Thursday, October 6, 2011

CIUT Taylor Report on Victoire Ingabire's Trial


Victoire Ingabire is on trial in Kigali, Rwanda, for contesting the history of the Rwanda Genocide codified in the Rwandan Constitution, and thus, contesting the dictatorship of a Tutsi elite, and, their invasion, plunder, and de facto colonization of neighboring Congo. CUIT-Toronto Host Phil Taylor and I talked about her trial on its opening day, September 5, 2011.
Everything we said that day remains true, one month into the trial. We didn't have time to explain that the U.S. is one of Rwanda's top donors, but Rwanda Genocide survivor Aimable Mugara did so in his essay "Do American taxpayers really want to pay Rwanda to keep Victoire Ingabire behind bars?" published on the website of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper. 
When her trial resumed, after an adjournment, on October 4th, Victoire Ingabire herself said:  
"Prosecution should stop misleading the public that I am afraid. I here reconfirm that I am not afraid at all and that I have never violated any law while being in Rwanda and outside of Rwanda. I did nothing wrong against my country."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ann Garrison has moved from Blogger to Drupal


This blog has moved to a Drupal website, anngarrison.com, with full search capabilities.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Political prisoner Ingabire under greater isolation


Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza
remains in maximum security prison in Kigali, Rwanda,
where she has now been more isolated.

Kigali 06 May 2011

Ms. Victoire Ingabire, FDU-INKINGI chairperson and Rwandan political prisoner  is spending her 204th day in captivity in maximum prison today.

More isolation measures are now in force. The party members who visited the prison today were not given a chance to see Ms. Ingabire. The jailers informed that they have orders to follow and that any other questions should be addressed to the Minister of internal Security. 

On 29 April 2011 a dozen FDU-INKINGI party members were chased away by the maximum prison security staff.  Security Minister Fazil Harelimana told the BBC-Kinyarwanda that Madame Victoire Ingabire “must herself submit in advance a list of 5 people prior to the visitation days because the government does not want anybody to disturb prisoners when they are watching TV, reading or enjoying their siesta."  The political prisoner is incommunicado and has no means to pre-screen and shortlist her visitors days before. This is enormously inconvenient and has the direct effect of making visits impossible.

Since January 2011, the defense counsel has not been allowed to take confidential instructions from the client due to continuous and persistent monitoring of their discussions by security operatives. Prompt access has been often denied too. Those persistent violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are seriously compromising all chances for a fair trial in Rwanda. 

We call upon President Paul Kagame and his government to consider the humanity of political prisoners and remove all those obstacles. 

FDU-Inkingi
Boniface Twagirimana
Interim Vice President.
We also recommend to visit http://www.victoire-ingabire.com/.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rwanda and the Pentagon's Predator Drones


KPFA Weekend News, 04.23.2011:
KPFA Weekend News Host: The prevailing narrative  of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide is that extremist Hutus massacred 800,000 or more Rwandan Tutsi and moderate Hutu, who tried to protect them. But, many scholars, journalists, and human rights investigators now argue that both Tutsi and Hutu massacred one another because of their ethnicity.
The truth is now more and more significant for all Africa, as NATO wages war in Libya, and U.S. policy lobbyists promote a proposal to use Predator Drones to "stop genocide," specifically to stop the next Rwanda or Darfur from happening elsewhere in Africa, such as Libya or Sudan. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to a Rwandan American legal scholar and a Rwandan Genocide survivor about the Rwandan massacres of 1994.

Thursday, April 21, 2011





Many social justice and environmental activists now decry as the cause of hunger and corporate land grabs, especially in Africa, to produce fuel for  wealthier parts of the world. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Erlinder v. Kagame and Victor's History



Rwanda Genocide, 1994.

KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Rosenberg: April 6th was the 17th anniversary of events that triggered the massacres that the world came to know as the Rwanda Genocide.   The history of the 1994 genocide and the ensuing war in Rwanda's resource rich neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, are fiercely disputed by a growing number of scholars, journalists, and human rights investigators, and by Rwandan and Congolese opposition leaders, genocide survivors, exiles, and refugees.   Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Rwanda's 43-year-old opposition leader, and mother of three, remains in Rwanda's 1930 maximum security prison, charged with terrorism and disputing the official Rwanda Genocide history.  And, William Mitchell Law Professor and former National Lawyers Guild President Peter Erlinder has now published an 80-page, footnoted and documented report, in the DePaul University Law School's Journal of Justice, in which he argues that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front regime bear responsibility for the Rwanda Genocide and Congo Wars.   

Professor Peter Erlinder in handcuffs in a
Kigali courtroom, with Kennedy Ogetto, the
Kenyan ICTR lawyer who flew to Kigali to
defend him when he was arrested after
flying there to defend Victoire Ingabire
Umuhoza.
Last year Kagame arrested and imprisoned Erlinder in Rwanda, after he had traveled there to defend Ingabire, and last week the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda came close to sanctioning him for refusing to return to Arusha, Tanzania, to defend another client.  Erlinder had said that he would not return because Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front agents might well assassinate, kidnap, or disappear him if he did.  The court did not acknowledge Erlinder's claim that his life would be in danger in Arusha, but they did excuse him after his doctor reported that he suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome as a consequence of his arrest and imprisonment in Rwanda last year.

KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Professor Erlinder by phone from his office at William Mitchell College of Law, in St. Paul, Minneapolis:



Ann Garrison:   Peter Erlinder, this story is still obscure to many KPFA listeners.  Could you explain why Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, would conceivably want to assassinate, kidnap, or disappear you?


Rwandan opposition leader
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza remains
in Rwanda's 1930 maximum security
prison charged with terrorism and
genocide ideology, i.e., disagreeing with
the official history of the Rwanda
Genocide. 
Peter Erlinder:  Well, during my work at the UN Tribunal, I had an opportunity to have access to the previously secret United Nations files that were kept by UN personnel in Rwanda during the time that's known as the genocide.   And those documents tell a completely different story than the story the world has heard about what happened in Rwanda during that time.  Also I was able to link that to US documents from the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon and the documents from other countries. 


And I used those documents to defend my client and he and other military officers were acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide, which means there was no plan on the part of the previous government and military.  



Ann Garrison:  And do the documents that you've assembled demonstrate that President Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime are most responsible for the mass slaughter of 1994 which came to be the principle justification of the Kagame regime?  

Peter Erlinder:  Yeah, what the documents show is that the RPF were the dominant military power in Rwanda.  They were responsible for assassinating the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents, which touched off the mass violence.  They were in a position to stop the mass violence and didn't do so because of their desire to win the war.  And then once they did seize power continued carrying out violence against civilians.



AfrobeatRadio
Ann Garrison:  And what do those documents that you've assembled say about the ensuing Congo War?  


Peter Erlinder:  Well, the documents make clear that the RPF went on to carry out an invasion of the eastern Congo along with Uganda and then essentially to control the eastern Congo, which they do to this day.  And that was accomplished because of ongoing support from the Pentagon, and then, unfortunately, it becomes clear that this support was covered up as the ICTR began to develop.   


Ann Garrison:  Links to Professor Erlinder's report on the Rwanda Genocide and Congo War can be found on the websites of the San Francisco Bay View and AfrobeatRadio.net. 


For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.


(SF Bay View link for press release and download link Erlinder's report, The United Nations Ad Hoc Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR-TPIR): International justice or judicially-constructed victors’ impunity?)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hate Speech: An Argument for Genocide, in the OpEdNews???

"Rwandans so poor to be sterilized"
Photo illustrating legal scholar Charles Kambanda's essay,
"Why sterilize the poor?"
Reading the OpEdNews, which the Wikipedia defines as United States-based, progressive/liberal newsactivism, and opinion website, on 04.06.2011, the 17th anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide, I came across some deeply dangerous, ethnic hate speech demonizing East/Central African Hutu people, in a piece of writing titled "Rwanda, a Light for the World."  

