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Rwanda is no excuse for the U.S. to intervene in Sudan

July 2, 2011

by Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News, broadcast July 1, 2011


The Rwandan Army band plays as Rwandan soldiers board a U.S. military jet bound for Sudan. Photo: AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command
Was the U.S. a bystander to the Rwanda Genocide? Professors Peter Erlinder and Edward Herman both say no.

Transcript

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest: Turning now to news from Eastern Africa, fighting continued today on the border of what is slated to become two separate nations, North and South Sudan, two weeks from now. Precise borders, the division of oil revenues between north and south, and citizenship issues still remain unresolved.

Stop genocide campaigners at the Enough Project, the New Republic, the New York Times and other institutions have been calling for U.S. intervention or at least for providing aerial bombing capability to the government of the new country of Southern Sudan to counter what they describe as aggression from the northern government of President Omar Al-Bashir.

The Palestine Telegraph reported, however, that the South’s army triggered the North’s occupation of the Abyei region by attacking northern troops. The U.S. introduced a United Nations resolution to deploy U.N. troops to the disputed, oil rich Abyei region to legitimize the dispatch of 4,200 Ethiopian soldiers already on their way.

The interventionists argue that the U.S. can’t be bystanders to what could become another Rwanda and must become instead “upstanders” preventing genocide. Many scholars of the Rwandan Genocide, however, have published evidence that the U.S. was no bystander to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

These are the approximate but still disputed borders of what will become North and South Sudan on July 9, 2011.
KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to several of those scholars.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Those who argue that the U.S. was no bystander to the Rwanda Genocide offer evidence that the U.S., to the contrary, backed Gen. Paul Kagame’s invasion of Rwanda from Uganda and that hundreds of thousands of Hutus as well as Tutsis died in the genocidal massacres that ensued.

Ed Herman is professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and co-author, with Noam Chomsky of “Manufacturing Consent” and with independent researcher and writer David Peterson, of “The Politics of Genocide.”

Professor Herman, was the United States a bystander to the Rwanda Genocide?

Ed Herman: The United States didn’t stand by. It supported Kagame all the way and prevented intervention – actively prevented intervention by the U.N. So the establishment narrative here is completely off the wall. The United States did not stand by.

KPFA: Peter Erlinder is a William Mitchell Law School professor, former National Lawyers Guild president and international criminal defense attorney.

Professor Peter Erlinder, was the U.S. a bystander to the Rwanda Genocide?

Peter Erlinder: Well, the evidence from the files of the U.S. government and from the United Nations would suggest otherwise. These are files that have been hidden for the last 15 years. And they show that the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), the government and military that are now in place, went from being a military force of about 2,500 to 3,000 troops to being a military of between 25,000 and 30,000 well-trained, well-armed troops in a period of two years.

Rwanda Genocide, 1994
And that could only happen through the support that came from the U.S. and U.K. through Uganda, which is where the invasion and the military takeover of Rwanda was organized and supported. Then of course there was the ongoing cover-up of the RPF crimes and the RPF initiation of the military assault to take power, all of which is outlined in U.S. government files that are on the website www.RwandaDocumentsProject.net. That evidence is all in the public record.

KPFA: Professors Erlinder and Herman both said that the U.S. should NOT intervene in Sudan, and Professor Herman said that the U.S. has no moral authority to intervene anywhere for any reason:

Ed Herman: I think this is a complete outrage. We have no business intervening anywhere. We have such dirty hands. We’re intervening all over the world now. We’re the great aggressor nation of the world, and we’re using NATO as our agent. Why can’t we just leave people alone?

The Sudanese can settle their own affairs. They don’t need us. And, if we take Rwanda and the Congo as an illustration, the United States intervention there has involved the death of millions of people. And now, with Rwanda, we have a minority dictatorship again. So the whole effect of the U.S. intervention there, not just standing by, but interventions, has been the death of millions.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com.


41 thoughts on “Rwanda is no excuse for the U.S. to intervene in Sudan

    1. Ann_Garrison

      An ICTR defense lawyer, Jwani Mwaikusa, who had had notable success defending his client, was gunned down in t the streets of Dar Es Salaam on July 15th, and there are still no signs of any investigation. That says a great deal about the ICTR.

