Info on the role of France/World Bank in Rwandan Genocide

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ocelot's picture
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Jan 2 2014 11:51

Who knew rebutting genocide denial on libcom would turn out to be such hard work. Sheesh.

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Jan 2 2014 16:59
ocelot wrote:
In for a penny, in for a pound I guess. So on the Davenport, Stam "arithmetic":

Do you respond:

A) Sure thing. This is my wife and kids, there all Tutsi too. Make sure you get our name and address down right.

B) My papers? Awful sorry, I lost them last year. Me? I'm totes a Hutu. My neighbour Bob* here, who you've just seen his papers marked as a Hutu, can vouch for me, right? Thanks Bob! Oh yeah, and my wife and kids too. No Tutsis here, no sir"

Whaddya reckon?

To me It's an obvious question that appears to have slipped Davenport and Stam's minds. Hence the scientific basis of their "arithmetic" (especially as anthropologists, ffs...) seems a little suspect to me.

I notice here that you conveniently decide to attack the least credible part of Stam and Davenport's argument, the reliance on the 1991 census, and just simply ignore the corroborating evidence offered by the Rwandan genocide support network Ibuka as well as the evidence that Stam and Davenport collect showing that mass killings took place inside of RPF controlled territory.

Also the census probably relied on identification cards which were pretty accurate considering that was close to the only method that Rwandans had in 1994 to tell each other apart.

Additionally, you attack the article by Stephen Wiliam Smith, who cites Gerard Prunier who as I'm sure you're not aware has been one of the most vocal critics of the French's role in Rwanda. As an eyewitness to the French policy in Rwanda, he has been instrumental in uncovering the support that the Mitterand regime gave to the genocidal Habyrimana government.

So...Herman, Peterson, Davenport, Stam, Smith, Prunier, hell even Chomsky seeing as he wrote the forward to Herman and Peterson's book...they all are mysteriously engaged in a conspiracy which asserts that a large portion of the 1 million Rwandans who died during the 1994 genocide were not just Tutsi, and were not killed by the FAR/Interahamwe/Presidential Guard.

Which one of us is the conspiracy theorist here?

I mean ffs, look at the damn factors here! The World Bank policies in years leading up to the genocide had changed Rwanda from a self-sufficient farming economy to an economy reliant on the export of coffee and tin. The collapse of coffee and tin prices in the late 1980s was disastrous and the Rwandan government's response of cutting social services to fund the army exacerbated a terrible situation. What many respected scholars are suggesting is that this poverty, when combined with a collapse of civil order that was seen in 1994, led to mass killings perpetrated for reasons other than ethnicity and more due to class.

And yet, Ocelot, instead of addressing any of these points, or even the points that have been presented you have done nothing but behave immaturely and waste people's time.

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Jan 2 2014 17:43
Soapy wrote:
Additionally, you attack the article by Stephen Wiliam Smith, who cites Gerard Prunier who as I'm sure you're not aware has been one of the most vocal critics of the French's role in Rwanda. As an eyewitness to the French policy in Rwanda, he has been instrumental in uncovering the support that the Mitterand regime gave to the genocidal Habyrimana government.

So...Herman, Peterson, Davenport, Stam, Smith, Prunier, hell even Chomsky seeing as he wrote the forward to Herman and Peterson's book...they all are mysteriously engaged in a conspiracy [...]

Smith citing Prunier in his article does not mean that Prunier defends the theory of the double genocide that the former defends. As any perusal of Prunier's 1995 book ("The Rwanda Crisis - History of a Genocide" - ISBN 9780231104081) will show. You are resorting to trying to make me say things I haven't said, presumably in desparation that you cannot actually deal with the things that I have actually said.

I think your problem here is contained in the "hell even Chomsky..." bit. You obviously think Chomsky is some kind of infallible saintly authority. Personally I find him usually interesting, even occasionally impressive in places, but far from infallible, and not much cop as an actual anarchist (as opposed to a liberal critique of US foreign policy, albeit in a one-sided manner, as previously discussed). Certainly the fact that Herman is an old friend of his does not mean, ipso facto, that Herman is not guilty of attempting to deny the actuality of the 1994 genocide. You need to grow up and bit and realise that hero-worship is not part of anarchist politics.

Then again, speaking of growing up, if you think that combatting genocide denial is a sign of "immaturity", then I am glad to be on the side of the immature, rather than whatever ghastly side you seem to think you are on. I've spent my entire adult life fighting fascism, nazis, holocaust deniers, historical revisionists and all others who would rewrite history to erase genocide to further their political agenda. Listening to your crying now is not going to change my mind at this late stage. No pasaran.

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Jan 2 2014 18:10
Soapy wrote:
So...Herman, Peterson, Davenport, Stam, Smith, Prunier, hell even Chomsky seeing as he wrote the forward to Herman and Peterson's book...they all are mysteriously engaged in a conspiracy which asserts that a large portion of the 1 million Rwandans who died during the 1994 genocide were not just Tutsi, and were not killed by the FAR/Interahamwe/Presidential Guard.

I don't think ocelot's written anything to suggest that there's any conspiracy at work. Some of these individuals may genuinely share the views in Herman's articles but be mistaken. Others may be disingenuous, but not secretively in some sort of conspiratorial alliance with all the other names mentioned above.

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Jan 2 2014 19:23
Tyrion wrote:
Soapy wrote:
So...Herman, Peterson, Davenport, Stam, Smith, Prunier, hell even Chomsky seeing as he wrote the forward to Herman and Peterson's book...they all are mysteriously engaged in a conspiracy which asserts that a large portion of the 1 million Rwandans who died during the 1994 genocide were not just Tutsi, and were not killed by the FAR/Interahamwe/Presidential Guard.

I don't think ocelot's written anything to suggest that there's any conspiracy at work. Some of these individuals may genuinely share the views in Herman's articles but be mistaken. Others may be disingenuous, but not secretively in some sort of conspiratorial alliance with all the other names mentioned above.

