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Sunday, June 24, 2012

RWANDA - Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Human Rights Watch (HRW)


In the Rwanda “genocide” case, the “human rights” community played an unusually active role in supporting the real aggressors and killers, in close parallel with their own governments’ perspectives and policies. As in the case of the Western aggressions against Yugoslavia (1999) and Iraq (2003), Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations simply ignored the “supreme international crime” (or “act of aggression by Uganda,” in Herman Cohen’s phrase), while conveniently, and in hugely biased fashion, paying attention to lesser human rights violations.48 They downplayed or ignored entirely the refugee crisis created by the Ugandan-RPF invasion and occupation of northern Rwanda and the armed penetration and de facto subversion of the rest of the country by the RPF. Every response to these by the Habyarimana government, from October 1990 on, was scrutinized for “human rights” violations and framed as evidence of unlawful state repression. The NGOs systematically evaded the massive evidence of RPF responsibility for the April 6, 1994, shoot-down, surely because the finding conflicts with their deep commitment to the model of a preplanned Hutu genocide and the RPF’s self-defensive rescue of Rwanda—the twin components of the established perpetrator-victim line. We believe that their biases played an important role in supporting the RPF’s aggression, its penetration of the country, and the execution of its final assault on power. Above all, we believe that their biases and propaganda contributed substantially to the mass killings that followed—all in accord with the needs of actual U.S. policy. [2009] Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

[2009] THE RWANDA GENOCIDE FABRICATIONS Human Right Watch, Alison Des Forges & Disinformation on Central Africa by Keith Harmon Snow  Timothy Longman and Des Forges, the co-authors of the HRW treatise, Leave None To Tell The Story, both worked with USAID, the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon. Des Forges was a member of the HRW board from 1988 and was “principal researcher” on Rwanda and Burundi, 1991-1994. In this period Des Forges also consulted for USAID, and collaborated with the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council. Simultaneously, Des Forges worked with, informed and influenced U.S. Congress-people, Permanent Representatives at the United Nations, the U.N. Under-Secretary General, and U.N. Special Rapporteur for Rwanda and Special Rapporteur for Summary and Arbitrary Executions. Des Forges also pumped the disinformation into the academic world through her high-level ties to human rights committees, African and Africana Studies departments and the elite African Studies Association.

In the same period, Des Forges constantly influenced the U.S. media through special briefings to the editorial boards and reporters of the New York TimesWashington PostNational Public Radio, and Associated Press, and she was frequently presented as an “expert” on genocide in Rwanda for CNN60 MinutesNightlineAll Things ConsideredBBCRadio France Internationale, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Such relations explain the mass media’s consistency in producing the monolithic disinformation about Rwanda that shielded the illegal U.S.-backed and covert RPF/A (Ugandan) guerrilla insurgency. The blanket media coverage falsely situated the “Rwanda genocide” as it is now widely misunderstood: 100 days of genocide, 800,000 to 1.2 million Tutsis killed with machetes; the ‘highly disciplined’ RPF/A stopping the genocide. Such is the disinformation that indoctrinated the English-speaking media consumers and created a mass psychological hysteria about Rwanda that persists to this day.
Timothy Longman worked with Des Forges in Rwanda in 1994 and has worked regularly with both USAID and HRW on contracts in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, throughout the late 1990’s and into the present; Longman worked in Rwanda on one USAID contract for Management Systems Incorporated, a firm whose clients include the Pentagon. Longman also worked as a consultant for HRW in the spring of 2000 conducting field research in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and producing “a detailed report on human rights conditions in rebel-controlled areas.”
The Des Forges and Longman position vis-à-vis their whitewashing of the Tutsi-led RPF/A-organized genocide in Rwanda certainly explains the sanitation of HRW reports, and it raises questions, for example, about how Human Rights Watch ‘researchers’ navigate their ‘work’ in rebel (read: Rwandan and Ugandan) controlled areas in DRC. It also raises questions about how, why and when HRW does or doesn’t expose the western operatives, non-government organizations and multinational corporations: a singular example is the Human Rights Watch report that mildly exposes the criminal operations of Anglo-Gold Ashanti—a company partnered with the Bush-connected Barrick Gold Corporation—in eastern DRC. HRW says nothing about Moto Gold, Mwana Africa, Banro Resources, Hardmann Oil, Tullow Oil, De Beers, H Oil & Minerals, OM Group, Metalurg, Kotecha, International Rescue Committee—and the many proxy armies, militias, gun-runners and other organized white collar war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Congo.
The role of HRW as an intelligence conduit to the U.S. Government is incidentally confirmed by Samantha Power in her book A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide—a whitewash of U.S. and allied war crimes for which she was rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize. While Power’s “bystanders to genocide” thesis about Rwanda is a total inversion of the facts, she notes in passing that “Human Rights Watch supplied exemplary intelligence to the U.S. Government and lobbied in one-on-one meetings” in April and May 1994, and that Alison Des Forges and other HRW staff visited the White House on April 21, 1994. Samantha Power is currently a member of the National Security Council in the administration of President Barack Obama.
“Roger Winter was with the RPA on the front lines in Rwanda and he regularly briefed the Clinton Administration of the RPA’s military achievements,” says Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, former Rwandan official. “Alison Des Forges contributed to the RPF/A takeover of Rwanda. I have no doubt about that… I met her three times, first in 1995, and in 2004 she encouraged me to testify at the ICTR. I said no way: I will only testify if RPF officials are arrested. She insisted I should testify, she was confident that the RPF were going to be arrested. I think she did not realize that the U.S. government would never accept that. She was something of an opportunist.”
“I don’t know how assassins could control icing on the wings or why it was necessary to bring down 50 other people just to silence her,” says ICTR lawyer Chris Black, commenting on the speculation that Alison Des Forges was assassinated by ‘plane crash’. “It would have been much simpler to kill her in all sorts of other ways. But she was no big critic. She made some noises, but it was just to give Human Rights Watch some credibility.” 
Alison Des Forges
[2009] Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson  As the real policy of the U.S. government from at least 1990 on was regime-change in Rwanda, namely, the ouster of the Hutu government by the RPF, as well as the ouster of France from the region (France had backed the Hutu government), we can easily see how Des Forges’s work beginning in 1991 helped provide cover for the U.S. takeover of as many as four countries via its proxies in Uganda and the RPF in Rwanda. In short, Alison Des Forges’s career is best understood in terms of the services she performed on behalf of U.S. power-projection in Central Africa, with this policy-oriented work couched in the rhetoric of “human rights.” In the process, Des Forges badly misinformed a whole generation of scholars, activists, and the cause of peace and justice.
[2009] THE RWANDA GENOCIDE FABRICATIONS Human Right Watch, Alison Des Forges & Disinformation on Central Africa by Keith Harmon Snow  In life she did not speak about the deeper realities of ‘genocide in Rwanda’, and she had plenty of chances. 
In fact, she is the primary purveyor of the inversion of truth that covered up the deeper U.S. role in the Rwanda ‘genocide’, and she spent the past 10 years of her life explaining away the inconsistencies, covering up the facts, revising her own story when necessary, and manipulating public opinion about war crimes in the Great Lakes of Africa—in service to the U.S. government and powerful corporations involved in the plunder and depopulation of the region.
.....According to a recent PBS Frontline eulogy, less than two weeks into the killing in April 1994 Des Forges met with officials in the U.S. State Department and National Security Council (NSC) and lobbied for their help. “We were not asking for U.S. troops,” Frontline quotes her to say, “it was clear to us that there was no way that the U.S. was going to commit troops to Rwanda.”
    But the U.S. military was heavily backing the RPF/A tactically and strategically already. Key to the operation were ‘former’ Special Operations Forces (Ronco Company) providing military equipment and ferrying RPA troops from Uganda to Rwanda; the Pentagon's logistical and communications support; Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA operatives. Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), was also collaborating with the RPF/A, serving the Pentagon interest.
    ICTR defense attorney Christopher Black reports that reliable sources confirm that US Special forces were with the RPF all the way through the war. “My client testified in June that U.S. Hercules [C-130 military aircraft] were seen dropping troops in support of the RPF…”
.....“Kagame assigned some people to work with Alison Des Forges,” says Ugandan Human Rights expert Remigius Kintu, “and also to assist her in fabricating and distorting stories to suit Tutsi propaganda plans.”
.....Before former President Habyarimana’s assassination on 6 April 1994, Des Forges, and the organizations she worked with, blamed the whole war crimes show on President Habyarimana and his government, they dismissed the illegal invasion and atrocities of the RPF/A, and they began calling it genocide against the Tutsis as early as 1992.
 “She [Des Forges] concealed the fact that from 1990 the war caused an unprecedented economic poverty and that the one million internally displaced people tore the social fabric apart!” wrote Dr. Helmut Strizek, a former German official who had called for Des Forges’ resignation from HRW. “And these people knew that Tutsi rebels [RPA] caused their misery. They did not wait for ‘instructions’ in order to revenge, once no one was able to maintain public order after the April 6 [1994] assassination [sic] and resumption of hostilities by the RPF.”
“Alison Des Forges is no longer,” writes Charles Onana. “Peace be with her soul! She nonetheless leaves behind her many victims of injustice, who she painstakingly accused, using false testimony, before the International Criminal Tribunal Court for Rwanda (ICTR).”
Alison Des Forges provided expert testimony in 11 genocide trials before the ICTR, including the ‘Military I’ trials that condemned Col. Theoneste Bagosora and two others on December 18. Des Forges also testified in genocide trials in Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada.
Charles Onana continues:
“Among her victims there is Jean-Paul Akayesu, the first to be condemned to life imprisonment for genocide. This man, who Alison Des Forges had accused without any proof against him, was even defended by a Tutsi from the Patriotic Rwandan Army [RPA] who had been party to the fabrication of the ‘incriminating’ evidence against him in Rwanda. The Tribunal never listened to this witness, but they did listen to Alison Des Forges.”  

