Blog Archives

Kagame’s Economic Mirage in Rwanda

The Derogation of Justice and Human Rights in Rwanda: Open Letter to Rwanda’s Chief Justice on the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi

How Rwanda’s “Genocide Liberator” Paul Kagame Became an Absolute Dictator

Rwanda, the Enduring Lies: A Project Censored Interview with Professor Ed Herman

Rwanda: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to Rule in Munyakazi Case

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR): An Anglo-American Creation in Support of the Kagame Dictatorship

VIDEO: Rwanda’s Untold Story, The BBC’s Documentary

By BBC
Global Research, November 12, 2014

Twenty years on from the Rwandan genocide, This World reveals evidence that challenges the accepted story of one of the most horrifying events of the late 20th century.

The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has long been portrayed as the man who brought an end to the killing and rescued his country from oblivion.

Now there are increasing questions about the role of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front forces in the dark days of 1994 and in the 20 years since.

The film investigates evidence of Kagame’s role in the shooting down of the presidential plane that sparked the killings in 1994 and questions his claims to have ended the genocide. It also examines claims of war crimes committed by Kagame’s forces and their allies in the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and allegations of human rights abuses in today’s Rwanda.

Former close associates from within Kagame’s inner circle and government speak out from hiding abroad. They present a very different portrait of a man who is often hailed as presiding over a model African state. Rwanda’s economic miracle and apparent ethnic harmony has led to the country being one of the biggest recipients of aid from the UK. Former prime minister Tony Blair is an unpaid adviser to Kagame, but some now question the closeness of Mr Blair and other western leaders to Rwanda’s president.

Rwanda’s Untold Story Documentary from RDI-Rwanda Rwiza on Vimeo.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-rwandas-untold-story-the-bbcs-documentary/5413664

Rwanda’s Untold Story Evidence challenges the accepted story of one of the most horrifying events of the late 20th century.

Video Documentary

“What the world believes and what actually happened are quiet different”

The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has long been portrayed as the man who brought an end to the killing and rescued his country from oblivion. Now there are increasing questions about the role of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front forces in the dark days of 1994 and in the 20 years since.

The film investigates evidence of Kagame’s role in the shooting down of the presidential plane that sparked the killings in 1994 and questions his claims to have ended the genocide. It also examines claims of war crimes committed by Kagame’s forces and their allies in the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and allegations of human rights abuses in today’s Rwanda.

Former close associates from within Kagame’s inner circle and government speak out from hiding abroad. They present a very different portrait of a man who is often hailed as presiding over a model African state. Rwanda’s economic miracle and apparent ethnic harmony has led to the country being one of the biggest recipients of aid from the UK. Former prime minister Tony Blair is an unpaid adviser to Kagame, but some now question the closeness of Mr Blair and other western leaders to Rwanda’s president.

Posted October 05, 2014

Why is the Truth about Rwanda so Elusive?

By Jonathan Cook

It’s not often I praise the BBC for producing real journalism. Further, it is with some disbelief that I find myself applauding Jane Corbin, who I will struggle till my dying day to forgive for her despicable piece of Israeli propaganda parading as reportage a few years back on the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza.

Nonetheless, Corbin has now fronted a truly disturbing revisionist documentary on Rwanda, called Rwanda’s Untold Story. The programme’s argument is that the official story about a straightforward genocide by the Hutu majority of Rwanda’s Tutsis 20 years ago is highly selective and entirely misleading. One scholar suggests that the narrative we have been fed is the equivalent of reducing the Second World War to the Holocaust and claiming nothing else of significance happened.

What the documentary demonstrates forcefully is that Paul Kagame, the hero of the official story of Rwanda’s genocide, was almost certainly the biggest war criminal to have emerged from those horrifying events. Kagame led the Tutsis’ main militia, the RPF. He almost certainly ordered the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s plane, the trigger for a civil war that quickly escalated into a genocide; on the best estimates, his RPF was responsible for killing 80% of the 1 million who died inside Rwanda, making the Hutus, not the Tutsis, the chief victims; and his subsequent decision to extend the civil war into neighbouring Congo, where many Hutu civilians had fled to escape the RPF, led to the deaths of up to 5 million more.

Not surprising then that Kagame is championed by Britain’s own biggest war criminal, Tony Blair. But the rot has spread much further. Rwanda, now praised as a model democracy under Kagame, is in truth a police state, where the president kills or locks up all opponents, fixes the elections, and has made any questioning of the official story he created – that the Tutsis were the exclusive victims of the genocide – a crime.

The BBC has not had to dig up any new information to make this programme. It’s all been available for years. But no one apart from a few experts – academics, UN military personnel who were there, UN investigators, and Kagame’s former, and disillusioned, inner circle – have dared to speak out.

The real criminals, as ever, it seems, have been the western powers and the UN. They have happily paraded their remorse at failing to intervene at the time of the genocide (presumably because their self-confessed error helped to justify the subsequent wave of bogus “humanitarian interventions” in the Middle East). But what the documentary makes clear is that Blair, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and many others have helped to whitewash Kagame’s crimes against humanity and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his current oppressive rule. Anyone who has threatened to blow the lid, like Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the UN’s international tribunal on Rwanda, has been forced out.

But as I watched the programme, one thing struck me forcefully in particular, though it was not referred to by Corbin: what were the journalists who crawled all over the Rwanda story for years doing? How were Blair, Clinton and Annan allowed to forge the myth of a simple Hutu genocide of Tutsis without serious challenge from serious reporters working for serious newspapers that were supposed to be making sense of these events for us?

From my own experience covering Israel-Palestine, I can guess what happened. The reporters on the ground feared straying too far from the consensus in their newsrooms. Rather than telling their editors what the story was (the model of news production most people assume to be the case), the editors were creating the framework of the story for the reporters, based on the official narrative being promoted in political and diplomatic circles. Correspondents who cared about their careers dared not challenge the party line too strongly, even when they knew it to be a lie.

Rwanda also offers a telling example of how such group-think works, and how a non-expert far from real events but schooled in a kind of London or Washington consensus on foreign affairs ends up policing the limits of possible thought in a way that strips us, his readers, of the right to hear a counter-narrative.

The guilty party in this case was George Monbiot, often seen as one of the most radical and original thinkers publishing in the British mainstream liberal media. Two years ago he wrote an ugly attack, entitled “Naming the Genocide Deniers“, on two scholars, one of them the renowned Ed Herman. Monbiot eventually dragged in a host of other thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, accusing them of being “genocide belittlers” for not turning on the pair at his instigation.

The crime committed by this tiny group was that they had raised the possibility that the official story of the genocide in Rwanda – as well as of some of the massacres in the Balkans – might not be entirely historically  accurate, and that the accounts might have been distorted for political advantage. Monbiot, uninterested in assessing their claims or addressing the facts, abused them for straying from the official narrative. Monbiot might like to reconsider his behaviour, for which I and others criticised him at the time, and issue a long-overdue apology.

That aside, Monbiot’s disgraceful accusations are a useful illustration of how powerful is the emotional, imaginative and possibly financial grip of the mainstream media on journalists, even those feted for their independence.

It is with that context in mind too that one should tip one’s hat to the BBC and, reluctantly, to Jane Corbin for doing their jobs for once. Rwanda’s Untold Story reminds us how rarely journalists actually engage in the myth-busting, truth-telling work they claim to be bedrock of their craft.

Sadly, the Youtube link I watched this on was quickly removed, on copyright grounds. Those in the UK should be able to watch it on iPlayer for a while longer. Others will need to keep their eyes open online or hope it is shown on BBC World.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalismhttp://www.jonathan-cook.net

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39871.htm

Hotel Propaganda: What Really Happened in Rwanda in 1994

Global Research, September 21, 2014

rwanda-carte-400x351On the evening of April 6th 1994 a plane carrying the Hutu leaders of both Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it approached Kanombe airport[1]. The assassins had little trouble targeting the flight as only one of the two runways was open, the other having been closed two months earlier on the orders of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. Simultaneous to the shootdown, that is on the eve of April 6th, a 30,000 RPF  (Tutsi) army based in Uganda invaded from the north. At the same time, hundreds of covert armed RPF cells came to life in and around Kigali and began attacking Rwandan government forces (FAR). The population, roughly 85% Hutu, and encompassing at least a million refugees in and around Kigali displaced by previous RPF incursions from Uganda, began to panic.  A genocide was about to begin.
 
But it was a genocide neither against, nor by, the actors cited in the ‘official’ narrative. Indeed, Rwanda circa 1994, is, in all likelihood, if not the, then certainly one of the greatest propaganda swindles of all time. This is the story of that swindle and of the scandalous truth that lies buried beneath it.
 
Historical Context

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Rwanda was a feudal kingdom ruled by a Tutsi minority over a Hutu majority. Following the Berlin Conference of 1885 Rwanda came under the suzerainty of Germany which was, itself, replaced as colonial overlord following WW1, by Belgium. Rwanda’s feudal order remained intact, however, until 1956 when the Belgians finally organized elections. Then, in November 1959, the Hutu majority overthrew the Tutsi monarchy. Many Tutsis fled, the majority ending up, significantly, in Uganda. It was from this perch in Uganda that the exiled Tutsi aristocracy launched, between 1960 and 1973, a series of violent attacks against the Rwandan regime. These were repulsed and for the next decade and a half Rwanda enjoyed a period of relative peace.

