[We kick off the International Defense Committee for ALL Political Prisoners and POWs of NATO/UN*** with one of its founding members, Chris Black’s response to Professor Jeremy Kuzmarov’s Review of Edward S. Herman and David Peterson's “The Politics of Genocide,” foreword by Noam Chomsky (Monthly Review Press, 2010). As the name of the Committee might suggest, the scope of our concerns and intentions is very—perhaps, even too broad. So we’re hoping Maitre Black’s article will help us focus on the effects of a continuing falsification of History by the forces of Fascism. This manufacture of mass lies has been trying to rid our world of all rational experiments in revolutionary socialism or communism since October 1917. It is this anti-intellectual and anti-social pathology against which the Committee seeks to defend all political prisoners of this global military occupation by Western Waste Capital.

There is hope. Recently in Moscow there was a celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over Fascism in the Great Patriotic War—known in the West as WWII. For the first time in recent memory an official contingent of US Marines marched through Red Square in solidarity with, and commemoration of, the more than 20 million Soviet lives that were given in repelling, then vanquishing, the Nazi invaders.

This recognition of the unimaginable sacrifice made by the Slavic, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian and other Soviet peoples—of all the partisans on the Eastern Front and in Europe—to guarantee (however partially or temporarily) a world free from neo-feudal enslavement to Waste Capitalist anti-Reality, was foreshadowed by the election in 2008 of Barack Obama (a face that just doesn’t look comfortable in Hugo Boss) to captain the flagship of the Fascist fleet, when he invited to his inauguration representatives of the Tuskegee airmen, those Black flyers who defied the US military’s institutional racism to play a major role in the air wars over the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, itself. Burt Lancaster would never have let us forget, in his sadly neglected ‘The Unknown War,’ that it was the Tuskegees who put the lie to the Nazi’s technological (and racial) superiority when they shot down the first two (of a half dozen) operational jet fighter/bombers (Messerschmitt 262s).

To recognize this History is only the beginning; to get it right is the goal of this Committee. For example, the USSR and then Russia have been cajoled by their Fascist interlocutors into admitting to various crimes committed under Josef Stalin’s leadership, thereby creating a sense of authoritarian equivalence between Fascism and Communism. The April-May 1940 massacre of 11,000 Polish Army officers in the Katyn forest is one of the more popular and ludicrous historical manipulations, as Stalin and Beria are credited only with the liquidation of the Polish pows (at a time when the Red Army was fleeing Eastern Poland with the Wehrmacht chomping at their heels and was forced even to abandon its own Soviet citizens to Nazi predations, why would they take time out to spend 11,000 rounds on Polish pows?), while the rest of the million+ Jewish, Ukrainian and Soviet victims are assigned to the Nazi occupation without debate. And recently, Serbia has had to ‘apologize’ or ‘express regret’ for the mass killing in 1995 Bosnia at Srebrenica—a crime (no longer seriously referred to as a genocide) that has never been established on the evidence and which has had to be stipulated to in a number of dodgy ICTY judgments. And as Chris points out so well, the inability of the ICTR over more than a decade to establish that there was any planning or intention on the part of the 1994 Rwandan state, its Army or any of its allies, to carry out any kind of mass slaughter, has become, itself, a crime against Humanity—and, especially, against that part of Humanity that remains imprisoned, persecuted and prosecuted, for this non-event.

To sample Richard Lovelace outta 1648,

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage;

But the Fascists’ falsification of History does create a very real Super-Max lock-up that deprives millions—both those who are imprisoned and those who think they are safe at home—of the freedom to pursue their rightful destinies. The false histories—be they of the Katyn massacre, the Ukrainian genocide famine of 1933, of the various post-Cold War mass-murders that called for even more murderous Humanitarian Interventions—all served one principal purpose: to take political power out of the hands of popular political leaders by judicially vilifying them as inhuman killers, while placing their sovereignties under military occupation for private commercial and financial exploitation in the service of Capitalist Wastage.

