Sunday, May 29, 2005

The General's Book on Rwanda--Chapter One--THE INVASION

[As more solid information and substantial material, esp photographic, evidence in support of the true history of our times begin to accumulate (e.g., off-air news video, shown once live, then suppressed, of what really went down in the 'planned demolitions' of the WTC and Pentagon on 9/11; or of how Timmy McViegh could not possibly have committed the 19 Feb 1995 attack on the Murrah Fed bldg in Oklahoma City, neither alone nor in the manner to which he admitted having struck out against the US government {since multiple explosive devices were recovered from INSIDE the bldg}; or libraries full of investigative journalism {esp good stuff from John Laughland and his BHHRG} and the transcripts of the trials at the ICTY, in The Hague, and the ICTR, in Arusha, demonstrating that the destruction of the full-spectrum of Western-targeted governements, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Zimbabwe, and from Venezuela to Yugoslavia, and from Columbia to the Caucuses to the whole CIS {Russia's near abroad}, and from Congo to Burundi to Rwanda to Sudan, --these assaults on sovereignty only used internal ethnic, religious or nationalist political {sectarian/tribal} conflicts as pretext and cover-up for the real dark force of destruction in play, the Nuremberg mother of all war crimes and crimes against Humanity and against Peace: the unprovoked armed and bloody foreign aggressions, which are quickly morphed by the global Human Rights dis-intelligence cartels {NGOs, which rhymes with WsMD which stands for Weapons of Mass Disinformation} into civil wars where the plucky invading refugee/maquisards minoritarians are pitted, within a UN brokered peace-thru-power-sharing steel cage, for a death match against a majoritarian state government represented in the Humanitarian media as being corrupt, feckless yet oppressive, and nationally emasculated by neo-liberal structural adjustments, and whose civil/national/self defense is turned into a Newtonian 'Revolutionary Suicide'--which is then splashed all around as yet another government Genocide of its own people.)--as the tension between this ever more ironclad Reality and the ever more bluff, brazen, hysterical and sneeringly cynical government and media lies heightens and approaches what must certainly soon come to be seen as a clear moment of critical mass {perhaps Pope Ratzo could say this critical mass} and the inevitable and monstrously destructive pychic or psychotic break occurs: we, the few survivors, will all have to pick up what is left of the butt ends of our wasted days and ways and start again. But those who would survive this global psychotic episode with even a modicum of dignity and self respect should immediately embrace all the good information they can and flee all the sniveling charlatans and sideshow freaks who write history and make Kulcha on fat commissions from the 5%ers who would happily waste the whole world and everything that's in it just to hold on to their purely abstract, mathematical privilege--for he who dies with the most surplus value is still dead and probably without anyone to remember him fondly or even bury him decently. He who lives to fight for the great general interests of the 95%ers, people like General Ndindiliyimana and his lawyers, Tiphaine Dickson and Chris Black, President Habyarimana of Rwanda, or Che and Fidel, or President Milosevic, or, perhaps the greatest 95%er's hero of the 20th Century, Josef Stalin,--these popular heros, though they be dead, will live on as long as reason and decency hold dominion over the wasting forces of the dark side of the Schwanse. So here is our first contribution to getting the story of Rwanda--General Ndindiliyimana's story as told by CM/P--out onto that growing, though still sadly ignored compost heap of the real historical record. Once you know this story, you'll never get stuck in another one of those mawkishly sentimental {Hot'L Rwanda, Shaking Glands With the Devil} Hollywood {@La Brea} tar pits again. --mc]

by Mick Collins, with the unique participation of Rwandan Major General Augustin Ndindiliyimana

[Copyright 2004 by CirqueMinime/Paris--ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

[For all information regarding republication, reproduction or any other uses of this material, please contact CM/P at]

Chapter One
The Invasion

General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, former chief of the Rwandan National Gendarmerie, says in his April 2004 report titled Dix ans après (Ten Years After):

Since two opposing forces cannot plan the same operation at the same
time, it seems obvious that the RPF, which initiated the events by attacking
Rwanda in October 1990, by assassinating President Juvenal Habyarimana,
and by pushing the war in Kigali and on all the other fronts, is the only
‘strategic planner’ of this tragedy. The atrocities reported were due directly
to the insensate war they imposed, and to their determined desire to seize
power at any cost; the extreme conditions caused by the chaotic situation
that resulted from the decapitation of the Rwandan State with the assassination
of President Habyarimana plunged the country into anarchy, panic and disorder.

* * *

Genocide. Yeah, sure, that’s the angle. Genocide. True Crime. The Rwandan genocide. Strong. Very strong. Kicks you right in the stomach—or lower. So many dead. How can you doubt all those pictures? All those ‘humanitarian experts’? The Hutu genocide of the Tutsis. Makes you sit up and take notice—even if you don’t know or care who’s who—you take notice of what pulls on your heart strings—murdered mothers with their babies still at their breast—and not of what actually happened: who did what and with which and to whom. Anyway, there’s a Tribunal in Arusha, in Tanzania, where all the bad guys, the ‘genocidaires’, are getting sorted out.

See, by crying ‘Oh, the genocide!’ ‘How could we let it happen?!’ ‘Again!’ ‘Never again!’ and then claiming to have arrested and eradicated the forces driving this timeless, photographed-for-National-Geographic genocide of the Tutsi Dons Quixote along with their Hutu Sanchos Panza (some date this ‘final solution of the Tutsi problem’ back to the social revolution of 1959), the real international criminals, the blood-thirsty mercenaries and war lovers, could retroactively justify—and furnish plausible deniability to—their seizure of Rwanda: the foreign invasion, with its boundless, indiscriminate carnage, the subsequent four-year Contra-like reign of terror, and the eventual military dictatorship that the refugee invaders set up in the capital city of Kigali. This whole campaign to clear Central Africa, from The Horn through to the Atlantic oil states, of all popular resistance to Western commercial and financial domination was planned out of the US State, Defense, and Commerce Departments, and run through the sinister offices of various International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and numerous morally bereft NGOs and FBSSs (faith-based [or fat-backed] social services), all brokering deals for private mineral, medical and military multinationals. This latest war for King Solomon’s mines kicked off in Rwanda back in 1990, but it continues to this day, having imposed its influence on pre-existing upheavals in neighboring Burundi and Congo (and even Sudan, where much Western attention is currently focused), and has cost upward of six million Central African lives. (Some ‘experts’ say only three million, but I don’t want to be the one to low-ball a holocaust—besides, what’s a few million dead between learned colleagues, right?)

The assault on, infiltration of, and eventual seizure of state power in the once thriving popular democracy of Rwanda (the growth rate was above the Sub-Saharan average of 36% between 1960 and 1980, but fell to minus 15% between 1980 and 1998 when IMF and World Bank structural adjustments, the collapse of the global coffee market, and years of fighting off the onslaughts of a foreign invasion and subsequent occupation brought it to the killing floor[1] ) by a Ugandan-based political party of Rwandan refugees, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose army (RPA) was financed, equipped, trained, manned, and led by the Ugandan government, returned an ancient feudal ruling elite, designated as Tutsi and never representing more than 14% of the population, to lord it over their former subjects, the 85% of Rwanda designated as Hutu, whose revolutionary government had brought the country from the absolute bottom to near the top of the scale of African standard-of-living. And the only way this unbalanced social equation could be democratically rationalized—using that time-honored gambit for sublating the interests of the great majority of citizens to those of a tiny, foreign-backed, reactionary elite—was by factoring in a mythic variable, like ‘God is on our side’ or ‘Compton niggers is crazy’: the imposition of, then the cynically proffered defense against, military terror unto genocide[2].

This 100% American-supported invasion of 1 October 1990, which depended for officer training and materiel on USDoD programs like IMET (International Military Education and Training), JCET (Joint Combined Exchange Training—a Special Forces operation) and the Enhanced IMET (updated especially to prepare Rwandan troops for an eventual invasion of Congo), and the $183 million in US ‘non-military’ aid to Uganda between 1989 and 1992 (i.e., twice what was allocated for Rwanda during all the Habyarimana years)[3] , was another in a long line of invasions by refugee Tutsi forces from Uganda dating back to just after Rwanda and Burundi were granted independence from Belgium by the UN on 1 July 1962. Earlier in 1961, in a UN-sponsored referendum, the people of Rwanda had voted overwhelmingly (80%) to abolish the Tutsi monarchy. The period between 1962 and 1967 saw some of the most atrociously murderous raids by irredentist Tutsis against the new Hutu republic. Belgium, which became the colonial champion of Central Africa after the Germans blew an early lead in WWI, had supported the centuries-old and unconscionably cruel Tutsi monarchy as the most expedient way of maintaining control in Rwanda. But when in the 1950s the new wave of anti-colonialist agitation broke on the shores of this land-locked nation, so-called extremist ‘Hutu intellectuals’ began clamoring for social revolution to overturn the class structure that had allowed the colonial powers to seize the land, exploit the labour and expropriate the wealth of these countries, while pretending all along that they were acting for the benefit of the natives[4]. The old Belgians were sharp enough to figure out that, in Rwanda at least, a Hutu majority was more apt to serve their colonial interests, and make it look ‘democratic’, than was a tiny Tutsi minority, with its sole means of political control being the franchise of military violence.

I guess the road show of ‘Oklahoma’ didn’t make it to Kigali and the Rwandans didn’t get to pick up on Aunt Eller’s musical homily, ‘Oh, the farmers and the cow men should be free-unds!’, because after the 1959 social revolution that put political power into the hands of the Hutu agrarian majority, many from the former Royal Houses, primarily the descendants of Tutsi cattle barons, hooked it on up out of Rwanda and into neighboring countries. Some fled into Europe and some as far away as the US and Canada. Like displaced nobility throughout history—like the White Russians who became taxi drivers and piano-bar swamis in Paris, London and New York, after the Bolsheviks had their way with the czar and his ministers—these Black African aristocrats organized their own Diaspora, and, when not preoccupied with keeping the wolf from the door or pining away for their lost droit de cuissage (literally the master’s right to caress the thigh of his serf’s daughter—but you know how those massahs be!), plotted how to regain their old feudal dominions. As always, they found kinship and strong moral and monetary support in such capitals of Capital as New York, London, Paris, Brussels and Montréal—where Kapital’s fair-haired offspring, Kulture, is cultivated for its loveliest of lovey qualities: its ability to hide the toil and suffering that created it—and there they established political bases from which fat nationalist lobbies could hire global PR firms to juice up their ‘self-determination’ and ‘refugees’-rights-of-return’ movements with real potent state sponsorship[5].