It is worth noting at this juncture that, though much of the Tutsi aristocracy fled in 1960, those Tutsis who remained were well integrated into Rwandan society and body politic. Thus, both the government and army contained significant numbers of Tutsi personnel even through the height of the crisis in April 1994. In fact, the Rwandan Army (FAR) continued as a multi-ethnic organization even as it was forced to retreat into the forests of the Congo in July of 1994; this after having run out of ammunition due to a Western embargo on arms supplies – an embargo not applied to the RPF.

Up until 1990 there was no further interference in Rwanda from Uganda. Nevertheless, by then the Tutsis exiles living there had become one of the main elements of the Ugandan Army. As such, when Museveni came to power – having been handpicked by the US and Britain to oust the socialist, Milton Obote – a third or more of his army consisted of Tutsis. Many of these held high office, including Paul Kagame.

Kagame had been (and remains) an erstwhile client of Washington from well before he claimed to have ‘saved Rwanda from further genocide’ in 1994. Not only had he served as director of Ugandan military intelligence in the 1980s, but he had also received training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,[2] and had been the beneficiary of constant US material and diplomatic support from the moment he assumed control of the RPF.

Upon the collapse of the USSR in 1989/90 the US and the UK began a general militarist expansion which included the targeting of Yugoslavia and Rwanda; Yugoslavia as it was the last real bastion of working socialism in Europe, and Rwanda as it was a working model of socialist development in Africa. In addition, the US had turned against Mobutu (of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as he was beginning to ally himself politically with China.

The Rwandan president, Habyarimana, was subsequently approached by Washington to allow his country to be used as a staging ground for an attack on Zaire (to this day, a cornucopia of precious resources prized by the West). His refusal caused the US to look to other agents in furthering its strategic interests. They found the Tutsis in Uganda, ever thirsting for restoration of their hegemony in Rwanda. Furthermore, Museveni had begun to feel uneasy about the numbers of Tutsis in his ranks and was looking to be rid of them. The opportunity to satisfy these disparate desires soon came.

On October 1, 1990 the self-styled Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched a surprise attack from Uganda. Though calling themselves a force of ‘liberation’ the offensive was a thinly disguised invasion by Uganda itself. Initially, the justification for the invasion put out by the RPF was that of attaining the right of return of Tutsi refugees. This claim, however, was belied by the fact that Rwanda had, under UN auspices, already agreed a few weeks earlier to the return of all Tutsis who wished to do so. That accord required Tutsi representatives to travel to Kigali to determine both the logistics of that population movement and their subsequent accommodation within Rwanda. The delegation was expected at the end of September, 1990. They never arrived.

The attack killed tens of thousands of Rwandan civilians. These crimes, though well documented, have never been accounted for, nor did the UN or ‘international community’ ever seek to account for them. Indeed, there was not even a shred of condemnation of the Ugandan/RPF  invasion, this despite the clamour raised only two months earlier with regard to the advance of Iraqi forces into Kuwait. In point of fact, the US and its allies supported the aggression against Rwanda and US Special Forces operated alongside the RPF from the beginning. This support notwithstanding, the small Rwandan army (with some help from a Congolese battalion) was eventually able to repel the invading forces.

Following this attempt using a proxy force to overthrow the state, the United States brought political and economic pressure to bear upon Rwanda’s one-party socialist state (MRND). The President, Juvenal Habyarimana, instead of resisting, agreed to alter the constitution and in 1991 Rwanda became a multi-party democracy. Though the Rwandan government effected this as an offer of peace, what followed was anything but peace. Thus, rather than work towards reconciliation, the RPF turned from the tactics of open warfare to those of guerrilla terrorism.

In 1992, and whilst RPF forces were busy planting mines, assassinating politicians and blaming it on the MRND, a coalition government was formed with the front parties of the RPF. These agents, with US backing, quickly seized control of key ministries and succeeded in appointing the Prime Minister. They also gained control of the intelligence services which they then began to dismantle. In essence, the ‘power sharing’ arrangement had largely given over control of the country to the very forces long bent on its destruction.

The RPF itself, meanwhile, engaged in a ‘talk and fight’ strategy; always agreeing to a ceasefire, pressing for more power, then launching new attacks on the civilian population. The most egregious of these assaults was their breaking of the ceasefire and the launching of a major offensive in February of 1993. Seizing the town of Ruhengeri, RPF forces murdered some 40,000, mostly Hutu, civilians. Once again, the ‘international community’ remained dutifully silent.

The Rwandan army, though hamstrung by the civilian ministries, managed to repulse the RPF attack. Finally, in August of 1993, the Arusha Accords were signed under pressure from the United States and its allies, and from which the RPF obtained major concessions. The Accords dictated the formation of a broad-based transition government to be followed by general elections.[3] But for the RPF – as for the United States – there was a fatal fly in the electoral ointment. To wit, the RPF knew that they could not win such elections; this not only because they were unpopular with the majority (85%) Hutu population, but also because they had precious little support amongst many of Rwanda’s internal Tutsis whose lives and businesses they had destroyed. Rather than prepare for elections, the RPF prepared for something different.

UN reports document the massive build-up of men and weapons coming in from Uganda during this period. In fact, the UN force (UNAMIR) supposedly deployed to ensure a peaceful transition acted, instead, as a cover for the US and its allies, i.e. Britain, Belgium, Canada, to assist the illegal build-up. General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general in charge of the UN force, hid this build-up not only from the Rwandan Army and the President, but also from his immediate superiors, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali. These machinations were accompanied by death threats against Habyarimana, threats made all the more significant by the murder of the first Hutu president of neighbouring Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, by Tutsi officers in October 1993.[4]

The result of the 1993 RPF offensive was the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of Hutus from northern Rwanda towards Kigali so that by April, 1994 over a million refugees were encamped close to the capital and hundreds of thousands more in camps to the south. The RPF, meanwhile, did all it could to paralyze the functioning of the government, to exacerbate racial tensions, and to prepare for war.

Who Killed Habyarimana

The triggering event in the ‘Rwandan genocide’ of 1994 is generally agreed to be the shooting down, on April 6, 1994, of the plane carrying Juvenal Habyarimana, the Hutu president of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi. The official story has it that unidentified ‘Hutu rebels’ were the villains who targeted their own countrymen in some vague attempt to gain power. No evidence was ever adduced in support of this threadbare thesis, but in any case, even if so, the official villains failed spectacularly in their objectives as the country quickly fell to invading Tutsi forces leaving a small minority (Tutsi) population to rise like the Phoenix to its former position of national privilege and oligarchical control. No one in the Western mainstream media has ever commented on the exceeding peculiarity of this bizarre turn of events, never witnessed before, in which the supposed victims of a genocide end up as the victors of the conflict.

The paradox is soon resolved, however, if we countenance the much more likely scenario that the decapitation of the state leadership was the first stage in a final offensive of a war started four years earlier. That the assassination was part of an RPF coup d’etat is given further support by the fact that a 30,000 man RPF force was already marching against Kigali hours before the plane was destroyed, and that RPF forces inside Kigali were attacking government positions within hours of the shootdown. The Western audience, naturally, was, and has never since, been informed of these rather pertinent contextual facts surrounding the events of April 6, 1994. To boot, the official response to Habyarimana’s assassination was and has remained one of determined indifference; a strange thing given that it involved the highest official in the land. Even stranger given that, and according to virtually every independent expert on the subject, the ‘genocide of 1994’ simply would not have happened had Habyarimana not been assassinated. Nevertheless, though all the circumstantial evidence points towards the assassination being part and parcel of a US-backed RPF coup d’etat against the government of Rwanda, it would yet be helpful if there was direct evidence implicating RPF forces in the murder. There is.

As in one of those classic ‘B movie’ plot twists where the bad guys inadvertently hire a good guy who turns the table on his benefactors, so too did the lead official of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) hire an investigator into the crash who turned out to be an honest man. Reporting back to Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour in 1996/97, Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan, found evidence directly linking the RPF (and the CIA) to the assassination. Far from pleasing Arbour, however, Hourigan’s diligence was rewarded with censure. According to Hourigan, Arbour became “aggressive” and “hostile” when informed of his findings. What Hourigan didn’t know at the time is that Arbour, after having launched the investigation, had been directed by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (who had handpicked her for the job) to quash the inquiry. And so she did. Arbour would later (again under the aegis of Albright) be promoted to Canadian Supreme Court Justice and thence as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Hourigan’s report, though suppressed at the time, would, nevertheless, surface many years later in the hands of one of the defense teams at the ICTR. The report would also have its findings later corroborated by numerous sources. Thus, the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, having been called in to investigate the deaths of three French nationals who were aboard Habyarimana’s doomed flight, launched an exhaustive eight-year investigation. He concluded that the plane had indeed been destroyed by the RPF and that the assassination was part and parcel of Kagame et al’s plan to take over Rwanda by force. Bruguiere went on to issue nine warrants for the arrest of high-ranking members of the RPF whilst also requesting that the ICTR take up Kagame’s prosecution.