“I have also discovered during the course of my investigations into the ICTR that, at the start of the trial in 1997, she introduced a forged fax that was purported to be written by General Dallaire in 1994. This fax, maintained Des Forges, concerned the ‘planning of genocide’.”
New Yorker staff writer Philip Gourevitch spread the mythology of  “The Genocide Fax” far and wide. Gourevitch’s first pro-RPF/A disinformation piece appeared in the New Yorker in December 1995; in May 1998 the New Yorker published Gourevitch’s “The Genocide Fax,” a charade fed to him by Madeleine Albright’s undersecretary of state James Rubin. Gourevitch’s fictional book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families was funded by the euphemistically named U.S. Institute for Peace and written in league with the Kagame regime. It is certainly possible that Alison Des Forges was unaware of the original fabrication, but she and Human Rights Watch never changed their tune, and they never denounced the fabrication.
Charles Onana continues:
“It was on the basis of this false document that she called for the condemnation of Jean-Paul Akaseyu. To lend credibility to this first trial process, the ICTR, with astonishing lightness and irresponsibility, condemned this man to life.  The Tribunal had no proof. The judicial dossier is slapdash and skimpy, but that has no importance. This was Alison Des Forges first great victory.”

“She then decided to pursue a Rwandan refugee living in Canada: an ideal target. He had the misfortune to be Hutu. For her, this man was a ‘planner of genocide’. But where is the proof? Alison Des Forges has none, but she wants to see this man [Leon Mugesera] in prison. Having deciphered or seen through Alison Des Forge’s arguments, the Judge of the Canadian Federal Tribunal concluded witheringly and without pity: ‘I note above all the relentlessness with which Mme Des Forges launched her diatribe against M. [Leon] Mugesera, and am astonished by the lack of care she has demonstrated in drawing up the report for the International Commission of Enquiry and in her Expert Assessment.’”
  