Funny, I didn't see anyone throw their hands up after Ocelot repeatedly suggested that I believe there is a "conspiracy at work". He accused me of being a "conspiraloon" earlier. This was after he had called Herman a "scumbag" and after he said "Because, like them, I too am part of TEH CONSPIRACY!!!" as if that was what I was accusing him of.

I'm really getting annoyed here, not having the strength to simply stop talking to someone who is clearly abusive and not making any good points. I'm going to do myself a favor and just stop looking at this thread now.

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Jan 2 2014 19:47

Ok...so I'm continuing my research, talking to my gf who is consoling me trying to get me to not lose my shit on the internet for no reason.

Anyway, it is good that Ocelot has combated me on the census numbers. I stumbled across this report from the University of Minnesota which claims that of the 8 million Rwandans in 1994, 14% or just 570,000 were Tutsi. So when one considers the number of documented refugees from the 1994 genocide, there clearly could not have been 1 million Tutsi killed.

http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/africa/rwanda.htm

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Jan 2 2014 20:08

Yeah, I'm pretty keen to trust Herman and Chomsky, even if the footnotes Herman is referencing are no longer online (I mean, you can go get the book, he's not lying... simply because the url he posted for the convienance of layreaders is broken, welcom to the internet).
The politics of genocide line fits pretty well with their Propaganda model, but I'm also not super knowledgable on Rwandan history up to the civil war and genocide, but will now seek to be. It doesn't seem ridiculous to suspect that a U.S. client state would abuse the concept of genocide to proffer intellectual self defense even while they commit it (cough Israel cough). Or that a NATO erected International Court would support said client state. Or that once the word stuck and had filtered all through the "free presses" of the capitalist world that the designation of Genocide would stick.

As for your continued comparison of Herman to the double genocidaires, all I can say is, read the book and read the article. You're taking a way too editorialized read of it. His argument is simply that war crimes, atrocities, ON BOTH SIDES are being skewed as a genocide by the unfavored side.

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Jan 3 2014 02:37
Soapy wrote:
Tyrion wrote:
Soapy wrote:
So...Herman, Peterson, Davenport, Stam, Smith, Prunier, hell even Chomsky seeing as he wrote the forward to Herman and Peterson's book...they all are mysteriously engaged in a conspiracy which asserts that a large portion of the 1 million Rwandans who died during the 1994 genocide were not just Tutsi, and were not killed by the FAR/Interahamwe/Presidential Guard.

I don't think ocelot's written anything to suggest that there's any conspiracy at work. Some of these individuals may genuinely share the views in Herman's articles but be mistaken. Others may be disingenuous, but not secretively in some sort of conspiratorial alliance with all the other names mentioned above.

Funny, I didn't see anyone throw their hands up after Ocelot repeatedly suggested that I believe there is a "conspiracy at work". He accused me of being a "conspiraloon" earlier. This was after he had called Herman a "scumbag" and after he said "Because, like them, I too am part of TEH CONSPIRACY!!!" as if that was what I was accusing him of.

I'm really getting annoyed here, not having the strength to simply stop talking to someone who is clearly abusive and not making any good points. I'm going to do myself a favor and just stop looking at this thread now.

Well, that TEH CONSPIRACY bit was in response to that jab about the Guardian, but you're right, the conspiraloon thing was really uncalled for.

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Jan 3 2014 03:37

More stuff that counters the dominant narrative of a Hutu-Conspired Genocide against the Tutsi by a long time Journalist focused on Africa. Keith Harman Snow Piece

Edit: Builds a case against a particular Dr. Gerald Caplan, as well as gold and other mineral companies from the U.S. and Canada, as well as General Romeo Dallaire.

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Jan 3 2014 10:27

OK. One more time, the summary version.

My contention is that within the text of the Monthly Review article by Hermand and Peterson the position of denying the Rwandan genocide is put forward. The key phrase to follow here is that of "the Hutu conspiracy model". This occurs 4 times in the main text, in 3 sections. The first appearance is here:

Herman/Peterson wrote:
[...]The "triggering event" in the mass killings of 1994 and after was the shooting down of Habyarimana's jet during its landing approach to the airport in Kigali on April 6. In standard accounts of the "Rwandan genocide," responsibility for this incident is assigned to Hutu extremists around Habyarimana, who, facing a loss of power and privileges under the Arusha peace and power-sharing accords of August 1993, assassinated their president rather than accept the implementation of the accords and then launched their plan to exterminate Rwanda's Tutsi population.34

But a serious problem for this Hutu conspiracy model arose in 1997, when Michael Hourigan, a principal investigator for the Rwanda Tribunal, found RPF informants who attested to the "direct involvement" of Kagame,35 and then in 2006, when French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière also concluded that Kagame had needed and was responsible for this political assassination.36[...]
----
34 For three iterations of the standard or what we call the Hutu-conspiracy model of the "Rwandan genocide," see Bernard A. Muna, The Prosecutor against Theoneste Bagosora, Amended Indictment(ICTR-96-7-I), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, December 8, 1999; Alison Des Forges et al., "Leave None to Tell the Story": Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999); and Adam Jones, Chap. 9, "Apocalypse in Rwanda," in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2nd Ed., 2010), pp. 346-368.

Here the implication is that the "Hutu conspiracy model" relates specifically to the notion that Habyarimana was assassinated by Hutu extremists to give a pretext for the genocide. The footnote clearly identifies Alison Des Forges as one of the three exemplar iterations of the Hutu conspiracy model in her book "Leave None to Tell the Story". But no page number is given with that reference. For good reason. Because if we actually turn to Des Forges' book, in the chapter "April 1994: “The Month That Would Not End", pp 144-175, we actually find the following:

Des Forges wrote:
The Attack on Habyarimana’s Plane

The genocide of the Tutsi, the murders of Hutu opposed to Habyarimana, and the renewed war between the Rwandan goverment and the RPF were all touched off by the killing of President Habyarimana. This extremely significant attack remains largely uninvestigated and its authors unidentified.
[...]
The RPF, politicians opposed to Habyarimana, and the circle of his own supporters all might have wanted the Rwandan president dead and could have found the means to bring down his plane.
[...]
Responsibility for killing Habyarimana is a serious issue, but it is a different issue from responsibility for the genocide. We know little about who assassinated Habyarimana. We know more about who used the assassination as the pretext to begin a slaughter that had been planned for months.