This piece of writing had already been promoted to the site's #3 headline, risen to #39 on the list of most viewed posts, and been reposted to Facebook four times. 

Its appearance, on a website that would never tolerate such talk of African Americans, Native Americans, or any other American ethnic group, demonstrates how widely accepted the official version of the Rwanda Genocide history, that Hutu extremists killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days, is----and, how widely accepted the consequent demonization and/or dehumanization of East/ Central African Hutu people is.   In order for this to be published in the liberal, "progressive" OpEdNews, an OpEdNews editor had to approve it.

Most ethnic hate speech is based on inaccurate information, but even if the official version of the Rwanda Genocide history were accurate, it could not possibly justify this wholesale demonization of Hutu people, which comes very close to an overt argument for genocide and/or, one form of genocide--- the Kagame regime's plan to sterilize 700,000 adult Rwandan males, which legal scholar Charles Kambanda so eloquently deconstructs in "Rwanda: Why Sterilize the Poor?"   (The majority of Rwandans are Hutu, and, very poor.)

Specifically, the author, Olga Bonfiglio, writes:

"Mass migrations have taken place since 1959 when Tutsi refugees spilled into the neighboring countries of Burundi, Congo, Uganda and Tanzania because Hutu regimes preached hate and discrimination. President Paul Kagame, who led the rebel army against the Hutu government in 1994 and subsequently quelled the 100-day genocide, was among those Tutsi families who fled to Uganda.

Since the Tutsi takeover of government, 3 million Hutu have left the country, some of them still lusting after Tutsi blood. This massive dislocation of the population is unsettling for Rwandans as well as for their neighbors who are forced to host refugees they don't want. Meanwhile, Rwanda remains one of the poorest, most densely-populated countries in the world with scarce resources to boot."

Even as she claims to be praising Rwanda a model for ethnic reconciliation, Bonfiglio sounds as though she would really like to exterminate---e.g., by sterilization---this Hutu refugee population which is "still lusting after Tutsi blood," and is such a burden, not only to neighboring countries who don't want them, but also to Rwanda, which is already so poor and overpopulated without them.

Rwandan President
Paul Kagame
Best I can say is that Bonfiglio at least acknowledges that there was a Tutsi takeover of the Rwandan government in 1994, a reality that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and most of his other propagandists are still trying to deny, claiming that they have instead abolished ethnic identification and privilege based on ethnic identification.   

Bonfiglio seems strangely unable to perceive the contradictions between:

1)  Her claim, like theirs, that Rwanda is "the light of the world," a model of reconciliation, and, 

2)  Her acknowledgment of an ethnic Tutsi takeover, and, 

3)  Her hate speech demonizing and dehumanizing Hutu people as so many have since the Tutsi, Rwandan Patriotic Front victory in the Rwandan Civil War of 1990-1994

For alternative accounts of the violence known as the Rwanda Genocide, argued from evidence, listen to Professor Peter Erlinder Speaks on Rwanda Genocide, on AfrobeatRadio.net, read Professor Peter Erlinder's The United Nations Ad Hoc Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR-TPIR): International Justice or Victor's Impunity, and/or Michel Chussodovsky's Rwanda: Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa, on Global Research.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

California Fault Lines, Lawmakers, and Nuclear Power


KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest: California has two operating nuclear power plants, San Onofre in Orange County, and PG&E's Diablo Canyon Plant in San Luis Obispo County, on the Central Coast.   Both are on the coastline and both are built near earthquake faults.  State Senator Alex Padilla has called for a special hearing at the State capitol on April 14 to examine the risks the two aging plants might pose.  KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

