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WATCH: Philanthropy is a Scam

TeleSUR

February 7, 2018

 

 

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]

US Behind Massacres in Beni, Congo

Libya 360 |  Internationalist News Agency

September 8, 2016

by Ann Garrison

Congo Massacres Not the Work of Islamic Extremists. US Seeks Secession of Eastern Congo.

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Beni Territory sits in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) North Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda. Rich in oil, timber, gold, diamonds, wolfram, coltan and cassiterite, Beni is a vivid example of the phrase, “Everybody wants a piece of Congo.” Now the indigenous people of Beni are being massacred for their land and its riches.

The massacres in Beni Territory began in 2014. Estimates are that 60 people are killed every month. After the Aug. 13, 2016 massacres, the number of victims rose above 1,200.

There is little doubt that the massacres are occurring because Beni is so rich in resources essential to the manufacture of modern life in the industrialized nations. However, Boniface Musavuli, Congolese human rights defender and author of Congolese Genocides from Léopold II to Paul Kagame, says that the aggression has been falsely attributed to Ugandan Islamist rebels. The truth is, he said, that the killers are Rwandans and Ugandans who want to eliminate indigenous Congolese people.

“In reality, killers in Beni are individuals who are coming from Rwanda and neighboring Uganda. Their goal is to severely eliminate indigenous peoples in order to take ownership of their land, which is rich in resources.”
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Longstanding U.S. allies and military partners Rwanda and Uganda have long been accused of trying to annex the resource rich portions of eastern Congo across their borders. U.S. policymakers and pundits have advocated carving independent states out of eastern Congo as South Sudan was carved out of Sudan despite the war and human catastrophe that ensued. Advocates of partition have included Herman Cohen, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, another former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and John Prendergast, humanitarian militarist crusader and co-founder of the corporate funded ENOUGH Project to End Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. ENOUGH operates under the umbrella of the Democratic Party’s corporate funded propaganda and influence peddling operation, The Center for American Progress (CAP).

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Beginning in 2014, Reuters, AP, and VOA wires reported that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a phantom Ugandan Islamist group with alleged ties to Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Boko Haram and even the Taliban, was responsible for the massacres in Beni. Many scoffed at the idea that this militia had suddenly reappeared after years of inactivity and recent reports by UN investigators have finally proven the Islamist militia theory to be a fraud.

Musavuli said that the Congolese government may have used the Islamist extremist explanation to appeal to Western sympathizers and hide the fact that its own military officers were complicit in attacks on the indigenous people of Beni Territory. “We always wonder why the Congolese government continues to attribute the killings in Beni to Islamist terrorism. Perhaps, for the government of Kinshasa, it is a way to attract the sympathy of Western countries which are facing the Islamist terrorism themselves. But what is true is that several reports have claimed that the killings in Beni are the acts of individuals operating with the complicity of the authorities, including mainly military officers.”

Many Congolese believe that the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila is complicit in Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to annex portions of eastern Congo, and that Kabila needs Kagame and Museveni’s support to cling to power beyond presidential term limits. They point to new massacres in Beni that occurred shortly after recent meetings between the three presidents.

Neither the U.S. government nor its NATO allies have chosen to add the indigenous people of Beni to their list of worthy victims crying out for humanitarian military intervention. MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (DRC), has been either uninterested or ineffective in stopping the massacres.

Who is behind massacres of indigenous people in Beni, DR Congo?

Transcript:

KPFA News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Beni Territory sits in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.  It is a vivid example of the phrase, “Everybody wants a piece of Congo.”  Beni Territory is rich in oil, timber, gold, diamonds, wolfram, coltan and cassiterite. Now the people of Beni are being massacred for their land and its riches. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report after speaking to a Congolese human rights defender and author of Congolese Genocides from Leopold II to Paul Kagame.

KPFA:Musavuli Boniface, Congolese human rights defender and author said that the massacres in Beni Territory began in 2014. Estimates are that 60 people are killed every month. After the August 13, 2016 massacres, the number of victims rose above 1200.

There is little doubt that the massacres in Beni Territory are in fact occurring because it is so rich in mineral resources essential to the manufacture of modern life in the industrialized nations. Musavuli said, however, that the aggression has been falsely attributed to Ugandan Islamist rebels with ties to Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab. The truth is, he said, that the killers are Rwandans and Ugandans who want to eliminate indigenous Congolese people to claim their land and resources.

Musavuli Boniface: In reality, killers in Beni are individuals who are coming from Rwanda and neighboring Uganda. Their goal is severely to eliminate indigenous peoples in order to take ownership of their land rich in resources.


KPFA: Rwanda and Uganda have been accused of trying to annex portions of Congo across their borders, and some U.S. policymakers and pundits have advocated carving independent states out of eastern Congo, as South Sudan was carved out of Sudan, despite the war and human catastrophe that ensued after South Sudan’s independence. Advocates of partition have included Herman Cohen, a former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, another former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and John Prendergast, humanitarian militarist crusader and co-founder of the ENOUGH Project.

