Saturday, January 29, 2011

Museveni Regime Denies Kato's Murder was Homophobic


R.I.P. David Kato Kisule, Ugandan LGBT activist, and advocacy officer for 
Sexual Minorities Uganda.  Murdered by hammer blows to the head, by an 
assailant who broke into his home in Kampala, Uganda, January 26, 2011, 
weeks after he won a lawsuit against Uganda's Rolling Stone tabloid for 
publishing his picture and those of other LGBT Ugandans and 
urging "Hang them."



Ugandan Deputy Police Spokesperson Vincent Sekate
"I would like to make it very clear.  It is not linked to him being an activist of the sexual minorities.  It was based in unrelated crime, which we are taking. . . we are taking it very serious and we are going to investigate up to the logical conclusion."  -Ugandan Deputy Police Spokesperson Vincent Sekate



How can Ugandan Deputy Police Spokesperson Vincent Sekate, before doing an investigation, be so very sure that David Kato's murder had nothing to do with his being openly gay, or with his work as advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda? And why does the US keep throwing money and weaponry behind the regime that Sekate speaks for, that of Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda for the past 25 years? Why did my California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, co-sponsor a bill to further arm and empower the Museveni regime?

Why did all the most liberal Senators in the country, including Minnesota's Al Franken and even Vermont's Bernie Sanders, co-sponsor this bill, the so-called LRA Disarmament Act? Why does the bill bear fallen liberal icon Russ Feingold's name?  I think the answer is the U.S. deployment of Ugandan mercenary troops in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and as needed otherwise on the African continent, but LGBT rights organizations in the U.S. need to answer that question for themselves and decide what it means to them.

Note the headline, in the Rolling Stone tabloid, just beneath "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak": "UPDF Prepares for Sudan War."  Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi and others have identified that potential war as a war for Southern Sudanese oil, supported by Ugandan soldiers funded by the so-called LRA Disarmament Act.  I called Milton Allimadi about the mobilization on the Ugandan/Sudanese border, and in the eastern Central African Republic for my KPFA Radio News Report: "Oil, African Genocide, and the USA's LRA Excuse."

Uganda's Rolling Stone tabloid included pictures of LGBT
activist David Kato and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo,
the heterosexual Ugandan Anglican Bishop dedicated to the
defense of LGBT rights.  Note headline beneath, "UPDF
[Ugandan People's Defense Force] prepares for Sudan War."

Human Rights Campaign already has a fundraising letter out regarding David Kato's death, asking for contributions to counter the proudly plutocratic, aggressively homophobic organization known as The Fellowship, or The Family, but has not yet called on America's best known liberals, or on President and Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, to explain their ongoing military, financial, and diplomatic for the Museveni regime yet.

There are plenty of votes to be won, political points to be made, even funds to be raised by political candidates as well as Human Rights Campaign, by issuing statements  condemning David Kato's murder.   Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama have both issued statements, but how much does this really mean when President and Commander-in-Chief Obama, and our most liberal legislators, including Boxer, continue to arm, and empower the president and military strongman who now denies, via his police spokesperson, that David Kato's murder was homophobic?


California Senator Barbara Boxer, co-sponsor of the
LRA Disarmament Act


And, if President Obama and Senator Boxer were serious about wanting to end homicidal homophobia, wouldn't they be funding education in Uganda rather than a major military mobilization to secure Southern Sudanese oil?  All accounts are that Uganda's public education system is in shambles, that students are being shuffled from one grade to another without learning anything, and that only children of the wealthy get a real education---in private school.  

Olara Otunnu, presidential candidate of the Ugandan People's Congress, told me that he himself went to school in a mud hut, in a village in Acholiland, where he got such a good foundation that he was able to go on to Makerere University in Kampala, then on to Oxford and Harvard Law School.  But, he says, his story is no longer possible, not in Uganda as it is now.

Most people abandon the hellfire-and-brimstone fundamentalism that includes homicidal homophobia with education, literacy, and critical thinking, not with bullets, bombs, and mercenary troop deployments.    

