More Missing Puzzle Pieces for Inquiring Minds or Possibly Trolls

Recently a guest left a comment that rather than respond to in the comment section, I thought the comment deserved it’s own post. I will be happy to engage you (Ngabo) in actual conversation and discussion, if that is your intent. However, I don’t tolerate trolling. So please, read first, and show your stupidity later. Your “enlightening” post unfortunately displays a very deep hollow where knowlege should be. But I’m more than happy to engage you still.

Ngabo starts off denying documented and historical facts by saying:

Your blog makes some interesting points,however it contains lots of falsehoods. I begin to doubt your sense of reason when you make such conspiratorial statements like “RPF through Uganda with backing from the USA and the UK initiated their 15 year genocidal plan that is ongoing in the Congo today.”–That is just plain bull. You know that, and many intellectuals like you who distort historical facts know that.

And while this blog is not big enough to hold all the documented evidence and information supporting my statements,   I will give you ONE such example. Roger Winter, as Executive Director of the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, gave direct physical and financial support to the RPF during the war in Rwanda. However, his support began years before the 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the RPF began. Keith Snow writes on Roger Winter:

The Association of Banyarwanda in Diaspora USA, assisted by Roger Winter, organized the International Conference on the Status of Banyarwanda [Tutsi] Refugees in Washington, DC in 1988, and this is where a military solution to the Tutsi problem was chosen. The U.S. Committee for Refugees reportedly provided accommodation and transportation.

But don’t take Keith Snow’s word for it. Roger Winter in his own words as described by Eliza Griswald on a profile piece she did on him:

But it was his experience working with Tutsis displaced from Rwanda — before the genocide began — that made him move on to the conflict zones themselves. Soon he was riding on the front lines in Rwanda in 1994 with the Rwandan Patriotic Front led by Paul Kagame. During the genocide, he flew home every few weeks to brief the U.S. government on what he witnessed firsthand. President Clinton’s later statements that he had not been fully aware of what was happening caused Winter, he says, to leave the Democratic Party.

Still not convinced? Maybe this is a bit less “conspiratorial” for you:

During those years, Washington was providing small amounts of training to the Ugandan Army – and to its Tutsi offshoot. One example is widely known: Kagame’s training in 1990 at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That same October, Fred Rwigyema led a surprise Tutsi attack inside Rwanda, moving to within 60 miles of Kigali, the capital, where the French helped fend them off. Rwigyema died under mysterious circumstances, and Kagame rushed home to take command of Tutsi forces. Did the Americans know by then that Kagame, a senior officer in the Ugandan Army, was also a top Tutsi insurgent? If they did not, someone should be shot – and not just at the Pentagon.

Washington would have gotten some of its best information from nominally independent refugee aid groups, who had a long – and some would say distinguished – history of working closely with both the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency. For the Tutsi refugees, the most visible player in this shadowy, ill-defined world was Roger Winter, now Assistant Administrator at USAID. From the early 1980s, Winter ran the U.S. Committee on Refugees, a private Non-Governmental Organization. Washington provided some 75% of his NGO’s budget, but Winter – unlike overt government officials – was free to help the Tutsis organize a conference in Washington in August 1988. The meeting greatly increased support from exiles outside Uganda to the political wing of the Tutsi army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

The RPF, as it was known, played down its Tutsi roots, called itself multi-ethnic, and placed prominent Hutu dissidents in leadership posts. But Kagame and his Tutsi associates kept it – and their army – under firm control, and continued to press for a change in the Hutu government of President Juvenal Habyarimana that would permit the refugees to return to Rwanda. Washington increased its support for Musaveni’s Uganda, which permitted his military to give increasing supplies of munitions, automatic rifles, mortars, artillery, and Soviet-designed Katyusha multiple rocket systems to Kagame’s Tutsi troops. With this support, the Tutsis stepped up their incursions into Rwanda from their Ugandan bases. The escalating attacks caused nearly a million Rwandans to flee their homes, which only strengthened the Hutu hardliners in selling their final solution. The attacks also persuaded the French, who saw an American (and British) hand in the Tutsi effort, to increase their support for the Hutus. Africa was seeing a new kind of proxy war.

