THE TRUTH ABOUT RWANDA
by Christopher Black
Monday, January 4, 2010
[Here's an antidote to some of the toxic bilge coming out of Anglo-Saxony these days on the subject of Rwanda. Even quisling frogs like Gérard Prunier (whose perfect English is perfectly maddening) have joined with their trans-chunnel and trans-Atlantic kith, like Linda Melvern and Wm Schabas, in pissing in the information pool which has so recently been refilled with hard information against their mythic genocide of '800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus carried out in 100 days by Extremist Hutus in pastel periwigs and weilding Red Chinese machetes', just so as not to let go of the historical lie that has for so long been their meal ticket.
Thus, from dankest Canadia, comes our strong comrade, Me Chris Black, with yet further proof that, no matter what the military humanists bleat, ça ne s'est pas passé comme ça en Rwanda.
So here, read this--then try and cop a hook at D'Arusha à Arusha, a new French doc by Chris Gargot--and start demanding that your favorite English-language, leftish press (I'm thinking Verso, Soft Skull, MR and Pluto, here) start printing translations of important French works on this history--like those of Pierre Péan, Ambassador JMV Ndagijimana, Col Jacques Hogard, Faustin Ntilikina, Charles Onana--and that's just the few lurch forth in my incipient senility.
But this history is key to understanding the thorough privatization of the world and all dominant state functions--esp the military--from which U.S. President Obama is (impossibly) charged with saving us. Putin did it for Russia--but Russia had 70 years of socialism in its history. That vague part of the socialist history that survived the bloody purges of the late 19th and 20th Centuries, by the Pinkertons and the FBI, has been driven deep into the denial reflex of the collective sub-conscious of a nation terrorized into willful ignorance unto amnesia.
This one's for all those who continue to fight for truth, justice and peace, against the craven forces of terrorized idiocy--and it's for Obama, too. --mc]
Christopher Black: The Truth About Rwanda (29.12.09)
(Reposted from SaveRwanda, with editions by cm/p)
The reaction of some readers to the publication of the open letter to Paul Kagame
by the Hutu political prisoners held by the US-controlled Rwanda Tribunal is a tragic manifestation of the deliberate disinformation fed to the world’s public, especially the English-language public, since Kagame and his gangsters destroyed democracy in Rwanda and annihilated millions of people, both Hutu and Tutsi, in his four-year campaign of terror to install a fascist Tutsi minority junta in the country.
The public should be aware of the facts before forming and expressing an opinion. The fact is that Rwanda before 1990 was considered the Switzerland of Africa, a model of social development. The result of the 1959 social revolution that threw off the Tutsi monarchy and aristocracy and freed the majority Hutu population from serfdom and a lifetime of humiliation was the establishment of a collective society in which both the Hutu and Tutsi, as well as the Twa, lived together in relative harmony. Tutsis were members of the government, its administration, were present in large numbers in the education system and the judiciary, and controlled most of the large private commercial companies in Rwanda. The Rwandan army was a multiethnic military force composed of both Hutus and Tutsis, and it stayed a multiethnic force even when the Rwandan Army was forced to retreat into the Congo forests in July 1994 because of shortages of ammunition brought about by the western embargo on arms and supplies.
Rwanda descended into chaos in 1990 when the self-described Rwanda Patriotic Front, or RPF, forces launched a surprise attack on October 1, 1990, from Uganda. In fact, every one of the officers and men of that invasion force were members of the Ugandan Army.
The ‘RPF rebel’ invasion was really an invasion by Uganda disguised as an independent “liberation force.” Liberation from what has never been stated. Initially, the justification put out by the RPF was the right of return of Tutsi “refugees” from Uganda to Rwanda. However, the refugee problem had been resolved by an agreement between the RPF, Uganda, Rwanda, the UNHCR, and the OAU, a few weeks earlier, in which the Rwandan government agreed to the repatriation of all those Tutsis in Uganda who wanted to return to Rwanda. That accord required that Tutsi representatives of the refugees travel to Kigali for a meeting to determine the mechanics of that population movement, and how to accommodate all those people in such a small country. They were expected at the end of September 1990. They never arrived.
Instead of civilians returning in peace, Rwandan was viciously attacked on October 1, 1990, by a force that unleashed murderous savagery. During that invasion, the RPF forces of the Ugandan Army slaughtered everyone in their path, Hutu or Tutsi. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians, the majority Hutu, were butchered. The RPF’s favorite methods were the bayonet or knife, with which they disemboweled men and women, or to tie their hands behind their backs and smashed their skulls with a hoe, the farm tool iconic of the Hutu peasantry. After several weeks of intense fighting, the RPF forces were destroyed by the small Rwandan Army, assisted by forces from France and Zaire, and the remnants fled, on US instructions, back into Uganda to regroup and reorganize.