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FSRN, PLEASE: The UN Security Council Has No Moral Authority in Congo



The UN Security has no moral authority anywhere, but this is about Congo, weaponized rape and weaponized rape prosecution, organized by representatives of the Security Council, in eastern Congo.  I responded, below, and on the KPFA Radio and Free Speech Radio News websites, to this segment from the Free Speech Radio News broadcast of January 21, 2011 regarding the weaponization of rape and rape prosecution in eastern Congo, which also aired on the KPFA Evening News the same day:


DRC arrests soldiers for rape  
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, officials arrested a group of soldiers for their involvement in the rapes of dozens of women on New Year’s Day. They could be tried as early as next week. A UN spokesperson told Reuters that the commander who authorized the attack on the town of Fizi in the eastern part of the country has also been arrested. Human rights groups have long raised concern about armed groups using rape as a weapon of war in DRC. And some say sexual violence will continue if authorities fail to investigate and prosecute those responsible.  The UN’s Jocelyne Sambira has more.



The UN Security Council Has No Moral Authority in Congo

new
The Security Council has no moral authority whatsoever, but this is a response to your story citing the Security Council's moral authority with regard to the weaponization of rape, and the prosecution of rape, in eastern Congo.
The story described rape charges against the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia, and against the FARDC, the Congolese Army, in eastern Congo, without any context about what those two groups really are, or, any context about the politicization of rape prosecutions in the region.
You cannot report this honestly and responsibly without explaining that the CNDP, another Rwandan and Ugandan militia, was integrated into the very Congolese Army it had been fighting in January 2009, in a new phase of the Rwandan and Ugandan Tutsi elite control of the region and its resources, with the backing of the real beneficiaries, the U.S. and the UK.
You cannot report it honestly and responsibly without attempting to explain who's charging and prosecuting whom for this, and why, and explaining the UN Security Council's political agenda in determining who charges and prosecutes whom.
This story, in a matter sure to satisfy the UN Security Council and the U.S. State Department, disregards the UN Mapping Report leaked on August 26th and released on October 1st, which documents the Ugandan and Rwandan armies' use of rape as a weapon in eastern Congo. No one from either the Rwandan or Ugandan armies is being prosecuted.
The report cites the UN Security Council as a moral authority, though nothing could be further from the truth, especially in eastern Congo and especially with regard to the weaponization of rape in eastern Congo.
Neither FSRN nor KPFA should be citing the UN Security Council as a moral authority in this situation, or any other.
That's the simplest starting point.
Who, for starters, are the permanent members of the Security Council? To be considered for membership, a nation must first of all have a nuclear bomb, and, the more the better, although China was admitted after only their second detonation, with only a few nuclear bombs.
India, one of the newer nuclear weapons states, is the most recent contender for a permanent Security Council seat as well. Japan seemed to be under consideration for awhile, despite not having a bomb, but it wasn't admitted. And Japan could never even have been considered if the world's most powerful nations hadn't known that it's so nuclear, and industrial, that it could build one in a long weekend.
The other prerequisite for becoming a permanent member of the Security Council, at the time it was formed, was being a victor in World War II, and the Security Council has been firmly committed to victor's justice ever since. In Rwanda and Congo, it has been committed to the justice that prosecutes the losers of the Rwandan Civil War, "Hutu genocidaires," at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), and demonizes "Hutu militias," meaning the refugee army that retreated into eastern Congo. Hence, "Hutu militias" have been blamed, by the Security Council, for nearly all the violence done to the people of eastern Congo since 1994.
I recorded and then quoted ICTR defense lawyers Christopher Black and Peter Erlinder on victor's justice at the ICTR and other international tribunals on KPFA News, and in Global Research and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, http://goo.gl/X2PiY.
I should add, so that it doesn't seem like I'm unfairly attacking FSRN, that Democracy Now has made the same error, re the UN Security Council, on this issue. Democracy Now has also, however, radically improved its East/Central Africa reporting this year and given attention to the Mapping Report documenting atrocities, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocidal massacres of civilians, and mass, weaponized rape, committed most of all by the armies of Rwanda and Uganda in D.R. Congo. That should be a key reference point for any story about rape in eastern Congo now. I'd like to see FSRN keep the Mapping Report on hand, and see both FSRN and Democracy Now stop granting moral authority to the Security Council.
Like most of the Pacifica community, I value FSRN, but that's why I'm taking the time to say that it should do better, much better. Both the Pacifica audience, and the African people of the Great Lakes Region, deserve better. Sad to say, not reporting this story at all would have been much better than this.
-Ann Garrison, KPFA Weekend News Reporter, WBAI AfrobeatRadio Radio Producer, regular contributor to the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, Global Research, and the Newsline EA (East Africa)

