Category Archives: Terrorism (state and retail)

Sur Baher Home Demolitions illustrate a Vicious Spiral of Oppression in Palestine

Recent events have shone a spotlight not only on how Israel is intensifying its abuse of Palestinians under its rule, but the utterly depraved complicity of western governments in its actions.

The arrival of Donald Trump in the White House two-and-a-half years ago has emboldened Israel as never before, leaving it free to unleash new waves of brutality in the occupied territories.

Western states have not only turned a blind eye to these outrages, but are actively assisting in silencing anyone who dares to speak out.

It is rapidly creating a vicious spiral: the more Israel violates international law, the more the West represses criticism, the more Israel luxuriates in its impunity.

This shameless descent was starkly illustrated last week when hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers, many of them masked, raided a neighbourhood of Sur Baher, on the edges of Jerusalem. Explosives and bulldozers destroyed dozens of homes, leaving many hundreds of Palestinians without a roof over their heads.

During the operation, extreme force was used against residents, as well as international volunteers there in the forlorn hope that their presence would deter violence. Videos showed the soldiers cheering and celebrating as they razed the neighbourhood.

House destructions have long been an ugly staple of Israel’s belligerent occupation, but there were grounds for extra alarm on this occasion.

Traditionally, demolitions occur on the two-thirds of the West Bank placed by the Oslo accords temporarily under Israeli control. That is bad enough: Israel should have handed over what is called “Area C” to the Palestinian Authority 20 years ago. Instead, it has hounded Palestinians off these areas to free them up for illegal Jewish settlement.

But the Sur Baher demolitions took place in “Area A”, land assigned by Oslo to the Palestinians’ government-in-waiting – as a prelude to Palestinian statehood. Israel is supposed to have zero planning or security jurisdiction there.

Palestinians rightly fear that Israel has established a dangerous precedent, further reversing the Oslo Accords, which can one day be used to justify driving many thousands more Palestinians off land under PA control.

Most western governments barely raised their voices. Even the United Nations offered a mealy-mouthed expression of “sadness” at what took place.

A few kilometres north, in Issawiya, another East Jerusalem suburb, Israeli soldiers have been terrorising 20,000 Palestinian residents for weeks. They have set up checkpoints, carried out dozens of random night-time arrests, imposed arbitrary fines and traffic tickets, and shot live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets into residential areas.

Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights group, calls Issawiya’s treatment a “perpetual state of collective punishment” – that is, a war crime.

Over in Gaza, not only are the 2 million inhabitants being slowly starved by Israel’s 12-year blockade, but a weekly shooting spree against Palestinians who protest at the fence imprisoning them has become so routine it barely attracts attention any more.

On Friday, Israeli snipers killed one protester and seriously injured 56, including 22 children.

That followed new revelations that Israeli’s policy of shooting unarmed protesters in the upper leg to injure them – another war crime – continued long after it became clear a significant proportion of Palestinians were dying from their wounds.

Belatedly – after more than 200 deaths and the severe disabling of many thousands of Palestinians – snipers have been advised to “ease up” by shooting protesters in the ankle.

B’Tselem, another Israeli rights organisation, called the army’s open-fire regulation a “criminal policy”, one that “consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans”.

Rather than end such criminal practices, Israel prefers to conceal them. It has effectively sealed Palestinian areas off to avoid scrutiny.

Omar Shakir, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, is facing imminent deportation, yet more evidence of Israel’s growing crackdown on the human rights community.

A report by the Palestinian Right to Enter campaign last week warned that Israel is systematically denying foreign nationals permits to live and work in the occupied territories, including areas supposedly under PA control.

That affects both foreign-born Palestinians, often those marrying local Palestinians, and internationals. According to recent reports, Israel is actively forcing out academics teaching at the West Bank’s leading university, Bir Zeit, in a severe blow to Palestinian academic freedom.

Palestinian journalists highlighting Israeli crimes are in Israel’s sights too. Last week, Israel stripped one – Mustafa Al Haruf – of his Jerusalem residency, tearing him from his wife and young child. Because it is illegal to leave someone stateless, Israel is now bullying Jordan to accept him.

Another exclusion policy – denying entry to Israel’s fiercest critics, those who back the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement – is facing its first challenge.

