[Yesterday I received an email from friends in Germany pulling my coat to the release of the latest report on the Habyarimana/Ntaryamira assassinations that took place over Kigali, the Rwandan capital, on the evening of 6 April 1994. This report was the work of a French investigative magistrate, Marc Trévidic, who caught this case when the original anti-terrorist judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, retired.
Bruguière had become a sort of hero to some of us chumps in the Rwandan Truth movement. His report was solid gold, and it was hard to figure how some comrades, like, say, Thierry Meyssan, the first 911 whistleblower, could dump all over this investigation as being bogus and purely in service of French imperialist interests in Central Africa. Well, turns out, in geopolitics as in everything else, a hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich—and our need for them, heroes, the human kind, is one of the principal weaknesses exploited by our masters to keep us from any understanding of our geopolitical reality.
“Bush invaded Iraq based on bogus intelligence.” “Obama ordered the indefinite detention of US citizens.” “Putin chooses his own successor.” “Saddam, Khadaffy, Assad, Bashir, Milosevic, Kim Jung Il, slaughter their own people.” The geopolitical is personal. Nothing to do with mass parties, popular democracy. Nothing to do with systemic or institutional malignancy. And the personal analyses of political leaders, the pseudo-psychological evaluations of their personalities (Khadaffy is a madman, Obama a charlatan, Putin is Peter the Great, Milosevic and his wife both have bad haircuts), prejudging their intentions, their intelligence or insanity, their style, is as close as we in the West are allowed to get to real political critique.
So when Bruguière found Kagame and his cohort responsible for the murders of presidents Habyarimana and Ntaryamira, and the millions of African souls lost in the wake of this terrorist act, there was nothing heroic about it—the evidence was simply so overwhelming that even a blind squirrel could have gathered these nuts. But in 1989, when a French airliner, UTA flight 772, was blown up over the Ténéré desert, and Judge Bruguière’s investigation covered up all French and Israeli involvement in this terrorist act by laying full blame, as was done with Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, on Moammar Khdaffy’s Libya, he earned the righteous ire of all good anti-imperialists, and especially those who, like Meyssan and his Voltaire network, received a goodly part of their sustenance from Libya’s petroleum-based largesse.
So much for geopolitical villains and heroes. And no one really believed the gifts of papa Jean-Louis would be passed on to his Marc.
But still, the news from the BBC and Libé, from Le Monde and VOA, was like battery acid on my corneas. It was shameless stuff, like "Kagame Exonerated", "Extremist Hutu Assassinate Their Own President", "All In The Family"—just some deeply repugnant shit.
I didn't know what to do—what to say, to write. In a Mexican joint on Bellevue in upper Montclair I called my friend Charles Onana at 1 am in Brussels, and he just said, "C'est scandaleux." Couldn’t raise Chris Black, but I know he’d be feeling it a lot more deeply than I.
I felt pressed, repressed and depressed. A nasty feeling of déjà vu was turning my stomach—or it might’ve been that New Jersey Mexican food. I looked back at the BBC articles and could only think of all the terrorist cover-ups before and since 6 April 1994—this pre-911 911.
I remembered the year or so I spent translating the Bruguière Report, that real watershed in the Rwandan Genocide Truther movement. That broken key on the tripe-writer of frantic Golden Ass-saving investigative commissions: from the Warren Commission Report to the 911 Commission Report to the Mucyo Commission Report and the Mutsinzi Report.
But all of this was so much last season’s line. All these Commission Reports had already received multiple debunkings—more than one of them right here:
Well, you get it.
Turns out Judge Trévidic's report hasn’t even completely entered the public’s digestive tract. I mean, I think Gourevitch must still be trying to Babelfish it.
And the media are only doing what they always do: jumping to expedient and totally unfounded conclusions. Ex: Last year's Norwegian bombing and mass shooting at an island youth camp was the work of Islamic extremists, right?; popular governments in Libya and Syria are killing thousands of their own people for no good reason; the polls had barely opened when Western organizations supporting non-violent regime change (like the NYTs) discovered that . . . the Russian Duma elections—the Iranian presidential elections—the Zimbabwean national elections—the voting in Côte d'Ivoire . . . were all rigged, and the opposition candidates were declared (by extra-national agencies like the UN) to be the winners.
So, to keep from duplicating a lot of old work, we've translated this article by Hervé Cheuzeville from Brother Musabyimana's great "Site de documentation et d'informations socio-politiques sur Rwanda" of today (11/1/2012).
I hope you will find this information about the media's hysteria in trying to save its cash cow, Genocide, from even the most flaccid attempts at discovery (read 'Holocaust denial", "negationism", “anti-Semitic revisionism”) every bit as soothing as I did—which, to be honest, was not at all.
As my XXXLent comrade, the engaged and enraged Serb philosopher and artist, Duci Simonovic, whose best work is coming out right now—as Simonovic would tell the media: Yebega! Yebega! Yebeta!! (Something about fucking somebody’s mother on one side or the other of the Serb/Montenegrin border—trans)
I've always believed in Lenny Bruce: “The Truth is what is.” But in times like ours, with so much of our collective imagination spent on occulting rather than enlightening, you really have to give a second nod to one of Lenny's main dippsychos, and the founder of The Realist, Paul Krassner: “The Truth WILL make you Silly Putty.”
