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and foundations.” [Source]

“Upworthy attracts a huge community of highly influential, socially conscious citizens — people who share our goal of building a better future for children,” said Marc Mathieu, Unilever Senior Vice President, Global Marketing. “Our partnership will include work for several of our brands, and we are looking forward to seeing how effective story-telling can help us engage with people more meaningfully.”

On the Ben and Jerry’s website (September 22, 2016) under “Here are Four Easy Ways YOU Can Help” the text reads “Please join us right now in supporting this remarkable cause” with the number one recommended action being: “1) Sign this petition to urge President Obama to stop the pipeline.”. The petition does not direct to the Standing Rock website, rather it redirects the reader to the 350.org website petition. Regardless, despite any given amount of energy being expended into online petitions, the reality is that this very “strategy” functions first and foremost as a means of broadening a support base and collecting massive volumes of personal information. The state doesn’t give a fuck about the common man (referred to commonly today as human capital) and never will. For the state, the working class are nothing more than mere consumers and human capital while minority groups are considered disposable/dispensable (and treated as such). One key task of the NPIC is to condition/convince these very citizens to believe otherwise. That oppressors can be made to be caring and good by demonstrating a fine display of moral conduct.

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“Unilever’s chief executive reflects on lessons learned at three major consumer goods companies, including how to manage people in a global context, the obligations corporations have to society, and why you should never waste a good crisis.” — McKinsey conversations with global leaders: Paul Polman of Unilever [Source]

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On the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe website page promoting a *Dave Mathews rock concert sponsored by Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s, there are three “take action” options. Option 1, sign the petition; Option 2, call the Whitehouse; Option 3, donate. [*Dave Mathews band has been working in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s since 2002.]

Upon clicking option 1 (sign the petition) you are re-directed to the Stand With Standing Rock  (“an official site of standingrock.org”) “take action” page to sign the petition:

As one can see in the screenshot below, the petition is brought to you by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the “Other 98”. The petition cites a target goal of 1 million signatures (in other words, the data of one million people). In tiny text under the two logos it reads “Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Other98 may send you updates on the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline via email.” There is no privacy disclosure as to what organizations (if any) Other98 will be sharing vast volume of collected data with.

Who is Other98?

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Other98%

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The Other 98%: “On tax day in 2010, Agit-Pop communications announced a new project called ‘The Other 98%'”. Agit-Pop worked closely with MoveOn (founder of Avaaz) in past campaigns. This campaign would be no exception.  “The pledge [2010:08:10: “Fight Washington Corruption Pledge”] is part of a broader campaign, titled the Other 98%, that will work this fall to elect leaders who will fight for the majority of Americans and not just the top 2%. This will be MoveOn’s major push this election cycle.” [Source: Wikileaks]

“That’s not what The Other 98 Percent would be doing, of course. They’re already closely involved in Occupy Wall Street. In fact, The Other 98 Percent’s Action Director, helped get Occupy Wall Street off the ground, taking part in early planning sessions and facilitating the meeting the night before the protest launched. — Occupy Wall Street Poses Branding Problem for “The Other 98 Percent, November 9, 2010

Andrew Boyd  is  the founder & project director at Beautiful Trouble. Boyd is co-founder of The Other 98% (which has been rebranded to Other98), a founding partner of Agit-Pop Communications.

“Agit-Pop Communications is an award-winning one-stop creative studio delivering strategic messaging, cutting edge New Media and boots-on-the-ground campaigning to the progressive netroots. We’ve won a Webby, two Contagious Festivals, Best Political Prank of 2009, YouTube’s Best Political Video of 2007, and the grudging respect of our enemies.”

His past activities include founding “Billionaires for Bush” (2003-2005), creative consultant for Credo mobile, Campaign Consultant & Campus Presenter for organizations ad NGOs such as UAW, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Council of Canadians, JWJ, CTWO, RAN, etc.

Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution  seeks to gather together, in one place, as much of this dispersed knowledge as possible. In doing so, editors Andrew Boyd (of Billionaires for Bush) and Dave Oswald Mitchell have produced a true treasure trove of collective wisdom. Authors include activists from a wide array of organizations — including Code Pink, the Yes MenRuckus SocietyJustice for JanitorsRebel Clown Army, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers — along with journalists, filmmakers, trainers, and researchers.” [Source]

One “problem” with having Andrew Boyd as a key member of the organization behind the Standing Rock NGO campaign is that Standing Rock should never be equated in any form to “beautiful trouble”. “Beautiful Trouble” is liberal soft porn for bored albeit well-intentioned liberals and those with limited exposure to the history of movements and revolutionaries. The resistance at Standing Rock is not “beautiful trouble” – rather, it is life and death in the face of genocide for Indigenous nations. It is worth noting Code Pink (a contributor to “Beautiful Trouble”) an NGO that has recently become active at Standing Rock, has recently issued a media release promoting the Netflix White Helmets propaganda video.

Partners publicly identified by Beautiful Trouble include Sellers and Boyd’s Agit-Pop Communications /The Other 98%, 350.org, The Ruckus Society, Code Pink, The Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly smartMeme) Waging Nonviolence, and others. [2]

Agit-Pop clientele includes MoveOn, Avaaz, Amnesty International, Rainforest Action Network, Credo, Tar Sands Coalition (350.org), and many others. [Client list as accessed by Sourcewatch in 2013]

Prior to the communications studio being called Agit-Pop, it was called “Ruckus Productions”.  May 24, 2007: “Our friends at Ruckus Productions recently did an incisive and graphically charged agit-prop video to help launch the Avaaz.org campaign: Stop The Clash of Civilizations, with music by DJ Spooky. Yesterday it was posted on the home page of YouTube and as of this moment has been viewed over 188,000 times.” [Avaaz was founded in 2007].

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Above: Screen shot of the Other98 “Warriors Wanted” video for Standing Rock identifying the Standing Rock partnerships. The video posted October 18, 2016 on Facebook has garnered 371,000 views  and 14, 103 shares (as of Dec 1, 2016).

The Other 98% twitter account follows their project partners and the usual blasé liberal NGO establishment. MoveOn, Eli Pariser (Avaaz/Upworthy founder), Credo, NRDCc, RAN, New Organizing Institute, 350, SEIU, Tar Sands Action, New Economy Coalition, Next Gen, Rising Tides, Greenpeace, Annie Leonard, CodePink and many more who move through  the interlocking directorate of the NPIC.

John Sellers is co-founder of The Other 98% and Agit-Pop Communications with Boyd. He is the former executive director of the Ruckus Society and current board president. Sellers worked for Greenpeace in the early 90s (office director, Greenpeace,  Washington) prior to joining  Ruckus. (Andy Menconi, who serves as Agit-Pops’s art diector is also co-founder of Agit-Pop Communications with Sellers and Boyd.) [SouceWatch: John Sellers run the liberal public relations and online campaign consulting business Agit-Pop which he co-founded with Andrew Boyd. Their clients include dozens of groups affiliated with Democratic Party politics and liberal causes including MoveOnCREDOFamilies USAAFSCME, etc.”]

The Other98 & AVAAZ

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Image: U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. Perriello served as President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and as a Counselor for Policy at Center for American Progress until July of 2015 when he was appointed Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes and the Congo-Kinshasa by the White House.[Source]

“The Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death. Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests. — Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, which is described as a global civic advocacy group, and Democratic front party, Moveon.org. The silent voice behind Avaaz, Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of three key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur; Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello; and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department. [Source: WELCOME TO THE BRAVE NEW WORLD – BROUGHT TO YOU BY AVAAZ]

Boyd shares an affiliation with both MoveOn (co-founder of Avaaz) and Avaaz itself.

On the “team” section located on the Billionaires for Bush website, the disclosed Board of Advisors (identified as a “partial listing”) includes Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel. [Description: “A fellow of Res Publica and co-founder of Faithful America. Graduated first in a class of 350 from Balliol College, Oxford and was a Silliman Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. He has consulted widely including for the Rockefeller Foundation, Harvard University, and CARE International.”] [Further background on Patel]

Boyd shares office space with the Avaaz Foundation headquarters in New York. He uses Avaaz address for Agit-Pop communications even referencing those who wish to contact him to ring to the “Avaaz” buzzer.

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Above screenshot: The Avaaz Foundation (also known as Avvaz.org) address as listed on the Guidestar website: 857 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003

Below screenshot: Contact information as found on Boyd’s personal website: “me at the office: Agit-Pop East, 857 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (at corner of B’ & 17th., “Avaaz” buzzer, 3rd floor)

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Much of the Beautiful Trouble book project took place in the Avaaz office:

“Writing Beautiful Trouble has been a novel process…The book was assembled in the cloud, with much of the heavy lifting done during four ‘book sprints’ that took place in Avaaz’s lovely New York City office, which they were generous enough to let us use.” [Source]

One thing is certain. Imperial-liberal left “activists” have no issues in maintain close relationships with NGO co-founders who share much responsibility for deaths of hundreds of thousands of Libyan and Syrian citizens. This begs the question on why they would feel any differently toward the ongoing genocide of Indigenous nations on American soil.

Ironically, part two of Beautiful Trouble shares a section titled “No one wants to watch a drum circle.” [Source]

Climate Ribbon

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Andrew Boyd, Gan Golan, and Naomi Klein at the Climate Ribbon art-ritual after the People’s Climate March, NYC, September 21, 2014.

Another project of The Other 98 is the direct action project “Climate Ribbon” created to coincide with the September 2014 “People’s Climate March (PCM) organized by GCCA/TckTckTck. [“In the Climate Ribbon ritual, participants are invited to find a stranger’s ribbon, read it aloud, have the group answer ‘We are with you,’ or ‘We’ve got your back!’ Then they tie the ribbon onto their wrists and take it home with them.”] The launch of the Climate Ribbon was the culminating art installation at the 2014 People’s Climate March. The project’s Advisory Circle includes AVAAZ, 350.org, Greenpeace, Beautiful Trouble, Rainforest Action Network, Movement Generation, The Other 98%, CODEPINK, and many others.  [Source] 1563 organizations participated.

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Notables featured for their ribbons include Al Gore, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben.

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Our pied pipers fly to faraway places. The masses follow. The crude oil must flow to feed the collective appetite of the 1-2% who create 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That is, anyone who can afford to fly on a plane. We write messages of love on spools of red synthetic ribbons imported from Chinese sweatshops, to adorn our egos and self-gratification. Simultaneously, our brothers and sisters throughout the global south are paying the price for our carbon intensive, consumptive lifestyles that continue to expand unabated. ” By way of our collective actions, “the other 98%” does not matter. Actions speak louder than words. Our appetites cannot be quelled. We look away. As the grotesque Madeline Albright once said: “we think the price is worth it.”

The ribbon theme would be utilized the following year (2015) for COP21 in Paris.

Beautiful Trouble

“Beautiful Trouble is a crash course in the emerging field of carnivalesque realpolitik, both elegant and incendiary.”— Naomi Klein

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“Based in New York City. Project spans the globe…. The leadership of Beautiful Solutions first published Beautiful Trouble, a book that has sold 10,000 copies, been translated into seven languages, and used by campaigns and classrooms across North America and Europe.” [Source: Rauschenberg Foundation]

As previously discussed, partner organizations publicly disclosed by Beautiful Trouble include Sellers and Boyd’s Agit-Pop Communications /The Other 98%, The Ruckus Society, and others. More recent partnerships include 350.org, This Changes Everything and Avaaz.

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Collectively these NGOs (identified above) serve as the hub of organizations that provide non-violent direct action (NVDA) training, shaping  and developing the ideologies and aspirations of whole societies via expertise in behavioural change.

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Following in the footsteps of Avaaz and 350.org, both global in scale, Beautiful Trouble outlines its own “expanding beautiful universe”, “beautiful happenings” and “share the love”:

“We launched (and are hard at work on) Beautiful Solutions: In partnership with Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, we’re building an interactive online gallery for sharing the stories, solutions and big ideas from the new economy and social justice movements that are critical to address the challenges we all face from climate change.”

A recent paid/part-time internship opportunity for Beautiful Trouble can be found on The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution that “fosters a commitment to the ideals of public service and informed public debate exemplified by Nelson A. Rockefeller, former governor of New York State and Vice President of the United States.” [Source] This posting, as uneventful as it seems, exemplifies the target market/demographic of potential leadership sought and developed by NGOs that comprise the NPIC: that of ivy league status and class. There are no Indigenous trainers identified on the Beautiful Trouble website.