Alison Des Forges, "Leave None to Tell the Story", 1999, pp 145-146, http://addisvoice.com/Ethiopia%20under%20Meles/Rwanda.pdf

Let's look at the next mention of the "Hutu conspiracy model" in the Herman/Peterson MR article:

Herman/Peterson wrote:
Moreover, the government of Rwanda at the time was a coalition government that had several strategically placed Tutsi members; Alison Des Forges, perhaps the most important advocate for the Hutu conspiracy model, admitted at the Rwanda Tribunal that there was little likelihood that the coalition Hutu and Tutsi government could have planned the assassination and the extermination of the Tutsi, without the knowledge of its Tutsi members.42 But the Guardian never confronts this set of problems. The Hutu conspiracy model is sacrosanct.

We have already dealt with the fact that the proposition that the coalition government could not have organised the genocide without the knowledge of the Tutsi members of the coalition says nothing to the proposition that the genocide was organised by a Hutu Power group, outside of the formal structures of the government. However, once again Alison Des Forges is identified as the "most important advocate of the Hutu conspiracy model", despite the fact, as we have just seen, she is not an advocate of the theory that it is probable/definite that Habyarimana's assassination was carried out by the Hutu Power group.

And now, if there was any doubt about what Herman/Peterson really mean by the term "Hutu conspiracy model" we have the final appearance:

Herman/Peterson wrote:
Monbiot also objects that, in The Politics of Genocide, we place the "Rwandan genocide in inverted commas throughout the text." In fact, we use scare quotes to distinguish between two radically different and incompatible accounts of what happened in Rwanda throughout the period. Thus the "Rwandan genocide" (i.e., inside scare quotes) refers to what in the previous section (above) we call the Hutu conspiracy model -- the false and propagandistic party-line advanced by the U.S., U.K., and Paul Kagame-led RPF, and thereafter enforced by the Rwandan Tribunal, of a "conspiracy" by the majority Hutu around Habyarimana to exterminate the Tutsi minority.

And there you have it. The conspiracy to exterminate the Tutsi minority in Rwanda - aka the Rwandan genocide itself - is the "Hutu conspiracy model". Ergo to denounce the "Hutu conspiracy model" as "a false and propagandistic party-line", is to deny the genocide. The term "Hutu conspiracy model" serves for Herman/Peterson much the same function as the term "Holohoax" does for Holocaust deniers. Voilà tout.

edit: also can I reiterate my encouragement for people to actually read both the IPEP report and the Des Forges one given they are both freely available online.

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Jan 3 2014 17:46

Ocelot, what Herman and Peterson call the "Hutu conspiracy model" is the standard line on Rwanda. This is indisputable. I'm actually reading a British government report right now which reads, "On 6 April 1994, Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and the president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, were killed when Habyarimana's aeroplane was shot down near Kigali airport. Extremists, opposed to the Arusha Accord, were believed to be responsible." The book I read earlier by Andrew Wallis is exactly the same.

A 2000 Organization of African Unity is also critical of the idea that there was a "diabolical master plan" of Hutu to massacre Tutsi. http://www.africa-union.org/Official_documents/report/Report_rowanda_gen...

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, "has concluded that the genocide has been planned and organized in advance."

Also you never bothered to respond to the other point made earlier about the fact that there were only ~600,000 Tutsi living in Rwanda in 1994, and yet 1 million Tutsi and "moderate Hutu" are reported to have died during the genocide.

All I want to do is to say that I am not convinced of either position on the genocide. I don't really have an opinion right now, I just want the freedom to research this without being called a "genocide denier" or "conspiraloon" for questioning the official story.

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Jan 3 2014 20:08

You leave this out from the Des Forges Book:

Quote:
Some in Habyarimana’s own circle might have wanted to eliminate him to avoid the
installation of a new government that would diminish their power. The CDR and even MRND
leaders had criticized Habyarimana for talking with Museveni in early March and some feared
that he would return from Dar es Salaam ready to implement the Accords. Enoch Ruhigira,
Habyarimana’s chief of staff,says that the president had, in fact, made such a decision and had
told him to bring an announcement to that effect to the airport when he came to welcome him
home.10 The expectation that the new government was about to be installed would have
increased pressure on Hutu Power advocates to launch the violence immediately, whether
fully prepared or not. Once the new authorities were in place, the RPF would take over the
Ministry of the Interior and Communal Development and the MRND would lose control of
the administrative structure so helpful in mobilizing the population. Some of the Hutu Power
group, including Bagosora himself, would lose their posts and would have no more authority
to give orders.

Wherein she recounts what Herman and Peterson argue are a set of falsehoods that hew to the party line. While you're correct that Des Forges doesn't give a clear line of support to either hypothesis, she does present the one that Herman and Peterson argue against, alongside those you mention.

Furhtermore, Allison Des Forges does support the model of the genocide as being carried out by a Hutu conspiracy, correct? That is their claim and I think it is rather backed up by fact. Indeed as you point out, to Des Forges the kinds of motivations and context surrounding the Assassination of Rwanda's President, are irrelevant to the genocide! Some materialist historian they are! Herman and Peterson claim that she is the most important advocate of the interpretation of events that paints the atrocities as a Genocide carried out by Hutu leaders.

In opposition to this, Herman, Pilger, Snow, Chomsky, Paul Rusesabagina, and many others, have focused on the crimes committed by a U.S. supported and trained RPF to ouster the Habyarimana governmnet with military support from the U.S. client state of Uganda and Museveni. Again, we can evacuate our history of the events of any context or.... history but since their rise to power the RPF has been leading genocidal wars all across the Congo region to secure access to extremely valuable minerals like gold, coltan, diamonds, etc.

I agree with Soapy on this one, I'm still looking into it, but I'll say I'm a lot more skeptical of the dominant narrative now thanks to Keith Harmon Snow, Herman, etc. The central facts of the case that they lay down aren't really challenged. Instead, Monbiot, Caplan, etc. just hurl "genocide denier!" at any critic. Not unlike Alan Dershowitz.

