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
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
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.

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 

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, 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,, 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:

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:

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: