FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front

Rwanda has served as an important metaphor in American foreign policy for the failure to act to intervene in genocide. Presidents ordering bombing attacks or Special Forces operations have frequently said that they could not allow another Rwanda on their watch.

According to Samantha Power’s Pulitzer-prize winning book, A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide (2002), a veritable bible for policy-makers in the era of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the Clinton administration had foreknowledge of the April 1994 disaster, and failed to save the Tutsi from slaughter carried out by Hutu extremists.

Judi Rever’s new book, In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (Canada: Random House, 2018) shows how Power’s analysis is self-serving and false. While Hutu extremists killed many innocent Tutsi who had been mistreated historically, the key perpetrators of the mass killing were the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Paul Kagame, a “fair haired boy” of the Central Intelligence Agency and British MI6, to quote FBI agent Jim Lyons.

Lyons was involved in the investigation of Kagame’s role in shooting down Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana’s airplane as a he returned from peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania in April 1994; the key act that instigated Rwanda’s mass killings. Kyumba Nyamwasa, the former head of RPF intelligence, has testified that he was present when Kagame told aides that Habyarimana’s plane had been shot down by “our own troops” and that Kagame told him that the missiles were “smuggled to Kigali under a load of firewood on a truck.” It is only Kagame who had interest in Habyarimana’s death,” he insisted. “His motivation was to grab power and he used his close bodyguards to achieve his objectives. He never believed in negotiations and does not believe in political settlements even now.” (p. 193/4).

The Bush and Clinton administrations, with their British counterparts, supported Kagame and the RPF because Habyarimana, though originally installed in a CIA supported coup in 1973, had become a proxy of the French. After Habyarimana’s killing Clinton urged the removal of UN forces so the RPF would win Rwanda’s civil war.

The RPF instigated the war in October 1990 by invading Rwanda from Uganda in an attempt to reclaim the Tutsis former privileged status. (The Tutsi were favored by the Belgian colonialists and then subjugated and many expelled following Rwanda’s Hutu Power revolution in the early 1960s). The U.S. and British trained the RPF in counterinsurgency and helped to turn the refugee army into a military powerhouse. Kagame was trained in psychological warfare methods at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

At the time of the RPF invasion, U.S. ambassador Robert Flaten recommended that the U.S. apply sanctions against Uganda, though his advice was ignored. The Clinton administration also suppressed a UN report by U.S. aid worker Robert Gersony that detailed large scale atrocities by the RPF in the context of the civil war.

Since consolidating power, Kagame has been regularly invited to speak at prestigious universities and was characterized by Bill Clinton as one the greatest leaders of our time. Power praised him for his “epic achievements.” Normally critical minded journalists such as Stephen Kinzer compared him to Abraham Lincoln.

These analogies are obscene. Kagame personally directed massacres such as at the Byumba soccer stadium in Northern Rwanda and ordered the merciless hunting down of Hutu in the forests of Congo. Known for inflicting brutal tortures as director of Uganda’s intelligence services in the 1980s, Kagame employed professional killers, some of whom had worked for Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator. They developed methods for disposing large number of bodies by dissolving them in acid, dumping them in rivers and swamps, or burning them, and established open air crematorium.

According to Rever, the RPF leadership was cognizant of history and appears to have studied the methods of the Third Reich. She writes that “like the mobile units of the Third Reich [called Einsatzgruppen] that fanned across the Soviet Union, the RPF’s death squads ranged from Rwanda’s northern border with Uganda to the south, along the border with Tanzania. The trucks carrying Hutus to Akagara National Park and the open-air crematoriums in the forest there recalled the Second World War’s death wagons and extermination centers.” (p. 229)

The RPFs targets included Hutu intellectuals who might contest the new regime, and government officials who served under Habyarimana (1973-1994), a former police General trained by the CIA under the USAID’s infamous Office of Public Safety (OPS). (His main liaison, John Manopoli, a New York State Police officer, also trained South Vietnam’s Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan who was featured on national television shooting a Vietcong prisoner in the head).

RPF founder Alphonse Fumura stated that during Rwanda’s war (1990-1994), the RPF attacked refugee camps and densely populated villages, executed Hutu prisoners of war, carried out black flag terrorist attacks that were blamed on Hutu, and left victims in Akagara Park to die slowly from exposure to the hot sun and dehydration. They launched a deliberate policy to create a “Tutsiland” through Hutu massacres, massive population displacement, property appropriation and land grabbing. Later on, Kagame’s agents hunted down regime opponents in-exile, killing numerous ex-RPF who might expose the truth about the RPFs crimes.

