Saturday, July 31, 2010

KPFA News, 07.31.2010: Obama and the Militarization of Africa

Related links:

Olivier Nyirubugara On Rwanda And Congo

Congolese journalist Roger Bongos interviews several Rwandan journalists in French.

Olivier Nyirubugara, a well known rwandan journalist living in the Netherlands has a very good discussion with Roger Bongos. He explains very clearly what has been and is going on in Rwanda and Congo. He has been very closely following Peter Erlinder's case and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza through his website. Olivier Nyirubugara, Rwandan journalist, has an interview with Paul Rusesabagina on his webpage in which Rusesabagina denies all the allegations against him that he sent money to support the FDLR. These claims are part of the process against Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and have been recently served up by Rama Isibo.

In contrast with Olivier, some other Rwandan journalists that work for media in Rwanda are very carefull in their answers concerning the killings that took place in Congo by the RPA troops. In fact they don't want to answer any question or deny that massacres took place: Negationists. That is what Roger Bongos wanted to demonstrate to the world. Good work, but shocking.

Geüpload door afriqueredaction. - Nieuwe video's uit de hele wereld.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Africa advocates to Obama: Don’t recognize Kagame’s election

Support real freedom and democracy in Africa

by the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Friends of the Congo, Hotel Rwanda/Rusesabagina Foundation, International Humanitarian Law Institute of Minnesota, Institute for Policy Studies, Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Congo, Africa Action, and Chicago Coalition for Congo

President Obama said, in his 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, that America should support strong institutions and not strong men. However, in the case of Rwanda, this has been no more than rhetoric. Rwandans, like most Africans, cheered Obama’s election, hoping that it might signal a new, more peaceful and cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Africa, but Obama has expanded AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and now he remains silent as Rwanda’s strongman, President Paul Kagame, prepares a sham presidential election to retain his brutal grip on power.

On Aug. 3, in Washington D.C., we, Africa advocates, will gather at the National Press Club to call on President Obama and the U.S. State Department not to recognize the legitimacy of Rwanda’s upcoming Aug. 9 election results and to stop militarizing Africa and supporting repressive regimes.

“The U.S. policy has been to support strongmen,” says Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of the Congo. “And at the head of the class is Paul Kagame, who has received military support, weapons, training and intelligence and as a result has been able to invade Rwanda's neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and sustain proxy militia fighting there to rob the Congolese people of their natural resources. He has contributed to the death of over 6 million people in Congo and to the destabilization of Africa’s whole Great Lakes region.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kagame's Picture Is Everywhere

Yesterday, Lydia, doing undergraduate research in Rwanda wrote on her blog:
"His picture is EVERYWHERE – on bumper-stickers, framed on the walls of offices and classrooms, printed on pins, t-shirts, mugs, etc"

The same day we read at Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza's facebook page:
  "Yesterday Saturday, the police raided Mrs Victoire Ingabire residence following two FDU party reprentatives for Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. The policed searched these men and found 35 t-shirts with writings "We Want Democracy" and "We Want True Justice" in their vehicle. The Rwandan police arrested the Party Representatives as if wearing or carrying t-shirts with such words is an unlawful protest. "
That same day Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda Foreign Minister, gets a free ride in Newsweek by Ryan Tracy, in that context Ann Garrison writes:
 "Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza is being evicted from the second house she rented in Kigali City since January because both landlords have received death threats for renting to her." (Ann Garrison)
A statement by the President of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe  at a meeting in Washington called "Democracy and Genocide Denial Politics" (which sole purpose was to legitimize the election rigging in Rwanda and at which obviously only representatives of the ruling RPF were invited to speak) explains why:
 "There are those who seek to deny that a genocide ever happened in Rwanda. There are others who blame the present government for starting the genocide by acts of provocation and conspiracy.  There are still others who believe that there was a double genocide in Rwanda.  Denials of genocide did not begin in Rwanda.  They have been a staple of a particular strain of thought in Europe for the last half century. "
This statement is first of all an insult to Holocaust victims and survivors, while it uses their memory to cast  suspicion of "genocide denail" on serious investigations (concerning RPF crimes in Congo, but also Michael Hourigan's investigation concerning the terrorist attack on the plane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in 1994) and rulings by the ICTR,  indictments by judges in Spain and France, as Michael Hourigan, a former UN investigator and prosecutor at the ICTR briefly summarizes:
"There is overwhelming credible evidence suggesting prima facie that Paul Kagame and his armed forces were involved in slaughter of many thousands of civilians in Rwanda in 1994 and 1995. There is significant credible evidence on the public record linking President Kagame with the shooting down of the Rwandan presidential aircraft in 1994 killing the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and all others on board."
Secondly, the meeting did not even leave room for the view summarized by Chi Mgbako, a clinical associate professor of law and director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School in New York City:
"The Rwandan government uses charges of “genocidal ideology” and “ethnic divisionism” to attack independent critics and often seems more concerned with political survival than with lasting reconciliation, manipulating the memory of the genocide for political gain."
I am sure the US political establishment, people like Ward Brehm, which has uncritically supported Paul Kagame's regime for 15 years,  has a hard time waking up to reality these days. They feel guilt and shame because their emotional and shallow reaction to Rwanda's genocide has for so long obscured their sound judgement. I predict that some will never admit that they were at least partly wrong (no doubt, people like Frederick Kempe will continue to search for lame excuses), while others will follow the crowd and claim they "allways knew Paul Kagame was a shady character". It takes courage and political leadership to admit that serious mistakes were made (for example: looking away while ethnic cleansing by RPF troops took place in Congo) and that the respected gentleman from Texas, former Ambassador to Burundi and US Senator, Robert Krueger, was right all along when he wrote:
"I can tell you, I first met Paul Kagame in August of 1994. I went to his office. He was vice president then. I wrote down basically my impressions from then I said, as long as this man is the chief executive of the country, there will never be real democracy. "
It takes courage at the State Department and the Pentagon to engage in serious selfreflection concerning it's support of RPF leadership during it's campaigns of massive slaughter. To this day it still remains a mystery, as Robert Krueger  wrote in his book "From bloodshed to hope in Burundi":
"How U.S. military leaders had become so enamored of Paul Kagame I could not fully fathom....I was appalled that these skills had so successfully overshadowed his obvious preference for dictatorship over democracy, and his tolerance, or perhaps appetite, for vengeful ethnic slaugheter, yet he was invited to the United States to be feted at the Pentagon. In time, I was sure that the truth about the RPA would come out. But how many lives would be lost, how much suffering endured, how much fear and despair would be borne in the interim?"
Considering the State Department recent involvement, through one of their policy planning staffers, in a one-sided simplistic propaganda campaign for Paul Kagame by Deborah Scranton at the Tribeca festival, I am honestly not optimistic.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