How is that for proof of United States support of the RPF? Roger Winter is a very well known “lobbyist” with a lot of influence in US policy in Africa. So it does not take a genius, although in your case, a moderately intelligent person, to deduce that the RPF received backing from the USA through at least, one Roger Winter.

As usual, it did not take long for Ngabo to bring up another typical talking point, which was just disapproved at the ICTR. But I guess Ngabo doesn’t read much these days, or he/she spends his/her time reasserting the same debunked myths regarding the Rwandan Genocide either because he/she doesn’t know any better, or does so purposefully, or both. He/she says:

Its people like you,who masquerade hate speech into some form of intellectual discourse, that are doing an injustice to our people. The majority of Hutus in Rwanda who took part in the senseless massacres were duped by a small group of elites who cared more for their political interests. Indeed Hutus and Tutsi’s were killed during the period of 1990-1994. However the difference–as has been recognized by the international community of impartial intellectuals–is that Tutsi’s were targeted solely because of their ethnicity. That makes it a genocide according to article 2 of the UN convention. There was a deliberate and systematic attempt to destroy an ethnic and national group (based on how you define Tutsi’s)

Ngabo, you must have missed this:

judgments in the Military-I trial completely rejected the Prosecution theory of long-term planning and conspiracy to commit genocide by members of the former Rwandan military leadership. All four defendants were found “not guilty” of all counts charging conspiracy to commit genocide, based on the Chambers ruling that their actions prior to April 6, 1994  were based on war-time conditions, not planning to kill civilians or to carry out a genocide against Tutsi Rwandans.

And this:

This raises the more profound question: if there was no conspiracy and no planning to kill ethnic civilians, can the tragedy that engulfed Rwanda properly be called “a genocide” at all? Or, was it closer to a case of civilians being caught up in war-time violence, like the Eastern Front in WWII, rather than the planned behind-the-lines killings in Nazi death camps? The ICTR judgment found the former.

The Court specifically found that the actions of Rwandan military leaders, both before any after the April 6, 1994 assassination of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarima, were consistent with war-time conditions and the massive chaos brought about by the four-year war of invasion from Uganda by Gen. Paul Kagame’s RPF army, which seized power in July 1994.

Although the Chamber did not specifically mention more recent events, it is worth noting that this is the same government that was named in a UN Security Council commissioned report on December 12, 2008 as having invaded the eastern Congo (with Uganda) in 1996 and again in 1998 and have occupied an area 15-times the size of Rwanda since that time. Similar UN Security Council reports in 2001, 2002 and 2003, make clear that Rwanda and Uganda’s economic rape of the eastern Congo, and the resulting 6 million-plus civilian deaths, have long been an “open secret.”

Also, what impartial “international community” is Ngabo referring to? Is it Roger Winter? A well known, self asserting RPF agent? Is it Alison DesForge? A well know RPF agent and opportunist? Who is the “international community” that is so impartial, it’s found Kagame and the RPF guilty of war crimes, and crimes against Humanity? Ngabo is possibly referring to the Spanish and French Judges, or maybe, the December 2008 United Nations Report that found Kagame and his army guilty of ongoing heinous crimes in DRC. Oh…that’s not what Ngabo was referring to, but what he/she omitted from his/her answer.

Then Ngabo continues:

Now, when the rebel attacked Rwanda in 1990,they were attempting to return home–to a country that they had as much a right to inhibit as you did.You call them ‘angry rebels’ and deservedly so. Who wouldn’t be angry at being denied the right to their homeland.

There is no argument here that the socalled rebels or Ugandan army or whatever they were at the time, could or should have returned to their homeland. However, they violated plenty of human rights laws when they disturbed peace, and invaded a sovereign nation. And later, they went on to assassinate two presidents, and still walk around today with impunity.They harbor war criminals within their ranks including such terrorists as Nkunda. It’s a pity.