Two US congresswomen who support BDS – Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who has family in the West Bank – have announced plans to visit.

Israeli officials have indicated they will exempt them both, apparently fearful of drawing wider attention to Israel’s draconian entry restrictions, which also cover the occupied territories.

Israel is probably being overly cautious. The BDS movement, which alone argues for the imposition of penalties on Israel until it halts its abuse of Palestinians, is being bludgeoned by western governments.

In the US and Europe, strong criticism of Israel, even from Jews – let alone demands for meaningful action – is being conflated with antisemitism. Much of this furore seems intended to ease the path towards silencing Israel’s critics.

More than two dozen US states, as well as the Senate, have passed laws – drafted by pro-Israel lobby groups – to limit the rights of the American public to support boycotts of Israel.

Anti-BDS legislation has also been passed by the German and French parliaments.

And last week the US House of Representatives joined them, overwhelmingly passing a resolution condemning the BDS movement. Only 17 legislators demurred.

It was a slap in the face to Ms Omar, who has been promoting a bill designed to uphold the First Amendment rights of boycott supporters.

It seems absurd that these curbs on free speech have emerged just as Israel makes clear it has no interest in peace, will never concede Palestinian statehood and is entrenching a permanent system of apartheid in the occupied territories.

But there should be no surprise. The clampdown is further evidence that western support for Israel is indeed based on shared values – those that treat the Palestinians as lesser beings, whose rights can be trampled at will.

Killing Tariq: Why We Must Rethink the Roots of Jewish Settlers Violence

Tariq Zabania

Seven-year-old Tariq Zabania from Al-Khalil (Hebron) was killed on the spot when an Israeli Jewish settler ran his car over him on July 15. Little Tariq’s photograph, lying face down on the road, was circulated on social media. His untimely death is heartbreaking.

Tariq’s innocent blood must not go in vain. For this to happen, we are morally obliged to understand the nature of Jewish settler violence, which cannot be viewed in isolation from the inherent racism in Israeli society as a whole.

We are all often guilty of perpetuating the myth that militant Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories are a different and distinct category from other Israelis who live beyond the so-called “Green Line”.

Undoubtedly, the violent mentality that propels Israeli society, wherever it is located, is not governed by imaginary lines but by a racist ideology, of which disciples can be found everywhere in Israel, not just in the illegal Jewish colonies of the West Bank.

Israel is a sick society and its ailment is not confined to the 1967 Occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

While Palestinians are imprisoned behind walls, fences and enclosed regions, Israelis are a different kind of prisoners, too. “A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness,” wrote the late anti-Apartheid hero and long-time prisoner, Nelson Mandela.

It is this racism and bigotry that makes Tariq invisible to most Israelis. For most Israelis, Palestinian children do not exist as real human beings, deserving of a dignified life of freedom. This callousness is a defining quality, common among all sectors of Israeli society — right, left and center.

An example is the terrorist attack carried out by Jewish settlers against the Palestinian Dawabshe family in the village of Duma, in the northern West Bank in July 2015, resulting in the death of Riham and Sa’ed, along with their 18-months old son, Ali. The only member of the family spared that horrific death was Ahmad, 4, who was severely burned.

This cruelty was further accentuated in the episodes that followed this criminal incident. Later that year, Israeli wedding guests were caught on tape while dancing with knives, chanting in celebration of the death of the Palestinian baby.

Three years later, as the Dawabshe family members were leaving an Israeli court, accompanied by Arab parliamentarians, they were greeted by a crowd of Israelis chanting “Where is Ali? Ali’s dead” and “Ali’s on the grill”.

The passing of time only cemented Israelis’ hatred of a little child whose only crime was his Palestinian identity.

The only survivor, Ahmad, was punished thrice: when he lost his whole family; with his severe burns and when he wasdenied compensation. The then Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, simply resolved that the boy was not a “terror victim.” Case closed.

Although the Dawabshes were killed by Jewish settlers, the Israeli court, army and political system all conspired to ensure the protection of the killers from any accountability.

This was no different in the case of Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who, on March 24, 2016, killed an unconscious Palestinian man in Hebron. In his defense, Azaria insisted that he was following army manual instructions in dealing with alleged attackers, while top Israeli government officials came out in droves to support him.

