Saturday, December 30, 2006

Chavez Calls for United Socialist Party of Venezuela

I have not found this subject discussed on the left. Chavez calling for a socialist formation has deep implications. Was the story lost because of the holiday season?

What kind of party is this going to be? A social democratic mass party or a combat party made of advanced cadre?

Thank you Venezuela Analysis and In Defense of Marxism.

By: Gregory Wilpert -

Caracas, December 18, 2006 (— In an event to celebrate the successful reelection of President Chavez, Chavez called on his followers to dissolve their existing parties and to form a new “United Socialist Party of Venezuela.” Chavez also explained that the main project for the next term is to “construct socialism from below,” via this new party.

The celebration was held last Friday in the Teresa Carreño Theater, with the participation of Chavez’s campaign team, the Commando Miranda, and the supporters that had organized in neighborhoods for Chavez’s reelection.

According to Chavez, the plethora of parties that currently support his government are an obstacle to the creation of “21st century socialism.” “We need one party, not an alphabet soup with which we would be falling over each other in lies and cheating the people,” said Chavez.

Instead, a new single party is needed, which would provide a forum for debates because, “We should not imagine socialism as a state that we will reach some day by the art of magic,” said Chavez during the event, instead, “Socialism is a process of daily construction.”

Currently Chavez is being supported by a coalition of many parties, ranging from his own MVR party (Movement for the Fifth Republic), which has millions of supporters, to many smaller parties with a long history, such as the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), Fatherland For All (PPT), and We Can (PODEMOS). Also, there are numerous very small newer parties that support Chavez, such as Popular Venezuelan Unity, Tupamaros, Revolutionary Middle Class, and Union, among others.

While Chavez’s MVR obtained 41.7% of the total votes for president, Podemos, PPT, and PCV obtained 14.5% of the total vote. The remaining 7% of Chavez’s total of 62.9% support in the December 3rd election were divided among about 20 small parties.

Chavez explained that parties that do not wish to join this new single party would have to go their own way in the future. “Those parties that wish to preserve themselves, they will leave the government,” he said.

However, the existing campaign structure, which had organized supporters of all parties into 11,000 “battalions,” 32,800 “platoons,” and 3.8 million “squads” should be maintained as the grassroots organization for the new unity party.

This initial organization should serve not only for debating socialism, but also for nominating candidates to elected office. “Enough,” said Chavez, of the old method of selecting candidates, where the President or other high ranking officials nominated candidates from above.

As a name for the new unity party Chavez proposed “United Socialist Party of Venezuela,” which would have the acronym PSUV, but said he would also be open to other suggestions for the name.

Aside from the creation of a single party of the revolution and the construction of 21st century socialism, Chavez said that the other main issue for the coming year would be constitutional reform.

With regard to the construction of 21st century socialism, Chavez said, “The transformation of the economic model is fundamental if we want to construct a true socialism.” “We have barely begun visualizing all of this,” he added.
On other occasions Chavez has indicated that his government would examine all aspects of the constitution to see what needed to be changed so that it would be more in tune with the creation of socialism. Another change he has proposed is the elimination of the two-term limit for the president, so that he might be able to run again, in 2012. All such changes would be submitted to a popular referendum.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

US Marines charged in Haditha massacre of Iraqi civilians

This is reprinted from World Socialist Website, the most read socialist website online.

By Jerry White

Four US Marines were charged Thursday with multiple counts of murder in connection with the massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha on November 19, 2005. Military officials also charged four officers with dereliction of duty and other counts relating to the cover-up of the rampage. The killings in the predominately Sunni town, 200 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, were carried out after a roadside bomb struck a convoy, claiming the life of one marine.

Four enlisted men from the Kilo Company of the First Marine Regiment’s Third Battalion were charged with unpremeditated murder. Squad leader Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 26, of Meriden, Connecticut was charged with 13 counts of murder relating to the deaths of 18 people. Three other marines—Sgt. Sanick De La Cruz, 24 of Chicago; Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt, 22 of Carbondale, Pennsylvania; and Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, 25 of Edmund, Oklahoma—also face homicide charges.

These charges will be followed by an Article 32 hearing—similar to a civilian grand jury investigation—after which an investigating officer makes a recommendation and commanders decide whether to proceed to courts martial. The four marines face possible life sentences if found guilty. The four officers being charged—a lieutenant colonel, two captains and a lieutenant—face lesser sentences ranging from ten years to six months in prison. The latter officers helped to conceal the killings, which the marines initially claimed had been caused by a bomb blast and a subsequent firefight with Iraqi insurgents.

The official whitewash continued until Time magazine presented military officials with video footage taken by an Iraqi journalism student showing the grisly aftermath of the massacre and the statements of surviving witnesses, who said the marines went house-to-house, systematically executing innocent men, women and children during a killing spree that lasted up to five hours. President Bush remained silent on the killings—which revived memories of the Vietnam War’s infamous 1968 My Lai massacre—for more than six months after the incident, and two months after Time magazine published a detailed exposure.

According the charges, the first deaths occurred when Sgt. Wuterich and Sgt. Sanick De La Cruz, 24 of Chicago, stopped a taxi some 100 yards away from the stalled convoy and ordered the driver and the four passengers, all college students, out of the vehicle. The two marines have been charged with murdering the five men on the spot. Wuterich is also being charged with falsely telling an investigator that the men from the taxi fired at the convoy, and with urging Sgt. De La Cruz to report that Iraqi Army soldiers at the scene had killed the men.

Wuterich and several other marines then attacked a home nearby killing several membets of the family inside. According to the charges Wuterich, who is implicated in killing six people in the house, told his unit to “shoot first and ask questions later.” Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, 25 of Edmund, Oklahoma, is being charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of four people in the first house, including an elderly man in a wheel chair.

Squad members then proceeded to a second home where Wuterich is charged with killing six more people—two adults and four children, including three who were 4, 6 and 11 years old—and Tatum is charged with killing a 15-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. At least two hours later, squad members attacked a third house, where Wuterich is charged with killing one person and Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt, 22 of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, is charged with killing three brothers who came to the home to find out what was happening.

Nine-year-old Eman Waleed and her younger brother Abdul Rahman survived the attack, as the adults shielded the small children with their bodies. Hours after the massacre, Iraqi soldiers found Eman and Abdul under a pile of corpses, wounded but alive. The older child recalled the marines shouting, breaking down doors, and murdering her terrified grandparents as they emerged in their bedclothes. Witnesses interviewed by the Washington Post last May testified that victims pleaded for their lives, insisting that they were not insurgents, moments before they were shot.

The cover-up of this crime began immediately after the killings. Photographs taken by a marine intelligence officer after incident revealed that the many of the victims had been shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. Video taken by a US aerial drone immediately after the bomb attack on the convoy showed no evidence of a “firefight.” Nevertheless military officials maintained the lie that 15 people had been killed in the initial blast, and that the rest were caught in a crossfire between the marines and insurgents. Wuterich was even recommended for an award for heroism because his actions supposedly prevented further injury or death to marines and civilians.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, the marines’ battalion commander—who is being charged with one count of violating an order and two counts of dereliction—told investigators that he believed the marines’ actions followed a complex attack meant to draw them into firing on civilian houses, according to a transcript cited by the Post. “I thought it was very sad, very unfortunate, but at the time I did not suspect any wrongdoing from my marines. I saw it as a combat action.”

Neal Puckett, one of Wuterich’s civilian attorneys, told the newspaper that the allegations do not contradict his client’s versions of events. “It’s what happens in wartime,” he said, “You intend to kill the people you’re shooting at.” Wuterich and his men “did everything they were supposed to that day to protect themselves.”

The prosecution of the eight Marines and officers for the Haditha massacre brings to a total of 64 the number of US soldiers charged in connection with the deaths of Iraqi civilians since the war began in March 2003. Eighteen have been sentenced to prison time, including a 90-year term for an Army soldier who later admitted his role in raping an Iraqi teenager and murdering her and her family.

These prosecutions, however, are largely a matter of damage control. They are aimed at concealing the fact that such wanton brutality is the evitable byproduct of the colonial-style counter-insurgency campaign the US military is carrying out to crush popular resistance to the US occupation.

While those who executed 24 people should be punished for their crimes, they are victims as well. Sent to Iraq on the basis of lies, with little or no knowledge about the population they have been instructed to subjugate, they are forced to kill and witness the deaths and maiming of other American troops. This makes such monstrous acts inevitable.

Such atrocities as those carried out in Haditha flow from far greater crimes. Those responsible for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq—Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Democratic Party leaders and war propagandists in the media who paved the way for it—have never been held accountable for their war crimes. If the murder of 24 innocents in Haditha warrants the prosecution of eight soldiers and officers, then why haven’t the leading architects of the war against Iraq been prosecuted for the deaths of an estimated 650,000 Iraqis who have perished as a result of it?

Since launching its “war of choice” nearly four years ago the Bush administration bears responsibility for the deaths of far more Iraqis than the number who died during a quarter of a century of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Yet the US occupation authorities have placed the former Iraqi president on trial for war crimes, while Bush and his co-conspirators have never been held responsible for far greater acts of mass murder.

In the face of popular opposition to the continuation of the war by the American people—expressed in the November elections as well as subsequent opinion polls—both the Bush administration and the incoming Democratic Party congressional majority are determined to continue the war and escalate the violence against the Iraqi people.

At the same time, they are preparing future wars against Iran and countries as yet unnamed in the continuing drive by America’s ruling corporate elite to assert global hegemony by means of military force. This makes further Hadithas and even bloodier massacres inevitable.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Death of a dictator, Pinoccho dies

The news of the death of dictator Pinochet spread fast among circles throughout Latin America. I was in Sao Paulo at a film festival. As we heard the news, fellow political film makers embraced eachother with joy. As the meeting ended we opened bottles of beer and made a special toast: to the death of a dictator and for freedom. Traces of the dictatorship are alive and well in Chilean society. Currently Michelle Batchelet has ordered police forces to repress any street protests
that may interfere with the neoliberal order. Many activists have been put in jail in recent days, anarchists and mapuches fighting for self-determination. This short entry is dedicated to the some 3,200 Chileans who lost their lives fighting for a better world.

30 Years Since Chile's Military Coup, Allende Lives

Marie Trigona October 3, 2003

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!
These are my last words and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain.
I am certain that at least it will be a moral example
that will punish the felony, cowardice, and treason."
-- Salvador Allende, Sept. 11, 1973

For Latin Americans, Sept. 11 marked a cataclysmic event well before that same date in 2001 was etched in the conscience of the U.S. populace by terror attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Organization headquarters. On that date in 1973, Chile awoke to a U.S.-supported military coup against its democratically elected socialist president, Salvador Allende. By 12:15 p.m., Allende lay dead in La Moneda, Chile's presidential palace.

U.S. Involvement, End of People's Government

"The armed forces have acted with patriotic inspiration to take a nation out of chaos, a grave chaos that Allende's Marxist government caused," declared a triumphant Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte the night of Sept. 11. Chile's military junta (1973-1990) replaced Allende's democratic socialism with a tyranny of terror that continues to haunt the nation.

Allende's government was targeted as a threat to U.S. strategic policy in Latin America early on. White House tapes reveal that on Sept. 14, 1970, then-President Richard Nixon ordered measures to force the Chilean economy into bankruptcy. "The U.S. will not accept a Marxist government just because of the irresponsibility of the Chilean people," declared Henry Kissinger, Nixon´s secretary of State. "The CIA had a large role in the strike against Salvador Allende and the Chilean people," states U.S. author James Cockroft. "Big corporations like [the] ITT American telecommunications giant also played a large role in preparing the conditions for the coup in Chile. Economic blockades, destabilization of the economy, direct military participation were all part of the imperialist intervention of the CIA and U.S. military," continues Cockroft.

Four U.S. battle ships approached Chile's coast Sept.11, supposedly to participate in regional military practices. They maintained permanent contact with the coup leaders. Leading up to the coup, in July and August right-wing terrorists trained by U.S intelligence agencies carried out over 250 sabotage actions, exploding electric lines, targeting industry belts, and assassinating key civilians. In October 1972 the Chilean Transport Confederation called a general strike, financed by the CIA, which paralyzed the nation. Months before the military coup, the Chilean army began immobilizing worker-controlled factories by organizing operatives and testing the possible reactions of the working class to a coup. "Three years of economic war permitted the White House and internal opposition to win an important sector of the middle class. It's here the official rebels found the base of support to develop their plans," expresses Patricio Guzmán in his moving film The Battle of Chile.

"Economic methods to destabilize progressive governments were perfected in 1973," comments Cockroft. Even while confronting attempts at destabilization, Allende's approval among public opinion rose. On Sept. 4, 1970 Allende, as candidate of the Popular Unity Front, was elected with 36.4% of votes. In March of 1973, Allende's party won legislative elections with 43. 4%. In response to employer lock-outs in industry, factories were nationalized and workers organized themselves to control production. Activists from MIR, the Leftist Revolutionary Movement, tell of expropriating buses with pistols in hand and working armed inside factories to guarantee that production and transportation continued.

Workers, peasants, students, and state workers rallied behind Allende in huge street demonstrations, by organizing community deposit centers where food was sold at cost, and by opening supermarkets closed during the business shut-down. On Sept. 4, 1973, in response to the perceived immanence of the coup attempt and a plebiscite planned for Sept. 11, the largest political act in Chile's history was held in Santiago's center, mobilizing tens of thousands of people.

Cockcroft notes that as a result of the coup, the Chilean oligarchy and the U.S. imperialists were able to install a repressive dictatorship and a neoliberal economic regime that left the majority of the people poorer than during Allende's government, when over half the population improved its economic condition. Pinochet immediately applied U.S.-prescribed measures of privatization and elimination of restrictions on the circulation of capital. Conditions favorable to foreign investors, including tax exemptions, and the lowering of environmental and labor standards sought to lure foreign investors.