Several of my Rwandan friends posted these responses on the KPFA Website:





Champ· 2 days ago
Ann you are correct about the reporting of the rape story in Eastern Congo as has been told by the UN Security council. This story was known by the UN Security Council for weeks before they said a word about it? Why did they come out with it when they did? Because a leaked shameful/embarrassing report about Rwanda and Uganda, darlings of the UN Security council was released. Who made the report? It was made by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner. Why was it blocked? Because the security council didn't want Rwanda's and Uganda's disgraceful atrocities, including possible genocide brought public. What did the Security Council do after they couldn't block the Human Rights High Commissioner report anymore? They screamed about the rape story to create a distraction, even though they hadn't even conducted an investigation.


KPFA would do best to investigate this rape story before reporting on it. They will find those involved in perpetrating the crime to be more diverse and will include Congo's regular army, the Rwandan army, and the Ugandan army and their proxies.


On the other hand, Ann has been spot on in her reports about the Rwandan and Ugandan army involvement in the atrocities in the region as well as both of these armies serving as the US proxy militias in conflicts in Africa. Ann, you are make KPFA listeners proud with your Africa reporting.




As a survivor of the carnage that has engulfed Rwanda and neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, I was shocked by the bias in the report regarding the rape in DRC. The story talks about stopping impunity. It goes on to mention various sides of the conflict in DRC. But somehow it does not mention how the current president of Rwanda, General Kagame is the one who started the conflict in DRC. The United Nations is mentioned but somehow, there is no single mention of the October 1st, 2010 United Nations report that accused General Kagame's extremist Tutsi forces of rape as well as genocide.


That UN report said "The extensive use of edged weapons (primarily hammers) and the systematic massacres of survivors after the camps had been taken show that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or mental integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. The systematic, methodological and premeditated nature of the attacks listed against the Hutus is also marked: these attacks took place in each location where refugees had been screened by the AFDL/APR over a vast area of the country. The pursuit lasted for months, and on occasion, the humanitarian assistance intended for them was deliberately blocked, particularly in the Orientale province, thus depriving them of resources essential to their survival. Thus the systematic and widespread attacks described in this report reveal a number of damning elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide."


I expected better from KPFA. I expected more professional, unbiased reporting and that story was a total disappointment for me.


This is not the first time that I have objected to FSRN's Africa reporting.   I can't, at this point, remember an FSRN story on Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that I have not objected to, and many of my African friends, including Rwandan journalist Eleneus Akanga, contributor to the Newsline EA, and Hampshire College Professor Susan Thomson went to the FSRN website to object to its false reconciliation story, Rwanda village brings together Hutus and Tutsis on path toward reconciliation.   Zack Baddorf, FSRN Reporter and Board President Zack Baddorf, and the producer of that piece, failed to respond.   Nathan Moore, FSRN Administrative Director, responded instead, but without addressing the fundamental issue---that, FSRN had reported a story of false reconciliation, as described by as Hampshire College Professor and Africa/Rwanda expert Susan Thomson wrote, in her response to that piece: 