Key Facts/Claims of Herman and Peterson:

1. Habyarimana was likely assassinated by the RPF. This is buttressed by court testimony and Michael Hourigan. Also noted is how quickly RPF troops began to seize on the oppurtunnity, with even Des Forges noting that locals claim observing something similar. Sure Des Forges isn't a hard and fast supporter of this part of the narrative but she claims it is irrelevant. It is obviously not. They do claim that she conceded that a coalition government was unlikely to have been able to plan and carry out the genocide:

Quote:
Apart from the compelling direct evidence that the shoot-down was Kagame's handiwork, there are also the facts that Kagame's RPF mobilized its troops within two hours of the event, and that it was this final RPF offensive that enabled Kagame's forces to quickly conquer Rwanda, rather than face elections in 1995 that he and his minority Tutsi surely would have lost.41 Moreover, the government of Rwanda at the time was a coalition government that had several strategically placed Tutsi members; Alison Des Forges, perhaps the most important advocate for the Hutu conspiracy model, admitted at the Rwanda Tribunal that there was little likelihood that the coalition Hutu and Tutsi government could have planned the assassination and the extermination of the Tutsi, without the knowledge of its Tutsi members.42 But the Guardian never confronts this set of problems. The Hutu conspiracy model is sacrosanct.

2. Number of deaths. Herman and Peterson claim/argue that the number of supposed deaths from the genocide could not be nearly as high as those being claimed based on census data from 1991, and other reports. This is the crux of their argument against the dominant narrative it seems would be what one attacks in trying to refute them or demonstrate their ignorance/insanity-as-genocide-deniers.

Quote:
A central feature of the establishment party-line holds that the victims of the 1994 mass killing were largely Tutsi and "moderate" Hutu, targeted for elimination by Hutu extremists. "Rwanda's civil war saw 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by the Hutus," a G2 headline proclaimed over a report by Chris McGreal.48 This is not based on serious evidence and is incompatible with the fact that Kagame's RPF quickly overpowered their Hutu rivals, were soon killing 10,000 Hutu civilians a month to clear the ground for Tutsi resettlement,49 and drove a huge mass of Hutu refugees into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where many more were killed in the years ahead. Christian Davenport's and Allan Stam's research found that a "majority of the victims of 1994" were in fact Hutu,50 and census and survivor data also point to majority Hutu deaths.51

The sources cited are internal U.S. Stat Department documents, a team of professors (Stam and Davenport), and UN ivestigative studies on the Congo. It would seem to me that either these facts/claims/arguments are true or false.

3. The ICTR, a product of NATO refuses to prosecute Kagame or the RPF for it's crimes:

Quote:
In standard accounts, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is taken as a genuine judicial enterprise, not as the instrument of victor's justice and guarantor of RPF immunity that it was and remains. This parallels the establishment treatment of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, both tribunals creations of NATO and closely reflecting its biases and political demands. The ICTR's huge bias has been displayed, first, in the fact that no Tutsi has ever been indicted by it, although vast crimes have been committed by the RPF from 1990 onward.43 In one notable incident, the former ICTR prosecution expert Filip Reyntjens resigned his post in open protest at this unjustified bias and impunity. "It is precisely because the [RPF] regime in Kigali has been given a sense of impunity that, during the years following 1994, it has committed massive internationally recognized crimes in both Rwanda and the DRC," Reyntjens wrote in his letter of resignation.44 Another dramatic illustration of the ICTR bias and role was chief prosecutor Louise Arbour's refusal in 1997 to accept Hourigan's evidence on Kagame's responsibility for the shoot-down of Habyarimana's jet, and the ICTR's failure to address this event to the present. Nevertheless, the Guardian takes the ICTR as a genuine instrument of justice, with Chris McGreal providing testimony for its prosecution of Hutu defendants, just like Ed Vulliamy testified for the prosecution of Serb defendants at the Yugoslavia Tribunal.45

4. The U.S. did not stand idly by. From 1990-94 they supported Kagame:

Quote:
Kagame trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1990. When the RPF invaded Rwanda from Uganda on October 1 of that year, even wearing the uniforms of the Ugandan army, not only did the United States and Britain not protest this act of aggression, they also prevented the UN Security Council from taking any action on Rwanda until March 1993,31 following a major RPF offensive that proved its superiority over the Army of the Rwandan government, displaced one million persons, and greatly weakened the Habyarimana government. Through the start of April 1994, it was crucial to what would become the establishment narrative of the "Rwandan genocide" that the RPF's aggression and occupation of the northern part of the country, its rapid increase in troop and weapons strength,32 its political penetration of the Rwandan state under Western-imposed power-sharing agreements, its military offensives, and its massacres and large-scale ethnic cleansing of the Hutu population, all be kept as quiet as possible, and that reporting feature instead Hutu perfidy and Tutsi victimhood. The Guardian (along with the rest of the establishment U.S. and U.K. media) met this challenge.33

And through the Genocide period, they state that:

Quote:
these governments never just stood idly by. Instead, they actively stood by Kagame, shielding his 1990 aggression from international action, vastly expanding his RPF into the armed forces that overthrew the Habyarimana government and conquered the Rwandan state, and preventing the ICTR from bringing any indictments against Kagame's RPF, even firing ICTR chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte in 2003 to terminate her "Special Investigations" of the RPF.46 The United States even used the Security Council to reduce UN forces in Rwanda as the killings escalated in April 1994, in accord with Kagame's desire for unimpeded war-making and his plans for conquest.

All of those quotes are from MRZINE link from earlier where the sources can be investigated.

To me this makes up the bulk of the claims/facts argued by Herman and Peterson, which for me require further investigation, but definitely make me suspicious of the dominant narrative.

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Jan 6 2014 10:59
Soapy wrote:
Ocelot, what Herman and Peterson call the "Hutu conspiracy model" is the standard line on Rwanda. This is indisputable. I'm actually reading a British government report right now which reads, "On 6 April 1994, Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana and the president of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, were killed when Habyarimana's aeroplane was shot down near Kigali airport. Extremists, opposed to the Arusha Accord, were believed to be responsible." The book I read earlier by Andrew Wallis is exactly the same.