The Beautiful Trouble network “is an alliance of artists, trainers, and creative campaigners who continue to support creative activism. It seeks creative approaches to social change.” [Source] Beautiful trouble is not about revolution. It about the development for the expansion of American driven ideologies and social constructs imparted by those who benefit from such institutions. The Beautiful Trouble network is an exercise of the development and expansion of networked hegemony driven by the belief of American exceptionalism. It reframes the necessity regarding the required dismantling of  the capitalism system in its entirety by creating a false illusion that the system can instead be made better by the “new economy”, otherwise known as transformative capitalism, generative capitalism and natural capitalism.

To do so, it targets and appeals not to those who wish to overthrow the system, but to those who wish to further benefit from the system – by developing a strong base and ideology with more than willing converts. This creates a cultural ambience, where improving the economic system is the only acceptable recourse. It further drives these manufactured societal norms via social engineering. Revolution is no longer the overthrowing of a system to save what little remains of life on this Earth, but a pathway for electric cars, fair trade Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and solar panels.

“We also began work on Beautiful Rising: Starting in 2015, Beautiful Trouble and ActionAid Denmark are teaming up with activists, movements and organizations across the Global South to assemble a toolkit of creative activism that will showcase the innovative tactics and strategies of southern social movements. If you have activist connections in Burma, Uganda, the Middle East/Jordan, Zimbabwe, and (maybe) El Salvador… let us know, we’d love to reach out to them.” Beautiful Trouble website, January 8, 2015

The Beautiful Trouble network has previously been focused on establishing success domestically and is now targeting global expansion. This is an almost unconscious exercise in psychological conditioning of whole societies which spreads like a contagion. A physical maneuvering that affords 21st century colonization and the expansion of US imperialism a shield against any/all criticisms. In a very real sense this 21st century form of  colonization and the expansion of US imperialism although carried out in broad daylight, remains invisible.

This is imperial soft power in its most gentle form. This is the belief in American exceptionalism to be contemplated, digested and finally dispersed to non-Anglo countries by the white middle class demographic, in periods of boredom and emptiness between shopping and Netflix. A Brave New World virus transmitted via a “hearts and minds” netwar.

In partnership with 350.org, GCCA, and Avaaz, we pulled off BT’s First European Training in Budapest in September, 2014 with youth climate leaders from a dozen countries across Eastern and Central Europe.

 

“Help us supply low-budget activists across the globe with a free copy of Beautiful Trouble (follow the link and click “gift edition”.) We’ll take these copies with us in our global workshops, as well as use them to stock worker centers and prison libraries, to ensure they reach people who can use a little trouble in their life but otherwise couldn’t access the book.” [Source: 2015: More beautiful(s) than ever! – January 8, 2015]

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The Beautifful Trouble Network, a key instrument of empire, has it eyes on the global South: “Beautiful Trouble and ActionAid Denmark are teaming up with activists, movements and organizations across the Global South”.

Par for the course, Beautiful Trouble, like all imperial NGOs, tows the line in framing governments in the global south as repressive, without ever referring to their own government/governments in this manner. All while their own governments (in this instance the US) is carrying out war, occupations ad illegal invasions throughout the entire globe. This sets the tone for destabilization efforts throughout the globe such as the current one in Venezuela, where Canvass/Otpor (promoted by 350, OWS, etc.) is utilizing the work of Gene Sharp and has been working in concert with right-wing forces to overthrow socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

“Hoaxes or flash mob, protest modes should, according to American activist Andrew Boyd, adapt to changes of capitalism, without neglecting traditional events… Internet has multiplied the interconnections. Movements like 350 or Avaaz , which has 42 million members, weigh heavily internationally. Both organizations working on human rights, environmental justice, corruption, and will probably be very active at the Climate Conference in Paris in December. In a forthcoming book, Beautiful Rising, whose website already allows sharing of experiences, the idea is to provide better tools to the particular circumstances of the South, where the political environment is often more repressive, Internet less accessible. Cultural differences exist due to less economic development. Mounting an action in the favelas in Brazil has nothing to do with the struggle of the middle class in New York.” — The Challenge Must Go Through More Creative and Joyful Actions, March 27, 2015

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Above: Naomi Klein. “Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets.” [Further reading: THE INCREASING VOGUE FOR CAPITALIST-FRIENDLY CLIMATE DISCOURSE]

December 10, 2012: “BT invited along on 350.org’s “Do the Math” tour. Andrew Boyd, one of Beautiful Troubles editors, saw the show in New York City where BT author Joshua Kahn Russell MC’d an event that felt more like a mass-workshop cum rock-concert than a lecture tour.” [Source]

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One funder of Beautiful Trouble is the Chorus Foundation is founded by Farhad Ebrahimi. Ebrahimi co-chaired Environmental Grantmakers Association‘s 2015 flagship retreat, which featured Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter) as a speaker. [Source] (Chorus Foundation is a member of Environmental Grantmakers Association.) The foundation utilizes the language of “new power” (Jeremy Heimans of Purpose) and the “new economy” (the green economy rebranded): “We need to divest from the old economy and invest in the transition to a new economy. To date, we have invested nearly $4 million in solar and other clean energy as well as in a very small number of companies building the new economy.” The Chorus Foundation is a member of New Economy Funders Network (NEFN). This network identifies “applied ecological economics” (“applying these measures of environmental services and values to economic policy and financial realms.”) as its future and paramount purpose.

The Chorus foundation has invested in Seventh Generation, 350.org, New Economy Coalition, Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus Society, Idle No More, Mosaic Solar, among others, contributed $46,900.00 in 2015 towards a Beautiful Trouble ($5,900.00 for a staff retreat), and identified the NGO as follows: “Beautiful Trouble is a collaborative effort by 70 artist-activists-strategists and over 10 leading creative campaign organizations including the YesMen/YesLab, Ruckus Society, Other 98%, and others.” According to the Chorus Foundation website, $25,000 of the funding went to the “initial phase of the Beautiful Solutions project, a partnership with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.” [Source]

Beautiful Solutions, The Backbone Campaign

Beautiful Solutions is fiscally sponsored by The Backbone Campaign which is also identified as a partner NGO in the Beautiful Trouble network. Executive director Bill Moyer co-founded the Backbone Campaign in 2003. An internet search on the Backbone Campaign address [PO Box 278, Vashon, WA 98070, 206-408-8058] also pulls up the Patagonia corporation (a primary funder of Ruckus).

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Dal LaMagna, Getty Images

In regards to both the address and phone number, The Backbone Campaign is shared with the Progressive Government Institute founded by Dal LaMagna in 2003. The Executive Director of PGI is identified as Bill Moyer, who describes the group in the following way: “The Progressive Government Institute is a non-partisan, educational organization dedicated to ensuring transparency and accountability in the executive branch of the federal government.” Yet, it is glaring that the founder of the group, Dal LaMagna, ran for U.S. Congress twice in the 3rd Congressional District in New York as the Democratic and Green candidate in 1996 and 2000, respectively and ran for President in the 2008 Democratic Primary.

In 2005, LaMagna merged PGI with the Backbone Campaign.

Who is Dal LaMagna?

“Dal is currently working as a responsible capitalist activist. He is an major funder and active Trustee of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute which awards MBA’s in Sustainable Business.” [Source] LaMagna is founder of Tweezerman, a corporation founded in 1980 “that practices responsible capitalism”. LaMagna’sTweezerman, U.S.A. was acquired in 2004 by Solingen, Germany based Zwilling J.A. Henckels for a reported $57 million. The following year LaMagna sold his shares in Tweezerman, India.

LaMagna is a member and former advisory board member of the Social Venture Network (SVN), “a group of responsible capitalists promoting social and economic justice through their businesses.  He is on the board of directors of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, an MBA program that is “Changing Business for Good.”  Part of the BGI program includes the Dal LaMagna Responsible Capitalism series” LaMaga also serves on the board for The Center For CongressYes MagazineTweezerman Corporation, and Icestone.   He is a founding partner of and a blogger at The Huffington Post and serves on the Dean’s Council for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.”

LaMagna supports numerous NGOs including: CodePink, The League of Young Voters, the Rainforest Action Network, UFPA United for Peace and Justice, , Business Leaders For Sensible Priorities (BLSP),  the Drug Policy Alliance, the Center for Economic Policy and Research,  The Nation Institute,  Momma’s House, The Rockridge Institute, the Center For Partnership Studies, Gold Star Families For Peace, the Campaign For America’s Future, the Center for Independent Media,  Mount Desert Island Laboratory, and the Washington State Progress Alliance. He currently lives in Poulsbo, Washington and has a second home in Washington, D.C.

LaMagna epitomizes the ultimate ideologies/philosophies and vision of the NGOs and training organizations that comprise the NPIC: a global economy that flourishes under “responsible capitalism”. B Corp corporations, yet another million dollar certification scheme, such as Ben & Jerry’s, set the stage for examples of “evolving capitalism, conscious capitalism and natural capitalism. The CEOs of B Corporations are upheld as the progressive visionaries of our time. The newly appointed stewards of nature. From shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism is the carrot for society meaning, “we are willing to give you a piece of the pie provided we all work together sustain the capitalist economic system”.

“And at least one major corporation is involved. gave a $25,000 grant to the Indigenous Environmental Network, a nongovernmental organization, to support the indigenous community at Standing Rock.” — Fashion Steps Up at Standing Rock, December 2, 2016

rising-tide-backbone-keyston_kxl_pipeline_monster_at_td_bank

Backbone Campaign: “Rent or borrow this awesome, portable, compact, and lightweight pipeline prop that fully inflates in about a minute. We worked with Rising Tide Seattle to take-over the offices of a top financier of tar sands extraction in a bold and impressive way. Bring this prop to you action, march or protest. It’s fun for participants to help mobilize and grabs the attention of photographers and spectators alike. You can create your own banner to put on the side of it if you like. It’s approximately 30ft long and can be easily help above the heads of the crowd. (check out the exciting video from its debut HERE). Fill out the form below to rent or borrow this prop for your actions.”

Backbone’s said purpose is to “use creative tools and strategies to  educate the public on issues of government transparency, civic participation and democracy. It’s primary focus is imagery and trainings workshops. Highlights of their work include a 2010 flashmob created for MoveOn & Other98 paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action. Other clients/allies include Working Washington & AgitPop, Popular Resistance, and Tzeporah Bermans ForestEthics (now called STAND).

Backbone organized “14+ powerful Kayaktivist actions that earned international headlines”… inspiring “Kayaktivism across country and planet.” [Source]

Global Domination

asante_avaaz

Avaaz, “*Our Victories, 2014: Saving the Maasai’s Land” [Source]| Feb 27, 2015: “…another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes.” [Source]  August 28, 2016: “Thousands of pastoralist Maasai groups in Tanzania have been evicted from a 1,500 sq km area close to the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Ngorongoro national parks.”[Source]  *Note that there is no update on the Avaaz “Our Victories!” page.

In a 2006 USAID document, the organization suggests that NGOs should be given legal recognition “as an important element in the development of sustainable community development as associated with ecotourism.” Today NGOs are undoubtedly recognized “the most important element in the development of sustainable  community development as associated with the new economy.” The fact that elite interests would like to see NGOs granted legal recognition (this means protection) reveals how critical, and understood, NGO involvement actually is (by the United Stated government) for the further expansion of new markets (payments for ecosystem services), neoliberalism and US foreign policy.

350.org (Rockefeller foundation, Clinton Initiative) has expanded into an international powerhouse. Avaaz, GCCA (TckTckTck) and 350.org are today the most powerful NGOs on the planet. They are perhaps the most vital instrument in empire’s war chest. The goal is the utilization of western ideologies to obtain global domination.