reaction to reconciliation village segment

I am writing to express my concern about the quality of reporting on this piece. It reads as government propaganda, and indeed many of the reactions I've read thus far support this claim. However, I think the journalist is simply naive and perhaps a little lazy. It is certainly note the kind of reporting I expect from FSRN. It is important to go beyond the narratives of the ruling RPF to understand the various motivations and methods of killing as well as the structures of power put in place since (controlled as they are by the RPF) to understand and explain "reconciliation". Indeed, it is an affair of the heart, and of the stomach as poor and traumatised individuals are left to fend for themselves for their daily needs. At the same time the government is strictly monitoring their political activities to assure commitment to the "script" of national unity and reconciliation. In other words, if you ask people who have lived their lives in chronic adversity to speak about their real feelings in a government-controlled space like the reconciliation village what do you expect their answers to be? I am hungry? I can't send my children to school because I am not the right kind of survivor? Or I lost my health benefits because I didn't forgive correctly at gacaca? No. Of course not. So yes, there is tolerance, which is conceptually different than reconciliation. Tolerance means you have no option but to accept sharing with another individual. Reconciliation means something different, and in the Rwanda context it means to heal the heart. Such cultural clues go unrecognised on this shameful piece.

Stations throughout the Pacifica Network, with five sister stations in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Houston, and many affiliated independent radio stations throughout the United States, play FSRN, and FSRN has, over the years, done a great deal of good reporting on other issues.  So, I keep responding and suggesting that others, who understand what's wrong with FSRN's reporting on this part of the world, do the same.  Here's the link, for writing to FSRN about their January 21st, 2011 broadcast: http://goo.gl/Vo4U0, and here's the link for KPFA Evening News, http://goo.gl/vU7IY.   

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Erlinder on Tour: Documents Prove U.S. Complicity in Rwanda Genocide and Congo Wars



KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones:  American Law Professor Peter Erlinder is set to begin a speaking tour to present his 70-page compilation of original UN documents and evidence, as well as his analysis of what actually happened in Rwanda between 1993 and 1995. Erlinder says that the U.S., its allies, and the Rwandan government are collaborators in an ongoing coverup of the truth at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.  KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.

Law Professor Peter Erlinder speaking
to the National Lawyers Guild, holding
a duplicate of the pink prison garb
he wore while incarcerated in Rwanda,
after traveling there in May of 2010
to defend opposition leader
Victoire  Ingabire Umuhoza,
who is now in prison herself. 
KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Peter Erlinder, international criminal defense attorney, and law professor at Minnesota's William Mitchell College of Law, will begin his speaking tour at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. on January 24th, then visit Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law Schools, then, Fordham University Law Shool and the Brecht Forum in New York City, and the University of Pittsburgh. The tour will coincide with DePaul University's Journal of Social Justice's publication of his original UN documents and evidence, and his analysis of what actually happened in Rwanda, at the time of the epic massacres now known as the Rwanda Genocide. Professor Erlinder spoke to KPFA from his home in St. Paul Minnesota:

KPFA:  What do you think Americans most need to understand about what happened in Rwanda, and then in Congo?  What does this have to do with us?

Peter Erlinder:  Well, I think that what this has to do with us I'd like to answer first.  The United States has played an active role in destabilizing the Great Lakes Region of Africa for the last 25 years.  It's a role that the American people, however, do not understand, and because they don't understand it, they're not able to take action to change it.  But with respect to Rwanda, what the evidence in the files show, that have been kept secret until I was able to get them, is that actually it was the Pentagon that created the RPF, grew them from 2500 to 25,000 troops in a period of two years, provided the material and the support necessary for them to take over the country, that at the same time the State Department was attempting to get the RPF to agree to give up its power and to enter into a minority position in the government, the Pentagon was continuing to support them and make them an even larger military force, so there was no incentive for them to give up their militarily superior position.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, the Rwandan opposition leader
that Professor Peter Erlinder traveled to Rwanda to defend
was taken, head shaven, handcuffed, and in pink prison garb,
to a Kigali court in handcuffs, where she was again denied
bail, on January 20, 2011. 
And the American people should also know that the UN documents and US government documents from FOIA disclosures that we have show that a U.S. engineered cover-up of RPF crimes began in August of 1994 because the State Department found out that the Pentagon was actually behind the RPF and therefore was responsible fundamentally for the Rwanda Genocide.  And that it's that connection to the United States that the American people don't know and is not acknowledged.  That's also the reason that the Rwanda Tribunal has had to prosecute only one side, because if Kagame ever is prosecuted, it's quite sure that he will explain the role of the United States in making him who he is.