Did you even read my post at all? The "Hutu conspiracy model" DOES NOT refer to the question of who down Habyarimana's plane. This is made clear by the assertion by Herman/Peterson that Des Forges is (was) a leading proponent of it. Whereas, as I have already demonstrated in my post - and can be verified independently by yourself or any other interested party - Des Forges makes no assertion about the assassination, other than (at the time she was writing, 1999, and up to the time of her death in 2009) that the author was unknown and the matter had not been sufficiently investigated. Although she had reservations about the Bruguière report, she called for proper investigation of the plane crash* because she thought it had major significance in relation to the political and moral responsibility for the genocide (for e.g. if the RPF was the author of the assassination, this would seriously dent their use of the genocide to claim legitimacy for their dictatorial regime). She also denounced the ICTR for failing to investigate war crimes committed by the RPF and being transparently "victors justice". Prior to her death in 2009 she was denounced as persona non grata by Kagame and the RPF (incidentally, another smear by the denialists is that all their opponents are RPF stooges - another lie).

As I made clear in my post that you are supposedly responding to, what makes Des Forges a leading proponent of the "Hutu conspiracy model" according to Herman/Peterson, is that she asserts that regardless of who committed the assassination, that the genocide which followed was the execution of a previously prepared plan to exterminate the Tutsi of Rwanda. Specifically, that a plan to exterminate all the Tutsi of Rwanda was prepared (both ideologically and organisationally by the Akazu/Zero Network) and the attempt to execute it was carried out in a systematic and organised manner. THIS is the "conspiracy model" that Herman/Peterson are referring to - as in fact they make perfectly clear in the third quote I referenced above. In other words, the "Hutu conspiracy model" IS the existence of the conspiracy to commit genocide. You cannot both complain that I am for accusing Herman/Peterson for being genocide deniers and then turn around and say they are "only" attacking the "Hutu conspiracy model" when by that is meant precisely the fact of the genocide itself.

Soapy wrote:
A 2000 Organization of African Unity is also critical of the idea that there was a "diabolical master plan" of Hutu to massacre Tutsi. http://www.africa-union.org/Official_documents/report/Report_rowanda_gen...

*ahem* that is some very selective quoting. Let's see the complete paragraph you are quoting from:

Quote:
7.4. What we do know, however, is that from October 1, 1990, Rwanda endured three and
a half years of violent anti-Tutsi incidents, each of which in retrospect can easily be
interpreted as a deliberate step in a vast conspiracy culminating in the shooting down of the
President Habyarimana’s plane on April 6, 1994, and the subsequent unleashing of the
genocide. But all such interpretations remain speculative. No one yet knows who shot down
the plane, nor can it be demonstrated that the countless manifestations of anti-Tutsi sentiment
in these years were part of a diabolical master plan. It seems to us from the evidence most
probable that the idea of genocide emerged only gradually, possibly in late 1993 and
accelerating in determination and urgency into 1994.

A couple of paras earlier, they also said:

Quote:
7.2. But that does not mean that planning the genocide was initiated at that moment. It is
important to understand that there is for the Rwandan genocide no “smoking gun.” So far as is
known, there is no document, no minutes of a meeting, nor any other evidence that pinpoints
a precise moment when certain individuals decided on a master plan to wipe out the Tutsi. As
we have already seen, both physical and rhetorical violence against the Tutsi as a people
indeed began immediately after October 1, 1990, and continued to escalate until the genocide
actually started in April 1994. Without question this campaign was organized and promoted,
and at some stage in this period these anti-Tutsi activities turned into a strategy for genocide.

But that exact point has never been established.

Soapy wrote:
Also you never bothered to respond to the other point made earlier about the fact that there were only ~600,000 Tutsi living in Rwanda in 1994, and yet 1 million Tutsi and "moderate Hutu" are reported to have died during the genocide.

Not true. See my comment #31.

As noted in all the sources, all 3 numbers (Rwandan Tutsi prior to 1994, Total numbers of Rwandans killed in 1994, number of Tutsi survivors post 1994) are in question. For example the figures for total Rwandans killed in 1994 range from 500,000, to 800,000 or 1 million. But again, genocide is the fact of conspiracy, organisation and intent, not a matter of casualty statistics - it is a question of quality, not quantity.

Soapy wrote:
All I want to do is to say that I am not convinced of either position on the genocide. I don't really have an opinion right now, I just want the freedom to research this without being called a "genocide denier" or "conspiraloon" for questioning the official story.

As I said above. Herman/Peterson's use of the "Hutu conspiracy model" to smear the genocide as a US-contrived media fabrication is an explicit denial of the genocide. Do not complain about me calling a spade a spade.

* see [url=http://archive.wikiwix.com/cache/?url=http://www.hirondelle.org/arusha.n...'attentat%20contre%20Habyarimana%20(Des%20Forges)%C2%A0%C2%BB]Archive of 2007 Press report of Des Forges evidence in front of ICTR[/url] - NB in 2007 she even goes so far as to claim that it was "probable" that the RPF had committed the assassination. Of course she did not live to see the Trévidic report of 2012.

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Jan 6 2014 17:35

OK, I'm going to try to respond to Pennoid's post without too much repetition (hopefully) re what I already noted in the reply to Soapy above.

Pennoid wrote:
You leave this out from the Des Forges Book:

Quote:
Some in Habyarimana’s own circle might have wanted to eliminate him to avoid the installation of a new government that would diminish their power. The CDR and even MRND leaders had criticized Habyarimana for talking with Museveni in early March and some feared that he would return from Dar es Salaam ready to implement the Accords. Enoch Ruhigira, Habyarimana’s chief of staff,says that the president had, in fact, made such a decision and had told him to bring an announcement to that effect to the airport when he came to welcome him home.10 The expectation that the new government was about to be installed would have increased pressure on Hutu Power advocates to launch the violence immediately, whether fully prepared or not. Once the new authorities were in place, the RPF would take over the Ministry of the Interior and Communal Development and the MRND would lose control of the administrative structure so helpful in mobilizing the population. Some of the Hutu Power group, including Bagosora himself, would lose their posts and would have no more authority to give orders.