      Reply
      1. Andrew E. Mathis

        It isn't the ICTR's responsibility to prosecute crimes committed in other states, even if they are committed by Rwandan government agents, which is undoubtedly the case here. Rather, the ICTR has a very narrow mandate to cover crimes against humanity committed in the spring and summer of '94.This is why the great majority of "mitigating evidence" that Erlinder attempted to enter in defense of his client (who was found guilty of committing genocide — do I need to tell you that, Ann?) was ruled irrelevant by the tribunal.

        Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Please consider responding, disputing if you will, what is actually said here. Otherwise we are all just talking at walls:

      "Well, the evidence from the files of the U.S. government and from the United Nations would suggest otherwise. These are files that have been hidden for the last 15 years. And they show that the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), the government and military that are now in place, went from being a military force of about 2,500 to 3,000 troops to being a military of between 25,000 and 30,000 well-trained, well-armed troops in a period of two years. And they show that the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front), the government and military that are now in place, went from being a military force of about 2,500 to 3,000 troops to being a military of between 25,000 and 30,000 well-trained, well-armed troops in a period of two years. And that could only happen through the support that came from the U.S. and U.K. through Uganda, which is where the invasion and the military takeover of Rwanda was organized and supported." -Peter Erlinder (Above.)

      Reply
        1. Ann_Garrison

          Can you cite what's in the files, Andrew? If you want to accuse someone of lying, you should cite specific statements, rather than attacking someone's character. That is an ad hominem argument, a.k.a., a logical fallacy.

          Reply
  1. LauraVenda

    What minority dictatorship??! Honestly, I am sick and tired of people who do not live in Rwanda, do not know the Rwandan people (Im talking bout talking to people all around – not just those who are in opposition to Government, every Gov has opposition, no duh they will say things against them).

    Anyway, from a Rwandan living in Rwanda, I can only tell you this – get your facts straight and stop causing drama for a country that has worked so hard to get rid of exactly the kind of disarray, divisionism and fear these kinds of articles seem to want to fuel.

    You may be doin it cause thats what youve heard from Im not sure who. But yea, get it together and come visit the place. Make a proper judgment then.

    peace.

    Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Professor Peter Erlinder did come and visit. He got arrested and it took an international campaign, a pending U.S. House resolution, outcry from bar associations all over the world, and finally Hillary Clinton, to get him free. Kagame later said that he regretted letting Peter Erlinder go.

      Reply
  2. Claire Budd

    This is not Abyei. This is Nuba. The people are being bombed, shot dead in their own homes, arrested and tortured, abducted and shot from helicopters. This is not a fight against the south. This is al-Bashir waging genocide against his OWN people in the NORTH.

    Reply
  3. claire Budd

    The Nuba Mountains are in the NORTH. The people were subjected to a genocide during the civil war which ended with the peace agreement BROKERED BY THE US AND THE UK AND OTHERS that agreed to a degree of autonomy for South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The international community is obliged to help sort out this situation – we brokered this situation – we left the people of the Nuba Mountains in this situation. If you find it hard to stomach the idea of intervention then think for a moment about the mothers whose children are dying. Think of the fact that now is harvest time and if the harvest cannot be collected there will be starvation next year – this is a planned action, with full knowledge of ALL the consequences. Friends of ours, peaceful people, not "rebels" or "militia" were attacked in their own homes. Many have been murdered in cold blood. This is ethnic cleansing. This is happening now. Today. On our planet. If we do nothing, if we say nothing, we are complicit.

    Reply
    1. John Mulligan

      So we're to intervene in a FOURTH war for humanitarian purposes? Are you insane? Hey, mothers and children are also dying in Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, etc., etc. Should we intervene in all those places too? Are we complicit in all the world's suffering? I don't think so.

      The whole humanitarian thing gets pretty tiresome frankly. We're required to intervene in Haiti and help them after the earthquake for humanitarian reasons, then we're criticized. We're required to intervene in Libya for humanitarian reasons, then we're criticized because civilians get killed. What's really irritating is that the very people who insist on intervention, like yourself, are often the first ones to criticize when things get messy.