It's also true that in 1996 and 1998, Rwanda and Uganda, both with the support of the US and UK, invaded the eastern Congo and have occupied the eastern Congo since that time.   Reports to the UN Security Council from experts that were engaged by the Security Council have reported repeatedly, 2001, 2, 3, 2008, 2010, that the armies of Uganda and Rwanda are occupying the eastern Congo, killing millions of people, at least six million, and raping the resources of the Congo.   But unfortunately, because both of these are proxy armies that are convenient for the United States, we don't hear about those crimes, and the perpetrators of the crimes are not called before the International Criminal Court, and the American people are in a position where they don't realize that their country is actually responsible for the massive crimes in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and we should care about that greatly because these crimes are being done in our name.

KPFA:  Peter Erlinder, thank you for speaking to KPFA.  For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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

Erlinder on Tour: U.S. Is Responsible for Rwanda Genocide and Congo Wars


 

Law Professor Peter Erlinder
speaking to the National Lawyers Guild
last year, holding the pink prison garb
he wore while incarcerated in Rwanda,
after traveling there to defend Victoire
Ingabire Umuhoza, the Rwandan opposition leader
who
is now in prison herself.

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones:  American Law Professor Peter Erlinder is set to begin a speaking tour to present his 70-page compilation of original UN documents and evidence, as well as his analysis of what actually happened in Rwanda between 1993 and 1995. Erlinder says that the U.S., its allies, and the Rwandan government are collaborators in an ongoing coverup of the truth at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.  KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Peter Erlinder, international criminal defense attorney, and law professor at Minnesota's William Mitchell College of Law, will begin his speaking tour at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. on January 24th, then visit Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law Schools, then, Fordham University Law Shool and the Brecht Forum in New York City, and the University of Pittsburgh. The tour will coincide with DePaul University's Journal of Social Justice's publication of his original UN documents and evidence, and his analysis of what actually happened in Rwanda, at the time of the epic massacres now known as the Rwanda Genocide. Professor Erlinder spoke to KPFA from his home in St. Paul Minnesota:

KPFA:  What do you think Americans most need to understand about what happened in Rwanda, and then in Congo?  What does this have to do with us?

Peter Erlinder:  Well, I think that what this has to do with us I'd like to answer first.  The United States has played an active role in destabilizing the Great Lakes Region of Africa for the last 25 years.  It's a role that the American people, however, do not understand, and because they don't understand it, they're not able to take action to change it.  But with respect to Rwanda, what the evidence in the files show, that have been kept secret until I was able to get them, is that actually it was the Pentagon that created the RPF, grew them from 2500 to 25,000 troops in a period of two years, provided the material and the support necessary for them to take over the country, that at the same time the State Department was attempting to get the RPF to agree to give up its power and to enter into a minority position in the government, the Pentagon was continuing to support them and make them an even larger military force, so there was no incentive for them to give up their militarily superior position.

And the American people should also know that the UN documents and US government documents from FOIA disclosures that we have show that a U.S. engineered cover-up of RPF crimes began in August of 1994 because the State Department found out that the Pentagon was actually behind the RPF and therefore was responsible fundamentally for the Rwanda Genocide.  And that it's that connection to the United States that the American people don't know and is not acknowledged.  That's also the reason that the Rwanda Tribunal has had to prosecute only one side, because if Kagame ever is prosecuted, it's quite sure that he will explain the role of the United States in making him who he is.


