Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lawmakers cutting mass transit as guilty as BP in the Gulf


Has anyone stopped driving because of what's happening to the Gulf of Mexico? How many are free to choose, even if they would?

The U.S.A.'s stupid stimulus funds went to build freeways while mass transit was cut back and fares were raised all over the country.

Every federal legislator behind the stimulus freeway building spree should be held responsible for the death of the Gulf Coast, as much or more than British Petroleum. Even now, the cuts to mass transit continue, as the oil volcano erupts with no end in sight.

Read at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/293975.

Democracy Now: As Congo Marks 50th Anniversary of Independence, Human Rights Abuses Rise in Congo and Neighboring Rwanda

Kagame media reports arrest of "suspect" who confesses to murdering journalist to avenge 1994 genocide crime

The self-described "Government Supporting Daily, The New Times," a.k.a. Kagame Media, reports that an unnamed suspect has confessed to murdering journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, after Rugambage reported that Rwandan President Paul Kagame had ordered the assassination attempt on exile Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa on June 19th.

The New Times reports that the suspect "told Police that he was avenging the death of a family member, who was allegedly killed by Rugambage during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi."   I imagine the "suspect"---if he exists---will enjoy a very comfortable early retirement.

If a C02 explosion from Lake Kivu kills everyone on both the Rwanda and Congo sides, thanks to Kagame's careless natural gas drilling, he and his "Government Supporting Daily," The New Times, will no doubt say that the lake finally blew to avenge 1994 genocide crime against the Tutsi.

Here's the news, in Rwanda's "Government Supporting Daily, The New Times,"  dutifully reproduced on AllAfrica.com, headquartered in Washington D.C.:



Government Supporting Daily


Man confesses to killing journalist
By Our reporter

Internal Security Minister, Fazil Musa Harelimana
KIGALI - One of the suspects arrested in connection with the Thursday night killing of Jean Leonard Rugambage, a local Journalist, has confessed to committing the crime, Internal Security Minister, Musa Fazil Harelimana, said yesterday.

Speaking at the monthly Presidential news conference, Harelimana said that the suspect told Police that he was avenging the death of a family member, who was allegedly killed by Rugambage during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The suspect, who also led investigators to the scene where he buried the pistol allegedly used in the murder, accused Rugambage of killing his brother who used to work for Banque Populaire in Kamonyi, Southern Rwanda, before the Genocide.

According to a Police statement released Sunday, Rugambage was once charged by Gacaca courts, was imprisoned for a period of three years, but later released in 2007.

Investigations into the case continue.

Ends

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Erlinder released as Kagame cracks down on his own



Rwandan Umuvugizi journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was assassinated in Kigali Rwanda on June 24, 2010, after publishing a report that Rwandan President Paul Kagame had ordered the attempted assassination of General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.

As U.S. Law Professor Peter Erlinder was released, after three weeks incarceration in Rwanda, Kagame cracked down hard on his own.   Read at San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, http://goo.gl/CSdo.

Rwanda: arrests, assassinations, and Pentagon intervention



Saturday, June 26th, 2010, memorial service for Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, assassinated in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday, June 24th.

KPFA News on Rwanda and Africa, 06.26.2010: 




Friday, June 25, 2010

Erlinder released as Rwanda cracks down on its own


American Law professor Peter Erlinder returns

U.S. Law Professor Peter Erlinder returned from three weeks imprisonment from March 28th in Rwanda's capitol, Kigali, where he had traveled to act as Defense Counsel for embattled presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.  Ingabire remains under house arrest, unable to leave the country, and faces a possible 20 year prison sentence.  Both she and Erlinder are still accused of violating Rwanda's unique "genocide ideology" speech crime, which means disagreeing with the official history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.   

A Rwandan judge agreed to release Erlinder but only on medical grounds, not in response to the argument that his free speech rights, and thus, by extension, the free speech rights of Victoire Ingabire and other Rwandans, are guaranteed by the international human rights covenants that Rwanda has signed or by Rwanda's membership in the Commonwealth. 