“A five-day Beautiful Trouble training session for 25 young climate activists was organised jointly with 350.org and Avaaz in September with participants from Belarus, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. GCCA provided expertise, outreach, logistical support and part of the funding for the session, while the group shared an innovative methodology that has proved successful at bringing people out on the street and encouraging them to join the global movement. As a direct result of this session, youth groups organised Peoples’ Climate March actions on 21st September in both Budapest and Warsaw, and successfully used these tactics to take a visible stand against a government squeeze on civil society space in Hungary. GCCA will continue to support the groups involved as they work to mobilise citizens across the region.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014 [Emphasis added][Source]

It is critical to note the gross undermining carried out by TckTckTck/GCCA against Bolivia, the G77 and small island states in 2010 at COP15. Their collective actions, unknown to most, should be considered for what they are: crimes against humanity. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

“The objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” — Havas Press Release, EYES WIDE SHUT, TckTckTck expose, January 6, 2010

GCCA/TckTckTck (lead organizer of the 2014 People’s Climate March)  is a “coalition of twenty key international organizations” including Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace , Kofi Anna’s Global Humanitarian Forum, OXFAM, WWF, World Council of Churches, Union of Concerned Scientists, Equiterre, Global Call to Action against Poverty (also co-chaired by Kumi Naidoo), and the Pew Environment Group. [Source: TckTckTck: The Bitch is Back]

avaaz-350-burundi

350.org in Burundi, Africa:”Hundreds of thousands join the People’s Climate March in New York and in more than 2,000 communities all over the world … Meanwhile, one of the most popular malls in the Philippines has launched the world’s largest solar power on its facility. The SM Supermalls has installed 5,700 solar panels on its North EDSA branch on November 24, 2014. The system is said to generate 1.5 megawatts of solar energy, covering five percent of the store’s average daily electricity consumption.” [For more photos see source] Avaaz is also in Burundi on other business. The business of destabilization: Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli

Consider that from June 13-15, 2016, 350.org, headlined at “The Global Youth Forum of the World Bank”  (live blog). Those on the first panel included activities from Energy Action CoalitionHere Now (Purpose), 350.org, and Green Brunei. It’s not the mere fact that 350 et al wish to work within the system. What must be understood (and thus far it is not) is that they are part of the system itself.

“Slogans like “350”, “New Economy”, and “Sustainable Capitalism” are promoted by Mad Men via foundation-funded front groups, and echoed by media, thus generating enough noise to overwhelm critical judgement. Symbols that appeal to progressives’ emotional vulnerabilities, like rising sun logos used to symbolize hope and change, are recycled to mean “This Changes Everything”, thus creating the impression that neoliberal reform is socialist revolution.” — Hijacking the Environmental Movement, April 25, 2016

All good intentions aside, well intentioned and well meaning citizens are being corralled by the world’s foremost experts in social engineering and behavioural change. East Indians struggle to survive poisoning at the hands of Unilever while in the West, liberal left sycophants strive to partner with Unilever, Patagonia, Seventh Generation (recently purchased by Unilever) etc. – all under the banner of “environmentalism” and “social justice”. “Success” is only achieved by economic growth. The more growth, the more environmental destruction, exploitation of those most vulnerable, pollution and carbon emissions – on an already exhausted planet on the brink of ecological collapse. It is the height of insanity.

 

Next: Part 4

 

End Notes:

[1] “The goal to commodify the commons under what has come to be known as “(payment for) ecosystem services” (as well as Natural Capital, Biosphere Economy, etc.) will look to the private sector for investment. The scheme promises corporations, private investors and the world’s most powerful financial institutions both ownership and control (i.e. expansion of power) of Earth’s natural resources, as the return on capital investment. We bear witness to an explosion of new environmental markets and ecosystem services products which are already being developed in order to capture the trillions of dollars to be made from the capture and exploitation of “natural capital”. The implementation of payment for ecosystem services will create the most spectacular opportunities that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits.

This is a new mechanism for generating profits for the wealthy (those with financial capital on the top tier) via the global commodification of nature’s functions and services. In essence, the implementation of payment for ecosystems services represents an unprecedented coup: a privatization of the commons. A free-for-all for further corporate capture like nothing the world has yet witnessed. Corporations and the financial institutions are frothing at the mouth. Never before has neoliberalism witnessed such opportunity and scope as in the expansion of markets and capital. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.”

[2] Others include The New Organizing Institute, Beyond the Choir, Nonviolence International, Alliance of Community Trainers, The Yes Men/Yes Labs, The Center for Artistic Activism (where Boyd serves on the advisory board), and Escola de Activismo.

 

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 2]

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

Canada in the Congo

Counterpunch

Canadian officials have long done as they pleased in Africa, loudly proclaimed this country’s altruism and only faced push back from hard rightists who bemoan sending troops to the  “Dark Continent” or “dens of hell”.

With many Canadians normally opposed to war supporting anything called “peacekeeping”, unless troops deployed with an African UN mission are caught using the N-word and torturing a teenager to death (the 1993 Somalia mission) they will be portrayed as an expression of this country’s benevolence. So, what should those of us who want Canada to be a force for good in the world think about the Trudeau government’s plan to join a UN stabilization mission in Mali, Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic or South Sudan?

First, we have good reason to be cynical.

On his recent five country African “reconnaissance” tour defence minister Harjit Sajjan included an individual whose standing is intimately tied to a military leader who has destabilized large swaths of the continent. Accompanying Sajjan was General Romeo Dallaire, who backed Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front in 1993/94 and continues to publicly support the “Butcher of the Great Lakes”.

In his 2005 book Le Patron de Dallaire Parle (The Boss of Dallaire Speaks), Jacques-Roger Booh Booh, a former Cameroon foreign minister and overall head of the mid-90s UN mission in Rwanda, claims Dallaire ignored RPF violence, turned a blind eye to the weapons they received from Uganda and possibility shared UN intelligence with the Ugandan sponsored rebels. Dallaire doesn’t deny his admiration for Kagame. In Shake Hands with the Devil, published several years after Kagame unleashed unprecedented terror in the Congo, Dallaire wrote: “My guys and the RPF soldiers had a good time together” at a small cantina. Dallaire then explained: “It had been amazing to see Kagame with his guard down for a couple of hours, to glimpse the passion that drove this extraordinary man.” Dallaire’s interaction with the RPF was not in the spirit of UN guidelines that called on staff to avoid close ties to individuals, organizations, parties or factions of a conflict.

Included on the trip because he symbolizes Canadian benevolence, Dallaire hasn’t moved away from his aggressive backing for Kagame despite the Globe and Mail reporting on Kagame’s internal repression, global assassination program and proxies occupying the mineral rich Eastern Congo. The recently retired Senator has aligned his depiction of the 1994 Rwandan tragedy to fit the RPF’s simplistic, self-serving, portrayal and Dallaire even lent his name to a public attack against the 2014 BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story. In February the former senator met with the Rwandan dictator in Toronto.

Three weeks ago the ruling party in Burundi released a statement criticizing the Canadian general’s role in Rwanda and his inclusion on Sajjan’s trip. Still, I’ve yet to see any mention of Dallaire’s backing of Kagame or the fact his ally in Kigali has significant interest in the UN mission in Eastern Congo.

Another piece of history that should be part of any debate about a UN deployment to the continent is Canada’s link to the UN force in the Congo, which is an outgrowth of the mid-1990s foreign invasion. In 1996 Rwandan forces marched 1,500 km to topple the regime in Kinshasa and then re-invaded after the Congolese government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. This led to an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003, which left millions dead. Since then Rwanda and its proxies have repeatedly invaded the Eastern Congo.

Kigali justified its 1996 intervention into the Congo as an effort to protect the Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi) living in Eastern Congo from the Hutus who fled the country when the RPF took power. As many as two million, mostly Hutu, refugees fled the summer 1994 RPF takeover of Rwanda.

The US military increased its assistance to Rwanda in the months leading up to its fall 1996 invasion of Zaire. In The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006 Filip Reyntjens explains: “The United States was aware of the intentions of Kagame to attack the refugee camps and probably assisted him in doing so. In addition, they deliberately lied about the number and fate of the refugees remaining in Zaire, in order to avoid the deployment of an international humanitarian force, which could have saved tens of thousands of human lives, but which was resented by Kigali and AFDL [L’Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo, a Rwandan backed rebel force led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila].”

Ottawa played an important part in this sordid affair. In late 1996, Canada led a short-lived UN force into eastern Zaire, meant to bring food and protection to Hutu refugees. The official story is that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien organized a humanitarian mission into eastern Zaire after his wife saw images of exiled Rwandan refugees on CNN. In fact, Washington proposed that Ottawa, with many French speakers at its disposal, lead the UN mission. The US didn’t want pro- Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko France to gain control of the UN force.

On November 9, 1996, the UN Security Council backed a French resolution to establish a multinational force in Eastern Congo. Four days later, French Defence Minister Charles Millon, urged Washington to stop stalling on the force. ‘‘Intervention is urgent and procrastination by some countries is intolerable,’’ Millon said in a radio interview. ‘‘The United States must not drag its feet any longer.’’

Canada’s mission to the Congo was designed to dissipate French pressure and ensure it didn’t take command of a force that could impede Rwanda’s invasion of the Eastern Congo. “The United States and Canada did not really intend to support an international force,” writes Belgian academic Filip Reyntjens. “Operation Restore Silence” was how Oxfam’s emergencies director Nick Stockton sarcastically described the mission. He says the Anglosphere countries “managed the magical disappearance” of half a million refugees in eastern Zaire. In a bid to justify the non-deployment of the UN force, Canadian Defence Minister Doug Young claimed over 700,000 refugees had returned to Rwanda. A December 8 article in Québec City’s Le Soleil pointed out that this was “the highest estimated number of returnees since the October insurrection in Zaire.”

The RPF dismantled infrastructure and massacred thousands of civilians in the Hutu refugee camps, prompting some 300,000 to flee westward on foot from refugee camp to refugee camp. Dying to Live by Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga describes a harrowing personal ordeal of being chased across the Congo by the RPF and its allies.

Ultimately, most of the Canadian-led UN force was not deployed since peacekeepers would have slowed down or prevented Rwanda, Uganda and its allies from triumphing. But, the initial batch of Canadian soldiers deployed to the staging ground in Uganda left much of the equipment they brought along. In Le Canada dans les guerres en Afrique centrale: génocides et pillages des ressources minières du Congo par le Rwanda interposé (Canada in the wars in Central Africa: genocide and looting of the mineral resources of the Congo by Rwanda interposed) Patrick Mbeko suggests the Ugandan Army put the equipment to use in the Congo.

Prior to deploying the Canadian-led multinational force, Commander General Maurice Baril met with officials in Kigali as well as the Director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Hinting at who was in the driver’s seat, the New York Times reported that Baril “cancelled a meeting with United Nations officials and flew instead to Washington for talks.” In deference to the Rwandan-backed forces, Baril said he would only deploy UN troops with the rebels’ permission. ‘‘Anything that I do I will coordinate with the one who is tactically holding the ground,’’ Baril noted.

Much to Joseph Mobutu’s dismay, Baril met rebel leader Laurent Kabila who was at that time shunned by most of the international community. The meeting took place in a ransacked mansion that had belonged to Zaire’s president and as part of the visit Kabila took Baril on a tour of the area surrounding Goma city. Baril justified the meeting, asserting: “I had to reassure the government of Canada that the situation had changed and we could go home.”

The book Nous étions invincibles, the personal account of Canadian special forces commando Denis Morrisset, provides a harrowing account of the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) operation to bring Baril to meet Kabila. The convoy came under attack and was only bailed out when US Apache and Blackhawk helicopters retaliated. Some thirty Congolese were killed by a combination of helicopter and JTF2 fire.

Despite the bizarre, unsavory, history outlined above, Canada’s short-lived 1996 UN force to the Congo is little known. The same can largely be said about Dallaire (and Ottawa’s) support for the RPF during the mid-90s UN mission in Rwanda or Canada’s role in the UN force that helped kill Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba.

Widespread ignorance of Canada’s chequered UN history in Africa reflects a political culture that gives politicians immense latitude to pursue self-serving policies, present them as altruistic and face few questions. Unless progressives upend this culture the loud expressions of Canadian benevolence are unlikely to align with reality.

[Yves Engler’s latest book is ?Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation.]