What’s more, not only have other French – and Spanish – legal officials since confirmed Bruguiere’s findings, but many highly placed members of the RPF have stepped forward publicly to implicate Kagame and the RPF in the assassination[5]. All have suffered the same fate of official international silence and suppression, and some of the latter have suffered assassination themselves.[6]

This culture of suppression and official silence has also plagued the ICTR from its inception. In particular, it became the explicit policy of the ICTR to forcibly limit its mandate solely to the investigation of ‘genocidal intent’ by Hutu government figures, i.e. without any reference whatsoever either to the political context of the conflict or to the mounting evidence implicating the RPF as invaders and genocidaires.  In short, the ICTR, much like its sister tribunal, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), proved itself from the outset to be little more than a Washington-sponsored kangaroo court.[7]

This transparently politicized policy has continued apace throughout the trials. When, for instance, the more independently-minded Carla Del Ponte replaced the pliable Louise Arbour, she was quickly terminated as Chief Prosecutor after calling for a ‘Special Investigation’ into the actions of the RPF; this despite making a case for such an investigation with then UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan. Of course, Anan’s refusal to look into the crimes of the RPF should come as no surprise as it was he who, a) was head of the peacekeeping operations in 1994, and is thus implicated in the events, and b) was handpicked by the US to replace his predecessor, Boutros-Ghali.

Boutros-Ghali, It might be remembered, had come uncomfortably close to scuttling the entire US/RPF invasion scenario when, in May of 1994, he acceded to a request by the Rwandan government to send 5500 UN troops to Rwanda to reinforce the 2500 already stationed there; this so as to stabilize the country at a time when reports of growing ‘chaos’ were issuing forth daily in the world press. These efforts were, however, categorically thwarted by the Clinton regime which used its influence to remove the proposal from the UN agenda. Instead, the UN troops already stationed there, far from being reinforced, were withdrawn. Later, Boutros-Ghali, in conversation with Rwandan expert Robin Philpot, would expand on these matters declaring that, “The genocide in Rwanda was 100% the responsibility of the Americans!”[8] Hardly any wonder, then, that in 1996 US Ambassador to the UN, the ubiquitous Madeleine Albright, would veto his re-election making Boutros-Ghali the only UN Secretary General in history not to be granted a second term in office.

Inconvenient Truths

On August 26, 2010 the French newspaper Le Monde revealed the existence of a draft UN report detailing the most serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo over an eleven year period (1993 – 2003). The report described how, following the RPF’s takeover of Rwanda in 1994, it proceeded to carry out “systematic and widespread attacks” against Hutu refugees who had fled to neighbouring DRC. These attacks it stated, “could be classified as crimes of genocide.”

Save for it having been leaked to Le Monde, it is clear that the report was well on its way to being buried alive, its cover-up a near certainty. But this was hardly the first instance of a cover-up of a UN report vis a vis Rwanda. As early as October 11, 1994, Robert Gersony, an employee of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), then attached to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, made an oral presentation to the UN Commission of Experts on Rwanda. Gersony had been dispatched to survey the situation inside Rwanda to determine if conditions were right for return of the Hutu refugees who had fled the RPF. Instead, he found that the RPF had been committing massacres of the Hutu population in Rwanda starting in April 1994 through the date of his presentation. On page 4 of the UN record of Gersony’s presentation (a record which surfaced in the defense proceedings at the ICTR), we read,

“Significant areas…have been the scene of systematic and sustained [emphasis added] killing and persecution of the civilian Hutu population by the Rwandan Patriotic Front…..These actions were consistently reported to be conducted in areas where opposition forces of any kind – armed or unarmed, or resistance of any kind….were absent. Large scale indiscriminate killings of men, women and children, including the sick and elderly were consistently reported.”

Now, I remind the reader that the killings detailed here were being perpetrated not, as in the official narrative, i.e. by  Rwandan government troops, but by the supposed saviours of the country, i.e. the RPF.

Though much evidence surfaced early on that the official genocide narrative was in sharp disagreement with reality, all later independent reports have continued to corroborate this finding. In a 2004 paper, for instance (and reinforced in a more recent 2009 report), US academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam concluded that, of the many hundreds of thousands of deaths (possibly as high as two million)[9] that occurred in Rwanda from April through July of 1994, the “majority of victims [at least two thirds] were likely Hutu and not Tutsi”. Noteworthy is the fact that Davenport and Stam were initially sponsored by the ICTR – that is until their findings contradicted the official narrative whence they were sent packing.

Still, Davenport and Stam have refrained from taking the implication of their own research to its logical conclusion, i.e. that Kagame’s forces were the only agents responsible for committing “systematic” killings in the areas they overran, or that such systemic violence was part of a pre-existing plan by the US-backed RPF to invade and overthrow the legitimate government, the latter in order to install a formerly privileged minority – and Western comprador elite[10] – to power within Rwanda.

If the academics have been content to sit on the fence, not so one of the more famous lay figures of the Rwandan debacle. It is ironic in the extreme that Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda – a film unashamedly promoting the official narrative – has himself, in numerous interviews, completely gainsaid that narrative. He has, thus, repeatedly denounced the RPF as the real genocidaires, and has called a Kagame a “war criminal” and “dictator” who is responsible for mass killings not only during the takeover of Rwanda in July 1994, but ever since both in Rwanda and in his US-backed incursions into the Congo. Indeed, so fervent have the denunciations been that Rusesabagina is now officially listed as a ‘terrorist’ and ‘genocide denier’ (a prisonable offence in Rwanda) by the Kagame regime.

No matter, the movie continues to circulate, sans critique; Rusesabagina’s views and denunciations, do not.[11]

Whose Genocide(s)?
 
It is something of an embarrassment to the US architects of the ICTR that the tribunal, though explicitly tasked with indicting only members of the Hutu government, have failed singularly in successfully prosecuting any of them[12]. Not only have the most senior members of the MRND – through the spirited efforts of the various defense teams – been acquitted, but the mass of evidence so assembled has stood the entire official narrative on its head, and has implicated, au contraire, the RPF – and its foreign accomplices – in the genocide.

There was, however, one highly publicized piece of evidence proffered at the tribunal by prosecutors as they sought to prove a ‘planned genocide’ by the MRND government. This was the so-called ‘genocide fax’ allegedly sent to the New York UN headquarters on the night of January 10th, 1994. That this was the only piece of documentary evidence claiming direct planning of a genocide put forward in the trial is, itself, telling. Had there actually been such a plan (by the MRND), the logistics would have left a paper and/or electronic trail a mile wide. Instead, there are no orders, minutes of meetings, notes, cables, faxes, radio intercepts or any other type of documentation indicating that such a plan ever existed. And then, of course, there are the actual events on the ground which, as we have seen (and shall see further), suggest nothing of the sort. Nonetheless, there is the lone sepulchre of the ‘genocide fax’. What to make of it?[13]

To make a long story short, the fax is a forgery. There was a fax sent to the UN headquarters on January 10th, 1994 (a copy of a cable sent by Romeo Dallaire to another Canadian, General Baril), but this was not the fax that was entered into evidence in the Military II trial (ICTR vs Ndindiliyimana)[14] in October, 2005. Ndindiliyimana’s defense counsel was able to definitively establish that the original fax dealt only with ‘weapons caches and seeking protection for an informant’, whereas the fax subsequently entered as evidence, having first had time stamps, dates and paragraphs altered, had mysteriously sprouted an addendum about government plans to kill Tutsis and Belgian soldiers.[15] Conflicting testimony both between Dallaire’s earlier and later statements, and between statements made by Dallaire and Lt. Col. Claeys (a Belgian officer who claims to be one of the authors of the original cable), further proved the document’s inauthenticity. Such was only reinforced when Dallaire’s immediate superior, Jacques Roger Booh-Booh, stated that he had never seen nor heard of the fax or any of its alleged inflammatory contents. Eventually, the ‘genocide fax’ was simply withdrawn as evidence by the court. Puff! One might wonder, then, why tens of thousands of MRND personnel are today still in prison, this whilst not one RPF figure has even been indicted. But so it is.

If documents supporting a pre-meditated plan by the MRND have failed to materialize, not so it turns out when it comes to the RPF. In the same trial that saw the outing of the fraudulent ‘genocide fax’, evidence was presented suggesting nothing other than a master plan by Kagame and “our Belgian, British and American collaborators” for the taking not only of Rwanda, but of Zaire. In a letter from Kagame to fellow Tutsi, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza of Burundi, dated August 10, 1994, Kagame thanks Bagaza for his help in “taking Kigali”. He then relates his communications with “our big brother Yoweri Museveni” and talks of “some modifications of the plan” noting that:

“We have found that the presence of large numbers of Rwandan refugees at Goma, and the international community, can cause our plan for Zaire [emphasis added] to fail. We cannot occupy ourselves with Zaire until after the return of these Hutus….In any case, our external intelligence services continue to crisscross the east of Zaire, and our Belgian, British and American collaborators [emphasis added] the rest of Zaire. The action reports are expected in the next few days.”

Now, what this letter seems to indicate is that the attack on Rwanda (from 1990 onward) was not the prime objective of Kagame and crew after all, but was, rather, merely the gateway to an attack on Zaire/Congo. The significance of the latter became apparent when, on November 1, 1996, the aforementioned Goma was, in fact, attacked and taken by the RPA (the re-named RPF) along with Burundian and Ugandan forces. This assault was heavily backed by the United States and eyewitness accounts tell of large American cargo planes filled with arms landing in Kigali in the last two weeks of October, 1996. The taking of Goma was, it is pertinent to note, the prelude to the ensuing genocidal carnage that has overtaken the Democratic Republic of the Congo ever since. To properly understand this last statement we need to backtrack a bit to April 6, 1994, and look at the events that unfolded immediately following the assassination of Habyarimana.