For the Tutsi irredentists who had found a home in Uganda, and particularly for those who, by overcoming the racial, national and tribal prejudices that afflict refugees, were able to jerk themselves up by their combat boot-straps into the highest, most sensitive and most strategic positions of the officer corps—Intelligence, Finance, the Presidential Guard—to become the nerve center of the Ugandan National Resistance Army (NRA), where they were key to president Yoweri Museveni’s overthrow of his predecessor, ‘socialist dictator’ Milton Obote; their irredenta was the most densely populated country in Africa: Rwanda’s population in 1990 was nearly 7 million, with 590 souls per square mile. And though they claimed they were gravely discriminated against in Uganda and that their congeners back in Rwanda were being oppressed by the one-party state led since 1973 by President Juvenal Habyarimana’s Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Developpement (MRND)—a party originally modeled on the North Korean Communist Party but which, in keeping with political fashion after the fall of the Berlin Wall, changed the ‘R’ in its name to ‘Républicain’, got rid of the ‘National’, and stuck in another ‘D’ for ‘Democratie’ (though the same initials, MRND, remained in use until the end)—the RPF’s biggest problem seemed to be how they would, while promoting democratic principles, governmental transparency and Human Rights, clear out all those ‘surplus’ indigenous or ‘interior’ folks, Hutu, Tutsi and (the almost extinct, less than one percent) Twa, who had since 1962 settled down (or ‘squatted’, the RPF would say) on their ancestral grazing lands.

In Burundi, to the south, where the tiny Tutsi elite continued to dominate the academy, the government and the military, this mathematical irrationality of minority rule seemed to go on with little difficulty—other than the occasional mass slaughter of recalcitrant ‘Hutu intellectuals’ by the ethnically pure Tutsi armed forces. ‘Intellectuals’ because that’s the canard authoritarian rulers always fling at those who try to agitate for and organize an opposition against them; actually, in 1972, when hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu answered their government’s call for volunteers to bring in the harvest, those with a primary school education were asked to take one step forward. At least 200,000 of those who took that fateful step never danced again. Every few years massacres like that went down, and those lucky enough not to make the Tutsi cut were driven into neighboring countries, thereby guaranteeing the continuity of this retro-colonialist, mono-ethnic government.

A December 1963 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda, in which precursors of the RPF took advantage of a Rwandan Army weakened by the new Kayibanda government’s[6] prioritization of social programs over defense to get within 10 miles of Kigali, is described by Belgian ‘expert’, professor Filip Reyntjens, as an attempt at the ‘Burundi-ization’ of Rwanda. Under cross-examination by international defense attorney Tiphaine Dickson during the 1997 trial of Georges Rutaganda before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, Reyntjens states that had it not been for the presence of Belgian military personnel and had this 1963 invasion taken, Rwanda would have become ‘ungovernable’. He goes on to testify that after the 1990 invasion, many NGOs insisted on maintaining the presence of Belgian ‘advisers’ to keep the Rwandan state from just such a ‘Tutsi-ization’[7]. Reyntjens’ somewhat abstract take on how the Burundian ethnic minority-rule model was being force-fitted onto Rwanda was substantiated when, in the six months between October 1993 and April 1994, Burundi’s first two democratically elected Hutu presidents were quickly dispatched by that favored instrument of feudal authority: bloody assassination. Melchior Ndadaye, after only four months in office, was killed by Tutsi officers in a failed miltary coup (it’s rumored his nuts currently adorn a Tutsi royal war drum), and then his successor, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was checked out when the Falcon 50 executive jet of Rwanda’s Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was hit by one of two surface-to-air missiles fired from near Kigali airport and dropped like a piece of bloody junk sculpture into the garden of the presidential compound. –So, that’s actually THREE Hutu presidents assassinated by Tutsi military men in the six months that preceded the tip-off of the Rwandan genocide of 100 days.— Yet Reyntjens and the other Belgian ‘experts’—along with a Starbucks-full of latte-slarving media dodes—seem to have turned their position against ‘Tutsi-ization’ inside-out and thrown their full moral and academic creds down with the US/UK/UN/Ugandan-backed RPF invaders of October 1990—and that judicial extension of the criminal invasion and occupation, the ICTR—in opposition to the Rwandan (Habyarimana) popular government and its French military fournisseurs.

So while the 1 October 1990 RPF invasion stands out as further validation of Professor Reyntjens’ premise that Rwanda was no Burundi, he, like so many other ‘experts’, seems oblivious to the patent illegality of this aggression, this crime against the peace, and because of this inability to take a stand (for fear of losing Belgian state funding?), becomes complicit with the international criminal element, the death merchants, in their support of the RPF’s flagrant destruction of the very nation they were purporting to save—then spreading the chaos throughout the entire region. Reyntjens’ considered opinion that, by their calamitous military intervention with its hundreds of thousands of dead just in the lead-up to the Arusha Accords of 4 August 1993, the RPF had ‘stopped the genocide’ of the Tutsis begun 30 years before at the time of the social revolution[8], must be taken as an endorsement of the Western geopolitical strategy—a delusional end justifying the most grotesque criminal means—that has laid waste to Central Africa over the last decade and a half.

* * *

So on 28 September 1990, between three and four thousand officers and men (actually, the average age of the grunts was about 15. So, officers and kids?) said good-bye to their families and friends and headed out of Kampala for a bivouac 350 miles to the southwest in the football stadium at Kabale, just north of the Rwandan border. Besides their personal weapons, they were packing anti-personnel mines, mobile-mounted recoil-less cannons, 107mm Katyoucha multiple rocket launchers, and 60 & 120mm mortars. Ironically enough, on this same September day, Rwandan President Habyarimana was making a speech before the UN General Assembly in New York, offering citizenship and passports to all Rwandan refugees no matter where they now lived, and pledging to repatriate all those who wished to return to Rwanda. But when a war has been booked down—even if the published reasons for it turn out to be humbug (like mass graves in Kosovo, WsMD in Iraq, or bin Laden’s 9/11 command and control center in Tora Bora)—those with a financial stake in that war are going to make goddam sure it gets stepped off.

Two days later, on 1 October, these RPF armed forces (often referred to as the RPA to differentiate them from the political wing of the RPF, which was never registered in Uganda, and only recently in Rwanda, as a formal political party!) punched about 40 miles into Rwanda and set about ‘liberating’ the country—frequently by ‘liberating’—in a most hideous fashion—great numbers of Rwandan civilians, regardless of ancestry or tribal or party affiliation, from their property and a staggering number of them from their very lives. The regional language, Kinyarwanda, has a term which connotes just the sort of cynicism with which the RPF performed these ‘liberations’: ‘kubohoza’ was used to describe the beating of MRND members, during the conversion from single- to multi-party politics in the early 1990s, as a way of discouraging any protracted party affiliations; and ‘kubohoza’ was also used to describe the violent seizure and occupation of (‘squatting’ on) property belonging to Hutus or ‘interior’ (read ‘traitorous’) Tutsis. The RPF had, well before this invasion, begun a process of sowing its agents throughout Rwanda. Just how many of these seeds took and how fruitfully they multiplied can only be speculated, but by the time of the final offensive in April 1994, it was believed there were between 3,000 and 12,000 RPF infiltrators in every government ministry, political party, and self defense unit, and, of course, throughout the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF). The invasion, itself, was run like a single-wing, man-in-motion draw play: where the RPA sent some of its smaller units over to hit certain heavily populated positions along the border, knowing they could sucker and tie down the RAF, and thus create a big hole to run their larger force well into the defensive backfield of this small country with a minimum of interference.

By 4 October they found themselves about 40 miles from Kigali. But they also found themselves without their legendary leader and one of the founders of the RPF, Major General Fred Gisa Rwigema, who just a few months before had been the Ugandan Vice-Minister of Defense. President Museveni had relieved him of his ministerial duties so as to free him up for just this kind of ‘supra-political handling’ of the Rwandan refugee problem in Uganda. Rwigema turned up dead and nobody, at the time, seemed to know how he got that way. It was carded as a KIA (killed in action by the enemy—in this case, for the sake of media image, it was put out that Rwigema bought it from some chic French military advisers—rather than any of those broke-dick RAF dog-faces!), but it didn’t take long for the buzz to get around camp that their storied hero had gotten way too ‘hearts and minds’ with his plan to penetrate Rwanda through the sparsely populated Mutara and Akagera Park—and thereby avoid the unnecessary killing a lot of innocent civilians—too much of a fag for the ‘blood, guts and hair’ boys back at RPF HQ in Kampala, who, essentially, had him ‘put down’. A fellow Tutsi RPF brass hat, Abdul Ruzibiza, claims in testimony given to the press 14 March 2004:

Major General Fred Rwigema, who knew exactly how to direct this war,
was killed by his own men on the second day of the campaign. But those
who ordered his assassination didn’t have the courage immediately
to take over direction of the RPF for fear of attracting suspicion.

So without taking even a moment‘s in memoriam notice, Museveni yanked Major Paul Kagame, his Chief of Military Intelligence, out of a deep cover ‘Is There Any Intelligence in the Military?’ workshop at the US 5th Army’s Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas—where more backward nations are taught the application of US-conceived weapons of mass democracy. Kagame, whose handle back in the NRA days was ‘Pilate’, as in Pontius, because of his knack for making battle plans that absolutely maxed civilian casualties, was chosen to replace Rwigema while the Ugandan President was, like his Rwandan homologue, in the US dealing. But rather than making conciliatory gestures in recognition of the efforts of his friendly neighbor to ameliorate their mutual refugee problems, Museveni was woofing all his old pals up at the World Bank and the IMF about the crucial role played by Ugandan military intelligence in burning up all those arms credits the IFIs had lavished on his country in exchange for tasty access deals to Uganda controlled natural resources, while, cynically, disavowing any knowledge of how these NRA ‘deserters and thieves’ had pulled off the ‘greatest mutiny in Ugandan Army history’ right under his nose. And those ‘thieves and deserters’—who have not, to this day, ever been investigated, charged, or officially separated from the NRA[9]—the actual kids hunkered down among the Rwandan tea and coffee trees, were not all that happy with this management decision.

According to Ruzibiza’s testimony, the second-in-command of the RPF invasion force, Major, Dr. Pierre (aka Peter) Bayingana, told Kagame,

‘You are physically and mentally unfit, how can you lead these men?’

The good doctor further told Pontius Pilate Kagame (aka ‘Kagome’, ‘The Ultimate Evil’ in Kinyarwanda[10]) to go back and suggest to President Museveni,

‘If you have no confidence in the current leadership of the RPF,
you need only send a Ugandan commander down here to run this

And with that, Kagame hooked it up back to Kampala for an executive confab. Museveni’s people turned him around quick-style and sent him back down to Rwanda with Major General Salim Saleh, the president’s kid brother and the dogfather of the natural resources rackets in regions controlled by Uganda, and a dozen jeeps full of presidential guards. When Kagame and Saleh got back to the front was when Dr Pete Bayingana and the RPF’s third-in-command, Major Chris Bunyenyenyezi, joined Rwigema pushing up Rwandan tea leaves.