But the neoliberal model imposed after Allende's fall was only possible through the brutal control of all political dissent, achieved by militarizing society and implementing a state of terror. "After Sept. 11 all military resources were used to repress the Popular Unity Front, with North American compliance and presence," Guzmán narrates. In the ensuing days, sport stadiums were transformed into concentration camps where thousands passed through the hands of the dictatorship's terror and torture; executions and disappearances became commonplace.

Over the next 17 years, Pinochet's dictatorship insured a submissive and dependent economy and a stranglehold on dissent. It is estimated that about 550 enterprises under public-sector control, including most of Chile's largest corporations, were privatized between 1974 and 1990. During the same period, some 3,000 people were officially declared dead or disappeared.

The Past that Lingers.....Read more

watch Images of a dictatorship

Marie Trigona


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Campaign to save the lives of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo

Ayatollah Lankarani, an Iranian cleric, has issued a fatwa for the death of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo. We should resolutely protest this fatwa that has been issued by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s authorities against writers and critics of religion in the Azerbaijan Republic.

On November 15, 2006, Rafigh Taghi who is a journalist and columnist of San-at newspaper wrote an article entitled ‘Europe and Us’. In his article, he quoted Mohamed and the Koran, calling Mohamed an aggressor and concluding: ‘This religion is the religion of aggression against humanity.’ Islamic gangs of Hezbollah were immediately organised to protest in the streets of Tabriz and Ardebil in Iran. As a result, Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo, the editor of the journal, were immediately imprisoned in Baku. The Islamic regime’s officials even asked the government of Azerbaijan to apologise for ‘insulting Moslems!’

On November 29, 2006, Lankarani, shamelessly issued the fatwa against the two individuals.

This is an example of how political Islam treats religion’s critics and opponents. The Islamic Republic of Iran has officially and openly ordered Islamic terror gangs to assassinate these two individuals, wherever they spot them.

This is ugly face of the criminal Political Islam. They have come to power with murder, fatwas, stoning and execution, and maintain themselves with these crimes. This is a movement that cannot even tolerate a caricature or any criticism and immediately orders bloodshed. This movement should be dealt with maximum international aversion and protest, and be condemned worldwide.

We, the citizens of the world, must not allow a bunch of reactionaries in Iran or anywhere else to issue such rulings and bloodshed. Freedom of speech must be protected; secularism and the separation of religion from political power must be defended as must the right of criticism and unconditional right of freedom of expression.

Political Islam is a dark movement against humanity and against women. This movement is trying to spread its dark shadow over the entire world. This situation cannot be tolerated. One should not be submissive vis-à-vis such a Medieval and inhuman movement. Together, we must defend humanity’s achievements.

Saving the lives of Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo is our task and the duty of an international front against political Islam.

Some Azerbaijani journalists have announced that they are abandoning Islam in protest to the fatwa ruling against the two. According to Journal Express published in Baku, Aghsheen Dada-of, a journalist and writer has said: We have thought a lot about this decision in the past, but after the arrest of Rafegh Taghi, we have made up our minds and are announcing this decision to the public… We abandon Islam, with the goal of reversing the fatwa and of stopping the religious practice of execution rulings against those who have freely expressed their thoughts. The writer of the article “Europe and us” in San-at journal, Rafegh Taghi, has the right to express his opinion about negative and positive aspects of the prophet Mohammed. Rafegh Taghi has expressed his opinion in an original and comprehensive way and did not intend to insult the prophet!’

This action is considered an important move in the campaign to save the lives of Rafegh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo. We are inviting everyone to sign the petition and by doing so defend the two writers and freedom of speech. The international front against political Islam must rise against the fatwa of killing and assassination.

Defend the following:
1- Unconditional freedom of speech is the right of any human being.
2- The fatwa against these two writers is condemned.
3- Ayatollah Lankarani should be arrested and tried for issuing the fatwa and encouraging the killing of these two writers.
4- The government of Azerbaijan should be condemned for violating of the freedom of speech and for arresting these writers.
5- Rafigh Taghi and Samir Sedaghat Oghloo must be freed immediately.
6- The Islamic Republic of Iran is the founder and centre of propagation of such practices, and has in the past issued the same kind of fatwa against Salman Rushdie. This government should be isolated and condemned for its criminal acts.

To sign the petition, click here.

Mina Ahadi
Maryam Namazie

Monday, December 11, 2006

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal: On Death Row 25 Years

Mumia Abu-Jamal a former Black Panther and news commentator, has as of December 09th, been on Death Row for 25 years. The evidence in his favor, is an argument in itself against capital punishment. It would be unlikely, that someone who is caucasian and connected, would be in prison, with as much evidence as Mumia has in his favor.

On December 09, 1981 Mumia was driving his cab in Philadelphia, on the corner of 13 and Locust St, when he heard gunshots. He saw people running including his brother. He got out of his cab to help him, and was critically wounded in the chest. Near him was wounded Officer Daniel Fulkner.

The main witness Robert Chobert was given favors by the prosecution in exchange for his testimony. He later denied seeing Mumia at the scene of the shooting.
Cynthia White a prostitite, was threatened by police in exchange for testimony.


Officer Faulkner was shot woth a .44 bullet, Mumia's gun is a .38. His hands were never tested for residue.

The Confession

Supposedly Mumia confessed in the hospital. He was shot in the lung. The confession was manufactured at a police roundtable meeting.

The Bigger Confession

In 2001 Arnold Beverly, confessed to being the shooter. He passed three polygraph tests. He admitted to being paid to kill Officer Faulkner. Officer Faulkner was interferring with police graft and payoffs. At the time, the Philadelphia police were being investigated for corruption by three different panels.

This is a brief summary to start the discussion. He was sentenced to die in 2001, only the mass movement of protest around the world stopped the execution. It is time for another.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In Naming Issues With its Name

I was told that a post describing Lebanon from a Class Perspective was needed over here. I couldn't think of a summary where to start or how to do it. While I was reading Assafir newspaper, I located an interesting article that sheds light on the problem. The author is a Veteran Lebanese who shed light in an interesting perspective. For those who have been following my blog, I am sure they have a clear idea what this article will be talking about. It tackles core problem which haunts the proletariat. I recommend the articles I wrote earlier would give you an idea on the 14th of March (Anti-Syrian, Pro-International Community, Anti-Israeli) and 8th of March and their allies the Free Patriotic Movement (Pro-Syrian, Anti-International Community, Anti-Israeli). The articles Lebanon, Israel, and Class Struggle series (they shed light on the history of political figures chapter 4-5), , and the latest three I wrote last week, titled under: Opposition To Hit the Street , Sectarianism All the Way Baby, and Lebanon: Sectarianism All the Way Episode II as well an article I translated two weeks ago: Lessons of the Two Independances)

The standing problems of the situation started with the demand of Late Harriri's allies of the International Tribunal and disarming Hezbollah. Hezbollah do not want to disarm (nor their massive supporters) till the army is ready to handle the South in face of Israeli aggression. Meanwhile, the Tribunal was voted by the remaining Seniora government (after one was assassinated and 6 ministers withdrew: 5 Shiites and 1 Greek Orthodox). Currently, with jumping above importent sequences from 2005 - present, the Opposition composed of the Shiite parties Hezbollah & AMAL, Christian Parties (dominating party in elections) Free Patriotic Movement & Marada, and two secular parties: SSNP and stalinist Lebanese Communist Party, demand to have the 1/3 plus of cabinet in order to veto the other side's decisions when not in agreement. The Free Patriotic Movement's leader ex-General Michel Aoun was responsible of the Syrian Act (issued by Congress) and UN resolution 1559, currently he seeks presidency. It is one mess situation between two reactionary camps. Anyways this article would shed some light on what is going on by Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi (PS: His arabic is rather advanced so I hope I did the translation proberly)

It is difficult to be convinced that the gathered crowds, which are full of expressive anger to the extent of violence and led to the killing people, in the squares and streets, are doing so to express a difference on a vote regarding the International Tribunal agreement, or that these crowds are divided about the ministerial partnership whether it should be 1/3 plus and 19/9/2 or 20/10/1.

It is also difficult to be convinced that there is a large gap between these audiences and their leaderships. From a detective manner, we should treat these opposing sectarian slogans on the tip of the iceberg as “codes” to what is broader, deeper, and more expressive regarding the interests and emotions of the overall collective. This would lead us to attempt in explaining the algebraic equations (percentage in Algebra) in relations to Lebanese politics.

Henceforth, we have to start naming the issues with its names, and to distinguish what is said and done.

This is not limited to the polarization of which the nation is currently living as simply “political” polarization in a sense to make it clean from any sectarian polarizations. This is not excused because we assume that Politics in Lebanon became an extension to the relations between the Sectarian groups, rather for a different reason, it is the sectarian imbalance of the components of the two teams. If the Maronite (MFL: Christian Sect) political group distributed almost equally between both camp, there is a decisive majority of political Shiite parties (Hezbollah and AMAL) in the 8th of March team, and vice versa, there has been a decisive majority for political groups composed of Sunni and Durzi in the 14th of March team.

From the other side, this current struggle seems that one team is demanding change while another team is preserving what is currently standing. The team, which is inviting change, has two popular groups who entered recently the swamp of Lebanese politics. Both groups were either marginalized or deactivated during the Syrian mandate. The Free Patriotic Movement was pushed away due to exile and tyranny while Hezbollah was totally immersed to the resistance missions against Israel. This marginalization plays a role on the group components of Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, specially when both groups represent sections of the rising middle class and the categories of the people in the suburbs. That way, this marginalization gathered among these two as well in relations to the government and public employment, just as the clear belonging to the private sector of the economy pushed them closer.

Both of the allied factions seek, under the slogan of participation, a position in the political combination. This partnership was based on this quest. The Free Patriotic Movement tends to address a deep Christian emotion that is experiencing marginalization (and their logos went as far as calling it Depression) and promises his audience with a strong President. While from their side, Hezbollah is seeking to protect itself from projects of disarmament or marginalization which occurred through political mediations and foreign pressures after the failure to accomplish that via the latest Israeli aggression. No doubt that both, the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah are demanding their rights to be present in the heart of the executive power in order to participate in a status quo which will decide the fate of the Presidential chair and place new electoral law.

If the strong president project is waiting presidential results, then the struggle is towards the balance of power inside of the government which will generate a modification in the balance between the three executive chairs (MFL notes: President, Head of the Parliament, and Prime Minister) which was generated by the Ta’ef accord to which the three sects committed to application. Till the latest elections, there was no problem with the disrupting 1/3 (on the government scale). As for the current crisis, the inspiration behind the one-third which waves behind the potentiality for another framework, in the name of conciliation, is concerned about the participation of the Shiite Islamic group, re-enforced by its allies, in a balanced presence within the government, which is often sited as a location for the Sunni political group.

This source of anger is not the only one in the current crisis, but at least it can be said that it can’t be solved by the logic of the demanding team of participation to return to the house of obedience, like two married couple on the verge of divorce. While the two teams are escalating their tone, demands, and exciting their street supporters, they are both competing to reject a “sectarian armed struggle” and at the same time inviting to take out its flames. This struggle was dormant.

The summary of the issue, which calls for deep worries, is that this sectarian system returned to confirm again that it is a system of “lacking space”. This system will remain lacking space till infinity. Its sects and streams can’t fit in it, and each group seeks to trick the Ta’ef Accord and the Constitution as each claims its commitment to this or that while arrogantly saying that nothing needs reconsidering.

This is the same system confirming that it can’t fit people. It forces people to shove its demands and interests (if admitted to it rights) from the needle of Sects’ rights and its shares?

Then how can the distribution of interests, services, and shares occur in the first place in a situation where there is nothing to distribute but the debts (MFL notes: national debt). Specially that the leaders of the Sects’ expertise are to distribute (and a huge section of the economists are not involved except to raise moral to the extent of prosperity). So who cares about wealth production and distributing it in a fairer manner among the entire Lebanese?

This is no longer a joke. The moment of truth has come (the other does not cancel the need to know truth which is on your mind) (MFL notes: Dr. Traboulsi refers to the demanded Truth by 14th of March in a satire manner). Till now, the Lebanese system solved its crises by changing people’s mentality via killing and displacement or the marginalized groups impose itself through force and foreign relations show-off. Will this occur again?

Should we change the system or the people? This was and still remains the issue. This current issue can be defined in this sense: Drastic Crisis requires drastic solutions. This is the only title worthy to be presented to any dialogue for whoever wants to avoid a disaster (and before comparing between the eve of 1975 and December of 2006).

Whatever be it, the latest updates confirmed the honesty of a popular proverb: “Politics has no God”, even if everyone wants to descend their Gods into the alleys!

Fawwaz Traboulsi

Marxist From Lebanon

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Greetings from Buenos Aires

Thank you everyone for such a great welcome. And a special thank you to Renegade Eye for inviting me to his blog. I never knew that blogging connected so many people. The idea for Latin America Activism is to archive writing, reports and photos. Much of the work is related to Grupo Alavío, direct action and video collective. Social movements in Argentina are witnessing an exciting but very difficult moment. With increasing attacks from the far right and the current govenrment progressive-repressive policies, activists are facing threats and increasing challenges. In the next coming months I will be producing many articles and radio stories which will be featured on Renegade Eye and Latin America Activism. I especially want to invite readers to visit Grupo Alavío's new community internet tv site, Ágora TV. This is the first site of its kind in Latin America.

I look forward to posting and comments.

Salud y anarquia!

Avío m, preparation, provision; picnic lunch; money advancd (to miners or laborers); pl Inf. equipment, tools. During the beginning of the 20th century in Argentina laborers often carried an avío with what provisions they needed when traveling in the countryside. They would travel from harvest to harvest to work on different plantations and farms. These workers, many of who were immigrants, carried a tradition of free worker or working only when they needed to. These workers were called crotos (English translation Hobos). They got this name because a government official named Croto passed a law to permit these workers to ride free on cargo trains. Along with food and clothes, many crotos carried inside their avío anarchist literature, newspapers and pamphlets for the release of political prisoners. They would distribute these materials among fellow workers to raise consciousness of the exploitation by the boss and to organize. Al in Spanish means to the. Alavío is a call out to take to the road. A summon to action. A call for the workers to strike.