Once the plane had been shot down, an RPF army, as noted earlier, invaded from the north whilst armed RPF cells began attacks inside Kigali itself. These cells represented some 15,000 or so troops that the RPF had illegally secreted into Kigali under Dallaire’s watch [As the UNAMIR force commander he was charged with the responsibility of allowing, under the Arusha Accords, no more than 600 RPF into the city]. In the sector of Kigali known as Remera the RPF killed everyone on the night of the 6th and 7th, wiped out the gendarme camp there, wiped out the military police camp at Kami and launched major attacks against Camp Kanombe, Camp Kigali, and the main gendarme camp at Kacyriu.

The Rwanda government and army called for a ceasefire that same night and the next day. The RPF rejected the call. The Rwandan government then asked for UN help to control the situation. Instead, the US arranged that the main UN force be pulled out whilst flying in men and supplies to the RPF using C130 Hercules aircraft. The Rwandan Army, short of ammunition and unable to contain the RPF advances offered an unconditional surrender on April 12th. The RPF rejected this offer and began shelling the Nyacyonga refugee camp, where the one million Hutu refugees were located, so provoking their flight into the capital.

The effect of one million people flooding into a small city that itself was under bombardment caused mayhem and panic. To make matters worse, the RPF used this flood of people to infiltrate its men behind FAR lines. This heightened to fever pitch the panic amongst the Hutu population who then began killing anyone they did not recognize. The late Dr. Alison Des Forges (a noted expert on Rwanda), in her testimony before the Military II trial at the ICTR in 2006 stated that the RPF claim that they attacked to stop a ‘genocide’ was a myth; just propaganda to justify their attempt to seize power by force of arms. She also testified that the Rwandan government did not plan and execute genocide. This accords with the (early) testimony of Romeo Dallaire who confirmed that there was no planned genocide by the MRND. In addition, the deputy head of Belgian Army intelligence, Col. Vincent, similarly testified that the idea of an MRND-backed genocide was a complete fantasy.

The fighting in Kigali was intense. UN officers – confirming testimony made by FAR and RPF officers before the ICTR – state that the RPF was launching hundreds of Katyusha rockets every hour around the clock whilst the Rwandan Army ran out of grenades in the first few days and were reduced to fighting with hand-made explosives. Nevertheless, the siege of Kigali lasted three months and only ended when the Rwandan Army literally ran out of all ammunition and thence ordered a general retreat into the forests of the Congo.

RPF officers testifying before the ICTR have stated that the RPF killed up to two million Hutus in those 12 weeks in a deliberate campaign to eliminate the Hutu population. The Akager River, the length of which was under RPF control throughout, ran red with the blood of Hutu victims massacred on its banks. It is here that Robert Gersony’s report, filed as an exhibit before the ICTR, lends support to this testimony and to the fact of a systematic and planned RPF massacre of the Hutu population.

As the Rwandan Army (including its Tutsi officers) retreated into the Congo forest, the Hutu population, in fear for their lives, fled with them in their millions. Meanwhile, in local villages, Hutu neighbours attacked Tutsis either in revenge for the murder of Hutus or fearing death at their hands. Tutsis also attacked Hutus. It was total war, though a war clearly fuelled and instigated by the US-backed RPF invasion.

The RPF later pursued the Hutus through the Congo forest and, between 1996 and 1998, killed hundreds of thousands and possibly millions. All the while the RPF was assisted by the United States. Thus, the US cynically thwarted plans (in November 1996) devised by the French and the European Union to send a 10,000 man UN force to assist and guarantee the safe return of the refugees; a plan which if it had been effected would likely have forestalled the ensuing multi-million death toll in the Congo. Moreover, the UN Rwanda Emergency office in Nairobi was, in fact, manned by US Army officers and acted as the operational headquarters of the RPF. Finally, not only did US Special Forces fight alongside the RPF during this period, but intercepted radio messages from Kagame to his forces in the field suggest that both Belgian and Canadian forces were involved as well.

Operating, then, under the Orwellian pretext of ‘hunting for genocidaires’, Kagame & Co. conducted a decade long invasion/occupation of Zaire/Congo. The overall strategic thrust of this assault was threefold. First, it was an attack on French interests in Africa, interests that were immediately taken over by the United States. Second, the assault was part and parcel of the overthrow of Mobutu (toppled in May of 1997). Ultimately, however, the capture of the Congo was about booty. As such, this single treasure chest contains not only large deposits of diamonds, gold, copper, uranium and tantalum (used in computers and cell phones), but also much of the world’s reserves of chrome, platinum and cobalt.

To the question then, ‘Whose genocides were they?’, the answer yet resounds through the din of propaganda, ‘They were ours’.

Shaking Hands With The Devil

In assessing responsibility for the tragedy of Rwanda – and the ensuing events in Zaire/Congo – we must not stop at those already indicted in this essay. For none of this could have happened without the overt complicity of numerous ‘humanitarian’ NGOs including especially, Human Rights Watch, which, in the early days prior to the RPF’s final solution, headed up a totally bogus, unsubstantiated report (issued March 6, 1993) condemning (and so de-legitimizing in advance) the Rwandan government for a ‘genocide’ that, in fact, had yet to take place – and which would, in the event, be committed by the very agents it conspired to defend, i.e. the RPF. And, naturally, none of this could have happened without the willing complicity of the Western mass media who swallowed hook, line and sinker every piece of propaganda issued by the Clinton Administration[16].

As Canadians we are more than ordinarily complicit as it was the Canadian government (under Jean Chretien) that worked hand-in-glove with the Americans throughout this period. In particular, of course, three Canadians, Louise Arbour, General Maurice Baril and General Romeo Dallaire played leading roles in the ‘affair’. For services rendered they were, all three, handsomely rewarded: Arbour, as already mentioned, with promotion as Supreme Court Justice and thence as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Baril with promotion to Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces (in Sept. 1997), and Dallaire with appointment as Canadian Senator for life.

Of the three, however, Dallaire’s role is particularly noteworthy, for it is he who has, ever since, been portrayed, and portrayed himself, as a hero in the Rwandan tragedy; and who has, as such, been pre-eminently involved in spreading and maintaining the Big Lie with respect to it. Dallaire’s 2003 epic, Shake Hands With the Devil,[17] an ironically named Faustian tract, fails spectacularly to elucidate the author’s otherwise well documented actions during the events.

It is well established, for instance, that Dallaire knew of – and, effectively, facilitated – the build-up of RPF forces inside Kigali prior to Habyarimana’s assassination. It is well established that Dallaire, rather than reporting to and receiving orders from the UN, as was his mandate, was, instead, reporting and receiving instructions from American military commanders. It is also a fact that Dallaire, only two months prior to the assassination of Habyarimana, closed down one of the only two runways[18] into Kigali airport – upon request of the RPF. It is also the case that Dallaire covered up the massacre by the RPF of MRND people elected in by-elections in the north of Rwanda in November, 1993. Evidence presented at the ICTR further implicates Dallaire in supplying intelligence to Kagame and the RPF forces throughout the period leading up to April 6, 1994.

Whenever Dallaire has faced formal questioning regarding his actions in Rwanda his testimony has been strictly managed and censored. Attempts by independent journalists and investigators to interview and question him have met with refusal and/or silence. And those questions are many and serious. Apart from the items already listed, they include:

How did the lady prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, come to be murdered at the UN development compound (the morning after Habyarimana had been assassinated) just a short time after he, Dallaire, arrived there? Why did he do nothing to save the lives of the Belgian UN soldiers – suspected of being the team that shot down Habyarimana’s plane – who were subsequently killed at Camp Kigali? Why, and under whose command, did Belgian army units in certain strategic positions in Kigali abandon them and all their weapons to the RPF? Why did UN army units attack MRND army units, but never the RPF? Why did he fail to report that US forces, using Hercules C-130 aircraft, were supplying men and weapons to the RPF? Why, when Dallaire had his headquarters at Amahoro stadium in Kigali after April 6 through the rest of the month, did he allow RPF forces to enter and subsequently murder Hutu refugees who had fled there for safety? And, of course, why did he lie about the ‘genocide fax’ of January 11, 1994?

Still, all in all, Dallaire was merely a bit player in a much larger drama, a drama written and produced in Washington, D.C.

Of Credibility and Credulity

In the two decades that have elapsed since the overthrow of the Rwandan government – and the subsequent killing of millions of it’s peoples, and those millions more killed in the Congo – the Big Lie has flourished virtually unabated. Though the likes of Robin Philpot (‘Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa’), and Ed Herman and David Peters (‘The Politics of Genocide’) have, of late, lent this revised narrative a slightly higher profile, more generally – and notably amongst the Left – the ‘official’ narrative of Rwanda circa 1994 continues to hold sway. So much so that Rwanda has become, in Philpot’s resonant phrasing, “a useful imperial fiction”, i.e. a shining example of the ‘need for intervention’ that is deployed whenever and wherever ‘humanitarian imperialism’ seeks to invade and destroy nations opposed to it.