KPFA News, 07.24.2010, on Kagame, Rwanda, Congo, and Africa's Great Lakes region

Voices of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Aimable Mugara, and Maurice Carney.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why Rwanda's sham election must be stopped

by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, FDU-Inkingi

After 16 years in exile, I came back peacefully to my motherland.
Peace will be my guiding light in my political activities and the activities of my political organization, FDU INKINGI, in our endeavor to end injustice and remove all barriers to the people’s full enjoyment of their inalienable political and civil rights.

The Rwandan people are now living in anxiety and fear and are longing and yearning for a genuine policy of national unity and reconciliation.

My party and I are engaged in a political struggle which will lead us to victory against all forms of injustice and [for] genuine democracy based on the freedom of each and every one. We will soon witness sham elections in which election results are already established to hoodwink the world that the people have been given a choice. The main preoccupation [of the incumbent] is to cling to power that has been seized through the force of arms.

Read more at San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper,

Collateral Damage

Despite Kagame's vaunted "economic miracle," most Rwandans, rural subsistence farmers, live in deep poverty.

by Susan Thomson

In less than weeks, Rwandans will go to the polls to elect a president. The incumbent, Paul Kagame, head of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, continues to exert total control over the country’s election process.

Kagame, who came to power as the leader of a rebel army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), that ended the 1994 genocide, legitimized his rule in 2003 when he won the presidential elections with 95 percent of the vote nationwide. Anywhere else in Africa, and indeed the world, such a result would indicate that Kagame was hardly elected in free and fair elections. Despite the fact that Amnesty International, the European Union, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations found serious irregularities and widespread oppression in the elections, Kagame won praise from major donors such as the United States and the United Kingdom for his thoughtful and benevolent leadership of Rwanda’s rebirth as a model recipient of international aid.

Read more at San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"My job has not been to create an opposition"

The international community should carefully listen to the way Paul Kagame expresses himself in public, it gives important information on his political method. He often speaks in riddles which need solving.

On the day (words gain their specific meaning through context and timing) that the assassinated vice-president of Rwandan Greens, André Kagwa Rwisereka, was burried, Paul Kagame did not express his regret or extended his condolences as did Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. No, he made this widely published  and ambiguous statement:
"My job has not been to create an opposition, my job is to create the environment where legitimate things can happen."
The ambiguity of this statement is intentional. The statement can be interpreted in a lot of ways and can mean a lot of things. We have seen  this same strategy employed when he talked about "those leaving  the country are like human waste" a couple of months ago. He made a statement in public that could mean that he intended to kill Kayumba Nyamwasa (and the former General's wife clearly understood it that way) but it could also mean something else. The third example where Paul Kagame talks in riddles is from the interview  where Stephen Sackur grills him on the attack in april 1994 against the former Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi:
"Stephen Sackur: But you didn’t have a right to shoot down his plane and to assassinate him
President Paul Kagame: Well I had a right to fight for my rights!
Stephen Sackur: But do you believe you had a right to assassinate him?
President Paul Kagame: No, but first Habyarimana, having been on the other side that I was fighting, it was possible that he could easily die. Imagine if I had died myself in the same process? Would the same judge be asking about my death or who killed me?"
The  reason he uses these riddles is simple: Paul Kagame is  speaking to two audiences at the same time. His friends in the UK and the US who want to portray him as a "beacon of hope for Africa", but also his own RPF.

On the one hand, in the US and UK people like Hillary Clinton and Frederick Kempe can claim that indeed Kagame never said he killed opponents and that this statement only means that Rwandan civil society is still fragile after the genocide, that democracy is more then just opposition parties.

On the other hand, in Rwanda the RPF can claim, based on this statement, that it's proud leader doesn't care what the international community thinks. That the definition of what is "legitimate" is made by one man: Paul Kagame. And that in that context he is proud to have given orders to kill André Kagwa Rwisereka, and that he won't hesitate for one second to do it again if deemed necessary.

More tomorrow on how the State Department   Lacks Consistency  when it talks about democracy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kagame's "Leni Riefenstahl" : Deborah Scranton

Buhendwa Eluga, a blogging Congolese Professor of Political Science in Rwanda has just been arrested (without anyone knowing his current whereabouts). Idesbald Byabuze Katabaruka, a visiting Congolese Law professor, was arrested february 2007 in Rwanda and  released on 21 March, expelled from the country and then declared "persona non grata". The Rwandan authorities charged Mr Idesbald Byabuze Katabaruka with "threatening state security" and for having committed "offences of discrimination and sectarianism".

