Sunday, September 28, 2008

TELL OBAMA series: Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth (part I) - by Col. Luc Marchal - And why CM/P is endorsing OBAMA/BIDEN for Prexy/V

TELL OBAMA series: Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth (part I) - by Col. Luc Marchal - And why CM/P is endorsing OBAMA/BIDEN for Prexy/Veep of the USA

[Here is our translation of the first part of the Luc Marchal article on Rwanda and Congo.

What seems to us important here is to note the seamless segue from the war against Soviet and Chinese Communism (long-since inseminated with its mutant offspring of the global War on Terrorism) into the militaristic and propagandistic campaigns to surround the world’s greatest repositories of natural treasure (esp Human and Energy resources), Russia (including its near abroad), China and Central Africa (esp. Congo), with bloody, militarized chaos accounting, just in the latter, for upward of 9 million victims throughout the region, including Sudan and the Horn of Africa, just since 1990.

These aggressions, which were all carried out against civilian populations—whether one considers the RPF’s unprovoked invasion of Rwanda from Uganda on 1 October 1990, or its subsequent second unprovoked, peacetime aggression, launched from its bases in Mulindi, inside northern Rwanda, after it had assassinated the two duly-elected (Hutu) presidents of Rwanda (Juvénal Habyarimana) and Burundi (Cyprien Ntaryamira) on 6 April 1994; or the EU/US/UK mercenary invasion of Yugoslavia at Borovo Selo, on the outskirts of Vukovar, in late 1991(to kick-off what is, perhaps, the first fully-privatized war); or the US/NATO/Israeli escalation of its long-running war in the Middle East with its internationally shunned and factually unjustified ‘shock and awe’ of Iraq in March 2003; or the Western-sponsored riots in Lhasa (western China) that saw ‘non-violent’ Tibetan monks staving in the heads of several young bicyclists, as well as cremating many other innocent bystanders, in the name of ‘Stopping the Chinese Communist Cultural (i.e., Neo-feudalist nostalgic) Genocide' of a would-be ‘Free Tibet’; or the US/NATO/Israeli-backed (even, perhaps, the McCain campaign-instigated) assault by its Georgian proxy, fresh from a truncated tour as the third largest national contingent in Iraq, on opening day of the Chinese Olympics (8/8/08—so much for Chinese good fortune cookies or the traditional Olympic truce) against the autonomous (but Russo-symp) region of South Ossetia, an area that has, according to my research, NEVER legally been a part of Georgia, killing 16 UN-authorized Russian peacekeepers and destroying much of the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali (and then, in keeping with the new media-militarism’s reverse-victimating mechanism, quickly miscaptioning images of this Ossetian destruction to describe Russian aggression against Georgia-proper): all these military aggressions were naked acts of terrorism again innocent women, children, men and the agèd, coming, as they did, in times of mutually-negotiated peace, and were all propagandistically inverted to blame the victim’s, usually, as with Marchal's Rwanda, by trivializing the real responsibility for these invasions.

The mass-media mantra was 'Regardless of who started it'--meaning 'let's not look at who the real aggressors were. Even our mainest candidate, Barack Obama, was heard to say on CNN with regard to the situation in Georgia, ‘No matter who started this . . . .’

So Col Marchal’s contribution to our series, Tell Obama, has much to teach us about the forces that are currently driving our cultures—have driven us all to the very edge of the abyss, and are seriously promising to push us over into the putrid swamp of perdition. We, here at CM/P, believe that as dim and as reeking of the residual bad faith of American party politics as his campaign within the Democratic machine might be, Barack Hussein Obama offers the last best hope for a whip-lashing change of course for our terminally intoxicated nation, a sharp virage toward a truer history and a clearer, cleaner, and saner sense of ourselves.