Wherein she recounts what Herman and Peterson argue are a set of falsehoods that hew to the party line. While you're correct that Des Forges doesn't give a clear line of support to either hypothesis, she does present the one that Herman and Peterson argue against, alongside those you mention.

This is a selective quote from the section where Des Forges goes through the potential motivations for each potential assassin - RPF, "Moderate Hutus" & Akazu/Zero Network - in turn. However you state that the items referred to by her in this section are "a set of falsehoods" - What exactly are the falsehoods here? Do you question that a deal to move to power-sharing was done in Arusha and that Habyarimana was bringing it back to Kigali? Or do you question that that deal included giving the Ministry of Interior and Communal Development to the RPF in the new power-sharing coalition? What exactly do you take issue with (the Herman/Peterson MR article does not say).

Pennoid wrote:
Furhtermore, Allison Des Forges does support the model of the genocide as being carried out by a Hutu conspiracy, correct? That is their claim and I think it is rather backed up by fact.

Absolutely. Everybody except for the hardcore genocide denialists accept the evidence that at some stage between 1992 and 1994, the genocidal rhetoric coming out of RTLM and Akazu-linked intellectuals (see 1992 speech by quoted in Melvern's "A People Betrayed", chapter on the Akazu) was transformed into a plan for extermination. The conspiracy is the genocide, as I explained already in response to Soapy above, and in several previous comments, which you appear to have not read (or not understood - can't tell which).

Pennoid wrote:
Indeed as you point out, to Des Forges the kinds of motivations and context surrounding the Assassination of Rwanda's President, are irrelevant to the genocide! Some materialist historian they are!

The assassination was only the trigger for the genocide. If the genocide had not already been prepared (formation of the Zero Network, establishment of the Abakiga network in the Presidential Guard, the para-commandoes and CRAP, the preparation of lists of political opponents for immediate execution - see execution of the Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana for e.g. - the training of the Interahamwe & Impuzamugambe militias and their arming with machetes - usefless for military defence against RPF forces, NB, etc, etc) there would have been nothing to trigger. So yes, the indentity of Habyarimana's assassins is not relevant to the historical reality of the genocide itself. Denying there was a conspiracy to commit genocide is - as I keep repeating for the benefit of the apparently very dense - is to deny the genocide itself. Not to mention to remain in unblemished ignorance of all the evidence attested to by all the historical sources (Herman & Peterson excepted).

Pennoid wrote:
Herman and Peterson claim that she is the most important advocate of the interpretation of events that paints the atrocities as a Genocide carried out by Hutu leaders.

Well technically it wasn't a generic "Hutu" conspiracy - the label is actually racist considering the conspiracy itself was dominated by Northern Hutus and was opposed by many of the Southern Hutus, including those in different political parties opposed to the corrupt (and economically disastrous) rule of the Akazu. Also there have been other more recent historical accounts that include information that has come to light since Des Forges' 1999 work, so she's hardly the last word on the matter, or even the "most important advocate" these days (just as well, given she was already 2 years dead at the time Herman & Peterson wrote that article in MR.

More ominously, using "atrocities" instead of "genocide" is itself calling into question the genocide.

Pennoid wrote:
Key Facts/Claims of Herman and Peterson:

1. Habyarimana was likely assassinated by the RPF.

As discussed, irrelevant. Note also that Alison Des Forges gave evidence to the ICTR in 2007 stating that she believed that is was "probable" that the RPF had assassinated Habyarimana. But this does not affect her work in documenting the genocide - or the "Hutu conspiracy model" as Herman & Peterson put it.

Pennoid wrote:
This is buttressed by court testimony and Michael Hourigan. Also noted is how quickly RPF troops began to seize on the oppurtunnity, with even Des Forges noting that locals claim observing something similar. Sure Des Forges isn't a hard and fast supporter of this part of the narrative but she claims it is irrelevant. It is obviously not. They do claim that she conceded that a coalition government was unlikely to have been able to plan and carry out the genocide:

I already answered this particular piece of (dishonest) slight of hand in comment #30 and, once more in comment #41. This is a blatent red herring in that no one, absolutely no one, proposes that the genocide was planned by the coalition government. In fact the non-MRND members of the coalition were the first to be murdered on the night of the 6th through to the morning of the 7th April, including Agathe Uwilingiyimani and 3 other ministers.

Then you repeat the same quote, yet again, Herman & Peterson:

Pennoid wrote:
Quote:
Apart from the compelling direct evidence that the shoot-down was Kagame's handiwork, there are also the facts that Kagame's RPF mobilized its troops within two hours of the event, [...]

NB there is no reference given for that "RPF mobilized it's troops within two hours" claim. The RPF unit stationed in Kigali in the CRD did not start to tear down the fences to break out into the city until 4:15pm the next day (7th April) and Kagame's forces in the North did not actually get moving until 8th April according to Melvern's account in her 2006 "Conspiracy to Murder". I would be interested in sources for this two hours claim. I would also like to know what the "compelling direct evidence" of the RPF role in the assassination is, other than the Bruguière report, which is neither direct nor compelling, as I previously pointed out in comment #30 above.

Pennoid wrote:
[..] and that it was this final RPF offensive that enabled Kagame's forces to quickly conquer Rwanda, [...]

I don't think over 3 months counts as "quickly conquer". That's the kind of sloppiness that just tells me that Herman & Peterson are relying on basic ignorance of the facts in their target audience.

Pennoid wrote:
2. Number of deaths. Herman and Peterson claim/argue that the number of supposed deaths from the genocide could not be nearly as high as those being claimed based on census data from 1991, and other reports. This is the crux of their argument against the dominant narrative it seems would be what one attacks in trying to refute them or demonstrate their ignorance/insanity-as-genocide-deniers.

How can it be the crux of their argument? You've already quoted them as saying that it's the idea that the genocide was carried out by a "Hutu [sic] conspiracy" that is the crux of their argument. You're just not making any sense here.