Beginning in 2014, Reuters and AP wires reported that the Allied Democratic Forces, a phantom Ugandan Islamist group associated with Al Qaeda and Al Shabab, was responsible for the massacres in Beni, though many scoffed at the idea that this militia had suddenly reappeared after years of inactivity. Recent reports by UN investigators have proven the Islamist militia theory to be a fraud. Musavuli confirmed that and added that the Congolese government may have used the Islamist extremist explanation to appeal to Western sympathizers and hide the fact that its own military officers were complicit in attacks on the indigenous people of Beni Territory.

MB: We always wonder why the Congolese government continues to attribute the killings in Beni to Islamist terrorism. Perhaps, for the government of Kinshasa, it is a way to attract the sympathy of Western countries which are facing the Islamist terrorism. But what is true is that several reports have claimed that the killings in Beni are the acts of individuals operating with the complicity of the authorities, including mainly military officers.

KPFA: Many Congolese believe that the Congolese government of President Joseph Kabila is complicit in Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to annex portions of eastern Congo. They point to new massacres in Beni that occurred shortly after recent meetings between the three presidents.
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Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part IV

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.]

 

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.]

 

THE PURPOSE OF AVAAZ: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Wrong Kind of Green Op-Ed

December 21, 2015

by Jay Taber

 

Avaaz (initially financed by convicted inside trader George Soros) is the Blackwater of PSYWAR–mercenaries posing as missionaries. The non-profit Avaaz works closely with its for-profit arm and PR firm Purpose. As a social media NGO, Avaaz promotes campaigns to undermine governments hostile to US hegemony, especially in South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Perriello1

Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Congressman Tom Perriello with war criminal, General David Petraeus (far left). Under this Flickr photo the caption reads: “Passing the Baton, United States Institute of Peace” [2009] [Photo: Jon-Phillip Sheridan | Source] [In July, 2011, “General David Petraeus was approved as CIA Director by both the Senate Intelligence Committee and then the full Senate, whose vote was an astounding 94-0, astounding because this is a man who was deeply implicated in war crimes, including torture.” Source]

The core cadre of Avaaz – Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel, Tom Pravda, Jeremy Heimans, David Madden, Eli Pariser and Andrea Woodhouse — have working relationships with the UN and World Bank, and coordinate with US-controlled institutions like the UN Security Council and UN Human Rights Council. When challenges to US hegemony arise — such as in Bolivia, Libya, Syria, Burundi and Congo — Avaaz and Purpose create campaigns to discredit and destabilize these independent governments.

tom p and kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry releases the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) outlining the strategic priorities to be pursued by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, and Special Representative for the QDDR and Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on April 28, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

With the US-controlled NATO as the de facto military enforcement arm of the UN, the interests of Wall Street merge with the Pentagon and U.S. State Department to thwart challenges from regional bodies like the African Union. Public support in the US and EU for murdering indigenous African leaders like Lumumba and Gaddafi is aided by Wall Street control of media, especially social media, which positions Avaaz as a key player in Neoliberal imperialism.

Avaaz Hate Campaign

Above: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demonization campaign by Avaaz. Avaaz The Behavioural Economics of Hatred: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire

This conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity is well-documented, but not well-known. Most consumers of social media are under the illusion that the UN is an honest broker, and that the Wall Street fronts Avaaz and Purpose are somehow ‘grassroots’. Working with increasingly corrupt NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — essentially owned by Soros — Avaaz and Purpose create the illusion of advocating for human rights, which, in turn, serves as pretext for economic sanctions by the IMF and military invasions by NATO.

Ironically, the mass murders and warlords that NATO and the UN use as justification for invasion are often armed by the US and EU, which begs the question—Who is really committing crimes against humanity, the gangsters on the ground, or the manipulators of public opinion?

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, 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 activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

 