Our narrator here, Abdul Ruzibiza, is probably the last guy Kagame’d enlist as a character reference—and not just because Ruzibiza is descended from that Tutsi royal line that furnished the last Rwandan King (who’s currently pitching his royal tent near Langley, Virginia) and Kagame’s people furnished the last Rwandan Queen.—

–Yeah, the Queen: Queen Rosalie Gicanda, unlike many
of her regal kin after the 59-62 revolution, stayed home in
Rwanda, in Butare, where she sold milk in the public market.
I guess you could say she was, on the for-real side, what
Marie Antoinette could only pretend to be: one of the people.
And during his Ugandan exile, in the late 70s, Kagame would
sneak across the border (not because the border was so tight,
but because he didn’t want his Kampala homies to know he
was day-tripping in the old sod) to visit his aunt and sound her
out as to what was shaking in the homeland. After the 1990
invasion and throughout the subsequent four year RPF reign
of terror, Queen Gicanda regularly petitioned her nephew,
pleading with him to stop his monstrous crimes against Rwanda
because he was wantonly wasting both Tutsi and Hutu.
To no avail. And finally, during the enormous shit storm
that followed the 6 April 1994 shooting down of the presidential
plane and the RPF’s last—and still balls out—offensive
throughout Rwanda and into Congo, the good Queen was
hacked to death by a bunch of cranked-out banana beer psychos
who’d recently been displaced by the RPF and were just
ripping and running fast enough to stay a couple clicks ahead
those guys who were icing the shit of anyone didn’t move out
fast enough. The Queen’s killers most likely didn’t know or
care who she was—or they were lactate intolerant—or they just
figured she should be next.

But the differences in the stories they tell of how the October 1990 invasion went down are enlightening. Before Ruzibiza came out in the media and in front of French investigative magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière’s inquiry into the missile strike that killed all aboard President Habyarimana’s French-built and crewed Falcon 50 executive jet, Kagame’s version of things was the record they were spinning in the Western media. The RPF leader was eager to describe the deaths of his colleagues Rwigema, Bunyenyenyezi and Bayingana, as having resulted from their own personal mistakes. But he always placed great stress on how it was the French who, in rushing to the aid of the ‘racist and genocidal Habyarimana government’, had capitalized on these ‘personal errors’ and capped the RPF general staff. To this day, when shoved into a corner with some new evidence of his war crimes, Kagame instinctively turns the indictment against the French. But Ruzibiza’s time line for the three assassinations has all of them being offed during the first week of the invasion—and on Kagame’s orders! The French don’t even make the scene until 23 October, well after the RPF’s remodeled killing machine has extinguished tens of thousands of civilian lives, driven another hundred thousand or so into the large cities, and come within ten miles of Kigali. Only after shells started falling on the suburbs of the capital and destroying all public life did the Rwandan army get help from its francophone neighbor, Zaire, and some of those Mitterand-era mutual defense markers get called in, and the RPF—the general staff anyway—get pushed back into the Northwest and across the border into Uganda.

What permitted these alien patriotic marauders, in violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees and the 1969 Organization for African Unity (OAU) Convention on Refugees, to conduct a nearly month-long aggression, to commit the primal crime against the peace, according to the Nuremberg Principles, the crime that begets all other war crimes and crimes against Humanity, against a UN member nation that was signatory to both those conventions? Around 30,000 dead in 30 days—it took a decade for the Kurds and the Turks to book those kind of numbers. How could this foreign-backed refugee invasion, scantily gussied up as a mission to liberate the Rwandan homeland from an oppressive and corrupt one-party regime, and replace it with a government of ‘multi-ethnic social and economic transparency’—how could such a patently and genetically illegal and immoral policy have found currency with First World Left Liberals and Human Rightsters?

It is shocking, indeed, even in our age of anti-Communism morphing unremarkedly into anti-Terrorism, when, in places like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, preventative, preemptive wars, that is to say, expansionist, imperialist aggressions are fobbed off as ‘humanitarian interventions’, or ‘bombing against humanitarian catastrophes’. But there was a whole lot of head and leg work got done before Kagame & Co launched their invasion.

The leaders in those African nations known as the ‘Front Line’, ‘ligne de front’, en français (which was, after all, the first ‘second language’ of these Third World countries!), nations that had fought off Western imperialism and then the ‘dictatorships’ that had replaced it, countries like Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique, all threw in with Uganda’s liberator, Yoweri Museveni, to support the training of Rwandan ‘partisans’ in order to nudge their little, densely populated neighbor into the fold of the New African Democracies[12]. Tutsi in Burundi and Zaire recruited local kids for the RPF, and eastern Zaire served as a staging area for the infiltration of terrorist networks to ravage border areas in northwestern Rwanda around Gisenyi and Cyangugu.[13] Certainly, Zaire under Mobutu was a strong ally of the ‘Haby’ government (Habyarimana’s remains rested for some time, at Mobutu’s request, in Kinshasa), and that enormous member of Francophonia helped the French rescue Rwanda from the 1 October 1990 RPF aggression; but a country as vast as Congo, with so many conflicting regional interests and competing political forces and such vast natural wealth, found plenty of energy to support the other, bigger dog in the fight. Eventually, in 1996, the Kagame regime returned the favor by helping Laurent Kabila depose the man in the leopard-skin pillbox hat and ‘liberate’ Congo from a lot of its gold, diamonds, uranium and coltan.

In Europe, the strongest support for the RPF’s ‘liberation’ came from Rwanda’s old colonial maman, Belgium. The Belgian Left veritably gobbled up the Ugandan/RPF jargon of ‘liberation’, with catchy terms like ‘anti-corruption’, ‘racial equality’, ‘self-determination’ and ‘administrative transparency’. They looked upon Museveni as a real ‘maquisard’, a guerilla fighter right off the Granma, whose authoritarianism would just be temporary—just until he could cut some kind of deal to privatize every square inch and every last calorie and carat of natural energy in the region—and the Great Lakes are lousy with natural energy, with growing power.

[When I was in Arusha in April 2004, I saw beetles the size of John,
Paul, George AND Ringo—in a VW—and word on Tanzanian TV
was that Ugandan agro-business had just introduced a new crop:
genetically engineered bananas—like God wasn’t making them
good enough, and Museveni wanted to let Monsanto give
Mother Nature a little mother goose.]

The alms for arms trade between Belgium and Rwanda had been pretty much business as usual before the October 1990 invasion, with Brussels using its NATO connections to pick up the scarp-military contracts that Paris couldn’t be bothered with. But once the RPF breached the border, the Belgians saw an opportunity to get a leg up on the French and all deals to the Rwanda were off—Belgium reneged on plane-loads of military equipment the Habyarimana government had long before borrowed, bought and paid for.

In the US, talking-necks like Roger Winters at the US Committee for Refugees and Alison Des Forges at Human Rights Watch Africa, and all manner of international Left media types, had the RPF pitch down cold: This plucky band of African ex-pat freedom fighters were acting in total accordance with certain Human Rights principles that demand resistance to all vestiges of colonialist racial or tribal or clanic discrimination in both Rwanda and Uganda; and the Rwandan Patriotic Front was the Rwandan people’s last best chance to overthrow the Habyarimana government and his ruling party, the MRND, which was a fascist one-party dictatorship oppressing both the Tutsi minority and the moderate or democratic elements of the Hutu majority. These were the principal justifications for the October invasion, reiterated and re-enforced by every US, Canadian, Belgian or French ‘expert’ who crawled out from every corner of every sub-basement of every think tank or state-larded academy that pumps out the shit-stinking bilge that passes for neo-imperialist theory. That this rationale was groundless, as well as being in violation of the UN charter, the OAU charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Helsinki Accords, to name just a few, seemed either to escape the Africa hands in the Western media or to be of little relevance in the face of yet another post-Communist struggle on the part of an ethnic minority, posing (behind a grotesquely huge military machine) as a multi-cultural would-be majority, for its right to Wilsonian (as opposed to Leninist) self-determination.

The importance of the October 1990 invasion cannot be overstated. This primal crime against the peace and sovereignty of the Rwandan nation and its revolution was in a very real sense the ‘Genesis of the Genocide’. As we will see further on, because those who justified this illegal invasion as the only way to dispose of the ‘vile and ferociously anti-Tutsi Habyarimana government’[14] found it impossible to rationalize the indiscriminate slaughter the ‘liberators’ got up to, this alien military presence in Rwanda was faded and fogged out to make it appear as some sort of political donné: the RPF, with the initiation of the Arusha Peace Accords in 1993, morphed from a foreign invasion force into an integral part of the Rwandan political scene. In the discourse that developed in the international media—if that isn’t too fine a term for what was really more obfuscation than illumination—this illicit, heavily armed and financed Ugandan refugee war machine was merged into the multiparty mix that had replaced the MRND’s revolution in the early 1990s—a party mix the RPF, itself, had DJed with samples from every political bounder, arriviste and n’er-do-well who’d sell their national allegiance to the new barn boss in exchange for an indecent advantage over their fellow citizens—and just to make sure there was no doubt as to who held this option on their balls, the RPF/RPA pumped up the chaos by assassinating a dozen or so of these their ‘political operative’ (as usual, making it look like the government’s doing!) right before they kicked off their big 1994 offensive by shooting down President Habyarimana’s plane. But because of its roots in military aggression and the impossibility of its winning any kind of democratic mandate—even within a forced coalition of opposition parties—the RPF never made the slightest attempt to bring peace—or even as much as a cease fire—to the nation they were supposedly liberating. And the dire quality and immeasurable vastness of the RPF’s devastation of Rwanda, Burundi and Congo has not yet abated.

Before the French and the Zairian militaries stepped up to help the Rwandan Army push the RPF back into Uganda—during that last week of October 1990—the fighting by the government forces was both heroic and horrific. The RPF units known as ‘Inkotanyi’ (‘those who fight courageously together’ in Kinyarwanda) seemed to have completely forgotten that pre-war propaganda hand-job about ‘freeing the brothers and sisters back in the homeland’ or ‘making Rwanda governmentally transparent and democratic’, because they got pretty indiscriminate about just whom they would wipe out in this debutante operation. In fact, it seemed like Kagame’s policy was to reduce population density by engaging unarmed civilians whenever and wherever possible, rather than throwing down against Habyarimana’s armed forces. Here’s the way RPFer Abdul Ruzibiza breaks it down:

Attacks on the communities around Muvumba, Kiyombe, Nkana,
Rushashi, Kaniga-Gatuna were accompanied by terrible violence:
Indiscriminate killing of the populations, with the bodies then piled
up in one spot; rapes and executions just so these poor souls wouldn’t
come back and foul up the RPF’s luck; they helped themselves to
livestock and other eatables the locals had stored before chasing them
to places where they would die of hunger; destroyed their tin huts and
ripped off the sheet-metal siding to sell back in Uganda; then dynamited
whatever was left of their houses so as to discourage the residents from

If this sounds familiar it’s because this is just the way the events of 1994 are described by the ‘humanitarian genocide irradicators’. But the hgi’s always claim it was the Rwandan government that was committing these atrocities out of some ancient, premeditated tribal animus or anti-feudal vindictiveness (The Kings Must Die, to paraphrase Mary Renault)—not even out of self-defense.