Rever is a reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail and other Canadian publications who was harassed by RPF apparatchiks and came to fear for her life while researching the book. She interviewed hundreds of Rwandan victims and RPF dissidents. Their testimonies add a new layer of detail from previous studies by Peter Erlinder, Robin Philpot, Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, which challenged the official narrative depicting the RPF as heroes and Hutus as genocidal villains.

Reading Rever’s book, one is struck not only in the human capacity for evil that Kagame and his associates embody, but also the capacity for psychological manipulation and deception, which they learned from the United States. One day when they have lost their strategic utility to the Anglo-Americans, Kagame and his henchmen may be brought to justice for their crimes and the veil fully lifted. Until that time, they will continue to live their charmed lives, knowing they have the support of the world’s most powerful people.

 

More articles by:

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018) and Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting for the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

July 02, 2020
Stan Cox
It’s Not Just Meat: All Farm and Food Workers Are in Peril
Marshall Auerback
We Won’t Have a Truly Global Economy Until People Start Taxing It That Way
John O'Kane
Progressive Pulses Among the Ruins of Riot
John Feffer
Time to Rethink the US-ROK Alliance
Binoy Kampmark
The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment
Kim C. Domenico
Disbelief, Belief and the Perils of Pandemic Re-opening
George Ochenski
Trump’s Contagion Road Show Heads West
Haydar Khan
The Great Wall of Wokeness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden Compared Indicted War Criminal to “George Washington”
Howard Lisnoff
Try to Get Published; Try to Be Heard
Rebecca Gordon
Fear of Falling: Can Making Black Lives Matter Rescue a Failing State?
Gary Leupp
Traditional Russophobia in an Unusual Election Year
John Kendall Hawkins
Biopic? Shirley, You Jest
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Conservation Groups Sue Trump Administration to Halt Massive Logging in Steelhead Critical Habitat
Quincy Saul
Who Made the Plague?
July 01, 2020
Melvin Goodman
De-Militarizing the United States
Kenneth Surin
UK’s Labour Leader Sacks the Most Left-Wing Member of His Shadow Cabinet
Ruth Fowler
Then as Farce: the Commodification of Black Lives Matter
Kent Paterson
Crisis After Crisis on the Border
Rick Baum
The Pandemic and Wealth Inequality
Michael Welton
“Into the World of Bad Spirits”: Slavery and Plantation Culture
James W. Carden
The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left
Dan Wakefield
Charles Webb Enters Heaven
Julian Vigo
A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power
Binoy Kampmark
A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign
Michael D. Knox – Linda Pentz Gunter
As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace
Cesar Chelala
Attorney General William Barr’s Insomnia
Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Is Bolsonaro Plotting a Self-Coup?
Mandy Smithberger
COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
Joe Emersberger
On Pablo Celi, Ecuador’s super shady “Auditor General”
June 30, 2020
James Bovard
Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities Exposed in New Indictment
Bianca Sierra Wolff – Lisa Knox
ICE is Leaving Immigrants to Die in Detention, and Retaliating When They Speak Out
Don Fitz
Should NYC’s Wall Street Be Renamed “Eric Garner St.?”
Chris Hedges
My Student Comes Home
Richard C. Gross
Obamacare Vulnerable
John Feffer
The Hatchet Man’s Tale: Why Bolton Matters
Thomas Knapp
Afghanistan Bounties: Pot, Meet Kettle (and Turn Off the Stove!)
Charles Reitz
Anti-Racist Engagement in the Kansas Free State Struggle, 1854-64: Horace Greeley, German 48-ers, and the Civil War Journalism of Karl Marx, 1861-62
Howard Lisnoff
A Student Murdered in Cold Blood and a Kids’ Bike Ride Through Queens, New York
David Swanson
Hey Congress, Move the Money
Aparna Karthikeyan
Memories of Pox, Plague, and Pandemics in Tamil Nadu
John Kendall Hawkins
Democracy Chasers in a Badly Injured Nation
Binoy Kampmark
Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: the Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Norman Solomon
Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee Could Defy “the Madness of Militarism” as Co-Chairs of the Democratic Convention’s Biggest Delegation
Jon Hochschartner
Imagining a Vegan Superman
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail