It’s not often I praise the BBC for producing real journalism. Further, it is with some disbelief that I find myself applauding Jane Corbin, who I will struggle till my dying day to forgive for her despicable piece of Israeli propaganda parading as reportage a few years back on the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza.
Nonetheless, Corbin has now fronted a truly disturbing revisionist documentary on Rwanda, called Rwanda’s Untold Story. The programme’s argument is that the official story about a straightforward genocide by the Hutu majority of Rwanda’s Tutsis 20 years ago is highly selective and entirely misleading. One scholar suggests that the narrative we have been fed is the equivalent of reducing the Second World War to the Holocaust and claiming nothing else of significance happened.
What the documentary demonstrates forcefully is that Paul Kagame, the hero of the official story of Rwanda’s genocide, was almost certainly the biggest war criminal to have emerged from those horrifying events. Kagame led the Tutsis’ main militia, the RPF. He almost certainly ordered the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s plane, the trigger for a civil war that quickly escalated into a genocide; on the best estimates, his RPF was responsible for killing 80% of the 1 million who died inside Rwanda, making the Hutus, not the Tutsis, the chief victims; and his subsequent decision to extend the civil war into neighbouring Congo, where many Hutu civilians had fled to escape the RPF, led to the deaths of up to 5 million more.
Not surprising then that Kagame is championed by Britain’s own biggest war criminal, Tony Blair. But the rot has spread much further. Rwanda, now praised as a model democracy under Kagame, is in truth a police state, where the president kills or locks up all opponents, fixes the elections, and has made any questioning of the official story he created – that the Tutsis were the exclusive victims of the genocide – a crime.
The BBC has not had to dig up any new information to make this programme. It’s all been available for years. But no one apart from a few experts – academics, UN military personnel who were there, UN investigators, and Kagame’s former, and disillusioned, inner circle – have dared to speak out.
The real criminals, as ever, it seems, have been the western powers and the UN. They have happily paraded their remorse at failing to intervene at the time of the genocide (presumably because their self-confessed error helped to justify the subsequent wave of bogus “humanitarian interventions” in the Middle East). But what the documentary makes clear is that Blair, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and many others have helped to whitewash Kagame’s crimes against humanity and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his current oppressive rule. Anyone who has threatened to blow the lid, like Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the UN’s international tribunal on Rwanda, has been forced out.
But as I watched the programme, one thing struck me forcefully in particular, though it was not referred to by Corbin: what were the journalists who crawled all over the Rwanda story for years doing? How were Blair, Clinton and Annan allowed to forge the myth of a simple Hutu genocide of Tutsis without serious challenge from serious reporters working for serious newspapers that were supposed to be making sense of these events for us?
From my own experience covering Israel-Palestine, I can guess what happened. The reporters on the ground feared straying too far from the consensus in their newsrooms. Rather than telling their editors what the story was (the model of news production most people assume to be the case), the editors were creating the framework of the story for the reporters, based on the official narrative being promoted in political and diplomatic circles. Correspondents who cared about their careers dared not challenge the party line too strongly, even when they knew it to be a lie.
Rwanda also offers a telling example of how such group-think works, and how a non-expert far from real events but schooled in a kind of London or Washington consensus on foreign affairs ends up policing the limits of possible thought in a way that strips us, his readers, of the right to hear a counter-narrative.
The guilty party in this case was George Monbiot, often seen as one of the most radical and original thinkers publishing in the British mainstream liberal media. Two years ago he wrote an ugly attack, entitled “Naming the Genocide Deniers“, on two scholars, one of them the renowned Ed Herman. Monbiot eventually dragged in a host of other thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, accusing them of being “genocide belittlers” for not turning on the pair at his instigation.
The crime committed by this tiny group was that they had raised the possibility that the official story of the genocide in Rwanda – as well as of some of the massacres in the Balkans – might not be entirely historically accurate, and that the accounts might have been distorted for political advantage. Monbiot, uninterested in assessing their claims or addressing the facts, abused them for straying from the official narrative. Monbiot might like to reconsider his behaviour, for which I and others criticised him at the time, and issue a long-overdue apology.