Koffi Olomide, another Congolese, who has just been hired by the Kagame campaign, has this famous quote:
"Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eye na escailer mpe ekomi"
Often quoted when Congolese speak of Paul Kagame's crimes and which can be translated as "Lies take the elevator, but truth takes the stairs".

I am convinced the US State Department has tried to seize the momentum surrounding the movie "Earth Made Of Glass" to feed the US public with lies and halftruths concerning the role of current Rwandan President Paul Kagame before, during and after the Rwandan genocide!

Wikipedia says:
"Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.
As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare.[1]  
When you go to the website of the film "Earth made of glass" you get a quote by Tony Blair claiming it's a "truly inspirational film". In light of Tony Blair's strong and uncritical support of Paul Kagame this immediately makes alarm bells go off.

Deborah Scranton borrowed the title from Emerson who wrote:
  “Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass.  Commit a crime and it seems as though a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole.  You cannot recall the spoken word.  You cannot wipe out a foot track.  You cannot draw up the ladder so as to leave no inlet or clue"
 The title thus refers to the main and monumental claim of the documentary which is: "the French government's hidden complicity in the genocide." As the Tribeca Review writes:
"Filmmaker Deborah Scranton's documentary prominently adopts the view of Kagame's 2008 report into what she calls "the French government's hidden complicity'' in the genocide. "
  Deborah Scranton claims:
 The film "Earth Made Of Glass" grew out of a chance dinner conversation two years ago with Paul Kagame, who she said had "inspired within me and my whole crew an incredible vision of a path to peace that I think the world could take a lesson from.''
Allthough the title implies that this documentary  reveals French government's hidden complicity in Rwanda's genocide, this movie in reality perfectly fits the definition of propaganda. The release of the movie just months ahead of the Rwandan elections is obviously aiming to influence US public opinion concerning Rwandan's current Leader. It indeed portrays Paul Kagame as the hero and France as the villains.

Which is, as Deborah Scranton should know,  a heavily contested,  controversial and problematic version of history based only on a report written by Kagame's regime (a very narrow basis ) which saw the light after Paul Kagame himself was implicated by the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere in the terrorist attack in 1994 (which killed the former presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and several French citizens). The "Bruguiere report" is not a political report, it is a rich document which shows the nature of the RPF, I invite you to read it (it's available in English). By ignoring the Bruguiere report and by also ignoring the strong case by a Spanish judge against Paul Kagame (his responsability for large-scale indiscriminate killings in Rwanda and Congo), Deborah Scranton has created a dangerous  weapon (sofar I don't think it has been very effective) for political warfare which US policy planners at the State department were eager to use.

Jared Cohen, member of the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department, tried to start a #rememberrwanda campaign on twitter. He wrote on twitter for several days " How fast can we get to 800,00 tweets of #RememberRwanda, " and even contacted head of twitter Jack Dorsey  in order to win him over for this campaign (he had previously contacted Jack Dorsey during the Iran protests on twitter). Jared Cohen  linked this campaign to Paul Kagame by having dinner with him in New York during the Tribeca Festival (and twittering about it).

Jared Cohen's well-timed "rememberrwanda" campaign was aiming to feed the US public with the "Earth Made Of Glass" propaganda. I doubt strongly that Deborah Scranton's meeting with Kagame was  coincidental (as she claims). I am convinced Jared Cohen's "campaign" (which miserably failed) was NOT coincidental but planned ahead to use the "Earth made of glas" momentum to influence public perception of Paul Kagame in the US. Deborah Scranton's claims that she made a documentary about the Rwandan genocide turned her in reality into Paul Kagame's "Leni Riefenstahl". "Manipulating the memory of the genocide" in order to oppress alternative political viewpoints does not just take place in Rwanda, but also abroad.

Defense lawyers condemn assassination of ICTR lawyer Jwani Mwaikusa

The Association of Defense Lawyers have condemned the murder of International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer and University of Dar es Salaam Law Professor Jwani Mwaikusa, who was gunned down outside his home on July 14.

Professor Mwaikusa had recently prevented the transfer of ICTR defendants to Rwanda on “lack of fair trial" grounds, and announced the appeal of his client, Yusuf Munyakazi's July 3 conviction.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

KPFA News on Rwanda, Mwaikusa assassination, ICTR, and Kagame protest in Spain, 07.18.2010:

Jwani Mwaikusa, human rights lawyer, ICTR Defense Counsel, and Law Professor at the University of Dar Es Salaam (USDM), Tanzania, was buried on Saturday, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  The gunmen who killed him outside his home there on Tuesday stole his briefcase and legal documents.  The San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper published Charles Kambanda's memories of Professor Mwaikuza, and Tanzania's "The Citizen" reported on the funeral and the ongoing investigation, quoting retired UDSM law lecturer, Prof Issa Shivji, who said:

"The circumstances of his death are very difficult to explain. It does not appear to have been an ordinary robbery. I think it was calculated and definitely had a motive. This is a brutal killing we would want our investigators to work on and give us an answer.”

KPFA Radio News reported the Association of Defense Lawyers' response:

Ghaddafi Books All Hotels In Kampala At African Union Summit

Ghaddafi has not yet lost his sense of humor:
"The clandestine booking of top-end hotel rooms in Kampala has ignited a diplomatic row between Uganda and Libya ahead of the African Union summit, which begins next week.
The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has reportedly provoked outrage among Ugandan officials by instructing his mission in the country to book more than 3,000 of the capital’s most luxurious hotel rooms, leaving virtually no top-end accommodation for the remaining delegates, the Ugandan Observer reports."