It need not be so. At the very least amongst the Left, it should never have been so. In the early days of the Rwandan debacle, one anomalous event stands out like the proverbial sore thumb transparently pointing the way to what was really ‘going down’ in the beleaguered nation. That event was the majority withdrawal in May of 1994 of the UN troops stationed in Rwanda, i.e. essentially clearing the way for the unobstructed overthrow of the government. This one item alone, irrespective of the fact that the corporate media habitually lies about virtually all matters of significant political import, should have tipped off observers of the Great Game to the idea that something rotten was taking place in the state of Rwanda. But it didn’t. And that, given what subsequently transpired in Yugoslavia and later Libya – where again, significant sectors of the Left bought into the official narrative – and given what is today transpiring in Syria and Ukraine, is problematic.

If there is one lesson, then, that we can take from the tragic events adumbrated herein – and, though hardly new, is a notion that bears vigorously reinforcing – it is that whatever information is fed us by the state and by the corporate mass media with regard to fundamental global strategic happenings, the only historically consistent and logical stance to take is to assume that the truth lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction. This should be our default position, until proof is rendered otherwise, in every instance.

In the meantime, to bear witness to the truth of what really happened in Rwanda falls to you. As Noam Chomsky once wrote with regard to an earlier suite of imperial crimes, ‘For yours is an historic mission, and one you should not soon forget.’

Notes:

[1] Servicing the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali.

[2] The US Army’s elite, commander general staff college devoted to the high-level planning of invasion scenarios.

[3] This despite Museveni never having held an election from the time he shot his way into power in the mid 80s up to the present day.

[4] Ndadaye had won the country’s first free elections, and in the aftermath of his murder, 250,000 Hutus were massacred by the Tutsi army of Burundi, and hundreds of thousands fled to Rwanda.

[5] One of these is Abdul Ruzibiza, former comrade-in-arms of Kagame and lieutenant in the RPF. After defecting he published a book in French (2005) accusing the RPF of having committed systematic massacres. In addition, defections from the present regime include, amongst many former high-level government figures, two former Prime Ministers, Faustin Twagiramungu and Pierre Celestin Rwigema.

[6] Assassinations by RPF agents of opponents to the regime have been many. Of note, however, two priests from Quebec, Claude Simard and Guy Pinard, were murdered Oct. 94 and Feb. 97 respectively. In addition, and rather chillingly, it is a matter of public record that a very long ‘hit list’ targeting opponents is, to this very day, sponsored by the Kagame regime.

[7] Unlike the famous Nuremberg tribunal, the ICTR omits any reference to wars of aggression or foreign intervention (the ‘supreme international crime’ according to Nuremberg), and so, effectively, condones them. Moreover, the refusal to consider who instigated the war essentially runs cover for the instigators.

[8] More fully, “The genocide in Rwanda was 100% the responsibility of the Americans….The United States, with the energetic support of Great Britain, did everything they could to prevent the UN from sending troops to Rwanda to stop the fighting. And they succeeded”.

[9] The exact numbers have never been definitively established. Initial reports claiming 800,000 were mostly pulled out of a hat. Still, later research (including testimony before the ICTR from former RPF officers themselves) seem to indicate that in the months following Habyarimana’s assassination, the numbers were, at the least, in the many hundreds of thousands, and possibly as high as two million. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus were also forced back to Rwanda at gunpoint starting in November of 1996, and hundreds of thousands more (possibly more than a million) were subsequently pursued and killed in the forests of the Congo. The Congolese themselves, of course, have suffered many millions (i.e. 5 to 10) killed in the US-backed RPF/Ugandan invasion and plundering of the east of the country since 1996.

[10] Evidence of this can be witnessed in the bilateral agreement that Rwanda, under Kagame, signed with the United States in 2003, giving each other immunity from prosecution; the former before the ICTR, and the latter before the International Criminal Court. Rwanda was also the only African country to back the US invasion of Iraq that same year. Moreover, much of the plunder of the Congo has since been funneled to the West through Kigali.

[11] For an interview of Rusesabagina (by Keith Harmon Snow) go to:http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/html-191The%20Grinding%20Machine%20interview%20with%20Paul%20Rusesabagina%20FINAL.htm

[12] That is, no government minister or military officer has, of the time of writing, been convicted of conspiracy to commit genocide. Of the 60 or so high-ranking members of the government that have been indicted, roughly a dozen have been acquitted, whilst the rest remain – twenty years after the event – on trial. Ordinary Hutu prisoners have been, through various legally illegitimate means, i.e. duress, threat, deception etc, induced to plead guilty. But again, no convictions bearing on the crime of ‘genocide’ has ever taken place. Moreover, the full extent of the criminality of the court setup and proceedings at the ICTR (even to the extent of assassinations of witnesses under UN custody) is worthy of an essay in and of itself. Indeed, the latter can be had (by contacting the author) vis a vis a paper, currently in manuscript, by ICTR defense lawyer Christopher C. Black  (the ‘Rhodes Address’), and soon to be delivered in Rhodes, Greece.

[13] The case of the ‘genocide fax’ occupies a particularly important place in the ‘official’ narrative in as much as this was the only purported document, skimpy as it was, testifying to some measure of MRND conspiracy to a planned genocide. So important to the official storyline, in fact, that the ‘fax’ continues – despite having been exposed as a forgery before the ICTR – to be trotted out and adduced as ‘evidence’ to this very day.

[14] Specifically, ‘The ICTR vs General Augustin Ndindiliyimana’. Christopher C. Black was the lead defense counsel for Ndindiliyimana, the latter, having occupied the role of Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Gendamerie during the period in question. Ndindiliyimana was, just recently, acquitted of all charges at the ICTR.

[15] It was proved that this fake fax was put in UN files (to replace the original fax) by British Army Colonel, R.M. Connaughton, on November 28, 1995.

[16] Though special ‘commendation’ should go to Philip Gourevitch of the New Yorker, who was instrumental in propagandizing on behalf of the Clinton Administration and the RPF. Gourevitch was also the brother-in-law of Jamie Rubin, the right-hand man of, then, US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

[17] Dallaire published his book three years after another Canadian author, Carol Off, published her hagiography (‘The Lion, The Fox and The Eagle’) on Dallaire, Arbour and Lewis Mackenzie. Both Dallaire and Off, it turns out, relied on the same ghostwriter / researcher, Sian Cansfield, whence the existence of passages of the first volume lifted straight into the second. Both belong on the fiction list.

[18] More accurately, one of the two axes of the one runway was closed.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/hotel-propaganda-what-really-happened-in-rwanda-in-1994/5403235

Kagame Started the Genocide in Rwanda, then Congo

Global Research, September 21, 2014
San Francisco Bay View 19 September 2014

Genocidaire-Kagame-Rwanda-Day-Atlanta-flier-by-Bruce-Dixon-400x565To the City of Atlanta, former Mayor Andrew Young and Bernice King:

Individuals and organizations listed below have come to know that the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is organizing what he calls Rwanda Day, a meeting with the Rwandan Diaspora and the American public in the city of Atlanta.

We, the Congolese and Rwandan Diaspora, indigenous of the Congo and Rwanda, together with friends of these two countries, denounce and strongly condemn the fact that the president of Rwanda is allowed to organize such a meeting on American soil with the blessing of the authorities of the City of Atlanta.

Our condemnation is based on the fact that the people of the African Great Lakes regions have suffered from the abuses committed by Paul Kagame and his government for 24 years now.

We would like to bring the following basic facts about Paul Kagame to the attention of all Americans who are committed to peace and social justice:

  • In 1990, Gen. Paul Kagame invaded Rwanda heading a detachment of the Ugandan army dominated by Rwandan Tutsis like himself. He destabilized the country and committed numerous mass murders in the north of Rwanda.
  • In 1994, when the city of Kigali was surrounded by camps filled with desperate refugees fleeing Kagame’s army in the north, President Kagame pushed the country into a state of panic, terror and genocidal violence by ordering the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents as they returned from peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania, which were meant to end the conflict.

Rwandans and Congolese joined forces to protest the first Rwanda Day, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011, and at each Rwanda Day since.
Image: Rwandans and Congolese joined forces to protest the first Rwanda Day, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011, and at each Rwanda Day since.

  • In 1996 and 1998, Gen. Paul Kagame joined Gen. Yoweri Museveni in invading the Democratic Republic of the Congo, creating havoc in the country which resulted in deaths that the International Rescue Committee estimated to be as high as 5.4 million between January 1997 and January 2008. Since at least seven years of war and conflict were not counted in the IRC’s epidemiological study, the death toll is no doubt much higher.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame has never stopped plundering the Democratic Republic of the Congo since his first raids and today Rwanda is a major exporter of coltan (ore used in the manufacture of mobile phones, playstations and military electronics), although Rwanda itself has no coltan reserves.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame has fueled wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by creating and supporting proxy militias such as the M23 that have helped him cover up his plundering of the country.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame rules Rwanda with an iron fist. Political space is locked down favor of a minority. Nonviolent political challengers to Kagame, including Victoire Ingabire and Deo Mushayidi are incarcerated.

A protester at Rwanda Day in Boston in 2012 held up a poster calling for the freedom of Rwandan political prisoner and opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Image: A protester at Rwanda Day in Boston in 2012 held up a poster calling for the freedom of Rwandan political prisoner and opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

  • Gen. Paul Kagame does not hesitate to resort to political assassination inside and outside Rwanda’s borders. In 2010, journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was gunned down in the streets of Kigali, after letting the editor of the publication he wrote for know that he was about to release evidence of Kagame’s complicity in the attempt to assassinate his former general, Kayumba Nyamwasa, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kagame’s former intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya, was the last known to pay with his life for becoming a critic of the Kagame regime. Karegeya was found hanging in a Johannesburg hotel on New Year’s Day this year. This case is still under investigation, but Kagame’s response to the murder was to warn Rwandans, in a public speech, that “you can’t betray Rwanda without paying the price.”