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POSTER SERIES: WANTED FOR DESTROYING OUR FUTURE: AVAAZ

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Climate Criminals

The Dirtiest Fossil Fuel Lobbyists behind the doors of #COP21

The consultants for Gates, Rockefeller, & UN behind the doors of #COP21

The world is calling for a commitment to a 100% clean future at the climate summit in Paris. But a group of climate criminals is trying to stop that deal. Their tactics are different, but their end game is the same: shift the focus away from emissions targets and keep fossil fuels at the centre of human development. Some even argue that more money should be spent on coal – the worst carbon-polluting fuel. Most get paid by fossil fuel companies like Exxon to speak against climate action. Some of them have launched extreme public attacks against scientists and others.
Grassroots groups across the world are calling for a dismantling of the suicidal capitalist economic system. But a group of climate criminals (also known as the non-profit industrial complex) is trying to stop this imperative. Their tactics are different, but their end game is the same: shift the focus away from necessary emissions targets and keep first world consumption and the capitalist economic system dependent on infinite growth at the centre of “human development”. Some even argue that more money should be spent on a third industrial revolution – all of which is fossil fuel based and fossil fuel dependent. Most get paid by foundations such as Rockefeller to create acquiescence to the expansion of corporate power and privatization. Some of them have launched extreme public attack campaigns to feign legitimacy, but ultimately they defend the current power structures (upon which they depend and often are created by) and capital while advancing imperial interests and western ideologies throughout the globe.
That is why Avaaz is exposing the seven biggest climate criminals attending the COP21 Paris climate summit. We are publishing their photo and their biographies and insider dossiers on their activities to shine a spotlight on their dirty backroom dealings and stop them from destroying our future.
That is why WKOG is exposing the seven biggest criminals accelerating climate change and destabilizations/wars. We are publishing their photo and their biographies and insider dossiers on their activities to shine a spotlight on their dirty backroom dealings and stop them from destroying our future.

WANTED TOM PERRIELLO BURUNDI

#1: Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello

Tom Perriello is a long-time collaborator with Avaa co-founder Ricken Patel. Together, they co-founded Avaaz.org, Res Publica and FaithfulAmerica.org. Perriello is a former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and a founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group.

Today Perriello is involved in the current destabilization of Burnudi and Congo well underway. On July 6, 2015 it was announced by the U.S. State Department that Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello would be fulfilling his role for the expansion of U.S. imperialism as special envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the Congo-Kinshasa. [Further reading: Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli]

The role of Avaaz, Purpose Inc. (the for-profit PR arm of Avaaz), and Avaaz co-founders in U.S./E.U. led destabilizations/invasions across the globe is now extensively documented. Burundi serves as a rinse, rather, repeat performance, only with far less notoriety/interest.

Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica… Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organization’s funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with the exception of one located in London, England, all of the entities involved are American and based on U.S. soil.

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I

WANTED RICKEN PATEL BOLIVIA

#2: Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel

Ricken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz International. Patel has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Crisis Group, Harvard University, CARE International, and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Patel serves on the 350.org International Advisory Council. 350.org and Avaaz are two of twenty NGOs that founded GCCA (TckTckTck), the NGO at the helm of the global climate marches. [Source: http://350.org/about/intl-ad-council/]

Patel is also co-founder and executive director of Res Publica, which was formally launched in 2003. Res Publica is based in New York.

Res Publica is a primary co-founder of Avaaz along with MoveOn. Res Publica’s stated goal is to “develop innovative solutions to global justice and security threats.” Res Publica “ran as a pilot project” in Sierra Leone in 2001-2002 and has three full-time fellows, Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello and Tom Pravda. Res Publica is supported by a broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” and a Global Advisory Board. Who the broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” actually are, is anyone’s guess.

29 December 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on ‘building the movement infrastructure’ and ‘objectives, strategies and core issues.’”

Perriello (now President and CEO of Center for American Progress) described Res Publica as an “incubator for social entrepreneurship.”

The Res Publica email address is actually respublica@avaaz.org.

Patel was co-director of DarfurGenocide.org, an organization he helped establish with Perriello and the U.S. State Department.

Avaaz (one of the 20 NGOs that founded GCCA/TckTckTck) was instrumental in the undermining of the small vulnerable states in 2009 at COP15. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: mperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I

WANTED JEREMY HEIMANS SYRIA

#3: Avaaz co-founder Jeremy Heimans

Jeremy Heimans is co-founder of both Avaaz and GetUp! GetUp, founded in 2005, is an internationally recognized social and political online “movement” that purports to have more members than all of Australia’s political parties combined. Heimans is also co-founder and CEO of Purpose: “a profit-with-purpose business that builds movements to help solve major global problems.”

Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”

Avaaz co-founder David Madden is also a co-founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc. Utilizing the “behavioral economics of hatred”, Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices, The Syria Campaign and March Campaign #withSyria. [Further reading: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire] [Further reading: Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception – Part I]

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II

WANTED TOM PRAVDA LIBYA

#4: Avaaz co-founder Tom Pravda

Tom Pravda is a British diplomat who co-founded both Res Publica and Avaaz. He has been listed as both secretary and treasurer to Avaaz. Pravda also sits on the advisory board of Res Publica. Pravda has worked for the United Nations in New York and is an advisor to the U.S. State Department, the UK Foreign Office and the European Union. Pravda has been a member of the UK Diplomatic Service since 2003 where he has worked on EU trade and development policy and relations with the Middle East and Africa.

Pravda is a specialist in the Great Lakes Region/DRC, where he advised/advises the U.S. State Department, the UK Foreign Office and the European Union on diplomatic, security and development strategies and programming for the region.

Pravda has also interned for Global Witness and the World Development Movement. Global Witness receives immense funding from governments including Canada and the UK. In 2005, Global Witness also received funding from the NED for their work to “advocate for good governance of natural resource management in Liberia.”

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II

WANTED ELI PARISER FUTURE

#5: Avaaz co-founder Eli Pariser

Eli Pariser is co-founder of Avaaz as well as president/chairman of MoveOn.org’s board. Prior to position of chair, Pariser served as the Executive Director of MoveOn.org. Pariser has worked directly with former Vice President Al Gore on drafting MoveOn-sponsored speeches and assisted in fundraising for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. In December 2003 Pariser worked with Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros, on a MoveOn.org campaign. On December 9, 2004, one month after Kerry’s defeat, Pariser declared that MoveOn had effectively taken control of the Democratic Party.

In an e-mail distributed to MoveOn.org members on November 22, 2005, Pariser announced that his organization had created a spinoff entity called the New Organizing Institute, “a unique grassroots program that trains young, technology-enabled political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations.”

A fellow of the Soros-funded New Organizing Institute, he served as Obama’s ghostwriter for social media applications such as Twitter.

Pariser has recently aligned himself with SumOfUs as a U.S. Advisory Board member and is a co-founder of Upworthy (which works to make trending issues go viral online).

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II

WANTED DAVID MADDEN FUTURE

#6: Avaaz co-founder David Madden

David Madden, is the co-founder of the Australian NGO, GetUp, co-founder of its U.S. counterpart MoveOn.org, as well as co-founder of Avaaz.

Madden has consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program. As well, Madden has worked for the World Bank in Timor Leste, and for the United Nations in Indonesia. Prior to this, Madden served as an officer in the Australian Army.

Madden is also a co-founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc. with Avaaz co-founder Jeremy Heimans and Avaaz’s James Slezak. [Further reading: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire]

Madden has taken up residence in Burma/Myanmar [March 23, 2013: Western Media Celebrates Faux Progress in Myanmar] where he has co-founded the marketing firm, Parami Road: “Our clients are mostly international companies entering Myanmar and they demand an international standard of work.”

Further reading, full background and bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II

WANTED ANDREA WOODHOUSE FUTURE

#7: Avaaz co-founder Andrea Woodhouse

Avaaz co-founder Andrea Madden works for the World Bank in Burma [Myanmar]. Her husband is Avaaz co-founder David Madden who has taken up residence in Burma (see above).

Woodhouse is a consultant to both the United Nations and the World Bank. Woodhouse is a  social entrepreneur having founded two social ventures, Avaaz and Win Back Respect, “a foreign policy advocacy group that ran a $5 million media campaign during the 2004 U.S. presidential election promoting ‘a more multilateral foreign policy’ and ran an advocacy tour with General Wesley Clark.”

Further reading, full background and bioAvaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III

WANTED FULL

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WANTED TOM PERRIELLO CONGO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Failed States | Next up: Burundi

Public Good Project

November 24, 2015

by Jay Taber

 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

November 23, 2015

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“President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Burundi.”

Power and Kagame

Left: U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. Right: “Butcher of the Great Lakes”, Paul Kagame | “The US based Kagame lobbyists, including the US Ambassador to the UN – Samantha Power – are responsible for the crisis we see in Burundi.” – Dr. Charles Kambanda, Great Lakes Post

The African Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) is rich in mineral wealth. East/West superpower competition for these minerals — used in consumer electronics — has prompted the United States military to arm rebels and dictators alike, as well as to increase the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) presence in the region.

Burundi tweet 3

On July 6, 2015, the U.S. State Department announced that Tom Perriello will serve as President Obama’s special envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. On November 6, 2015, the State Department announced that Perriello was alarmed by Burundi government violence.  On November 8, 2015, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, in response to the Burundi government offer of amnesty to insurrectionists, warned of Rwanda-like government massacres.

Samantha-Power-John-Kerry-68th-Session-UN-0OZG7CMnM5Ol

Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power during the United Nations Security Council meeting (photo: (Sept. 18, 2014 – Source: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images North America)

As noted by Charles Kambanda, a former professor at the University of Rwanda, what really is happening in Burundi is that multinational corporations are seeking to create a failed state — as they did previously in the Congo — in order to plunder the resources of the region. Avaaz*, an NGO co-founded by Perriello, has called on the UN, US and EU to send in the troops–much like it did in Libya and Syria.

*Avaaz was initially funded in 2006 by George Soros (a currency speculator convicted of insider-trading) through his Open Society Institute.

 

Further reading: Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli:

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2015/11/18/avaaz-hones-in-on-burundi-as-next-u-s-fait-accompli/

avaazkilllhashtag

Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi?