Rwandan opposition leaderVictoire Ingabire Umuhoza,
in pink prison garb, and with her head shaved was
led to court where she was again denied bail,
on January 20th, 2011.   
It's also true that in 1996 and 1998, Rwanda and Uganda, both with the support of the US and UK,  invaded the eastern Congo and have occupied the eastern Congo since that time.   Reports to the UN Security Council from experts that were engaged by the Security Council have reported repeatedly, 2001, 2, 3, 2008, 2010, that the armies of Uganda and Rwanda are occupying the eastern Congo, killing millions of people, at least six million, and raping the resources of the Congo.   But unfortunately, because both of these are proxy armies that are convenient for the United States, we don't hear about those crimes, and the perpetrators of the crimes are not called before the International Criminal Court, and the American people are in a position where they don't realize that their country is actually responsible for the massive crimes in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and we should care about that greatly because these crimes are being done in our name.  

KPFA:  Peter Erlinder, thank you for speaking to KPFA.  For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison. 

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


Monday, January 24, 2011

Keith Harmon Snow on Obama's Invasion of Congo on his Inauguration Day




Photo -- "Keith Harmon Snow asked to swap camera for RPG Rocket Launcher" -- FARDC Operation "Iron Fist" (spin-off), remote hills in or near Kahuzi Beiga National Park, South Kivu (province), DRC. Circa June 2006.

On Sunday, 01.23.2011, I called veteran Africa investigator Keith Harmon Snow for KPFA Weekend News regarding the second anniversary of the outset of the catastrophic 2009 Eastern Congo Offensive. As is always the case with “sound bite news,” I couldn’t include most of our conversation, but Keith was kind enough to write out his answers to the questions I’d sent for AfrobeatRadio.net. We at AfrobeatRadio consider Keith’s website, Conscious Being Alliance and the various audio recordings of his presentations, including, recently, his Lecture on Profiteering from Genocide in Central Africa, at the Brecht Forum in New York City, to be some of the best investigative reporting and analysis of African issues available.  -Ann Garrison