All statements mentioned above have been duly documented by various U.N. reports, documented news reports including video footage, and legal judgments:

  • In July 16, 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives hearings before the Committee on International Relations about the Democratic Republic of the Congo revealed that Paul Kagame’s RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) had invaded Congo-Zaïre and that it was assassinating Hutu refugees in Eastern Congo-Zaïre. In 2006, President Obama, who was then a senator from Illinois, authored the Congo Relief Security and Democracy Promotion Act. Section 101(5) and (6) of Obama’s 2006 Congo legislation reads:“(5) The most recent war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which erupted in 1998, spawned some of the world’s worst human rights atrocities and drew in six neighboring countries.“(6) Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both 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].”

Rwanda Day protest, London 2012

Image: Rwanda Day protest, London 2012

  • In 2008, The Spanish National Court indicted 40 Rwandan officers on charges of mass murder, crimes against humanity, terrorism, genocide against Rwandans, Congolese and Spanish citizens in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain’s National Court also declared that he had sufficient evidence to implicate current Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but he also added that he could not indict him because of his presidential immunity.
  • The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) issued a report on the Congo called “The United Nations Mapping Exercise Report.” This report affirms that the Rwandan government is responsible for the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Congo. Moreover, the observation of some of the crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has led investigators to say that some elements “if proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.”
  • On April 15, 2013, the Report of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) expresses concerns about the political space in Rwanda. It observes that there are many political constraints and that freedom of association and expression is not guaranteed. It also raises the question of the imprisonment of opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire.
  • In a letter dated Dec. 12, 2013, from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the U.N. experts argue that Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe was commanding the M23 militia then terrorizing DR Congo and that Rwanda provided continuous support to M23 from Rwandan territory. The most consistent forms of support were through recruitment and provision of arms and ammunition, particularly during periods of combat. M23 also received troop reinforcements directly from the Rwandan army in August. During the October fighting, Rwandan tanks fired into DRC in support of M23.
  • On Sept. 10, 2014, Magistrate Stanley Mkhari sentenced four men each to eight years in prison in a South African court, saying that they had been proven guilty of a ‘‘politically motivated’’ attempt to assassinate Kayumba Nyamwasa, Paul Kagame’s former defense chief, in June 2010. The plot, the judge wrote, originated in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Kagame Day protest, Toronto 2013

Image: Kagame Day protest, Toronto 2013

The United States, which takes pride in its democratic history, and the City of Atlanta, which played such a proud role in the American Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, cannot want to appear to the world as supporters of dictatorship and mass murder, but allowing Paul Kagame to organize “Rwanda Day” in Atlanta tells the world that they are.

The violation of human rights is no more acceptable in Africa than in the United States or anywhere else in the world. We like to believe that human beings, wherever they are, are entitled to justice and that it is a denial of justice to host an event created to let a regime with bloody hands promote itself, while the millions it killed remain compelled to silence in death because we do not have the courage to speak for them and say enough is enough.

A message from a Congolese citizen, Philippe Lomboto Liondjo: “Please do not insult Martin Luther King’s memory and the spirit of the honorable struggle for Civil Rights by allowing a killer such as Gen. Kagame to organize his Rwanda Day in Atlanta.”

Coalition

BK Kumbi, spokesperson, Don’t Be Blind This Time (Switzerland-DRC)
Don’t Be Blind This Time, Swiss citizen movement
Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor, Black Agenda Report (USA)
Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
Milton Allimadi, Editor-in-Chief, Black Star News (USA)
Frank LeFever, retired neuroscientist, Pacifica WBAI Local Station Board member (USA)
Ann Garrison, Journalist and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize Winner (USA)
Maurice Carney, Executive Director, Friends of the Congo (USA)
Kambale Musavuli, Student Coordinator and Mining Researcher, Friends of the Congo (USA-DRC)
Kweku Lumumba, Secretary General, World African Diaspora Union, Georgia (USA)
Christopher Black, ICTR Defense Counsel (Canada)
David Peterson, co-author of the upcoming book, “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later” (USA)
Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan Genocide survivor, Executive Director, African Great Lakes Action Network
Theophile Murayi, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda
June Terpstra (USA)
Lisanga, Congolese political association (France)
La LUCHA, mouvement citoyen RD Congo
Soledad Mora, Comités Umoya-Madrid (Spain)
Magloire Mpembi, doctor and novelist (Canada-DRC)
Jean-Mobert N’Senga-la, LUCHA, (DRC)
Momi M’Buze Noogwani Ataye Mieko, Congolese writer and activist
Monique Mbeka, Congolese film maker (Belgium-DRC)
Philippe Lomboto Liondjo, Congolese performer, actor and activist (Switzerland-RDC)
Olivier Mukuna, Journalist (Belgium)
Lopango Ya ba Nka, Congolese music band (Germany-RDC)
Willie Ratcliff, Publisher, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
JR Valrey, Producer, Block Report Radio, Associate Editor, SF Bay View (USA)
Anne Onidi, Journalist (Switzerland)
Nicolas-Patience Basabose (RSA)
Elengo (Switzerland-DRC
Victoria Dimandja (GB-DRC)
Youyou Muntu-Mosi (France-DRC)
Nadine Bena (France-DRC)
Jean-Jacques Tadoum (USA)
Leopold Mbala (USA-DRC)
Ekutsu Mambulu (DRC)
N’siala Kiese Patrick (Belgique-Drc)
Meta Nabou Cisse (Belgique)
Derrick Onyeri (Denmark-Uganda)
Nadia Nsayi (Belgiques-DRC)
Jean-Baptiste Paul (France-Haïti)
Rosa Moro, Journalist (Spain)
Flavia Garrigos Cabanero (Spain)
Dina Martinez (Spain)
Damiàn Socías Picornell (Spain)
Pedro Espinosa Bote (Spain)
Ana María Martínez Rodamilans (Spain)
Fuencisla de Andrés (Spain)
Ana Espinosa González (Spain)
Pedro Espinosa (Spain)
Maite Cobas (Spain)
Jaime Lara (Spain)
José Hernández (Spain)
Mingu Haro (Spain),
Marlene Ibarra (Ecuador)
Nella Azana (GB-DRC)
Vincent Conrad Ball (GB)
Kibsoo Diallo (Egypt)
Djallil Saada (Switzerland)
Benjamin Itzkovich (Switzerland)
Dieudonne Aoche (USA-DRC)
Lucie N’goma (France)
Paul Alain (France)
Judith Bass (Switzerland)
Juan Carlos Hernandez (Switzerland)
Mang Holenn Christian (RSA)
Leslie Luboloko Lusinda (RSA)
Patrick Kegbia (RSA)
Billy Lukinu (Angola)
Stacey Koyenyi (GB)
Kitondua Diasivi (France)
Ive Mass (GB-RDC)
Matondo Kapella (RDC)
Gloria Omoyi (France-RDC)
Gugu Ngwenya (RSA-RDC)
Owandji Olenga Lokolo Lopaka (RDC)
Sosthene Banda Badou (Poland-Tchad)
Bebelle Dembo (North Irland)
Anthea Harris (GB)
Claudine Mamona-Cullin (Austria)
Sala Naambwe (Canada)
Demunga Hassani (Canada)
S. Mathieu Gnonhossou (USA-Rwanda)
Philippe Faradja Byaombe , Congolese Student Organisation-Pretoria (RSA)
Aimant Lutonadio (Germany-RDC)
Sophie Teuwen (Senegal)
Ibrahim Touré (Algeria-Mali)
Dadao Mupulu (RDC)
Kalengula Wha Kalengula (USA-RDC)
J.L. Bondoko Ekolonga (RDC)
Motaouakkil Abdellatif (Morocco)
Paul Otshudi Loma (GB)
Dolly Kimpiatu Fofo Lukata (USA-DRC)
Raphaël Berland (France)
Beatrice Léonard Lomami (USA-DRC)
Freddy Aigle (DRC)
Ambrose Nzeyimana (GB-Rwanda)
Dady Dalla (USA-DRC)
Dalila Choukri (France)
Kakiese Nicole (Belgium-DRC)
Dominique Diomi (USA-DRC)
Joachim Mbala (GB-DRC)
Patience Ngoba-Mushidi (Germany-DRC)
Joyce Mbaya (USA-DRC)
Yiokito Ilangwa (RSA-DRC)
Patricia Athena (Sweden
Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, President, Congo Coalition
Nii Akuetteh, Founder, The Democracy & Conflict Research Institute (DCRI)
Ed Herman, co-author of the upcoming book, “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later”
Keith Harmon Snow, human rights investigator and war correspondent, Conscious Being Alliance
Robin Philpot, Baraka Books Publisher, author of “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa
Kevin Alexander Gray, author of “The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama,” contributor to Counterpunch and The Progressive
Nita Evele, Congo Coalition – Stop the Genocide in Congo-Zaire
Phil Taylor, Taylor Report Producer and Host, CIUT 89.5 FM, University of Toronto, former defense investigator for the ICTR
Kumbi Bénédicte Ndjoko, historian and activist, Don’t Be Blind This Time
Jean Nepomuscene Manirarora, Secretary-General, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda
Jennifer Fierberg, Contributor, African Global Village

For more information, contact Friends of the Congo, 202-584-6512 or 718-865-6512 and Committee for Unity of Black Immigrants and Americans, 404-401-8817.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/kagame-started-the-genocide-in-rwanda-then-congo/5403279

IMF-World Bank Policies and the Rwandan Genocide

Global Research, April 07, 2014

chossobestThis article was first published in the immediate wake of the Rwandan Genocide in January, 1995. It was subsequently included as a Chapter in  The Globalization of Poverty, first edition, 1997. 