The RPF still has not justified this aggression and the needless slaughter of innocent civilians in a peaceful country it brought about. From the early 1960s, individual Tutsis had been freely allowed to return to Rwanda, and several times the Rwandan government invited them all to return. However the Tutsi aristocracy, jealous of its lost power and considering the Hutu as subhuman, refused to return unless their absolute power was restored. This the people of Rwanda, even those Tutsis who remained in the country, refused.
In the 1960s and early 1970s various Tutsi groups in Uganda and elsewhere had organized terrorist raids into Rwanda during which they pitilessly murdered anyone they caught. These raids were repelled by Rwanda’s tiny armed forces. The years that followed were a period of development and peace for Rwandans. Even though one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world, it had the best road system, healthcare, and education system in Africa. Until the late 1980’s it prospered and received help from both the socialist countries of the USSR, North Korea and China, and West Germany, France and Israel, among others.
The Tutsis in Uganda became involved in the civil wars between the socialist Milton Obote and US-UK puppets like Idi Amin and Yoweri Museveni, who were supported by the West to get rid of socialism in Uganda. By 1990 the Tutsis composed a large section of the Ugandan Army, and all the senior officers of the RPF were high-ranking officers in the Ugandan Army, the NRA. Kagame, himself, was one of the highest-ranking officers in the intelligence services and was notorious for enjoying the torture of prisoners.
Rwanda until 1990 was a one-party socialist state. The ruling party, the MRND (roughly, the National Movement For Revolutionary Development), was not considered a political party as such, but rather a social movement in which everyone in the society took part through local elections and the mechanisms of consensus, much like the system in Cuba. The fall of the Soviet Union led to pressure from the West, notably the United States and France, to dismantle the one-party state system and permit multi-party democracy. The President, Juvénal Habyarimana, instead of resisting, agreed to a change in the constitution, and, in 1991, Rwanda became a multi-party democracy.
The fact the Rwandan government did this in the middle of a war is more than just remarkable. It was also an offer of peace. The RPF, since its abject failure in 1990, had changed its strategy from a frontal assault to the tactics of terrorism. The RPF likes to refer to this phase as ‘the guerrilla.’ However, it was not the guerrilla of a liberation struggle like the FLN in Vietnam or the FARC in Colombia. It was instead a mirror image of the Contras’ campaign of terrorism conducted against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Its purpose was not to make revolution. Its purpose was to overthrow the revolution. And, like the Contras, the RPF was supported by the United States.
This was clear from the beginning of the war. When the RPF launched their attack, President Habyarimana was in Washington, lured out of the way, by the U.S. State Department. The evidence that the U.S. was aware of and supported the October surprise attack was the U.S. administration’s offer to Habyarimana of asylum in the U.S. if he surrendered power to the RPF. Habyarimana refused and immediately flew home. There was no condemnation of the Ugandan-RPF aggression by the U.S. or any of its allies, despite the big noise they made at the same time over the advance of Iraqi forces into Kuwait. Further, the Rwandan ambassador to the UN, then seated on the Security Council, filed a protest in the UNSC, but the U.S. had it taken off the agenda.
In fact, the U.S. and its allies supported the aggression against Rwanda from the beginning, and U.S. Special Forces operated with the RPF from the beginning. Recently in Toronto, Bill Clinton denied any involvement in Rwanda, but this is one of the Big Lies of the Century. He and Bush are up to their necks in the blood of the Rwandan and Congolese people.
The RPF took full advantage of the arrival of multi-party democracy to Rwanda in 1991 and created several front parties to take away support from the popular MRND. These parties, though claiming to represent different political views, in fact, were mainly front parties for the RPF. The press was expanded and many of the new papers were financed by and acted as mouthpieces for the RPF. While these newly formed political parties were criticizing the Habyarimana government, the RPF was continuing its terror campaign, planting mines that killed Hutu and Tutsi alike, assassinating politicians and officials, and, with the help of various NGOs funded by western intelligence agencies, blaming it all on the Rwandan government.