Unworthy Victims: Houthis in Yemen and Hutus in Burundi

Black Agenda Report

August 30, 2016

by Ann Garrison

 

Garrison_HutuHouthis

The U.S. reserves for itself the right to decide which nations and peoples are worthy to exist. Washington gives thumbs down to Hutus, who make up the vast majority in Burundi and Rwanda, and condemns the Houthis, a significant part of Yemen’s population. “The U.S. and its allies have deemed the Tutsis to be ‘worthy victims,’ the Hutus ‘unworthy victims.’” The same goes for Houthis targeted for death by the Saudis.

***

avaaz burundi

Above: Burundi is the latest target in the many “Avaaz” destabilization campaigns: “Burundi: before it’s too late

“If there is an outbreak of violence between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi, the U.S. will bear huge responsibility.”

Last week the U.S. helped its Saudi pals bomb another hospital and school in Yemen, killing 25, including at least 10 children. Don’t imagine that its intentions are any more humanitarian in? Burundi? just because they’re not selling fighter bomber jets, MK-84 laser guided bombs or GBU-31 satellite-guided bombs to their pal Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president for life. Kagame is intent on bringing down President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government in Burundi, as Saudi sheikhs are intent on bringing down the Houthi government in Yemen.

There are no multibillion dollar weapons sales motivating the U.S. to support a coup in Burundi, but access to the strategic mineral wealth required to manufacture weapons is among the stakes. Burundi has nickel, gold, copper, uranium, tungsten, tin, peat, platinum, limestone, vanadium, tantalum, niobium, kaolin and cobalt. Though its output has not yet been globally significant, its government has contracted with a Russian firm to mine its nickel reserves, and Bloomberg today quotes a Chinese source predicting a bull market in nickel just beginning. Nickel is used to make stainless steal, and nickel alloys are used in electronics, specialist engineering, space vehicles, submarines and the tubing used in desalination plants for converting sea water into fresh water. I haven’t seen Burundi’s mining contract with the Russian firm, but I’ve been told that the Russians valued the country’s nickel reserves far higher than Western firms and offered a much better deal.

More importantly, Burundi shares a western border with the scandalously mineral rich eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and an eastern border with Tanzania, an East African nation with an Indian Ocean port that is also leaning towards the East in the heightening competition between Eastern and Western axes of power.

If the U.S. and Rwanda succeed in taking down the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza, we won’t see video of hair-raising Pentagon special effects. Instead we’ll hear more preposterous rhetoric about the world’s obligation to “intervene,” ignoring Burundi’s’ sovereignty, to “stop genocide” or “stop the next Rwanda.” This argument has also been used to justify war in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and even Iraq, where genetic damage caused by toxic U.S. munitions is the most literal genocide the world has yet seen.

I’ve been told that the Russians valued the country’s nickel reserves far higher than Western firms and offered a much better deal.”

The “stop the next Rwanda” argument is more easily made in Burundi because Rwandans and Burundians are close to being the same people. They share both a border and a Hutu majority, Tutsi minority demographic. Their languages, Burundi’s Kirundi and Rwanda’s Kinyarwanda, vary only slightly.

This recently shrill warning from the UN and the Voice of America — UN: Violence, Hatred Against Burundi Tutsis Could Presage Genocide — is one more in a steady stream published in the U.S. and European press since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election in July 2015. In a nation in which these two groups, Hutus and Tutsis, have been historically polarized and have massacred one another in competitions for power, this is akin to shouting fire in a crowded theatre. If there is an outbreak of violence between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi, the U.S. will bear huge responsibility as it did for the Rwandan war of 1990 to 1994, which ended in horrific massacres of both groups as U.S. ally Paul Kagame seized power.

Here’s some context that you won’t find in the Western propaganda about Burundi during the past year:

1)  Some, most notably Rwandan scholar Léopold Munyakazi, have argued that Hutus and Tutsis are best understood as social classes, not ethnic groups, and the Rwandan war of the 1990s as a class war, not a genocide. Hutus and Tutsis share the same language and culture, eat the same food, and marry each other, and the vast majority are Christian. The Tutsis were a pre-colonial ruling class, the Hutus their peasant subjects, until the Hutus rose up in 1959, in what is sometime called the Rwandan Revolution, sometimes the Hutu Revolution. By 1961 Rwanda had transitioned from a Belgian colony led by a Tutsi monarchy to an independent nation led by elected Hutu politicians and intellectuals.

2) In 1990, U.S.-backed Tutsi general Paul Kagame led a refugee army that invaded Rwanda from Uganda to seize power, re-establish a de facto Tutsi dictatorship, and establish the U.S. as the dominant power in Rwanda, displacing France. The U.S., Europe and Israel have long found it convenient to favor the Tutsis and depict them as the endangered minority without acknowledging that Hutus suffered for centuries under the Tutsi ruling class or that Hutus as well as Tutsis were massacred by extremists in what came to be known as the Rwandan Genocide. In Rwanda and Burundi, the U.S. and its allies have deemed the Tutsis to be “worthy victims,” the Hutus “unworthy victims,” in the parlance of Professor Edward S. Herman, co-author with David Peterson of The Politics of Genocide and Enduring Lies: Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years On.

“The Tutsis were a pre-colonial ruling class, the Hutus their peasant subjects, until the Hutus rose up in 1959, in what is sometime called the Rwandan Revolution, sometimes the Hutu Revolution.”

3) On October 21, 1993, violence and massacres broke out in Burundi after elites in the Tutsi army assassinated the first Hutu president, political intellectual Melchior Ndadaye. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians, mostly Hutus, were slain, largely because the Tutsi elite still controlled the army. A civil war began and didn’t end until 2005. President Pierre Nkurunziza is a Hutu, but Hutus and Tutsis have been integrated in both the government and the army, with the Tutsis enjoying larger percentages because they are perceived, as the minority, to be in greater need of representation.

4) On April 6, 1994, the 100 days of violence known as the “Rwandan Genocide” or, in Rwanda, “genocide against the Tutsi,” began immediately after the assassination of two more Hutu presidents, Rwanda’s Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi’s Cyprien Ntaryamira. Their plane was shot out of the sky over Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, as they returned from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but this assassination of two African presidents was never investigated by the highly politicized International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, which prosecuted only Hutus. Susan Thomson, a scholar of Rwandan history and politics and persona non grata in Rwanda, has described what followed in a video interview for a documentary film in progress: “There were pogroms, there were massacres on both sides, disinformation on all sides. At the elite level, as you go down the food chain, people are scared. Regardless of ethnicity, regardless of region, religion, whatever cleavage you want to choose, Rwandans were caught up in the violence. So it’s absurd to say that only Tutsis are victims.”

Now, to repeat two points about the assassination of three presidents: On October 3, 1993, massacres and then civil war broke out in Burundi after the assassination of the country’s first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye. On April 6, 1994, Rwanda’s famous hundred days of massacres broke out after the assassination of two more Hutu presidents, Rwanda’s Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi’s Cyprien Ntaryamira. Therefore, if the U.S. were really trying to prevent genocide in Burundi, wouldn’t they be trying to prevent the assassination of another Hutu president, Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza?  Rwandans and Burundians who understand this history know that Nkurunziza’s assassination would be a catastrophe and know that U.S.-backed insurgents would like to assassinate him, whether the U.S. approved such a plan or not. The months since Nkurunziza’s re-election in July 2015 have been punctuated by the assassination of upper-level army commanders and government officials close to him.

In the third week of November 2015, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that “Burundian insurgents” had fired mortar rounds at the presidential palace in Burundi’s capital city, Bujumbura. Near the same time, I spoke to former UN official Jeff Drumtra about his documentation of Rwanda’s recruitment of Burundian refugees to form a new rebel army to destabilize Burundi. I also asked him about the mortar rounds fired at the presidential palace, to which he responded, “I can say, having worked on issues of Rwanda and Burundi on and off for more than 20 years, that we know, historically, that the violence gets worse and the risk of mass atrocities becomes much more serious when both sides feel that they have been victimized. And so, a mortar attack on the presidential palace . . . if it were to hit its mark and actually create a large number of deaths, or even the death of a president . . . would certainly create a situation where the ruling party and everyone who voted for the ruling party in Burundi would feel victimized at a whole new level. And if something like that were to happen, that’s when, historically, violence in Burundi becomes much worse, and that’s what everybody fears here.”

I then contacted the U.S. State Department and asked whether they were not alarmed by AFP’s report of mortar fire aimed at the presidential palace, considering that the massacres of the 1990s in both Rwanda and Burundi had broken out after the assassination of Hutu presidents.

“In Rwanda and Burundi, the dominant narrative has long been that Tutsis are the victims or potential victims to be protected from the Hutus.”

State took the question quite casually and responded that they had submitted a query on my behalf to their Ambassador in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, and they’d get back to me when he responded. They never did, and that should be the end of any fantasies that the U.S. is trying to stop genocide in Burundi. The State Department is usually helpful when a question doesn’t threaten their dominant narrative. In Rwanda and Burundi, that dominant narrative has long been that Tutsis are the victims or potential victims to be protected from the Hutus. Hutus are the perpetrators to be tried at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, imprisoned, hunted down in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and demonized as subhuman killers driven by innate bloodlust and singular determination to kill Tutsis. That narrative is repeated endlessly by Western media, as in this 02.19.2002 Guardian report, “Pastor who led Tutsis to slaughter is jailed.” Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark represented the pastor, Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda and called his conviction “a travesty of justice.”

Like the Houthis in Yemen, the Hutus have been deemed unworthy victims by the U.S. State Department, though for centuries they were the oppressed class in what is now Rwanda and Burundi, and though hundreds of thousands of them, perhaps as many as a million, have been massacred in the horrific violence of the last 50 years in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Like most Burundians and Rwandans that I know — Hutus and Tutsis — I would love to see this virulent bigotry land in the dustbin of history along with the “Hutu” and “Tutsi” distinctions that have alienated people in this part of the world from one another, but that will not happen so long as the West gives singular victim status to the Tutsis and demonizes the Hutus in its humanitarian interventionist ideology.

[Ann Garrison is a writer living in Oakland, California. John Bannister is a writer living in Alameda, California.]

 

The Creation of Discursive Monoculture

Public Good Project

May 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

television_war_poster

The creation of discursive monoculture—intended to dominate all discussion of vital issues—is the result of a strategy by the power elite to prevent counter-power narratives from entering mainstream consciousness. Through hostile takeovers of government, media, and the non-profit industrial complex, the financial sector in the last decade has accomplished what official censorship and political repression could not: totalitarian control of social media, and the mobilization of progressives in support of neoliberal fascism.

As I noted in Preventing Discursive Monoculture, the financial sector capture of media, academia, and civil society indicates a future of diminishing consciousness—a future where fantasies about political power enable the murder of Indigenous activists and unembedded journalists with impunity. More recently, in A World of Make Believe, I elaborated on the fact that privatized mass communication now dominates public opinion to such a degree that all public discussion of vital issues is choreographed by PR firms.

In Controlling Consciousness, I observed that the donor elites that set the civil society agenda benefit from Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness, allowing them to fabricate news, as well as to integrate advertising with government propaganda. In order to maintain credibility, the non-profit PR firms subservient to the power elite, i.e. Avaaz, need to first establish a noble reputation, often using the tried-and-true method of poverty pimping—an effective and largely undetected tool in the art of social engineering.

Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in "The Rise of the Movement Entrepreneur" discussion hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

Above: Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in Social Media Week hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

As I remarked in R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe, under the neoliberal model of global conquest, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose, and Amnesty International function as stage managers for the power elite in choreographed productions where neoliberal heroism can be enacted. These constructed events–that urge neoliberal military interventions in countries like Mali, Burundi, Libya and Syria—then draw in civil society as participants of moral catastrophe, where they actually become complicit in crimes against humanity.

conformity-is-unity-3

Courtesy of Mark Gould

The ulterior strategy of Avaaz as the ‘Great White Hope’ in other venues, subsequently allowed this social media marketing agency to easily herd so-called progressives to line up behind the neoliberal imperial campaigns in Libya & Syria–where Avaaz literally designed and managed the PR campaign for NATO and the US–in order to present the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra as the good guys in ‘white helmets’. Networked psychological warfare (Netwar) is not hard to grasp; it just isn’t discussed anywhere, making Communication: The Invisible Environment.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe

Wrong Kind of Green

April 28, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

jerremy heimens maxresdefault

Above: Avaaz  and Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans

Purpose Avaaz Syria-Campaign-HIRE

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Under the neoliberal model of global conquest–exhibited by the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council (i.e. USA, France and UK) in countries such as Burundi, Mali, Libya and Syria–the recurrent chorus line R2P-R2P-R2P-R2P from pro-war, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and Amnesty International is what the European writer Federica Bueti described as the ‘theatre of catastrophe’ that dramatically changes the way we live. The crises of the war economy concocted by these heavy-hitters throughout the world, then, become stage sets where the drama of neoliberal heroism can be enacted.