KPFA/Ann Garrison: Most Americans, including those who campaigned hardest for Obama, would have a near impossible time making sense of this. Few would recognize the acronyms of the Rwandan Defense Force (RDF), the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), or the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Keith Harmon Snow: There has been a US backed campaign to destabilize, depopulate, and colonize eastern Congo/Zaire since the first US-supported invasion of 1996, which occurred under William Jefferson Clinton, and which followed the US destabilization and coup d’etat in Rwanda. The US and its allies are deploying their proxy army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) — renamed the Rwandan Defense Forces or RDF about 10 years ago – in our secret campaign to balkanize Congo and create a Republic of the Volcanoes in this region. This would be an expansion of Rwanda achieved through the annexation of the Kivu provinces of Congo, possibly along with Maniema Province. Uganda for its part, with US support, would like to annex the Ituri province. These campaigns are backed by multinational corporations, and the goals are political, military and, mostly, economic.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: So, what sense does it make, to say that Barack Obama invaded Congo, the heart of Africa, on his Inauguration Day?
Keith Harmon Snow: The US backed military invasion of 20 January 2009 included US military commanders, special forces, military advisers, technicians and other US military personnel, and it involved weaponry supplied by the US and Britain.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Can you explain the CNDP militia and the significance of its integration into the Congolese army, the FARDC, on January 20, 2009?
Keith Harmon Snow: First, the name CNDP – Congress for the Defense of the People – couldn’t be further from the truth. The CNDP was a Rwandan Tutsi based militia that was created by Rwandan war criminals that had infiltrated Eastern Congo, infiltrated troops into eastern Congo, and that mobilized, armed and economically empowered Rwandan Tutsi civilians that had infiltrated eastern Congo in recent years and in recent decades. There was a tripartite agreement between Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, and the president of Congo – another Rwandan – Joseph Kabila – which worked behind the massive propaganda of “peace talks” to advance the military campaign to infiltrate and control eastern Congo. By quote “integrating” these Rwandan militia elements into the Congolese National Army the Rwandan program was advanced through a kind of Trojan horse operation.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Can you explain the arrest of Laurent Nkunda and Bosco Ntaganda’s assumption of CNDP leadership in his place?
Keith Harmon Snow: This was a cosmetic move with no real importance, meant only to pacify certain international calls to arrest and remove the self-proclaimed General Laurent Nkundabatware. Both Nkunda and Bosco Ntaganda were documented war criminals. Nkunda of course knows too much, he is too much of a liability to Kagame, and so he is living a very good life at present in Rwanda.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: And, what about the UN Mapping Report leaked on August 26th, then finally released on October 1st?
Keith Harmon Snow: Well, that report, while revealing and progressive, in the sense of holding certain armies and individuals accountable for war crimes, was also a whitewash of the real situation. On one hand it introduced, for the first time, some credible evidence, produced by international bodies and the United Nations, that the Rwandan and Ugandan militaries committed genocide against unarmed Hutu people – mostly women and children – in Congo from circa 1995 to 1999. At the same time the evidence and facts are distorted and downplayed, and the criminality of Rwanda and Uganda are downplayed and even questioned, and the numbers of dead and kinds of atrocities are downplayed or distorted, and there is absolutely no mention of western agents or militaries or corporations involved in the killing. For example, we know the names of US diplomats, USAID officials, and military commanders involved in hunting down and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Hutus, mostly women and children.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: What do you think this operation, the 2009 Eastern Congo Offensive, which began on Obama’s Inauguration Day, says about the racial justice that many hoped the election of Barack Obama would represent?
Keith Harmon Snow: The operation called “Umoja Wetu” resulted in massive war crimes, and Barack Obama is no symbol or agent of racial equality, but just another US official involved in persecuting people of color everywhere, and through all sorts of horrible deprivations and war crimes.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: And what about the racism inherent in this mission to “hunt down Hutu militias”?
Keith Harmon Snow: Well, this is more nonsense—the whole “hunt for Hutu genocidaires was a key element of the psychological operation against the western English-speaking world to cover up for western imperialism and the commission of massive war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide—and plunder of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of minerals, timber, and lives. Under this psychological operation—using such propaganda films as Hotel Rwanda and Sometimes in April and Shake Hands With The Devil and Beyond the Gates—the English-speaking world suffers a collective mental illness about what really happened in Rwanda. Instead of the racist story about Hutus killing Tusis with machetes in 100 days of genocide, the truth is that the US, British and Israeli military and their Ugandan and Rwandan proxy forces are responsible for genocide against both Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda, Congo and Burundi. Who are the victims? The innocent civilians in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo and they are still suffering massively under US overt and covert operations in the Great Lakes region.
Many thanks to Ann Garrison, David Landau & Anthony Fest, and the KPFA Weekend News.  -Keith Harmon Snow

Power Meeting: Lisa Shannon and Sarah Palin

Much thanks to Lisa Shannon of Run for Congo Women, for helping me explain her work, which caused John Prendergast, in his book, "The ENOUGH Moment, Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes," and in conversation with the KPFA Morning Show on 09.08.2010, to call Ms Shannon a "Citizen Upstander, One of Congo's Champions in the United States."

Lisa Shannon, Author of "A Thousand Sisters"
and founder of Run for Congo Women

Journal entry on Lisa Shanon's website, "A Thousand Sisters," the digital companion to her book. 

Here's the opener to what John Prendergast wrote about Lisa Shannon, Citizen Upstander for Congo, in "The ENOUGH Moment":



I'd like to imagine that none of this requires further explanation, but see also: 

Open Salon, "Bono Bashers, Clooney Patrols, and the Global Snark Brigade," http://goo.gl/C7D05.
Black Star News, "John Prendergast's Selective Outrage On African Crimes," http://goo.gl/lujOl.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photos of the US and Rwandan Armies, courtesy of the Pentagon's Military.com





US AFRICOM Commander William "Kip" Ward with 
Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe 
in Kigali, Rwanda.

