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The NYT Makes Excuses for Rwanda’s Genocide in Congo

Companies who “do business” in Democratic Republic of Congo

On page eight of the New York Times May 29, 2012 edition is a story about a leaked United Nations report which shows Rwandans were recruited by the Rwandan government to go fight in Democratic Republic of Congo, or the D.R.C.

Josh Kron’s article “U.N. Report Says Rwandans Recruited to Fight in Congo” reports that “rebel soldiers who have defected told United Nations officials that they were Rwandans who had been sent across the border to fight in a mutiny in eastern Congo that has displaced tens of thousands of civilians.”

Kron also reports that “Rwandan authorities have been seemingly complicit in recruiting soldiers for the new Congolese rebel leader, Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

It is rare to read this level of criticism of the Rwandan government in the New York Times. Rwanda is an important U.S. ally in Africa, and the “paper of record” often complements U.S. interests by providing differential treatment towards allies and foes.

So it comes as no surprise to see Kron makes excuse for Rwanda’s genocidal involvement in D.R.C.—a resource-rich African country which has suffered considerably and continuously since the late 1800s ever since colonial powers discovered the country’s wealth—and get a number of other issues wrong in the process.

For Kron, the reason Rwanda is even in D.R.C. is for self defense.

Tensions [between Rwanda and D.R.C.] began soon after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were killed by Hutus. Many organizers of the genocide fled across the border and later established a Hutu rebel group in eastern Congo bent on overturning the Rwandan government. Various militias supported by neighboring countries have been organized in Congo over the years. Rwanda in particular was accused of supporting Laurent Nkunda, a Congolese rebel who is also an ethnic Tutsi, and his movement, known as the National Congress for the People’s Defense, or the C.N.D.P., which in 2008 threatened to overturn the Congolese government.

There are quite a few things wrong with this statement. For starters, “800,000 ethnic Tutsis” is 200,000 more Tutsis than there were in the 1991 census. And with a reported 300,000 survivors that leaves the figure half-a-million high. Of the roughly one million killed in the Rwandan genocide, the majority were Hutu’s. The significance of this exposes a gaping hole in the official version of the Rwandan genocide: If the majority of the killed were Hutu, then who killed them and why?

Rwanda’s dominant politicay party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (R.P.F.), which is headed by the country’s President Paul Kagame, has its roots in Uganda. The R.P.F. was an official arm of the Ugandan military, and consisted largely of Rwandan exiles that were a part of the U.S.-backed National Resistance Army, which was led by now Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni. Paul Kagame was the head of military intelligence for the N.R.A., which was an armed militia whose goal was to seize power in Uganda. After they successfully did so in the mid-1980s, the R.P.F. was created to carry out a similar plan in Rwanda. And on October 1, 1990 the R.P.F. invaded Rwanda from Uganda. And for nearly four years the R.P.F. conducted a plan to destabilize and overthrow the government, which came to a crescendo on April 6, 1994 when the R.P.F. assassinated President Habyarimana, and carried out a massive military offensive.

A couple of American analysts, Christian Davenport and Alan Stam, who studied the conflict closely noted in their article “What Really Happened in Rwanda?” that,

Perhaps the most shocking result of our combination of information on troop locations involved the invasion itself: The killings in the zone controlled by the FAR seemed to escalate as the RPF moved into the country and acquired more territory. When the RPF advanced, large-scale killings escalated. When the RPF stopped, large-scale killings largely decreased. The data revealed in our maps was consistent with FAR claims that it would have stopped much of the killing if the RPF had simply called a halt to its invasion. This conclusion runs counter to the Kagame administration’s claims that the RPF continued its invasion to bring a halt to the killings.

It was the R.P.F. who was the main antagonist in the conflict, and who largely outgunned the Rwandan military—which explains how they were able to overthrow an entire government in less than 100 days, and send their military forces fleeing to neighboring countries.