When Azaria was triumphantly released following only nine months in jail, he was hailed by many Israelis as a hero. Possibly, he will have a successful career in politics should he decide to pursue that route. In fact, he was courted by Israeli politicians to help them garner more votes in April’s general elections.

Condemning solely Jewish settlers while sparing the rest of Israeli society is equivalent to political whitewashing, one that presents Israel as a healthy society prior to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This view presents Jewish settlements as a cancerous disease that is eating up at the otherwise proud and noble achievements of early Zionists.

It is convenient to classify Jewish settlers as right-wing extremists and to link them with Israel’s ruling right-wing political parties. But history proves otherwise.

It was Israel’s Labor Party that created the settlement projects originally, soon after the colonization of the West Bank. Some of Israel’s largest, and most militant colonial enterprises, in occupied East Jerusalem — Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, Ramot and Armon Hanatziv – are all the creation of the Labor Party, not the Likud.

Neither is the ‘settler’ a new phenomenon. Historically, the early settlers who preceded the establishment of Israel in 1948 were idealized as true Zionists, celebrated as “cultural heroes” — the Jewish redeemers, who eventually ethnically cleansed historic Palestine from its native inhabitants.

“The original Labor movement,” wrote Amotz Asa-El in the Jerusalem Post, “never thought settling beyond the Green Line was illegal, much less immoral.” If there was any debate in Israel regarding settlements, it was never truly concerned with the issue of legitimacy or legality, but practicality: whether these colonial projects can be sustained or defended.

Protecting the settlements is now the overriding task of the Israeli occupation army. The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, which monitors the conduct of the Israeli army and Jewish settlers in the West Bank, explained the nature of this relationship in a report published in November 2017.

“Israeli security forces not only allow settlers to harm Palestinians and their property as a matter of course – they often provide the perpetrators escort and back-up. In some cases, they even join in on the attack,” B’Tselem wrote.

Another Israeli organization, Yesh Din, concluded in a report published earlier that 85% of cases involving settler violence against Palestinians are never pursued by law. Of the remaining cases, only 1.9% led to conviction, which is likely to be inconsequential.

Jewish settler violence should not be analyzed separately from the violence meted out by the Israeli army, but seen within the larger context of the violent Zionist ideology that governs Israeli society entirely.

This violence can only end with the end of the racist ideology that rationalizes murder, like that of little Tariq Zabania.

Why the Taliban Will Regain Power

Zaeef freed from Guantanamo

We are fed a load of tripe about the Taliban in the western press. They are portrayed as crude, illiterate, opium traffickers and murders. They are quite the opposite. They are, in the first place, a legend, which began in the 1980s when a movement to resist the lawlessness left by the collapse of the secular regime was formed by brave, uncorrupt ‘talibs’ like Abdul Salam Zaeef, one of the founders of the Taliban, coined by the BBC in 1994.

The ‘students’ were the educated branch of the native Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s, though there was never any interest or need for western style formal parties. Good, educated Muslim leaders were respected and consulted by all. Sectarian politics is alien to Muslim society, seen as divisive and even authoritarian, as proven time and again by majority-rule pseudo-democracies, as developed to meet the needs of regulating modern-day imperialism from the 19th century on.

Freedom fighters

Afghan society at a tribal-village level has traditionally operated on sharia law and consensus. When something needed to be done (i.e., a governance issue), people in the village worked out how to accomplish it and got on with it, albeit within limitations of tribal customs.

Technologically-driven capitalism doesn’t recognize this truly ‘democratic’ rule. So, apart from a handful of settler colonies, three centuries of colonialism were a spectacular failure. And the settler colonies? The natives were mostly exterminated, and ‘democracy’ of poor (mostly British) settlers gelled, with generous financial help from the mother country. Culminating in the absurdity, if not outright fascism, of US politics today, a settler colony gone berserk.

As Trump ponders how to extract the last of the troops from (hopefully) the last US colonial adventure, what to do with Reagan’s “freedom fighters” is a dilemma.

Reagan embraced the mujahideen in the heady 1980s, when the Cold War was at its peak, and the Islamic forces briefly were in sync with US imperialist objectives. As Ibrahim Haqqani1 told US journalist Jere Van Dyk, explaining why the once revered Taliban suddenly became the enemy, and have been murdered nonstop for almost two decades, “We haven’t changed, only the US has changed.”