PG&E's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant on the
California Coast
KPFA/Ann Garrison: For the past five years the San Luis Obispo-based Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility has been urging California legislators and oversight agencies to require peer reviewed seismic studies to measure the risk of earthquake damage to Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E's) nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon and Southern California Edison's plant at San Onofre. The California Energy Commission has requested that the California Public Utilities Commission require PG&E do the latest, advanced 3-D studies on both old and new earthquake faults beneath Diablo Canyon before granting any ratepayer funding for its license renewal applications, but PG&E has opposed and fought the requirement to do the studies, and the CPUC has failed to act. Rochelle Becker, Executive Director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, says that Japan's worsening nuclear catastrophe could have been California's, and that Californians should be able to insist that the studies be done now.

Rochelle Becker, Executive Director,
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
Rochelle Becker: The one thing that separates California from every other reactor site in the nation is the seismic proximity. There are four active faults within 5 kilometers of Diablo Canyon, one 1800 feet away. There are several active faults offshore of San Onofre and there are new studies being done that have come out of the Baja quakes last year. We are focussing on what the State has jurisdiction to do. If we step into fighting nuclear power, fighting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, then we have a much greater hill to climb. And, we are on the other side of the country from the rest of the reactors' groups. We need to focus on California. We certainly support what everyone else is doing, but in California, it is California rights that should do this. It is California officials who are responsible.

KPFA: Updates on the challenge to re-licensing California's nuclear power plants will be posted to the website of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a4nr.org, as the process unfolds.

For Pacifica/KPFA, I'm Ann Garrison.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

The LRA Excuse for Ugandan Troops in Congo---Again





LRA militia leader Joseph Kony
KPFA Audio link:  http://goo.gl/0kSN9


KPFA Weekend News Anchor:  Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's state newspaper, The New Vision, has reported that the UN Security Council and the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to join Museveni's army, the Uganda People's Defense Force, in a new offensive to hunt Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and Jamil Mukulu’s Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.   The U.S.A.'s LRA Disarmament Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2010, authorizes funding, training, and collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Intelligence Community to hunt down the LRA.   KPFA's Ann Garrison has more:
Uganda and its neighbors, the
Democratic Republic of
Congo, Central African
Republic, and Sudan. 

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  The Security Council, and the Congolese and Ugandan Defense Ministers said that the Ugandan Army needs to launch this new military offensive in Congo and the Central African Republic, or CAR, because the LRA keep raping and killing civilians there, though the UN Mapping Report released on October 1st, 2010, documents the Ugandan Army's own civilian massacres, mass rapes, and other sexual atrocities in Congo.   



Michael Kirkpatrick is a Black Star News contributor who has traveled back and forth to Uganda and its Acholi region frequently since 1998.  He says that Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army are always the most convenient excuse for military intervention: 

Black Star News contributor Michael
Kirkpatrick in Northern Uganda
Michael Kirkpatrick:   There is a pattern of demonizing Joseph Kony for every atrocity and every crime.  Joseph Kony has become demonized to justify military intervention by the U.S. and by other forces in that part of Africa. He's become a phantom menace.  He's almost like this mysterious fog that is just creeping around Central Africa but he's been able to survive for over 20 years.  He's nothing but a gang leader. He's a thug. He's a rag tag bunch of criminals that's somehow been able to survive for over 20 years. There's a reason he's been able to survive.  He is the bad guy in the battle.  To say that, somehow, modern armies haven't been able to capture, in twenty years, a rebel thug, is preposterous.  

Uganda's Rolling Stone tabloid's cover story
about Islamic "homo generals" with ties
to the Lord's Resistance Army.
KPFA:  Last November Uganda's fanatically homophobic tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone ran a story about what it called Islamic Homo Generals, meaning terrorists, with ties to the Lord's Resistance Army.   

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stopping Nuclear Power in California







Url for KPFA Radio archive above:  http://goo.gl/8lFix.