However, like many before him/her, Ngabo closes off with this little gem right here:

I can’t stop you and others of your intellectual ilk from denying the genocide,indeed,many European and American intellectuals deny that the Jewish holocaust ever occurred. People like you and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have a right to your opinions. However,i am afraid for the millions who fall prey to your slanted and manipulated facts.
If your intellectual convictions do not hold you accountable,history will.

And I am now convinced that Ngabo is purposefully ignorant of the facts, but has the potential to learn. This would not be typical conversation with a sympathizer if one of those gag orders was not exercised, namely, comparison between illumination of facts, and socially reprehensible individuals or assertion of genocide denial. And I just have to stop and laugh, because apparantly, “kagame is a war criminal/RPF guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity” = “genocide denial” AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wait…wait….ahahahahahahahaha. Woo. Too funny.

Stop being such Kagame apologists people. He’s guilty. He knows it. And the whole world will soon know it too.

And agreed, history will judge.

The Darfur the West Isn’t Recognizing as It Moralizes About the Region

For many who survey an African landscape strewn with political wreckage, nowadays merely to raise the subject of European colonialism, which formally ended across most of the continent five decades ago, is to ring alarm bells of excuse making.

Clearly, the African disaster most in view today is Sudan, or more specifically the dirty war that has raged since 2003 in that country’s western region, Darfur.

Rare among African conflicts, it exerts a strong claim on our conscience. By instructive contrast, more than five million people have died as a result of war in Congo since 1998, the rough equivalent at its height of a 2004 Asian tsunami striking every six months, without stirring our diplomats to urgency or generating much civic response.

Mahmood Mamdani, a Ugandan-born scholar at Columbia University and the author of “When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and Genocide in Rwanda,” is one of the most penetrating analysts of African affairs. In “Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror,” he has written a learned book that reintroduces history into the discussion of the Darfur crisis and questions the logic and even the good faith of those who seek to place it at the pinnacle of Africa’s recent troubles. It is a brief, he writes, “against those who substitute moral certainty for knowledge, and who feel virtuous even when acting on the basis of total ignorance.”

Mr. Mamdani does not dismiss a record of atrocities in Darfur, where 300,000 have been killed and 2.5 million been made refugees, yet he opposes the label of genocide as a subjective judgment wielded for political reasons against a Sudanese government that is out of favor because of its history of Islamism and its suspected involvement in terror.

At his most provocative Mr. Mamdani questions the distinction between what is often labeled counterinsurgency and genocide, saying the former, even when it kills more people, is deemed “normal violence” while the latter is considered “amoral, evil,” and typically it is the West that does the labeling.

Although he uses the United States war in Iraq as an example, with the International Criminal Court recently issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan’s leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Mr. Mamdani’s most compelling example is the treatment of a crisis in neighboring Uganda.

In Uganda, long one of Washington’s closest African friends, Mr. Mamdani traces the history of ethnically targeted “civilian massacres and other atrocities” against the brutal insurgency known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. In 1996, under President Yoweri Museveni, a second phase of that war began “with a new policy designed to intern practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts in northern Uganda,” Mr. Mamdani writes. “It took a government-directed campaign of murder, intimidation, bombing and burning of whole villages to drive the rural population into I.D.P. (internally displaced persons) camps.”

In 2005 Olara Otunnu, a former Ugandan ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the government’s tactics, saying, “An entire society is being systematically destroyed — physically, culturally, socially and economically — in full view of the international community.”

But as elsewhere in Africa, Mr. Mamdani says, the International Criminal Court has brought a case against only the enemy of Washington’s friend, the Lord’s Resistance Army, remaining mute about large-scale atrocities that may have been committed by the Ugandan government. In this pattern the author sees the hand of politics more than any real attachment to justice.