Libya 360

May 16, 2015

By Gearoid O Colmain

 

“The US-funded media disinformation campaign is part of the prelude to the mobilization of street protests against the government that can be presented to the world as a ‘popular uprising’against a ‘dictator’ who is ‘killing his own people’ It is a techinique that has been perfected by US ‘democracy’and ‘civil society’ NGOS.”

Policemen walk along a street in Bujumbura, Burundi May 15, 2015

Since protests broke out in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura in April 25th  2015 against the decision of the  ruling party to nominate the country’s leader Pierre Nkurunziza for a third term as president, the international press has published reports suggesting that the country is on the verge of civil war, as president Nkurunziza, portrayed as a dictator attempting to hold on to power, is confronted with  an ever increasing movement of ‘peaceful protesters’, ‘human rights’ and ‘civil society’ activists who have an almost absolute monopoly on reportage concerning Burundi’s electoral controversy.

While the mainstream media continue to report on the activities of the ‘peaceful protesters’ who have lynched and murdered suspected members of the  imbonerakure, the youth wing of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, the country’s ruling party,  the massive and entirely peaceful demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of government supporters have been completely ignored.  [1]

It seems a consensus has rapidly been reached concerning who the good and bad guys are in this conflict. But all is not what is seems. In fact, the East African nation is currently experiencing the culmination of a US/EU backed regime change programme which has been conducted as a low-intensity media and covert operations war since 2005. The objective of this war is to redraw the map of the resource-rich Great Lake’s region of Central Africa in accordance with Western corporate and geostrategic interests.

Who is Pierre Nkurunziza?

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks to the media after he registered to run for a third five-year term in office, in the capital Bujumbura

The current incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza joined the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Forces for the Defense for Democracy (CNDD-FDD) after the brutal murder of left-wing president Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, the country’s first democratically elected leader who stemmed from the Hutu, ethnic majority in the former German and Belgian colony. Burundi was traditionally ruled by the Tutsi minority ethnic group, whose elites ruled the country in the interests of European colonialism.

Nkurunziza lost many members of his own family during the genocide of the Hutus by the Tutsi military regime which plunged the country into a decade long civil war causing the death of over 300,000 people.

Nkurunziza’s rebel movement signed an agreement with the Tutsi-dominated government of Burundi in Arusha, Tanzania in  August 2000, according to which a transition government of power-sharing between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa would be put in place.

Although in power since 2005, sensu strictu, the country only became a democracy during the election of 2010, where Nkurunziza’s CNDD  won a landslide victory.  It is on this basis that Burundi’s constitutional council, the supreme legal authority in the country, judged correctly that the incumbent has the right to be nominated for another electoral term.

Western backed opposition activists have admitted that the government has not violated the constitution, but insist instead that the constitutional council is corrupt as its members were nominated by the president. No one would claim, for example, that the French constitutional council is corrupt because its members are nominated by the President of the French Republic. But in the case of Africa, constitutional councils are regularly scoffed at by Western powers when their decisions do not conform to neo-colonial interests and neo-colonial interests, not disputes over interpretations of the country’s constitution, are the key issue in the current Burundian crisis.

Since coming to power in 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza has done a remarkable job in re-uniting and re-building a country ruined by internecine war. A fanatical supporter of football, the former physical sports teacher has been rewarded by many peace organizations throughout the world for his use of football as a means of bringing Hutu and Tutsi communities together.

Education has also been a key focus of the Nkurunziza administration.

Burundi has built more schools since 2007 than any previous government since independence almost 50 years ago. Nkurunziza wants to transform Burundi’s economy into a major exporter of fruit and has implemented an ambitious fruit tree plantation programme to this effect.

The Burundian president spends much of his time doing manual work with the peasants of Burundi. After coming to power, the Burundian government passed a law according to which citizens are required to preform community labour on Saturdays in order to expedite the construction of vital public infrastructure. A key role in this endeavour is played by the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling CNDD party.

The Burundian government has made modest progress in reducing poverty, and has promised to increase economic growth from 4.5 percent to 8.5 percent from 2015 from investments made in nickel mining, fruit production and tourism.

Since 2005 gross domestic product levels have increased significantly. In 2012 Nkurunziza won the Pan-African prize for the fight against Malaria. [2]

Burundi’s success in the fight against malaria has been due to the construction of health centres throughout the country, the provision of free health care for children under five years old and pregnant mothers.

Deeply patriotic and highly popular, having fought a long battle for his country’s liberation, Nkurunziza has succeeded in creating a modest form of national voluntarism, nascent self-reliance and a sense of optimism about the country’s future.

He has increased ties with China, India and Brazil, while adroitly taking advantage of inter-imperialist rivalry for access to African markets by signing several important trade deals with Japan.