Performance extras such as the Purpose subsidiary White Helmets—good guys always wear white hats—funded by USAID, play the role of innocent victims, thus justifying the need for the heavy-hitters to ride to the rescue. Or, in the case of modern warfare, to bomb the hell out of the designated villain(s).

avaaz-ad-720

New York Times Avaaz Ad, June 18, 2015. Headline: “PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” …“A majority of Americans support a No-Fly Zone in Syria to save lives and 1,093,775 people around the world [in an on-line petition] are calling for action now.” The photograph used in the ad is from the Anadolu Agency.

As Bueti observes, catastrophe has ‘become a rhetorical tool used to reinforce a general state of anxiety’ and ‘the rhetoric of crisis suggests a daily apocalyptic scenario in which preventive measures and special interventions are required to ensure the survival of neoliberal forms of governance’. The crisis as a constructed event–in which the media plays a major role–she says, ‘has succeeded in producing a peculiar representation of catastrophe with devastating social effect’ that, due to the urgency of immediate intervention, ‘has produced an opaque filter through which it is almost impossible either to understand the causes and consequences of the current crisis or to see a way out of it’.

Avaaz Obama jpg

“People write congratulatory messages to President-elect Barack Obama on a 24-foot long message board in front of the Lincoln Memorial November 6, 2008 in Washington, DC. The organization Avaaz.org has set up a global message board at the memorial with display of messages from all around the world for people to write their notes to Obama.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while flanked by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va. Recent polls show Rep. Perriello trailing challenger Virginia State Senator Robert Hurt (R-VA). With mid-term elections approaching, President Obama has been campaigning for Democrats who may be in jeopardy of losing their seat. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

October 29, 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while Avaaz co-founder Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) looks on during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Writing further, Bueti notes, ‘In Greek theatre, catastrophe designates the moment preceding the final resolution of the plot. In breaking with the rhythm of the narration and moving from one side of the stage to the other, catastrophe creates a moment of suspension of emphatic participation in the staged event. This moment allows the author to directly address the audience through the Chorus, which represented both the voice of the author and the one of the politeia, or Athenian citizens. …In the moment of kata-strephein, the staged dilemma of the individual hero becomes the shared dilemma of the whole of community, eventually creating a temporary event of solidarity’.

As Bueti reflects, ‘From a strictly pedagogical perspective, the Chorus is the moral representative of the polis and of its institutions, the bearer of a certain order that needs to be endlessly confirmed and reiterated’. When the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council prepare to pound the constructed villain(s) into oblivion, it is the heavily-armed proxies of the heavy-hitters that produce the conditions creating moral catastrophe that the chorus cheers on toward a happy ending. As Bueti concludes, ‘Apocalyptic scenarios, in this case, possess a restorative dimension in which the hero will save the world from an imminent disaster’.

 

Further reading

THE PURPOSE OF AVAAZ: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Wag the Dog: Campaigns of Purpose

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps

Oriental Review

March 30, 2016

By Andrew Korybko

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps Anti-Terror Help

The EU has stepped up its behind-the-scenes role in organizing regime change in Burundi by taking the dramatic step to cut most of its funding for the country’s anti-terror contingent in Somalia, this according to the latest exclusive report from Reuters. Burundi provides nearly a quarter of the 22,000 African Union (AU) troops stationed in the country and is the largest international contributor. Correspondingly, while there’s no official data about the number of AU soldiers who have been killed during the nearly decade-long African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), reliable estimates and official UN data from 2013 indicate that Burundi has borne the brunt of the roughly 3,000 fatalities that are thought to have occurred.

Given Burundi’s dedicated commitment to fighting terrorism in Somalia and the blood that its military has already shed in furtherance of this goal, it’s all the more surprising that the EU would risk undermining its anti-terror effectiveness, especially when Burundi is essentially carrying out its task as a paid surrogate for Western troops themselves. Revealingly, Brussels’ decision adds proof to the convincing allegations that the EU elite are more influenced by US-whispered geo-economic imperatives in overthrowing the leader of a geopolitical pivotal and mineral-rich state than pragmatically assisting its forces in the shared struggle against global terrorism.

Black-On-Black Terrorism

Probably the most immediate reason why the EU elite don’t appreciate Burundi’s anti-terror commitment in Somalia is because Al Shabaab, the primary target of this indefinite mission, only operates in Africa and targets black victims. It’s not that the group is doing this out of any purposeful intent, but simply that its area of operations around the Horn of Africa puts it within range of mostly black targets. In an ironic rebuff to their ideology but in accordance with their unsurprising and typical double standards, the Cultural Marxist EU elite don’t see any pressing need to halt black-on-black terrorism so long as it’s contained to Africa and doesn’t target European-based Africans. Al Shabaab has yet to expand its zone of attack to anywhere directly relevant to conventional EU interests, preferring instead to kill Ethiopians, Kenyans and even fellow Somalians in its crazed pursuit of an irredentist and ethnic Somali-dominated “Islamic State” in East Africa.

Members of Somalia's hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

Members of Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

It’s true that there exist certain grievances that the regional Somali community definitely has towards their respective governments no matter which country they presently reside in, and there was a failed Cold War-era effort at reviving the “Greater/Natural Somalia” that was divided by European and what was perceived to be African (Ethiopian) imperialism, but Al Shabaab has expertly manipulated these preexisting sentiments and historical memory and intertwined it with the violent doctrine of extreme Islam in order to manufacture a semi-appealing terrorist group that masquerades as a pseudo-“resistance” organization. Furthermore, there have been strong suspicions in the West that Qatar is one of the terrorist group’s sponsors, and while no smoking gun has emerged, such a truth would believably mesh with the emirate’s already proven modus operandi in the Mideast.

In contrast to Saudi Arabia’s terrorists, Qatar’s have largely refrained from attacking Western targets, possibly owing to a tacit agreement that they have with the latter’s governments to provide soft support (media sympathy, “refugee” status, etc.) for Doha’s patronized Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated elements in exchange for much-needed and competitively priced energy contracts. Both sides are presently upholding this deal, with the EU continuing to purchase Qatari energy resources while Emir Thani holds off the terrorist hordes from attacking European targets (at least for now), and with Al Shabaab likely part of this arrangement, Brussels sees no urgent need to substantially support outsourced anti-terror activities against a regional African group that only targets local black victims. For this self-interested and ideological inconsistent reason, the “bleeding heart” Cultural Marxists of the EU are eagerly willing to sacrifice the effectiveness of a solid and tested anti-terrorist force in Somalia solely as a means of encouraging regime change in Burundi.

The Geopolitical Hinge

The average observer might be dumbfounded with disbelief that the EU would knowingly hamper anti-terror operations in Somalia in order to pile up regime change pressure on a geographically tiny and landlocked Central African state, but the unspoken geopolitical reality behind all of this is that Burundi is actually quite important in a regional strategic sense. It’s far from being a pivot, but because it plays an integral influencing role on the nearby pivots themselves, it can more accurately be described by the author’s own neologism as being a “geopolitical hinge”. Its strategic disposition one way or the other can impact on regional affairs but not necessarily change them owing to the country’s comparatively lesser influence on its neighborhood, but it nevertheless fulfills an important role in the larger East African paradigm of power. All economic considerations aside about the lust that Western companies have for displacing their expected Russian and Chinese rivals in the country’s largely untapped mineral sector, Burundi occupies an ideal geographic space in one of the most dynamic and gradually focused-on areas of the continent. To place the country into a grander context, East Africa is on the cusp of undergoing New Silk Road-affiliated transnational integrational projects that could dramatically elevate its regional partners’ multipolar status in the emerging world order.

Un-burundiThat said, Burundi is the weak link in this emerging construction due to the potential that its domestic identity-differences, legally subdued but still socially present, could be manipulated from abroad to engineer a disruptive Hybrid War that sabotages an important spoke of the African Silk Road network. To get into the details, Burundi abuts regional giant Tanzania, whose population is expected by the UN to surge to epic and powerful proportions by mid-century to 137 million, making it the fourth-fastest-growing country in the world. Relatedly, while this could potentially be a demographic curse, it could also be an economic blessing, and it’s for this reason why China and other countries have a deep-seated interest in getting involved in the country’s economy now while it’s still relatively early on to do so. However, a prompted Hybrid War in Burundi would inevitably lead to overspill effect across the Tanzanian border, not only in terms of “Weapons of Mass Migration”, but also in armed non-state actors traversing its territory and embedding themselves along the Central Corridor railroad line that’s expect to form a crucial part of the East African Railway Master Plan, itself the New Silk Road infrastructural backbone of the formative East African Federation.

Additionally, any humanitarian/militant crisis in Burundi could easily draw in Rwanda, which is already conspiring against Bujumbura as it is (and even worse, exploiting refugees to do so), and this could offset one of the most economically promising countries on the continent. One should bear in mind, however, that this is mostly a macroeconomic and statistical illusion largely facilitated by Rwanda’s developing hub status and its key role in laundering the eastern Congolese minerals that its affiliated rebel forces have pillaged (despite it being ‘officially’ illegal to do so). Even so, Rwanda does have a lot of minerals in its own right and is the world’s largest exporter of coltan, for example, but the US likely takes issue with the fact that it’s selling some of them to China and diversifying its overall economic relations with Washington’s prime global economic rival. Rwanda’s role vis-à-vis China is increasingly taken on a very strategic nature owing to the importance that its own and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) (illegally transited) minerals have to China’s (overseas) scientific-technological manufacturing base. As much as Paul Kagame has wantonly behaved as an untouchable American proxy since he came to power on the heels of the country’s externally instigated genocide, that does appear to be changing, as Washington signaled its “disappointment” at his ambitions to run for a third term next year, indicating that it now potentially sees him and his county as dispensable scraps of geopolitical “scorched earth” material in the larger New Cold War that it’s fighting against China’s New Silk Road vision in Africa.

To summarize Burundi’s geopolitical hinge relevance in East and Central African affairs, not only could a Hybrid War in the tiny country offset Tanzania and the East African Federation’s broad New Silk Road integrational connective projects, but it could also return the neighboring mineral-rich country of Rwanda to being an unapproachable battlefield that scares away and obstructs all possible Chinese strategic investments there. Tangentially, but no less importantly, Burundi’s location next to the extraordinarily mineral-rich areas of the eastern DRC also means that both its possible Hybrid War problems or the influence of any ‘Western/foreign protector’ can extend into one of the most prized natural resource regions in the entire world, either indefinitely offsetting its export capability (both legal and illegal via Rwanda) or redirecting its market destinations more firmly to the West at the expense of East Asia. Undoubtedly then, after considering these geopolitical and geo-economic imperatives, tiny Burundi begins to take on an outsized significance in the global calculations of the New Cold War.

Rekindling The Hybrid War Conflict

Imbued with a relevant understanding of Burundi’s grandiose geostrategic and geo-economic pivot importance to New Cold War affairs and fresh with knowledge about how the EU (under likely American orders) has betrayed Burundi’s brave anti-terrorist sacrifices in Somalia, it’s now time to investigate the connection between these two seemingly disparate topics and unveil that larger goal that’s being pursued. As is already widely known, the US and its allies have been pushing for a regime change against the democratically elected and legitimate Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, wanting to replace him with a pliant politician that would open the country up to full Western ‘investment’ at Russia and China’s strategic multipolar expense. The ‘normative’ cover for doing so was to allege that the President was constitutionally barred from running for a third term, but the country’s highest court ruled that he can do so on the technicality that his first term was an appointment and not an actual election.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China's assistance, January 2008

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China’s assistance, January 2008

No matter the nitty gritty details of the state’s sovereign affairs, it’s evident that foreign powers were involving themselves in this process as a means of acquiring future long-term influence inside what they presumed would quickly become a post-Nkurunziza Burundi. A low-intensity Hybrid War was launched against the country on the grounds that the President’s campaign and eventual election to a third term was unconstitutional, and the UN estimated that a comparatively small figure of 474 people have been killed there since the manufactured turmoil broke out on command in April 2015. While the global body quite rightly recognizes that the conflict could spill over Burundi’s borders and become the spark for a larger regional conflagration (in line with the author’s above-mentioned assessment about the US’ scorched earth Hybrid War tactics in East and Central Africa against China), it’s quite telling that, respectfully speaking, not even half a thousand people have died in a political crisis that captivated the attention of most of the world’s leading international news outlets for almost the past year. This attests not only to the exaggerated importance that the Western media gave to this crisis, but also to the patriotism of the country’s civilian population and the majority of its military leaders, not counting of course the conspirators of the failed May 2015 coup.