Allthough Ghaddafi made a great effort to set the tone (by attempting to force the other African delegates to resort to tents this time), he probably lost against the  blast in Kampala that killed seventy people, and which is branded 7-11 Twin attacks by Ugandansabroad (might this be the "CNN Iraq" moment for the site?) Obama and Museveni have made strong statements on the attacks "by Al-Shabaab", FBI agents have been sent to Kampala to investigate the case.

In the meantime Timothy Kalyegira, who claimed a lot of things concerning th people behind the Kayumba Nyamwasa assasination attempt (without backing up his claims sofar), has been busy writing about the Kampala attacks too. He doubts the Al-Shabaab story and thinks "M7" could be behind it. Andrew Mwenda allready sent him a note:
"Tim, do you really think M7 is heartless and cunning and evil to set off the bombs? Why do you insinuate such a thing?"

With all the bombs that went off in Bujumbura and Kigali over the last couple of months, it's obvious someone would come up with the idea that "M7" would want to make himself a little more relevant in the US with elections coming up next year. In that light it does seem like a "god-given" present for "M7".

African Union mission currently has 5,200 troops in Somalia — 3,200 Ugandan troops and 2,000 Burundian,  Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, spokesman for the Ugandan government said.  And "M7" now pledges he will send 20.000 extra troops.

 Philip J. Crowley, undersecretary of state allready put out his "strong support" on twitter:
"The United States will continue to stand with the people of #Uganda and #Somalia.The steadfast resolve demonstrated by #Uganda is the ultimate weapon against terrorists like al-Shabaab."#SecClinton spoke with President Museveni of #Uganda today, offering condolences and support following the terrorist attack in Kampala. "
Too bad the US  did not take much interest in the bombings in Kigali and Bujumbura when they happened. Terrorist acts that have had an important impact on the political debate in both countries but, as we see in the article by  Timothy Kalyegira, potentially also in the whole region.

What we do know for sure is:

Just three days after the blast in Kampala, Uganda has started an illegal operation to repatriate Rwandan refugees.

Two days after the blast in Kampala, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, vice-president of Rwanda's green party was murdered

Three days after the blast University of Dar es Salaam Law Professor and ICTR Counsel, Jwani Mwaikusa was assassinated in front of his house.

In Burundi today police arrested the journalist and  the director of Netpress, Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, for alleged “treason” saturday over an article questioning whether the security forces could deal with an attack like one that hit Uganda a week ago, an official said.

Law Professor Jwani Mwaikusa: Martyr for truth at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)?

Professor Jwani Mwaikusa: Martyr for truth

by Charles Kambanda
The identity, motive and/or sponsors of Professor Jwani Mwaikusa’s assassins, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, may remain “unknown,” meaning “unproven,” for some time, but Professor Mwaikusa’s friends and colleagues know that whoever was responsible deprived the legal fraternity and the entire human race of an irreplaceable, independent and incorruptible mind.
Read more at San Francisco, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,
Someone who identified himself only as "Dave" just left this eloquent comment in response to Kambanda's memory of Mwaikusa, on the Bay View site:
"A time will come when Kagame will be told to stop blackmailing the entire world about the terrible genocide. He will be required to stop commandeering the term genocide for personal political gain. He now should accept the hollowness of the slogan that anyone who questions him does not understand Rwanda or is a self styled expert of Rwanda or is a denier of the genocide. "   --Dave

--Ann Garrison

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Erlinder: Defense lawyers now risk assassination in East Africa

July 15, 2010 - Jwani Mwaikusa, Law Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam and defense lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, was gunned down outside his home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania yesterday, July 14.
A nephew and neighbor who attempted to come to his aide are reported to have been shot and killed as well. The assassins stole Mwaikusa's briefcase and papers from his car.
At the ICTR, Mwaikusa defended Yusuf Munyakazi, a 75-yr.-old former Rwandan businessman who was, on June 30th, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment after being convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Mwaikusa had said that he would appeal the Munyakazi conviction to the ICTR and ICTY Appeal Chamber, a separate court set up by the UN Security Council, which also created both international criminal tribunals.   

Paul Kagame Meets Families Of His Victims In Madrid Spain

Paul Kagame is expected in Spain friday july 16, a great opportunity for him to pay a visit to the families of the nine Spanish citizens that were butchered at his orders both in Rwanda and Congo:

The Spanish Committees in Solidarity with Black Africa (UMOYA) states in a declaration:
"The father Vallmajó "disappeared" in April 1994 in Byumba, apparently having witnessed the killing of 2,500 people (by the RPF) gathered in the stadium. Uzcudun Isidro was murdered in June 2000, who witnessed in his parish of Mugina that the RPF had killed 1325 people. Four Spanish Marist Brothers were killed in October 1996 in Zaire for demanding international intervention that would avoid the extermination of the refugees (by the RPF). Three Spanish Doctors of the World committed the imprudence of disseminating their discovery in January 1997 of a pit full of corpses and noted that the RPF carried out massacres of civilians in Ruhengeri. (and were subsequently assassinated) "
Adolfo Esquivel ,Nobel Peace Prize winner, and president of the well-known christian human rights organisation Servicio Paz y Justicia in Buenos- Aires has written to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero:
"I regret that the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon, does not have the wisdom and courage to avoid that an individual responsable for genocide, Paul Kagame, is honored by co-chairing with you the Committee on MDG's, to overcome hunger and poverty, the UN goals for making the world more just and humane. The contradiction here is enormous between words and deeds."
Paul Kagame is expected to explain to the families of these nine murdered Spanish Citizens how it was necessary to "dismantle the camps in eastern DRC" as he did in an interview last week on "booker rising" a blog that has fallen for Paul Kagame's cheap propaganda.