In his press conference at William and Mitchell College of Law in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Wednesday, 06.23.2010, following his return, Professor Erlinder thanked all the people around the world who had called for his release, and said that he owed his life to them and to the Internet.  He called it a triumph for people power, but he also said that it would not have occurred if he had not been a white American lawyer with friends, family, and allies capable of organizing and lobbying relentlessly for his release.

In Kigali, Ingabire said that Professor Erlinder's arrest demonstrated the nature of the Rwandan regime.  She called on all those who supported him to support Rwandans now.

She said, as Senator Russ Feingold, Chair of the Senate Subommittee on Africa has, in the Feingold Statement on the Fragility of Democracy in Africa, that the U.S should insist on democracy in Rwanda as a condition of its donor nation support. 

However, with Rwanda's 2010 election now only seven weeks away, and neither the FDU-Inkingi nor the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda allowed to contest the election, more and more Rwandans are losing hope and some have even concluded that only military invasion could unseat the Kagame regime, a possibility that President Kagame has attempted to circumvent by force repatriating refugees who might join a rebel army.

Assassins go after Rwandan exile General Kayumba Nyamwasa

On Saturday, March 25th, an unidentified gunman attempted to assassinate Rwandan exile General Kayumba Nyamwasa, an outspoken critic of President Kagame and a potential leader of a rebel army invading to overthrow him.  The gunman opened fire on Kayumba as he returned home from a grocery store in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ingabire condemned the assassination attempt as another example of Kagame's favored method of eliminating exile dissidents, and called once again for nonviolent political, not military, solutions. 

Rwandan exile and Ingabire supporter Jean Manirarora, now a microbiological research scientist in Louisville, Kentucky, also called for political solutions but said that General Kayumba has become the greatest threat to President Kagame because he is a Tutsi General popular with both Rwandan Hutus and Tutsis, and could thus lead a Hutu and Tutsi army into Rwanda, with credible claim to being a national liberation army, not an army of genocidaires.

"There is no sign of an army organizing to invade Rwanda," Manirarora said, but if there were and, if Kayumba were to lead it, no one one could say that he had come to finish off the Tutsi because he himself is a Tutsi.   

On Thursday, June 24th, hundreds of Rwandan opposition leaders and members, including P.S. Imberakuri Party leader and presidential candidate Bernard Ntaganda, were assaulted and arrested because of protest planned at Rwanda's National Electoral Commission that morning, as President Paul Kagame registered his candidacy and all the viable opposition was excluded.  On the same day, Deputy Editor of Rwanda's Umuvugizi Newspaper, Jean Leonard Rugambage, was shot dead on the way into his home in Kigali.   

Shocked and grief stricken Umuvugizi Editor Jean Bosco Gasasiras, now in exile in Uganda, accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame of ordering his security operatives to assassinate Rugambage.   General Kayumba Nyamwasa's wife Rosette continues to accuse Kagame of sending operatives to assassinate her husband, and Rwandan journalist Godwin Agaba, also in exile in Uganda, said that Rugambage had just written a story revealing a plot to poison Kayumba in his sick bed in South Africa, where he is recovering from last week's attempt on his life.

In the shadow of AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command 

These arrests and intrigue in Rwanda create urgencies that distract from an AFRICOM, U.S. Africa Command conference, which concluded in Kigali, at the same time Professor Erlinder was being released.  The conference was called to plan an August military "exercise" in Accra, Ghana, on the Gulf of Guinea, which is critical to the control of  West African oil and gas, and oil and gas transport corridors in the Gulf of Guinea and the rivers flowing into it.
   
On May 16, 2001, the Office of Vice President Richard Cheney produced a document titled West African Oil: a Priority for U.S. National Security and African Development, a "National Energy Policy Report."   For whatever reason,  the policy report's Web URL is: http://www.israeleconomy.org/strategic/africawhitepaper/pdf.

The Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on the conclusion of the AFRICOM conference in a story with the headline "U.S. military not intending to control Africa" - says Army chief."    The RNA report quoted a senior Rwandan military chief saying, "
A new US military program training African armies including Rwanda is not a US move to dominate the African continent."

   

Many Africans, not only Rwandan and Congolese, and Americans, especially African Americans, seemed to believe that this statement reduced the credibility of the Kagame government, which also insists that it had nothing to do with the latest round of assassinations and assassination attempts in Rwanda and surrounding nations.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kagame arrests Rwandan presidential candidate Bernard Ntaganda


Bernard Ntaganda, presidential candidate of Rwanda's P.S. Imberakuri Party before it broke into two factions, and still the presidential candidate of one wing.  He has called for postponement of the elections until all viable candidates can register, and today he called for protest as President Paul Kagame registered his candidacy with the National Electoral Commission, saying "Silence is acceptance."   He was arrested at his home this morning, 06.24.2010, before he could leave to attend the protest.









Bernard Ntaganda, Rwandan opposition presidential candidate, and Didas Gasana, Editor of Rwanda's banned newspaper, Umuseso, spoke to KMEC Radio on April 18th. Gasana has since fled to Uganda and Ntaganda was arrested in Kigali this morning.

Last night Ntaganda put out an urgent message that his assistant, Mr. Sibomana Rusangwa Aimable, had disappeared at 8 p.m., after a meeting held at the head office of P.S.Imberakuri in which the Party had decided to organize demonstrations today, June 24th, 2010.

Read more at Digital Journal: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/293800.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pirate Cat Radio: Rwanda, Congo, and Law Professor Peter Erlinder


U.S. Law Professor Peter Erlinder and Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza in a Kigali, Rwanda courtroom.  Professor Erlinder wore one of Rwanda's pink prison uniforms.



On Friday evening, June 19th, San Francisco's Pirate Cat Radio's League of Pissed Off Voters Show invited me on to talk about U.S. Law Professor Peter Erlinder's arrest in Kigali, Rwanda and its context, including:

---Reverend Rick Warren on Trial in the Court of Public Opinion


--Rwanda's 2010 presidential election, with August 9th polls, which will be no more than a charade, because none of the viable candidates have been allowed to register and freely campaign,


--AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, which was meeting in Kigali, to plan an August "exercise" in Accra, Ghana, to watchdog West African oil and gas and oil and gas transport corridors while Professor Peter Erlinder sat in a Rwanda prison, 


--Rwandan prisons, some of the world's most crowded, with the second highest per capita prison population in the world.  


--Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's appeal to the world to stand with Rwanda now, as they stood with Professor Erlinder.






(And we actually finished up there, for now, because the next Pirate Cat programmer came in.  Pirate Cat Radio is a fairly informal operation, and, as League of Pissed Off Voters Radio host Andy Blue said, "It is no longer broadcasting on 87.9FM," not to the knowledge of anyone there.)

In his press conference at William and Mitchell College of Law in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Wednesday, 05.23.2010, following his return, Professor Erlinder thanked all the people around the world who had called for his release, and said that he owed his life to them and to the Internet.  His release was, he said, a triumph for people power, but he also said that it would not have occurred if he had not been a white American lawyer with friends, family, and allies capable of organizing and lobbying relentlessly for his release.


He also said that he would have been disappeared if he hadn't sat down in a Kigali hotel hallway and started making noise, refusing to cooperate, demanding to speak to his Embassy till the police called them. Airline records, and the U.S. Embassy's records, on the day of his arrest, said that he'd already flown out of Kigali to Nairobi the previous morning.


He appeared at the press conference in a suit and tie, but held up a replica of the pink Rwandan prison costume he had worn in Kigali and promised to wear it in future appearances, in solidarity with the Rwandan people and prisoners, though he had promised his family not to wear it on Wednesday.  

Video of Peter Erlinder's 06.23 press conference at William and Mitchell Law College in Minneapolis is not available yet, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune made this video of his homecoming available on the Youtube:



--Ann Garrison

Friday, June 18, 2010

Peter Erlinder's release and Victoire Ingabire's appeal



U.S. Law Professor Peter Erlinder's lawyer Otachi Gershom and presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza left a Kigali, Rwanda courtroom, on Jun 17th, where a Rwandan judge had just handed down a decision to release Erlinder on medical grounds. 