Although the attempt at a traditional regime change ploy miserably failed, the fact that it came the closest out of all of the ones that were tried (Color Revolution and Unconventional War included) indicated to the West that this is the method which must be most heavily invested in for possible future success. Returning to the beginning of the article where Reuters’ exclusive report was cited about the EU cutting off funding for the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, it must be qualified that this doesn’t translate to the full suspension of funds, but to a significant enough percentage that it will negatively impact not only on the government itself (which takes a 20% cut), but most relevantly on the soldiers themselves who have come to depend on this added income. The goal is to turn the rank-and-file soldiers against the government by essentially blackmailing them into supporting another military coup sometime in the future, but unlike its failed predecessor, any forthcoming one might have a larger supportive cadre of conspirators to draw from and might end up splitting the military forces along ethnic lines. Whether it succeeds or not in overthrowing the government at that point isn’t actually all that vital so long as it can add fuel to the Hybrid War flames of identity violence that the West has been trying to fan for almost a year now.

Concluding Thoughts

It shouldn’t be forgotten that if the US can’t successfully co-opt or change a targeted government, then it will instinctively resort to geopolitical ‘scorched earth’ tactics in taking down the country and the rest of the region that are expected to otherwise play very constructive roles in China’s New Silk Road global multipolar paradigm. Burundi, with its small size and relatively godforsaken geographic location, surprisingly plays a very significant role in affecting the geopolitics of East and Central Africa, especially when this its geo-economic relevance is factored into the overall strategic equation. The West is very cognizant of the Hybrid War vulnerabilities that plague the country, particularly the recent and very bloody Hutu-Tutsi civil war, and it’s adroitly manipulating these factors in order to add increasingly intense pressure on the government.

Thankfully, the people are well informed of the external threat against their country and understand the nefarious plot that’s been deployed against them to return Burundi to ethnic-based civil war, hence why the Hybrid War plan has dismally failed to reach its full and genocidal hoped-for potential that would have then triggered a “humanitarian intervention” by the African Union, the East African Federation, the UN, and/or a unilateral “coalition of the willing” from the West. In light of this ‘inconvenient’ reality, the West now appears to be investing heavily in winning the ‘hearts and minds’ (and pocketbooks) of the rank-and-file soldiers of the Burundian military, obviously in anticipation of a forthcoming military coup redux that represents the best possible chances at overthrowing the government or sparking a renewed civil war.

There’s a possibility that a separate foreign patron (perhaps China) could step in to fill the financial void left by the EU’s withdraw of monetary commitment to the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, but if even if this doesn’t eventuate, the proven patriotism of the country’s military and the astuteness of its officer corps should be enough to repel the forthcoming conspiracy against it and ensure that it fails just as badly as its forerunner did. Nevertheless, depending on how the forecasted situation develops, it frighteningly might be destabilizing enough that it exacerbates Burundi’s internal identity-based divisions and noticeably pushes it closer to the brink of Hybrid War, possibly even involving a more robust Rwandan role. The next few months will be decisive, and any major national commemoration or foreign presidential trip might be chosen as the date for launching the latest coup attempt bringing Burundi back to its days of civil war and dysfunction.

 

[Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015).]

 

EMPIRE TARGETS BURUNDI: “Humanitarian” NGOs Escalate Momentum in Beating the Drums of War

Wrong Kind of Green

February 1, 2016

 

“The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies is a key NGO within the Network and it is also a member of the International Federation of Human Rights.  It was founded in 1993 by Bahey El Din Hassan who was elected member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network at its second meeting in 1997.  In December 2011, he participated in a meeting of the Atlantic Council co-organised by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East dealing with Egypt which is his country or origin. That meeting discussed the arrest of members of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy who were accused of interference in Egyptian internal affairs.” — Centre for the Study of Interventionism

 

As Empire targets Burundi, force multipliers at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex such as Avaaz, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch beat the drums of war. NGOs, perhaps now the most instrumental tools in the West’s war chest, are financed by (and in many cases created by) the world’s most powerful oligarchs and institutions. The latest signatories demanding “humanitarian intervention” in the sovereign country of Burundi, come in the form of an open letter (article follows) signed by: Dr Mohamed (Mo) Ibrahim – Founder and Chair (Mo Ibrahim Foundation), Mr Jay Naidoo (Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), Mr Victor Ochen (Director, African Youth Initiative Network), Dr Chidi Odinkalu (Chairperson, Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission), Judge Navi Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008-2014 and President of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1996-2003) and Mr Ashish J. Thakkar (Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation).

This is a rinse lather and repeat method as witnessed prior to the illegal war on Libya, based on manufactured lies by the West. [Further reading: Libya and the Big Lie: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars, September 24, 2011] [From Libyan sources: 500,000 dead, 30,000 in terrorist-run prisons, 2.5 million exiled, tens of thousands of refugees]

As the tiny East African nation of Burundi and its president Pierre Nkurunziza refuse to bow down to foreign interests, despite the increasing pressure, Empire accelerates all destabilization tactics. Evidence of manufactured atrocities strategically disseminated by Empire’s force multipliers in order to flood both the infosphere and human psyche – is not required.

Power Interview Keyna 2

Powers Interview Patronizing

 

This interview (January 23, 2016, screenshots above) demonstrates how media (as another force multiplier) kowtows to imperialism. Note the body language of Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza in reaction to U.S. ambassador Samantha Power’s patronizing language under the guise of white superiority. Power states: “there is a cri de coeur from many, many people in Burundi for outside help and for urgent, urgent mediation…” It is at this point (3:10) Nkurunziza closes his eyes. (Imagine having to bear words choreographed to incite destabilization by Power, on behalf of the most violent, hypocritical and racist country in the world – to a media serving as an foreign policy echo chamber.) The media hones in on Power, hanging on her every word, as though the position by the Burundian Government,  as represented by it’s president, is of secondary importance with little significance. In five minutes of coverage on Burundi, Nkurunziza’s comments amount to a total of approx. 9 seconds. In this way, the media demonstrates racism, bias and subservience to the West. Indeed the task at hand is to frame the crisis to better advance foreign interests. [“UN Security Council Meets with Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza to Push for Peace Talks” | “The 15 council members were greeted on arrival Thursday by pro-government demonstrators telling them to stop meddling. Hundreds lined the road leading from the airport to greet the envoys with signs that read ‘genocide will not happen’ and ‘stop interfering in Burundian affairs'”. Source]

“No one more adamantly challenged the Western consensus than Pan Africanist scholar Dr. Randy Short, speaking to Press TV. Dr. Short said that the Burundian crisis is really all about the resources that Western powers are taking out of Burundi’s neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

“Burundi is a conduit into Congo. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. They don’t have anything. They (U.S. policy makers) care as much about Burundians as they do about the people in Baltimore who were rioting a few weeks ago. This is a sham. It’s a shibboleth… an effort to do is to steal from sovereign nations in Africa and to compete with the Chinese and the BRICs countries to hold onto Africa as a treasure house for the benefit of white Western powers.” — Challenging the Western consensus on Burundi June 5, 2015

Video: Pan-African Analysis of Burundi Destabilization with Dr Randy Short (Video published May 31, 2015):

 

 

May 17, 2015: The President of Burundi: Pierre Nkurunziza travels back home to Bujumbura (from Tanzania) on May 15, 2015, after failed coup attempt:

 

 

Excerpt from the article “Human Rights Want AU to intervene in Burundi, South Sudan Wrangles” (The Star, January 31, 2016):

MO 1

Former US President Bill Clinton, Christine Lagarde IMF Managing Director, and Mo Ibrahim Founder and Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 24, 2013 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Mehdi Taamallah

“The group consisting of eminent Africa personalities including Mo Ibrahim Foundation founder Mo Ibrahim want the AU to address the issues of political violence in the continent.

“In South Sudan, which should be reaping the benefits of the August 2015 peace agreement and seeking accountability for past crimes, distrust and animosity is running high between former foes and the return to war is a possibility,” states the letter.

The group says violence has been spreading to previously unaffected parts of the country and nearly 200,000 civilians remain under UN protection in crowded camps and the threat of famine is looming.

The AU and its leaders, have the opportunity and a responsibility to respond to these crises, before they get any worse.

In December last year, the AU Peace and Security Council resolved to send an AU force into Burundi to prevent a further escalation of violence.

Similarly, in response to the peace deal in South Sudan, the AU Commission pledged to set up a hybrid court to prosecute those who had masterminded the civil war.

Unfortunately, neither of these decisions has yet been fulfilled and the contexts in both countries have worsened and Nkurunziza vowed to block entry of 5000 AU peace forces.”

+++

The “Open letter to AU Peace and Security Council Heads of State” can be found here.

Signatories:

  • Dr Mohamed (Mo) Ibrahim – Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
  • Mr Jay Naidoo – Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
  • Mr Victor Ochen – Director, African Youth Initiative Network
  • Dr Chidi Odinkalu – Chairperson, Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission
  • Judge Navi Pillay – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014) Judge and President of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (1996-2003)
  • Mr Ashish J. Thakkar – Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation

 

Further reading on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation: The Imperialist NGOs Recolonizing Africa and the African Leaders Who Serve Them | Emasculation of the African with Awards, Grants and Prizes

 

The U.S. and EU Sponsoring are Terrorism in Burundi: Interview with political analyst Gearóid Ó Colmáin, May 25, 2015:

 

 

Burundi: Nkurunziza Refuses to Bow to Samantha Power’s Demands

The San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

January 26, 2016

By Ann Garrison

US-UN-Ambassador-Samantha-Power-Burundian-President-Pierre-Nkurunziza-Angolan-UN-Ambassador-Ismael-A.-Gaspar-Martins-press-conf-012216-by-Reuters

At a press conference held Jan. 22 by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, center, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power stands to his left, Angolan Ambassador to the U.N. Ismael A. Gaspar Martins to his right. – Photo: Reuters

The tiny East African nation of Burundi and its president remain unbowed despite pressure from Western officials.

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Transcript (to listen, click above radio icon)

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, speaking to the press yesterday, remained firm in his rejection of a proposed African Union peacekeeping force in his country. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza told a visiting delegation of the U.N. Security Council that the African Union “must respect Burundi as a member state, and we must be consulted.” In mid-December last year, the African Union Peace and Security Council voted to deploy 5,000 peacekeeping forces in Burundi without the government’s consent.

Burundi-map

Burundi borders Rwanda to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west and Tanzania to the east. U.N. officials and the NGO Refugees International have documented Rwanda’s recruitment of Burundian refugees into a new rebel army.

However, international law prohibits the deployment without a two-thirds vote of African Union member states, and the approval of the U.N. Security Council, whose five permanent members, China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., have veto power. The Burundian government was no doubt encouraged by remarks of the Russian and Chinese ambassadors on the importance of protecting Burundi’s national sovereignty.

U.N. Ambassador to the U.S. Samantha Power expressed her disappointment.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

 

WKOG UPDATE JANUARY 30, 2016: The African Union has voted against military intervention in Burundi. The intervention in Burundi continues to rightfully oppose.

 

 

[Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.]

Rwanda, the Enduring Lies: A Project Censored Interview with Professor Ed Herman

Project Censored | Global Research

January 1, 2016

By Ann Garrison and Prof. Ed Herman

This is the transcript of an interview broadcast on the Pacifica Radio Network’s Project Censored Show on KPFA Jan. 1, 2016, and on other Pacifica stations during the following week, with guest host Ann Garrison.

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Project Censored/Ann Garrison: Happy New Year, and welcome to the Project Censored show. Thanks to Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff for inviting me, Ann Garrison, to guest host.