I spoke with Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility about the statewide campaign to make the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) require Pacific Gas'n Electric (PG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE), do further seismic studies before re-licensing their nuclear power plants, PG&E's Diablo Canyon plant and SCE's San Onofre Plant.  This interview has played on KPFA-Berkeley, KMEC-Mendocino, both Pacifica radio stations in the State of California.

Pacific Gas'n Electric's Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
Url for KPFA radio archive:  http://goo.gl/8lFix.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Navajo activists for another way, beyond coal and nuclear, after Japan



Lori Goodman of Diné CARE, lifelong environmental
activist, of Citizens saUnited Against Ruining
Our Environment, and the Navajo Nation.
Photo:  Craig Barrett
http://www.kpfa.org/





KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest:  In 1979, the same year as the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the Navajo Nation suffered the worst uranium mining accident in U.S. history, when 1100 tons of mining tailings and 100 million gallons of radioactive water burst through an earthen dam, into the Rio Puerco, at a uranium mine in Church Rock, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation.  


In 2005, the Navajo Nation passed the world's first and only indigenous ban on uranium mining, but mining corporations and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have attempted to ignore or override that ban.  KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to lifelong Navajo environmentalist Lori Goodman, with DinĂ© Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment about the Navajo response to the Japanese nuclear catastrophe:  


KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Lori, how have the Navajo people reacted to the Japanese nuclear power catastrophe?


The Navajo Reservation is 26,000 square miles, in
Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.   With a quarter
million people, it is the largest native nation in
the U.S.
Lori Goodman:  Well, the Navajo people understand what's happening in Japan, and that the situation that they're in is because of the electrical power that they were receiving, in that case from a nuclear power plant.  And, in the case of the Navajo people, we have two of the largest coal-fired and most polluting power plants in the western United States on the Navajo Nation.  And so they see that as one and the same, and they also understand that there's a better way to generate electricity, by harnessing the sun and the wind.


KPFA:  What is the stage of your renewable energy proposal.  A lot of intellectual infrastructure but no capital source---is that still the case?

Lori Goodman:   Ah, yes, it is.  We really need the California ratepayers to go back and say "OK, we will buy energy from the Navajo Nation, from renewable energy sources."


KPFA:  And are the mining corporations and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission still pressuring you, trying to ignore or override the historic uranium mining ban?

Lori Goodman:  Yes, the day after it was signed, they all went into action to try and lift the ban, or sidestep.  That's going on.

Warning not to  drink
 from the Rio Puerco,
1979, after the earthen dam at
U.S. Nuclear's uranium
mine burst. Eleven
hundred tons of tailings
and 100 million gallons of
radioactive water spilled
into the the river, before
Navajo miners, working
without protective gear,
could repair it. 
KPFA:  And what's the state of the attempt to clean up the toxic mess left by the many years of uranium mining?


Lori Goodman:  Church Rock now is a Superfund site, but we have three other Superfund sites on the Navajo Nation from uranium mining.  And there's also a need to have 20 or 30 more other Superfund sites, but unfortunately the Superfund has not been reauthorized, so there are no funds there, so people are dying and getting polluted daily.

KPFA:  Lori, you're also on the Board of the Peace Development Fund.  Would you like to say anything about the connection between nuclear power, weapons, and war?


Lori Goodman:  Well, I think the Peace Development Fund sees that as one and the same.  There's no such thing as peaceful nuclear energy.  It's all destructive, as we see that being played out right now in Japan.  And I do want to say that Peace Development Fund has set up donations for the communities that live next to the nuclear power plants in Japan, because we understand those people that live next to these plants are also environmental justice communities.   So Peace Development Fund wants to ensure that those people get help because most of the time they're overlooked, just as we saw in Katrina.

KPFA:  Lori, thank you.  It's an honor to speak to you for KPFA.

Lori Goodman:  Thank you for having me.

KPFA:  Goodman also said that if California stopped using nuclear power, they would hugely reduce the pressure to overturn the Navajo uranium mining ban, the only native claim to resource sovereignty of its kind.