Over in the villages of Cyumba, Kivuye, Butaro, Nkumba, Kinigi,
Mukingo, and around there, the violence was like that in the Mutara
region . . .

Mutara was the point of entry for the NRA/RPF invaders. Some have claimed that 30,000 Rwandan civilians were wiped out that October just around Mutara.

It is important here to stress that only one person, Paul Kagame,
was responsible for the strategy and conduct of these operations.
It was he who to the smallest detail planned and executed every-
thing. The government forces had so fortified their positions that
it was difficult to get past them. Here are some examples:

In Mutara, the position around Nyagatare, Rwempasha, Kangoma,
Mabare, Mutojo, Bushara, Kabuga, Nyabihera, Gikangati, Karama,
etc., were feared by all Inkotanyi.

In the central region, we knew we had to drive around the positions
in Gatondel, Kaniga 1 & 2, Mukono, and Kivuye. At Ruhengeri,
the most solid positions were those at Nyamicucu, Butaro-
Runaba, Rwanbutama, Kinyababa, Ku Muremure, Kagano Bisate,
and in other places like Ruhengeri and Kinigi.

So the Rwandan Army and the local defense forces, though much weakened by World Bank and IMF restructurings, did not lie down or roll over for these crack(-headed) Soldiers of Fortune.

Each time we tried to attack these positions we were repelled and
retreated. All our frustrations were taken out on the surrounding
populations. Certain forms of reprisal against these populations
consisted of forcing them to evacuate our dead and wounded,
digging the graves where they’d be buried, and taking care of the
livestock we’d raided.

And Ruzibiza is no Tutsi genocide denier—remember, he’s the spawn of Rwandan kings. But the refrain throughout his testimony is that if you want to understand why the Hutu committed genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, you have to see how Kagame and the RPF set the scene for that ‘100-day tragedy’ three years before. It doesn’t make a lot of sense—to qualify only the Tutsi victims of the Rwandan interim government and the Interahamwe youth group as making up the genocide—but it makes about as much sense as these hgi’s can muster on any given Sunday.

We’d always force them to kill one another. The last standing
would be executed by our troops. Or we’d tie them up, arms
and legs, and then dispatch them with a blow to the head from
an ‘agafuni’ (a hoe handle), or stab them many times through
the ribs with knives until they died. Any old reason to kill these
folks would do, even asking them to give up the ‘secrets of the
MRND’, the secrets of the army, and other information that they
obviously had no idea about. After each of these raids we would
return to our bases in Uganda.

The RPF began lying during this period, it never once recognized
that it had committed any such crimes. We went as far as even to
deny the evidence of our operations out of Uganda. This strategy
was followed until the invasion of Congo, because we never admit-
ted the RPA was in the territory of the DRC.[15]

But the war continued like this, if only at a somewhat lower intensity, until a second big invasion in February 1991. While Kagame and the officer corps regrouped on the safe side of the Rwandan/Ugandan border, most of the young troops recruited from Tutsi in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Congo, remained in-country with their Rwandan homeboys—getting high and playing football, because there wasn’t much in the way of gainful employment out there. All these teenage mutant ninja Tutsi (and their Hutu road dogs) were discouraged from beating it out of Rwanda by word on the street that all retreating RPF soldiers would be summarily executed upon reaching their rear lines in Uganda—and they had no reason to think this was bullshit since these kids had been dishing out exactly that kind of treatment to the Rwandan civilians they’d encountered during this month-long offensive comme pogrom—no play given to women, infants, and old folks.

So these kids merely slipped back into their Air Jordans and Bob Marley t-shirts and blended in with the thousands of RPF infiltrators already poisoning national (and international) opinion against the Habyarimana government. Between November 1990 and February 1991, the RPF tactics changed only from high to low profile. They shifted from a full-frontal military assault to a more guerilla-style infestation, with the establishment of camps throughout the Northwest from which terrorist raids would be launched. This is the style of warfare taught by the US Army at institutions of dire learning like The School of the Americas (where the Latin American death squads were detailed out), the Marines Command and Control Systems School in Quantico, VA, where Canadian General Roméo Dallaire and his Bangladeshi cohort in the general staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), Colonel Moen, were formed and fitted, or the 5th Army’s Command and Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, KN, where Paul Kagame got his Pilate’s license to kill. Though strikingly similar, the model for this kind of terror war is not really the Nicaraguan Contras or the Salvadoran, Guatamalan or Honduran death squads, but the more mechanized and high-tech ordnance-burning Israeli Defense Forces, who can do more damage to virtually unarmed refugee camps and rural villages per cc of depleted uranium than just about any armed force since the inglorious days of the CIA’s Vietnam-era Phoenix Program, where the politically prominent Kerr(e)y’s (Bob & John), copped all their bona fides for ascension to American government and academic leadership by killing innocent civilians face to face—and getting decorated for it.[16]

The set-back to the RPF’s plans to clear a corridor to Congo dealt out by the Rwandan military—with the help of some old francophone comrades—was really only temporary. After the February 1991 invasion—a bigger and badder version of the one just four months before—the wasting virus of neo-liberal military humanism was in Rwanda for the long haul. The RPA set up a permanent base in the northern tea factory town of Mulindi, which became the second capital of the country, and the one all Western business, diplomatic and human rights representatives used as a convention center and arms fairgrounds. This allowed the purveyors of death and destruction on the installment plan, and their humble humanitarian NGOs, to skirt the international military and economic sanctions that had been imposed on Central Africa. As in Yugoslavia, the use of private ‘security firms’, like Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI)[17], allowed the West to violate their own peace-keeping policies, feed both dogs in the fight, as they did in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and never have to drop their humanitarian pretensions.

As we move toward the ‘genocide of 100 days’ between 6 April and 4 July 1994, it will become impossible to ignore the effects of this October 1990 invasion. For it set the bloody tone for the brutal imposition of the New/Old Feudalism that has come to identify global capital’s ultimate liberation from any social or moral strictures into a metaphysical force for the determination of absolute value, even unto the dispensation of life, disease and death. The numbers game is just that, an evil game in which certain quantities are given magical significance: how many dead does it take to qualify for a genocide? 8,000 as in Srebrenica? Or 8 million as with the Jewish Holocaust? Why don’t the 25 million Soviets who perished defending the USSR and liberating Eastern Europe from the Nazis qualify as a genocide? It’s usually not the numbers, but what humanitarian accounting firm is doing the cooking—and to whose tastes—that determines whether a genocide has gone down or not. The Rwandan numbers are so staggering as to make counting obscene. Suffice, for now, to say that the dead began to accumulate significantly on 1 October 1990, and the murder has not ceased today. But it was the Tutsi and Hutu who invaded Rwanda under the rubric of the Right of Return of Tutsi refugees, and who wantonly and cold-bloodedly murdered—or provoked the murder of Hutu and Tutsi living in that country, who today, under the reptilian gaze of Maréchal Paul Kagame, gave birth to and currently sustain the largest genocide in African history.


1 George Monbiot, An empire of denial: The US is choosing to ignore the fact that it is to blame for the stifling of global democracy, The Guardian,Tuesday June 01 2004.

2 Ibid Geo Monbiot: ‘Unaccountable power requires a justifying myth.’

3 Robin Philpot, Ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça à Kigali, Les Intouchables, Montréal, 2003. p 35.

4 Ibid.

5 Most famous here are Ruder-Finn and Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaitis, the Croats, the Bosnian Muslims and the Albanian irredentist Kosovo Liberation Army.

6 Grégoire Kayibanda was the leader of the first Rwandan government after the social revolution of
1959-62. He was deposed in 1973 by Juvenal Habyarimana in a military coup. The airport in Kigali is named for him.


8 Ibid. p 33.

9 See Annex 3 in Charles Onana’s, Les secrets du génocide rwandais, Duboiris, Paris, 1998.

10 Ibid, p 22.

11 Testimonial by Abdul Ruzibiza, published 14 March 2004.

12 Cf, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Dix ans après, a personal report to the writer. May 2004. p 14.

13 Ibid. p 16.

14 The road out of hell, Special Report: Rwanda since the genocide; The Economist, 27 March-2 April 2004, pp 25-30.

15 Ruzibiza, op cit. p 9

16 A conservative columnist, Charley Reese, for the King Features Syndicate (ca 25 June 2004), suggested that John Kerry’s experience ‘killing people face to face’ (as well as his ability to speak French) made him, in 2004, a preferable presidential candidate to GW Bush, who had only signed a few dozen execution orders as Texas governor.

17 MPRI’s experience with the Croatian Secessionist Militias in Operation Storm, the largest example of ‘ethnic cleansing in the Balkan wars of the 90s, with the Kosovo Liberation Army in Serbia, and with the Ugandan NRA and its off-shoot the RPF, have produced enough casualties to quality it as the leading private producer of ‘genocides’ in the death market today, and give special poignancy to its corporate pitch: ‘Providing the United States and international clients with programs of uncompromising quality that enhance security,’ justice and well-being – programs that are built on the bedrocks of experience, integrity and the values that flow from a lifetime of service to the nation.

Enemies Bought, Friends Sold--by John Laughland from The Guardian 19/5/05

Enemies bought, friends sold
The Uzbek upheaval is seen as a 'people power' movement but is likely to
cement US control of the region

John Laughland
Thursday May 19, 2005


In France, if not in Britain, the word "Timisoara" has become a byword for
media manipulation. A massacre was reported in that Romanian town in 1989,
setting off a series of events that led to the overthrow of Nicolae
Ceausescu. First reports spoke of "3,000 to 4,000" dead; the numbers climbed
swiftly through "12,000" to "70,000". Only when regime change had been
accomplished was the real number of dead in the clashes established at less
than 200.

Other alleged massacres in the recent past have also turned out not to have
been what had been claimed. Four years in, the prosecution in the Milosevic
trial has still not proved that there was a massacre at Racak in Kosovo in
January 1999 - one of the main pretexts for Nato's attack on Yugoslavia.
Against such a background, there has been too little scepticism about
reports from Uzbekistan, which seem to be following a well-worn propaganda

What happened in Andijan on Friday is still unclear. The Uzbek government
claims there was a violent provocation by Islamists. Western commentators
have blamed the Uzbek authorities out of hand. They have also repeated
claims that people have been boiled alive - claims unsubstantiated by the
two medical teams, from Canada and the US, that conducted the autopsies on
the alleged victims.