At least if you try to find it in the NYTs, Le Monde or on the BBC, it will.
Judge Trévidic’s Huge Burden of Responsibility
(11 January 2012)
[translated/adapted from the French by CM/P]
This morning I experienced feelings of indignation, of fear and revulsion. It seemed to me that all my efforts over several years, mine and those of others often more qualified than I, made with the intent of setting off the truth, had been wiped out by a few news flashes from last night of the highly spun results of a flaccid investigation.
As I would come to understand, it was mere publicity for the conclusions of “experts” designated by French Judge Marc Trévidic that had so crushed my buzz. Because, if I were to believe what was being so effusively disseminated by the French media, the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, their respective entourages and the French flight crew, on the fateful night of 6 April 1994, this Falcon 50 had been brought down by some “Extremist Hutu” (to recycle a piece of the now-threadbare media jargon of that day). It could not have then been shot down by agents of Paul Kagame, the strongman who came to power in the months following this event that triggered the horrific mass killings and the resumption of war in Rwanda.
These same big media along with their traditional propaganda hacks in France and Belgium “reminded” us that these conclusions contradicted a narrative considered official since 1994, that being that it was Paul Kagame’s RPF that had been behind the missile strikes on the presidents’ plane. Nothing could be further from the truth!
These conclusions actually honor the official narrative that has guided the debate over the Rwandan genocide for years. Fact is, throughout the late 90s and into the 2000s, it was this idea of an action taken by “Extremist Hutu” that was considered most credible and was repeated in the big International media. But little by little the over-sedation brought on by years of accumulated lies began to wear off. Very slowly, another possibility started to appear: that the shoot down had been pulled off by the RPF, on direct orders from Paul Kagame. True, this latter version started coming out after the work of Judge Trévidic’s predecessor, Jean-Louis Bruguière, became known. Judge Bruguière did not hesitate to issue international arrest warrants for several close associates of Paul Kagame’s, but because of the executive privilege of a sitting head-of-State, he was unable to tag Kagame, himself. The investigation initiated by Judge Bruguière caused the half-mad dictator to become totally nuts and break-off diplomatic relations with France on 24 November 2006.
The storyline in which Paul Kagame gives the order to shoot down President Habyarimana’s plane did not just come out of the Bruguière judgment. Numerous Rwandan witnesses, including those from the ranks of the RPF, have also supported it. The most recent to do so was Dr. Théogène Rudasingwa, the former Secretary General of the RPF and a Major in Kagame’s army at the time of the events. Dr. Rudasingwa fled to the U.S. and from there issued a shocking confession in October 2011. In this statement, he reveals that Kagame, himself, told him he had given the order to shoot down the plane. In a communiqué published yesterday, Dr. Rudasingwa expressed surprise that he was not contacted by Judge Trévidic, despite his full and complete availability to testify.
In order to try to see all this more clearly, it is good to go back over a number of important elements of this story.
1. According to the theory that blamed “Hutu Extremists,” President Habyarimana was assassinated because he had made too many important concessions to the Tutsi enemy in the Arusha negotiations. The Extremists, fearing the RPF would get into the transition government, decided to remove their President from power. To do that, they had to eliminate him corporeally. All the witnesses on the ground at the time acknowledge that panic and disorganization reigned over what remained of the Rwandan government in the hours immediately following Habyarimana’s death. Those who were forced to take control the next day had obviously been blindsided by the event. They were totally unprepared and without a clue what to do. Having experienced a certain number of military coups d’État, I know that such an operation cannot be improvised. It is always planned weeks or months in advance. The organizational plan for a new government has generally been prepared well before the coup actually goes down. This was not the case with Rwanda on 6 April 1994. The top of the government had been lopped off by a missile strike and the B-team found themselves out on the field without ever having prepared a playbook: a good example is Col. Théoneste Bagosora [aka “the brains of the genocide”—trans.] who was only the Cabinet Director for the Minister of Defense and not even in Kigali that day. On the other hand, the general military offensive launched by the RPF on the night of the attack was a long way from impromptu. Without having studied at any Military Academy, I know that a general offensive must be in preparation for months in advance. The logistics, especially, (fuel, munitions, means of transportation and communication) have to be in place. The coordination of different units, of different services, must be fine-tuned down to the smallest detail. And finally, the troops must be ready and must be assembled at preordained position for deployment when they are needed. The RPF’s general offensive could not have been ordered as a reaction to the death of President Habyarimana, but it certainly was prepped in expectation of his death.
2. Elements of the RPF had been in Kigali for months in compliance with the peace terms of the 4 August 1993 Arusha Accords. They were stationed at the CND, the Rwandan Parliament, and convoys escorted by UN forces allowed them to come and go between the territory they occupied in the North, around Mulindi, and the capital, Kigali. So it is not inconceivable that the RPF troops, probably dressed up in uniforms of the government FAR soldiers, had been able to get near enough to the airport to fire missiles on the plane as it was on its final approach to land.