It is the Political Prisoners under this sort of confinement—deprived not only of their physical freedom, but of their own History, their own lives’ stories—who are the subjects of this Committee’s attention. For only by eventuating their freedom and advancing the liberation of their homelands, can we, ourselves, ever hope, really, to be free. –mc]

***To take part in The Committee, to join its discussions, go to:


and post a comment to the blog.

To submit articles for possible posting to The Committee’s site, send them to cirqueminime@gmail.com.


Kuzmarov Review of The Politcs of Genocide (#142972)

by Christopher Charles Black
May 24, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Professor Kuzmarov's generally positive review of this important book by Ed Herman and David Peterson is marred by a misapprehension of the facts of the history of Rwanda and the war that destroyed the country between 1990 and 1994.

He states that though Herman and Peterson's critique is thought provoking, they should "acknowledge the historical injustice faced by the Tutsi..." but fails to point out what injustice, exactly, he is referring to.

The entire history of Rwanda, from the 11th century on to the present, has been discussed and examined and analysed by expert after expert, by hundreds of witnesses to the events at the war crimes trials at the International War Crimes Tribunal For Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. It is in the transcripts of these trials, which have gone on for more than ten years, that one will find the truth, and it is this:

Before the arrival of the Europeans, first the Germans, then the Belgians, in the 1890's, Rwanda was a conglomeration of petty chiefdoms with the Tutsi minority, a cattle-raising people, ruling with an iron fist over the majority Hutu peasants. Over the first decades of the twentieth century, the Tutsis, who were adopted by the European colonisers as the comprador class to rule on their behalf, expanded their control over all the chiefdoms and replaced Hutu leaders with Tutsis. From then until 1959, when the social revolution took place, the Tutsi aristocracy held sway over the Hutu people, by then reduced to serfdom. It was required by law that Hutus work for Tutsi masters several days a week without pay, forced labor. Hutus were not allowed to go to school or to serve in the government administration, and had no political, social or economic power.

In 1959, a small group of Hutus, inspired by the liberation struggles after the second world war, issued a manifesto demanding equal right to education, to serve in the government, for elected democracy, for the abolition of serfdom, abolition of the monarchy, the right to form unions, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom from arbitrary arrest and other quite standard democratic ideals. Essentially, it was a call for social, economic and political justice after centuries of minority Tutsi oppression.

The result was a build-up of pressure in the West for democracy in Rwanda, and the Belgians supported this. Elections were held. Hutu candidates swept away the Tutsi bosses, and, for the first time, the majority of Rwandans had control of their destiny. Soon after the elections, a referendum was held on the monarchy, which was abolished by an overwhelming majority. The Tutsi aristocracy, not willing or able to accept a role less than that of overlords, responded by murdering several local mayors, civic officials and other Hutus. The Hutu government called for help, and the Belgians returned with a military force from the Congo to restore order and to pursue and arrest the Tutsis involved. However, as it was the entire Tutsi aristocracy that was involved, instead of facing arrest for murder, they fled the county, most to Uganda. From 1961 until 1973, the Tutsis who had fled staged armed raids into Rwanda, during which they wantonly slaughtered Hutus until they were captured or forced back into Uganda. The UN was called in, and many UN documents at the ICTR as well as press reports fron that time establish beyond question that it was the Tutsis who could not accept the social and democratic revolution and were to blame for the killings and all the violence.

Until 1990, there was no further interference in Rwanda from Uganda. However, the Tutsis were still there, but now as one of the main elements of the Ugandan Army of Yoweri Museveni. Museveni had been picked by the US and UK to oust Milton Obote, the socialist. Many Tutsis joined his forces, and when Museveni took power a third or more of his soldiers were Tutsis and many of them held high rank, as did Paul Kagame.

The collapse of the USSR allowed the US and UK to target two remaining socialist countries, Yugoslavia and Rwanda: Yugoslavia as it was the last strong bastion of working socialism in Europe, and Rwanda as it was a model of socialist development in Africa, even called the "Switzerland of Africa." The US was also tired of Mobutu, as he was beginning to turn towards China, and so they wanted to remove him. Rwandan President Habyarimana had been approached to allow his country to be used as a staging ground for an attack on Zaire (Congo). He refused. This, with their wish to destroy a working example of socialism in Africa, caused the US to look for other agents they could work with and found the Tutsis in Uganda still thirsting for the restoration of their hegemony in Rwanda and, even more, for Hutu blood in revenge. Museveni wanted to be rid of them as he also felt uneasy about the Tutsis in his ranks.