That aside, Monbiot’s disgraceful accusations are a useful illustration of how powerful is the emotional, imaginative and possibly financial grip of the mainstream media on journalists, even those feted for their independence.
It is with that context in mind too that one should tip one’s hat to the BBC and, reluctantly, to Jane Corbin for doing their jobs for once. Rwanda’s Untold Story reminds us how rarely journalists actually engage in the myth-busting, truth-telling work they claim to be bedrock of their craft.
Report Examines Economy and Social Indicators During the Past Decade in Brazil
CEPR | September 29, 2014
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released a research paper today that looks at social and economic indicators, as well as policy changes that have occurred since 2003 in Brazil.
“The lives of tens of millions of Brazilians have been transformed by the economic and social policy changes of the past decade,” said CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot, lead author of the paper. “A sharp increase in economic growth, combined with increased social spending, large increases in the real minimum wage, and increased bargaining power for labor allowed for greatly reduced poverty and unemployment, as well as declining inequality.”
“These changes appear to be durable, having mostly withstood the world recession and the slowdown in worldwide economic and trade growth of the past few years.”
Among the paper’s findings:
- Since the Workers’ Party (PT) won the presidency with Lula da Silva taking office in 2003, poverty has been reduced by over 55 percent, from 35.8 percent of the population to 15.9 percent in 2012. Extreme poverty has been reduced by 65 percent, from 15.2 percent to 5.3 percent over the same time period. Over the last decade, 31.5 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty and, of that number, over 16 million out of extreme poverty.
- GDP per person grew at a rate of 2.5 percent annually from 2003-2014, more than three times faster than the 0.8 percent annual growth of the prior government (1995-2002). This was in spite of the 2008-09 world financial crisis and recession, which pushed Brazil into recession in 2009; and also including the slowdown of the past few years.
- While inequality remains high, there were large changes in how the gains from economic growth were distributed as compared with the prior decade. For example, the top 10 percent of households received more than half of all income gains from 1993-2002, but this fell to about one-third for 2003-2012.
- Social spending has consistently increased since 2003, rising from 13 percent of GDP to over 16 percent in 2011, the last year for which data is available. Education spending has increased from 4.6 percent of GDP in 2003 to 6.1 percent of GDP in 2011.
- Unemployment has decreased from 13.0 percent in 2003 to an average of 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, a historic low.
The paper finds that these results were achieved due to policy choices, including often counter-cyclical fiscal and monetary policy, a reactivated industrial policy, lowered domestic interest rates and a break with IMF conditionalities following Brazil’s paying off its IMF debt early, in 2005. Economic stimulus helped Brazil rebound strongly from the 2008-2009 global recession. The government has raised the real (inflation-adjusted) minimum wage by 84 percent; this boosted pensions and public sector wages that are tied to it, as well as other wages and salaries.
Programs such as Bolsa Familia (BF) helped bring down poverty; since 2003, expenditures on the program in real (inflation-adjusted) Reais increased from 4.8 billion to 20.7 billion (0.2 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent of GDP). From 2003 to 2012 the number of individuals covered by Bolsa Familia increased from 16.2 million to 57.8 million. As a percent of the population, coverage increased from below 9 percent in 2003 to nearly 29 percent in 2012.
The PT government has aided the country’s industrial sector in part through the national development bank BNDES. Disbursements from BNDES have increased from 2.2 percent of GDP in 2005 to nearly 4 percent in 2013, with priority sectors for Brazil’s industrial policy receiving about 80 percent of BNDES disbursements between 2006 and 2012.
In the last few years the economy has slowed, although unemployment has continued to decline, and average wages have risen. The paper faults overly-tight and sometimes pro-cyclical macroeconomic policies, including monetary and fiscal policy, since 2011, for the economic slowdown; as well as the slowdown in world economic and trade growth.