And this pattern, which occurred in Uganda, and repeated in Rwanda, was again carried out in Democratic Republic of Congo when Uganda and Rwanda invaded, overthrew the government of President Mobutu, and began butchering people. This was facilitated through men like General Ntaganda, who Kron describes as once having “military ties to [Paul Kagame’s] government.”

Kron goes on to write that, “Although [Ntaganda] was accused of orchestrating a massacre in eastern Congo as a rebel in 2008, General Ntaganda became a senior officer in the Congolese Army, working alongside the United Nations as well as Rwanda to subdue the Hutu rebels.”

This is very misleading, especially the word “although.” It is inaccurate to give the impression that Ntaganda’s record as a war criminal is an aberration in regards to his relationship with Kagame’s Rwanda. The leaked report and a previous U.N. report show that the Rwandan government is deeply involved in human rights abuses in the neighboring country. According to the U.N. Mapping report, which describes “The systematic attacks, in particular killings and massacres perpetrated against members of the Hutu ethnic group”:

These attacks resulted in a very large number of victims, probably tens of thousands of members of the Hutu ethnic group, all nationalities combined. In the vast majority of cases reported, it was not a question of people killed unintentionally in the course of combat, but people targeted primarily by AFDL/APR/FAB forces and executed in their hundreds, often with edged weapons. The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who posed no threat to the attacking forces. Numerous serious attacks on the physical or pyschological integrity of members of the group were also committed, with a very high number of Hutus shot, raped, burnt or beaten. Very large numbers of victims were forced to flee and travel long distances to escape their pursuers, who were trying to kill them. The hunt lasted for months, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of people subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions, without access to food or medication. On several occasions, the humanitarian aid intended for them was deliberately blocked …

And unlike Kron’s article, the mapping report also deals considerably with mineral exploitation. Democratic Republic of Congo is a very wealthy country, and the report states that, “A growing number of foreign actors became directly involved in exploiting the D.R.C.’s natural resources.” The report then names Rwanda and Uganda as doing so “either through the intermediary of their Congolese partners [writers note: e.g. Ntaganda] or connections or by directly occupying a part of the country.” In sum, the report stresses that, “Given the weakness and corruption of the central government, the D.R.C.’s wealth was within the grasp of any group violent and determined enough to impose its control by force.”

Another misleading aspect of Kron’s excuse for Rwanda’s involvement is the comment about “organizers of the [Rwandan] genocide fled across the border” to D.R.C. It is worth pointing out here that there are no “organizers,” at least as long as we keep to the official version which claims a Hutu conspiracy. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (I.C.T.R.) has not convicted one person for the conspiracy or planning of genocide. The largest trial to date, that of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora and a few other former high-ranking Rwandan military officials, ended with an acquittal on charges of planning a genocide. The inability to uncover a plot to commit genocide, however, is largely due to the court’s unwillingness to consider or prosecute an R.P.F. conspiracy—where evidence is abound.

Furthermore, Rwanda was targeting a lot more than so-called “organizers of the genocide” in their effort “to subdue the Hutu rebels.” Australian soldiers doing United Nations peacekeeping work bore witness to the carnage of Rwandan forces against unarmed civilians. As reported in Australia’s Herald Sun:

By early 1995, the displaced persons’ camp at Kibeho was the biggest in Rwanda, sprawling for 9sq km and containing 80,000 to 100,000 people.

The 32 Australian soldiers and medical officers arrived there as part of the UN peacekeeping force on April 18, 1995.

There were daily random killings by the Rwandan soldiers, but the slaughter exploded out of control soon after 10am on April 22. The Australians had a grandstand view of the nightmare from the Zambian compound.

The RPA soldiers murdered women and children right up to the UN wire. Bodies were everywhere. For the Diggers behind the wire, the next few hours were agonising.

For the refugees, there was nowhere to run.

As the Australians collected the wounded from among the piles of dead, the crisis began to escalate as panic-stricken Hutus overran the Zambian compound, driven forward by machete-and rifle wielding militia.

Hundreds were killed in the crush and the Australians were forced to repel at bayonet point the terrified victims they were supposed to be protecting, pushing them back into the RPA killing zone.

The RPA went wild and cut loose with another hail of fire on the panicking crowd.

All of this, and more, goes a long way to explaining why, as Kron put it, “The relationship between Rwanda and Congo has long been considered crucial to the stability in one of Africa’s least stable regions, an area laid waste by militias over the last two decades.” This is partially accurate. The problem here is that Rwanda is not at the top of the political pyramid. While the Times will publish Kron acknowledging that Rwanda is recruiting forces for militias in D.R.C., what is inconspicuously missing from the article is that the destabilization of Congo—which has seen around ten million killed and millions more displaced since the Rwandan and Ugandan invasion in 1996—is part of a U.S. imperial project to control and exploit the wealth of the Great Lakes region.

The unwillingness to identify Rwanda as a subordinate of the United States (in fact the U.S. and U.S. businesses are completely missing in the article), or a major component of the “conflict mineral” wars, or to provide accurate information on the Rwandan genocide (which is absurdly used to explain why Rwandan forces are in D.R.C.), and such, leaves the article void of any means for readers to understand what is really going on.

The impression that is given, that Rwanda is merely involved to protect itself from “a Hutu rebel group in eastern Congo bent on overturning the Rwandan government” and thus supporting criminals like Ntaganda (who have gone astray from their noble purpose), is simply not true. Not only is the R.P.F. a considerably more powerful military force than the Hutu forces, as the events of the last 20 years show, but the narrative is a total distraction from what really happened and is happening, and why.

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NYT on Kissinger-TSA Incident: ‘TSA screeners have yet to catch a terrorist’

Former Secretary of State, and notorious war criminal, Henry Kissinger

Yesterday it was widely reported in the news that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was given a full pat down by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents who didn’t know who the famous statesman was. Even the New York Times briefly covered it in a 129-word blog by one of their editors, Juliet Lapidos.

Lapidos writes that, “TSA screeners have yet to catch a terrorist.”

This is a half-truth since apparently TSA let Henry Kissinger board the plane. Had the TSA agents detained Kissinger they would’ve arrested one of the most criminal terrorists in modern history; a man who once told a Congressional committee about the high crimes and misdemeanors he was intimately a part of: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”

The National Security Archive website over at George Washington University is filled with declassified examples. Nearly a dozen of them deal specifically with Kissinger.

There were plannings on terrorizing Chileans, and bringing Hell to the South American country if the citizens were to vote the wrong way. The people of Chile did vote the wrong way (at least by Nixon’s standards), and on September 11, 1973, the U.S. government did unleash terror on the population, which lasted for decades in what Chileans call “the first 9-11”.

Secretary Kissinger is quoted as telling Argentine generals that, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.” There were, and they did. The results were deadly. The generals had quality teachers: Nazi’s who escaped Europe via the ratlines. And like their predecessors, the Argentine military rounded up tens of thousands of leftists and dissidents and summarily killed them.

Another publication has Kissinger quoted as telling the generals: “The quicker you succeed the better.”

In one of the biggest genocides in the last half of the 20the century—where roughly a quarter of the population was killed—we find it was President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who gave the “green light” for Indonesia to invade and occupy East Timor for a quarter century. Writing in his retrospective on the tragic affair, Noam Chomsky, noted that,

There was no need to threaten bombing or even sanctions. It would have sufficed for the US and its allies to withdraw their active participation, and inform their close associates in the Indonesian military command that the atrocities must be terminated and the territory granted the right of self-determination . . .

Chomsky was correct. A few years after noting the significance of U.S. support there was a truth commission, with documents supplied by The National Security Archive. The report concluded that U.S. “political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation” of East Timor.