No doubt he wil also refer these families to comments by his faithfull supporters Thomas P. Odom and Stan Reber  at SmallWarsJournal:
"We are quite well aware of Alison Des Forges at HRW. The same holds true concerning the French judge (Anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere report can be read here) who issued those most dubious charges. Also aware of the Spanish charges, again dubious. No one including me --or Paul Kagame--claims that the RPA was innocent of revenge killings in 1994 into 1998. The issue has always been a question of whether government policy supported such killings. From my perspective on the ground from 1994 into 1996 it did not (ColoredOpions: Paul Kagame's own statement below contradicts this). From the perspective of my successor Rick Orth and my 2nd Ambassador Robert Gribbin it did not. Like me Bob has writtten a book on his time there"
(I would  advise these two clowns to read the Bruguiere report and listen carefully to what Jacques Hogard ,a French officer of the paratroopers of the " Légion étrangère" in Rwanda in 1994, has to say in this interview and come back with something more substantial then their usual hyped insults)

The family of the nine Spanish citizens, who filed complaint in 2005, on the other hand will refer Paul Kagame to the decision by Spanish National Court judge Fernando Andreu, in 2008, to sign an indictment against 40 senior Rwandan military officers accused of crimes, including murder of nine Spanish, missionaries and aid workers. This order states that:
    "From October 1990 onward, a group (RPF) political-military structure (--) initiated a series of criminal activities (--) and once in the power "created and developed a criminal structure parallel to the State (--), which invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo" causing indiscriminate massacres and looting. "
In 2008 Paul Kagame commented:
"If I could meet him (Fernando Andreu), I would tell him to go to hell," 
(if Fernando Andreu would live in Rwanda that would have probably meant that he would be found dead the next week, ditched in a river, and we would read in the newspaper that he was robbed)
"All the people indicted were under my command. He should put all the responsibility on my shoulders and wait until I am out of the office"
It would probably be much better for Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to invite Paul Kagame August 10,  after a firm EU declaration that it does not recognize the rigged Rwandan election process, and no longer considers Paul Kagame protected by his Presidential immunity. Then Paul Kagame could continue his discussion on MDG's in Madrid for a much longer period. He might even be spending time together with his long time friend Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Associated Press Writer" Edmund Kagire reports again

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's First Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, left, seated next to the speaker, Frank Habineza, President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and the African Greens Federation at their attempt to convene in Kigali, Rwanda, on October 30, 2009, which was broken up by violent saboteurs.  Rwisereka was found today, 07.14.2010, beheaded with a machete near Bukare, Rwanda   "Associated Press Writer Edmund Kagire" reported the story. 

Edmund Kagire, the "Associated Press writer" on the AP's report about the beheading of Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's First Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka is an illiterate fanatic who pens government propaganda for Rwandan President Paul Kagame's state owned and operated The New Times.   Edmund has followed me and my Rwanda reporting around the Web, most of all on the site of the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper, screaming "Genocide Denier!" and much worse, at me and other commenters.   In a Facebook post Edmund screamed, with regard to my reporting on Rwanda and Democratic Green Party of Rwanda President Frank Habineza, "What's the matter, Annie?  You fuck Frank???"

What kind of balanced "Associated Press Writer" is that?

In another Facebook exchange reported here on Colored Opinions, Kagire referred to William and Mitchell College of Law Professor and ICTR lawyer Peter Erlinder as a Nazi.  I reported on Erlinder's arrest in Rwanda, part of the heightening clampdown on dissidents, politicians, and defense lawyers, for Fog City Journal, the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal, and Global Research.  Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, human rights organizations, the National Lawyers Guild, and bar associations all over the world called for Erlinder's release until a Rwanda judge freed him to return to the states on medical grounds.   Freeing Erlinder on legal grounds would have undermined the whole justification of the Kagame regime that Edmund Kagire is paid to defend, by Kagame's state mouthpiece The New Times, and now, the Associated Press.

Kagire's reports in The New Times are immediately reproduced on the, a website with administrative offices in Washington D.C..

His AP story, today, July 15th, 2010, about Riswekera's grisly beheading, makes reference to the June 24th assassination of Umuvugizi reporter Jean Leonard Rugambage.  His seemingly "balanced reporting" includes this implausible explanation of Rugambage's murder:

"One of the two men charged with Rugambage's murder pleaded guilty to the charges. Rugambage's killing was linked to an article he wrote for the independent newspaper Umuvugizi in which he pointed to possible government involvement in the attempted killing the dissident general.

But Bidace Nduguyangu told a court Wednesday that he shot Rugambage because of his involvement in the 1994 genocide in which the journalist, while working for the military, allegedly killed his friend's brother.

Nduguyangu testified that he and Karemera were not happy with a two-year sentence Rugambage was given by a traditional court, so they started plotting revenge. Rugambage only served a year of his sentence for crimes linked to the genocide.

Karemera, however, denied any involvement in court. A bail hearing is expected Thursday for the two men."

This is, of course, the charade that the Kagame government can be expected to arrange, in which the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, as recounted in his regime's official history, is the cause of all evil and violence in Rwanda, now and forever, amen.  However, a truly "balanced" AP reporter might have added:

"Critics of the Kagame regime charge that he blames every ill and/or instance of violence in Rwanda on those officially identified as perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and that he himself had the most to gain by ordering the assassination of the journalist who had just accused him of ordering the assassination attempt on General Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa." 

