Black Star News denies Rwandan genocide
15 years ago, the Rwandan genocide slowly began to unfold.
The events began on April 6, 1994, and by April 17, 1994 had escalated into the wholesale slaughter of Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.
The atrocities that unfolded during the Rwandan genocide have long stood as an example of why the western world needs to be prepared to intervene in order to prevent such human catastrophes.
But not to individuals like Keith Harmon Snow. Like the various loons who deny -- or at least conflate -- the Holocaust, Snow has a political agenda that is ill-served by the Rwandan genocide. Like Holocaust deniers (and 9/11 "truth"ers), Snow is so intent upon pushing that agenda that he's prepared to revise the history of the Rwandan genocide.
In an article appearing in Black Star News, Snow strings together a convoluted conspiracy theory in which human rights activists colluded against Hutus.
"The genocide label applied by Alison Des Forges and certain human rights bodies in May of 1994 was misdirected, used to accuse and criminalize only the majority Hutu people and the remnants of the decapitated Habyarimana government," Snow writes, "much as the genocide and war crimes accusations have been selectively applied against President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan."
According to Snow, not only did no genocide take place in Rwanda, but no genocide is currently taking place in the Sudan. Instead, as it turns out, these genocide charges are part of an American imperialist plot.
"The Clinton Administration refused to apply the genocide label," Snow explains. "To do so might have compromised an ongoing US-backed covert operation: the invasion of Rwanda by the Pentagon’s proxy force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front."
Interestingly, Snow has very little to say about the French involvement in the genocide. France had supplied weapons to the Rwandan government before and during the civil war that took place in accordance with the genocide. Many of those weapons were passed on to the Interhamwe by sympathizers within the Rwandan military's Hutu militias.
Moreover, Snow suggests that the plane crash taht killed Alison Des Forges may have been the work of Paul Kagame.
"According to U.S. intelligence insider Wayne Madsen, Des Forges’ criticisms of the US-brokered pact between Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and the Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila in December 2008 'earned her some powerful enemies ranging from the murderous Kagame, who will not think twice about sending his agents to silence critics abroad, and international interests who want nothing to prevent them from looting the DRC’s vast mineral and energy resources.'"
But Snow's conspiracy theory makes little sense. Although Des Forges' criticisms of Kagame's deal with Kabila -- -- was damaging, Des Forges' invokation of the genocide label marshalled a surplus of international sympathy for Kagame and the RPF.
Furthermore, Snow accuses Des Forges of helping unjustly indict the Habyanmara government.
"Billed as a 'tireless champion' and 'leading light in African human rights,' there is much more to this story than the western propaganda system has revealed," Snow muses. "Alison Des Forges and Human Rights Watch (HRW) provided intelligence to the US government at the time of the 1994 crises, and they have continued in this role to the present. Des Forges also supported the show trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), institutionalizing victor’s justice and shielding the Kagame regime."
"Alison Des Forges came across to many people as a wonderful human being with great compassion and impeccable integrity," Snow writes. "In the recent past, Alison Des Forges spoke—to some limited degree—against the war crimes of the Kagame regime."
"In life she did not speak about the deeper realities of 'genocide in Rwanda', and she had plenty of chances. In fact, she is the primary purveyor of the inversion of truth that covered up the deeper US role in the Rwanda 'genocide', and she spent the past 10 years of her life explaining away the inconsistencies, covering up the facts, revising her own story when necessary, and manipulating public opinion about war crimes in the Great Lakes of Africa—in service to the US government and powerful corporations involved in the plunder and depopulation of the region."
All of this, of course, is submitted without evidence.
"Kagame, Rwanda’s one-party president 'elected' through rigged elections, sued Charles Onana for defamation in a French court in 2002; Kagame lost the original trial and the appeal," Snow continues. "Kagame was the commander of the Rwandan Patriotic Front and a leading agent—with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and their US, UK, Belgian and Israeli backers—behind the massive bloodshed and ongoing terrorism in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, Sudan and Somalia."
