Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Laura Wells, California Green Party Candidate for Governor on KPFA Radio, 03.15.2010

The California Green Party's 2010 candidate for governor spoke with the KPFA Morning Show's Brian Edwards-Tiekert on March 15, 2010

Neither Christine Todd Whitman nor Steve Poisner, the California Republican Party candidates in the 2010 governor's race, have yet responded to KPFA's request for interviews, and Democratic candidate Jerry Brown, a former KPFA host himself, has said that he will not appear on the station.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Please contribute to support my independent reporting on Africa's Great Lakes region, and my advocacy for an end to Pentagon intervention

Please click on the "Donate" button in the upper right corner of this blog if you value my reporting on Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda, and my advocacy for an end to U.S.-Pentagon interventions there and everywhere.   Could you give $5, $10, $25 or more?   The first, and still the greatest number of those contributing to my work have been Rwandan, Congolese, and Burundian people making small contributions, though several Westerners have since contributed as well. 

I have been reporting on the Great Lakes region for Digital Journal, Global Research, the San Francisco Bay View, the OpEdNews, Colored Opinions, and KPFA and KMEC Radio, and posting video elaborations of my radio reports to my Youtube Channel. On Sunday, 03.21.2010, I recorded Law Professor Peter Erlinder, Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) for this KPFA Radio News report, then posted the result to my channel with a video overlay, after which it appeared on the Global Research and Digital Journal websites.

Two days later I called Peter to say that I was ready to read and study the entire Rwanda Documents Project, if I can find some funding.  He said it would take me at least two months, with his regular guidance, and also told me, with considerable urgency, that he needs help writing a book explaining his years of research.

No one else has studied or reported on all the evidence which has led Peter to say, as a criminal lawyer, with evidence at hand, that the US and the UK financed the ongoing Central African War, first in Uganda, then Rwanda, and now D.R. Congo, and, that eight million African people have died. 

I've also spoken to Kevin Alexander Gray, African American writer and activist, Counterpunch and Progressive contributor, and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike, the Fundamentals of Black Politics, who has offered to contact those he knows in the office of Senator Russ Feingold, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs.  And, to contact Reverend Jesse Jackson, and other leaders in the Black community, about urging African Americans to call on President Obama and their legislators to heed the Feingold Statement on the Fragility of Democracy in Africa.

We agreed that:

1)  Peace in the Great Lakes region depends on the end of UK and U.S. military, financial, and media support for the ruthless, highly militarized autocracy of Paul Kagame's Rwanda, especially now, during this critical election year, in which Rwandans should have the power to choose the president who will lead them for the next seven years.  This goal is consistent with the liberal democratic values that the U.S. government claims to represent and defend.   America's liberals, including President Obama, need encouragement to be good liberals.

Senator Feingold read the Feingold Statement on the Fragility of Democracy in Africa into the Congressional Record on March 2nd.  I came across it, barely noticed, on an Ethiopian website, then wrote the news for Digital Journal, Global Research, and the Black Star News

2)  Senator Feingold needs encouragement to meet with Dr. Peter Erlinder, who so feels the urgency of the Rwandan situation that he is willing to drive from St. Paul to Madison, WI, or fly to Washington D.C. immediately if an appointment can be arranged.

3)  I need to continue reporting, every week, on Rwanda's opposition parties ongoing efforts to enter the election, and need to keep asking Senator Feingold, and other members of the Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs to respond.

Unlike Rwandan President Paul Kagame, I have no "donor nation" support and don't expect any, so I greatly appreciate the help of anyone who thinks this work needs to be done.    

Thanks.  --Ann Garrison

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UK and US finance Central African War; eight million Africans die

KPFA Radio News broadcast, 03.23.2010:

As a law professor, criminal lawyer, and Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, Professor Erlinder is very careful to be sure he has evidence supporting any statement he stands by, and he says the evidence is all here, in his Rwanda Documents Project which I'm just getting started on, http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/cgi-bin/library

He knows he's on the Rwanda Hit List that Keith Snow reported last week, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2010/03/the-rwanda-hit-list/, but said he's expendable because the documents are all there.