The twist this time is that President Karimov of Uzbekistan is presented as
a pro-US tyrant rather than a Soviet-era throwback - so anti-war left and
liberal commentators have been co-opted into baying for his blood. Yet their
support for the latest "people power" movement to shake a former Soviet
republic is naive. They seem not to have noticed that Uzbekistan is home to
precisely the same network of US-funded non-governmental organisations,
human rights activists and media outlets that helped to engineer pro-US
"revolutions" in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

Take the source of Friday's atrocity reports from Andijan: one "opposition
journalist" from the website, which seems to be a shop window
for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. IWPR, which has since provided
the bulk of reports in the western press, is overwhelmingly funded by
western governments and private foundations close to them: the US state
department, USAid, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Institute
for Peace, George Soros's Open Society Foundation, the British Foreign
Office, the European commission, the OSCE, Unesco, and other European
governments, among others.

People who reason that the US supports President Karimov, and will therefore
turn a blind eye to his alleged excesses, do not understand the thrust of
current American policy, which is to try to support and control all sides in
any political equation. As in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan under former President
Akayev, Uzbekistan is home to scores of western-backed NGOs that agitate
politically for the opposition. For instance, Freedom House - a notorious
CIA front and the main architect of the orange revolution in Ukraine - has
an office in Tashkent.

Ostensible US support for a president like Islam Karimov, moreover, gives
the Americans the very proximity to a regime that they need in order to buy
off turncoats within the power structure when the time comes for regime
change; to believe that the current unrest in Uzbekistan will lead to
anything other than the consolidation of American power in this
strategically crucial region near China's border is to fail to understand
how much US foreign policy under the neocons owes to the theory of permanent
revolution. In the Soviet Union, even loyal party cadres lived under the
constant threat of purge, and this kept them on their toes. Moreover, as in
Romania, an excessive focus on a particular person, usually the head of
state, causes the appearance of regime change to mask the reality of
continued control over the system as a whole.

US dialectical reasoning is such that its "human rights activists" are happy
to indulge Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamist organisation accused of being behind
violence in the Ferghana valley. This alliance should come as no surprise to
those who recall that the US supported the mujahideen against the Soviets in
1979, or those who have noted the neocons' friendliness to the rebels in
Chechnya today. Although it is banned in Germany, Russia and many central
Asian states for its alleged links to terrorism and anti-Semitism,
Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which strongly denies any involvement in violence, operates
out of head offices in South Kensington. This may be why its role is never
mentioned when Jack Straw denounces Tashkent.

Islam Karimov was bounced into accepting a US base in 2001 because, like
many heads of state, he felt unable to resist remorseless American pressure.
But since 2002 he has started to move closer to China, America's biggest
rival and, with Russia, the key to understanding the US's overall
geopolitical strategy. Washington is unforgiving towards people who think
loyalty is a two-way street, and the Uzbek president is about to learn the
lesson learned by Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Eduard Shevardnadze and
scores of others: that it is better to be an enemy of the Americans than
their friend. If you are their enemy, they might try to buy you; but if you
are their friend they will definitely sell you.

John Laughland is a trustee of and an associate of

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kosovo, Criminality & Tony Blair--by Ian Johnson, ICDSM/Britain

Kosovo, Criminality & Tony Blair--by Ian Johnson, ICDSM/Britain

[Interesting how Fascist governments (the highly advanced capitalist wastrels {Lenin's imperialists} that dictate in the interests of that tiny elite that is defined by its accumulation and domination of surplus value) all work in the same perverse and miserable ways. For what else but freakish perversity could describe the willing submission of the interests of the vast general public to the fetishized whims of the cult of privatization? Bush is trying to privatize Social Security, Blair is trying to privatize the National Pension, and Chirac, with his blood-brokering lackey, Larry Fabius, is trying to write public interests totally out of the EU mix with their new Constitutional Treaty (more a treaty extenstion of Rome, Nice, Maastrich and the rest than a real European Constitution, as touted). And all of them celebrate the full-blown hegemonization of militarized criminality in places like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, the CIS and Central Africa, from Congo through Rwanda to Sudan. And they all would have us believe that their new/improved kind of Technicolor/70mm Panavision/LucasSound elections--unlike those clunky old B/W/mono ones held in those less enlightened though more populist nations, where if 51% of the electorate doesn't show it's a wash-out, like Yugoslavia/Serbia or Zimbabwe or Haiti or Palestine--have become the ultimate and irrevocable expressions of the public will. These so-called two-party democratic elections, that have for years been run in the US like bingo nights, in the interests of bought-off incumbents, indistinguishable from their opponents, and overseen by the kind of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing gangsters that only Hollywood, Madison Ave, and the USAID (oh yeah, and let's not forget the Catholic Church) can squeeze out of a festering body politic, have become the political equivalents of HIV tests: they prove nothing, they mean less. --Except that all these elections turn out to validate and perpetuate the dictatorship of the 5% over the interests of the 95%--which is why Hitler and his lot were hired in the first place by Harriman/Walker/Bush and their lot: to turn out the Judeo/Bolshevik government of Marechal Stalin and his commissars, who had completely inverted this formula by providing universal free health care, education, full-employment, subsidized housing and public transport to the 95 through the vicious suppression of the RKO-feudalist 5ers. Case in point: after each color-coded counter-revolution destroyed the favorable trade arrangements with Russia for such essentials as energy resources, the costs of gaz and electricity in these florid target nations rose exponentially--as did suicides among the under-privileged, under-employed and under-represented. But here's my good friend and ICDSM compadre, Ian Johnson, with an interesting breakdown of the recent degeneration in the quality of life for the subjects--and other victims--of Blatcherism. --mc]


By Ian Johnson

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong". – Voltaire.

Following the illegal Nato attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia British prime minister Tony Blair made a speech in his Sedgefield constituency in which he complained about the restrictions of current international law in the ‘changed circumstances of the present’. He bemoaned the fact that the actions of his government continually came into conflict with the accepted norms of international law. Rather than examine the conduct of his own government Blair called for changes in the law, which would allow for ‘more flexibility’.

In this call he was echoing the demands of the new United States president George Bush.

Today we can witness the result of this process of change as expressed in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and in the reactionary and anti-democratic US Patriot Act and the imminent introduction of new British ‘terrorism laws’.

Both these developments permit the detention and arrest of US or British citizens without the need to provide evidence of guilt, without even a charge being laid, without the accused being allowed access to legal counsel and the right of US and British governments to hold indefinitely all those who are named by the relevant politician. The ‘due process of law’ is abandoned and eight hundred years of judicial development is eradicated at the whim of a politician.

As journalist John Pilger noted prior to the recent British general election:

"By voting for Blair, you will invite more lies about terrorist scares in Britain so that totalitarian laws can be enacted. "I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state," said George Churchill-Coleman, the former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad. Like the fake reasons for Blair's tanks around Heathrow on the eve of the greatest anti-war demonstration in British history, so anything, any scare, any arrest, any "control order", will be possible". (New Statesman 21/4/05).

While these developments have caused outrage it has not been generally recognised that the blueprint for the attack on international law and on democratic and civil rights that US and British citizens are now facing can be found in the previous, illegal, establishment of the UN ad hoc tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

For instance it is clear to anyone following the Slobodan Milosevic trial at the ICTY that he is not using his defence case to defend himself, he is using it to expose the truth about what was done to Yugoslavia, and he is using his defence case to defend Yugoslavia and its people and by extension he is exposing the corruption of legal norms and the shattering of international law being undertaken by Blair and Bush with Clinton before him.


In 1999 Blair became the cheerleader in chief for the Nato aggression against Yugoslavia, a nation that had never attacked another country, nor indeed had ever threatened to do so.

The term ‘humanitarian intervention’ was coined to justify this illegal act and a propaganda campaign launched that was reminiscent of 1930s Germany with its falsifications, faked photographs and unsubstantiated ‘evidence’ of ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘mass graves’ and ‘rape camps’, claims that were later so discredited that some British newspapers actually apologised to their readers for misleading them.

The Daily Mail of 5th November 1999 stated,

"The scale on which the public was misled about the atrocities…and not just Nato’s bombing ‘successes’….threatens to be mind-boggling."

Emilio Perez Pujol, head of the Spanish Forensic Team in Kosovo, attached to the International Criminal Tribunal, commented on the 12th October 1999, " I called my people together and said, ‘We’re finished here’. I informed my government and told them the real situation. We have become part of a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machine, because we did not find one…not one…mass grave.’

The New Statesman issue of 15th November 1999 stated, ‘Other atrocities of particular media interest, such as the ‘rape camps’ that so horrified Cherie Blair, are turning out to be fiction.’

Doctor Richard Munz who was based at Stenkoval Refugee Camp confirmed that, ‘The majority of media people I talked to, came here and looked for a story which they had written already. The entire time we were here, we had no cases of rape.’

Blair’s claim that, ‘up to 100,000 Kosovars have been murdered’ was also later exposed as untrue by Andrew Alexander who wrote in November 1999 in the Daily Mail,

"The head of the Spanish team sent out ready to provide 2000 post mortems, left last month having found only 187 corpses, some of which may have been bombing casualties!"

However, by the time these and many other similar reports had come out the damage had been done, and Blair was in a position to use one of his favourite phrases, ‘let’s move on’. That a sovereign nation had been destroyed, that thousands had died, that the entire region was now in chaos, was to Blair of no relevance.

(Coincidentally his phrase of ‘let’s move on’ is now being used in regard to Iraq and the non-existent WMDs).

Blair’s reasons for destroying Yugoslavia had little to do with ‘humanitarian’ concerns but had everything to do with the sections of society he actually represents.

It is relevant to note that prior to his first election victory in 1997 Blair and his colleagues spent much of their time convincing Wall Street and the City of London financial institutions that their interests would be ‘safe in the hands of a future Labour government’. Indeed Blair hosted so many dinners and cocktail parties for this financial elite that the nickname for the Labour party in the City of London is ‘the prawn cocktail party’.

Moreover, even at this early date, Blair felt confident enough to inform the assembled bankers at a meeting of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development that ‘when the East is opened up it will be bonanza time for the banks’.

Indeed the East is being opened up just as Blair promised his financier friends. But what has this development meant for the inhabitants of these countries?