“The Canadian judge did not hesitate to qualify Mme. Des Forges as partisan, demonstrating ‘a prejudice or preconceived position against Léon Mugesera’. He concluded that she could not be considered an objective witness, adding that no correctly informed tribunal could take her allegations seriously. Nevertheless it was on the basis of the same arguments, and of the same fantasy report published in 1999, that she accused numerous Rwandans, all Hutu.”
“It was thus that she devoted the penultimate day of her examination, during the process against the military, to presenting Colonel Bagosora, Hutu, as the king pin in the genocide. The Tribunal in the long-running ‘Military I’ trial did not accept the ‘planning of genocide’ that Alison Des Forges never ceased to hammer on about by means of her pseudo-fax of 11 January 1994. She lied, lied and lied again. She tried a come-back or to recover her credibility by criticizing her ‘hero’ Paul Kagame, the organizer the 6 April 1994 assassination of two presidents.” 

“Alison Des Forges finally dared to speak of the crimes committed by the Tutsi rebels of the RPF/A: the great taboo. It was a bit late but it assuaged her conscience. For those who were condemned by the ICTR, deliberately and unjustly recorded by her, there will be no justice for them. Can Alison Des Forges still hear their suffering and their pain? She who has done them so much harm—along with their families? She who claimed to defend the Rights of Man has without doubt violated the rights of many Rwandans, who will undoubtedly never forget her. Their homage to Mme. Des Forges would have been different, very different, to what her many friends in the media have to say.”
Timothy Longman and Des Forges, the co-authors of the HRW treatise, Leave None To Tell The Story, both worked with USAID, the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon. Des Forges was a member of the HRW board from 1988 and was “principal researcher” on Rwanda and Burundi, 1991-1994. In this period Des Forges also consulted for USAID, and collaborated with the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council. Simultaneously, Des Forges worked with, informed and influenced U.S. Congress-people, Permanent Representatives at the United Nations, the U.N. Under-Secretary General, and U.N. Special Rapporteur for Rwanda and Special Rapporteur for Summary and Arbitrary Executions. Des Forges also pumped the disinformation into the academic world through her high-level ties to human rights committees, African and Africana Studies departments and the elite African Studies Association.
In the same period, Des Forges constantly influenced the U.S. media through special briefings to the editorial boards and reporters of the New York TimesWashington PostNational Public Radio, and Associated Press, and she was frequently presented as an “expert” on genocide in Rwanda for CNN60 MinutesNightlineAll Things ConsideredBBCRadio France Internationale, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Such relations explain the mass media’s consistency in producing the monolithic disinformation about Rwanda that shielded the illegal U.S.-backed and covert RPF/A (Ugandan) guerrilla insurgency. 
The blanket media coverage falsely situated the “Rwanda genocide” as it is now widely misunderstood: 100 days of genocide, 800,000 to 1.2 million Tutsis killed with machetes; the ‘highly disciplined’ RPF/A stopping the genocide. Such is the disinformation that indoctrinated the English-speaking media consumers and created a mass psychological hysteria about Rwanda that persists to this day.
“Roger Winter was with the RPA on the front lines in Rwanda and he regularly briefed the Clinton Administration of the RPA’s military achievements,” says Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, former Rwandan official. “Alison Des Forges contributed to the RPF/A takeover of Rwanda. I have no doubt about that… I met her three times, first in 1995, and in 2004 she encouraged me to testify at the ICTR. I said no way: I will only testify if RPF officials are arrested. She insisted I should testify, she was confident that the RPF were going to be arrested. I think she did not realize that the U.S. government would never accept that. She was something of an opportunist.”

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