He also said that if there had been any reporters with audience at the ICTR in 2009 when the court ruled that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the received history of the genocide---including Kinzer's---and the RPF/Kagame regime's justification would have crumbled.

I told him that Kagame had compared the Rwanda Genocide to 09/11 when talking to Christiane Amanpour on CNN last week, and he said, "That would be ironic indeed, wouldn't it? If 09/11 really were a false flag," meaning a false history to rally around, like the received history of the Rwanda Genocide. 

But, he didn't want to comment on 09/11 beyond that, having no proof at hand.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rwanda accuses Hotel Rwanda hero of 'Double Genocide Theory'

Rwanda's government has accused Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan exile played by actor Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda, of being a "revisionist" who "harbors the Double Genocide Theory."
A "revisionist," in Rwanda, is someone who dares to challenge the received history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. The "Double Genocide Theory" is the belief that Hutus, as well as Tutsis, were victims of genocidal violence in 1994. 

Read more at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/289105

Sunday, March 14, 2010

KPFA Radio News: Keith Harmon Snow on Rwandan Police in Haiti

Keith Harmon Snow, independent journalist and human rights investigator, photographed here in D.R. Congo.

On 03.13.2010, I reported for KPFA Radio about Rwandan police undertaking special training to serve as "peacekeepers" in Haiti, which I had reported on Colored Opinions and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, in "Just what Haiti doesn't need: Rwandan police," http://bit.ly/9kJjp7   For KPFA, I recorded Keith Harmon Snow's response:

KPFA Radio News, 03.13.2010: 
Rwandan Police in Haiti, http://bit.ly/a4pYqa

This seems to have struck a nerve, making Rwandan reality more real to people in this hemisphere, even way out here on the Pacific Coast.  Progressives are very conscious of Haiti in the San Francisco Bay Area, and of Palestine, largely because these are the two hot spots that the popular KPFA Flashpoints Investigative Radio show focuses on most faithfully.

Consciously or not, we consume the resources of the Great Lakes region every day, including Starbuck's coffee and tea from Rwanda, and coltan and cassiterite from eastern Congo, smuggled across the border for export from Rwanda, for all the electronic gadgetry designed and manufactured in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, and Google headquarters are all roughly an hour away from the City of San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, as are many military industrial contractors, who rely on cobalt ore mined in the Katanga Copper Belt running through southeastern D.R. Congo into Zambia.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rwandan President Paul Kagame's London press conference

Demonstrators outside the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House in London, when Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrived to hoist the Rwandan flag, celebrating Rwanda's acceptance into the Commonwealth, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2009.  Pro-Kagame demonstrators arrived with their signs as well.

On March 12th, the Black Star News published a partial transcript of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's press conference in London, "when the country's flag was unfurled to officially welcome the East African country as a member of the Commonwealth Club of Nations," as pro and anti-Kagame demonstrators lined up outside.  

Here's my own brief interpretation of His Excellency's remarks: 

1st question: ". . . set out for us specifically what you intend to do in order to meet criticisms of failings in the guarantees of human rights and media freedoms."

Answer:  Genocide.  The genocide sixteen years ago was the West's fault; there were no freedom or rights then and there's nothing we can do about freedom and human rights now.

2nd question:  Why hasn't Laurent Nkunda been turned over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague?  And, what about freedom of the press? 

Answer:  Over a year after we arrested our man Nkunda we're still talking to the D.R.C. about extraditing him, even though there's a sealed warrant for his arrest at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.   Re the press, "as an honest observer," you have to look at both sides, even though 22 journalists have died in Rwanda since 1992, compared to 10 in the D.R.C., and even though it's one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.   And besides: genocide.  We had a genocide sixteen years ago and Rwandan journalists were guilty, along with the West.

3rd question:  How confident are you that a French court will extradite Habyarimana's widow, and will she get a fair trial in Rwanda?  