Grupo Alavío is a direct action and video collective working in Argentina. Since the early 1990’s the group has produced audiovisual material as a tool to create a new working class subjectivity. “Through the recording and elaboration of audiovisual materials we are battling directly against the imagery of fascism. The camera is a tool, another arm, like a stick, Molotov, miguelito or covering or faces (Grupo Alavío). As a video collective we become available to the demands of organizations in struggle and often times our videos take on a life of their own. Many times the factory occupied by workers, the changing room of transport workers organizing a wildcat strike, land squat or barrio is the first place where we premiere our documentaries. Alavío uses the camera as a political organ and as a tool, which the protagonists in the films appropriate and use to organize. We use the videos as the anarchist crotos used the avío to organize and generate actions against the boss, state, macho, and church.

Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited people by democratizing audiovisual production and language is a priority for Grupo Alavío. For more than 15 years, Alavío has been participating in working class struggles in Argentina and supporting them with audiovisual materials.

RENEGADE EYE-Marie Trigona

Monday, November 27, 2006

Introducing New Blog Team Member: Marie Trigona

I'm lucky having a strong team of writers on my blog; such as the nightmare to Islamism and capitalism from Iran originally Maryam Namazie, and the fighter against both Zionism and Arab reaction Marxist from Lebanon. Today I'm introducing from Buenos Aires, Argentina Marie Trigona.

The vanguard of the struggle against capitalism is now in Latin America. I was looking for a writer, to cover events there, when I discovered Marie Trigona's blog. The first post I read was about abortion in Argentina. I not only liked her post and writing, I also admired her bravery, to touch that subject there. Marie is also very knowledgeable about the recent occupations of factories in Latin America.

Marie is a journalist, videomaker and translator. This is her Blogspot profile; I have been working for a number of years as a writer. I regularly report for Free Speech Radio News, a radio news program broadcast in the U.S.. I form part of Grupo Alavío, an Argentine video collective. My main interests include labour struggle, social movements and popular communication. For a number of years, I've been writing about Argentina's recuperated enterprises. Hopefully, one day, I'll write a book. For now, I'm producing a lot of articles, radio stories and collaborating on video projects. I also translate from Spanish to English for paid work.

Besides her Blogspot blog, she writes as a blogger for ZNET. Marie's video work is at Agora TV.RENEGADE EYE

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Seven women are at risk of imminent execution by stoning in Iran. Sign the petition against it by clicking here

This outrage has to be stopped now!

Maryam Namazie

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

‘Beyond the Veil: Perspectives on Muslim Women in a Western Secular Context’

Speech given by by blog team member Maryam Namazie at Goodenough College, on November 13, 2006.

It is crucial to speak about the rights of ‘Muslim’ women, go beyond the issue of the veil, and talk about secularism, particularly in light of the political Islamic movement’s assault on women and their rights, but restricting the debate in this way is seriously flawed.

Firstly, the so-called grouping of Muslim women is a constructed one. Out of the innumerable characteristics women have, why focus on their beliefs? Doing so, implies that religion informs the rights of all those labelled as Muslim (including very often people like myself - an atheist). This is not usually the case.

More importantly, why must women’s rights issues be discussed within the framework of religion or for that matter, with regard to the beliefs – real or imputed - of the woman whose rights are being discussed? Generally, this is not how rights are examined. For example, do we discuss domestic violence vis-à-vis Christian women or in the context of Christianity?

This seems to happen especially when it comes to Islam because of cultural relativism and a policy of minoritism. The British state prefers it to be so as it can ensure that these so-called Muslim women are forever alien to British society, ghettoized in regressive fragmented "minority" communities where they continue to face sexual apartheid and Islamic laws and customs. Their rights are not the highest standards available in society as one would expect but the most regressive and reactionary. To help ensure that it remains so, the state leaves the running of these Bantustans on the cheap to self-appointed ‘Muslim community’ leaders and ‘consultants on Muslim women’s affairs’ and continues with business as usual in wheeling and dealing with repressive Islamic states. The left, which is the traditional defender of women’s rights, shamelessly endorses the situation as it sees Islam and political Islam as ‘anti-imperialist’. As a result, no matter what happens - stonings and hangings in city squares in Iran or segregated Stop the War Coalition meetings in Birmingham and the manhandling of Iranian women’s rights activists in Manchester - they are quick to ignore violations of women’s rights. Hand in hand, they excuse and justify Islam and the political Islamic movement at the expense of women and their rights.

Clearly, a rights based discussion can’t begin with Islam but has to begin with the woman and her rights. In my opinion, you can either defend women or you must defend Islam. You can’t defend both because they are incompatible with and antithetical to each other.

In Islam a woman is sub-human, subservient, vilified and the property of men. To say that women have an elevated position under Islam is an insult to our intellect. Islam has wreaked more havoc, slaughtered more women, and committed more misogyny than can be denied, excused, re-interpreted, or covered up with such feeble defences.

According to the Koran, for example, those who are guilty of an 'indecency' must be 'confined until death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them.' (The Women, 4.15). 'Men are the maintainers of women' and 'good' women are obedient. Those that men fear 'desertion', can be admonished, confined and beaten' (The Women, 4.34). Wives are a 'tilth' for men, which they can go into their 'tilth' when they like (The Cow, 2.223) and on and on.

To say it is a problem of interpretation as some ‘Islamic feminists’ do is at best self-justification of one’s beliefs or at worst the justification of a right wing political Islamic movement, which targets women first and foremost.

Let me give you an example of the absurdity of re-interpretations. On the verse that allows women to be beaten, so-called Islamic feminists say ‘Islam only permits violence after admonishment and confinement and as a last resort. They say, since men would beat their wives mercilessly at that time, this is a restriction on men to beat women more mercifully’ (Women Living Under Muslim Laws, For Ourselves Women Reading the Koran, 1997). Or another says 'In extreme cases, and whenever greater harm, such as divorce, is a likely option, it allows for a husband to administer a gentle pat to his wife that causes no physical harm to the body nor leaves any sort of mark. It may serve, in some cases, to bring to the wife's attention the seriousness of her continued unreasonable behaviour' (Gender Equity in Islam Web Site).

Suffice it to say that misogyny cannot be interpreted to be pro-woman even if it is turned on its head.

Of course everyone has the right to believe anything they choose – however medieval and reactionary. Moreover, tolerance of the right to hold such beliefs is part and parcel of a civil society but that is very different to allowing beliefs to inform women’s rights or even tolerating the belief itself. Moreover, the question of choice is a questionable one when it comes to this situation. Of course an adult woman has the right to believe she must be veiled; must be beaten by her husband if she disobeys him; must be given the permission of her male guardian before she can travel or work; is not eligible for certain areas of study or work because of her ‘emotions’; should be stoned if she has sex outside of marriage and so on and so forth.

But if you remove all forms of intimidation and threats by Islamists, Islamic laws, racism, cultural relativism and ghetto-isation, the recruiting grounds for the political Islamic movement, etc., I can assure you that there will be very few women who will want to discuss their rights within the framework of Islam.

That rights are discussed in this way is more of an indication of the strength of the political Islamic movement in this country than anything else. Which is why ‘Islamic feminists’ or ‘consultants on Muslim Women’s affairs’ are more concerned about Islam than the woman and her rights.

Another example of this is their constant attempt at setting limits for who can and can’t discuss ‘Muslim women’s rights’. I thought the whole point of defending rights was to mobilise as much support as you can rather than establishing an exclusive club of the few who are allowed to say anything on the subject!
Anytime anyone discusses women’s status under Islam, s/he is labelled ‘Islamophobic’ and ‘racist’, a ‘white feminist’ supporter who ignores European and US imperialism’s battle over ‘Muslim women’s bodies’, a supporter of the USA’s threats and militarism, a ‘supporter of the war on terror’, and so on and so forth. Not to forget that s/he will be told that there are more important things in the world today – like poverty or US imperialism (this one crops up all the time), and of course that the crimes of the US government is much worse and must be the main and only focus…

What utter nonsense!

Criticising Islam (a belief) and political Islam (a right wing reactionary movement that has raised Islam as its banner) has nothing to do with racism no matter how many deceptively claim it to be so. Criticising the belief in and practice of Female Genital Mutilation does not mean you are vilifying or inciting hatred against girls and women who believe they should be or are mutilated.

Moreover, solidarity amongst people has nothing to do with their skin colour, place of residence or governments under which they were born or live under.

Also, saying a defence of women’s rights living under Islamic rules supports the war on terror or the USA’s militarism or colonialism and imperialism is like saying sex education promotes promiscuity. Saying so is more an attempt to defend religion than anything else.

And, why must a comparison be made with other outrages in the world. Yes the US government is one pole of international terrorism in the world today but what does that have to do with a defence of women’s rights living under the yoke of Islamic laws and rules?

Do we tell the environmentalist that children’s rights are more important because children are so vulnerable? Do we tell the anti-racist activist that poverty is more important than racism because you have to be fed to be alive? It is only when discussing women’s rights and those whose rights are deemed culturally relative that such arguments crop up.

And it only seems to come up with Islam and political Islam. No one says we shouldn’t condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestine or Tony Blair because US militarism is the main problem of our times.

And of course we keep hearing about how Jack Straw or the French government have mentioned the veil and our doing so puts us in the same boat as them. How so? I want a ban on the burka, neqab and child veiling. I think child veiling is a violation of children’s rights. I want the veil banned in all public institutions and the educational system. I will criticise the hejab as a tool for the repression of women even if some have the ‘right’ to ‘choose’ veiling. And I want much more done to religion, including an end to faith schools and the taxation of all these religious ‘charities’ and mosques…

Are we really supposed to stop speaking against the death penalty – for example - because Tony Blair is also against the death penalty in some way shape or form?

In this context, I think the defence of the veil as ‘a form of clothing’, ‘expression of faith’, ‘matter of choice’ and so on and so forth is more of the same. Saying we need to go beyond the veil implies that it is a superficial matter and that there are more important issues at stake. This is not the case.

The veil is a symbol like no other of what it means to be a woman under Islam - hidden from view, bound, and gagged. It is a tool for restricting and suppressing women. Of course there are some who choose to be veiled, but you cannot say it is a matter of choice because - socially speaking - the veil is anything but. There is no ‘choice’ for most women. In countries under Islamic rule, it is compulsory. Even here, in Britain, according to a joint statement about the veil from ‘Muslim groups, scholars and leaders’, including the Muslim Council of Britain, Hizb ut Tahrir and Islamic ‘Human Rights’ Commission, it is stated that the veil ‘is not open to debate’. The statement goes so far as to ‘advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution in this issue since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief.’

And you know what they do disbelievers when they can – kill them.

As I have said before, take away all the pressure and intimidation and threats and you will see how many remain veiled.

In my opinion, debating the issue of women’s rights within an Islamic context is a prescription for inaction and passivity in the face of the oppression of millions of women struggling and resisting in Britain, the Middle East and elsewhere. Stripped bare it is a dishonest defence of Islam pure and simple and has nothing to do with women’s rights.

We must not allow the political Islamic movement to shift and redefine the debate on women’s rights. Anywhere they have power, to be a woman is a crime. In places like Britain, however, where they are vying for political power, they aim to control women relegated to their constructed regressive community via a deceptive discourse on ‘rights’ and ‘choice’ whilst defending Islamic law and repressive groups and states in the Middle East and elsewhere. They are an extension of the same movement that stones women to death and throws acid in their faces if they are improperly veiled. The stronger they become, the more repressed are women in the so-called Muslim community.

In the face of this onslaught, secularism, universalism and values worthy of 21st century humanity have to be defended and promoted unequivocally. We must hold the human being sacred. We must start first and foremost with the human being. We must stop sub-dividing people into a million categories beginning with religion and not even ending in Human. We must not allow concessions to religion at the expense of women; we must not allow the respect for and toleration of misogynist beliefs and practices. We have a duty to criticise and challenge Islam and its movement especially given what it is doing to women today.

At a minimum, we must demand the complete separation of religion from the state and educational system. Secularism is an important vehicle to protect society from religion's intervention in people's lives. A person's religion has to be a private affair.

Only an unequivocal defence of universal rights, secularism and the de-religionisation of rights and values will begin to defend women and their rights and challenge head on the outrage of this century.Maryam Namazie

Monday, November 20, 2006

December 03: 10,000,000 Votes for Hugo Chavez

Yesterday I attended the International Venezuela Solidarity conference, held at Macalester College, in St. Paul, MN. Several Venezuelan government members, and activists attended.

I'm reprinting the opening of the Statement of the International Marxist Tendency, on the Dec 03, 2006 Venezuelan elections. The Chavez supporters use the slogan, "10,000,000 Votes for Hugo Chavez". It is expected that Chavez will attain some 8 million votes. If they don't get 10,000,000, the more conservative Chavez supporters, are going to say he was too leftist. After the election, how revolutionary the government is, will be known.

The December presidential elections are an important turning point in the development of the Venezuelan Revolution. They reflect the struggle between the Venezuelan workers and peasants and the oligarchy and imperialism. Our attitude towards these elections is therefore a key question.

Marxism has nothing in common with anarchism. We have never denied the importance of the electoral struggle as part of the class struggle. For the masses the question is very clear: a vote for Chavez is a vote for the revolution. On the other hand, the oligarchy and imperialism are doing everything in their power to bring about the defeat of Chavez. At bottom this is a class question and we must take our place side by side with the revolutionary workers and peasants fighting against imperialism and the oligarchy.

The counterrevolutionary forces have already started a campaign to discredit the elections. They will use all the means at their disposal to undermine them: bribery, corruption, slander and lies and all kinds of sabotage. They will have at their disposal considerable resources: the wealth of the oligarchy, the technology of the CIA, the backing of the US embassy, the yellow press and the rest of the prostituted media.

On the other side we have the revolutionary spirit, courage and dedication of millions of Venezuelan workers, peasants and urban poor, the revolutionary youth, the revolutionary sections of the army and the progressive artists and intelligentsia - in short, all the live forces of Venezuelan society, backed by the exploited masses of Latin America and the working class of the entire world.

The workers and peasants are fighting to transform society. Great advances have been made, but the final goal has not been reached. The power of the oligarchy has not yet been broken. As long as this is the case, the revolution cannot be irreversible and will be constantly under threat.

When government representatives, at the conference, were asked about worker's control of industry, and worker's democracy, in general the question was ignored, or danced around. The politicians say that the revolution is based around the 1999 constitution. This document allows for private property rights. You hear from them, about the unique history of the struggle in Venezuela. They will say socialism in the 21st century, is different than anything before. This talk protects career politicians, some corrupt, and bureaucrats to be in the government, without a way for the workers and peasants, to oust them. The possibility of sabotage to the revolutionary path is real. Without an organizational form, similar to soviets at the time of the Russian revolution, the revolution can be curtailed.

One of the Chavez representatives, said the name of the country might be changed to the Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela. He didn't say anything about the telecommunications, food, and banking industry are in private hands, or what he thinks should be done about it.

It should be made clear, the elementary duty of a socialist or progressive person, is to support Venezuela if attacked from the outside. At the same time as a socialist, to warn the Chavez supporters, that they can lose the gains already made, without socialist revolution.RENEGADE EYE

Friday, November 17, 2006

HOTEL RWANDA -- Hollywood and the Holocaust in Central Africa -- by keith harmon snow

The blog CirqueMinime/Paris is a leftist blog of a theater group in Paris. I love reading it, for its unique view. Even when they make me cringe, with their support for Putin, Mugabe etc, they present good arguments, that will challenge your beliefs. I hope you'll visit their blog. In that spirit I present this post from their blog. Sorry for two long posts in a row.

Hollywood and the Holocaust in Central Africa

keith harmon snow

First published: 04 July 2005;
Text modified: 05 November 2005;
Final version: 04 December 2005.
Revisited Final: 10 January 2006.

What happened in Rwanda in 1994? The standard line is that a calculated genocide occurred because of deep-seated tribal animosity between the majority Hutu tribe in power and the minority Tutsis. According to this story, at least 500,000 and perhaps 1.2 million Tutsis—and some ‘moderate’ Hutus—were ruthlessly eliminated in a few months, and most of them were killed with machetes. The killers in this story were Hutu hard-liners from the Forces Armees Rwandais, the Hutu army, backed by the more ominous and inhuman civilian militias—the Interahamwe—“those who kill together.”

“In three short, cruel months, between April and July 1994,” wrote genocide expert Samantha Power on the 10th anniversary of the genocide, “Rwanda experienced a genocide more efficient than that carried out by the Nazis in World War II. The killers were a varied bunch: drunk extremists chanting ‘Hutu power, Hutu power’; uniformed soldiers and militia men intent on wiping out the Tutsi Inyenzi, or ‘cockroaches’; ordinary villagers who had never themselves contemplated killing before but who decided to join the frenzy.” [1]

The award-winning film Hotel Rwanda offers a Hollywood version and the latest depiction of this cataclysm. Is the film accurate? It is billed as a true story. Did genocide occur in Rwanda as it is widely portrayed and universally imagined? With thousands of Hutus fleeing Rwanda in 2005, in fear of the Tutsi government and its now operational village genocide courts, is another reading of events needed? [2]

Is Samantha Power—a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist—telling it straight? [3]

Is it possible, as evidence confirms, that the now canonized United Nations peacekeeper Lt. General Roméo Dallaire was at the time an agent of the Tutsi army? Or that the funding for Hotel Rwanda came from a company with powerful mining interests in Congo—where access is insured by the Rwanda government?

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, that’s clear. There was large-scale butchery of Tutsis. And Hutus. Children and old women were killed. There was mass rape. There were many acts of genocide. But was it genocide or civil war?

“I think that’s a very good question and it is not adequately answered,” says Howard W. French, former East Africa Bureau Chief for the New York Times and author of Africa: A Continent for the Taking. [4]

Howard W. French operated on the ground in Central Africa (1993-1999) and his reportage of the RPF Tutsi rebel army hunting down and massacring hundreds of thousands of Hutus in Congo is exceptional. [5]

“A minority of fifteen percent [RPF Tutsis] wages a determined effort to take over a country and rule in an ethnic way, by force of arms, and has been doing this for years. Two presidents are assassinated.” Howard W. French is adamant. “These are not excuses for butchery. But these are things that lead one in the direction of civil war, as a descriptor, as opposed to the one-sided tale that we have been given, of these sweet, innocent Tutsis who remind us of Israel, versus the savage Hutus who cold-heartedly butcher people hand-to-hand for three months.” [6]

From the very first words and frames, where the image has yet to appear and the screen is completely black, the film Hotel Rwanda sets up viewers to think a certain way about what happened in Rwanda in 1994. Here is a story about good versus evil. An ominous African voice is heard, clearly the announcer on a Rwandan radio program, and he is describing the Tutsis as ‘cockrrrRRROACHES.’ The voice is black and the cataclysm unfathomable, as anyone will tell you, and the black screen underscores the evil darkness of Africa. This voice of terror returns throughout the film to haunt the innocent but terrified Tutsis, on screen, and the viewers gripping their seats.

The good guys are the Tutsis, the victims of genocide. They are not killers in the movie: they are never killers. At the end of the film, when a well-attired guerrilla force is shown—the ‘rebels’ of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)—they are rescuers. They are disciplined, organized. They keep a tidy United Nations camp safely behind their lines. They don’t kill Red Cross nurses, or orphaned children, in the film: they reconnect children to their families.

The Hutus in the standard Rwanda genocide stories are always the bad guys, and they are all bad guys. Every Hutu is a genocidaire—to use the ominous French term deployed in English contexts to further underscore the horror, the horror (sic). The Hutus are the devil incarnate. The Tutsis are saintly. Indeed, they are beyond reproach, because they are the victims of genocide. The Hotel manager’s wife bears an obvious cross around her neck, to remind us that the Tutsis are the chosen people. When the now celebrated United Nations hero Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire shakes hands with the devil—as his own popular book and the subsequent film Shake Hands With the Devil concur—he is shaking hands with Hutu. [7]

That is the ideological framework of the Hotel Rwanda film. There is, today, an industry behind it.

The Tutsis are dehumanized by the Hutus and by the Hutu media, in the film, and there was plenty truth in this in real life. But the RPF pro-Tutsi media that operated in Rwanda after 1991, for example, was equally dehumanizing, and equally vicious, but the film does not tell us this. Tutsi guerrilla forces—prior to 1970—were the first to describe themselves as Inyenzi or cockroaches: they were not equated with the insects that everyone loathes, they were well trained, secretive and coordinated military forces who attacked at night and withdrew by day. [8]

The RPF would hit and run and kill with efficiency. It was not a pejorative usage, as it has been used in the film Hotel Rwanda, although it was bastardized and turned against the Tutsis by media outlets in Rwanda. Radio Mille Collines and the other anti-RPF media outlets of the President’s party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), [9] were not the only ones to incite hatred and murder. Indeed, RPF-controlled Radio Muhabura spread ethnic hatred and incited widespread killings, but this was—according to Hollywood—a war with only one army, the ruthless Hutus. [10]

The Pillars of Hotel Rwanda

When Human Rights Watch investigated the genocide, they sent Alison des Forges to tell the story, and the product of her long investigations was the fat treatise on genocide in Rwanda titled Leave None to Tell the Story. Irony is heaped upon irony when we consider that those who are left to tell the story are silenced by the authorized storytellers like Alison des Forges.

“Alison des Forges is a liar,” Cameroonian journalist Charles Onana, author of the book The Secrets of the Rwandan Genocide, Investigations on the Mysteries of a President, published in French in 2001, is adamant. “She is a LIAR.” [11]

Paul Kagame, RPF General and President of Rwanda, sued Charles Onana for defamation in a French court: Kagame lost. [12]

“Des Forges has written a book which has become the bible regarding Rwanda,” says Jean-Marie Higiro, former Director of the Rwandan Information Office (ORINFOR) who fled the killing, with his family, in early April 1994. “Everyone points to her book even though some of what she has produced is fiction. I don’t think she is an intentional liar, but I don’t know why she investigated Hutu human rights abuses but no RPF human rights abuses.”

Hotel Rwanda is built on the pillars of selective human rights reporting, but it really takes off from the celebrated text, We Regret To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, by Philip Gourevitch, the New Yorker magazine’s premier Africa expert.

“Gourevitch's short book should be compulsory reading for Heads of State and Ministers of Defence all over Africa,” wrote Guardian reporter Victoria Brittain, “as well as for all UN officials involved in peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid, from the Secretary General on down, and the heads of missionary orders in the US, France and Belgium.” Victoria Brittain is a Nation magazine contributor on genocide in Rwanda. [68]

The International human Rights Law Clinic at American University for several years (at least) asked students to read Philip Gourevitch on genocide in Rwanda, in preparation for legal work with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Professor Melissa Crow, who worked with the Law Clinic, followed her term at Human Rights Watch (1994-1995) by working in Kigali, Rwanda, under the RPF government, working for the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda. Following this she joined Foley, Hoag and Elliot, the influential Washington D.C. law firm closely aligned with the U.S.-Uganda Friendship Council, which is closely tied to ChevronTexaco, Coca-Cola, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. The latter foundations are also deeply involved in Rwanda [69].

Notably, a U.S. immigration judge in St. Paul Minnesota imposed Gourevitch’s book as compulsory reading for all attorneys dealing with Rwandan refugees requesting political asylum. But this is a dangerous and irresponsible precedent. [13]

Funding for Gourevitch’s book came from the United States Institute for Peace, a State Department offshoot (with an Orwellian name). [14]

What we never learn about Philip Gourevitch is that his brother-in-law, Jamie Rubin, was Madeleine Albright’s leading man and, through him, Gourevitch planted in the public mind a narrow perspective on Rwanda. [15]

Philip Gourevitch is an intimate pal of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. I regret to inform you that Philip Gourevitch is not an impartial journalist, regardless of how much you may have liked his book, or have been moved by it, because he has taken sides, and he has told only one side of the story, and he has told it badly, and he has been rewarded for his fine job in telling it badly. [16]

“Gourevitch begins the story with the Tutsi as these saintly victims,” the Times’ Howard W. French says. “And I don’t think Gourevitch is a stupid guy. I think that it’s just sheer intellectual dishonesty… Gourevitch was coming out in the New Yorker every other month with this very well written and—if you don’t know the facts—very compelling picture about Rwanda… as the Israel of Central Africa and the Tutsis as the Jews of Central Africa. That’s powerful stuff. But I’m on the ground in Central Africa seeing that the reality is very, very different.” [17]

The theme of genocide in Rwanda—whether true or false—has birthed an industry that revolves around a standard, simplified plot. The appearance of the film Hotel Rwanda marks the coup de grace in the long process whereby the facts, the ugly realities and dirty details of what really happened in Rwanda have been distilled into a neat and tidy story that proliferates in the media, in film, in literature, at seminars on genocide and workshops on reconciliation, and it is the predominant discourse in academia. Quebecois journalist Robin Philpot calls it “the right and proper tale.” [18]

The Falsification of Amerikan Consciousness

It has become a mythology: the Rwanda genocide mythology or, better, the Tutsi Holocaust mythology. But as African scholar Amos Wilson puts it so simply in The Falsification of Afrikan Consciousness, “you cannot understand the present unless you first understand the past.”

To understand the growth of the mythology on genocide in Rwanda, consider first the text of Hotel Rwanda—The Official Companion Book, which describes the process of “bringing the true story of an African hero to film.” [19]

The book deletes the most basic facts about the Rwandan Patriotic Front and its backers’ roles in the ongoing war for the Great Lakes region of Africa, war that has led to at least seven million people dead since the initial RPF invasion from Uganda in October 1990. [20]

Instead the book offers an abbreviated timeline of events that accentuate or exaggerate those points that serve the predominant Hotel Rwanda mythology, and it excludes those facts that would undermine this mythology: the entire framework of the brutal, bloody war for control of Rwanda is obscured.

October 1990: Guerrillas from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invade Rwanda from Uganda; the RPF is mostly made up of Tutsis. A ceasefire is signed on March 29, 1991.

First: the above statement uses the definitive term for the RPF action: invaded. The Rwandan Patriotic Army invaded Rwanda from Uganda. However, the context of the RPF ascension to power is obliterated. RPF infiltration of Rwanda began around 1986 after Yoweri Museveni, with powerful western backers, shot his way to power in Uganda. Paul Kagame, current president of Rwanda, was head of Museveni’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, and later commanded the Rwandan Patriotic Front. But the RPF invasion was a gross violation of international law against a sovereign nation—a point the Hotel Rwanda industry ignores.

Never condemned by the international ‘community,’ the RPF ‘struggle’ was supported by powerful western agents and institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF, who shackled Rwanda with austerity programs in perfect synchronization with the RPF assault. This led to the heightened inculcation of structural violence throughout Rwanda. Combined with the crash of coffee prices on the world market, millions of Rwandans found it impossible to make ends meet as the 1990’s began. Suffering hit new lows not seen in Rwanda for decades.

The majority of people in Rwanda, besieged by the propaganda of competing factions—a spectrum of political interests aligned with or against the RPF or the Rwanda government of Juvenal Habyarimana—found scapegoats according to their positions in society. Economic interests predominated as a few elites increasingly controlled the life or death of the many. The rising insurgency and structural violence provoked hostility amongst and between groups, and elites controlling media outlets of all stripes began to use their venues to sow ethnic rivalry as the veneer for the deeper agenda: class warfare.