Following the quick defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War in the summer of 1967, Israel used their military success to continue rejecting peace offers. And in 1971 when Egypt offered Israel peace, the latter rejected. It was this refusal to make peace that paved the way to the Yom Kippur War in 1973, which if it were not for last minute U.S. support, Israel would likely have been defeated. And it should come as no surprise that it was Henry Kissinger himself who gave the “green light” for Israel “to breach a cease-fire agreement arranged with the Soviet Union,” and carry out the major military offensive.

In probably the most incriminating piece of evidence, there is the occurrence where Kissinger followed President Nixon’s order to carry out a “massive bombing campaign” in Cambodia, which the President ordered the attack to target “anything that flys [or] anything that moves.” Just as the American war in Afghanistan is spilling over into neighboring Pakistan, the American war in Vietnam spread to Cambodia and Laos. In Cambodia, the U.S. took sides in a civil war, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

As for the last comment on Cambodia, the New York Times is well aware of it since they quoted it in a piece they published just shy of eight years ago: “Kissinger Tapes Describe Crises, War and Stark Photos of Abuse.”

Few statesmen in the world have this kind of easily accessible documentation showcasing their terror, aggression and criminality. Had this kind of evidence existed for Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, or various Rwandan government and military officials—all subjected to victor’s justice—the trials would’ve been open and shut.

Rather than note the criminal background of Henry Kissinger, and how he has never been brought to justice, Lapidos illustrates the quality and integrity of a staff editor for one of the largest and most prestigious news sources when she takes a jab at the TSA for “patting down octogenarians.”

NYT Admits Ahmadinejad Never Threatend to Wipe Israel Off the Map but . . .

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

After seven long years of warmongering fanatics in Israel and the U.S. claiming that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad threatened to exterminate Israel, the New York Times finally decided to investigate.

In Robert Mackey’s blog, “Israeli Minister Agrees Ahmadinejad Never Said Israel ‘Must Be Wiped Off the Map’,” readers are told how Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Dan Meridor, recently sat down with Al Jazeera’s Teymoor Nabili, where the latter said,

This idea that Iran wants to wipe Israel out, now that’s a common trope that is put about by a lot of people in Israel, a lot of people in the United States, but as we know Ahmadinejad didn’t say that he plans to exterminate Israel, nor did he say that Iran’s policy is to exterminate Israel.

—to which Meridor replied, “You’re right.”

Elsewhere on the fringe of the media it was widely known that Ahmadinejad never said Iran wanted to exterminate Israel, and that a more accurate interpretation was that the current regime will not last; that history will eventually see the nightmare pass. It was more a prophetic statement about what Ahmadinejad saw as inevitable. The Zionist government in Israel, that is stealing and occupying Palestinian land, abusing non-Jews, and waging wars against its neighbors will not last forever.

And while it’s still a bomb-shell of an admission there is a “but.” Despite the fact that Mackey finally lets the cat out of the bag, Iran’s negative view of Israel is still harped on as some sign that they are the bad guy. It is never considered that the myth has been exploited for seven years by those who want war, and how such warmongering from the U.S. and Israel might be behind Iran’s negative views. You see, we can be frothing at the mouth with eagerness to attack another country—while running for President back in 2008 Hillary Clinton can say she would “totally obliterate,” and President Obama can smile while saying “all options are on the table” when referring to a military attack against Iran—but our press will ignore that and focus on those who are declared an “enemy” of the state.

For example, Mackey writes that, “Mr. Meridor also pointed out that Iran’s leaders have continued to deny Israel’s right to exist and used highly inflammatory terms to describe the state.” The blog continues with numerous examples of this, even accompanied with pictures that are supposed to show the depth of Iranian depravity.