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.

KPFA Radio archive URL:  http://goo.gl/NMkAS.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can Barney out legislate Bahati?








KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones:  On Tuesday, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, moved a human rights amendment to the Financial Services Bill out of committee on a unanimous vote. The amendment urges the U.S. Treasury Department to advocate that multilateral development banks supported by the U.S. not assist nations engaging in gross human rights violations, including denial of the freedom of religion and physical persecution because of sexual orientation or gender identity. KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.


The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power  protest
against Uganda's  Anti-Homosexuality Act,
a.k.a. Hang-the-Gays Bill, in New York City.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Congressman Barney Frank, in his press release about the amendment, used the physical persecution of sexual minorities in Uganda as an example of the sort of human rights violations that his amendment would discourage, so most of the press has interpreted it as being targeted singly at Uganda's pending Anti-Homosexuality Act, otherwise known as the Hang-the-Gays bill, or, the Bahati bill, after its author Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati. Last week the New Vision, Uganda's state-owned newspaper, reported that Uganda's Speaker of Parliament has summoned MPs to report on March 22 to take up “unfinished business,” including the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Liberian born Emira Woods, Co-Editor of the Institute for Policy Studies' Foreign Policy in Focus, and one of the African advocates at the March 2nd Congressional briefing on the UN Mapping Report on Congo atrocities, told KPFA that although LGBT rights activism had most likely inspired Frank to write the amendment, it should apply to the whole range of human rights violations. She added, however, that an enforcement mechanism is hard to imagine:

Emira Woods:  With the amendment and press release coming forward, what Congressman Frank has done is call much needed attention to the anti-gay legislation and I think we should commend that, and yet I think it is difficult to imagine how that will be implemented by Treasury using its leverage on the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the other international financial institutions. I think this is an instance where a Congressman is using the political, sort of like a bully pulpit.

KPFA:  And then you think the amendment's advocacy might be expanded to stop other gender violence such as the sexual terrorism in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Emira Woods:  I think its first important to applaud the attention that he's bringing to the issues of the anti-gay legislation in Uganda.  That's huge.  And I think it's much needed.  And all of the champions and defenders of human rights broadly, of LGBT right in particular, throughout Africa, welcome the statements and the actions from Congressman Frank.   So I think wee have to applaud that first.   Acknowledge it, support it, strengthen it.  And then, I think, moving further to encourage a similar bully pulpit be used to address the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

KPFA:  For Pacifica, KFPA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

Audio link: http://www.anngarrison.com/images/mp3s/barneyfranklgbt.mp3.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

White Man's Burden: Affleck and Prendergast in Congress for Congo




Ben Affleck and John Prendergast in Congress,
March 6th, 2010 to testify at a House Foreign
Affairs Committee hearing on conflict in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.  No
Congolese or African person testified.
KPFA News Anchor Cameron Jones:  On Tuesday the House Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Democratic Republic of Congo, the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II, which has continued since the International Rescue Committee estimated, over three years ago, that more than 5.4 million people had died in the conflict, most of whom died of hardship after being driven from their homes.   The hearing featured the testimony of actor Ben Affleck, heiress and philanthropist Cindy McCain, and John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, a foreign policy lobbying project of the Center for American Progress.  No Congolese, African, or even African American person testified. KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Friends of the Congo's Executive Director Maurice Carney told KPFA that the absence of a Congolese or even African voice at the Congressional hearing on Congo's catastrophe was no surprise even in the age of President Barack Obama.

Maurice Carney:  It's part of a long pattern of the colonization of information.  You have experts who claim to be speaking on behalf of the Africans.