Hutus were dehumanized as often as Tutsis. “Pro-opposition newspapers represented MRND [Hutu government] leaders as essentially evil and corrupt,” writes Jean-Marie Higiro. They were “liars, idiots, animals, bloodthirsty murderers and warmongers. Some of these newspapers published drawings of President Habyarimana covered with blood.” [21]

The RPF and Rwandan Tutsi Diaspora had their own publications. The best known of these is Impuruza, published in the United States (1984-1994). Tutsi refugees joined Roger Winter, the Director of the United States Committee for Refugees, to help fund the publication. The editor, Alexander Kimenyi, is a Rwandan national and a professor at California State University. Like most RPF publications Impuruza circulated clandestinely in Rwanda amongst Hutu and Tutsi elite.

“A nation in exile, a people without leadership, ‘the Jews of Africa’, a stateless nation,” wrote Festo Habimana, the president of the Association of Banyarwanda in Diaspora USA, in the premier issue of Impuruza. Habimana called for the unity of Tutsi refugees. “But our success will depend entirely upon our own effort and unity, not through world community as some perceive… As long as we are scattered, with no leadership, business as usual on their part shall always be their policy. We are a very able and capable people with abundant blessings. What are we waiting for? Genocide?” [22]

The Association of Banyarwanda in Diaspora USA, assisted by Roger Winter, organized the International Conference on the Status of Banyarwanda [Tutsi] Refugees in Washington, DC in 1988, and this is where a military solution to the Tutsi problem was chosen. The US Committee for Refugees reportedly provided accommodation and transportation. [23]

Winter is intimate with USAID, and a long-time ally of Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State on African Affairs (1997-2001), Special Assistant to President Clinton (1995-1997), and National Security Council insider (1993-1997). Roger Winter is also a staunch supporter of US. Rep. Donald Payne.

Winter acted as a spokesman for the RPF and their allies, and he appeared as a guest on major US television networks such as PBS and CNN. Philip Gourevitch and Roger Winter made contacts on behalf of the RPF with American media, particularly the Washington Post, New York Times and Time magazine. Roger Winter and US Rep. Donald Payne continue to manipulate African affairs: most notable are there recent exaggerations about genocide in Darfur, Sudan, for which Donald Payne sponsored the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act.

Second: the language of the above October 1990 timeline entry underscores the equally discrepant point that the RPF was “mostly made up of Tutsis.” According to the genocide mythology, the cataclysm in Rwanda was a tribal struggle between Hutus and Tutsis, with some involvement of France.

Who were the non-Tutsi elements of the ”mostly” Tutsi RPF? What is the implication? They were Hutus? How could Hutus be fighting alongside Tutsis if Hutus were exterminating all Tutsis based on an organized, premeditated plan? The term “moderate Hutu” invites a similar conundrum: what is a “moderate Hutu” in the international legal framework of genocide?

Jean-Marie Higiro says it best: “Academics and journalists divide Hutus into two categories: moderates and extremists following the myths of Hollywood. They never suggest that there were Hutu who did not belong to either category. There were those who were terrified by both sides and who just fled for their lives. Academics and journalists never do the same [segregating] for Tutsis and of course never for the RPF even though the RPF was a conglomerate of Tutsi supremacists, Republicans and monarchists. These supremacists are highly placed in the current government. Tito Rutaremara, one of the ideologues of the RPF is one of them, and General Ibingira, the butcher of Kibeho [is another] of them.”

The very definition of genocide would be called into question if it turned out that there were political, economic or class—as opposed to ethnic—motives behind the hundreds of thousands (or 1.2 million) of deaths that have been unequivocally attributed to Hutu genocidaires. A deeper examination of “genocide” in Rwanda raises just such inconvenient questions. The determination of what constitutes genocide is not so cut and dry as Hutus versus Tutsis, or lists of targeted Tutsis versus no lists, no matter the terror now invoked in one’s soul on hearing the word Interahamwe.

After the October 1990 entry, the timeline in the companion book omits any reference to the RPF until February 1993, as if the supposed ‘heroic’ Tutsi rebels were patiently sitting out the war from the Ugandan sidelines. But massacres occurred in northern Rwanda after the October 1990 invasion and after the 1991 ceasefire and they were committed by the RPF. Tens of thousands of refugees fled the border districts in fear of ongoing RPF atrocities.

(This author remembers well the traumatized tourist who disembarked from the bed of a small pick-up truck that crossed the border from Rwanda to Uganda in 1991. I was in Kasindi, in southwest Uganda. The Rwandan man sitting next to this western woman was shot by an RPF sniper as the truck drove down the road; the truck was then stopped, searched by the RPF, and the dead man taken.)

From 1990 on, RPF terror cells began infiltrating Kigali, the capital, and all other areas of Rwanda, and with them came atrocities that were frequently blamed on the Habyarimana government, including assassinations, massacres and disappearances. By March 1993, Rwanda’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) had reached one million people. The RPF practiced a scorched earth policy: they did not want to have to administer a territory or deal with local populations. The RPF displaced people, shelled the IDP camps, and marched on. They killed some captives, buried them in mass graves or burned corpses, and used survivors as porters to transport ammunition, dig trenches or cook their meals.

According to one Rwandan now in the US: prior to 1994, most Tutsis who had a job in Rwanda collected contributions for the RPF political and military program; people were afraid to refuse to pay the compulsory tax levied by a ruthless military institution, the RPF.

The Habyarimana government responded to terror with repression in kind, but the international human rights “community” had already taken sides in the war: the Hutu government of Habyarimana was accused of “genocide” against Tutsis as early as 1993; the RPF atrocities were ignored or explained away.

“There were many RPF killings in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994,” says Jean-Marie Higiro, “but these were not investigated; they were automatically attributed to Habyarimana’s [MRND] party by the international community. Even so, we know that the RPF used that kind of strategy to tarnish the image of their opponents.” [24]

Jean-Marie Higiro also cites the Tutsi newspaper Impuruza, the publication edited by Professor Alexandre Kimenyi, with accusing the Habyarimana government of committing genocide against the Tutsis, and this was prior to 1993.

February 1993: The RPF again invades Rwanda. Hutu extremists cite the invasion as proof the Tutsis aim to eliminate them, and begin calling for preemptive measures.

To begin with, the RPF never left Rwanda, and they never stopped killing. Following the reasonable questions by journalist Robin Philpot, how would US citizens respond if Canadian guerrillas—arguing that their parents were born or once lived in the US—invaded from Toronto? Would we call Americans who complained “extremists”? What if a few Islamic militants purportedly invading the US took out the World Trade Center? Would the US government call for preemptive measures? Would we call the invaders a “rebel army”? Extremists? Would we call them terrorists?

“Is it normal in the search for justice to condemn one side in a war for human rights violations,” writes Robin Philpot, “and not even question the morality of the aggressors, those who violated the principles of all the charters of rights humanity has ever drafted? Is it right to shout about how a government violates rights and turn a blind eye to the launching of an aggressive war?” [25]

Like the film, the Hotel Rwanda Companion Book offers a gross and distorted simplification of events in Rwanda.

Hotel Pentagon

Trained by the US Army at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA, the RPF soldier and now President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is a regular visitor at the Pentagon, and he was not the only officer in Rwanda with ties to the US military.

Under the Pentagon’s International Military Education Training Program (IMET), some $769,000 trained 35 Rwandan officers at US military schools from 1980 to 1992, and $120,000 was earmarked for Rwanda for both 1994 and 1995. Further military assistance was provided by the US to 1994, while the bulk of the arms and logistical support came from US client states (France, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda and Zaire). The Pentagon has also trained large numbers of Rwandan soldiers in the Extended-IMET (E-IMET) and Joint Command Exchange and Training (JCET) programs. One of those trained was Bangladeshi Colonel Moen, the Chief Operations Officer for UNAMIR, another graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas (USA). [26]

From 1993 onwards the RPF continued to stick its bloody foot in the door of Rwanda, and the international community continued to tighten the screws on the Habyarimana government. Ever vigilant and inflammatory in advertising the governments’ human rights abuses—whether manufactured, exaggerated or real—the human rights community continued to close its eyes to RPF atrocities, terrorist infiltrations and bloodied land grabbing.

Backed by powerful factions from the United States, England and Belgium, the RPF maneuvered and manipulated its way to the very seat of power, in Kigali itself, where—under the Arusha Peace Accords negotiated in Arusha Tanzania in 1993—a battalion of RPF soldiers was based at a strategic site within the city center. The RPF immediately fortified its defenses under the watch of Lt. General Roméo Dallaire—now universally regarded as a hero—the Canadian Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).

The Hotel Rwanda Companion Book offers only the following tidy summary which, as popular mythology now holds, credits the RPF with the imperative of ‘stopping the genocide’ against Tutsis.

Mid-July 1994: The Tutsi RPF forces capture Kigali and the genocide is over. Over a period of 100 days, almost 1,000,000 Rwandans were murdered.

While it is alleged that “almost 1,000,000 Rwandans were murdered” in those 100 days, a claim that is certainly exaggerated, it is also true that the RPF slaughtered, bombed, massacred, assassinated or tortured hundreds of thousands of people—including Hutu and Tutsi soldiers, politicians and government officials, and innocent civilians.

“All UN compounds were sheltering thousands of fearful Rwandans,” wrote the former UNAMIR commander, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire, “How could I possibly keep them safe?” Dallaire’s admission subsequent to the previous statement is very insightful, especially given his pro-RPF position: “We protected these citizens from certain death at the hands of the extremists or the RPF…” In this [previous] quote, Dallaire openly confirms the RPF’s role in killing, and his book repeatedly describes firefights he witnessed between the RPF and various government factions. [27]

There were no firefights shown in Hotel Rwanda, there was none of the ongoing warfare that rocked Kigali before and after 06 April 2004: there were only ruthless, savage, Hutu killers and rapists, and the dead bodies that—by inference and innuendo—the Hutus slaughtered with machetes, pangas, axes and hoes.

The RPF employed state-of-the-art information control and psychological operations tactics practiced by the US military: international reporters were embedded; access to battle zones was restricted; evidence of RPF massacres was erased, or massacres were blamed on Hutu extremists, Interahamwe militias or the government Forces Armee Rwandaise. British journalist Nick Gordon reported crematoriums where the RPF incinerated bodies.

After the April 6, 1994, double presidential assassination, the western press—including Joshua Hammer (Newsweek), and Raymond Bonner, James C. McKinley Jr. and Donatella Lorch (New York Times)—went out of their way to cite ‘professionalism’ and ‘discipline’ and ‘remarkable self-control’ exercised by the invading rebel RPF forces. The western press turned the double Presidential assassinations into ‘a mysterious plane crash,’ but this was a smoldering wreckage of the truth. [28]

“In conjunction with the military build-up by the RPF and its allies—including the infiltration into Kigali, the capital city, of up to 10,000 RPF soldiers,” writes ICTR barrister Chris Black, “western journalists and western intelligence services masquerading as “human rights” organizations began a concerted propaganda campaign against the [Habyarimana] Government and through it the Hutu people, accusing it of various human rights abuses, none of which were substantiated.” [29]

UN High Commission for Refugees investigator Robert Gersony reported in September 1994 on the RPF’s killing of more than 30,000 ethnic Hutus—in a period of two months—and gave a detailed account of locations, dates and nature of crimes, as well as the methods used to kill and to make the bodies disappear. Gersony also identified RPF leaders responsible for the killings. The classified UN report has never been released.

Interested moviegoers might want to hack through the perception management of Hotel Rwanda to get to United Artists parent company Metro Goldwyn Meyer. [30]

MGM directors, unsurprisingly, given what the film does not tell you about the true US role in Rwanda, include current United Technologies director and US General (Ret.) Alexander Haig. United Technologies is in the business of war and “I’m in charge here!” Al Haig served as secretary of state under a Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan.

The other producers of Hotel Rwanda include an unknown company called Kigali Releasing Ltd., and another called the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd. The latter is a major shareholder of, and mining partner with, Iscor Ltd., one of the companies named by the UN Panel of Experts Report (2002) for the illegal exploitation of resources from the Congo. [70].

US military involvement in Rwanda has included ‘counterinsurgency’ training, ‘psychological operations’ and tactical Special Forces: Special Operations Command oversees Navy Seals, Army Rangers and Delta Force: elite units deployed as special operatives in covert operations. [31]

The hotel in the film is not the real Hotel des Mille Collines. The Tutsi RPF rebels did not enter Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, and save the day, they were in Kigali all along. The RPF gained a foothold in Kigali through their constant deceptions and manipulations of the “peace process,” and with the support of their international backers, especially the United States. The RPF ‘rebels’ were better trained, better equipped, better organized than any and all other combatants in Rwanda and, notably, numerous sources claim that the RPF had the capacity to stop the killings. Sources also report that the Forces Armees Rwandais—the Rwandan government army—didn’t have the resources to fight both the RPF and the Interahamwe.

Professors Christian Davenport (U. Maryland) and Allan Stam (Dartmouth) published research in 2004 that showed that the killings began with a small, dedicated cadre of Hutu militiamen, but quickly cascaded in an ever-widening circle, with Hutu and Tutsi playing the roles of both attackers and victims. Their team of researchers also found that only 250,000 people were killed, not the 800,000 plus advanced by the RPF, and that for every Tutsi killed two Hutus were killed. The research unleashed a firestorm: the media jumped on them for denying genocide.