Mackey, however, does not deal with the grim realities of Israel’s polices in the region, and towards its own non-Jewish minorities. In other words, the context of why Iran, and many others, hold such negative views of Israel is never explored. The word “Palestine” or “Palestinian” is not mentioned at all, nor are the settlements and massive wars of aggression like the attack on Gaza in 2008/2009. Decades of expanding settlements, kidnappings, Mossad terrorist attacks against Iranian scientists, Israeli invasions, torture, murder, and more are completely expunged—leaving nothing but the horrible things Iran says about Israel.

In the middle of all this talk about not recognizing Israel’s right to exist, or wiping Israel off the map, there is no talk about Israel not recognizing Palestine’s right to exist, or there very real policies of slowly wiping Palestine off the map.

Notice this map ends at 1999; a lot more land has been gobbled up over the last 13 years

It was also very disconcerting to read where Mackey wrote that Ahmadinejad has “made so little effort to explain that he was misquoted,” but he never questions why Western media made so little effort to ask him.

And that brings up another thing that I have always found revealing about the journalistic integrity of the New York Times, and other Western media sources.

In May 2003 it was revealed by investigative journalist Gareth Porter that Iran made a peace offer to the U.S. and Israel, and that President Bush punished the messenger for delivering the offer.

We also know that Iran has supported FISSBAN, an international program that would put nuclear facilities under strict control and supervision of a team of international inspectors.

This begs a few questions: Why, in the middle of the drums to war, has the NYT, and other mainstream sources of the so-called “free press,” not explicitly asked Ahmadinejad: “Mr. President, does your 2003 peace offer still stand?,” and, “Does your government still support FISSBAN?” These two questions could go a long way to easing tensions and making peace. Readers of the Times should be inquiring as to why the “paper of record” has “made so little effort” to use their prominence, and simply ask.

NYT on Victoire Ingabire and Aung San Suu Kyi

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Victoire Ingabire and Aung San Suu Kyi
Two countries.
Two dictatorships.
Two women.
Both are political opponents to an oppressive government.
Both jailed and put through a kangaroo court trial.
Meet Aung San Suu Ky, a Burmese dissident and political opponent to the status quo.

Now meet Victoire Ingabire, a Rwandan dissident and political opponent to the status quo.

There is only one difference between them, and it makes all the difference in the world.

Burma is not an ally of the United States. For decades the U.S. government has singled out Burma for punishment over its human rights record (while conveniently ignoring that of itself and its allies).

Rwanda, however, is an important ally of the U.S. Their dictator, President Paul Kagame, received military training at Fort Leavenworth. Kagame was aided throughout his invasion of Rwanda in 1990, and that support continued all the way through the assassination of former President Habyarimana and the genocide in 1994, when Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the government and established the current regime. The U.S. has even stood behind Kagame as he and Uganda’s President Museveni invaded and occupied Democratic Republic of Congo, extinguishing between 6-10 million lives.
Through the pressure of U.S. and its allies Aung San Suu Kyi was eventually released and elected to office, which she will assume next week.
Ms. Ingabire, on the other hand, has received no support from the U.S. She sits in jail under bogus charges and awaits the finale of her kangaroo trial.
This bias extends beyond the U.S. government and to the New York Times, the so-called “paper of record” which cynically provides “all the news fit to print.”
As I have shown repeatedly throughout my column for the NYTimes eXaminer, the NYT is by now so embedded with the Western establishment that it reads like George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth from his classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Consider the following.

If you put in Victoire Ingabire’s name in the search engine at the NYT you will receive no more than 14 articles. A similar search for Aung San Suu Kyi will yield you 591 articles. That’s a ratio of 42 to 1.
The only significant difference between them is that, for one, their oppressor is an ally, while the others is not. It would be beyond the stretch of the imagination to believe that it is not that difference that exlpains how two women can be treated so dramatically different—not just by the U.S. government, but by the New York Times as well.
•  •  •

For more information on the plight of Ms. Ingabire please watch this 35 minute video posted on YouTube.com: INGABIRE,THE RWANDAN AUNG SAN SUU KYI.