Indeed, due to the implacable hostility of the neocolonial powers and their press agencies, Burundi will now most likely have no choice but to increase its links with the BRICS powers.

Nkurunziza’s decision in 2010 to sign an agreement with Beijing that provides for closer Sino-Burundian military cooperation is of tremendous significance. Closer relations with China will enable Burundi to strengthen its defense forces from what Burundian patriots refer to as the BHBFC, the Burundi-Hima-Belgian-French Connection, that is to say, the incessant hostility of the neo-colonial powers and their local collaborators.

Who are the Burundian opposition?

The opposition party Movement for Solidary and Democracy (MSD), part of the umbrella organization, the Alliance for Democratic Change Ikibiri (ADC Ikibiri) is led by Alexis Sinduhije. He is a protégé of US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. In the general election of 2010 the The MSD withdrew from the electoral process after gaining a mer 4 percent of the popular vote.  They claimed the elections were unfair, in spite of the fact that international observers did not report any irregularities.

According to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s 2013 report, Sinduhije does not fear violence from the Burundian government but, on the contrary, the Burundian government does fear violence from Sinduhije and his armed bandits. [3]

Sinduhije has been accused of terrorism by the Burundi government after it was revealed that he was forcibly recruiting youths in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Eastern Kivu region for the formation of a rebel group with a view to seizing power in Bujumbura.

The MSD leader was arrested in Tanzania in January 2012 where he was accused of forming a terrorist group for the invasion of Burundi. He was subsequently released by the Tanzanian authorities and escaped to Europe,where human rights groups closely linked to the US State Department and Western intelligence agencies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have hailed him as a champion of ‘human rights.’

Sinduhije has little popular support inside Burundi but he does have the support of the European Union and the United States, who never wanted the Hutu majority to rule Burundi, as imperial divide and rule policy dictates that post-colonial countries should remain internally divided on ethnic lines with a militarized minority constituting a neo-colonial comprador bourgeoisie eternally dependent on their foreign masters.

Francois Nyamoya is the secretary general of the Movement for Solidary and Democracy. He is also the son of Albin Nyamoya, one of the generals involved in the 1972 genocide of the Hutus under the Micombero regime.

A 2011 UN report on the situation in Eastern Congo identifies many of the so-called Burundian oppositionists as involved in smuggling of gold and terrorizing the inhabitants of Southern Kivu.

Notwithstanding the official criminal evidence against the Burundian ‘opposition’, however, the ‘international community’ chooses to present them as heroes attempting to free their country from ‘corruption’. [4]

None of these fake opposition parties should be confused with the 17 democratically elected deputies of the opposition party Uprona. As in the case of Syria, one must distinguish between the legally constituted opposition and the US and European sponsored gangster networks posing as oppositionists.

Ethnic Conflict in the Service of Neo-Colonialism

During the 1980s the Pentagon trained Rwandan Major General Paul Kagame at the US Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) Fortleavenworth, Kansas.

Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Forces invaded Rwanda from Uganda between 1990 and 1994, assassinating two Hutu leaders, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda.

An impressive US  led propaganda campaign has  presented Paul Kagame as the man who put an end to the genocide in Rwanda, whereas in fact it was Kagame’ forces with full US and Israeli backing who perpetrated most of the mass killings Hutus, Tutsi and Twa blaming all of their crimes on the majority Hutu government.

In October 1996 Kagame’s forces invaded the Congo on the pretext of fighting Hutu rebels. The real objective, however, was to gain control over the mineral rich province of Eastern Congo in close collaboration with Western corporate mining interests. [5]

Kagame’s regime is one of the proxy-forces being used by the United States and the European Union to destabilize and overthrow the democratically elected government of Burundi.  Many researchers in Burundi suspect that the CIA may have been behind the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, given the fact that they directed Kagame who ordered the murder of Ndadaye’s successor Cyprien Ntaramira a year later.

The US government is acutely aware that if the people of Burundi are to know the truth about the US-backed genocide of the Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi, it could jeopardize their foreign policy objectives in the region. Managing people’s perspectives and memory of their own suffering due to US imperialism is a key component of the Pentagon’s strategy in parts of the world it controls. That is why a suitable criminal to replace president Nkurunziza must be found and the CIA database of military intelligence assets is filling up with warlords and war criminals from the Congolese Armageddon, where several million people have been murdered since the US proxy invasion of 1996.

Imperialist geo-strategy: Terrorism and Colour Revolutions

Burundian democracy is currently threatened by two main instruments of Western imperial policy: terrorism and colour revolutions. One of the world’s poorest countries, Burundi could not possibly hope to compete with the barrage of media disinformation waged against it since the Nkurunziza’s election victory in 2010.