Answer:  I like that question.  The widow's guilty.  France should have locked her up or handed her over a long time ago and, if they don't, we'll keep demanding they do.  We want thousands more exile genocide criminals too, even though our filthy prisons are already some of the most overcrowded in the world.

4th question:   Bombs are going off in Rwanda while you use the genocide excuse to keep anyone from challenging you in this year's faux presidential election.  What gives? 

Answer:  Everybody's got problems, and besides, ours are all caused by the FDLR in eastern Congo and some other people we've arrested, (including journalists), and more we'll arrest soon (including journalists). Only racist neocolonists care about democracy and human rights in Rwanda, where Rwandans all love my African ass and love taking orders from me and me alone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just what Haiti doesn't need: Rwandan Police

In case anyone needed further evidence that President Paul Kagame's Rwanda is the Pentagon's proxy, 140 Rwandan Police are about to undertake special training before heading to Haiti, as reported in the Rwanda New Times, because, according to Rwandan Police Chief Edmund Kayiranga, "Rwanda wants to be involved in promoting peace in other countries and if need be, they would send more peacekeepers to other countries."
Rwandan Police are off to Haiti to promote peace, even as: 
1) Grenades explode in Kigali in the run up to its 2010 presidential election, and two of three viable parties are still unable to register and field candidates against incumbent President Paul Kagame.
2)  A new list of the five most horrible prisons on earth includes Rwanda's Kigali Gitarama Prison, and describes it as the most overcrowded penitentiary in the world, so overcrowded that prisoners have no choice but to stand up all day while their feet rot in filth, often developing gangrene, which may require amputation.  (Amnesty International reported, in 2007, that Gitarama Prison was way overcrowded, with 7,477 prisoners in space for 3,000.)  
3)  Top military commanders and government officials flee the country, and journalists go into hiding to escape arrest
4)  Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Group, the Africa Faith and Justice Network, the Greens European Free Alliance, and Senator Russ Feingold, D-WI, Chair of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa, call for human rights, an end to attacks on political opposition, and a free and fair presidential election, with polls scheduled for August 9th, 2010.
And why does Haiti need all these U.S. and UN Troops and now, Rwandan Police "peacekeepers"?    
Even France accused the U.S. of occupying rather than aiding the former jewel of the French empire, but it's very difficult to interpret this as anything but France's pseudo moral complaint against its longstanding imperial competitor--England and the Anglophone world---in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.  

Before the catastrophic Haitian earthquake on January 12th, 2010, Haitian lawyer and human rights activist Margeurite Laurent pointed to little known oil reserves and mineral riches to explain the already existing UN and U.S. occupation of her homeland, on Salon.com, CKUT Radio, and the San Francisco Bay View. 

Sound familiar?  Where else do Rwandan troops, if not police, serve?  Wherever the U.S. wants to project military force in Africa, including resource rich nations, like oil rich Sudan, which the U.S. forever threatens to invade "to stop genocide," and now, resource rich Haiti, which much of the world perceives as a part of Africa as much as a part of the Americas. 

And, oil and mineral rich D.R. Congo, where the Rwandan Army's constant invasions and mineral theft in that country's tortured eastern provinces were finally, in January 2009, officially sanctioned, with the announcement that the Rwandan Defense Force would collaborate with the Congolese Army (FARDC), the Rwandan CNDP militia, and UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), to, so they said, go after the FDLR, the Rwandan Hutu refugee militia.  The FDLR is the eternal excuse for military aggression and mineral theft in eastern Congo.  

The Congolese FARDC and MONUC had been engaged in a fierce fight with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), backed, in stealth, by the Rwandan Defense Force up until January 20, 2009, when they suddenly joined forces, with the applause of the U.S. State Department, and the assistance of AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command.   Human Rights Watch (HRW), in May 2009, predicted that the consequence would be another human catastrophe in eastern Congo and by December 2009, HRW and major news outlets in the region reported that it had.   