Mainstream media outlets have censored the comments made by the Argentine president at the United Nations General Assembly where she harshly criticized the US international policies.
During her speech before the United Nations 69th General Assembly on September 24, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner covered a variety of issues from economic reforms needed at the International Monetary Fund to the plight of Palestinians and the global fight against terrorism.
The Argentine president questioned countries such as the United States for attacking groups, including the ISIL Takfiri terrorists which Washington previously backed against the Syrian government.
“Where do ISIS (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda take their guns from? Yesterday’s freedom fighters are today’s terrorists,” Cristina Fernandez said, blasting US policies vis-a-vis terrorism.
The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, control large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its members into neighboring Iraq in June and seized large parts of land there.
The US and its allies recently launched airstrikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq and later extended the aerial campaign to Syria.
Fernandez also touched on judicial cooperation with Iran over the issue of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in the capital, Buenos Aires, and the political pressure that has been exerted on Argentina by the US and Israeli lobbies in that regard.
Tehran and Buenos Aires signed a memorandum of understanding on January 27, 2013 to jointly probe the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others.
The Argentine president dismissed the allegations against Iran concerning the 1994 deadly bomb attack.
Under intense political pressure imposed by the US and Israel, Argentina had formally accused Iran of having carried out the bomb attack.
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks and denounced accusations against Iranian citizens in connection with the blast as a false flag to screen the real perpetrators behind the bombing.
The Yellow Book: The first document from the secret archives of the Army of El Salvador during the civil war comes to light September 28, 2014, International Right to Know Day
A 1980s-era document from the archives of El Salvador’s military intelligence identifies almost two thousand Salvadoran citizens who were considered “delinquent terrorists” by the Armed Forces, among them current President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerrilla leader. Other individuals listed include human rights advocates, labor leaders, and political figures, many known to have been victims of illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial execution, forced disappearance, and other human rights abuses.
Called the Libro Amarillo or Yellow Book, the report is the first-ever confidential Salvadoran military document to be made public, and the only evidence to appear from the Salvadoran Army’s own files of the surveillance methods used by security forces to target Salvadoran citizens during the country’s 12-year civil war. Now the Yellow Book has been posted on-line, along with related analysis and declassified U.S. documents, through a collaboration between the National Security Archive, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG).
According to the document’s introduction, the Yellow Book, dated July 1987, was compiled by the Intelligence Department (C-II) of the Estado Mayor Conjunto de la Fuerza Armada Salvadoreña (EMCFA, Joint Staff of the Armed Forces). It consists of a systematic list with 1,915 entries on targeted individuals, 1,857 identified by name, along with corresponding photographs, and notes on their alleged connections to suspect organizations including unions, political parties, and rebel groups of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). A hand-written note on its cover page indicates the report was intended to aid security forces in identifying the opposition. “Use it,” the note says, “Make copies of the photographs and put them on your bulletin board so you will know your enemies.”
Although analysis of the Yellow Book continues, preliminary research makes clear that some of the individuals listed in it were killed or disappeared and never seen again; others were captured, tortured, and later released. Under the direction of HRDAG Executive Director Patrick Ball, researchers cross referenced names listed in the Yellow Book with four historical databases of reports of human rights violations collected from 1980-1992. This process found 273 names in the Yellow Book, or 15%, that matched reports of killings or extrajudicial executions; 233 or 13% matching reports of forced disappearance; 274 or 15% matching reports of torture; and 538 or 29% matching reports of detention or arrest. In total, at least 43% of names listed in the Yellow Book correspond with these historical human rights databases. View the full report here.
A former U.S. military source who served in El Salvador during the 1980s, who declined to be named, has stated that the Yellow Book appears to be an authentic product of Salvadoran military intelligence, one of many related documents created to track and register perceived threats. The original document, a photocopy of an unknown master copy, was donated to a Salvadoran civil society organization by an individual who claimed to have found it in a house during a move. [...]