Almost every report about the country has been based on the statements of oppositionists and so-called ‘civil society’ activists. These activists are been generously funded by the US State Department think tank, the National Endowment For Democracy,(NED) which on the admission of its founder, functions as a front organization for the CIA. [6]

And as William Blum  has shown in his book ‘ Killing Hope: US military and CIA interventions since 1945’ the Boys from Langley’s job is not promote democracy but,  rather as he puts it ‘make the world safe for democracy by getting rid of democracy.’

Many activists and pseudo-journalists funded by the NED have been arrested by the Burundian authorities on charges of fomenting ethnic tension and promoting terrorist groups in collaboration with the enemies of the country, a crime prohibited by all internationally recognized nation-states.

Terrorist groups who have attacked Burundi in recent years have received extensive and positive coverage from the Francophone media.

For example, in a report entitled ‘Retour de la Rebellion’ French journalist Pauline Simonet reported on a ‘rebel’ group in Eastern Congo, who are hoping to invade and seize power in Burundi. The terrorist group was presented in a positive light, while the point of view of the Burundian government was dismissed. The message was clear: the ‘rebels’ have a just cause and are worthy of our sympathy.

The report also mentioned the massacre of Gatumba of the 18 and 19th of September 2013 where several civilians were murdered outside the Burundian capital. The Burundian National Intelligence Service (SNR) blamed the attack on the Forces for National Liberation (FLN), a terrorist group based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and headed by warlord Agathon Rwasa, whom UN investigators have accused of gold smuggling. The France 24 team seems to be unaware of official UN investigations.

Instead the French TV station suggested that the Gatumba Massacre might have been a false flag operation carried out by the Burundian Government to discredit the ‘opposition’, in spite of having no evidence to support this conspiracy theory. [7]

Rwasa is a former opposition candidate from the ACD-Ikibiri coalition and a full time criminal who ran against Nkununziza in 2010, lost miserably, declared the election to be false, fled to the Congo and returned to his specialization: terrorism.

Lucien Rukevya, a journalist with Radio France Internationale’s Swahili section was arrested on June 16th 2013 while embedded with a Burundian terrorist group. He was charged with complicity in the promotion of terrorism against the Burundian state.  The French media and associated ‘human rights’ groups, did their best to justify this young man’s flagrant and criminal violation of journalistic professionalism, in order to accuse the Burundian government of cracking down on ‘free speech’.

In September 9th 2013 ‘journalist’ Hassan Rovakuki was also arrested for complicity in terrorism. The charge of the Burundian government against these journalists is that they are spreading propaganda in favour of criminals who are attempting to declare war on the people of Burundi. This is in the context of a poor country whose existence is being constantly threatened by militia on its borders in the service of neo-colonial powers, who have not disguised their wish to implement ‘regime change’ in Bujumbura.

Any serious researcher who reads these press dispatches on the so-called Burundian ‘rebels’ operating from the DRC would have to agree that the reports are incontrovertibly biased against the government of Burundi.

All of the reports emphasize the arguments of the rebels while attempting to dismiss those of the government. This is in violation of the most basic rule in journalism: objectivity. Furthermore, such biased, mendacious and aggressive reporting by the agencies of the most powerful countries in the world against a defenseless developing nation constitutes nothing less than acts of psychological terrorism.

On March 8th 2014 an armed insurrection was organized by the opposition in Bujumbura. Police were attacked and kidnapped in what was a clear attempt to seize power. The contrast between citizens throughout the country engaged in community labour in an attempt to rebuild a broken country and a group of fascist thugs attempting to plunge the country into chaos could not have been more poignant. Needless to say, the United States expressed ‘concern’ about the ‘brutal’ crackdown on their putschists.

On December 30th 2014, Burundi’s Northern Province of Cibitoke, on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was invaded by a terrorist gang. It took the Burundian National Defense Forces four days to defeat the invasion. Many of the terrorists were captured and a spokesman for the army in a press conference after the incident assured reporters that they would be treated according to international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile the NED funded media outlets in the country were zealously spreading pro-rebel propaganda, even publishing photos of dead Shebaab rebels in Kenya, claiming they were  Burundian prisoners of war ‘massacred’ by the Burundian  military.

The European Union and the United States have shamelessly expressed ‘human rights’ concerns about the Burundian government’s defeat of the foreign-backed invasion, while showing no concern for their victims.

The international Francophone press was also vociferous in it condemnation of the arrest in January 2015 of Rob Rugurika, the director of Radio Publique Afrique, a privately-funded ‘opposition’ radio station, after he accused the government of ordering the massacre of three Italian nuns in Kamenge in 2014.

Rugurika, who has links with terrorist groups outside the country, has been accused by the Burundian judiciary of being part of a conspiracy to commit crimes and blame them on the government in a destabilization campaign backed by foreign powers.