US AFRICOM Commander William 
"Kip" Ward with Rwandan Army soldiers. 

The Rwandan Army Band marching alongside a
U.S. Army transpo plane, from Charleston, 
as Rwandan soldiers prepare to board.  



Rwandan soldiers in a US military transport plane.
 
All photos courtesy of Military.com, and your tax dollars. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Anniversary: Obama's Invasion of Congo on Inauguration Day

Two years ago, on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama, the U.S.A.'s first African American president, invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo, the heart of Africa, on his Inauguration Day.

Most Americans, including those who campaigned hardest for Obama, would have a hard time making sense of this, or of the military forces involved. Most would not recognize the acronyms of the Rwandan Defense Force (RDF), the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), the Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF), or the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). 

So, what sense does it make, to say that Barack Obama invaded Congo, the heart of Africa, on his Inauguration Day?  It makes sense because:

1)  On his Inauguration Day, Obama became the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

2)   The Rwandan and Ugandan armies serve as the U.S. military's proxies in Africa.

The only media outlet willing and able to produce something akin to a news report about this was the Assassinated Press, in "Obama Invades the Congo on Inauguration Day."

I had been a guest on the KPFA Radio Morning Show the day before Obama's Inauguration, where I had tried to explain that Reverend Rick Warren, a world class homophobe, and Obama's controversial pick to say his inaugural invocation, was not a benevolent presence in Africa, as reported by Team Obama in their attempts at damage control.  I later turned what I'd tried to explain into a video, "Imperial Evangelism."

But, I was so staggered by what happened the next day, during the Obama Inauguration, that I was unable to write about it for over a year and a half, not until October 1, 2010, when I wrote "Obama’s Congo moment: genocide, the U.N. report and Senate Bill 2125," an essay published first in the SF Bay View, then Global Research, the Black Star News, and The Newsline EA (East Africa).


Ugandan American Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi, gave that report a more straightforward title:  "Congo Genocide: Obama Knows the Real Story."

Obama Inauguration on screen, Times Square,
New York City, January 20, 2009.
Photo:  Jeremy Gordon, Flckr

Today, two years after Obama's Inauguration Day, many of Obama's near fanatical 2008 supporters have turned away, calling him a disaster and searching for another candidate to step up and challenge him in the 2011 primary.   But, what more can we expect from presidential elections that now cost well over half a billion dollars?   The London Guardian reported, on October 23, that the Obama and McCain campaign costs were approaching $1 billion.

Though I myself felt psychologically battered by Obama fanatics by the end of the 2008 election, I can now hardly imagine a bigger waste of time than trying to knock Obama out of the Democratic primary in 2011.

Instead I would urge all those who campaigned for Obama, then turned away in disgust, to take some responsibility by reading Senate Bill 2125, the only Senate Bill that will ever bear Barack Obama's name alone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006. I explained why in my essay, "Obama’s Congo moment: Genocide, the U.N. report and Senate Bill 2125."

Obama did not have to invade Congo, the heart of Africa, on his Inauguration Day.   He does not have to continue, now, to ignore the UN Mapping Report, released October 1st, which documents our proxy armies' war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocidal civilian massacres in Congo.  Obama knows the truth about Congo; he knows that, as he wrote in his 2006 legislation, "the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors [Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi]."

But, the full force of the national security state now surrounding Obama could not be more invested in Congo, the most lethal conflict since World War II, which might well be understood as the back end of "the war."

Big bombs drop out of jet fighter bombers and U.S. soldier die in the front end of the war in Afghanistan, and U.S. soldiers continue to die in Iraq, but in Congo, where our African proxies serve U.S. security state interests, rape and HIV seem to be the most lethal weapons.

Southern Africa's resources, and most of all Congo's, are essential to our military industries' ability to manufacture for war.   The war in Congo is, as I wrote, on March 11, 2009, in the San Francisco Bay View, war for the sake of war itself.