Research by the UWCHR and the National Security Archive explains the Yellow Book in relation to the Salvadoran intelligence services and their historical connection to the United States. Our analysis of the document, spreadsheet of the 1,857 of names, and a translated glossary are intended to serve future researchers as well as survivors and advocates seeking accountability for war crimes.
The appearance of the Yellow Book challenges years of stonewalling by El Salvador’s army and security forces about their role in the bloody civil war that left at least 75,000 civilians dead, and an estimated 8,000 missing or disappeared, according to the United Nations. The refusal of the Salvadoran government to release its official records was especially frustrating to the UN Truth Commission, established in 1992 by the peace accords. While the commission had access to survivor testimonies, evidence gathered from exhumations, published human rights reports, and thousands of declassified U.S. documents made available by the National Security Archive, its repeated requests to the Salvadoran government for access to state archives were ignored. The Yellow Book’s posting today is in recognition of International Right to Know Day, celebrated around the world to promote the right of all citizens to have access to information about their governments.
The publication of the Yellow Book also comes at a time when the Salvadorans are re-evaluating the history of human rights abuses committed during the conflict. Organizations such as the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA), Asociación Pro-Búsqueda, and others have presented dozens of criminal complaints for crimes against humanity related to torture, forced disappearance, extrajudicial executions, and massacres, and are calling on the government to release the historical records of the security forces for a full accounting of the past.
In this charged climate, in which prominent organizations seeking justice have been shuttered and attacked, human rights advocates await a decision by the Supreme Court, which is reviewing the amnesty law passed in 1993, guaranteeing impunity for perpetrators of grave human rights violations. If the law is nullified or found unconstitutional by the Court, a major roadblock to accountability will be lifted. As a record of the Salvadoran state’s surveillance and persecution of its own citizens, the Yellow Book may serve as evidence in future claims for justice.
Cameron vows to ‘hunt down’ non-violent conspiracy theorists, demands international coordinated action
Cameron announces joint bombing plan after insisting on restriction of speech in universities. Intellectual enquiry to be banned as “incitement”.
“Lies”, says Cameron, as he launches another war
Britain is again on the verge of war. Every time they say it’s different this time, and it never is. They say the first casualty of war is truth, but it’s not true; the truth is dead before the war even begins. War is the result of lies, and this war is no exception.
A 93-year-old said to me: “I’m getting confused on who’s fighting who”. I replied, “We’re all confused. It’s ludicrous”. Who is ISIS? No-one seems to know. Has a war ever been won by bombing alone? No-one seems to know. “What could be the purpose of posting videos of beheadings?” No-one seems to know. What is the long-term strategy for winning this war? No-one seems to know. It’s as if the political establishment together with mainstream political journalists have gone into premature dementure.
Clearly, the purpose of the public beheadings can only be to enrage public opinion in the West to such an extent that they will allow their governments to send in their armed forces into the areas said to be controlled by ISIS. Who would want to do that? Would Middle-Eastern Islamicists intent on setting up an Islamic State in Syria and Iraq want to provoke and enable the mightiest military force the world has ever known to move in and obliterate them? Of course not.
Many people now think that ISIS is in all probability a creation of the US, or at least of the Neoconservative-Likud-CIA-MI6 alliance that seems to be running the Military Industrial Complex. It is said to be an offshoot of Al Qaeda, which originated as a US database of fighters opposing the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The case for war is being fabricated, and David Cameron is every bit as bad as Tony Blair, when he fabricated the myth of Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to give a pretext to invade Iraq. He is every bit as bad as Tony Blair when he told the House of Commons that he had proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, but that he wasn’t going to tell them what that proof was, but would deposit it in the House of Commons Library; he didn’t. David Cameron is every bit as bad as Adolf Hitler when his men burned down the Reichstag and blamed it on the Communists. Mercifully we haven’t yet had a Kristallnacht in the UK, but I fear that’s where we’re heading.