Not strictly true, as Van Dyk points out in The Trade: My Journey into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping (2017). ‘You have suicide bombers and kidnappings as a racket.’ To which Haqqani could argue, ‘Yemenis have kidnapped people for centuries and kamikaze fighters are as old as warfare itself. We adopted them as tactics out of necessity.’ When all you have is your life to give, you give it. And kidnapping is certainly better than murder.

In The Trade, Van Dyk looks at the kidnappings by Islamists (including his own) in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. While kidnappings by Iraqi insurgents from 2004 on, and ISIS from 2014, have resulted in dozens of deaths of hostages, only a few dozen foreign hostages have been taken in Afghanistan, resulting in only a handful of deaths. Van Dyk points out that the Haqqani network, kidnapping-central, has not killed any foreign hostages. Kidnapping is called ‘the Trade’, and is to produce revenue and to get the release of Taliban prisoners. The risk is more of botched rescue missions and the pretense of ‘no negotiations with terrorists’.

The Taliban are more like the North American natives, who were mowed down by racist, greedy settlers. Those Americans like Van Dyk who admire these ‘freedom fighters’, even after his own harrowing two months as a hostage, are also rediscovering the real North American ‘freedom fighters’: not the storybook colonial militiamen fighting the nasty Brits, but the natives who resisted the invaders, those very colonists, and the abolitionist colonials, who fought against slavery.

If we add in the many Muslim immigrants to North America, we have the making of a cultural shift against the whole colonial narrative. No wonder Trump tried to ban all Muslims, and hounds and tortures Muslims at home and abroad. He senses the beginning of the end of the colonial confidence trick, and lashes out blindly.

The real plot line is not ‘we come to Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, wherever, to liberate natives from tyranny,’ but ‘we invade for geopolitical reasons to oppose those who resist US hegemony.’ And the fallout is the hordes of economic refugees trying to get a piece of the pie, now waiting impatiently at the colonial doorway to their stolen wealth.

Westerners who can join the dots will look for ways to help the underdog, the ‘good guys’. Some of these efforts are misguided (joining ISIS), but some, like Van Dyk’s, struggle to make sense of the new narrative, and even accept what the media depicts as ‘terrorism’ as legitimate forms of struggle, given the way the cards are stacked to favour the ‘bad guys’.

So we have John Lindh, who joined up with the Taliban in 2000 and was caught in the invaders’ crosshairs in 2001. His crime? Liking the Taliban, trying to help them build an Islamic society in the face of US hostility. Finally out of prison after 17 years, as pro-Taliban as ever.

Then there’s Bowe Bergdahl, who seems to have joined the army with the unconscious motive of defecting to the Taliban, bringing the invaders’ killing to a halt, and risking his life as a hostage to help give them a helping hand. It worked. He liberated 5 Taliban leaders from Guantanamo, and exposed the madness of the occupation, as documented in his biography, which is a litany of military cruelty, cynicism, infighting between the Pentagon, the CIA and FBI, and incredible waste. His 4 years of captivity kept the army et al busy looking for him, arguably making life under occupation more bearable for Afghans and even for US soldiers, who didn’t have to press the agenda of terror so forcefully.

There are other unsung western heroes of resistance to the US wars in the Muslim world, some of whom convert to Islam, just as some of the colonists in North America ‘went native’, embracing the native way of life, rejecting their appointed role as invader-colonizer.

The fact that the Afghans have continued to resist the invaders, despite the overwhelming military force opposing them, is an inspiration, not only to the other resistance forces in the West and the Muslim world, but to wealthy Gulf Arabs, who continue to finance the Taliban (and who despise their own Saudi overlords). A Taliban official told Van Dyk: Arabs respect us because we gave up everything to protect bin Laden and fight for our country. We have never given in and we are an inspiration to them.

Even as Obama hurriedly spirited the five Taliban officials out of Guantanamo to ensure the safe return of Bergdahl in 2016, he boasted of assassinating (by drone) Mullah Akhtar Mansour, leader of Taliban. Hold on. By initiating direct negotiations with the Taliban and making the prisoner exchange, doesn’t that mean you’re officially recognizing the Taliban and the Afghan Emirate? Is assassinating their leader a good way to instill confidence?