But, without that bit of "balance," the genocide revenge story no doubt creates enough confusion in the minds of AP readers,  most of whom are barely familiar with Rwandan history or politics, to keep them from concluding that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is a coldblooded killer ordering the execution of dissident politicians and press.

Shame on the Associated Press.

Rwanda Green Party leader assassinated

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's First Vice President Andre Kagwa Rwisereka was found dead, his head almost completely severed from his body, in the wetlands of the Makula River near Butare, Rwanda, on the morning of July 14, 2010.

His body had been left approximately 3 kilometers from Butare, where his car had been dumped.  He was 61 years old and is survived by four children.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Kagame's RPF Compulsory Party Contribution

Jeroen Corduwer writes on his blog that every Rwandan citizen is forced to pay half of his salary this month in support of the RPF election campaign. This is well known tactic in African politics to intimidate people into voting for their party. For instance in Kwazulu Nathal the ANC in the eighties and nineties a local warlord called Nkabinde made himself a reputation for this used this same method. If someone refused to contribute, their house would be burned, or they would disappear.

If someone does not have the money, the RPF party members that visit you will ask you to take a loan in order to contribute. Once you have contributed, the party will look for a job for you, so you can pay back the money.

Refusing to pay makes you a supporter of ex-general Kayumba Nyamwasa, clearly meant as a terrible threat. Clearly a message that seems to indicate that the assassination attempt served a purpose inside Rwanda.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Politics of Central Africa: Peter Erlinder

Talk presented by William Mitchell College of Law professor Peter Erlinder and his Kenyan defense attorney, Gershom Otachi just after Erlinder’s returning to Minnesota from a Rwandan jail.

Erlinder outlines the context of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and modern US involvement in Africa. Otachi discusses Erlinder’s pending charges with the Rwandan government. Filmed at Mayday Bookstore

Rwanda Greens leader goes missing before election

Frank Habineza, President of the embattled Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) reported, on the morning of July 13th, that the party's First Vice President, Kagwa Rwisereka, has gone missing.

Rwisereka's family, he said, reported his car, a Toyota pick-up, found on the banks of the Mukula River in Butare, in Huye-Southern Province, near Rwanda's southern border.

Read more at Digital Journal,

"Kagame’s actions have not been in interest of either the US or the UK"

Timothy Reid, who has been a senior United Nations peacekeeping official in Rwanda and Congo, was quoted by Catherine Philips in the Sunday Times  as saying:
"calculated that even factoring in the profits of the mineral wealth Rwanda pillaged from Congo, the war there would have put it $100 million (£70 million) into the red, had it not been for the cushion of foreign aid. "
In may 2010 Timothy Reid wrote:
"Having spent quite a number of years on the front line of this conflict myself and having seen the different players in action, I think this is definitely the best account to come out. If anything, he (Gérard Prunier) is too soft on the Western countries who through cupidity, stupidity or self-interest, have pandered to Kagame and greatly helped to kill millions. I note that the biggest critic, Tom Odom, has published his own book where he essentially brags of how he helped furnish US assistance to the RPF, despite its obvious war crimes.
What’s even more pathetic is that, contrary to the claims of many activists, Kagame’s actions have not generally been in the interest of either the US or the UK, but the Hitlers, Stalins and Maos always had their admirers in the West…."
 I think Timothy Reid is making a very valuable and noteworthy observation concerning activism in relation to the great lakes region:
"contrary to the claims of many activists, Kagame's actions have not generally been in the interest of either the US or the UK"
Many activists have, for example, focused on Rwanda's current President Paul Kagame's training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as proof of US planning and backing of the 1990 invasion of Rwanda by his RPF rebel army. Statements  (from the Jean-Louis BRUGUIERE arrest warrents) by Major Tom Marley and Hermann Cohen, contradict this:
"American Major Tom MARLEY, supervisor of the "International Military Education
Training" (I.M.E.T.) programme which had benefited Uganda allegedly stated to Remigius
KINTU, director of the "Uganda Democratic Coalition" (U.D.C.) that Uganda had misled US.
personnel by proposing candidates for training who were not in fact Ugandan but Rwandan
Tutsis and members of the F.P.R.;"

"Mr Hermann COHEN, former deputy US Secretary of State for African affairs stated during
his 7 July 1998 testimony before the French Parliamentary Commission that "the United
States gave no assistance to the F.P.R. Approximately one dozen officers who were members
of the F.P.R. followed training in the United States but it was within the framework of
military cooperation between the United States and Uganda";
Allthough Congo's mineral resources have certainly played a role in the continuation of Congo's conflict, I am convinced, with Tim Reid, that the quality of the debate concerning the great lakes region would profit if we would focus more on the devastating role the Pentagon has played, through it's IMET training programs, in "stoking the flames".

In other words, I am convinced activists should focus more on exposing "stupidity" as major foce behind US and UK backing of Paul Kagame's actions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

KPFA News: election observers in Africa, 2010

Text of what Rwandan American lawyer, former RPF member, and former Makerere University professor Charles Kambanda said about the US and UK's "election observers" on their way to Rwanda for the August 9th polls:

"When we talk about a free and fair election, we are not talking about the election day. We are not talking about a few hours after the election or before the election. We are looking at the entire social political environment before, during, and after elections. Anyone who has been observing events in Rwanda knows that it is impossible to have free and fair elections, so why do people seriously think of going there to observe elections? Which elections are they going to observe? There is nothing to be observed because what we have is a one man show. What we have is a situation where they have created the so-called opposition. RPF has kicked out all the potential political opposition leaders; they are either in prison, or, they are already dead, or in exile."