I strongly urge all my fellow ex-pats, especially those whom the comforts of exile may have lulled into a false sense of remove from the maraudings of Waste Capitalism that are currently threatening to extinguish all human life on the planet (even what we laughingly like to call ‘lower Republican life forms’), to take part in the coming elections and to vote, as stomach-wrenching as that may seem, for the Obama/Biden ticket.

Because not to vote—and to encourage others not to vote—is really not an effective way of criticizing or refusing dignity to this exercise in fausse-democracy. It is merely a self-deluded collaboration with the forces of those ancient war criminals and mystified cultish perverts who front for the murderous and self-devouring financial speculations that are currently doing the laddling at America's quadrennial Kool-Aid orgy. –mc]


Congo-Rwanda: The Difficult Search for the Truth

At the very beginning of the 1990s, the US was facing an existential question that it had not had to confront since the end of WWII: What is the nature of the threat? In fact, following the implosion of the USSR, the global chessboard was fundamentally changed. The East-West confrontation had become a situation from which the strategies of all sides could take comfort.

Sunday 25 May 2008

The enemy had been precisely identified, its possibilities were known, as were its zones of interest and influence. Within such a well-defined geostrategic context, it was not very difficult to develop a global strategy.

On the other hand, the disappearance of the USSR, at this time, called for a fresh deck and a new strategic analysis. This new evaluation was developed, as predicted, at the very beginning of the 1990s. Altogether, the conclusion of this analysis was that until 2017 the US had nothing to fear from any rival anywhere on the globe. The logical outcome of this conclusion was that several vital zones were identified as indispensable to the maintenance of American hegemony. The Great Lakes region of Africa, with the immeasurable potential of its underground assets (as well as its geographic position in the center of the continent), took a prominent place on the Americans’ shopping list of strategic real estate. This reality became the starting point for the long and grueling trek this region of the world would embark on in the early 1990s.

This April 6 (2008) marks the 14th anniversary of the attack that claimed the lives of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, as well as several of their entourage and the flight crew of the presidential jet. While this attack was the spark that ignited the by-now well-known apocalypse, many have noted that not a single international organization (UN, OAU, even the EU) has yet seen fit to set up a process by which to identify those who ordered this terrorist act. Even though this double-assassination, and the succession of event issuing from it, have cost the lives of several million people (from 6 to 8 million, according to estimates). This attack also knocked the Great Lakes region from the French sphere of influence, where it had resided for almost a century, into the Anglo-Saxon sphere of influence. In further comparison, it is notable that merely a month and a half after the February 2005 attack in Beirut that killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, along with about 20 others, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of an international investigative commission to gather evidence as to who was responsible for this killing. But for Rwanda and Burundi nothing has yet been done—and in the case of Burundi, this was the second democratically elected president to be assassinated in 6 months!

A veritable omerta, a code of silence, seems to have descended over the attack of 6 April 1994. And such an attitude is even less justifiable considering that no one today denies that it was the most important factor in triggering a long period of wars, massacres, of grief and suffering for the peoples of Rwanda and of the provinces of eastern Congo.