Founding an Islamic state

Abdul Salam Zaeef, who last served as ambassador to Pakistan (i.e., Afghanistan’s public face), lived through the Soviet and US invasions, capture by his Pakistani ‘brothers’, and Guantanamo hell. He came back to Afghanistan in 2006, but chose to live in Kabul in obscurity, insisting he was no longer interested in politics, and politely declining giving any advice to US occupiers or Afghan officials. They wouldn’t leave him in peace, and, fearing for his life, he fled to to the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

But if things move quickly, he and others like him will be able to step in and finally allow Afghanistan to heal. In any case, we can thank Zaeef for his courage both as a ‘good’ Taliban and as a chronicler. We are allowed inside the Taliban experience and can appreciate it for its basic sense of justice, divine justice.

In My Life with the Taliban (2010), Zaeef recounts his adventures as a mujahid. So many seemingly miraculous close-calls with bombs, snipers, ambushes, runaway tractors, duplicitous Pakistani officials … He is a methodical thinker and his story rings true. Taliban history is colourful enough without resorting to exaggeration.

They are the stuff of legend, like the Vietnamese a half century ago. They are the only uncorrupt force Afghanistan has left after 40 years of US meddling. Why don’t we know this? Because the Taliban are not following (and never have) the American agenda. Iran gets the same treatment. You can call yourself an Islamic state — as long as you follow US instructions (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan). In any case, our cynical culture would laugh at the simple ‘straight path’ narrative and worldview of Zaeef.

The last real Afghan leader before the Taliban’s Mullah Omar was Mohammad Najibullah, a sincere communist. He was educated as a doctor in Moscow and knew and respected Soviet (and progressive western) culture. And his lurking mujahideen enemy, waiting to pounce, knew and respected that, grudgingly. He could easily have left along with the Soviet troops in 1989, or later in 1992 when it was clear that without the Soviet Union, he was doomed. But he chose to stay, to die with honour. He was no wallflower.

On the contrary, he took the initiative and negotiated “cash-for-compliance”, self-government to local tribal leaders, financing them to work not against him, but with him. In western political jargon, a coalition government. Essentially, an alliance between the urban intelligentsia and the rural farmers.

No talk of land reforms or anti-niqab/birqa stuff. Just basic, uncorrupt law and order. For a while, it was a success. (Ask almost any Afghan who is old enough what the least-bad time was, and they will say ‘after the Russian troops left when Najibullah was the leader.’) A truce with the insurgent mujahideen remnants. Many fighters were tired of endless war and were happy to get on with life.

The pressure from the US-Pakistan-backed anti-communist crusade finally forced Najibullah to cede power in 1992, and he was eventually assassinated in 1996. Communism was dead, but the collapse of order meant a collapse not only of the economy but of morality, as looting, extortion, sexual license and rape took over. Having successfully destroyed Afghanistan, the American ‘allies’ lost interest.

What happened next reads like a modern day hijrah. Zaeef and friends  Abdul Qudus and Neda Mohammad decided to form a kind of citizens militia to resist the protection racket in their village. They appealed to others, distancing themselves from the decadent, chaotic post-communist nightmare.

Soon they had their own checkpoint and scared the village’s bandits away. Volunteers joined and began to unite with others as Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought about their peaceful return to Mecca (629–630), involving no plunder, and granting amnesty to their enemies.

What happened in 1994-6 was a repeat of that 7th century religious-political moment, redeeming a society out of violence and chaos, no less astounding in its speed of transformation, and resulting — in an instant — in the rule of peace (sharia).

The Taliban had given beauty to the region just as a flower can brighten even the most barren desert. Soon dozens of volunteers came to join us, and only a few days after the movement started it had over four hundred members. Many businessmen and traders began to donate money.

Suddenly thrust into western-style political power, the Taliban had neither the experience nor even the interest in state-building. They forged on, declared Afghanistan to be an emirate and used a literal application of sharia according to the Hanafi school.

After close to two decades of war, millions of lives lost, their public executions, stonings, etc shocked the West. But their successes in bringing peace, disarming the population, ending opium production were ignored. They faced sanctions from outside and opposition from the Dari ethnicity in the north and the Hazara. They struggled to suppress these rebellions. They were never implicated in bin Laden’s terrorism, but their efforts to reach an accommodation with the US were ignored, and the US used 9/11 as a pretext to invade.