      Reply
    2. Ann_Garrison

      What about the ethnic cleansing in the Ethiopian Ogaden? Would you suggest intervention there, in the nation that just sent 4200 UN troops to intervene in Sudan?

      And what about Rwanda? The subject of this report/analysis is the question of whether or not the U.S. was a bystander to the Rwanda Genocide, and, the implications of the answer.

      Reply
    3. Selina

      Whenever NATO which consist of European countries and the US are being asked by nations of color ( Specifically African Nations) to SO-CALLED help out with humanitarian assistance their response to the African nation is to bring army tanks and high powerful weapons to destroy never to help

      Libya DIDN'T ask for NATO or the US help in getting rid of it's SO-CALLED dictator. The US decided they wanted to overthrow Quadafi just like all other leaders of oil/resource rich nations

      As as for Rwanda the president volunterilly decided to share his political bed with the US as well as S. Sudan, Africans just refuse to believe or accept whenever they call on anyone in the west to SO-Called assist with anytype of humanitarian AID; food, loans or protection their asking for their own extermination.

      Reply
  4. Ann Garrison

    No one here has addressed the subject of this report and the remarks of Professors Erlinder and Herman. Was the U.S. a bystander to the Rwanda Genocide? Both say no, that the U.S. was not only complicit, but actively responsible.

    Therefore, the argument that the U.S. must intervene in Sudan, that the U.S. cannot stand by as it did in Rwanda, doesn’t even make any sense. The U.S. did not stand by.

    Reply
  5. Andrew E. Mathis

    Just a couple of points that should be considered here:

    (1) Anne writes, "Those who argue that the U.S. was no bystander to the Rwanda Genocide offer evidence that the U.S., to the contrary, backed Gen. Paul Kagame’s invasion of Rwanda from Uganda and that hundreds of thousands of Hutus as well as Tutsis died in the genocidal massacres that ensued."

    Anne, I'm not going to back off from this until you stop doing it: The genocide was April to July 1994. The invasion was in 1990. And whether you like it or not, the vast majority of people murdered in that period were Tutsi being murdered by Hutu extremists with the approval of the Hutu-dominated interim government. Attempts to "contextualize" the genocide are disgusting and should be cited as such.

    (2) While Kagame was in Kansas at the time of the invasion and certainly U.S. funding probably came his way at that point, it would be inaccurate to suppose that the U.S. was consistently backing him over this period. Why? Because the U.S.'s major recipient of funding during that period was Mobutu in Zaire, who had been on the U.S. payroll for decades, as well as UNITA, who were fighting alongside Mobutu's army.

    In short, the U.S. role in all this is far from as cut and dry as Erlinder & Herman would like you to believe.

    Reply
    1. Ann_Garrison

      Professors Erlinder and Herman have never called it cut and dried, but the only other thing I have to say to this Andrew, is that progressive Jewish people, those who don't want to see the history of the Jewish genocide by the Nazis dishonored by Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people, are among those with the most reason, and power, to speak out against the way their history is also dishonored by its false equation with the Rwanda Genocide, and its use as a justification for Kagame's ongoing aggression, and for intervention in, e.g., Sudan.

      Rwanda Genocide survivor Aimable Mugara's piece is among the best about this: "Rwanda Circa 1994 Is No Nazi Germany," http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rwanda-circa-199….

      Reply
      1. jean p mukanya

        Ann Get a life. You are just a loser that has no clue of what goes on in africa and you are trying to be an expert. You are on the wrong side of history woman. You can either chose the right side or just keep spreading the hate. I wonder how you sleep at night knowing that everything you say about africa is lies, the blood that was shed and the one that might be shed due to the voilence you are trying to instigate, will come back to hunt you.
        I am congeles and i love my country in only believe we will be the one to solve our problem, not that silly woman in california. How can rwanda be better than us and yet we have more resources. Our people a good at talking and less action.

        Reply
        1. Ann_Garrison

          @jean p mukanya: A string of insults like this hardly deserves a response. . . am I supposed to shout back "you stupid loser, you illogical, incoherent hater, blah blah blah". . . Waste of time. However, I do have a moral obligation to speak to my own country's catastrophic interventions in Africa, as Professors Peter Erlinder and Ed Herman have.