In 1992, a coalition government was formed, with the RPF or its front parties seizing control of key Ministries and appointing the Prime Minister. Through these agents they also controlled the civilian intelligence services that they then began to dismantle. The RPF engaged in a ‘talk-and-fight’ strategy. Always agreeing to a ceasefire while pressing for more power, then launching new attacks on civilians. The most egregious of these crimes against peace was their breaking of the ceasefire and their major offensive in February 1993, during which they seized the major town of Ruhengeri and murdered 40,000 civilians, most of them Hutu. The Rwandan Army, even though hamstrung by the civilian ministries that were controlled by the RPF, managed to drive the enemy back. Finally in August 1993, under pressure from the U.S. and its allies, the Arusha Accords were signed giving the RPF major concessions in return for the formation of a broad-based transition government to be followed by general elections.
However, the RPF knew they could not win such elections as they were not only unpopular with the majority Hutu population, but they did not even enjoy the support of many Tutsis inside Rwanda whose lives and businesses had been destroyed by a war they had never seen the need for.
Instead of preparing for elections, the RPF prepared a final offensive. As far back as December 1993, UN reports document the massive build-up of men and weapons coming into Rwanda from Uganda. The UN force that was deployed supposedly to ensure a peaceful transition, in fact, was a cover for the U.S. and its allies to assist in this build-up. General Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general in charge of the UN force, hid this build-up from the Rwandan army and the President. The build-up was accompanied by death threats against President Habyarimana. In October 1993, according to an account of Habyarimana’s last conversation with Zairian president Mobutu just two days before the Rwandan president was murdered, U.S. State Dept. representative Herman Cohen told President Habyarimana that unless he ceded all power to the RPF, they would kill him and drag his body through the streets. He received the same threat from the Belgians and the Canadians through General Dallaire. These threats were punctuated by the murder of the Hutu president of Burundi by Tutsi officers in October 1993, another assassination in which Kagame and the RPF had a hand. In the aftermath of that murder, 250,000 Hutus were massacred by the Tutsi army of Burundi, and hundreds of thousands of Hutus fled to Rwanda.
The result of the February 1993 offensive was that one million Hutus fled the RPF’s terror in northern Rwanda towards the Rwandan capital. So, by April 1994, over a million refugees were encamped in or around Kigali, and hundreds thousands more were in camps in the south, all fleeing RPF terror.
The RPF did all it could in 1994 to paralyze government functions, to exacerbate racial tensions, and prepare for war. Then, on April 6, 1994, they launched their final surprise attack by shooting down the presidential plane returning from a meeting that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni had arranged in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
In fact, it is known that Museveni’s half-brother, Salim Saleh, was at the final RPF meeting in Mulindi where the date for the shoot-down was set. The attack on the plane killed the Rwandan president, Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, the Burundian president, Cyprien Ntaryamira, a Hutu, the Rwandan Army chief of staff, Deogratias Nsabimana, a Hutu, and everyone else on-board.
It was the first massacre of 1994, and it was a massacre of Hutus by the RPF. The RPF then immediately launched attacks across Kigali and throughout the north of the country. In the sector of Kigali known as Remera, they killed everyone living there on the night of the 6th/7th, wiped out the Gendarme camp there, wiped out the military police camp at Kami, and launched a major attack against Camp Kanombe, Camp Kigali and the main Gendarme camp at Kacyiru. They slaughtered everyone in their path.
The Rwandan government and army called for a ceasefire the same night, and again the next day. The RPF refused. The Rwandan government asked for more UN help to control the situation. The U.S. arranged, instead, that the main UN force be pulled out, while they continued to supply the RPF with men and supplies flown in by C130 Hercules. The Rwandan Army, short of ammunition and unable to contain the RPF advances, even offered an unconditional surrender on the 12th of April. Incredibly, the RPF refused it. Instead, they shelled the Nyacyonga refugee camp where a large part of the one million Hutu refugees were located, provoking their flight into the capital, Kigali. The effect of one million people flooding into a small city that itself was under bombardment cannot be described. The RPF used this flood of people to infiltrate its men behind army lines. This created panic among the Hutu population, who began killing anyone they did not recognize, fearing that everyone was an RPF soldier out to cut their throats. It was clear that the RPF was not interested in saving lives, even Tutsi lives, but only in seizing total power, and they did not want to negotiate at all.
Dr. Alison Des Forges, in her testimony in the Military II trial at the ICTR in 2006, stated that the RPF’s claim that they attacked to stop a “genocide” was a myth, mere propaganda to justify their attempt to seize power by force of arms. She also testified that the Rwandan government did not plan and execute a genocide. This accords with the testimony of General Dallaire, who also confirmed that there was no planned genocide by the government. And the deputy head of Belgian Army Intelligence, Colonel André Vincent, also testified at the ICTR that the idea of a genocide was a fantasy.