This enforced silence is also de rigueur in our own country. However, Belgium paid a heavy price after this attack. Ten Belgian [UN] Blue-Helmets were murdered in a most cowardly fashion, as were a dozen other of our compatriots in Rwanda. If the circumstances surrounding the killings of our nationals are not well known by all, the same cannot be said about our UN troops. If, in fact, the army thugs present at Camp Kigali rushed on our men to lynch them, it was because a Rwandan soldier, well known since 1994, fingered them as being responsible for the death of President Habyarimana. The terrorist attack of 6 April 1994 is thus the direct cause for the murders of our countrymen. Curiously, no Belgian politician has as yet proposed any kind of action that would demand answers to these two basic questions: Who ordered these killings, and who carried them out? Last year’s conviction and sentencing of Major Bernard Ntuyahaga to 20 years in prison by a Belgian jury has not answered any of the real questions about who was behind this attack.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) should not be expected to break this silence. Though it possesses all the elements needed to shed light on these questions. In 1997 the head of a team of investigators for the ICTR working in Kigali, Michael Hourigan, put together a file that clearly laid the blame for the assassinations of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira on the current Rwandan government. It is interesting to note that in reality the initial aim of his investigation was to implicate Hutu extremists in this attack, but all the evidence Hourigan collected put the responsibility on the RPF. The ICTR Prosecutor at the time, Canadian Louise Arbour, put the ‘Hourigan Dossier’ into a drawer, but not before ordering Hourigan to cease immediately, and until further notice, his investigation and to destroy all documentation he had compiled, including his notes. A few years later, the Swiss jurist, Carla Del Ponte, who had succeeded Arbour as ICTR Prosecutor, took a look at the dossier (after a good deal of stalling, it is true) and expressed her intention to follow-up on it. She would live to regret this declaration, because the Kagame regime did not stop pressuring the UN and the Tribunal until finally in 2003, with the strong support of the US, it got Carla Del Ponte quite simply canned from her ICTR Prosecutor’s job and replaced by the Gambian, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, whose position with regard to the code of silence is doubtlessly more in conformity with Kigali’s than even Kagame could have hoped. Yet a number of international experts connected to the ICTR (Alison Des Forges, Filip Reyntjens, André Guichaoua, Elmut Strizek, Bernard Lugan, Robin Philpot) have persisted in their beliefs that the unilateral approach of the Tribunal is totally out of touch with the current state of knowledge. Their repeated appeals for more objectivity and justice remain unrequited, but for the constant response of the Prosecutor: We’re studying the question!

At present, things seem to be understood. The days of the Rwandan Tribunal are numbered, and at the end of this year [2008] all the trials currently in progress must be concluded [The UN has extended this deadline until the end of 2009—nb]. The purpose of this is clear: the ICTR will not have to take any action against the members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). This International Tribunal has always limited its proceedings to just one of the two sides in the 1994 conflict, and done so despite the growing body of evidence on the very significant role played by the RPF in the tragedy that struck (an continues to afflict) Rwanda and the provinces of eastern Congo. The ICTR was totally incapable of dealing with the challenge it was given. Carla Del Ponte, herself, has expressed some of this incapacity. In a book soon to be released, she directly accuses the US of reluctance to allow the legal pursuit of the RPF in power in Rwanda today. Another reaction to this failure of the ICTR is the research being done into the very spirit of the Tribunal. Its raison d’être is neither to render justice nor to work toward the discovery of the truth. It has been all about permitting the International Community, which permitted the horrors of 1994 to take place, to suave its bad conscience by condemning the losers as the only ones responsible for all the evil that took place in the armed conflict that led to Paul Kagame’s seizure of power in July 1994, despite his being a signatory to the Arusha Peace Accords of 1993.

The lack of a will to know on the part of the International Community is a further sad confirmation of the continuing degradation of the public mind through a system of enforced consensus dictated by those who have no interest in the truth’s being known. Yet, over the years, and like pieces of a puzzle, the testimonies of real boots-on-the-ground players have allowed us to gain a much more focused view of events, not only on the attack of 6 April 1994, but also on the war crimes, massacres and other exactions committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) since 1990. Let’s take a look at, among others, the testimonies of officers of the RPA like Jean-Pierre Mugabe, Aloys Ruyenzi and Abdul Ruzibiza. Let’s talk about those many Hutus and Tutsis who, for a certain period of time, believed that the RPF could represent the future of Rwanda, who, like good citizens, used their skills in the service of their country and who, due to their being disappointed (or, more exactly, sickened, revolted and threatened), had to flee into exile. All this exists and cannot be explained away by the cynical reasoning that they are renegades or deserters and, thus, men of low credibility. Anyway, that would be a pretty weak and slick invalidation of their testimonies

Let’s call it a conspiracy of silence. In this context, what would you think of the current legal proceedings against certain leaders of the RPF? Like those of French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière and his Spanish counterpart Fernando Andreu Merelles? Without getting into the details of these actions, for which there already exists an abundance of documentation, let’s look specifically at their findings, and at the reactions they have brought about. And let’s pay particular attention, at the onset, to the fact that Spain and France are states ruled by laws, where an independent judiciary can be considered a reality. Consequently, you must conclude that the findings of these courts resulted from criteria which conformed to the judicial ethics of these countries, members, like Belgium, of the European Union.