          Reply
          1. jean p mukanya

            You are looking for glory where it's not. Professor Erlinder and Herman are other losers that are in the same boat with you. If you have a problem with the USA role in africa, take it up with your country don't divide africans. You very well know you can't take it up with your country because you are a complete waste of space, so you decide to tell lies. You are just like bin laden, famous causing trouble. You realised at your old age, you had failed yourself, and wasn't going to be successful doing good, and decided to take the ugly way and rise to fame by instigating violence, in poor african countries. Shame on you. Bin laden was hiding for 10yrs but finally got cought and your judgement day will come too. Sincerely Panafrican

      2. Andrew E. Mathis

        There is no false equation, Ann, and frankly I find it insulting that my being Jewish would even be considered relevant to the discussion. Nor is the situation in the Palestinian territories one that is relevant here. What is relevant is that you have a segment among progressive being exploited by those who committed genocide — and they're too blind to see it.

        Aimable Mugara's piece amounts to little more than blaming the victim. No matter how extreme the RPF's crimes have been — and they have been very, very extreme — the genocidal mass murder of Tutsi in the spring and summer of 1994 cannot be "excused." By the way, if you want to see an analogy, then read how the Nazis described the Jews in the '30s and '40s: You'll see similarities with the way Mugara describes the Tutsi.

        Reply
          1. Andrew E. Mathis

            You've got some fuck load of nerve, Ann.

            I've looked over the evidence very, very carefully. You, OTOH, are too God-damned stupid to understand that you're a tool of the very people who committed genocide and would do it again at the least provocation. I've been told that you refuse to read scholarly articles on the topic, preferring to remain in abject ignorance about the intricacies of the topic. Instead, you swallow hook, line, and sinker any argument that is in opposition to American power, whether it's true or not. That's pitifully ignorant. While it's a good instinct to question power by whomever it's exercised, it is undermined by resting on one's "progressive" laurels to the detriment of entire nations of people — here the Tutsi.

            You're not a liar, Ann. You're a useful idiot.

          2. Ann_Garrison

            "I've been told that you refuse to read scholarly articles on the topic. . . " Andrew!!!! I'm awed by your own scholarly excellence regarding what you've "been told."

            I haven't been told anything about you. Indeed, I don't know anyone who knows you or wants to waste time talking about you.

          3. sean smith

            Andrew you can't talk sense to Ann, she's just an Idiot that has decided to remain ignorant. Whenever you challenge her, she doesn't publish your comment. She sides with genocidaires. She's just a loser being used by genocidaires. She too old to be educated. She is a messenger of hate.

    1. Ann_Garrison

      Thanks, Pandora. I'll assume that's for me; thanks much. It often seems like pushing a rock up a hill or swimming upstream, but recently several members of the KPFA Radio staff and KPFA's listener activist community have come up to me and said they're looking at this part of the world, East/Central Africa and/or Africa differently because of my reporting over the last 2 or 3 years. Every time I receive another note like this, or one more person from one more country shows up in the map of people finding my website, it encourages as well. In the last month or two, I had a big increase in website visitors from Tanzania, and my best guess was that that had to do with the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.

      Reply
  6. Marck Down

    Mrs Ann you have no ideas what Rwanda was and what is today. you are mixing things and you don’t even know how to difference a genocide and a war? What kind of journalist you are? I can just sit her in London and start talking about how Democratic are killing Republic in US but you know that is not true and I don't have fact for that but I can convince people it is happening(like you). it is the same you are doing about Rwanda.

    I have travel 2 in Rwanda doing research on Rwanda but special i was interest on political platform in Rwanda. I find that Ingabire she is trying to bringing the old school of using the ethnic as weapon for her to win election. Rwanda has ban indentified them self as Twa, Hutu or Tutsi and they told me that the will make sure no one will bringing them back where the well are 1994.

    Reply
  7. Marck Down

    Us international community we just sit and judge what is going wrong in others people’s country and think us we are good in countries. let start changing what is going wrong in countries(US and UK) before we go to Rwanda who work hard for their country when we are just sitting here in our countries. Who we are? Who are you Ann or Peter to judge others?

    We need to not ignore the true or transformer other people’s history to feel like we are heros or we are doing some thing

    Reply

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