Snow insists that the events of the Rwandan genocide -- which were not a genocide, despite the perpetrators' intent to kill every single living Tutsi -- were a conspiracy between human rights organizations, the United States, Britain, Begium and Israel.
"In his book, Onana accused Kagame of being the principle instigator of the missile attack of April 6, 1994 that brought down the plane carrying Rwanda's President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi's Cyprien Ntaryamira," Snow continues. "Unlike the UN's ongoing high-profile investigation of the murder of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri, no major power has pushed for a similar probe into the murder of the two African presidents."
Yet much of the evidence that Kagame was responsible for shooting down Habyanmara's plane was actually rejected by a French parliamentary inquiry -- and considering France's bloody hands in relation to the genocide, the French had every motive to point the finger of blame at somebody else.
"But the U.S. military was heavily backing the RPF tactically and strategically already," Snow continues. "Key to the operation were 'former' Special Operations Forces (Ronco Company) providing military equipment and ferrying RPA troops from Uganda to Rwanda; the Pentagon's logistical and communications support; Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA operatives. Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), was also collaborating with the RPF, serving the Pentagon interest."
Snow would have done well to look into the circumstance Dallaire and UNAMIR found themselves in during the genocide. If UNAMIR were really a proxy force acting on behalf of the United States in support of the RPF, it was the smallest and most poorly-equipped proxy force in the history of proxy warfare.
Dallaire spent the bulk of his time convening between Rwandan political leaders while attempting to keep himself, his troops, and as many Tutsi refugees as possible, alive.
That meets a very odd definition of outright collaboration.
According to Snow even the news media were part of the conspiracy.
"Genocide in Rwanda became a massive psychological operation directed against media consumers using ghastly images—produced by RPA-embedded photographers like James Nachtwey and Gilles Peres—to infer that all cadavers were Tutsi victims of an orchestrated Hutu genocide," Snow insists, "meanwhile the text was racist disinformation produced by Joshua Hammer."
This despite the fact that journalists operating in the region secured footage of Hutu militias slaughtering Tutsis, and Red Cross workers active throughout the region shared many of the same stories.
According to Snow, Des Forges was central to the media conspiracy.
"Des Forges constantly influenced the US media through special briefings to the editorial boards and reporters of the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and Associated Press, and she was frequently presented as an 'expert' on genocide in Rwanda for CNN, 60 Minutes, Nightline, All Things Considered, BBC, Radio France Internationale, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company."
"Such relations explain the mass media’s consistency in producing the monolithic disinformation about Rwanda that shielded the illegal U.S.-backed and covert RPF- Ugandan guerrilla insurgency," Snow continues. "The blanket media coverage falsely situated the 'Rwanda genocide' as it is now widely misunderstood: 100 days of genocide, 800,000 to 1.2 million Tutsis killed with machetes; the 'highly disciplined' RPF stopping the genocide."
Even on the basis of its most basic arguments -- that the Rwandan Patriotic Front was an external invader -- falls flat in the face of the fact that Paul Kagame and the other members of the RPF were all natives of Rwanda, and were acting against a government that was actively oppressing Tutsis.
Like Holocaust deniers, Snow plays fast and loose with the truth in the course of spinning a conspiracy theory that essentially "invented" the Rwandan genocide, despite the existence of nearly 1,000,000 Rwandans, the vast majority of them Tutsis.
Like the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide is most effectively commemorated by the mass graves of its victims. Anyone who cares to examine the evidence of the genocide first-hand can travel to Rwanda and tour the killing fields. In many cases, the bones of the victims remain where they were piled.
Like Holocaust deniers, Rwandan genocide deniers like Keith Harmon Snow have to ignore the strongest evidence for the events -- the corpses of its victims, and the nearly 1,000,000 Rwandans who, in the course of a media-broadcast 100-day slaughter, ceased to be.
One wonders how individuals like Keith Harmon Snow can look themselves in a mirror.