James Petras in his article ( ) outlined the results of this road as seen in countries over the last fifteen years. His findings are worth quoting at length:

‘In Poland, the former Gdansk Shipyard, point of origin of the Solidarity Trade Union, is closed and now a museum piece. Over 20% of the labor force is officially unemployed (Financial Times, Feb. 21/22, 2004) and has been for the better part of the decade. Another 30% is "employed" in marginal, low paid jobs (prostitution, contraband, drugs, flea markets, street venders and the underground economy). In Bulgaria, Rumania, Latvia, and East Germany similar or worse conditions prevail: The average real per capita growth over the past 15 years is far below the preceding 15 years under communism (especially if we include the benefits of health care, education, subsidized housing and pensions). Moreover economic inequalities have grown geometrically with 1% of the top income bracket controlling 80% of private assets and more than 50% of income while poverty levels exceed 50% or even higher. In the former USSR, especially south-central Asian republics like Armenia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan, living standards have fallen by 80%, almost one fourth of the population has out-migrated or become destitute and industries, public treasuries and energy sources have been pillaged. The scientific, health and educational systems have been all but destroyed. In Armenia, the number of scientific researchers declined from 20,000 in 1990 to 5,000 in 1995, and continues on a downward slide (National Geographic, March 2004). From being a center of Soviet high technology, Armenia today is a country run by criminal gangs in which most people live without central heat and electricity’.

Highlighting how the privatisation process has undermined the public health system in these countries Petras goes on to observe:

‘A big contributor to the AIDS epidemic are the criminal gangs of Russia, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Baltic countries, who trade in heroin and each year deliver over 200,000 'sex-slaves' to brothels throughout the world. The violent Albanian mafia operating out of the newly "liberated" Kosova (sic) controls a significant part of the heroin trade and trafficking in sex-slaves throughout Western Europe and North America. Huge amounts of heroin produced by the US allied warlords of "liberated" Afghanistan pass through the mini-states of former Yugoslavia flooding Western European countries’.

If we are to accept that Blair’s interventionist policies intentionally destabilise countries then it is a valid question to ask how can this policy assist his friends on Wall Street and in the City of London?

To clarify this it is worthwhile to quote some extracts from Naomi Klein’s work ‘The Rise of Disaster Capitalism’ (May 2005).

Commenting on the reconstruction of countries hit by disaster or war, Klein notes:

‘And there is no doubt that there are profits to be made in the reconstruction business. There are massive engineering and supplies contracts ($10 billion to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan alone);
"democracy building" has exploded into a $2 billion industry; and times have never been better for public-sector consultants--the private firms that advise governments on selling off their assets, often running government services themselves as subcontractors.
But shattered countries are attractive to the World Bank for another reason: They take orders well. After a cataclysmic event, governments will usually do whatever it takes to get aid dollars--even if it means racking up huge debts and agreeing to sweeping policy reforms.

In Afghanistan, where the World Bank also administers the country's aid through a trust fund, it has already managed to privatize healthcare by refusing to give funds to the Ministry of Health to build hospitals.
Instead it funnels money directly to NGOs, which are running their own private health clinics on three-year contracts. It has also mandated "an increased role for the private sector" in the water system,
telecommunications, oil, gas and mining and directed the government to "withdraw" from the electricity sector and leave it to "foreign private investors." These profound transformations of Afghan society were never debated or reported on, because few outside the bank know they took place:
The changes were buried deep in a "technical annex" attached to a grant providing "emergency" aid to Afghanistan's war-torn infrastructure—two years before the country had an elected government".

Klein further observes that:

".. the reconstruction industry works so quickly and efficiently that the privatizations and land
grabs are usually locked in before the local population knows what hit them.

"..The fires were still burning in Baghdad when US occupation officials rewrote the investment laws and announced that the country's state-owned companies would be privatized."

Consequently, the destabilisation or actual destruction of sovereign countries creates the conditions for the privatisation of state owned enterprises, and the reshaping and restructuring of once independent economies into market-orientated and World Bank and IMF dependent states.

In the pursuit of privatisation and bigger profits even natural disasters are not necessarily a bad thing, as observed by one of Tony Blair’s ideological colleagues in the US, the quite revolting Condoleezza Rice, who described the tsunami disaster as "a wonderful opportunity" that "has paid great dividends for us."

Klein comments on the actions of the World Bank:

"Now the bank is using the December 26 tsunami to push through its cookie-cutter policies. The most devastated countries have seen almost no debt relief, and most of the World Bank's emergency aid has come in the form of loans, not grants. Rather than emphasizing the need to help the small fishing communities--more than 80 percent of the wave's victims—the bank is pushing for expansion of the tourism sector and industrial fish farms. As for the damaged public infrastructure, like roads and schools, bank documents recognize that rebuilding them "may strain public finances" and suggest that governments consider privatization (yes, they have only one idea). "For certain investments," notes the bank's tsunami-response plan, "it may be appropriate to utilize private financing."

Further, commenting on the consequences of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Klein notes the following:

"Mitch parked itself over Central America, swallowing villages whole and killing more than 9,000. Already impoverished countries were desperate for reconstruction aid--and it came, but with strings attached. In the two months after Mitch struck, with the country still knee-deep in rubble, corpses and mud, the Honduran congress initiated what the Financial Times called "speed sell-offs after the storm." It passed laws allowing the privatization of airports, seaports and highways and fast-tracked plans to
privatize the state telephone company, the national electric company and parts of the water sector. It overturned land-reform laws and made it easier for foreigners to buy and sell property. It was much the same in neighboring countries: In the same two months, Guatemala announced plans to sell off its phone system, and Nicaragua did likewise, along with its electric company and its petroleum sector."

While millions now live in poverty and misery the banks and financial institutions are able to announce record profits. This is the political ideology of Tony Blair in action, and to achieve it he has shown no reservations about deliberately misleading the people of Britain. As John Pilger commented:

‘Blair is a liar on such an epic scale that even those who still protect him with parliamentary euphemisms, like Robin Cook ("He knew perfectly well what he was doing. I think there was a lack of candour") and the Guardian and the BBC, now struggle to finesse his perjury’. (New Statesman 21/4/05).


After the illegal intervention in Yugoslavia, Nato occupied the Serbian province of Kosovo and created a United Nations protectorate, serving until such time as a final status for the province could be determined. That, at any rate, was the official story. However the decision was taken long ago to declare an ‘independent’ Kosovo by mid-2006, thus ripping the province from its legally recognised homeland as part of Serbia and handing it to criminals of the KLA, an organisation that acted as Nato’s ground troops during the 1999 aggression and an organisation that is amply documented to be deeply involved in drugs and arms smuggling, child prostitution and people trafficking. (The involvement of both the US and Britain with such an organisation gives the lie to the so-called ‘war on terrorism’. Rather than making war against them they are in bed with them).

The task in the meantime however, was to create the impression that the Nato intervention in Kosovo was a success, a claim Blair never tires of making.

Despite the cooperation of a spineless British media in peddling this lie it has become apparent that the intervention in Kosovo was an unmitigated disaster, and that Kosovo today is, as described by one observer, ‘the most dangerous place on earth.’

The reality is that since NATO's entry into Kosovo, the province has been ethnically cleansed of Serbs and other minorities despite, or perhaps because of, the watchful eyes of NATO and UNMIK. Coincidence or not but since the province fell under UN control violence by the KLA, under various names, has escalated alarmingly.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council on April 13th, 2004, U.N. Peacekeeping Operations Director
Jean-Marie Guehenno described Kosovo, five years after the end of civil war, as a simmering cauldron of ethnic suspicions. Mr. Guehenno stated: "The onslaught led by Albanian extremists against Kosovo's Serb, Roma and Ashkali communities was an organized, widespread and targeted campaign."

The following is an extract from a letter sent to the UN from the Roma Rights Center last year, its contents are self-explanatory:

Your Excellencies,
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), an international public interest law organisation which monitors the situation of Roma in Europe, is writing to express deep concern at the grave human rights
violations against Roma and Ashkaelia in Kosovo committed on and after March 17, 2004 and currently ongoing.

Your Excellencies,
The situation of Roma, Ashkaelia, Egyptians and others regarded as "Gypsies" in Kosovo is now extremely precarious. In March 2004, Roma, Ashkaelia and others have again been targeted for extreme violence as part of a campaign begun in 1999 by ethnic Albanians to expel minorities from the province, to seize their property and to do them serious physical harm. In the close to five years since an international administration was established in Kosovo, rudimentary security has never been durably established in Kosovo and minorities have been daily unable to enjoy basic freedom from fear of physical attack. A number of communities have lived for close to half a decade without effective freedom of movement.

In their article ‘Aftermath of "Humanitarian" Intervention in Kosovo’ authors Carol Bloom, Eani Rifati and Sunil Sharma, state the following:

‘While the international civil presence is mandated to maintain civil law and order, protect and promote human rights and assure the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes, reports by the UN ombudsperson office, UNHCR, OSCE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others state that KFOR and UNMIK have failed to fulfil these obligations. If the Albanians succeed in creating an independent Kosovo, it would seem that, in the end, they are to be rewarded for their massive ethnic cleansing campaign.
Is this a picture of democracy in action? Is this what the US and NATO are touting as a "success story"? Is another Diaspora, with no right to settle and no hope of return, what the Roma of Kosovo can look forward to in the 21st Century?’

Kosovo today is a province run by gangsters, it has an unemployment rate of 57% according to Associated Press, it distributes 70% of the world’s heroin trade, it is the largest supplier of child prostitutes in Europe, yet Blair insists this is a ‘success story’. To any decent person the above facts would constitute a vision of hell so why would Blair argue otherwise?

The answer is very simple, if somewhat unpalatable to Blair’s dwindling number of supporters.

His only concern is to represent his backers, the financial elite. It is his job to open up countries and areas to exploitation, and open their economies to privatisation, the fate of the ordinary people of these regions is of no relevance to him. It is on this ruthless basis that he sees Kosovo as a ‘success story’.

Here are extracts from two recent media reports on the sell-off of Kosovo’s assets:

‘A nickel plant in Kosovo went up for sale Wednesday as the U.N. mission in Kosovo agreed to give a mining license to the most successful bidder, the United Nations said.
Companies have been asked to table bids for Feronikeli plant in central Kosovo, which was badly damaged during NATO bombing of Serb forces in this disputed province in 1999 and is one of the major plants in the economically depressed province.
The United Nations, which administers the province, also agreed to provide potential buyers with the
license for exploitation and exploration of the mines, said Mechtild Henneke, a U.N. spokeswoman.
Kosovo is the poorest region in the Western Balkans with an annual gross domestic product per capita of around euro1,000 (US$1,300) and a jobless rate of at least 50 percent, according to EU figures despite the fact that it is rich in mines and minerals.
The privatisation of Feronikeli would be the most important sell-off of socially owned enterprises, a
term used for enterprises owned by the workers and managers under a system set up under communist-era Yugoslavia’. (Business Week Associated Press April 27, 2005).