Today we’re going to talk about regime change engineered by the U.S. government and its allies in East and Central Africa. We’re going to talk about Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1990s and Burundi today, where we’re still hoping for a better outcome.

‘Enduring Lies’ coverAerial bombing campaigns make U.S. wars for regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria highly visible and absolutely undeniable, but the corporate and state press don’t describe U.S. sponsored wars in Africa as such if they talk about them at all. Millions of African people have nevertheless lost their lives or seen their lives destroyed in U.S. sponsored wars for regime change and natural resources in Africa.

For more than a year now, Western policymakers and press have warned of a genocide in Burundi like that in Rwanda in 1994, and called for a so-called humanitarian intervention to override Burundi’s national sovereignty and replace President Pierre Nkurunziza with a president more to their liking. They tell us that they’re campaigning to stop genocide and mass atrocities, or often, for short, “to stop the next Rwanda,” which is what they told us when they took us to war in Libya and Syria.

One of the founding documents of humanitarian interventionist ideology is our U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power’s “Bystanders to Genocide,” an essay decrying America’s failure to stop the Rwandan Genocide, which she expanded into her book, “The Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide.”

Here with me to talk about this is University of Pennsylvania Emeritus Professor of Finance Edward S. Herman, co-author, with Noam Chomsky, of the classic “Manufacturing Consent.” Herman is also the co-author of “The Politics of Genocide” and “Enduring Lies: Rwanda in the Propaganda System 20 Years Later,” with researcher and writer David Peterson.

We’re going to talk about the enduring lies about Rwanda, which “humanitarian” interventionists now repeat as they pursue regime change in Burundi.

Welcome, Professor Ed Herman.

Ed Herman: I’m happy to be with you.

AG: Professor Herman, could you start by telling us why you and David Peterson describe the enduring lies about what really happened in Rwanda as the greatest success of the propaganda system in the past two decades?

EH: In this book, Ann, we describe the fact that Paul Kagame, the leader of Rwanda, has killed more than five times as many people as Idi Amin. He invaded Rwanda in 1990 and carried out a war of conquest there that ended sometime in 1994. He invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and went in and out of that country for years, killing what the U.N. itself admitted was probably more than 4 million people.

He runs a dictatorship in Rwanda, where he gets 93 percent of the vote in a country where 90 percent of the people are Hutu who consider him to be a conqueror, a terrorist leader. And yet he’s considered, in the West, to be a hero, a savior.

In The New Yorker, he was described as the Abraham Lincoln of Africa. For a man who has outdone Idi Amin, I think this is miraculous.

The only way we can explain it is that he serves the ends of the United States, but it’s still a miracle that a man with that record can, in the free press of the United States, be considered a noble spirit.

A Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) soldier walks by the the site in the capital city Kigali of the April 6, 1994, plane crash that killed Rwanda's President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi's President Cyprien Ntaryamirain in this May 23, 1994, photo. - Photo: Jean Marc Boujou, AP

In the capital city Kigali, a Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) soldier walks by the site of the April 6, 1994, plane crash that killed Rwanda’s President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi’s President Cyprien Ntaryamirain in this May 23, 1994, photo. – Photo: Jean Marc Boujou, AP

AG: In other words, everything we’ve been told is wrong. And I can add that the enduring lies are so successful that that includes much of what’s been broadcast here on Pacifica Radio and published in any number of left liberal outlets. Any attempt to edit the Wikipedia entry on the Rwandan Genocide triggers so many edit alerts that it starts a Wiki editing war until the Wikipedia authorities declare a ceasefire with no changes made. That Wikipedia entry is all but written in stone.

Now, can we just go through the chapter headings in your book, each of which addresses one of the enduring lies?

EH: Yes, let’s do that.

AG: Since you’ve already given us some background and context, let’s start with Chapter Two: “The RPF invasion and low-level aggressive war that never was a ‘civil war.” People who know the story of the Rwandan Genocide only through the movie “Hotel Rwanda” are likely to think that it was an explosion of tribal bloodletting that began and ended in 100 days’ time in 1994.

Those who know that it was actually the final 100 days of a four-year war are likely to believe that it was the end of the Rwandan Civil War. There is an entry in the Wikipedia on the Rwandan Civil War. Why is this an enduring lie?

EH: Well, there was no major ethnic conflict in Rwanda back in late 1990. What happened in October 1990 was an invasion of armed forces from Uganda. This was a group of Tutsi, several thousand Tutsi soldiers, who were part of the Ugandan army.

They entered, they pushed several hundred thousand Hutu farmers out of their homes in northern Rwanda, and they were pushed back, but they kept coming. And the United States and its allies gave them assistance.

They pressed the Rwandan government to sign an Arusha agreement in 1993, which gave Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its army a lot of power in Rwanda. But it also provided for an election to be held about 22 months after the agreement was signed, and the RPF could not have won that election. So they made sure they didn’t have to win that election, Instead, they resumed the war on April 6, 1994, and by July 1994, they had conquered Rwanda.

So the whole period from October 1990 to, say, July 1994 was a period in which the RPF was engaged in subversion and readying itself for a final war of conquest. So it was a war. I would say this was a war.

AG: OK, now let’s consider Chapter Three: “‘Hutu Power extremists’ did not shoot down Habyarimana’s Falcon 50 jet.” Juvenal Habyarimana was the president of Rwanda from 1973 until he was assassinated in 1994, a little more than a year before these elections were supposed to happen.

He was a Hutu, a member of Rwanda’s Hutu majority who had overcome centuries of Tutsi subjugation with independence in 1960. He died while returning home, along with Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, also a Hutu, when his plane was shot out of the sky above Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

After four years of war and massacres, which had driven a million Rwandans to the outskirts of Kigali, where they were camped as internal refugees, this convinced the Hutu population that the Tutsi army was coming to kill or subjugate them all again, and some Hutu began to kill Tutsi. Now, the Rwandan government narrative is that Hutu extremists assassinated Habyarimana because he might have blocked their genocidal plans. What’s the truth?

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania

Image: The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania

EH: There’s no evidence of these genocidal plans, and the Hutu would have won the upcoming election.  The election was foreclosed by the assassination and conquest by Kagame.

But we don’t have to speculate about this. The Rwanda tribunal actually carried out an investigation of who shot the plane down back in 1996 and 1997.  They appointed a 20-man group to carry out this study. These investigators hired by the tribunal  came up with a report in 1996, based on what they thought to be credible witness testimony by members of the RPF, that Kagame had planned the assassinwhen the tribunal found that theation and carried it out.

When this report was presented to the prosecutor of the tribunal, she consulted the United States and then canceled the investigation. And, from 1996 to the present, although the shoot-down of this plane is widely thought to be the event that triggered the genocide, the tribunal hasn’t looked into it and the U.N. hasn’t looked into it beyond that.

These investigators hired by the Rwanda tribunal produced a report, in 1996, based on what they thought was credible witness testimony by members of the RPF, that Kagame had planned the assassination and carried it out. When this report was presented to the prosecutor of the tribunal, she consulted the United States and then canceled the investigation.

There’s lots of other evidence that the shoot down was carried out by Kagame, and it was logical too because he couldn’t win an election. So, to attain power by conquest, he shot the plane down.

And another point that shows that he was the villain in the case is that when the plane was shot down on April 6, 1994, his forces were ready and were in action within two hours of the shoot down, whereas the alleged plotters were completely bamboozled and confused and put up almost no resistance. So anyway, the evidence is compelling that the shoot-down was carried out by Kagame, and it’s logical. But most critically, it’s a proven fact.

AG: And even, whether you believe the evidence or not, Paul Kagame and his forces were the only ones who stood to gain by Habyarimana’s assassination and what happened afterwards, right? Otherwise they would have lost to Habyarimana and his party in the next year’s election.

EH: Yes, he’s the only gainer from it.

AG: OK, let’s move on to Chapter Four: “Rwandan genocide by the numbers.” When Professor Allan Stam wrote to a U.N. official to ask how he estimated that the dead in Rwanda were 500,000, the U.N. official responded that he couldn’t quite remember, but they knew they needed a really big number.

The numbers that eventually came to be most widely accepted were that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi and a few Hutu moderates who tried to protect them died at the hands of Hutu extremists. Why is this impossible?

When Kagame arrived to speak at Oklahoma Christian University on April 30, 2010, he was met by protesters, including Rwandan American Claude Gatebuke. – Photo: Kendall Brown

When Kagame arrived to speak at Oklahoma Christian University on April 30, 2010, he was met by protesters, including Rwandan American Claude Gatebuke. – Photo: Kendall Brown

EH: It’s impossible because the number of Tutsi in Rwanda, back in 1994, was way under 800,000. In fact, the best figure one could come up with in those early years was based on the census, the Rwandan census of 1991, which gave the Tutsi numbers at about 590,000.

So if all of them were wiped out, it wouldn’t come anywhere near 800,000. But all of them weren’t wiped out. After the war, the best estimate, which was by a Tutsi survivors’ group, was that there were 400,000 Tutsi still there.

So let’s say there were 600,000 beforehand and afterwards there were 400,000, that means 200,000 dead Tutsi. If there were 800,000 killed and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, 600,000 of them must have been Hutu.

If it was a million, 800,000 of them must have been Hutu. And it’s completely logical that the Hutu were the greatest victims by number, because this was an invasion by a Tutsi army.

If a million Rwandans were killed in 1994, 800,000 of them must have been Hutu. And it’s completely logical that the Hutu were the greatest victims by number, because this was an invasion by a Tutsi army.

I conclude, as do Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, who did a very careful study of the killings in 1994, that many more Hutu were killed than Tutsi. And my estimate would be that it was between a 2 to 1 and 5 to 1 ratio, probably more like 4 to 1. That’s my best point estimate.

AG: OK, and because this is a very sensitive subject, I want to add that this was a tragedy for everyone in Rwanda. Hutus and Tutsis died.

Now let’s move on to Chapter Five, “The West’s alleged ‘failure to intervene.’” The story of the West’s failure to intervene to stop the Rwandan genocide has become the starting point of all the campaigns to go to war to “stop the next Rwanda.” What’s wrong with this story?

EH: What’s wrong with it is that the West was intervening from the very beginning. The West supported Kagame’s invasion in 1990. He was trained at Fort Leavenworth. And the United States and Britain pressed the Rwandan government to allow the RPF to penetrate and bring armed forces into Rwanda.

Just before the shoot down of the plane on April 6, 1994, the United States caused the U.N. to withdraw some of its troops. That was an intervention.

After the shoot down and the mass killings really started, the government of Rwanda called repeatedly for a ceasefire repeatedly, but Kagame did not want it because he knew he could win. And therefore the United States did not support any ceasefire and it recognized Kagame’s government after three more months of war.

It’s absolutely untrue that the West failed to intervene. They did intervene, but they intervened to support the man who was engaging in this war of conquest in Rwanda.

AG: I think that really needs emphasis. People have been led to believe that the massacres began and Paul Kagame and his army moved to stop them. What actually happened was that the massacres began and Paul Kagame resumed the war to win, at all costs.

EH: Yes, that’s true. In fact one could say that all the dead people were collateral damage. The aim of the United States was to support Kagame’s takeover, and if vast numbers of people were killed, it was a cost that we were prepared to accept.

But it doesn’t look good, so we have to say that we failed to intervene; we failed to stop it. Well, in fact, we not only failed to stop it, we actually supported the mass killing.

AG: Yes, Professor Allan Stam has reported that the Pentagon estimated collateral damage of 250,000 people, a quarter of a million. It turned out to be closer to a million.

EH: I can believe it.

AG: Those are some pretty grim numbers. The Pentagon, according to Professor Allan Stam, estimated that the collateral damage for putting our guy Kagame in power in Rwanda would be 250,000 Rwandan lives and it turned out to be closer to a million. Let’s take a breath and a musical break and we’ll be back shortly.

Musical interlude: Rwandan gospel music

Kizito Mihigo

Image: Rwandan gospel singer Kizito Mihigo is now serving a 10-year prison sentence in Rwanda.