This unlikely and unholy alliance emerged in eastern D.R. Congo, on Barack Obama's Inauguration Day, when all eyes were on Washington D.C., the first African American U.S. president, Reverend Rick Warren, celebrities all over the streets, and Aretha Franklin's hat.    So little of the world heeds or makes sense of Sub Saharan African news that only a handful of bloggers, dissident journalists and scholars noted, that D.R. Congo had, that day, become a violent D.R. Disneyland.

In December 2009, Keith Harmon Snow reported, in Dissident Voice and the San Francisco Bay View, that soldiers of the Rwandan Defense Forces were being flown all the way across D.R. Congo, from its eastern border with Rwanda to its Western border with the Republic of Congo, in oil and timber rich Equateur Province, to join AFRICOM, UN Peacekeepers (MONUC), and Belgian paratroopers, in suppressing the Dongo Rebellion.  

Why not Congolese soldiers?   Because they lack the discipline of the Pentagon's Rwandan proxy army, and, as Keith Snow reported, many of them were defecting to join the Western Congolese fighters calling themselves the Resistance Patriots of Dongo.

Now, with 140 Rwandan Police about to undertake training to serve as peacekeepers in Haiti, the first question is:  Why peacekeepers?  Didn't Haiti suffer an earthquake, not a war, aside from the arrival of 10,000 U.S. troops?  

And, why not 140 more Haitian Police?  Why Rwandans? If Haiti needs "peacekeepers" within its own borders, shouldn't Haitians be best able to keep the peace?

Yes, but not the peace that those now managing the U.S. occupation of Haiti want

In February 2007, the New Times reported that the FBI was training Rwandan Police in modern interviewing and interrogating techniques, and, in counter-terrorism, criminal investigation, and cyber crimes investigation. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rwanda's domestic press corps

My favorite quotes from East Africa's Independent Media Review article on the Rwandan Press:

There are more than 60 registered print and broadcast media houses but less than 20 of these are active. A close analysis indicates that almost all are either owned by the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) or are godfathered by very top spy chiefs. 

Rwanda has only one English language daily, The New Times, which is fully owned by the ruling RPF. On its board sit senior RPF cadres and close aides of President Kagame. The chairman of The New Times is Rwanda’s spy chief, LT Col. Emmanuel Ndahiro, the Executive Secretary of National Security Services. Ndahiro was among founders of the government mouthpiece and is widely said to be the invisible strong force behind Rwanda’s political scene as he is very close to the President.  He runs the affairs of The New Times like his office and hand picks the top management.

But sources tell ET that Rwanda Dispatch has been wholly bought by the RPF and its content is closely monitored by State House. With presidential elections scheduled for later this year, anything is possible and Kagame and the ruling party will do anything to get all positive media attention to counter the acidic reportage of tabloids like Umuseso and Umuvugizi or international media like BBC and VOA.

"What do you people call press freedom? Is it the right to abuse others or the right to express your opinion and access information without hindrance?”  . . .  Katende [owner of the Rwanda Dispatch] says.

Rwanda News Agency, the national news service, is also said to be owned by the ruling RPF and its board is chaired by Ndahiro who monitors its content on a daily basis.

“At first we [Rwanda News Agency] wanted to stand out as an independent media house that is professional and not like the New Times. But this seems not to be working as we are receiving lots of pressure from the owners who want us to sing the RPF song. Though we are owned by the system, some of us find this very difficult as it compromises our professional ethics,” the source, pleading for anonymity, added. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

KPFA News update on Rwanda and endangered journalist Godwin Agaba

Godwin Agaba, a 256.com correspondent in Rwanda, has gone into hiding since incumbent President Paul Kagame's government ordered his arrest for alleged links to Lieutenant General Kayumba Nyamwasa. 


Political violence and anxiety continue to trouble Rwanda, in its 2010 presidential election year, with polls scheduled for August 9th, but only one of the three viable opposition parties, the Parti Social-Imberakuri registered, and its registration threatened.  Neither the FDU-Inkingi Party nor the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda  have yet been able to register.