“Our research suggests that many of the victims, possibly even a majority, were Hutus—there weren’t enough Tutsis in Rwanda at the time to account for all the reported deaths… When you add it all up it looks a lot more like politically motivated mass killing than genocide. A wide diversity of individuals, both Hutu and Tutsi, systematically used the mass killing to settle political, economic and personal scores.” [32]

“When you look at the motivations of the Interahamwe leadership and young people in the Interahamwe they were motivated by money,” notes former ORINFOR director Jean-Marie Higiro. Some Hutu businessmen were giving out loans, contributing to political parties of both the Rwandan government and the RPF rebels. “These guys wanted to do business: people were motivated by different interests.”

“Many Hutu and Tutsi businessmen prospered under the Habyarimana regime,” Jean-Marie Higiro notes. “They received government contracts and loans from government banks and suddenly became rich. During this period of uncertainty they contributed money to the RPF, MRND, and opposition parties—always speculating on the winner. That is why, after the war, very few Hutu businessmen who had contributed to the RPF reopened their business immediately. That is why some Tutsi businessmen who contributed to the RPF made an excellent calculation. After the war they reaped off the benefits.” [33]

Some facts in the film are true. To begin with, in every sense of the terms “human rights” and “humanitarianism,” the western powers betrayed the people of Rwanda. The whites were rapidly evacuated, the blacks abandoned, including the many African staffers of international agencies. The French armed the Hutu side, and they evacuated key Hutu elite at the first opportunity, but the United States, U.K. and Belgium armed the Tutsis. There was a Rwandan man named Paul Rusesabagina and he would, one day, be working at the Hotel des Mille Collines, but he was the manager of the Hotel des Diplomats. The Tutsi rebels were blamed for the assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, but the film convinces us they didn’t do it, when everything suggests they did. And it is certainly true that hundreds of thousands of Rwandans died.

Hotel Rwanda is a work of fiction. As a cultural artifact produced by an affluent entertainment industry in the West, and for affluent western consumers, but focused on a distant and exoticized culture about which the affluent western consumers know very little, or nothing at all, it serves to consolidate the ideological pillars of disinformation that came before it, and upon which it was built.

According to many and varied knowledgeable sources, including hotel insiders: Rwanda was not abandoned by the western powers: Belgium, France, Canada, England and the United States were all militarily involved in the 1994 conflict. Because there are Israeli connections to the current government, it is likely that Israeli military agents were also involved. These were no bystanders to genocide, as Samantha Power and the Atlantic Monthly and others would like us to think, but active participants in a ruthless international military conflagration. Note that amongst Atlantic Monthly’s primary advertisers [read: sponsors] is Lockheed Martin [aerospace and defense] Corporation.

The hotel was not under a state of siege early on as the movie suggests—an elegant wedding took place there during the fray, and it married the sister of the Tutsi businessman Kamana Claver, who had contracts with the Hutu government. According to one guest, powerful Hutus and Tutsis regularly came and went. When the water to the hotel was shut off, forcing the ‘refugees’ to drink the water from the swimming pool, it was not shut off by the Hutu genocidaires, as implied in the film, but by the Tutsi RPF army, who cut power to the city.

General Bizimungu appears in the very first scenes of the film, prior to the double presidential assassination: yet when the plane was shot down on April 6, 1994, General Bizimungu was still a Colonel, and he was far from Kigali. According to one hotel guest, who remains unnamed for fear of retribution, Paul Rusesabagina, the film’s hero, in no way wielded the kind of influence as depicted throughout the film:

“Paul was a very simple man like me in front of the Interahamwe. If he succeeded to save some Tutsi from his home he was most probably helped by some influential Interahamwe friend, say Georges Rutaganda. He was as vulnerable as I was and could not oppose any action against the will of the militia and much less of the army. He lies when he feints to call General Bizimungu for help, because the Hotel des Mille Collines was under the jurisdiction of Colonel Renzaho. Bizimungu lived at the northern war front lines, and he only came to Kigali four days after the plane was shot down and I never saw him at the hotel.” [34]

“There is overwhelming evidence,” wrote Rutigita Macumu in an opinion piece titled “Paul Rusesabagina Not a Hero!” in Rwanda’s state-owned newspaper, The New Times, on November 5, 2005, “that Paul Rusesabagina did not particularly go out of his way to bring the people, who were being hunted, to the Mille Collines Hotel haven, to protect them once they were in the hotel, to procure them food or even water when they were unable to pay for them, or to devise any uncommon means to fend off the killer gangs outside the hotel. It is highly apparent that he only fulfilled his duty, as directed by his Sabena bosses, to run the hotel well and cater for all its occupants.” [35]

Georges Rutaganda, the devil beer salesman and erstwhile murderer of Tutsis in Hotel Rwanda, writes that Paul Rusesabagina was no disinterested, apolitical hotel manager, but an important activist member of a national political party. On 12 April 1994, Rusesabagina shifted to the Hôtel des Mille Collines where he acted as its new director because the other hotel had been evacuated by foreign troops.

Hotel Rwanda depicts Rusesabagina at the Hotel des Mille Collines prior to the double presidential assassinations of 6 April 1994. Rutaganda claims to have visited the hotel and seen guests from both Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, including: Rubangura Vedaste; Mutalikanwa Félicien; Dr. Gasasira Jean Baptiste; Kamana Claver; Kajuga Wicklif; Rwigema Celestin; Kamilindi Thomas; and others.

Rutaganda claims that very few UNAMIR soldiers were around, and they were incidental to security: the Hutu Gendarmes of the FAR army were manning a roadblock at the main entrance. He also claims that the “refugees” in the UN convoy that were turned back at a roadblock “were the real elite cream of Tutsi ethnic tribe. Had one been really spurred by bad intentions this would have been a great occasion to decapitate the Tutsi ethnic group. Families of former ministers, of doctors, of lawyers, of big business men, of highly educated men, of professors, etc, were among them.”

If the ‘genocide’ were so organized and calculated, and quick to strike, then Rutaganda has a very interesting point: how did it happen that the elite of the Tutsi tribe were protected and evacuated by UNAMIR troops and Hutu Gendarmes? Of course, all Hutus are killers, and no one will believe a genocidaire: Georges Rutaganda was sentenced to life in prison by the ICTR.

Can George Rutaganda’s claims be corroborated?

“Georges Rutaganda cooperated with the UN to save all those people.” ICTR investigator Phil Taylor offers a compelling portrait of the supposed devil himself: Rutaganda didn’t incite hate crimes, he called for calm and respect for the Red Cross; Rutaganda was never accused of the rape and sexual slavery depicted in the film; and Rutaganda never traded in machetes. Indeed, Human Rights Watch in January 1994 identified an English businessman who had imported tens of thousands of machetes into Rwanda. [36]

And rape was off the agenda at the ICTR until Hillary Clinton showed up in Arusha and pledged $600,000 to be paid after the first ICTR rape conviction: that’s when they decided to pin rape on Georges Rutaganda, and that’s where the Tutsi women collected in the fictitious Rutaganda compound in Hotel Rwanda come from.

The film offers a fictitious UN Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte) as a substitute for the Canadian Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, whose is absent from the film. (It is believed that Dallaire asked too much money from the filmmakers for the use of his name or character.) Roméo Dallaire allegedly worked not as an impartial United Nations commander, but as an agent for the invading RPF army. Dallaire reportedly approached Hutu military commanders to convince them to follow the winds of change and embrace the RPF program. Dallaire was rarely present at the hotel, according to witnesses, but his substitute (Nick Nolte) is always there.

Dallaire mentions in his book how he passed by the Hotel des Mille Collines, but in his own meticulously detailed recounting of the daily events and travels around Kigali from 6 April to 10 April, 1994, for example, Dallaire stops at the Hotel des Mille Collines only once. [37]

According to Chris Black, a lead counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) since 2000, UN documents brought into testimony at the ICTR in October 2005 clearly establish that UNAMIR’s Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire:

was an agent of the RPF; helped shoot down the plane in the double presidential assassination;

covered up the preparation of the final RPF offensive assisted by Uganda, the US and UK;

lied to his United Nations boss Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh about it.

Contrary to the caring, humanitarian character of Colonel Oliver—as presented by Nick Nolte in the film—in real-life General Dallaire allegedly arranged for the closure of the western approach to the Kigali airport at the request of the RPF. This made it easier for the RPF and others to track the presidential plane as it came in from the east. The Belgian contingent of the UN force was in control of the airport area and the area from which the missiles were fired, and a Belgian military unit (the “peacekeepers” killed later) were the only people caught by the Hutu army coming out of the firing area after the plane was shot down, after the army threw up a cordon to try to catch the culprits.

“All of Dallaire’s actions only make sense in this light,” lawyer Chris Black explains. “Dallaire admits in his book that he was close to Paul Kagame and admired him. He helped Kagame by covering up the RPF build-up for an offensive in violation of the Arusha Accords, while at the same time helping with the anti-government propaganda of the RPF. The Belgian’s actively engaged on the side of the RPF and once the plane was shot down they attacked FAR army and gendarme positions alongside the RPF. We have radio intercepts of the RPF talking about their help from the Belgians and others. By saying Dallaire was an RPF agent I am of course really saying he worked for the Americans under the orders of Ottawa.” [38]

Lt. General Roméo Dallaire was no peacekeeper: he was an active military strategist—a war-maker.

The Political Economy of Genocide

Prior to the cataclysm of 1994, the RPF set up its political base in Belgium. When Belgian “peacekeepers” are murdered by “Hutus” in Hotel Rwanda—the blue helmets are scattered on the ground in front of our horrified UN hero, Colonel Oliver (Nick Nolte)—the false inference is that the genocidaires’ calculated killing of the Belgians would provoke a UNAMIR withdrawal from Rwanda. This is a central pillar of the genocide theory: with the Belgian ‘peacekeepers’ out of the way, the Hutu killing machine had free reign to shift into high gear. In reality, the Belgians were immediately killed because they were the political accomplices of a ruthless bunch of terrorists, the invading RPF army.

Substantial evidence entered into public record in the ICTR’s so-called ‘Military I’ and ‘Military II’ trials (both began in 2005) contradicts the fundamental premise above—and the central theory of the ICTR prosecution—by showing that Hutu officers charged by the ICTR with complicity in the Belgians’ murder actually risked their lives trying to save the Belgian soldiers. The UN Force Commission—set up immediately after the attack on the Belgians by UN Force Commander General Dallaire—concluded the same. Eyewitness testimony by a UN Military Observer also states that there were not ten Belgian soldiers killed, but thirteen. “This is a point of some interest in Belgium,” writes Chris Black, “where the government claims to have lost only ten men.” [39]

So who were those three Belgian soldiers and what was their mission? Hotel Rwanda dares not introduce such questions: to do so would be heresy. But the United States knows, and the RPF knows and the legal ‘experts’ at the ICTR all know that the genocide theory would crumble under the admission of the truth.

According to ICTR lawyers, UN documents show that Lt. General Roméo Dallaire was aware, at least from December 1993, and probably before, that the RPF, with the support of the Ugandan Army, was daily violating the Arusha Accords by sending into Rwanda men, materiel, and light and heavy weapons. That is how the US, Belgians and Canadians assisted the RPF/A in preparing for the final solution in Rwanda—total military victory over the Hutus. [40]

“The RPF engaged in assassinations of officials, politicians and civilians, and attempted to cast the blame on the government,” writes Chris Black. “Dallaire assisted in this campaign by suppressing facts concerning these crimes and openly siding with the RPF propaganda statements.” [41]

It was not UNAMIR soldiers who guarded the Hotel but Gendarmes (paramilitary police) dispatched by the Hutu government. This fact flies in the face of the “genocide” mythology. If the hotel was full of Tutsis targeted for genocide, why was it being protected by the very same architects of that supposed genocide? The Hotel was not filled only with Tutsis (refugees from genocide): it was full of powerful Tutsis and Hutus (with Tutsis in the majority) with political and economic connections to powerful factions both inside and outside of Rwanda.

Questions about the composition of the ‘mostly Tutsi’ RPF invaders provoke questions about the ethnic composition of the Interahamwe militias and commercial relationships that transcended ethnicity. Such details are overlooked in the western reductionism on Rwanda—because they contradict the official and burgeoning Rwanda holocaust industry and the US State Department fictions. The following ethnic inconsistencies are very revealing:

Robert Kajuga, was the Tutsi President of the notorious “genocidal” Rwandan Interahamwe;

Kamana Claver was a Tutsi businessman and frequent recipient of large government-awarded contracts from the “genocidal” Hutu government;

Celestin Sebulikoko was a Tutsi businessman and strong supporter of the main Hutu political party (MRND)--he is believed to have been disappeared by the RPF;

A Tutsi named Mpangaza, who worked for the Rwandan government firm TRANSINTRA, reportedly manned a powerful machine gun at an Interahamwe roadblock in downtown Kigali in 1994--he was a well-known Interahamwe--he lives peacefully in Rwanda today;

The son of Juvenal Gatorano, a Tutsi customs agent with the Habyarimana government’s Ministry of Finance, was always seen at Interahamwe rallies.

These facts, if true, provide compelling evidence that it was not a coordinated genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994, but a civil war, and a western proxy war, with deep political, economic and military motivations behind the atrocities. Acts of genocide certainly occurred, as did crimes against humanity, but “acts” of genocide do not constitute genocide as defined by the international legal frameworks on genocide. An entire ethnic group could be wiped out, say the last 100 Penan nomads in Sarawak, for example, but if they are incidentally eliminated in the calculated and racist process of logging their forests—which is exactly what has happened to the Penan—it is not necessarily “genocide”. Equally troublesome, the US might have annihilated every last Japanese citizen in 1945, but few today would characterize the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as genocidal in nature or intent.

The calculated nature upheld as the basis for genocide in Rwanda has always revolved around the supposed “lists” created by Hutu genocidaires: lists of Tutsis who were subsequently eliminated because, first and foremost, they were Tutsis; such “lists” were purportedly created by the Hutu genocide machine.

“Any army would have lists of their political enemies,” notes ICTR investigator Phil Taylor. “This is not unusual.” The Rwandan government likely had its lists, the RPF had their own lists, and both went about assassinating their enemies.