AG: And that was Rwandan gospel singer Kizito Muhigo, a Rwandan Tutsi who is now serving 10 years in a Rwandan prison for singing those lyrics for both Hutu and Tutsi who died in the Rwandan massacres. The lyrics are:

Even though genocide orphaned me

Let it not make me lose empathy for others

Their lives too were brutally taken

But not qualified as genocide

Those brothers and sisters

They too are humans, I pray for them

They too are humans, I comfort them

They too are humans, I remember them

AG: Now we return to our conversation with Professor Ed Herman, co-author, with David Peterson, of “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System 20 Years Later.” Chapter Six: “The ICTR delivers victor’s justice.” The International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda is hailed as a great triumph of international justice, mostly in the corporate and state press. What was it in fact?

Rwandan refugee children plead for permission to cross the bridge to Congo, then Zaire, during the 1994 Rwandan massacres. – Photo: AP

Image: Rwandan refugee children plead for permission to cross the bridge to Congo, then Zaire, during the 1994 Rwandan massacres. – Photo: AP

EH: It did deliver victor’s justice. The first part of that statement is therefore correct. That it was a great triumph of international justice is a complete fallacy because victor’s justice is not international justice. Victor’s justice is a kind of revenge and, in fact, the ICTR served as a virtual arm of Kagame and the Rwandan state.

It went after only Hutu, although, as I pointed out a while ago, the majority of killings were killings of Hutu in Rwanda. But of course the RPF could not be brought to trial.

And of course the shoot-down of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane. When the tribunal found that Kagame’s forces were the ones who had shot down Habyarimana’s plane, it canceled any further investigation. That’s victor’s justice and a triumph of international injustice.

AG: They actually fired the prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, who had said that she was going to indict President Kagame for assassinating President Habyarimana.

EH: The prosecutor who dropped the case was Louise Arbour, but Carla Del Ponte actually did try, as you say, to go after some RPF people. She was not allowed to do it. She was fired shortly thereafter. Again, this is true victor’s justice.

AG: OK, Chapter Seven: “The alleged Hutu conspiracy to commit genocide that never was.” The idea that Rwanda’s majority Hutu conspired to wipe out the Tutsi minority is central to the Rwandan government’s official narrative. What’s the truth?

EH: Actually, the belief that there was a conspiracy to commit genocide is swallowed by the ICTR, by Human Rights Watch and many, many commentators. But the tribunal itself, when it had to come to grips with this, couldn’t find any such conspiracy.

They did believe that there was a genocide, and certainly there was mass killing, but a conspiracy to commit genocide would have had to take place before the shoot-down of the plane on April 6, 1994.

And so when high level people in the Hutu government were brought to trial and there was an attempt to find that they actually had a plan, the tribunal couldn’t find it. In this book, we studied 15 top trials where the prosecution attempted to prove a conspiracy to commit genocide, and in all 15 the tribunal found that there was no evidence for a conspiracy.

A Rwandan refugee father and his baby barely cling to life in Kibumba refugee camp, Goma, Zaire, in July 1994. – Photo: Debbie Morello, USN&R

Image: A Rwandan refugee father and his baby barely cling to life in Kibumba refugee camp, Goma, Zaire, in July 1994. – Photo: Debbie Morello, USN&R

There was killing, which they called genocide, but they could not find any pre-April 6, 1994, plan to commit genocide. So they rejected this argument, but the defenders and apologists for Kagame continue to talk about this conspiracy to commit genocide.

AG: Yes, I have noticed this, that the press doesn’t hesitate to repeat this, that there was a conspiracy before April 6, even though no court at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda convicted anyone of that crime.

EH: Yes, it’s a remarkable fact that wipes out many of the claims about what happened in Rwanda.

AG: OK, let’s move on to Chapter Eight, “Did Paul Kagame’s RPF really ‘stop the genocide’?” This is the story that’s made him a celebrity in Western capitals. What’s the truth?

EH: Well, as I’ve been saying, Kagame actually started the genocide. He carried out the war. He refused to accept any ceasefires during the killing period. And I have made the case that more people were killed by Kagame’s RPF than were killed by any Hutus.

I think this idea that he stopped the genocide is the inverse of the truth. He started the genocide and in fact it never ended, because after he conquered the country, he didn’t stop killing Hutu. And within a short time, he went in to start killing Hutu and do other things in the Congo, where vast numbers of Hutu were killed.

I would argue that, insofar as there was a genocide in Rwanda in 1994, it can be credited to Paul Kagame. And there was a second, bigger genocide in the Congo that was also Paul Kagame’s doing.

So he’s a double genocidist, and one could argue too that Bill Clinton was a partner in this. Bill Clinton is arguably a genocidist.

AG: Yes, and one would hope that people might consider that in this upcoming election year. I know that people from this part of the world are very concerned about the likelihood of Hillary Clinton’s election.

 

Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea are led by Paul Kagame on a tour of Rwanda health clinics in July 2012. – Photo: Cyril Ndegeya, AP

Image: Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea are led by Paul Kagame on a tour of Rwanda health clinics in July 2012. – Photo: Cyril Ndegeya, AP

Now, Chapter Nine: “Africa’s World War: Kagame’s alleged pursuit of ‘genocidaires’ in Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the death of millions.” What’s wrong with Kagame’s claim that his troops and proxy militias were in DR Congo for nearly 20 years to hunt down the Hutu genocidaires guilty of killing Rwanda’s Tutsi in 1994?

EH: Well, one problem is there were no “genocidaires.” There were members of the Rwandan army that had been beaten and dispersed, but they were not genocidaires. That’s baloney.

And he knows who did the killing, that he himself with his forces did most of the killing. But also, the army that was in the Congo, the old Hutu army, was no longer a real force. It had been defeated and these people had been dispersed in the Congo. They did not constitute a real threat to Rwanda.

So this claim was really, essentially, a big lie that Kagame was using with the support of the United States to continue attacking in the Congo. I mean you couldn’t say, “I’m going into the Congo to exploit their rich resources.”

No, you had to have a better excuse, and so the excuse was that there were these people who had committed planned genocide in Rwanda out there in the Congo and he was going in after them.  For 20 years. This is baloney but it’s been very effective.

It’s one reason why the ICTR, the tribunal, and the continuous prosecution of Hutu in Rwanda played into Kagame’s hands. He could argue, look, these people are being tried and convicted.

These are people who’ve committed genocide and there are some of them out there in the Congo, so I must hunt down these evil criminals. It’s a wonderful propaganda gambit. And it was swallowed in the West and he was not stopped.

So we’re dealing here with really mass killing. And yet there’s no tribunal that’s ever been established to try anybody for these crimes that tower over even what happened in Rwanda. Why is that? It’s because he’s a U.S. client and he’s serving U.S. and British interests in this resource rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.

AG: OK, now finally Chapter 12: “The role of the U.N., human rights groups, media, and intellectuals in promulgating the standard model, otherwise known as the official narrative of the Rwandan Genocide.”

'Enduring Lies' Table 2 Rwandan Genocide pro-con articles 2004-2014 by Ed Herman

EH: Well, the United States has been the superpower that has dominated what has happened in this area in the Congo and in Rwanda. The American people know almost nothing about the area, and since the United States has had a strong position of support for Kagame and for the invasion of the Congo, that dominated all the institutions that were associated with it.

The U.N. – most of its reports – were really supportive of the invasion. They swallowed the conspiracy to commit genocide line. They provided the tribunal.

It’s true that they did have some reports, like these reports I mentioned, that talked about mass killing in the Congo, but they couldn’t avoid that because this was such an enormous volume of killing, and there were millions of refugees. So the U.N. had to confront it, and they had to speak a certain amount of truth.

But essentially, the U.N. supported the U.S. position. And even during the Rwanda crisis in 1994, the U.N. did nothing when Kagame put a lot of military people right in Kigali. They let him get away with it.

The human rights groups also did poorly. Human Rights Watch was an outrage from the beginning, following the standard line.

And the media, moving forward to April 2014, and the 20th anniversary of the 1994 massacres, have supported the Western propaganda line.  When that anniversary made headlines, the bias of the mainstream media was dramatic. Thus 20 advocates for the standard model were given ten times as many bylined articles ad distinguished dissenters from that model; most of the dissenting experts couldn’t get into the mainstream media at all. And particularly terrible were the U.S. and British media.

Of the 20 dissenters from the standard model, there were a grand total of 17 articles, and most of them were in France. And most of these experts that were dissenters could never get into the mainstream media at all. And particularly terrible were the U.S. and British media.

The photo of this distraught child has become emblematic of the 1994 Rwandan massacres.

Image: The photo of this distraught child has become emblematic of the 1994 Rwandan massacres.

AG: OK, now that we’ve gone through most of the enduring lies, what similarities do you see between Rwanda 1990 to 1994 and what’s happening in Burundi now?

EH: Well, one very important similarity is that the United States and its allies are trying for regime change in Burundi, just as they did in Rwanda. They wanted to get rid of the Habyarimana government, a social democratic government in Rwanda. They don’t like the social democratic government in Burundi and they’re trying to get rid of it.

Another thing is that they’re talking of intervention here based on the fact that the head of state of Burundi has taken a third term, which is contested on a constitutional basis. And it’s ridiculous that the great powers should be upset about a third term, when they’re supporting Kagame, who is a dictator and who has his chief contestant, Victoire Ingabire, in jail and claims to get 93 percent of the vote.

They swallow that and don’t bother him at all, but here they’re going after the Burundian state, which is by comparison with Rwanda a wonderful democracy, and it is a social democracy.

AG: They have objected to Kagame’s plan to run for another term, but that’s their only objection.

EH: Yes, after all these years of atrocities.

And there’s also intervention more directly in Burundi now. There’s strong evidence that the Kagame government has been intervening in Burundi and that it’s trying to stir up agitation and killings that will cause more tension and upheaval in Burundi. This is all in preparation for further intervention to “save the people from genocide.” It has a familiar ring to it.

AG: Yes, it does. On page 20 in your book, you write, “At the time, meaning in the 1990s, and in contrast to the crises in Syria, Ukraine and Iraq today, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia was a non-factor in the U.N. Security Council and a rubber stamp for the United States.” Since you wrote that, Russia and China have used their veto power to keep the Security Council’s Western powers from passing resolutions to censure Burundi’s President Nkurunziza for seeking a third term in office or to approve humanitarian intervention “to stop genocide.”

‘Justice Belied’ coverNothing has yet come to a formal vote and veto, but the U.S. and E.U. keep failing to get the language they want into resolutions that are passed. Most recently, they asked the Security Council to approve an intervention by 5,000 African Union troops. It responded instead that it welcomed contingency planning in case an intervention was needed, but without giving its approval. How do you think this might play out?

EH: That’s a tough one. I’m just hoping that the Russians and the Chinese will stand firm and that the situation in Burundi will not deteriorate. If it does, if the destabilization efforts of Kagame and probably the United States are successful and it becomes increasingly violent, then it’s going to be tougher to stop the approval of that intervention from the African Union troops.

I just hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s very hard to predict. It’s an ominous situation.

AG: Is there anything else you’d like to say in closing?

EH: Well, what I’d like to say is that this issue on Rwanda and the struggles there and the work of the ICTR, it’s a very complicated issue, so I would urge people to get this book that we put out, which has a lot of detail.

But there are also some other really excellent books on the work of the ICTR and other international courts. There’s a very good book called “Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scales of International Criminal Justice,” and it’s an anthology edited by Sébastien Chartrand and John Philpot. “Justice Belied” – it’s a critical work on the workings of the international justice system.

‘Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa’ coverAnd many of the writers are very familiar with Rwanda and the issues in Africa and it’s even argued by some of the writers that the international justice system, as it’s now working, is really an arm of U.S. foreign policy.

AG: And here I think we have to mention Robin Philpot’s book as well, “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, from Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction,” and the CIUT-Toronto Taylor Report, which has kept the truth about this story alive for nearly two decades. The Taylor Report airs at 5 pm Eastern time every Monday on CIUT-89.5fm-Toronto.

Professor Ed Herman, thank you for speaking to the Project Censored show.

EH: It was a pleasure, Ann.

The transcript of this interview previously appeared in the San Francisco Bay View.

 

 

[Edward Herman is an economist and media analyst. He is professor emeritus at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including The Myth of the Liberal Media. He is author with Noam Chomsky of “Manufacturing Consent.”]

[Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News,Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening NewsKPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.]