Godwin Agaba, a 256.com correspondent in Rwanda, has ow gone into hiding and applied for asylum, after incumbent President Paul Kagame's government ordered his arrest for alleged links to General Kayumba Nyamwasa.

My 03.07.2010 radio news update, includes a brief conversation with Mr. Agaba, who answered the phone from an undisclosed location, on March 7, 2010, for KPFA Radio News, in Berkeley, California.  He said that he has contacted Reporters without Borders and other organizations to protect journalists and applied for asylum.  
The radio archive can be played at this hot link:

KPFA Radio News: Political Violence in Rwanda, 03.07.2010, http://bit.ly/dgH8dU

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free speech in Rwanda

Former New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, writing in the London Guardian, on March 2, 2010, paraphrased "Rwandan leaders" when comparing free speech in the African Republic of Rwanda to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

Kinzer is the author of "A Thousand Hills, Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed it," the story of how former General, now incumbent President, Paul Kagame seized power in Rwanda during the Rwanda Genocide of 1994.

Critics characterize him as Kagame's biographer, apologist, and publicist.

Full text at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/288466

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Election Rwanda 2010: party leaders remain in Rwanda, despite threats

On Friday, February 22, 2010, independent Rwandan newspaper Umuseso reported an assassination plot against Frank Habineza, leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, who is now a member of the Permanent Consultative Council representing the three major opposition parties in Rwanda. Habineza responded, however, that neither he nor Victoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, of the FDU-Inking Party, nor Bernard Ntaganda, of the Parti Social-IMBERAKURI, intend to leave the country in fear, because they feel they are not only more effective but also safer in Rwanda, where their assassination would be an international incident. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both called for an end to political repression and human rights abuse in the run up to Rwanda's August 9th election, and Reporters without Borders has called for an end to repression of the press, particularly Umuseso, the newspaper that reported the assassination threat against Habineza.

On March 2nd, Frank Habineza was summoned by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Rwandan Police, which released him after interrogation. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

256.com: Rwanda's Ambassador to the Netherlands flees to Ireland

In a 02.28.2009 KMEC radio update on the Rwanda 2010 election, Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda said that the government of Rwanda has "long arms," and that "you can run but you can't hide," so he and the other party leaders of the Permanent Consultative Council, feel safer staying in Rwanda, but former Rwandan Ambassador Jean Pierre Bizimana seems to have tried running, after, refusing to help assassinate FDU-Inkingi leader VIctoire Ingabiré Umuhoza, according to  Ingabiré, and/or, helping her obtain travel documents to return to Rwanda, according to sources unnamed by 256.com.

Rwanda’s Ambassador to Holland Flees to Ireland
Tuesday, 2 March 2010     
In hiding? Ambassador Bizimana
News reaching 256news.com indicates that Ambassador Jean Pierre
Bizimana of Rwanda to the Netherlands is seeking political asylum in
the Republic of Ireland.

Bizimana failed to turn up for the recently concluded Ambassadors’
retreat in Kigali last week because he feared arrest, according to
reliable sources.

The sources indicate that Ambassador Bizimana got into trouble because
of alleged links to controversial opposition leader Ingabire Victoire
Umuhoza of the FDU-INKINGI.

When 256news.com contacted Ingabire for a comment, she denied links
with him but said, “the Ambassador is being blamed for falling to help assassins
sent by Kigali to kill me shortly before my return.”

Other reasons advanced are that, Bizimana helped Ingabire and her
family to acquire travel documents without authorization from Kigali.
A source in the West who is aware of Rwandan politics said the two
(Ingabire and Bizimana) share close kinship.

Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister did not answer
repeated phone calls from 256news.com and even SMS messages seeking
clarification went unanswered.

Ingabire, who this week caused a stir by seeking a temporary
asylum in British High Commission in Kigali told 256news.com on
telephone that, her impact is being felt by the regime in Kigali
“if Ambassadors are beginning to flee because of me.”

Ingabire lived in Holland before returning to Rwanda mid-January this year.