On 24 September David Cameron made a speech to the UN Security Council, which was posted on the Prime Minister’s website under the title: “Only a coherent, coordinated response can tackle what is a truly global and indiscriminate threat”. It’s a rehash of the Policy Exchange stuff, in which he links Islam with terrorism through constant use of the word “extremism”. What, I wonder, is the “poisonous ideology of extremism” he refers to? Is it not extremist to go to war? Then he spews out the Policy Exchange stuff about non-violent extremism: “But as the evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist of offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it”. What evidence? After his Munich speech, saying that multiculturalism had failed, I gave a talk to our Keep Talking group in London, tracing his speech to Policy Exchange. I listed all those convicted of terrorist offences. I could see no evidence of these people being influenced by preachers. Look at the wording, “convicted of terrorist offences”. That has to exclude all alleged suicide bombers, the most notorious of which would be the four alleged Muslim terrorists behind 7/7 – the terrorist attacks on the London transport system of 7 July 2005. They were just declared guilty by the coroner before the inquest opened, and because they were guilty they were excluded from the inquest. Were they fanatical Muslim extremists? Well, no. This is pure deception on David Cameron’s part.
But then he accuses the truth movement of telling lies: “And we know what this worldview is–the peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or the 7/7 London attacks were staged; the idea that Muslims are persecuted all over the world as a deliberate act of Western policy; the concept of an inevitable clash of civilisations. We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism. That means banning preachers of hate from coming to our countries. It means proscribing organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad. It means stopping extremists whether violent or non-violent from inciting hatred and intolerance in our schools, in our universities and even sometimes in our prisons. In other words, firm, decisive action – to protect and uphold the values of our free and democratic societies”.
Who is making the allegation that 9/11 was a Jewish plot? Certainly evidence has been appearing that extremist Israeli nationalists were involved, but I have been at pains to point out in my newsletters, that it’s not “the Jews”; most British Jews were against the setting up of a Jewish state in Palestine, and many have been protesting more recently about the genocide in Gaza. David Cameron is putting out a straw man argument, in order to deflect from the blatent lies in the 9/11 cover-up. He is now maliciously using 9/11 in order to justify yet another post-9/11 war.
He accuses us of telling lies about 7/7. How could 7/7 not have been staged? Note the careful use of language here. The plain fact is that the government’s version of events just does not tie up. They even took a year to acknowledge that the train from Luton to London by which MI5 claimed the terrorists had travelled had in fact been cancelled that day. Are MI5 seriously incompetent, or was that blatent deception? How could the government simply dismiss that as a mistake, with no consequences?
Having gone to the UN Security Council to tell them that some of his own citizens are liars, when all they want is to know the truth about 9/11 and 7/7, he is now recalling Parliament on Friday 27 September, in order to get the go-ahead for war – or at least to pacify Parliament, because he doesn’t formally need Parliament’s approval; in the case of 9/11 there was just an adjournment debate, in which there was no substantive motion. Only the Prime Minister and the Queen can decide to take Britain into war. On the Prime Minister’s website there is no motion, but just a statement that the purpose of the recall is “to debate the UK’s response to the request from the Iraqi government for air strikes to support operations against ISIL in Iraq”.
I should have thought that any political journalist in the UK would be able to understand such elementary points. One has to wonder who their paymasters are.
Produced by Rinaldo Francesca.
For a full transcript with links please visit:
Music by Kevin McLeod, available at http://incompetech.com/
The ceasefire agreement between Palestinian resistance fighters and the Tel Aviv regime has been hailed as tantamount to the victory of Palestinians against Israel.
Under the truce deal, Tel Aviv must lift the blockade it has imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. Israel must also reopen the border crossings into the besieged Palestinian territory.
In this edition of The Sun Will Rise, we discuss the barbarous Israeli military aggression against Gaza and the victory of resistance against Israel.
- an exclusive from Gaza by Ashraf Shannon, in which he interviews Professor Mosheer Amer from the Islamic University of Gaza and victims of the Gaza war.
- a feature on Palestinian photographic video works – “Voices” – by Rich Wiles exhibited in the P21 Gallery in London.
In the studio, we were joined by:
President, General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS UK)
Palestinian Student Activist