The fighting in Kigali was intense. UN officers, corroborating the testimony of Rwandan and RPF officers, state that the RPF was launching hundreds of Katyusha rockets every hour, around the clock, while the Rwandan Army ran out of hand grenades in the first few days and was reduced to fighting the RPF with artisanal explosives. Even so, the vaunted RPF could not take Kigali. The siege of Kigali lasted three months and only ended when the Rwandan Army literally ran out of ammunition and ordered a general retreat into the forests of Congo.
During that fighting, the RPF killed anyone in their path. RPF officers have stated that their troops killed up to 2 million Hutus during those 12 weeks in a deliberate campaign to eliminate the Hutu population. The Akagera River, the length of which was under RPF control throughout, ran red with the blood of the Hutus massacred on its banks. The RPF claimed these were Tutsis, but there were no Tutsis in that area, and only they had access to that area. Robert Gersony, of USAID, in a report to the UNHCR in October 1994, filed as an exhibit at the ICTR, stated that the RFP carried out a systematic and planned massacre of the Hutu population.
As the Rwandan Army, including its Tutsi officers and men, retreated into the Congo forest, the Hutu population in the millions, fearing for their lives, fled along with them. In local villages, Hutu neighbors attacked Tutsis in revenge for the murder of Hutus or fearing death at their hands. And Tutsis attacked Hutus. It was total war—just as the RPF had wished. Then, in 1996-1998, the RPF pursued the Hutus through the Congo forests and killed hundreds of thousands unto millions of unarmed refugees. They were shelled, machine gunned, raped, and cut to pieces with knives. Accounts of that trek are difficult to bear.
The RPF was directly assisted in this offensive by the U.S., which set up the UN Rwanda Emergency Office in Nairobi, manning it with U.S. Army officers and acting as the operational headquarters of the RPF to give them intelligence on Rwandan Army troop movements, actions and directions. Prudence Bushnell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Ambassador George Moose, telephoned the Rwandan Army chief of staff in May 1994 and told him that, unless he surrendered, he must know that he would be fighting the United States of America and would be defeated. U.S. Special Forces fought along side the RPF. There is also evidence of the Belgian UN forces involvement from an intercepted radio message sent by Kagame to his forces in the field and referring to the help the RPF had received from the Belgians.
There is also evidence that Canadian forces were involved, and Antoine Nyetera, a Tutsi prince, who was in Kigali during that period, testified for the defense in the Military II trial and stated that not only were there no massacres committed against Tutsis by the Rwandan Army, but that it was the RPF that began the massacres against Hutus after taking Kigali. He also testified that despite the claim by the RPF of being a Tutsi liberation group, when he saw their long columns enter the capital, he recognized that most of them were Sudanese, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Tanzanian, and that others were speaking Swahili or Sudanese languages: In other words, they were mercenaries.
Several RPF officers have testified at the ICTR and stated that they fled the Kagame regime because they had been promised that they were fighting for the liberation of the Tutsis. However, when they wanted to take to the streets of Kigali to stop reprisals against Tutsis by Hutu civilians, the junior officers were forbidden to do so, putting the lie to Kagame’s claim that he attacked to save Tutsis. These officers testified that Kagame wanted (Tutsi) deaths to justify his war. The RPF could have controlled large parts of Kigali as they had at least 15,000 men in or near the capital opposed to 5,000 Rwandan Army forces. Instead he used his men to ethnically cleanse the rest of the country of its majority Hutu population.
The Rwanda War was a total war. All means were used to destroy the country and the Hutu people. The ultimate objective was the resources of Congo—then Zaire. The U.S. agreed to support the RPF in return for the RPF acting as a U.S. proxy force to invade Congo and seize its resources. The U.S. now has several military bases in Rwanda, and Rwanda is now nothing more than a U.S.-UK colony run by thugs who control the majority of the people through intimidation, disinformation and murder. None of this could have happened if those in the UN, like Kofi Anan, then in charge of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, had done their jobs. None of this could have happened without the connivance of the NATO countries and Uganda. But the prime responsibility rests with the United States of America and, in particular, the regimes of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush--and now with Mr. Obama. As Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary General at the time, stated to Canadian historian Robin Philpot in 2004, “The United States is one hundred percent responsible for what happened in Rwanda.”
Barrister, International Criminal Lawyer
Lead Counsel, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana
Chief of Staff, Rwandan Gendarmerie