15 Kosovo Companies Up For Privatization –Officials PRISTINA (AP)--Officials in Kosovo put 15 companies up for sale Tuesday, the fifth batch of firms to be privatized in the economically depressed
province, a statement said.
The businesses include a former producer of plastic moldings, a pharmaceutical wholesale trading company, an old rubber products factory, an electrical mill, a brick factory, warehouses, a clothing producer and a mineral water bottling plant.
Most of the companies will be sold to the highest bidder, while two will go to buyers that have submitted investment plans and negotiated workers' conditions with the Kosovo Trust Agency, a U.N.-run office charged with selling hundreds of enterprises.
The agency advertised the 15 companies for sale on its Web site, saying bids would be accepted from mid-July.
The U.N. mission that is running Kosovo recently set new rules for the privatization process, pledging a faster sell-off of the province's companies.
KOSOVA (sic) REPORT Tuesday, May 10, 2005.

As one astute observer correctly stated; ‘This is the rape of Kosovo. All these companies were state owned so UNMIK is privatising what does not belong to them. This is pretty much the Wild West!’

If a person breaks into someone’s home, steals their possessions and then sells them on, he would be prosecuted accordingly, if his break-in was with the use of a weapon, if he was armed, his sentence would reflect the charge of armed robbery. For such an offence he would certainly go to prison. What is the difference therefore, if, instead of robbing just one house, you rob an entire country, indeed many countries, you steal their assets by armed force and subsequently sell them on at a bargain price to your business friends? This is what Blair does for a living! Furthermore, is it any wonder that backward youth in Britain now think it is acceptable to rob, mug and steal from others? They have a prominent role model do they not?

Kosovo today is not only a dangerous place to live, it is a morally sick province. While the victory over Fascism was recently celebrated throughout the world the current Kosovo authorities, those same authorities supported by Blair, decided to erect a memorial complex to Nazi collaborators and members of the notorious Skenderbeg SS Division from the Second World War.

A media report on this announcement states:

‘The decision foresees the building of a memorial park on a surface of some 1.5 hectares and a monument in the location where Yugoslav officials at that time and Partisan forces executed fascist
collaborators, the members of the Second League of Prizren.
This organization was founded in 1943 in Prizren upon the initiative of the Gestapo.
Recorded in the chronicle of acts of terror by Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija are crimes in Babuska municipality, forcible expulsion in Urosevac, executions in Velika Hoca, forcible detention (of the population) from Prizren and Grbol, murders in the village of Vitomirica.... Two hundred
Serbs were killed just in the district of Djakovica and 5,000 Serbs were taken away to fascist camps in Albania. The participation of the Prizren League through its military formations in the extermination of Kosovo Jews is one of the most shameful episodes in the history of Kosovo. Out of 281 Jews arrested by the military formations of the Second League of Prizren, more than 200 were killed in the Belsen Nazi death camp. The entire Jewish population of Kosovo was destroyed and never recovered to its pre-war numbers.

Hence it comes as no surprise that the Municipality of Pristina is not planning any sort of commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the victory against fascism. The memorial tomb dedicated to the heroes and victims of Nazism during World War II in Pristina has been destroyed. The plates bearing the names of fallen fighters (Serbs, Albanians, Turks and Jews) have been removed and destroyed, and the monument is today covered with graffiti celebrating the Kosovo Liberation Army.’


During his investigations into the lobby firm LLM, journalist Greg Palast discovered LLM’s guide to New Labour philosophy. On page three of this ‘confidential guide’ was the headline, ‘ An Old World Is Disappearing And A New One Emerging’ under the sub-heading ‘Emerging World’ was written ‘Pragmatism will replace Ideals, Consumption will replace Convictions and Buying takes the place of Belief.’ (Page 298). Such is the nature of Blair’s New Labour.

The Blair rhetoric used to mislead the British people on international issues is also used to mislead on the domestic front. The fawning mainstream media never mentions the widening gap between a very rich tiny minority and the rest of the population. Under Blair London has become a leading tax haven for the world’s billionaires, and is the only place where you can buy a 15 million pound diamond encrusted swimsuit.

In contrast workers are searching for accommodation outside the capital because of the exorbitantly high property prices.

At the same time as the major banks and financial institutions are announcing record profits, personal debt in Britain has now surpassed the one trillion pounds mark, and it is this debt, with its accompanying stress, broken families and even suicides, that is fuelling these record profits.

John Pilger commented on the economy in his article published in the New Statesman 21/4/05:

"The ballyhooed "boom" and "growth" in Britain have been booms for the rich, not for ordinary people. With scant media attention, the Blair government has transferred billions of pounds' worth of public services into private hands under the private finance initiative (PFI). The "fees", or rake-off, for PFI projects in 2006-2007 will be in the order of £6.3bn, more than the cost of many of the projects: a historic act of corporate piracy. Neither is new Labour "supporting" the National Health Service, but privatising it by stealth; by 2006-2007 private contracts will rise by 150 per cent. Under Gordon Brown, Britain has the distinction of having created more than half the world's tax havens, so that the likes of Rupert Murdoch are able to pay minimal tax. "Growth" has meant the rapid growth in the gap between rich and poor".

When Blair came to power in 1997 he assured the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), that ‘ a Labour government would put the interests of business at the heart of its position.’ And when the EU drew up its Charter of Fundamental Rights Blair sent the Attorney General to demand that British anti-trade union laws should be preserved. The EU agreed, which left Blair free to boast to the CBI that, ‘ British law is the most restrictive on trade unions in the western world.’

A recent study commissioned by Help the Aged charity showed that two-thirds of elderly people in Britain have to cope with ‘medium to high deprivation’. Help the Aged spokesperson Mervyn Kohler stated, ‘ The shocking poverty and low quality of life experienced by so many older people is a disgrace’. The charity subsequently accused the government of ignoring older people and called for a commitment from the government to take account of their needs.

However Mr Kohler was mistaken. Mr Blair had no intention of ignoring the elderly, indeed his government is going to address this question, although unfortunately for the elderly, not quite in the way Help the Aged have requested. Blair intends to make people work longer, at least to seventy years of age, at the same time, while claiming a pension crisis, he will abolish state pensions and bring in compulsory private pensions, thus achieving what no previous government had dared to attempt, the privatisation of the state pension.

The formerly disgraced David Blunkett has been brought back to head the Work and Pensions department to complete this task.

Yet, as one opposition MP pointed out, since coming to power in 1997, "The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, stole £5 billion a year from pension funds." (Manchester Evening News 12th May 2005). So having robbed the state pensions on a yearly basis Blair is now demanding that workers pay for it.

Again we can draw a comparison with the petty criminal. There is seldom a crime as despicable as the street mugging of an old aged pensioner, often for the sake of only a few pounds. What are we to make then of a government that ‘mugs’ pensioners to the tune of £5 billion a year?


Recent years have seen a pattern emerging whereby Tony Blair will be in the forefront of accusing countries of holding ‘fraudulent elections’. No credible evidence to back these claims up is ever produced but that still doesn’t stop Blair demanding ‘regime change’ in these countries. Indeed, not only demanding ‘regime change’ in words but by engaging in active interference in the internal affairs of the targeted country. It would appear that what Blair calls a rigged election is an election that is won by a political party that wants to retain some kind of independence from the threat of foreign control over their economy or independence from the dictates of the European Union. However, interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation is once again a breach of international law, but with the might of the United States alongside him Blair, like a bully in the school playground, pursues his much smaller victim.

Rather than look at unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud, let us look at some substantiated evidence, not in any foreign country but here in Britain.

In a High Court ruling on April 4th this year, Richard Mawrey QC, acting as election commissioner, issued s 192-page judgement stating that the polls in two wards in Birmingham, the Aston and Bordesley Green electoral wards, were corrupted by "massive, systematic and organised" vote rigging by Labour party members during the June 2004 local elections.

This High Court ruling was briefly mentioned in some mainstream media papers but what was not highlighted was the fact that investigations into electoral fraud by Labour party members was ongoing in at least six other areas.

The judge stated that between one third and half of all Labour votes in some areas may have been fraudulent.

Mawrey was quoted as stating, "the evidence of electoral fraud would disgrace a banana republic" and that the system of postal voting in the UK, " is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that it’s wide open to fraud."

The QC also accused Labour of attempting to delay the vote-rigging hearings until after the general election.

When asked to change the election procedures to make fraud more difficult Blair replied that there was no time before the general election to do this. Apart from showing contempt for democratic norms, this statement was untrue. The government was not legally obliged to call a general election until the year 2006.

During the course of the court hearing the QC heard evidence that voter-rigging was organised on a large scale and included the fraudulent use of postal ballot, death threats and other forms of intimidation.

In a submission to the court, one barrister identified fifteen different types of fraud carried out in the elections, including:

Labour people stood on main roads attempting to bribe local people into handing over their postal ballots.

Children were sent to steal election papers from letterboxes. (I would have thought that this is hardly the correct way to educate children away from a life of crime and it leaves Blair’s pledge of ‘being tough on crime’ sounding somewhat hollow).

Householders were intimidated into handing over their election forms.

A postman was offered £500 for a sack of ballot papers. He was then allegedly threatened with death if he refused.

As part of the rigging operation hundreds of voting forms were sent to a ‘safe house’ to be filled in. Many had been changed with correcting fluid.

Some votes were taken to the election counts in plastic bags. For instance a bag full of 300 postal ballot votes in envelopes was delivered to the counting station. After brief negotiations these were accepted as valid votes.

The hearing was informed that this bag of ballot papers all recorded votes for Labour candidates.

Really, all this should come as no surprise. Blair is a man who has a completely different agenda to the spin he portrays. He has lied about Yugoslavia, he has lied about Afghanistan and he has lied about Iraq. On the domestic front therefore is it seriously expected that he will tell the truth?

I was surprised some years ago when I heard a barrister, in private conversation, call Blair a ‘thug and a gangster’. Today, I can only marvel at the insightfulness of the comment.

Ian Johnson

May 2005.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Which Side of the Bard's Wire Fence Are You On?

[Here's something from January 2004 which was not yet on this blog. 2005 seems quite the season for 60th anniversaries, and I was thinking: it's important to remember that the traditions being carried on by President Milosevic and General Ndindiliyimana, in their defense of their respective national histories, go back much further even than the heroic defense of Mother Russia and the Soviet Union by Stalin and the Red Army which we are currently celebrating (some of us are, anyway--sort of)--though the 26 million Slavic lives that were the sticker price for defeating Hitler and liberating the Eastern European death camps is pretty much unmatched anywhere in human history--and really rather dwarfs all other holocausts. That's why it's so queer to see some of the Leftest Leftists trying to explain away this monstrous mega-genocide as, in all actuality, the result not of the mother of all war crimes (according to Nuremberg), the unprovoked Nazi aggression of 1941's Operation Barbarosa, but of a crazed Communist dictator's misguided military maneuvers--as if Fascism could have been turned back, or Russian Industrialisation, Collectivization and Modernization achieved, as quickly but at a much lower cost had a saner hand (a more Internationalist or Collaborationist hand) been on the helm of the Red Army. And Shakespeare, too, was much concerned with the preservation of history, albeit a kind of historiography of feudalism, which, I suppose, is what makes him so popular and so 'really accessible' and lovey today. Yet even Wild Bill had his clear moments of modernity and real insight into the wasted soul of 21st Century Man(un)kind. --mc]

Which Side of the Bard’s Wire Fence Are You On?