African scholars and activists Nii Akuetta, Claude
Gatebuke, Emira Wood, Jacques, Bahati, Nita Evele, and
Kambale Musavuli, the all African panelists at the
Great LakesAdvocates' Coalition March 2nd briefing on
the 2010 UN Mapping Report, which docuemtnts atrocities
committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  
None of them were invited  to the March 6th 

Affleck/Prendergast Congressional hearing on Congo. 
Photo credit:   Arrian Lewis
KPFA:  The African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition had, six days earlier held a briefing on the UN Mapping Report, released on October 1, 2010, which documents mass atrocities in Congo, with an all African, including Congolese, panel. An intern from John Prendergast's ENOUGH Project was in attendance, asking questions, but, as Carney noted, none of the panel's all African speakers were invited to speak at Tuesday's hearing.

Affleck and Prendergast attributed most of Congo's violence to two militias, the Democratic Federation for the Liberation of Rwanda, on Congo's southeastern border with Rwanda, and the Lord's Resistance Army on its northeastern border with Uganda, but the African Great Lakes Advocates said that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, both longstanding U.S. allies, are most responsible, and that this has been abundantly evidenced in the UN Mapping Report, and many previous UN reports referenced in the Mapping Report.    

Maurice Carney,
Executive Director, Friends of the Congo
Maurice Carney:   Both the FDLR and the LRA can enroll in the Museveni and Kagame School of Mass Atrocities and get a Ph.D., because the overwhelming suffering in the region has been triggered by U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda, led by their presidents.  So, when you have people testifying in Congress and talking about FDLR and LRA, to the exclusion of U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda, you feel like you're in the twilight zone, lIke 'What are you talking about?'  Friends of the Congo maintains that, based on the information that these groups present, we can't help but be led to the conclusion that they're looking to cover for U.S. strategic and economic interests because their presentations are marked by two striking exclusions.  One, a discussion around Rwanda and Uganda, and two, a discussion around multinational corporations, the mining companies that are directly involved in the region. 

KPFA:  John Prendergast is most often introduced on talk shows, and in Congressional hearings, as an author and human rights advocate, but neither he nor the ENOUGH Project hide his previous employment as Director of African Affairs on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, and on the National Intelligence Council.

Ben Affleck made another celebrity appearance, last November, with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry, at a press conference about foreign policy in Congo at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is now headed by former Deputy Director of Defense John Hamre.  Again, Maurice Carney:


Former Georgia Congresswoman 
Cynthia McKinney held Congressional 
hearings on the Congo conflict in 2001.



Maurice Carney:   The people called in to testify are usually those who reinforce U.S. foreign policy in a particular region of the world, not those who challenge U.S. foreign policy.  So that's just the way it works in Washington unless you connect with a progressive, such as Cynthia McKinney, when she was in the Congress.  She brought in alternative views that exposed the role of U.S. foreign policy abroad.  But we've yet to find another champion like Cynthia McKinney.  

KPFA:  A partial transcript of McKinney's 2001 Congressional hearings on Congo, can be found on the website of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper with the title "End the Conflict in Congo."  Keith Harmon Snow's essay "Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe" can be found on the Dissident Voice website.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.  

Audio url: http://goo.gl/fe8iz.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gaddafi's Libya, African refugees, and European xenophobia





KPFA Weekend News, 03.06.2011:
Audio url:  http://bit.ly/gYgGzb

Vincent Harris reported that European governments
collaborated with Gaddafi to prevent migrants from
departing from making their way to  Europe from Libya's
long Mediterranean coastline.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Landau:  Black, Southern Africans in Libya are in peril consequent to both racism and Western media reports that Muammar Gaddafy is using quote unquote "African mercenaries," meaning Black, Southern Africans, to put down the Libyan uprising. Pleas for help have gone up on blogs in North Africa and both NGOS and multilateral organizations are seeking access, resources, and the relaxation of immigration restrictions, so as to evacuate those endangered.   KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Aljazeera English recorded the voice of this Nigerian, who goes by the name of Courage, after he escaped an attack in Libya this week: 

Courage:  When I was coming from my work, I looked on my back.  There were car after me, chasing me.  They said I should stop.  I can't stop because they were holding cutlass and dangerous weapons with them.  I was running for my life.  If they had caught me that would have been the end of my life.  