In the in the context of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide the role of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank must be understood. In September 1990 at the very outset of the RPF insurgency out of Uganda, a devastating program of macroeconomic reforms was imposed on Rwanda by the IMF.

Michel  Chossudovsky, April 7, 2014


The Rwandan crisis has been presented by the Western media as a profuse narrative of human suffering, while neglecting to explain the underlying social and economic causes. As in other ‘countries in transition’, ethnic strife and the outbreak of civil war are increasingly depicted as something which is almost ‘inevitable’ and innate to these societies, constituting ‘a painful stage in their evolution from a one- party State towards democracy and the free market’…

The brutality of the massacres has shocked the world community, but what the international press fails to mention is that the civil war was preceded by the flare-up of a deep-seated economic crisis. It was the restructuring of the agricultural system which precipitated the population into abject poverty and destitution. This deterioration of the economic environment which immediately followed the collapse of the international coffee market and the imposition of sweeping macro-economic reforms by the Bretton Woods institutions – exacerbated simmering ethnic tensions and accelerated the process of political collapse ….

In 1987, the system of quotas established under the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) started to fall apart. World prices plummeted, the Fonds d’egalisation (the State coffee stabilisation fund) which purchased coffee from Rwandan farmers at a fixed price started to accumulate a sizeable debt. A lethal blow to Rwanda’s economy came in June 1989 when the ICA reached a deadlock as a result of political pressures from Washington on behalf of the large US coffee traders. At the conclusion of a historic meeting of producers held in Florida, coffee prices plunged in a matter of months by more than 50%. For Rwanda and several other African countries, the drop in price wreaked havoc. With retail prices more than 20 times that paid to the African farmer, a tremendous amount of wealth was being appropriated in the rich countries.

The legacy of colonialism

What is the responsibility of the West in this tragedy? First, it is important to stress that the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi was largely the product of the colonial system, many features of which still prevail today. From the late 19th century, the early German colonial occupation had used them wami (King) of the nyiginya monarchy installed at Nyanza as a means of establishing its military posts.

However, it was largely the administrative reforms initiated in 1926 by the Belgians which were decisive in shaping socio-ethnic relations. The Belgians explicitly used dynastic conflicts to reinforce their territorial control. The traditional chiefs in a each hill (colline) were used by the colonial administration to requisition forced labour. Routine beatings and corporal punishment were administered on behalf of the colonial masters by the traditional chiefs. The latter were under the direct supervision of a Belgian colonial administrator responsible for a particular portion of territory. A climate of fear and distrust was installed, communal solidarity broke down, traditional client relations were tranformed to serve the interests of the coloniser.

The objective was to fuel inter-ethnic rivalries as a means of achieving political control as well as preventing the development of solidarity between the two ethnic groups which inevitably would have been directed against the colonial regime. The Tutsi dynastic aristocracy was also made responsible for the collection of taxes and the administration of justice. The communal economy was undermined, the peasantry was forced to shift out of food agriculture into cash crops for export. Communal lands were transformed into individual plots geared solely towards cash crop cultivation (the so-called cultures obligatoires).

Colonial historiographers were entrusted with the task of ‘transcribing’ as well as distorting Rwanda-Urundi’s oral history. The historical record was falsified: the mwami monarchy was identified exclusively with the Tutsi aristocratic dynasty. The Hutus were represented as a dominated caste….

The Belgian colonialists developed a new social class, the so-called negres evolues recruited among the Tutsi aristocracy, the school system was put in place to educate the sons of the chiefs and provide the African personnel required by the Belgians. In turn, the various apostolic missions and vicariats received under Belgian colonial rule an almost political mandate, the clergy was often used to oblige the peasants to integrate the cash crop economy… These socio-ethnic divisions – which have been unfolding since the 1920s – have left a profound mark on contemporary Rwandan society.

Since Independence in 1962, relations with the former colonial powers and donors have become exceedingly more complex. Inherited from the Belgian colonial period, however, the same objective of pushing one ethnic group against the other (‘divide and rule’) has largely prevailed in the various ‘military’, ‘human rights’ and ‘macro- economic’ interventions undertaken from the outset of the civil war in 1990.

The Rwandan crisis has become encapsulated in a continuous agenda of donor roundtables (held in Paris), cease-fire agreements, peace talks…These various initiatives have been closely monitored and coordinated by the donor community in a tangled circuit of ‘conditionalities’ (and cross-conditionalities). The release of multilateral and bilateral loans since late 1990 was made conditional upon implementing a process of so-called ‘democratisation’ under the tight surveillance of the donor community. In turn, Western aid in support of multiparty democracy was made conditional (in an almost ‘symbiotic’ relationship) upon the government reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and so on….

These attempts were all the more illusive because since the collapse of the coffee market, actual political power in Rwanda largely rested, in any event, in the hands of the donors. A communique of the US State Department issued in early 1993 vividly illustrates this situation: the continuation of US bilateral aid was made conditional on good behaviour in policy reform as well as progress in the pursuit of democracy….

The model of ‘democratisation’ based on an abstract model of inter-ethnic solidarity envisaged by the Arusha peace agreement signed in August 1993 was an impossibility from the outset and the donors knew it. The brutal impoverishment of the population which resulted from both the war and the IMF reforms, precluded a genuine process of democratisation. The objective was to meet the conditions of ‘good governance’ (a new term in the donors’ glossary) and oversee the installation of a bogus multiparty coalition government under the trusteeship of Rwanda’s external creditors. In fact multipartism as narrowly conceived by the donors, contributed to fuelling the various political factions of the regime… Not surprisingly, as soon as the peace negotiations entered a stalemate, the World Bank announced that it was interrupting the disbursements under its loan agreement.

The economy since independence

The evolution of the post-colonial economic system played a decisive role in the development of the Rwandan crisis. While progress was indeed recorded since Independence in diversifying the national economy, the colonial-style export economy based on coffee (les cultures obligatoires) established under the Belgian administration was largely maintained providing Rwanda with more than 80% of its foreign exchange earnings. A rentier class with interests in coffee trade and with close ties to the seat of political power had developed. Levels of poverty remained high, yet during the 1970s, and the first part of the 1980s, economic and social progress was nonetheless realised: real gross domestic product (GPD) growth was of the order of 4.9% per annum (1965-89), school enrolment increased markedly, recorded inflation was among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 4% per annum.

While the Rwandan rural economy remained fragile, marked by acute demographic pressures (3.2% per annum population growth), land fragmentation and soil erosion, local-level food self-sufficiency had, to some extent, been achieved alongside the development of the export economy. Coffee was cultivated by approximately 70% of rural households, yet it constituted only a fraction of total monetary income. A variety of other commercial activities had been developed including the sale of traditional food staples and banana beer in regional and urban markets.

Until the late 1980s, imports of cereals including food aid were minimal compared to the patterns observed in other countries of the region. The food situation started to deteriorate in the early 1980s with a marked decline in the per capita availability of food. In overt contradiction to the usual trade reforms adopted under the auspices of the World Bank, protection to local producers had been provided through restrictions on the import of food commodities. They were lifted with the adoption of the 1990 structural adjustment programme.

The fragility of the State

The economic foundations of the post-Independence Rwandan State remained extremely fragile, a large share of government revenues depended on coffee, with the risk that a collapse in commodity prices would precipitate a crisis in the State’s public finances. The rural economy was the main source of funding of the State. As the debt crisis unfolded, a larger share of coffee and tea earnings had been earmarked for debt servicing, putting further pressure on small-scale farmers.

Export earnings declined by 50% between 1987 and 1991. The demise of State institutions unfolded thereafter. When coffee prices plummeted, famines erupted throughout the Rwandan countryside. According to World Bank data, the growth of GDP per capita declined from 0.4% in 1981-86 to – 5.5% in the period immediately following the slump of the coffee market (1987-91).

A World Bank mission travelled to Rwanda in November 1988 to review Rwanda’s public expenditure programme… A series of recommendations had been established with a view to putting Rwanda back on the track of sustained economic growth. The World Bank mission presented to the government, Rwanda policy options as consisting of two ‘scenarios’. Scenario I entitled ‘No Strategy Change’ contemplated the option of remaining with the ‘old’ system of State planning, whereas Scenario II labelled ‘With Strategy Change’ was that of macro-economic reform and ‘transition to the free market’.

