Friday, May 30, 2014

Pacifica/KPFA Radio's new 8 am host and the Congo conflict

Sonali Kolhatkar
KPFA's new 8 am host

The most serious complaint against yanking Pacifica's KPFA-Berkeley's 8 am Morning Mix off the air to replace it with Sonali Kolhatkar's Uprising, a syndicated show from KPFK-LA, is that she displaced racially and intellectually diverse local voices who are on the ground in local struggles in the station's Northern California fm signal area. Those voices include Richmond residents trying to keep Chevron from buying their next Mayor and City Council, cities and counties' trying to become clean energy buyers' co-ops, and the campaigns for justice for Andy Lopez, Alan Blueford, Alex Nieto, and other victims of police violence.

However, there are more reasons to protest the sudden placement of Uprising in KPFA's 8 am slot, including Kolhatkar's coverage of U.S. wars in Africa, which she consistently fails to understand as such, despite her credentials as an opponent of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Kolhatkar has repeatedly reproduced corporate and militarist narratives that mask U.S. involvement in African conflicts, particularly in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, which includes Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 2010, on Pacifica's KPFK Radio-Los Angeles, Kolhatkar interviewed Louise Arbour, the President and CEO of the International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG Board and Senior Advisory Group are composed of former top state department, UN, and military officials and top corporate executives from around the world, including former NATO Allied Supreme Commander Wesley Clark, and Canadian mining and oil baron Frank Giustra. Giustra became the most generous donor to former President Bill Clinton's foundation, after Clinton helped him secure exclusive rights to mine Kazakhstan's uranium.

Kolhatkar, however,  did not identify any members of the International Crisis Group, and without question, allowed Arbour to characterize it as a "civil society group." She did not ask Arbour why, as the former Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, she protected Rwandan "President" Paul Kagame from prosecution for the assassination of his predecessor, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. Instead Kolhatkar presented Arbour as a leader and thinker qualified to propose peaceful solutions for DR Congo, not as part of the problem, even as Kagame covertly continued his catastrophic war and plunder there.

Louise Arbour 

As the ICTR's Chief Prosecutor, Arbour suppressed the evidence delivered to her by UN Special Investigator Michael Hourigan and accused him of working outside his brief, even though he had been officially tasked with investigating the assassination of the two presidents with a missile that shot their plane out of the sky, as they flew home after signing a peace agreement to end the 1990-1994 war between the Rwandan Army and Ugandan army troops led by General Paul Kagame.

Hourigan later testified that he had submitted firsthand witness testimony that Kagame ordered the assassinations, but that Arbour had suppressed his report. The KPFA Evening News reported on Hourigan's death and the significance of his work in 2013.

After assassinating two African presidents and seizing power in Rwanda''s capital Kigali, Kagame and his mentor, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, invaded neighboring DR Congo, starting the First and Second Congo Wars and ongoing conflict that have cost well over six million lives. The U.S. backed those catastrophic invasions, which displaced France as the dominant power in the DRC, as even Newsweek reported in 1997, but Kolhatkar made no mention of that.

Information about the International Crisis Group and about Louise Arbour's role in protecting President Kagame is readily available online. Indeed, Arbour offered ICG's website,, to Kolhatkar and KPFK listeners.

This 2010 interview with Louise Arbour, former Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, is just one example of an collaborator and advocate for U.S. wars in Africa featured on KPFK-Uprising's airwaves after being introduced as an advocates for peace.  Since the names of others are no more familiar to American audiences than Louise Arbour's, I can't simply list names and expect the list to be meaningful without context.  That will have to be the subject of another, longer article, on Pacifica's broader trend toward advocacy of US wars.

I have no evidence that Sonali Kolhatker or any other Pacifica host has been intentionally promoting advocates for war as advocates for peace, but ignorance is no excuse, especially with so much information about any public figure now so readily available online.

And the Pacifica Radio Network is, by name, committed to peace.

To listen to Kolhatkar's 2010 interview with Louise Arbour, click segment #1, "Arbour,"


Unknown said...

In the case of ignoring US responsibility for the Rwandan holocaust and other crimes of her guest we can't attribute to politeness Sonali's aiding and abetting murder of millions upon millions in violation of Title 18 section 1116, 1117 and 182, 187 CPC, the laws against conspiracy to murder, unless we also assume she might need help crossing the street or tying her shoes which is not the case...To be fair, if Sonali is a Stockholm Syndrome hostage she knows "if you're not with us the terrorists will get you" (and what good does it do to know the terrorist is us)...on the other hand if this is a second job for her...Mockingbirds mock our inability to credulously add one un-intercepted drone flight through controlled airspace to another to get 3 demolitions, and an attack by our foreign victims...and why wouldn't they attack us? the absence of details it might sound credible on the surface...but the jurors get to so through those details in our trials for confronting the murderers so until I see her government check I have to assume she is acting under duress which would make it manslaughter...still actionable under Lawful Restraint or citizen's arrest

Blogger said...

You might qualify for a new government sponsored solar energy program.
Find out if you qualify now!