Rwandan exile, writer, blogger, and activist Aimable Mugara, on election observers in Rwanda, as quoted in Digital Journal and the San Francisco Bay View, National Black Newspaper:

“Rwanda’s electoral commission has certified only four candidates,” says Aimable Mugara, a Rwandan exile, writer, blogger and activist now living in Ottawa, Canada, who survived Rwanda’s 1994 massacres. “The candidates are Gen. Kagame and three of his political friends, who have never ever criticized the ruling party for anything. This means that the people of Rwanda have no choice whatsoever. No choice means no election."

“Therefore, foreign election observers planning to go to Rwanda to observe the ‘election’ this August are wasting time and money. I would recommend that they stay in their countries and write their reports based on all the insane actions Gen. Kagame’s ruling party has taken since the beginning of this year, actions that make this so-called election null and void.”

I'm now collecting quotations, what Rwandans in country and out, have to say about these "election observers" from the US and the UK, a.k.a., in this case, the Commonwealth, though I know that most Rwandans in country are less than free to speak their own minds. 

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza and the FDU-Inkingi Party are urging Rwandans to boycott the August 9th elections as the US and UK, a.k.a., Commonwealth, prepare to send "observers." 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Kagame arrests another journalist, UK defunds its Media Council

07.09.2010 - Two weeks after the murder of Rwandan journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage, following his criticism of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Rwandan Police arrested Agnes Uwimana, the director of a privately owned newspaper.

Uwimana, prior to her arrest this week, served a one-year jail sentence for defamation and promoting division, a crime equivalent to "politics" in Rwanda, attempting to challenge President Kagame's power or version of the tragic 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Oakland outraged at Mehserle verdict: involuntary manslaughter

Ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop Johannes Mehserle at work, January 2009.  

Oakland - Riots broke out in Oakland, California, on the night of Thursday, July 8th, after a Los Angeles jury in the Johannes Mehserle case reported a verdict of "involuntary manslaughter, with a gun."

Involuntary manslaughter calls for a 2 to 4 year sentence, "with a gun" seems to add 1, 3, 4, or 10 years, but reports of sentencing possibilities still vary widely, as attention turns to the upcoming August 7th sentence hearing, in Los Angeles.

Mehserle, a 28-year-old white ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman, pulled his gun and shot Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African American apprentice butcher and father of a four-year-old daughter, in the back, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2009.   Video records show that Grant was prostrate on the BART platform, with hands restrained behind his back when Mehserle shot him.   The defense argued that Mehserle had mistaken his gun for his tazer.

Read more at Digital Journal,

Operation UMUSAMBI

Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana, who's statements plays an important role in Peter Erlinder's dispute with Brian Atwood  wrote a very enigmatic blogpost  a few days before General Kayumba Nyamwasa was shot in Johannesburg. The quote that I keep trying to understand is this:
"Certains milieux bien informés affirment qu’un budget de 15 millions de dollars vient d'être  été alloué à l’opération  UMUSAMBI  « Grue couronnée ».  Comprenne qui pourra ou plutôt qui voudra. Mais, Kayumba le sait. C'est pourquoi il veut se rendre en Espagne. Mais Kagame refuse. Un bras de fer entre L'Espagne, Kayumba et surtout Paul Kagame. Qui en sortira vainqueur?  Qui des trois protagonistes risque-t-il d'attendre la semaine des quatre jeudis? A suivre!"
Since two days we now know that France has added it's extradition request too, which sets the number of protagonists that wan't to reach  "la semaine des quatre jeudis"  (the impossible) at four in my view. It's premature to speculate on the outcome.

The really interesting part of this post is the 15 million dollars that have been allocated to "Operation UMUSAMBI". Is Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana saying that 15 million dollars were payed in order to assassinate Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa? It does sound like it, because Jean-Marie adds it as an important additonal reason for Kayumba Nyamwasa to want to reach Spain.

If so, and I don't see any other option, Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana has become an important witness in the Kayumba Nyamwasa case, and the South African investigators should call him immediately and interogate him. And I would also advise Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana to hire a very reliable personal security firm.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rwanda: FDU blames police torture after Muhirwa faints in court

FDU-Inkingi Party Treasurer Alice Muhirwa on the ground outside a Kigali courtroom, where she fainted during a ten hour proceeding.

FDU-Inkingi Party leader and presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire reported that the FDU's Treasurer, Alice Muhirwa, mother of two, fainted in a Rwandan courtroom yesterday due to untreated torture wounds inflicted by the Rwandan Police.

Ms. Muhirwa and other FDU-Inkingi Party members, and members of Rwanda's P.S.-Imberakuri Party, are charged with endangering the state by protesting and with genocide ideology, a vague crime unique to Rwanda which means, essentially, disagreeing with the official history of the Rwanda Genocide and incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Read more at Digital Journal,

No "need to deny or apologise for trying to kill a terrorist"

According to Charles Onyango-Obbo, the managing editor for convergence and new products at the Nation Media Group in Kenya: 
" The Kigali government accuses Kayumba of terrorism (linking him to the FDLR). In global comparison, Kayumba and Karegyeya are terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. It is the stated policy of the US government to find Bin Laden and, if he cannot be captured alive, kill him. Therefore, the government in Kigali would not need to deny or apologise for trying to kill a terrorist."
Rwanda's government has consistently accused it's "ennemies" of links to the FDLR. For example: Robert Krueger  (respected gentleman from Texas) and Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Rwanda hero) have been accused  in 2008 of sending arms to the FDLR by Rwanda's Ambassador to the US. Claims that have obviously not  been substantiated since.