So, with Belgium and the UK, the US supported the invasion of Rwanda by the Ugandan Army on October 1, 1990. One thing must be understood very clearly: This was not an invasion by a Tutsi liberation group, as the RPF has claimed. The RPF was in fact the Ugandan Army operating in Rwanda under that name. All the soldiers in the RPF at that time were, aside from mercenaries, members of the Ugandan Army, carried Ugandan Army id cards, and used Ugandan army equipment, vehicles and communication facilities. The RPF was never a liberation group and was never backed by China. It was, as everyone knows, backed by the United States and Britain, along with Belgium and Canada. The RPF did at one time claim to be a marxist liberation group but that was another of their cynical ploys to sucker in the left in the West to support what was and still is a fascist organisation.

Another thing must be clearly understood: There was no justification for this surprise attack in which thousands of Hutus were slaughtered in the cruelest manner. The RPF claims that it was necessary to solve the refugee problem and that the Habyarimana regime had refused the Tutsi refugees' right of return. This is completely false, a total rewriting of documented history. Before all the judges at the ICTR are all the agreements and minutes of meetings in which the UN, the Rwandan government, the OAU, the RPF and Uganda and Tanzania had all agreed that those Tutsis who wanted to return could do so en masse. Despite what the good profesor says in his review, individual Tutsis had always had the right of return, and many had returned, and the Rwandan government encouraged this, both to reduce the outside threat and to build more harmony. Mass return had been deemed impractical as it was not understood how a small, already densely populated country could take the sudden influx of 500,000 people, when every piece of land was being used, and there were no extra jobs or housing for them. But in September, 1990, a deal was reached between Habyarimana and Museveni, to which the RPF was signatory. The next step was for the RPF to send a team to meet with the Rwandan commission set up to deal with the refugees to discuss logistics. That team was due in Kigali at the end of September. That team never arrived. Instead the RPF wing of the Ugandan Army mounted a surprise attack, thus rupturing the deal for the return of the refugees and revealing that there never was a refugee problem.*

Many witnesses have also described life for Tutsis in Rwanda before 1990. A picture of oppression does not appear; it is, rather, one of privilege. The MRND party (seen as a peoples movement rather than a political party, as such), in charge of the government and and made up of both Hutu and Tutsi members, created an affirmative action program guaranteeing the Tutsis a place in education, government, public service and the army. The RPF claims this was 'a ceiling.' But all witnesses, and I will rely on the Europeans who worked in the systems as being the least biased, confirmed that the percentage guarantees were not a ceiling but a floor, and in the universities, for example, the number of Tutsis often exceeded their 15% (maximum) portion of the population, and in many schools Tutsis exceeded 20% of the total number of students. Outside of the state-owned industries, it was the Tutsis who predominated. The Tutsis were the wealthiest group in Rwanda and controlled most import and export businesses. One has only to read the transcripts of the testimony of the Tutsi prince and son of the last king, Antoine Nyetera, who testified in the Military II trial, where he states that all the RPF claims are pure propaganda and that it was the RPF that committed most of the massacres, both before and during 1994, to see how the world has been taken in by a pretty clumsy propaganda effort by the RPF and the US and its usual allies.

The Professor dares to compare Kagame to Castro and Guevara's acting against Batista. No. You have it completely backwards. Kagame is Batista. With the help of the US et al, he overthrew a democratic, coalition government set up under the Arusha Accords to which, again, the RPF was signatory. The Professor prefers to omit from his review the crucial testimony from 2006 of Dr. Alison Des Forges, also in the Military II trial, in which she stated that there was no plan by the government of Rwanda to commit genocide, as it was impossible for a coalition government composed of Hutus and Tutsis and including the RPF and its allied parties, and in which Habyarimana had been reduced to a figurhead, with real power resting with the pro-RPF prime ministers, to conceive such a thing.