After careful economic ‘simulations’ of likely policy outcomes, the World Bank concluded with some grain of optimism that if Rwanda adopted Scenario II, levels of consumption would increase markedly over 1989-93 alongside a recovery of investment and an improved balance of trade. The ‘simulations’ also pointed to added export performance and substantially lower levels of external indebtedness. These outcomes depended on the speedy implementation of the usual recipe of trade liberalisation and currency devaluation alongside the lifting of all subsidies to agriculture, the phasing out of the Fonds d’egalisation, the privatisation of State enterprises and the dismissal of civil servants…

The ‘With Strategy Change’ (Scenario II) was adopted, the government had no choice… A 50% devaluation of the Rwandan franc was carried out in November 1990, barely six weeks after the incursion from Uganda of the rebel army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

The devaluation was intended to boost coffee exports. It was presented to public opinion as a means of rehabilitating a war-ravaged economy. Not surprisingly, exactly the opposite results were achieved exacerbating the plight of the civil war. From a situation of relative price stability, the plunge of the Rwandan franc contributed to triggering inflation and the collapse of real earnings. A few days after the devaluation, sizeable increases in the prices of fuel and consumer essentials were announced. The consumer price index increased from 1.0% in 1989 to 19.2% in 1991. The balance-of-payments situation deteriorated dramatically and the outstanding external debt which had already doubled since 1985, increased by 34% between 1989 and 1992.

The State administrative apparatus was in disarray, State enterprises were pushed into bankruptcy and public services collapsed. Health and education collapsed under the brunt of the IMF imposed austerity measures. Despite the establishment of ‘Social Safety’ (earmarked by the donors for programmes in the social sectors), the incidence of severe child malnutrition increased dramatically, the number of recorded cases of malaria increased by 21% in the year following the adoption of the IMF programme largely as a result of the absence of anti-malarial drugs in the public health centres. The imposition of school fees at the primary school level was conducive to a massive decline in school enrolment.

The economic crisis reached its climax in 1992 when Rwandan farmers in desperation uprooted some 300,000 coffee trees. Despite soaring domestic prices, the government had frozen the farmgate price of coffee at its 1989 level (125 RwF a kg), under the terms of its agreement with the Bretton Woods institutions. The government was not allowed (under the World Bank loan) to transfer State resources to the Fonds d’egalisation. It should also be mentioned that a significant profit was appropriated by local coffee traders and intermediaries serving to put further pressure on the peasantry.

In June 1992, a second devaluation was ordered by the IMF leading — at the height of the civil war – to a further escalation of the prices of fuel and consumer essentials. Coffee production tumbled by another 25% in a single year…. Because of over-cropping of coffee trees, there was increasingly less land available to produce food, but the peasantry was not able to easily switch back into food crops. The meagre cash income derived from coffee had been erased yet there was nothing to fall back on. Not only were cash revenues from coffee insufficient to buy food, the prices of farm inputs had soared and money earnings from coffee were grossly insufficient.

The crisis of the coffee economy backlashed on the production of traditional food staples leading to a substantial drop in the production of cassava, beans and sorghum… The system of savings and loan cooperatives which provided credit to small farmers had also disintegrated. Moreover, with the liberalisation of trade and the deregulation of grain markets as recommended by the Bretton Woods institutions, (heavily subsidised) cheap food imports and food aid from the rich countries were entering Rwanda with the effect of destabilising local markets.

Under ‘the free market’ system imposed on Rwanda, neither cash crops nor food crops were economically viable. The entire agricultural system was pushed into crisis, the State administrative apparatus was in disarray due to the civil war but also as a result of the austerity measures and sinking civil service salaries… A situation which inevitably contributed to exacerbating the climate of generalised insecurity which had unfolded in 1992…

The seriousness of the agricultural situation had been amply documented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which had warned of the existence of widespread famine in the southern provinces. A report released in early 1994 also pointed to the total collapse of coffee production due to the war but also as a result of the failure of the State marketing system which was being phased with the support of the World Bank. Rwandex, the mixed enterprise responsible for processing and export of coffee, had become largely inoperative.

Military hardware

The decision to devalue (and ‘the IMF stamp of approval’) had already been reached on 17 September 1990 prior to the outbreak of hostilities in high-level meetings held in Washington between the IMF and a mission headed by the Rwandan Minister of Finance Mr Ntigurirwa. The ‘green light’ had been granted: as of early October, at the very moment when the fighting started, millions of dollars of so-called ‘balance-of-payments aid’ (from multilateral and bilateral sources) came pouring into the coffers of the Central Bank. These funds administered by the Central Bank had been earmarked (by the donors) for commodity imports, yet it appears likely that a sizeable portion of these ‘quick disbursing loans’ had been diverted by the regime (and its various political factions) towards the acquisition of military hardware (from South Africa, Egypt and Eastern Europe). These purchases of Kalachnikov guns, heavy artillery and mortar were undertaken in addition to the bilateral military aid package provided by France which included inter alia Milan and Apila missiles (not to mention a Mystere Falcon jet for President Habyarimana’s personal use).

Moreover, since October 1990, the Armed Forces had expanded virtually overnight from 5,000 to 40,000 men requiring inevitably (under conditions of budgetary austerity) a sizeable influx of outside money… The new recruits were largely enlisted from the ranks of the urban unemployed of which the numbers had dramatically swelled since the outset of the collapse of the coffee market in 1989. Thousands of delinquent and idle youths from a drifting population were also drafted into the civilian militia responsible for the massacres. And part of the arms purchases enabled the Armed Forces to organise and equip the militiamen…

In all, from the outset of the hostilities (which coincided chronologically with the devaluation and the initial ‘gush of fresh money’ in October 1990), a total envelope of some $260 million had been approved for disbursal (with sizeable bilateral contributions from France, Germany, Belgium, the European Community and the US). While the new loans contributed to releasing money for the payment of debt servicing as well as equipping the Armed Force, the evidence would suggest that a large part of this donor assistance was neither used productively nor was it channelled into providing relief in areas affected by famine.

It is also worth noting that the World Bank through its soft-lending affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA), had ordered in 1992 the privatisation of Rwanda’s State enterprise Electrogaz. The proceeds of the privatisation were to be channelled towards debt servicing. In a loan agreement co-financed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Caisse francaise de developpement (CFD), the Rwandan authorities were to receive in return (after meeting the ‘conditionalities’) the modest sum of $39 million which could be spent freely on commodity imports. The privatisation, carried out at the height of the civil war, also included dismissals of personnel and an immediate hike in the price of electricity which further contributed to paralysing urban public services. A similar privatisation of Rwandatel, the State telecommunications company under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, was implemented in September 1993.

The World Bank had carefully reviewed Rwanda’s public investment programme. The fiches de projet having been examined, the World Bank recommended scrapping more than half the country’s public investment projects. In agriculture, the World Bank had also demanded a significant down-sizing of State investment including the abandonment of the inland swamp reclamation programme which had been initiated by the government in response to the severe shortages of arable land (and which the World Bank considered ‘unprofitable’). In the social sectors, the World Bank proposed a so-called ‘priority programme’ (under ‘the Social Safety Net’) predicated on maximising efficiency and ‘reducing the financial burden of the government’ through the exaction of user fees, lay-offs of teachers and health workers and the partial privatisation of health and education.

The World Bank would no doubt contend that things would have been much worse had Scenario II not been adopted. The so- called ‘counterfactual argument’… Such a reasoning, however, sounds absurd particularly in the case of Rwanda. No sensitivity or concern was expressed as to the likely political and social repercussions of economic shock therapy applied to a country on the brink of civil war… The World Bank team consciously excluded the ‘non-economic variables’ from their ‘simulations’.

While the international donor community cannot be held directly responsible for the tragic outcome of the Rwandan civil war, the austerity measures combined with the impact of the IMF-sponsored devaluations, contributed to impoverishing the Rwandan people at a time of acute political and social crisis. The deliberate manipulation of market forces destroyed economic activity and people’s livelihood, fuelled unemployment and created a situation of generalised famine and social despair…

Economic Genocide

To lay the blame solely on deep-seated tribal hatred not only exonerates the great powers and the donors, it also distorts an exceedingly complex process of economic, social and political disintegration affecting an entire nation of more than seven million people… Rwanda, however, is but one among many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (not to mention recent developments in Burundi where famine and ethnic massacres are rampant) which are facing a similar predicament. And in many respects the Rwandan 1990 devaluation appears almost as a ‘laboratory test case’ as well as a threatening ‘danger signal’ for the devaluation of the CFA franc implemented on the instructions of the IMF and the French Treasury in January 1994 by the same amount, 50%.

It is also worth recalling that in Somalia iln the aftermath of ‘Operation Restore Hope’, the absence of a genuine economic recovery programme by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Mogadishu – outside the provision of short-term emergency relief and food aid – was the main obstacle to resolving the civil war and rebuilding the country. In Somalia, because of the surplus of relief aid which competed with local production, farmers remained in the relief camps instead of returning to their home villages.

What are the lessons for Rwanda? As humanitarian organisations prepare for the return of the refugees, the prospects for rebuilding the Rwandan economy outside the framework determined by the IMF and Rwanda’s international creditors seem to be extremely bleak. Even in the event a national unity government is installed and the personal security of the refugees can be ensured, the two million Rwandans cramped in camps in Zaire and Tanzania have nothing to return to, nothing to look forward to: agricultural markets have been destroyed, local-level food production and the coffee economy have been shattered, urban employment and social programmes have been erased…

The reconstruction of Rwanda will require ‘an alternative economic programme’ implemented by a genuinely democratic government (based on inter-ethnic solidarity and free from donor interference). Such a programme presupposes erasing the external debt together with an unconditional infusion of international aid. It also requires lifting the straitjacket of budgetary austerity imposed by the IMF, mobilising domestic resources, and providing for a secure and stable productive base for the rural people…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/imf-world-bank-policies-and-the-rwandan-genocide/5376752

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