The findings of Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière

The investigation began in 1998 after a complaint against an unnamed party was filed by the daughter of one of the flight crew of the presidential Falcon 50, a complaint that other members of the victims’ families later joined. At the end of November 2006, Judge Bruguière, Chief Justice of the Appellate Court in Paris in charge of Anti-Terrorism, issued an order for 9 international arrest warrants in the names of close associates of Paul Kagame’s. As for the current president of Rwanda, himself, who is, of course, protected by executive immunity as a sitting head of state, he turned to the Secretary General of the UN demanding that the ICTR take over the execution of these warrants. This investigation went on over a period of eight years. No one could say that this was a rush to judgment. The Rwandan governmental authorities were well aware of what was going on with the case and reacted to it long before the warrants were ordered. In 2005 they threatened several times to pursue France legally for complicity in the genocide. Rwandan survivors filed complaints to this effect in Paris against the French Army. Then, in April 2006, a commission was set up to look into ‘the role of France before, during and after the genocide.’

Extending to nearly 70 pages, Judge Bruguière’s order is somewhat unusual in that it was not all about just issuing the international arrest warrants. The essential moment of the investigation in this case allowed him to merge his inquest with those being carried out by the National Anti-Terrorist Division (DNAT). And his conclusion is categorical: Paul Kagame was directly involved in the attack of 6 April 1994.

The reactions from Kigali were diverse, describing the report as being made up of ‘totally unfounded allegations’, being based on ‘gossip and rumors’, and reproaching French justice for being ‘politically, more than judicially, motivated in this case.’ Other reactions bordered on the surreal, as those of certain officials who contended that President Habyarimana and General Nsabimana, the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army [who also perished in the attack—nb], were legitimate targets in the context of an armed conflict. Forgetting, obviously, that the RPF had signed a peace agreement, and that the President of Burundi and other officials from both countries found themselves on board the Falcon 50. More concretely, Rwanda also broke off diplomatic relations with France, and, in March 2007, two Rwandan generals, charged by Judge Bruguière, filed complaints against him in the Belgian courts, which is the same as filing charges against the Belgian state. And last but not least, three months earlier, Judge Erik Møse, President of the ICTR at the time, and presiding judge in the ‘Military I’ trial, accepted the demand of defense attorneys to allow the Bruguière report, in its entirety, to be entered into the record as evidence for the four Rwandan officers charged in that case.

The findings of Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles

It was from a complaint from the International Forum for Truth and Justice in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, a complaint filed in February 2005, and to which different people and institutions were later joined, that Judge Merelles of the National Court of Madrid, the main criminal jurisdiction in Spain, began his investigation. It looked primarily into the murders of nine Spanish citizens committed in Rwanda between 1994 and 2000. These included six Catholic missionaries, a nurse, a doctor and a journalist. Based on the law of universal competence, the Spanish judge declared his authority to investigate these crimes. He also specified that if it turned out that these crimes were committed in a larger context (e.g., genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity), he would include these facts and their appropriate descriptions in his investigation. Remember that it was on the basis of this same universal competence that, in 1998, Spanish Judge Balthasar Garzon obtained the arrest in London of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

On 6 February 2008, the Spanish Judge issued 40 international arrest warrants for officers of the RPA. In the 181-page order, Merelles charges that the persons named in these warrants committed acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of terrorism on orders from President Paul Kagame. Because of his immunity from prosecution as a sitting head of state, Kagame, himself, was not the subject of a warrant.