He ignores the fact that it was Habyarimana who first got rid of the one-party socialist government and rewrote the constitution in 1991 and agreed to talks with the RPF to stop the war.

The Belgian and US ambassadors, senior Belgian army officers, Tanzanian and UN diplomats all confirm that every time the Rwandan government agreed to a cease-fire, it was the RPF that violated it with more slaughter using a "fight and talk" strategy, and that it was the RPF who did not want free elections and who prepared for their final solution, their final offensive of 6 April 1994 in which they launched another surprise attack, in breach of the Accords, with the connivance of the UN and the direct military support of the US and others.

It is also clear on the evidence that most of those killed in 1994 were Hutus not Tutsis, as the RPF claims in order to justify its seizure of power. RPF officers have testified and written letters to the UN stating that the RPF killed 2 million Hutus in those 12 weeks and then claimed the victim were Tustis.

It is also established beyond doubt that the first massacre of 1994, the murder of all those on the president's plane on 6 April, was committed by the RPF, which blew it out of the sky with help from its western allies. The Professor fails to mention something he must know: that the first body to determine who shot down the plane was the prosecution service of the ICTR in 1997. Michael Hourigan, the Australian lawyer who headed the team investigating the shoot down, reported to Prosecutor Louise Arbour that it was the RPF, that he had met with three members of the shoot down team and that he had the documents to prove it. Arbour quickly called him to The Hague and ordered him off the file and demanded he burn his notes. His notes lead to the CIA. This was revealed first by the National Post newspaper in 2001 and later by other journals. Hourigan left the UN in disgust. His testimony before the tribunal is recorded. So it is not just a French or a Spanish judge who has likewise determined this to be the case. Further, the intercepted radio message of Kagame telling his troops that President Habyarimana had been killed and that the offensive could go ahead were also filed as an exhibit in several trials. Just last June, this writer filed as an exhibit a letter from Paul Kagame to a Tutsi leader in Burundi, dated August 1994, in which he speaks of the thanks he has for the Americans, Belgians and British, for the taking of Kigali and the plans they have next for Zaire and the overthrow of the Hutu regime in Burundi. I am quite willing to share that letter with anyone who wishes to see it. The testimony of the General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, chief of staff of the Rwandan National Gendarmerie, in the Military II case, that US air force C130 Hercules aircraft dropped men and supplies to the RPF after 6 April, is something else to bear in mind in this regard.

I will not get into the charge of Mssrs Herman and Peterson's being too harsh on NGOs in Rwanda. Well, no, I will--they were not too harsh on NGOs. The role of these organizations was always damaging to peace and, as with Human Rights Watch, almost coincidental with the RPF strategy and the role of the Western mass media, was shameful. A slaughter of perhaps millions, certainly hundreds of thousands, of people was covered up and made to look like its opposite: Ethnic cleansing as a war of liberation; Mass slaughter of innocents as revenge for contrived grievances.

The saddest thing for me is the studied indifference to the war crimes trials that have taken place at the ICTR, and are still taking place there, and the shattering evidence that has been revealed to the world about what really happened to Rwanda and Rwandans and what is happening to them now under the fascist RPF military junta now placed in control of the country by the US and the UK. It is as if the most important criminal and political trials of the past century (I say this with all respect to the Nuremberg process, because they were very short and issues were never examined at any length.) have never taken place. Well, they have. They are still taking place. Anyone who is ignorant of the testimony and evidence in those trials has no claim to academic authority about the war in Rwanda. Anyone who claims he has such expertise, based on old saws from ten years ago, has been sadly left behind by time and events, and, to get back in the game, must go to the trials. There lies the reality.

Christopher Black
International Criminal Lawyer
Lead Counsel, International War Crimes Tribunal For Rwanda
Toronto, Canada

*From the irony file: The fact-finding mission that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was to send to Rwanda to look into the mass repatriation of Rwandan Tutsi refugees from Uganda was to be led by Ugandan Army Chief of Staff, Major General Fred Rwigema. But, instead, on 1 October 1990, the Ugandan National Resistance Army sent an invasion force into Rwanda. That invasion was led, however briefly, by Ugandan Army Chief of Staff, Major General Fred Rwigema.