This "numbers game" is one of the oldest tricks in the negationnist toolbox. One of the oldest original holocaust denial texts is entitled "Did Six Million Really Die" and attempts to deny the holocaust based on this game of creating uncertainty around bodycount statistics.

The point, as I've already mentioned repeatedly, is that numbers do not a genocide make. In 1941 the Third Reich initiated Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR, which was to lead to the deaths of over 20 million Russian and Soviet citizens. Behind the advancing lines they sent the Sonderkommando to carry out an entirely different operation, one which lead on to Operation Reinhardt, formally starting in 1942. Operation Barbarossa may have killed over 20 million and Operation Reinhardt (and the rest of the holocaust) only 6 million Jews, Gypsies and others, but that doesn't change the fact that Reinhardt was an act of genocide, whereas Barbarossa, for all its staggering loss of life, was not. Quality is not quantity.

Pennoid wrote:
3. The ICTR, a product of NATO refuses to prosecute Kagame or the RPF for it's crimes:

Yes. As denounced by Alison Des Forges, amongst others. So the ICTR is victor's justice? What's that got to do with whether the 1994 genocide happened or not? Answer - absolutely nothing.

Pennoid wrote:
4. The U.S. did not stand idly by.

Actually the US in the UN prevented any talk of "genocide" in relation to what was happening in Rwanda after April 6th for over three weeks - the deadliest phase of the genocide. They also refused to countenance any of Dallaire or the Belgians' pleas for more troops and materiél on cost grounds. As documented in most of the sources.

Again let me repeat my utter disgust at the American-centric view of the world that considers US intervention as the only one of any significance when, in the case of Rwanda, it's perfectly clear that the French state had by far the biggest intervention in the genocide. To continually make the role of France disappear, as Herman & Peterson and the other negationnists do, simply shows the extent to which their entire historical revisionism is in the service of a narrow ideological agenda, rather than any genuine concern for the historical truth.

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Jan 6 2014 18:22

Interesting thread, sorry I haven't had time to read through it all but just thought I would point out we have a history of it here:
http://libcom.org/history/1990-1994-the-genocide-and-war-in-rwanda

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Jan 6 2014 23:39

Real Quick: I'm going to stop trying to piece together a defense of Herman et. al. and probably work out a write up to put on a blog here or somewhere else based on further research.

I've uploaded Herman and Peterson's book though so whoever wants to check out their criticisms from the horses' mouths!
http://libcom.org/library/politics-genocide-edward-herman-david-peterson-foreward-noam-chomsky

Solid!

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Jan 7 2014 18:47

I don't think that the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda and the primary role of French imperialism in promoting it can be underestimated. The context of this slaughter and the French role in it was the imperialist push of the United States and Britain in the post-eastern bloc collapse and capitalism's "New World Order", ie the role of the US in trying to keep its bloc under control in the face of its former enemy's economic and military implosion. Examples of this by no means smoothly coordinated military push by US imperialism in the face of the weakening of the Nato bloc was the Iraq war of 1992, the "humanitarian" intervention in ex-Yugoslavia in 1992 and various manoeuvres on the African continent which included developments of American and British "influence". which themselves included US training of the Tutsi militias of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

France, which was presenting itself to the world at the time as the pacifist and thoughtful alternative to the aggressive warlike Anglo duo, had already been training its Hutu killers for a number of years (Patrick de Saint Exupery, a journalist for "Figaro" and author of "L'inouvable: la France au Rwanda" - see "Le Monde Diplomatique", March 2004). Rwanda was part of a geo-strategic game between the US, Britain and France within imperialism's "new world order"(Tony Blair went on to use the 1994 Rwandan war to promote the "benign" Anglo-US intervention against Saddam's Iraq in 2003).

The "secure humanitarian zone" created by the French in the west of Rwanda at the time became the lair of all the extremist groups and representatives of the Hutu governing apparatus ("Le Monde Diplomatique", March 2004). This became part of the slaughterhouse and the French allowed the genocide a free hand as they refused to draw in the Hutu militias and even promoted them. Imperialism bears the responsibility but French imperialism was the major factor behind this slaughter.

Exact numbers killed and legal definitions of a genocide can be a source of confusion and avoidance of the real underlying issues. Numbers seem pointless when the only difference between a Hutu and a Tutsi is the ID card that they happen to be carrying or not. So called ethnic divisions are often just a cover for imperialist slaughter and also provide a western-backed alibi that is racially suggestive that these "ethnicities" are only warring savages and need the civilising forces of the west. But as we saw in Rwanda - and we constantly see elsewhere - these "civilising" forces are the most brutal and depraved and actively play up or create these "ethnic" divisions. You can see it today with South Sudan, capitalism's newest nation that has immediately imploded into a heap of warfare and decomposition. It's "ethnic" the western press tell us - yet of the 70 groups that lived more or less peacefully in the region together there is no word for "tribe". This was and is an imperialist construct in a country set up by Britain around a century ago in order to confront French, German and Italian interests in the region and recently involving France, Britain and the US again confronting each other with the tinsel of Hollywood and the Church of England also put to imperialist use. And all this over what was called "the first genocide of the 21st century" and the slaughter of up to 400,000 (according to NGO's) in Darfur ("Jeune Afrique", 1-14/4/2007). And this time in Sudan, apart from the usual suspects, China, which is becoming militarily adventurous on the continent, is also involved.

Just as there's a denial from some quarters over the murderous role of France in the Rwandan slaughter, there was a denial from some quarters of the British political apparatus over the role of Serbs in setting up concentration camps and undertaking massacres in the war of the 90's. Although this came from a Stalinist wing of the British bourgeoisie (as I remember it), it perfectly suited the mainstream British ruling class who, then and now, backed Serbia as a vital cornerstone against the expansion of unified German imperialism.

Personally, from what I've read of him, I wouldn't give a whit of proletarian credibility to Chomsky who seems to support one expression of imperialism against another - sometimes the stronger imperialism sometimes the weaker.