On June 17, a Rwanda judge released U.S. Law Professor and international criminal defense attorney Peter Erlinder from a Rwandan Prison, on medical grounds.

Erlinder has been imprisoned since May 28th, several days after traveling to Rwanda to defend presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza against the same "genocide ideology" charges he now faces in Rwanda. Erlinder, however, will be allowed to return to the United States, unlike Ingabire, who remains under house arrest in Rwanda.

Ingabire appealed to the international community to stand, now, with Rwanda, as they have with Professor Peter Erlinder.

Read at Digital Journal:

Kagame releases Professor Erlinder on medical grounds

Ingabire's appeal: Stand with Rwanda, as with Professor Peter Erlinder

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ogetto warns of dangerous international legal precedent in Rwanda


Kenyan Lawyer Kennedy Ogetto with his client American Law Professor Peter Erlinder on June 14th, outside a Rwandan courtroom, where Erlinder appealed a Rwandan judge's decision denying him bail on June 7th.

Kennedy Ogetto, Kenyan lawyer and Defense Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda warned that Rwanda's arrest of American Law Professor Peter Erlinder sets a very dangerous international legal precedent.

Ogetto, is now in Rwanda's capitol, Kigali, defending Erlinder, who was arrested on May 28th, for speech crime, in Rwanda. He said that the prosecution's use of statements Erlinder made as a defense lawyer at the ICTR as evidence against him will make it impossible for defense lawyers to safely defend anyone in international courts, and called on the international community to insist more adamantly on Erlinder's release.


Read/listen at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/293386.





Tuesday, June 15, 2010

KPFA News: Dangerous legal precedent set by Law Professor Peter Erlinder's arrest

KPFA News, 06.13.2010: Dangerous legal precedent set by Law Professor Peter Erlinder's arrest 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

U.S. House Resolution Urging Rwanda to Free Law Professor Peter Erlinder




Congresswoman Betty McCollum represents Professor Peter Erlinder in Minnesota's 4th District.




Congressman Keith Ellison, D-MN, represents Minnesota's 5th District and is a personal friend of Professor Peter Erlinder. 


Congresswoman Betty McCollum, D-MN, and Congressman Keith Ellison, D-MN, have introduced this resolution urging the Government of Rwanda to free Professor Peter Erlinder, who was arrested by the government of Rwanda on May 28th, 2010, and now remains in a Rwandan prison, denied bail.  U.S. citizens can find  telephone #s to call their House Reps and ask them to support the resolution on this Africa Faith and Justice Network page:  http://goo.gl/Wgf2. 

FREE PETER ERLINDER RESOLUTION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


HRES 1426 IH

111th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. RES. 1426
Urging the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame to immediately release human rights lawyer Professor Peter Erlinder from jail and allow him to return to the United States.





FREE PETER ERLINDER RESOLUTION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


HRES 1426 IH

111th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. RES. 1426
Urging the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame to immediately release human rights lawyer Professor Peter Erlinder from jail and allow him to return to the United States.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 8, 2010

Ms. MCCOLLUM (for herself and Mr. ELLISON) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs:


RESOLUTION
Urging the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame to immediately release human rights lawyer Professor Peter Erlinder from jail and allow him to return to the United States.

Whereas the Constitution of Rwanda, adopted on May 26, 2003, states that Rwanda is `Resolved to build a State governed by the rule of law, based on respect for fundamental human rights, pluralistic democracy, equitable power sharing, tolerance and resolution of issues through dialogue';

Whereas there is an increasing pattern of restrictions of free expression in Rwanda ahead of the August presidential elections, including the denial of a work visa to a senior Human Rights Watch researcher and the crackdown of opposition members and journalists;

Whereas the United States Government has provided over $1,034,000,000 billion in United States taxpayer-funded foreign assistance to Rwanda since 2000, and an additional $240,200,000 is proposed in the President's fiscal year 2011 budget;

Whereas Peter Erlinder is a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has served as a lead defense attorney for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania;

Whereas Peter Erlinder was arrested on May 28, 2010, in Kigali, Rwanda, and is currently being detained at Kicukiro Prison on charges of `genocide ideology' based in part upon legal arguments made during his work as a defense attorney at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and

Whereas United States Department of State Spokesman P.J. Crowley announced on June 3, 2010, that the United States Government was pressing the Government of Rwanda to `resolve this case quickly' and that the Department of State hoped for Peter Erlinder's release on `compassionate grounds': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives urges the Government of the Republic of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame to immediately release Professor Peter Erlinder from jail and allow him to return to the United States.