Louise Mushikiwabo was information minister at least since 2007 when she wrote:
`For those who do not know much about Rwanda's history of the last 40 years, it is the likes of Rusesabagina who brought Rwanda close to extinction --men/women who talk from both sides of their mouthes, political opportunists whose ambition comes before the lives of their countrypeople. Rusesabagina must be stopped.`

"Being stopped" apparently meant "create false stories of links between Rusesabagina, Krueger and the FDLR". Louise Mushikiwabo has not apologized or retracted these false claims which makes herself one of those  " political opportunists whose ambition comes before the lives of their countrypeople".

Today Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda's Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs made the following  broad statement :
"Rwanda is a country that has enemies. That is not a secret - that are trying to discredit this country before elections, and to create trouble,"
In the context of this transparent public relations effort of linking political opponents to the FDLR, a listed terrorist organisation, the regime in Kigali is consistently working on it's strategy to some day be able toclaim it had  no "need to deny or apologise for trying to kill a terrorist"

Using false accusations of links to a terrorist organsations in an ongoing public relations effort  to stay in power is not only irresponsable, it's counterproductive. In february Richard Durbin, Senator from Illinois (D) suggested

"Rwanda should publish the names of FDLR fighters accused of violating human rights."
Leadership is more then tactics and public relations. Leadership is grabbing a hand extended in reconciliation and listening carefully when humble advice is given, like that from the above mentioned respected gentleman from Illinois. If this election cycle in Rwanda was a test of "leadership", not just the tragic figure of Paul Kagame has failed, but especially his advisers. People like Louise Mushikiwabo and Michael Fairbanks.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Voice of the Cape Drive Time/South Africa Interview on Rwanda, Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command

On July 6th, I spoke to Shanaaz Ebrahim on Voice of the Cape Drive Time about Rwanda, eastern Congo, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, and why I, as an American, feel compelled to study and speak out about this:

--Ann Garrison

"Naturally, there is no truth to this"

Important Update on Louise Mushikiwabo versus South Africa-  Nyamwasa :

Today Justice ministry spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that France had requested South Africa to extradite lieutenant-general Kayumba Nyamwasa, just 4 days after a new Rwandan ambassador presented his credentials in Paris (Rwanda had recalled it's ambassador in 2006 because of this warrant):  " France has requested South Africa to extradite a Rwandan general, who was once a high commissioner to India, to face charges related to his alleged role in the 1994 assassination of the leaders of Rwanda and Burundi."


Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso is former South African ambassador to Ivory Coast and now Ambassador to Rwanda, he was the leader of the UMD  in Eastern Cape (until 2001 when he joined ANC) and still is also the head of AmaKhonjwayo tribe in South Africa. As head of this tribe he is also involved in a dispute  about seniority with the Ndamase family. At the funeral (february 2010) of his younger brother, Nkosi Michael Gcinikhaya Gwadiso, a member of the National House of Traditional Leaders, he stated:
“We pay no allegiance to the Ndamases. My father (Nkosi Ferguson Gwadiso) never paid allegiance to them until he died and we will never pay allegiance to the house of Ndamase, never"
Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso is probably no fan of the iconic Nelson Mandela Vukani shirts that are designed by Sonwabile Ndamase:
Just months after joining the ANC in 2001  Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso became ambassador to Ivory Coast. I hope he stands his ground in Rwanda where he just got summoned by Louise Mushikiwabo over the Nyamwasa case, she said:
"Some insinuations emanating from official circles in South Africa and carried in the media appear to be pointing a finger at the Rwandan government,"
"I have summoned the South African ambassador (Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso) on Tuesday to convey the concern of the Rwandan government over the way the investigation is carried out"
"Naturally, there is no truth to this. We find these insinuations very alarming,"
Aimable Mugara, a Rwandan immigrant living in Canada,  in his weekly letter to President Paul kagame in the run up to august "elections" comments on Louise Mushikiwabo's statements as follow:
"Your government’s spokesperson, Ms. Mushikiwabo has been admonishing anyone who dares think that your government could have been behind the killing of this journalist as well as the failed assassination of the General. Unfortunately, the list of people who have worked with you and ended up dead soon after there were any disagreements with you or perceived disagreement is extremely long. The following are just some of the names:

1. The Late Colonel Charles Ngoga
2. The Late Colonel Lizinde
3. The Late Colonel Augustin Cyiza
4. The Late Lt Col. Wilson Rutayisire (alias Shaban)
5. The Late Major Rachid Mugisha (alias Kyojo)
6. The Late Captain Serwanda
7. The Late Major Alex Ruzindana
8. The Late Major John Birasa
9. The Late Captain Eddy
10. The Late Captain S. Kavuma
11. The Late Captain David Sabuni
12. The Late Lieutenant Aloys Rupari
13. The Late Second Lieutenant Dan Ndaruhutse
14. The Late Lieutenant Karegeya
15. The Late Lieutenant Rwagasana
16. The Late Lieutenant Dan Twahirwa
17. The Late Lieutenant Fred Gatumbura
18. The Late Second Lieutenant Peter Sempa
19. The Late Lieutenant Jean-Claude Ruraza
20. The Late Sergeant Nyirumuringa
21. The Late Interior Minister Seth Sendashonga
22. The Late Bank CEO Pasteur Musabe
23. The Late Deputy Chief Justice Vincent Nsanzabaganwa
24. The Late Your former presidential advisor Assiel Kabera
25. The Late Parliamentarian Leonard Hitimana"