Phil Taylor notes that the prosecution at the ICTR has not produced any lists—of any kind—as evidence subsequently used for Rwanda genocide convictions.

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack the intelligence armies of the United States generated an extensive list of “enemies of the state”—a list they maintain today—most of whom were/are of Islamic ethnicity. Does the existence of these lists constitute genocidal intent?

“There is a stunning lack of documentary evidence of a government plan to commit genocide,” write lawyer Chris Black. “There are no orders, minutes of meetings, notes, cables, faxes, radio intercepts or any other type of documentation that such a plan ever existed. In fact, the documentary evidence establishes just the opposite.” [42]

US Pentagon lawyers imported to the ICTR from the Judge Advocacy General (JAG) Corps have heavily skewed the ICTR in favor of the US-supported RPF. Also, the ICTR has not returned a single verdict against RPF Tutsi soldiers or Tutsi leadership; former ICTR prosecutor Carla Del Ponte was removed for her attempts to prosecute Tutsis. [43]

“The ICTR risks being a part of the problem rather than the solution,” wrote Filip Reyntjens, Belgian historian and expert witness on genocide in Rwanda, in 2004. “I cannot any longer be involved in this process.” [44]

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the sister of The Hague Tribunal, consolidates the popular mythology on genocide in Rwanda by playing its role as an international judicial body which, by default, must be beyond reproach or bias. While demonizing the Hutu leadership and justifying the RPF dictatorship now in control of Rwanda, writes Chris Black, it also serves as a means of presenting a completely false history of the events in Rwanda, and covering up the murder of the two Hutu heads of state and the massacres of hundreds of thousands of innocent people by the RPF and its allies. [45]

In Hotel Rwanda, the genocidal Hutus blame the Tutsi RPF rebels for shooting down the plane that killed the two presidents, and because the film demonizes every Hutu, the viewer is convinced that the Hutu’s are lying, deflecting attention from their own nasty deeds. However, evidence suggests that an RPF terror cell in Kigali shot down the Presidential airplane. Also on the plane was a Forces Armee Rwandais general, a pivotal target for the RPF. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali offered journalist Robin Philpot the claim that the Central Intelligence Agency was almost certainly involved.

“As early as 1997,” writes a Spanish legal team that in 2005 filed suit against Paul Kagame and his RPF cadre, “a team of investigators appointed by the ICTR—Michael Hourigan, Alphonse Breau and James Lyons—released reports, then held as classified, which revealed that the attack was masterminded by high-ranking RPF military and not by Hutu extremists as had been believed until then. These disclosures were corroborated in 2004 by the remarkable testimony of Abdul Ruzibiza, a member of the RPF commando unit which perpetrated the attack on the presidential plane.”[46]

"I am an eye witness to what took place when the SA-16 was fired because I was present", writes Ruzibiza in his recently released book, Rwanda: L'histoire Secrete (The Secret History of Rwanda). Ruzibiza alleges that after the missile attack on the plane, soldiers of the RPF who had been readied in advance were assembled to immediately launch attacks that culminated in the fall of Kigali on July 4, 1994. [47]

There is also the definitive statement by Paul Mugabe, a Former Intelligence Officer of the RPA, titled: Declaration on the Shooting Down of the Aircraft Carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6, 1994.

Paul Mugabe alleges that two weeks before the crash of the Presidential aircraft, [then] Major General Kagame sent [then] Lt. Colonel James Kabarebe to bring the SA-7 surface-to-air missiles to the RPA detachment in Kigali, and to give final instructions for attacking Rwandese Army forces (FAR) and shooting down the plane. Two RPF leaders, Colonels Kanyarengwe Alexis and Lizinde Theoneste, who had earlier served in the Habyarimana Government, gave information and instructions as to where the missiles should be placed. (Col. Lizinde Theoneste, who later defected, was subsequently assassinated in 1998 by RPF operatives in Nairobi, Kenya, in order to ensure the secrecy of the missile operation.) Two weeks before the double presidential assassination, 12 artillery systems were brought from Uganda, and arrived at RPA headquarters.

Other RPF defectors also credit the RPF with shooting down the plane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian leadership. Long-time RPF officer Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi claims that the assassination plan was hatched at an RPF meeting on 31 March 1994:

“The Chairman of the meeting was Major General Paul Kagame, and the following officers were present: Colonel Kayumba Nyamwasa; Colonel Théoneste Lizinde; Lt. Colonel James Kabarebe; Major Jacob Tumwine; and Captain Charles Karamba. I heard Paul Kagame asking Colonel Lizinde to report about his investigations and I have seen Colonel Lizinde giving to Paul Kagame a map of the selected place for the plane shooting etc.” [48]

Lt. Aloys Ruyenzi also accuses General Paul Kagame and (now) General James Kabarebe of overseeing the massacres of Hutu and Tutsi civilians, both in the field and at crematoriums set up to dispose of the evidence. Ruyenzi is just one defector with a compelling story. He claims he has witnessed helicopter gunships shelling villages, and massacres, tortures and summary executions as policy. Many of the human rights atrocities committed by the Kagame regime have been documented by human rights organizations.

“Gen. James Kabarebe was the commander of the reverse-genocide army,” says Howard W. French, referring to the military campaign where hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees were hunted down and slaughtered by the Tutsi RPA and their western allies in Congo. [49]

Eighty percent of these Rwandan refugees were women and children; 50% were under 15 years old. [50]

This genocidal reign of terror to hunt down and massacre non-combatant Hutu men, women and children was spearheaded by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), who were running the show for Laurent Kabila’s Allied Front for the Democratic Liberation of Congo (AFDL)—and it was backed by government and private factions from the United States, the U.K., Canada and Belgium.

One eyewitness to the skeletons piling up pinpoints mass graves that were later sanitized in advance of the United Nations mission to investigate the RPF/UPDF/AFDL massacres of hundreds of thousands of unarmed Hutu civilians. [51]

The contra-genocide against Hutus continues today: at this writing the forces are aligned to exterminate the remaining 40,000 Hutus in Congo: they are all written off as genocidaires who fled Rwanda in 1994, even though most surviving FDLR were too young to have participated in genocide. [52]

Sabena officials were not surprised or horrified to be getting a call from some hotel manager in Rwanda, as depicted in the film: one week prior to the October 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the RPF, Sabena Airlines rerouted its airline crews (pilots, hostesses) away from the Hotel des Mille Collines and off to Burundi for their overnights. This was no random decision: it was a calculated policy action meant to insure the safety of company employees in the face of a coming war. Sabena was well informed. A Belgian firm born out of the post-Leopold aviation era in Congo, Sabena was later used to ship diamonds, and probably coltan (columbium-tantalite), out of Kigali by the RPF elites, whose base, again, was in Brussels. It is believed that Sabena’s eventual “bankruptcy” was intended to cover their tracks and shield principals from any possible future legal actions stemming from their pillage in the Congo.

What about the elusive American diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman and his connection to Bill and Hillary Clinton and the diamonds coming out of Kigali? “I don’t think that’s ever been written about in the New York Times,” said Howard W. French. [53]

Howard W. French averred that Maurice Tempelsman employed Lawrence Devlin, former CIA station chief from Mobutu’s Zaire, and that he maintains close ties with the CIA. Tempelsman is also on the board of directors of the Harvard AIDS Institute and the Africa-America Institute (Donald Payne is also deeply involved, as is Gayle Smith, formerly Bill Clinton’s National Security Council advisor on African Affairs). Maurice Tempelsman was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s lover, he was reported to be Madeleine Albright’s lover, and he was one of the 99 people who accompanied Bill Clinton on his 1998 Africa victory tour. Tempelsman is one of the many untouchables behind the quagmire in Central Africa. [54]

Why has the United States blocked all attempts to investigate the shooting down of the plane and the double presidential assassination that sparked the cataclysm on April 6, 1994? Why hasn’t the United Nations pursued an inquiry?

"It is a very mysterious scandal,” wrote author Robin Philpot. “Four reports have been made on Rwanda: the French Parliament Report, the Belgian Senate Report, Kofi Annan's UN report, and the Organization of African Unity report. All four say absolutely nothing about the shooting down of the Rwandan President's plane. That just goes to show the power of the intelligence services that can force people to be quiet.”

Philpot continues: “The only partial exception is the seven year investigation conducted by the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière. That investigation has implicated current Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front for having planned, ordered and carried out the April 6 assassination.” [55]

Says ICTR lawyer Chris Black: “President Mobutu’s chief of intelligence, Honore Ngambo, in his book published in France a few months ago [Western Crimes in Central Africa, 2005] relates the meeting between Habyarimana and Mobutu two days before Habyaramana was murdered. The Hutu President told Mobutu that he had been warned by Herman Cohen—the US African Affairs man—that unless he ceded all power to the RPF his body would be dragged through the streets and his government tried before an international tribunal. Habyarimana received the same threats from the Belgians, and Canadian General Dallaire was involved. Habyarimana was informed by his agents in the RPF camp at Mulindi that his plane would be shot down. He didn’t know the exact date.” [56]

The RPF opposed any military intervention in Rwanda after 6 April 1994. The RPF knew the military situation of the Rwandan army (low on morale and ammunition) and it did not want any military intervention to snatch away its victory. The RPF’s official sponsors in Washington, London and Brussels told whoever would listen that any international force would be met with RPF military resistance. The RPF was the only force that had the capacity to stop the killing, but they didn’t.

ICTR lawyer Chris Black verifies that UN documents entered in the ICTR record establish that the Gendarmerie did all it could with the resources it had to restore calm, but could not, and that the FAR army could not both fight the RPF and restore calm among the civilians.

This following statement comes from an unnamed survivor who was in Kigali in April, 1994, where he lost his entire family to the killings: some of his family were Hutus, some Tutsis, and he began by stating he does not support the ideologies that align themselves along ethnic fault lines. The interview took place in Bukavu, DRC, in August 2005:

“Many Hutus lost family members on the border with Uganda after the RPA invaded in 1990. This is where Hutu hatred of Tutsis started. The Tutsi continued to perpetrate crimes to weaken the government of Habyarimana even while the government was being forced to negotiate with the RPF. Each Tutsi family had sent one or two boys to the RPF army in Uganda. We knew these boys – they used to say, ‘O.K. goodbye. We are going to Uganda.’ “

“Hutus saw this. The Tutsis [RPF] were pushing the hatred higher and higher every day. Even Hutus knew that all Tutsis had to attend meetings at the end of the month to raise money for the RPF. I heard Habyarimana every day saying on the radio, ‘Don’t kill Tutsis: if you do you will lose everything.’ Even as the Arusha Peace Accords were going on [1993] the RPF were starting to kill the intellectuals, the Hutu leaders, in Rwanda.”

“They [RPF] were putting bombs in public places, in markets and gare routieres [bus stations], and in night clubs—I almost died in one night club attack. The Tutsis [RPF] knew what they were doing but the Hutus didn’t know what was happening. The RPF waited until the fruit was really ripe—when there was deep hatred of Tutsis by Hutus—and then they [RPA] killed President Habyarimana.”

“They killed Habyarimana because they knew he was the only one who could stop the Hutus from killing Tutsis. That is why, every day, I say that: the genocide was not planned by Hutus, it was planned by Tutsis: it was planned by the RPF. Even after the Interahamwe killed my wife, even after all the horrible things that have happened to me, I believe the Tutsis created the genocide. And for me it was a war between brothers: the Hutus had an army and the Tutsis had an army and there was fighting at every level.” [57]

Heartless Darkness

Notably, the source for the Hotel Rwanda Companion Book timeline chapter is the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2004 (the previous chapter is filled with the standard deceptions, and it appears without attribution). [58]

It is not surprising then that the roles of the US and other outside Western powers and multinational corporations are hidden. The most egregious omissions revolve around the Democratic Republic of Congo: the ongoing destruction and depopulation of Congo receives remarkably little press coverage in contrast to the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan, despite the obvious evidence that the scale and nature of atrocities against innocent civilians in Congo has been far worse, over a longer period of time, and with profound but unnecessary human suffering.

After consolidating power in Rwanda in 1994, and following on massive crimes against humanity there, the RPF shelled and dismantled refugee camps in eastern Congo (then Zaire) in the summer of 1996, in further massive and egregious violations of international law and the Geneva Convention. The new RPF government has never wavered in its efficacious crusade of calling attention to an ongoing genocide against the Tutsis—the Jews of Africa—who were “abandoned by the United States and Europe” to ostensibly suffer the fate of genocide, but this is an affront to the Jewish people and, in particular, to the Holocaust victims and survivors of World War II.

The pretext of ongoing ‘genocide’ against the Tutsis has been used by the RPF over and over to justify the most egregious and hostile violations of international law and human rights. Continuing to implement what is now clearly a well-coordinated and premeditated plan, and with complete logistical and tactical military support from the Pentagon and its outsourced private military companies—including Halliburton, Ronco, and Military Professional Resources Incorporated—the RPF followed its Rwanda victory by invading the sovereign territory of Congo (Zaire), its huge western neighbor. [59]

Drawing on its previous military alliance, training and rear bases in Uganda, the RPF allied with Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) to march across the Congo, unseat Habyarimana’s close friend, Congo’s (Zaire’s) President Mobutu Sese Seko, and conquer the vast, mineral rich Congo.

“The international community has refused to bring effective pressure to bear on Rwanda to create conditions of security,” wrote Rwanda scholar David Newbury, in 1996. [60]

Marginalized groups like the Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda have repeatedly echoed this obvious truth. “The continuous prevalence of impunity has encouraged the leaders of the RPF/RPA to perpetrate crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of genocide in Rwanda and DRC without fear of prosecution. It has consolidated the power and the wealth of criminal elements within the RPF-led dictatorial regime.” [61]

And so it continues today. Paul Kagame and James Kabarebe and the Tutsi RPF-dominated government of Rwanda continue to destabilize the Great Lakes Region of Africa, with infiltration of terror cells throughout the neighboring Congo, just as they did in Rwanda (1985-1994). They are appeased or courted, the saintly victims of genocide, and they enjoy total impunity and all the benefits of an elite club.