In his conclusions, Judge Merelles charges the RPF with having put in place a veritable criminal system of government. He said that since it took power in Kigali in July 1994, the party has instituted an virtual reign of terror, not only by the structures of its dictatorial regime, but especially by the establishment of parallel structures responsible for committing heinous crimes against the civilian population, both Rwandans and foreigners. He went on to state that the goal of this policy was (and continues to be) the invasion and conquest of Congo, carried out under the cover of national security concerns, and permitting the RPF, among other things, to pillage the precious natural resources of its neighbor and, thus, maintain itself in power and enable itself to exercise a geopolitical domination over the whole region. Furthermore, Judge Merelles found that the crimes committed in 1994 were within the authority of the ICTR.

In reaction, the Rwandan government described these accusations as ‘ridiculous’. The Members of Parliament demanded that the government file a complaint against the Spanish judge for ‘genocide denial’. This time President Kagame, himself, leapt to the defense. He knows, for a fact, that the Spanish investigation is much more dangerous to him than the French one. Unlike France, Spain is not politically involved in the Rwandan situation. It would, thus, be much more difficult to discredit its judicial action. And what is more, eight of the murdered Spanish nationals were clergymen and humanitarians. None could be taken for a ‘legitimate target’! In various speeches, Paul Kagame has denounced the ‘arrogance’ of the Spanish judge, condemned the idea that anyone in the West ‘could try and play God’, and insisted that the Rwandan people would never accept ‘being trampled on’ and that those being accused ‘are the very ones who put a stop to the genocide’.

The judicial actions with regard to the responsibility of the RPA for war crimes and crimes against humanity are likely to continue. The families of two Canadian clergymen, Fathers Claude Simard and Guy Pinard, murdered in Rwanda in 1994 and 1997, have demanded that legal authorities in their country establish the means to search for those who killed their loved ones. On this subject, one can only be confounded by the large number of clergymen and women (Rwandan and foreign) murdered by the RPA after the beginning of the war in 1994. Recall, among others, the deliberate killings of four bishops and more than ten priests and nuns in Gakurazo (the diocese of Kabgayi) on 5 June 1994.


If the reality of the events had conformed to the official version we were given fourteen years ago, it would be reasonable to think that, despite the unusual dimensions of the events that shook the Great Lakes region after 1990, the situation would, after all this time, have stabilized. It is obvious that this is far from being the case. So, rather than continuing in this iniquitous uncertainty, would it not be more responsible to try and answer all these many and persistent questions? That someone wants to know what really happened is no reason automatically to label him or her a revisionist or negationist. It is not about trying to exonerate those who took part in the genocide of 1994, at whatever level. It is, however, appropriate to admit that we find ourselves in a situation that is, to say the least, paradoxical. On the one hand, for more than ten years the ICTR has been in session and despite the millions of dollars spent on trying to demonstrate that there was planning for the genocide, one can not help but notice (whether one agrees or not) that the Tribunal in Arusha has not been able to produce any evidence of such planning. It is not a matter here of mere point of view or of some gratuitous affirmation, but of an undeniable fact.

On the other hand, a passel of convergent testimony from every corner of the earth casts serious doubt on the actual role of those who pretend to have stopped the genocide. So, isn’t it time to take a closer look at these things? Just imagine the height of a pile of 6 to 8 million corpses. Isn’t it time finally to deliver justice for these millions of victims of the thirst for power in some and the reprehensible indifference in many others? Isn’t it time that those who plunged the African Great Lakes and their populations into chaos (and also those who keep them in it) finally answered for their acts directly to their victims, but also to History? How much longer will we tolerate those who assume the right to teach the whole world, while everything demonstrates (until proven otherwise) that they are among the most responsible for this holocaust that has degraded all of humanity?

[by Luc MARCHAL is a Colonel in the Belgian Army and a former Commander in the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Rwanda (UNAMIR)

Luc Marchal
Former Commander
Kigali Sector-UNAMIR
April 2008



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