Many argue that what makes Darfur different from other African crises is race, with the conflict there pitting Arabs against people often called “black Africans,” but here again Mr. Mamdani takes on conventional wisdom. “At no point,” he states flatly, “has this been a war between ‘Africans’ and ‘Arabs.’ ”

Much foreign commentary about Sudan speaks of its Arabs as settlers, with the inference that they are somehow less African than people assumed to be of pure black stock. If whites in Kenya and Zimbabwe, not to mention South Africa, vociferously maintain their African-ness, what then to make of the Arab presence in Sudan, whose slow penetration and widespread intermarriage, Mr. Mamdani writes, “commenced in the early decades of Islam” and “reached a climax” from the 8th to the 15th century, “when the Arab tribes overran much of the country”?

More interestingly, the author maintains that much of what we see today as a racial divide in Sudan has its roots in colonial history, when Britain “broke up native society into different ethnicities, and ‘tribalized’ each ethnicity by bringing it under the absolute authority of one or more British-sanctioned ‘native authorities,’ ” balancing “the whole by playing one off against the others.”

Mr. Mamdani calls this British tactic of administratively reinforcing distinctions among colonial subjects “re-identify and rule” and says that it was copied by European powers across the continent, with deadly consequences — as in Rwanda, where Belgium’s intervention hardened distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi.

In Sudan the result was to create a durable sense of land rights rooted in tribal identity that favored the sedentary at the expense of the nomad, or, in the crude shorthand of today, African and Arab.

Other roots of the Darfur crisis lie in catastrophic desertification in the Sahel region, where the cold war left the area awash in cheap weapons at the very moment that pastoralists could no longer survive in their traditional homelands, obliging many to push southward into areas controlled by sedentary farmers.

He also blames regional strife, the violent legacy of proxy warfare by France, Libya and the United States and, most recently, the global extension of the war on terror.

This important book reveals much on all of these themes, yet still may be judged by some as not saying enough about recent violence in Darfur.

Mr. Mamdani’s constant refrain is that the virtuous indignation he thinks he detects in those who shout loudest about Darfur is no substitute for greater understanding, without which outsiders have little hope of achieving real good in Africa’s shattered lands.


The UN’s Role in Africa Put Into Perspective

Does the United Nations still have a role to play in global politics and ending humanitarian catastrophes and disasters? Or are they simply a for-profit organization that exists and preys on people’s pity for African plight? Considering their level of failure relative to their level of “fund raising” in the past two decades, I would say they UN functions as the latter.

Samuel Olara puts the UN’s role into perspective:

To many outside the hegemony of the dominant Western global powers that call the tunes at the UN, the organisation is fast losing credibility and is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Others regard the UN as nothing more than a bloated, corrupt “not-for-profit” charity organization experiencing acute brand crisis. Its priorities seem to be the comforts of its “disaster tourists” whose approach to catastrophe and genocides has always been to express “deep concern.”

Being a “not-for-profit” organisation whose success relies heavily on constituent perception, the UN is facing a significant challenge on its brand relevance and consideration, particularly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It is no longer perceived as an effective global body whose legitimacy and authority are respected when its actions must go against the strategic interests of the most powerful states on its Security Council.

The United Nations has let down millions of the world’s weakest and most vulnerable people, especially in Africa. The U.N.’s failure to prevent the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Northern Uganda, 23 years with over 550,000 dead and counting; Rwanda, in 1994, over 800,000 dead; Democratic Republic of Congo, five million dead; Southern Sudan, over 200,000 dead; and, Darfur, 300,000 dead, are shameful episodes that have contributed to cyniscms about the capability and authority of the United Nations to preserve world peace and ensure human rights and global justice for all.

The United Nations has also been plagued with other troubles. It stood aside and watched as the United States, the UK and their coalition illegally invaded a sovereign state, Iraq, toppled the regime and hanged its leaders, on fictitious claims that the country was producing WMDs and was behind 9/11; a move that has proved a costly disaster both to the Iraqis and allied forces. The United Nations has also failed miserably to intervene in the Israel – Palestine onslaught.