Similarly, the Human Rights Watch press alert of July 1, 2005, for example, targeting the Congolese government, is a veiled defense of Rwandan-US interests in DRC: it is written by Alison Des Forges, from Kigali. [62]

Both the Hotel Rwanda film and companion book neatly encapsulate the entire mythology of genocide in Rwanda and the invented heroism of now president Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). The true and deeper facts that receive little attention, if any at all, are:

{1} the RPF’s illegal invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990;

{2} its record of war crimes committed from 1990-1994;

{3} the RPF double assassination of the Hutu presidents of Burundi and Rwanda on April 6, 1994;

{4} the RPF’s massive contre-genocide of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees in Congo (Zaire), of refugees returning to Rwanda from Congo, and of Hutus in Rwanda itself;

{5} the RPF’s repeated invasions and continuing looting and devastation of the Congo, with the involvement and sanction of RPF officials at the highest level, that continues today; and

{6} the collaborating roles of Western institutions, individuals and corporations, and the economic and political benefits that accrue to them, at the expense of Africa and her people.

What has motivated Paul Rusesabagina? It is interesting to note that Rusesabagina has been widely lauded and financially rewarded for his story, the rights to his story, and for his alignment with US government and military officials in service to various political and military agendas. In 2000 he was awarded the Immortal Chaplain’s prize, and received the award with a handshake from US Republican Senator Bob Dole. [63]

“As for Paul Rusesabagina,” wrote Rutigita Macumu, in Rwanda’s The New Times newspaper, “he will go down in the annals of history as a man who sold the soul of the Rwandan Genocide to amass medals, including, among others, the Amnesty International's Enduring Spirit, the Immortal Chaplain Foundation's Prize for Humanity, the Tigar Center's Human Rights Award, the National Civil Rights Museum's Freedom Award, and now the prestigious Presidential Model of Freedom Award from the sitting American president, George W. Bush.” [64]

In 2004, Paul Rusesabagina traveled with a Pentagon escort and his namesake, actor Don Cheadle, to Darfur, Sudan, to draw attention to the popularized, officially accredited ‘genocide’ occurring there. [65]

Rwandan Defense Forces were dispatched to Darfur where, along with the African Union and some US military, they serve as US proxy warriors: these are troops responsible for some of the most egregious acts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda and Congo. [66]

Hotel Rwanda is merely the latest production in a protracted campaign of psychological warfare. It is a dangerous work of agitation propaganda because it wets the wide and naive eyes and touches the open and caring hearts of Western viewers. It is deceptive and when viewers depart the cinema with popcorn and chocolate stuck between their teeth they leave thinking they know something about what happened in Rwanda. We as viewers enjoy the idea that we are being educated, when instead we are being indoctrinated, and the insidious effects of the indoctrination are unappreciated. Hotel Rwanda exemplifies the careless, simplistic reductionism that is universally manifest in the West’s representations of Africa.

Phil Taylor, former investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) says it aptly. “For anyone who followed closely the 1994 crisis in Rwanda the highly touted film Hotel Rwanda is merely propaganda statements interrupted by bouts of acting.” [67]

The racism and segregation that played out in the Rwanda cataclysm of 1994, where there were very different conditions and outcomes between whites and blacks, continues to be played out today. The telling and re-telling of the Rwanda ‘genocide’ story by its very nature revolves around a system of institutionalized segregation. Powerful whites in powerful ‘gatekeeper’ positions in the West hold a virtual monopoly over the information. Alongside of them are the select voices of non-whites who validate the predominant discourse. These ‘experts’ include Alison des Forges; Roméo Dallaire; Philip Gourevitch; Victoria Brittain; Samantha Power; Mahmood Mamdani; and many, many others.

“They believe Alison des Forges because she is white and they don’t believe me because I am black and I don’t speak English so well,” says Jean-Marie Higiro. “She is the expert, even though she was an observer and I was a participant.”

We can’t intimately know the hardships of Paul Rusesabagina, or the trauma of Roméo Dallaire, or the sorrows of Jean-Marie Higiro, or the suffering of the other survivors of the cataclysm in Rwanda, and we must search our own souls on their behalf: the struggle of good versus evil reigns within us all. Indeed, there is a certain arrogance behind this writing, because I was not a participant in Rwanda either. But any hesitation I have in challenging the ‘right and proper tale’ is overwhelmed by the obscenity of the obvious injustice and the machinations of empire behind it.

If truth is the first casualty in war, then those of us who are lucky observers must endlessly work to resurrect it. In Central Africa, today, truth mingles with the souls of the dead, forsaken amidst the unheard cries of some seven million—mostly innocent people—whose life on this earth ground to a gruesome, meaningless conclusion.

keith harmon snow

First published: 04 July 2005;
Text Modified: 05 November 2005;
Final Version: 04 December 2005;
Updated Final: 10 January 2006.


[1] Samantha Power, “Remember the Blood Frenzy of Rwanda,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2004.

[2] Village genocide courts, or Gacaca tribunals, began operating in Rwanda in March 2005. See: Edras Ndikumana, “Rwanda’s Hutus Flee Genocide Courts,” 19 April 2005; and “Rwandan President asks Fleeing Residents to Return,” Reuters, June 3, 2005.

[3] Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, HarperCollins, 2002.

[4] Private interview: Howard W. French, Northampton MA, USA, March 30, 2005.

[5] Howard W. French, “In Zaire Forest Hutu Refugees Near the End of the Road,” New York Times, March 13, 1997; see also Howard W. French, Africa: A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa.

[6] Private interview: Howard W. French, Northampton MA, USA, March 30, 2005.

[7] Lt. General Roméo A. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Arrow Books, 2003.

[8] Rene¢ Lemarchand noted in his authoritative text Rwanda and Burundi (Pall Mall Press, 1970) that “the term Inyenzi is currently used within and outside Rwanda to refer to small-scale Tutsi-led guerilla units trained and organized outside Rwanda and varying in size from about six to ten men.”

[9] Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement or National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

[10] The Iceberg of the Conflict in Africa of the Great Lakes Region: Lawsuit Against Those Responsible for the Concealed Crimes Against Humanity, International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, .

[11] Private communication: Charles Onana, Paris, France, February 2004.

[12] The Book published in November 2001 entitled, Les Secrets Du Génocide Rwandais, Enquête Sur les Mystères D’un Président [The Secrets of the Rwandan Genocide, Investigations on the Mysteries of a President], was the subject of President Kagame’s initial law suit that was heard in the 17th chamber of the French High court against Cameroonian Journalist Charles Onana.

[13] See: >.

[14] See:

[15] On James Rubin: see Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen Press, 1999.

[16] See: Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, "Philip Gourevitch's Platonic and Conradian Eyes on the Genocide in Rwanda,” in Ishmael Reed’s Konch.

[17] Private interview: Howard W. French, Northampton MA, USA, March 30, 2005.

[18] Robin Philpot, Rwanda: Colonialism Dies Hard, the English translation of Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali (That’s Not How It Happened in Kigali), published in English on-line by the Taylor Report, < >.

[19] Terry George, Ed., Hotel Rwanda – The Official Companion Book, Newmarket Press, 2005.

[20] The Iceberg of the Conflict in Africa of the Great Lakes Region: Lawsuit Against Those Responsible for the Concealed Crimes Against Humanity, International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, .

[21] A paper scheduled for publication, Spring 2006, by Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro.

[22] Some of them are: Alliance edited by Alliance National Unity (RANU), an organization that later changed its name into Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF); Congo Nil, edited in Belgium by Francois Rutanga; Impuruza, edited by Alexander Kimenyi in the United States; Inkotanyi, edited by the RPF; Intego, edited by Jose Kagabo in France; Munyarwanda, edited by the Association of Concerned Banyarwanda in Canada; Avant Garde; Le Patriote; Huguka; and Umulinzi.

[23] The term Banyarwanda refers to ethnic Tutsis, and has been most often used to describe Tutsi refugees in Congo (Zaire).

[24] Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement or National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

[25] Robin Philpot, Rwanda: Colonialism Dies Hard, the English translation of Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali (That’s Not How It Happened in Kigali), published in English on-line by the Taylor Report, < >.

[26] See US Department of Defense, Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales, and Military Assistance Facts, (US Doc D1.2, F76, 996) 1997; see also: Lt. Gen. Roméo A. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Arrow Books, 2003: p. 273.

[27] Lt. Gen. Roméo A. Dallaire, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Arrow Books, 2003: pp. 263-265.

[28] See, e.g.: {a} “Donatella Lorch: "Rwanda Rebels: Army of Exiles Fights for a Home," New York Times, 09 June 1994:10; and "Rwanda Rebels' Victory Attributed To Discipline," New York Times, 19 July 1994: 6; {b} Raymond Bonner: "How Minority Tutsi Won the War," New York Times, 06 September 1994:6; and "Rwandan Refugees Flood Zaire as Rebel Forces Gain," New York Times, 15 July 1994:1; {c} Joshua Hammer, "Rwanda: Situation Is Desperate," Newsweek, 20 June 1994:44-46; "Darkness Visible," The New Republic, 09 May 1994:9; and "Why Not Rwanda," The New Republic, 16 May 1994:7; {d} Editorial, "Double Tragedy in Africa," New York Times, 10 April1994.

[29] Chris Black, “View From Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication,” 01 December 2005, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[30] “Perception management” is the contemporary term for the formerly used term “propaganda,” and it too is an industry.

[31] Africa Research Bulletin, August 1997.

[32] See: the GenoDynamics Project, .

[33] Private communication, Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro, August 2005.

[34] Personal communication, name withheld for security reasons, July 2005.

[35] Rutigita Macumu, “Paul Rusesabagina: Not a Hero!” The New Times (Kigali), 15 November 2005,

[36] Frank Smythe, Arming Rwanda, Human Rights Watch, January 1994.

[37] Lt. General Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With The Devil, Arrow Books, 2003: pp. 268.

[38] Private communication: Chris Black, Barrister, International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, October 2005.

[39] Chris Black, “Persecution Not Prosecution,” October 2004, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[40] Chris Black, “View From Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication,” 01 December 2005, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[41] Chris Black, “View From Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication,” 01 December 2005, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[42] Chris Black, “View From Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication,” 01 December 2005, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[43] See Ralph G. Kershaw, “Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: International Justice According to Washington,” Covert Action Quarterly, No. 74, Fall 2002.

[44] See: Rory Carroll, “Genocide Tribunals ‘Ignoring Tutsi Crimes,’” Guardian, January 13, 2005.

[45] Chris Black, “Persecution Not Prosecution,” October 2004, Sanders Research Associates, < >.

[46] The Iceberg of the Conflict in Africa of the Great Lakes Region: Lawsuit Against those responsible for the Concealed Crimes Against Humanity, The International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, .

[47] “Kagame Ordered Shooting Down of Habyarimana's Plane – Ruzibiza,” Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne), 14 November 2005.

[48] Second Lt Aloys Ruyenzi, Major General Paul Kagame Behind the Shooting Down of Late President Habyarimana’s Plane: An Eye Witness Testimony, Norway, July 5, 2004.

[49] Private interview: Howard W. French, Northampton MA, USA, March 30, 2005.

[50] David Newbury, “Convergent Catastrophes in Central Africa,” November 1996, < >.

[51] Private interview: name withheld to protect the witness, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 2005.

[52] Front for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) forces in eastern Congo number 40,000. See also: keith harmon snow, “OPERATION IRON FIST: UN Launches Largest Ground Troop Operation in DR Congo Peacekeeping; In South Kivu Hills Rwandan Rebels Cornered,” July 17, 2005, < >.

[53] Private interview: Howard W. French, Northampton MA, USA, March 30, 2005.

[54] See: Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellon Press, 1999.

[55] Robin Philpot, “Second Thoughts on the Hotel Rwanda: Boutros-Ghali: a CIA Role in the 1994 Assassination of Rwanda's President Habyarimana?,” Counterpunch, 26/27 Feb. 2005, .

[56] Private communication: Chris Black, Barrister, International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), October 2005; Herman Cohen is a former US Secretary of State for African affairs who served under the elder George Bush.

[57] Private interview, name withheld, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, 11 July 2005.

[58] For more information, the book adds, see: < >.

[59] On Ronco Company shipping weapons into Rwanda: see testimony by Kathi Austin, Hearing of the House International Relations Committee, July 16, 1997.

[60] David Newbury, “Convergent Catastrophes in Central Africa,” November 1996, .

[61] RDR Calls for the Prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity and Other Violations of the International Law Committed by the Rwandan [RPF/RDF] Army, Rally for the Return of Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda, Press Release, 9/2001, September 2001.

[62] Alison Des Forges, “D.R. Congo: Civilians Killed as Army Factions Clash,” Human Rights Watch, Press Release, July 1, 2005.

[63] See: >.

[64] Rutigita Macumu, “Paul Rusesabagina: Not a Hero!” The New Times, (Rwanda State Newspaper) November 15, 2005; see, November 16, 2005.

[65] See: Phil Taylor, “Carving Sudan: Hollywood's Helping Hand,” The Taylor Report, ,17 February 2005.

[66] “Rwanda Defense Forces” was the name eventually adopted to rename the formerly named army (Rwanda Patriotic Army) of the Rwanda Patriotic Front.

[67] Phil Taylor, “Hotel Rwanda: No Room for the Truth,” Taylor-Report, January 17, 2005, .

[68] See: Victoria Brittain, “Excerpt from: A Share in the Genocide,” at: and Victoria Britain, “Letter From Rwanda,” The Nation Magazine, September 1/8, 2003.

[69] See: The Work of The International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University: Twelve Years of Operation, May 2002: p. 4: .

[70] (See:
<>, page 43; <>; and < >.