Vincent Harris,  Dutch
creator of the blog Colored 
Opinionsand host of Colored 
Opinions Great Lakes Blogchat 
on Blog Talk Radio. 
KPFA:  Vincent Harris, creator of the Netherlands-based blog Colored Opinions, spoke with KPFA about what he calls xenophobic, anti-immigrant politics in Europe. He says European governments have a history of collaboration with Gaddafi to maintain a buffer zone meant to restrict African immigration to Europe by boat from the Libyan coast. Harris said that constraining African immigration is a high priority of most European governments and that, in exchange for his help with this goal, Gaddafi received military training for his army, and acceptance in European capitols,:

Vincent Harris:  They needed Gaddafi to solve this perceived problem, that Africans were crossing into Europe, from Libya.  They worked together to make sure that no Africans go into Europe. 

Harris added that North Africans are nevertheless likely to meet more xenophobia than Southern Africans in Europe because Europeans perceive North Africans as Muslims and Black, Southern Africans as Christians.  He also reported that on March 3rd, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, urged the European Commission to appeal to EU member nations to help evacuate and offer protection to 4,000 sub-Saharan refugees who are currently trapped in Libya.  Harris’s report, “Africans trapped in Gaddafy’s Libya” can be found on sfbayview.com and afrobeatradio.net.

For Pacifica, KPFA and Afrobeat Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.  



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sudanese oil violence, post referendum

KPFA Weekend News, 03.05.2011:

Audio link:  http://goo.gl/133F2


Host Cameron Jones:  The Southern Sudanese people voted for independence from Northern Sudan in January of this year, but the hotly contested, oil rich Abyei region, between the districts now scheduled to join the independent states of North and South Sudan, did not vote with the rest of the country because North and South could not agree as to who would be eligible to vote.   Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir vowed that he would not agree to Abyei becoming part of the South.   This week clashes broke out again in Abyei, and the death toll is already reported to be over 100.  KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.

Sudan's oil rich Abyei
district is in yellow.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Some sources claim that the Misseriya herdsmen identified with the North attacked the Dinka Ngok farmers identified with the South, but Government of Southern Sudan spokesperson Marial Benjamin Barnaba blamed the Sudanese Army and Popular Defense Forces loyal to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

Marial Benjamin Barnaba:   “The areas being attacked are north of Abyei and the people on the attack are the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Popular Defense Forces. This morning at nine fifty am, Makir village was completely burned down by the Sudanese Armed Forces which is being claimed to be Misseriya.  And other attacks are pending.  The citizens of Abyei, the Ngok Dinka in this areas, they have been moving southwards because of these continuous attacks and in fact most of the causalities have been the local police, plus the civilian population.”

Nile Fortune Managing Editor
Mugume Rwakaringi. 
KPFA:  Nile Fortune Editor and Contributor Mugume Rwakaringi told KPFA that the people of Abyei are trapped between the counter accusations of Khartoum and Juba, the capitols of Northern and Southern Sudan, and that traditional Misseriya herdsmen and Dinka Ngok farmers would peacefully co-exist, if not for the oil thirst of the outside forces driving the conflict.

In January, as soon as the votes for independence had been counted in Southern Sudan, Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry declared the U.S.A. would not leave Abyei behind.

John Kerry:  “Let’s be clear.  Even as today marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another, a lot of work remains ahead in the very new term in the next months of the CPA before July 9th, in order to resolve outstanding issues regarding oil revenues, borders, and of course Abyei and Darfur.  Abyei is front and center on the agenda even today.  Abyei is not being left behind, Abyei is not being forgotten.

KPFA:  Mugume Rwakaringi's essay, "Who should save the Abyei people?" will be available tomorrow on the websites of the San Francisco Bay View and AfrobeatRadio.  For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.