It’s not even just the failure of the UN to find relevancy and effectiveness in humanitarian catastrophes, but:

The U.N. credibility crisis has also been compounded by a series of peacekeeping scandals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone. By far the worst instances of abuse have taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); it has the U.N.’s second largest peacekeeping mission, with over 16,000 peacekeepers.

In the DRC, the UN recently failed to ensure that civilians were protected from a botched “Operation Lightening Thunder” by the armies of Uganda, DRC and Southern Sudan – resulting in over 1,200 deaths. Again this was an operation planned, blessed and monitored by Washington, wherein Uganda sent its army in a failed bid to neutralize the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony.

Previously, acts of criminality have been perpetrated by U.N. peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world.

The crimes involved rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north-eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include UN military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France.

Read the whole thing at BSN.

Another Gift for Kagame

In April of 2008, Keith Harmon Snow released an investigative report about the framing of Vincent Bajinya for genocide crimes in Rwanda 1994. Unfortunately for Kagame, Bajinya is now a free man. Read for yourself. From The Independent:

Four men accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide have been freed by a British court after their lawyers said they would not face a fair trial if they were extradited to Africa.

Their release coincided with commemorations in Rwanda to mark the 15th anniversary of the atrocity, which began on 6 April.

Judges in the High Court in London ruled there was “a real risk [the men] would suffer a flagrant denial of justice” if returned to Rwanda for trial. Under UK law, genocide and war crime offences commited before 2001 cannot be prosecuted here.

Vincent Bajinya, who had changed his name to Brown, Celestin Ugirashebuja, Emmanuel Nteziryayo and Charles Munyaneza were arrested in London, Essex, Manchester and Bedford and had been held in custody since December 2006 under a memorandum of understanding in which Rwanda waived the death penalty.

All four are accused of killing, or conspiring with or aiding and abetting others to kill, members of the Tutsi ethnic group “with the intent to destroy in whole, or in part, that group”.

Lord Justice Laws and Lord Justice Sullivan allowed their appeals against the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s extradition orders. The judges said there was evidence that defence witnesses were afraid to give evidence.

The judges declared: “We conclude that if [the four] were extradited to face trial in the High Court of Rwanda, the appellants would suffer a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice by reason of their likely inability to adduce the evidence of supporting witnesses.”

The judges also ruled there was a real risk” of [government] interference with the judiciary” in Rwanda.

They refused the Rwandan Government, represented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), leave to appeal to the House of Lords against the ruling. A spokeswoman for the CPS said the ruling ended the extradition process.

All four cases had been considered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Tanzania, but the files were given to the Rwandan Government for further investigation in 2005.

Lord Gifford QC, who appeared for Munyaneza, said the case had revealed “an emerging international consensus that there is no fair trial in Rwanda”.

Frank Brazell, a solicitor for Vincent Brown, welcomed the decision: “We are hugely pleased with the result. The central issue they have found is that there is clearly no prospect of these men having a fair trial in Rwanda.”

He said Mr Brown, a British national and qualified doctor who had worked for a charity training nurses, would be released from custody immediately.Mr Brazell said the issue of compensation would be discussed in due course.

People suspected of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can only be prosecuted in the UK if the acts were committed overseas after 2001, when the International Criminal Court Act was enacted.

The Aegis Trust, which is responsible for the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda, where 250,000 victims are buried, has been lobbying MPs and Lords to amend the UK law.

Dr James Smith, the chief executive of the trust, said: “For survivors, this verdict couldn’t come at a worse time. It destroys hope. It demonstrates that the suspected killers of their families enjoy freedom in Europe. The impunity of genocide suspects is a denial of justice for the survivors.

“If British courts cannot extradite these men to Rwanda, the British Government should immediately amend UK law to enable the prosecution of suspected mass murderers.”

A CPS spokesman said: “Although the High Court upheld the District Judge’s findings that there was evidentially a prima facie case against each defendant, the finding in relation to the real risk of a flagrant violation meant their extradition could not continue.”

Related articles: BBC, Reuters