Professor Peter Erlinder in handcuffs in a Kigali, Rwanda courtroom. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Call Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer, to lobby for Law Professor Peter Erlinder's release in Rwanda



Law Professor Peter Erlinder is back in jail for speech crime in Rwanda, and, on Monday, 06.7.2010, denied bail.  See Fog City Journal and San Francisco Bay View 

Californians, please call Senators Feinstein, 202) 224-3841 and Boxer, 202) 224-3553,  and House Speaker Pelosi, (202) 225-4965.    Pelosi's San Francisco office: (415) 556-4862. 

Those outside California and San Francisco, but in the U.S., can find #s for their Senators and House Reps on this Africa Faith and Justice Network page:  http://goo.gl/lTMP.  


Sample call:









Monday, June 7, 2010

Fox News confuses Rwanda's presidential election with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda

Peter Erlinder speaking on 22 May 2010 in Brussels from ICTR Legacy on Vimeo.
Rwandan presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Law Professor Peter Erlinder's client, in Rwanda, before his own arrest.   

Fox News reached new extremes of irresponsibility today by reporting that Professor Peter Erlinder is in Kigali, Rwanda to defend "the alleged perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide."   Professor Erlinder is in Rwanda to defend opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza against charges of genocide ideology, a speech crime unique to Rwanda which means challenging the received history of the Rwanda Genocide, a crime he himself was arrested for, within days after arriving in Rwanda to defend Ingabire. 


Fox News, in its own words:  


"Erlinder, who has not spoken to friends or family since being detained, was in Rwanda defending alleged leaders of the country's 1994 genocide, but Friday the judge charged him with denying genocide and with publishing articles threatening the country's security. " 


Fox seems to be confusing Rwanda's 2010 presidential election, which his client Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, keeps trying to enter as an opposition candidate, with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, (ICTR), in Arusha, Tanzania, where Erlinder has served as Lead Defense Counsel for several of the accused.   



Professor Erlinder's evidence, the Rwanda Documents Project, gathered during his years of work as a defender at the ICTR, is the basis of his argument that the received history of the Rwanda Genocide is history written by the victors, as he said here, at the Second International Defense Lawyer's Conference in Bruxxelles, just before flying to Kigali to defend Victoire. 


Peter Erlinder speaking on 22 May 2010 in Brussels from ICTR Legacy on Vimeo.

Questions about Congolese human rights defender's murder








Floribert Chebeya Bahizire

Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, the Democratic Republic of Congo's leading human rights defender was found murdered in a suburb of Kinshasa, the nation's capitol, on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010.

On the evening of June 1st, Chebeya had reported that he was en route to a meeting with John Numbi, Inspector General of the Congolese National Police, in response to a summons. The next day his body was found in his car, and his driver, Fidele Bazana Edadi, was missing.

Read more at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292944.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Proposition 16 and PG&E's application for a $1 billion/yr. rate hike


On Saturday, 06.05.2010, I spoke to Bruce Wolfe, San Francisco Green Party member, and Campaign Director of Ratepayers, Laborers, Businesses, and Governments Oppose Proposition 16: 






Thursday, June 3, 2010

US calls on Rwanda to release American lawyer Peter Erlinder


William and Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Erlinder remains in prison, in Kigali, Rwanda. 

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Thursday that the United States is pressing for the release of William and Mitchell College of Law Professor Peter Erlinder, of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Rwandan authorities arrested Professor Erlinder on May 28, and accused him of genocide ideology, a crime unique to Rwanda, and of denying the Central African country's 1994 genocide.

Read at Digital Journal, http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/292915