3. The missiles: it has been established that these missiles were of Soviet issue. But, the Rwandan Army was not equipped with such weapons. However, interestingly enough, the Ugandan Army was. Remember that the RPF was an off-shoot of the NRA [the National Resistance Army] of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. It was a faction within this army, made up of soldiers and officers of Rwandan origins, wearing Ugandan uniforms, carrying Ugandan arms procured from Ugandan armories, which attacked Rwanda from Ugandan territory on 1 October 1990, igniting a war that would eventually bring the RPF to power. Throughout the entirety of this war, the RPF had access to bases in Uganda, it recruited in Uganda and it received its weapons, equipment and reinforcements from that country. So is it inconceivable that the surface-to-air missiles that brought down President Habyarimana’s plane had been furnished to the RPF by Uganda?
4. The conclusions drawn by Judge Trévidic’s experts point to the missiles having been fired from the military camp at Kanombe. It would be good here to explain a little about the topography around Kigali. This city has spread out progressively to cover different hills, which are becoming the different quarters of the Rwandan capital. Kanombe is not just a military camp. It is first a section of Kigali located on a hill called “Kanombe,” in close proximity to the airport. If it is difficult to accept that the RPF could have fired missiles from camp Kanombe, it is easy enough to imagine that they could have done the job from Kanombe hill. And that would not contradict any of the conclusions drawn in the experts’ report.
This being posited, it would be good also to recall in just what atmosphere the experts’ report was made public. Since the election of President Nicolas Sarkozy, French diplomacy, on the initiative of ex-Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a good friend and propagandist to Paul Kagame, has tried to mend fences with Rwanda. Claude Guéant went to Kigali in 2009 to negotiate terms with Kagame for a French-Rwandan reconciliation. With the Kigali dictator more and more isolated, his Anglo-Saxon allies and his Scandinavian friends had begun to keep their distance from his regime. Kagame set a precondition for any rapprochement with Paris: a quashing of all litigious tension created by the Bruguière judgment. So everything was done in France to discredit the Judge’s work with the aim of rescinding his order to issue international arrest warrants for President/General Paul Kagame & Cie. It was agreed that Bruguière’s replacement would have the opportunity to conduct his investigation on the ground in Kigali. Until then, Kagame was still against any investigation into the death of his predecessor. There is no doubt that his agencies, experienced in the matter, carefully prepared the ground for Judge Trévidic’s experts, and that they furnished them with smartly concocted pieces of evidence.
The next step in the process would surely have to be the cancellation of the international arrest warrants ordered by Judge Bruguière.
Some French military personnel died on 6 April 1994: Jack Héraud, pilot of the Falcon 50; Jean-Pierre Minaberry, co-pilot; and Jean-Marc Perrine, flight engineer. [I believe this flight crew were civilians—cm/p] Other French nationals were mysteriously killed in their home on the following day: Lt.s Maier and Didot, as well as Didot’s wife, Gilda. It is very possible they knew too much about what had really happened in the capital [as they were in possession of elaborate radio equipment—cm/p]. For nearly 18 long years, the families of these French citizens have waited for the true circumstances of these deaths to see the light of day. Burundians have asked when light will be shed on the deaths of their President Cyprien Ntaryamira, of Bernard Ciza, the Burundian Minister of Planning, and of Cyriaque Simbizi, the Minister of Communications. Finally, the people of Rwanda, in their entirety as a nation, continue to hope that the truth will one day be brought out concerning the attack that cost the life of their President Juvénal Habyarimana, General Déogratias Nsabimana, the Rwandan Army Chief of Staff, Col. Elie Sagatwa, Military Cabinet Chief to the President, Juvénal Renzaho, the President’s advisor on foreign affairs, and Dr. Emmanuel Akingeneye, the Chief-of-State’s personal physician. Because beyond the deaths of all these people, it is important to understand just who gave the order to bring down the executive jet, who committed this crime and how. The answer to these questions will allow us also to know who bears the greatest responsibility for the widespread mass-killings that followed the attack. It is this attack, followed by the military mobilization that further violated the peace treaty, that brought together the conditions under which these massacres could take place.
So Judge Marc Trévidic bears a huge burden of responsibility. He must take the time to gather all the witnesses, including Dr. Rudasingwa who asks only that he be allowed to testify, and those other former RPF members who are still alive. He has to demonstrate his independence to resist the powerful political and diplomatic pressures. And above all, the big media must restrain themselves from jumping to conclusions and make better use of their critical faculties. The Rwandan tragedy surpasses many of great dramas of the 20th century in its size, its magnitude and, especially, its horror. The victims, all the victims, must be afforded their right to know respect and the truth.
Hervé Cheuzeville, 11 January 2012
(Cheuzeville is the writer of three books: “Kadogo, Enfants dess guerres d’Afrique centrale”, l’Hartmattan, 2003; “Chroniques africaines de guerres et d’espérance”, Editions Persée, 2006; “Chroniques d’un ailleurs pas si lointain – Réflexions d’un humanitaire engagé”, Editions Persée, 2010)