In September 2014, 40 bodies were found floating on Lake Rweru between Rwanda and Burundi. Villagers upriver in Rwanda fled from French journalists when they attempted to investigate the crime. They told RFI that they had been warned by the Rwandan authorities not to speak to journalists about what they had seen. In spite of the fact that Burundian authorities could not have been behind the crime, US-funded opposition media inside Burundi continue to peddle all sorts of lies suggesting that the corpses might have been oppositionists murdered by the Burundian government.

The US-funded media disinformation campaign is part of the prelude to the mobilization of street protests against the government that can be presented to the world as a ‘popular uprising’against a ‘dictator’ who is ‘killing his own people’ It is a techinique that has been perfected by US ‘democracy’and ‘civil society’ NGOS.

The director of France’s Lazard Bank and proprietor of the French daily Le Monde, Mathieu Pigasse is on record expressing his adoration for the Arab Spring. He has also pointed out that Western policy makers are now focusing on spreading the techniques of the Arab Spring throughout Africa. The millionaire ‘revolutionist’ has made it clear that Western investors prefer to deal with ‘civil society’ organizations in Africa rather than governments. [8]

This phenomenon is what Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci referred to as the ‘takeover of politics by civil society’, that is to say, the destruction of the political sphere and the agora of human agency and social progress by the absolutism of corporate exploitation.

Since the US-backed people-power coups in North Africa in 2011, the US ‘youth industry’, this anti-politics of destruction, has spread its tentacles throughout the African continent, where, paradoxically, ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘down-with-the-dictator’ activism further entrenches imperialism by contriving a discourse on social discontent that obfuscates its material basis, thereby dis-empowering and corrupting the youth. We could call this phenomenon the stultification of dissent.

The aim of terrorism and people-power coups or colour revolutions is to render nations of the Global South powerless in the face of globalization.

It is a deeply cynical but nevertheless ingenious US foreign policy programme, which, due to the fact that so many critics of US foreign policy continue to believe that the Arab Spring was a genuinely ‘spontaneous uprising’ of the masses against US-backed dictators, attests to the sophistication and prescience of the US foreign-policy establishment.

A Neo-Colonial War on a free African nation

The United States and the European Union are at war against the people of Burundi. Situated at the heart of the mineral rich Great Lakes region of Africa, the democratic government of Burundi is an obstacle to the depopulation programme currently being carried out  by US client dictator Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his partner Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who are attempting to carve up Eastern Congo in order to create an independent  Republic of Kivu, bringing that region’s vast wealth into the possession of European and American corporate interests.

In October 2014 the Burundian military were forced to withdraw by the United Nations ‘peace-keeping’ force MONUSCO from Kiliba in Eastern Congo where they had been cracking down on terrorist groups.  Shortyly thereafter, the Burundian authorities arrested several NED funded activists ,who were busy spreading absurd lies about the Burundian military training pro-government Burundian youth( the imbonerakure) in the Congo for the purposes of terrorizing the Burundian population at home.

These lies were meant to incite fear and ethnic hatred among the population, in order to weaken the credibility of the government.

This withdrawal from the DRC will make it more difficult for the Burundian government to protect its borders from terrorism. Meanwhile, ‘peaceful protesters’ are attacking police and lynching pro-government civilians with the full backing of the international military-industrial-media-intelligence complex.

The protesters  in the streets are chanting ‘’down with the dictator’’ and an ‘’end to corruption’’ but in reality, Nkurunziza is being targeted for not serving the interests of the infinitely corrupt scoundrels currently running the United Nations, the potentates of the soi-disant ‘international community’.

The African Union has called on the Burundian government to postpone the elections. This is the same African Union which stood by and watched French forces bomb and invade the Ivory Coast in 2010, Libya in 2011, Mali in 2012, and the Central African Republic in 2013.

If the African Union is to gain a modicum of respect, it must stand up for the sovereignty of African nations and threaten to lead a coalition of military forces to defend any country attacked by US/European imperialism.

In the case of Burundi, the African Union should have denounced the diabolical terrorist and media disinformation campaign against a young democratic country which has just emerged from a civil war. The fact that they did not shows that they have sided with the enemies of Africa. It is hardly surprising that truly independent, post-colonial countries such as Eritrea will have nothing to do with the sham called the African Union.

If the Burundian authorities do not succeed in crushing the violent insurgency, the country could be facing more years of civil war and permanent foreign occupation by UN ‘peace-keepers’ after a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to ‘stop the massacres’. The script has been tried and tested in Haiti, the  Ivory Coast, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

So, the key question  now is this: Can Burundi defy the Empire and protect its people from carpet bombing called ‘humanitarian intervention’, a terrorist invasion called ‘liberation’, a military coup called ‘transitional government’ and  a possible genocide where once again the victims will be blamed?

Notes:

[4] un.org
[6] ned.org

 

[Gearóid Ó Colmáin is an independent political analyst from Cork, Ireland based in Paris.]