I also think that it is important to put the murderous crimes of Stalinism alongside those of fascism rather than oppose one against the other in some sort of political game over body counts. It's important to do this in order to show that Nazi Germany was not some sort of evil aberration from capitalism but an expression of it, with its own specificities at a particular time - as was Stalinism. And I think that it's further important, against those that support the "lesser evil", to clearly state that the murderous crimes of democracy dwarf those of Nazism and Stalinism put together and continue to do so to this day.

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Jan 7 2014 20:37

Appeals to "proletarian cred" and real anarchist are the kind of utter bullshit that claims of a priori geonide denialist or communist are based on. How can we trust Chomsky? He doesn't work construction.

Never mind that a central feature of proletarian experience is the systematic mystification of social relations, happenings, and processes. Chomsky and Herman have done a lot to document these occurences in the us, with meticulous detail, as regards mass media portrayal of us foreign policy. But you know, macho antifascism and other nonsense. They don't punch cops, fuck em.

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Jan 7 2014 20:49

Ok, so, things need to be cleared up. Nobody has made any argument on here so far that Herman is necessarily correct, I only just had a chance today to finally go to the library and check out his book. He simply has some interesting points and nobody should be bullied into ignoring him. Secondly, this has all gotten blown way out of proportion. The point of writing about this stuff is to show the level of depravity that lies behind the claims of our morally righteous leaders. Writing on this topic should be honest, not only in its substance, but also its intentions. The intent is not to prove a fellow anarchist wrong, but is to attack the people that are destroying humanity. It is to create situations that show the hollow reality that lies behind the liberal myth. Let's stop this arguing, it's useless. If one of us produces a text that does in fact "relativise" or "deny" the Rwandan Genocide, then we can continue this discussion. Until then, let's stop arguing and instead focus on creating situations.

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Jan 7 2014 22:50
Pennoid wrote:
Appeals to "proletarian cred" and real anarchist are the kind of utter bullshit that claims of a priori geonide denialist or communist are based on. How can we trust Chomsky? He doesn't work construction.

Never mind that a central feature of proletarian experience is the systematic mystification of social relations, happenings, and processes. Chomsky and Herman have done a lot to document these occurences in the us, with meticulous detail, as regards mass media portrayal of us foreign policy. But you know, macho antifascism and other nonsense. They don't punch cops, fuck em.

Baboon didn't at any point criticize Chomsky on the basis of Chomsky not fitting into some crude workerist conception of the proletariat or for not engaging in street combat. I don't see anything in his post that even vaguely implied that, and the reference to "macho antifascism" is specially strange since baboon explicitly criticized the less evilism characteristic of ideological antifascism. The dismissal of Chomsky's "proletarian credibility" was entirely based on Chomsky's relatively favorable attitude toward certain bourgeois factions e.g. Castro's government, North Vietnam back in the 60s, more recently Chavez and Hezbollah. While Chomsky's fallen well short of total uncritical praise of any of these groups, I don't think there's any question that he treats them quite differently than the Western bloc.

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Jan 8 2014 06:52

Edit: Perhaps arguments over Chomsky's own supposed political naivete regarding foreign leaders could be split to another thread (surely it's millionth incarnation). It has no bearing on factual claims relevant to this particular discussion for the same reasons that, as Ocelot invoked, Chomsky isn't a "consistent" anarchist, whatever that is supposed to mean, has no relevant bearing on the facts of the situation.

Here is a text by a canadian journalist Robin Philpot who gleefully drinks putrid bath water: 1994: Colonialism Dies Hard

He has also just released another book on the topic which Herman reviews here: Rwanda and The Scramble for Africa

DOUBLE EDIT: The second link is herman's review of the recently published "enriched" english edition of the book contained in the first link. Originally in French.

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Jan 13 2014 21:38

Quite a good discussion above I think for what it's worth but it wouldn't hurt to have a brief look at the subsequent and current role of France in Africa given the postions above. There's another thread on here called something like "is Africa destined to be always poor?". I don't think that's the best way to look at it and I would rather say that Africa is a battleground of imperialist rivalries that brings with it even greater swathes of chaos and decomposition.

When he was elected, French President Hollande said: "With me as President, it's the end of Francafrique" - that was never likely as the French socialists, just like the British Labour Party, have over the last century proved themselves avid defenders of the national interest abroad, ie, imperialism. Just over a year ago, France launched another war in favour of peace, with "Operation Serval" and its intervention in Mali and throughout the Sahel. British Prime Minister Cameron offered planes and logistic support but French action here tended, again, to come up against US zones of interest. In the meantime Hollande has pronounced "victory over the terrorist groups" but, aside from the fact that the jihadi terrorists and other warlords are still plying their murderous trades, this wasn't a war of France against the "bad guys" but a war in defence of French imperialism.

Now there's the war in the Central African Republic (CAR) where France is once again involved under Hollande's lies about "separating belligerents" and preventing massacres and the like. It's a situation that the US State Department has pointedly called "pre-genocidal". The French defence minister has admitted that since his army's intervention "the spiral of confrontation has been brutally aggrravated" and this can be seen from the odd news clip (though the media are much more interested in Hollande the lover). Rather than an end to "Francafrique", a process of the withdrawal undertaken by Jospin's government and speeded up by Sarkozy, the latest French White Paper on defence not only reverses this decision but talks of new implantations in Africa against "the threat of terrorism".

France has acted to get rid of its ex-protege in the CAR who according to some reports was comiing too close to China and serving its imperialist interests in the region. France has used not only its own troops but various armed gangs to achieve these ends including the bloody bands of the so-called "Seleka" and, once again, groups that previously lived peacefully together are, under the whip of French imperialism, at each other throats.

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Jan 13 2014 21:42

More detail on the role of France here: http://fr.internationalism.org/icconline/201312/8801/mali-centrafrique-d...

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Jan 25 2014 16:58

And a short, recent piece from the horse's mouth on how France is intending to contribute further to "a Libyan chaos": http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/01/25/347641/we-have-to-go-beyond-mali...

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Jan 29 2014 16:18

Documentary about Kagame's role since and during the 90-94 period.

http://www.strikingly.com/rwandagambit