Reading Marlise Simons’s latest ignorant and sycophantic apologetics for that chain of illegal ICe Houses, at The Hague (ICTY) for Yugoslavia and in Arusha (ICTR) for Rwanda, ('Hague judge shaped by barbarity and the Bard'), in the 3 January 2004 NY Times, raises a bunch of questions:

What’s the difference between a concentration camp and a prisoner of war camp? What’s the difference between ‘aggression’, ‘provocation’ and ‘national self-defense’ (against terrorism)? What’s the difference between Fascism and Communism--or anticommunism and antifascism? Is there a difference--or is it all just Authoritarianism? What’s the difference between feudalism and democracy? Is contemporary democracy just feudalism in Air Jordans? And what’s the difference between The Hague Tribunal and a judicial institution?

I guess it all depends on who’s doing the judging and what for.

For Marlise Simons in her article about Theodor Meron, the recently reelected president of the ICTY, the conflation and confusion of these concepts seems to be quite expedient. For her, Judge Meron can do no wrong--and like so many journalist who flack for the militarization of everyday life, she never met a Holocaust survivor she didn’t like--unless (s)he was a Slav. Meron’s office at The Hague Tribunal is not only adorned with books on Shakespeare and the medieval laws of war (actually, just the two books Meron himself wrote), but there’s also an ‘outsized set’ of photos of what is called in the first graph a ‘concentration camp’ (Manjaca) and then, and almost invisibly in the second graph, is only inferred to be a Serb prisoner of war camp in Bosnia.

I don’t want this to become another set of ‘enculer la mouche’--like the arguments I’ve had with a noted American Leftist over whether it is at all pertinent to the discussion of 9/11 that a missile--rather than an American Airliner--struck the Pentagon--but this seems to me, in the context of Simons’s piece, to be a very significant distinction: That Manjaca was a Serb prisoner of war camp in Western Bosnia primarily for Croatian (proud-to-be Ustashi) prisoners-for-exchange, and not an extermination and/or rape camp for poor Muslim women, children and old folks, like those horrors first described to a gaping and gullible Western public in the relayed hearsay of Roy Gutman in Newsday and that now-infamous prevaricator of war crimes stories, Ed Vuillamy, ancient producer of the Penny Marshall ITN news reel which purported to show a Bosno-Serb death camp, but was later debunked by a Thomas Deichmann reportage* and the British magazine ‘Living Marxism’. Yet Simons introduces the pictures displayed in the office of this Polish-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camp at Czestochowa** as depicting ‘men trapped in a modern, wartime concentration camp.’

And this puttying over of historical distinctions works well to connect how Meron’s internment led him to the study of international law and the eventual presidency of this legally-baseless court. However, it is impossible to imagine that people like Simons and Meron who proudly possess and proclaim such false erudition could be so blissfully unaware of recent historical implications that absolutely impeach their mawkish designer-humanitarianism.

For example: can they not know that the Croats pictured in the ‘concentration camp photo’ in Meron’s office are in the historical lineage of the WWII Nazi-collaborating Croatian Ustashi who constructed and operated to such horrific effect the death camp at Jasenovac (where between 700,000 and a million Jews, Serbs, Gypsies, Goran, and especially Communist partisans were exterminated)?

Can the New York Times and the ICTY really be ignorant of the fact that their ‘friend’, the late Croatian-secessionist leader Dr Franjo Tudjman, (whose doctoral thesis concerned a minimization of the murderous effects of Croatian fascism during WWII, and is reported to have said that he was proud his wife was ‘neither a Jew nor a Serb!’), executed the largest ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the war against Yugoslavia when, with the help of legions of American and German advisers and suppliers (private, of course, like MPRI, so as to fly under the US and UN embargoes on military aid to Yugoslavia) when the Croatian Army’s Operation Storm swept more than 200,000 Yugoslavs (mostly, but not entirely, Serbs) from their ancestral homes in the Krajina, leaving tens of thousands dead--and adding tens of thousands more to the hundreds of thousands of refugees of all nationalities already harbored in Serbia? (It is said that during the Bosnia war [91-95] there were more Muslims living in Serbia than in Bosnia.)

How could this half-baked reporter and this over-done jurist be this ignorant of so many 20th Century alliances that embedded their masters (the Croats, Bosnian Muslim, Albanian nationalists, and NATO’s terrorist bombardiers [Newsweek magazine’s term]) among the forces of Fascism, and their victims, primarily the Serbs (Serbia lost 23% of its population in WWI and every family was touched by the Nazi genocide of WWII!) on the victorious anti-Imperialist and antifascist side?

Though of late the business of the NY Times seems to have been the ignoring of pertinent information in all areas; and the ICTY has turned away from even the most effete attempts at justice and reconciliation in the Balkans and focused all its dark energies and attentions on enforcing the Western financial, commercial and military occupation-unto-elimination of Yugoslavia (In another disgusting example of ‘linguistic determinism’ as a weapon of war: as early as 1993 The Times and the ICTY were talking about the ‘ex-’ or ‘former-’ Yugoslavia--today they call it ‘Serbia and Montenegro’.); let us assume, as we should, that Simons, Meron and The Times are not this ignorant, but that they know at least as much as we do about the history they are writing. After all, Simons presents Meron’s Bardophilia as symbolic of high (anglophone) culture. So anyone who has had enough surplus-time and energy (above that required of most of us to hack and hew a miserable and precarious existence out of this corporate coal mine of a world) to immerse himself in Shakespeare (esp Wild Bill’s concerns with the medieval laws of war), even to have written two books on Shakes the player, and especially with the anticommunist bona fides of a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel and went on to teach international law at NYU and become a US citizen, should be trusted to hold highly considered moral and legal opinions.

Okay? Okay. But how is such learned influence turned away from the stewardship of human freedom, dignity and decency and toward the service of the most venal and craven of fortunate elites: the global crime cartel led by the US, Israel and their underlings? How did Shakespeare come to defend this tiny minority of soulless exploiters of the neoliberal free market against the vast majority that they victimize? Well, John Milton said it: “The matter of Virtue and Vice is the same.” And Arlo Guthrie might have been thinking about Shakespeare (or the Bible) when he sang, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.” So when one can jump-cut back over 400 years of history--as Simons and Meron do--to find precedents for their anti-democratic policy longings in an epoch where naked feudal structures were even more internalized than they are today, is it easier on the conscience to serve the forces of ignorance and global destruction?

Meron won’t speak to Simons about the current business of The Tribunal--esp not about the case of Slobodan Milosevic! But that’s understandable in light of the recent capriciousness went down under his ‘command responsibility’: allowing ALL to the NATO witness, former blood-drunk commandante Wesley Clark (who, despite the great distance Meron tried to put between him and his fiery cross-examiner, could not keep from blowing himself up!), and further denying court time and visitation rights to the defendant for no other apparent reason than that Milosevic was standing for election in Serbia--and doing so--and winning a seat in Parliament!--in complete accordance with the laws of that country!

So one must assume that Simons and Meron--like so many others in the long, foul history of anti-Communist collaborators with Big Capital--are more concerned with standing with the strong (in other words, with those who pay them) than they are with any kind of truth that might set us all free, or justice that might bring an end to inhumanity with impunity.

So if Shakespeare is to guide them out of the dark forest of 21st Century feudalism, perhaps Simons and Meron should look to one of his more modern plays, Timon of Athens--which I sometimes like to read as ‘Slobo of Belgrade’.

After being removed from his home in Athens to the isolation of a deserted island off Salonika, Timon’s view of his fellow man changes. Once a generous patron of the humanities, he now has a darker perspective:

Timon: O blessed breeding sun, draw from the earth
Rotten humidity; below thy sister’s orb
Infect the air! Twinn’d brothers of one womb,
Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
Scarce is dividant, touch them with
several fortunes;
The greater scorns the lesser: not nature,
To whom all sores lay siege, can bear
great fortune,
But by contempt of nature.
Raise me this beggar, and deny ‘t that lord;
The senator shall bear contempt hereditary,
The beggar native honor.
It is the pasture lards the rother’s sides,
The want that makes him lean. Who dares,
who dares,
In purity of manhood stand upright,
And say ‘This man’s a flatterer? if one be,
So are they all; for every grise of fortune
Is smooth’d by that below: the learned pate
Ducks to the golden fool: all is oblique;
There’s nothing level in our cursed natures,
But direct villainy. Therefore, be abhorr’d
All feasts, societies, and throngs of men!
Destruction fang Mankind! . . .

Timon was a down cat. I don’t think Milosevic will succumb to such misanthropy, even though their situations are equally dire. Milosevic, too, has been banished from his family, his country and his people. But still he continues to deliver the lesson of that history he has lived--directly and ‘in one.’ Meron and Simons must continue on the soul-crushing mission of falsifying history, every day and in every way, in order not to find themselves afoul of that grand Authority that defines all citizens by their dependence on it.

Like all those guys on the other side--the good side--of Penny Marshall’s barbed wire fence, Milosevic is a free agent and his accusers are imprisoned and poisoned by their own bad faith.

Mick Collins
Cirque Minime/Paris
5 January 2004


* Made up of footage taken by a Serbian TV crew that shadowed the hyperthyroid Marshall while she interrogated a hyper-petuitary and tubercular bag of bones named Fikret Alic, while the ‘reporter’ was confined inside a couple strands of barbed wire that enclosed some farm equipment, and the ‘prisoner’ was free to roam this displaced persons center with his shirtless mates in the sweltering Summer heat; this grand experiment in matting and cropping which produced Ruder Finn’s single most provocative image of their campaign to depict the ‘Serbs as the new Nazis’ is contained in a video called ‘Judgment’, available through the International Action Center at their website, And if anyone’s still wondering why the ‘greatest war crimes trial since Nuremberg’ is almost completely blacked out in the West (and since the last elections, even in Serbia!), It’s because right after the opening statements in the Milosevic trial, ‘the accused’, as President M has come to be known, tried to cue up this ‘Judgment’ video and immediately threw the Tribunal’s electrical system into gridlock and EuroNews and CNN just packed it in. Christiane Amampour didn’t even have time to trowel on a second coat of make-up before the grip truck was back down the autobahn.

** A propos of Polish war crimes: Czestochowa was the site last year of my homeboy, and formerly LA’s preeminent playwright, John Steppling’s first Polish production of what I--and many others--consider one of his best plays, ‘Sea of Cortez(ki?)’. We’re still not sure how it went over in this hot bed Catholic reaction.