Lessons

So the most obvious lesson is that Afghans will continue to look to the Taliban as the only honest force in Afghanistan, promising peace and sharia law. Mirwais Yasini, head of Hezb-i-Islami Khalis, now parliament’s first deputy speaker, told Van Dyk: I am positive they will return. I know the blood of our people. We need to bring civilizations closer together.

Zaeef hints at past mistakes and the actual program of the Taliban today. While the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhist cliff statues was “within the letter of the Islamic law,” he says it was “unnecessary”. As a loyal Taliban, he will not denounce his then-leader and friend, Mullah Omar, but he had no part of this decision.

Zaeef admires Ismail Khan, the Hazara warlord and sworn enemy of the Taliban, as the only warlord who used revenues to help his people. But he insists

In Afghanistan each ethnic group may only prosper if there is unity. No one can protect their national honour with selfishness … Afghans need to unite. Not let themselves and their children serve the Americans, killing other Afghans and being killed themselves.

Lesson two: Pakistan is the ‘gray eminence’ at work in Afghanistan. The Taliban are walking a minefield between Pakistan and the US with its puppet government in Kabul.

Pakistan is obsessed with India. During the 1980s, Pakistan used the jihad groups to wipe out Indian influence in Afghanistan. They were happy with the Taliban and with bin Laden. The stars of the Twin Towers bombings in 1993 and 2001 were  Pakistanis Ramzi Yusef and Ahmed Omar Sheikh, and there are lots of fingerprints, including harbouring bin Laden for a decade after 9/11.

So while Pakistan publicly announced that it was siding with the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, in reality it is keeping the Taliban alive, gambling on the eventual collapse of the Karzai-Ghani government, and its ability to control Afghanistan as their patron.

Their only betrayal was the 2010 capture of Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Baradar. But many believe Baradar’s removal from the scene suited elements in the Pakistani establishment, as he had been acting outside Pakistan’s control, holding secret peace talks with the Afghan government, and drifting closer to India.

The Taliban are not fools, and in power, will not follow Pakistan’s intrigues. The spectre of Pashtunistan will never go away. And just in case Trump thinks his faux peace talks are paying off, a suicide attack in early May 2019 in Pul-e-Khumri blew up the police station and killed 13 when talks produced nothing. And Kandahar police stations have been under constant attack since April 2019.

How sharia law will be practiced will be debated. In public statements, the Taliban have renounced support for al-Qaeda, and accepted girls’ education. The only way the West can help is through reconstruction under control of the uncorrupt Taliban.

Making peace with the Taliban

The US must give up its insistence on trying to push its own blanket electoral agenda on the Afghans. To not only respect Islam, but welcome it. “The Taliban was now a part of our family,” said Bowe Bergdahl’s mother Jani, as she waited stoically for news of her son. And she was just stating a fact and dealing with it, not rejecting or despising it.

Those embracing or at least admiring Islam in the West have seen through the moral swamp that they are growing up in. Lindh’s parents’ divorce was a turning point, his father announced he was gay, pushing John to look for a moral anchor in Islam. Our PC ‘cultural Marxism’ has produced a flat, dead world. Lindh and Bergdahl’s quests are a tonic, not something to belittle or, worse, punish.

The victory in Afghanistan will be when the US acknowledges its colonial sins, not only in Afghanistan, but around the world, and most importantly, at home, where the remnants of the real Americans, the natives, must be acknowledged, and their wisdom of loving and working in harmony to honour nature integrated into what remains of Turtle Island.

  1. Brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s senior military leader in Afghanistan. He approached the NATO forces in 2002 at the behest of Jalaluddin Haqqani and Abdul Jalil with an offer of peace, but was instead arrested and tortured. Upon his release, Ibrahim Haqqani was appointed a governor by Hamid Karzai.

Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis

History never truly retires. Every event of the past, however inconsequential, reverberates throughout and, to an extent, shapes our present, and our future as well

The haunting image of the bodies of Salvadoran father, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter, Valeria, who were washed ashore at a riverbank on the Mexico-US border cannot be understood separately from El Salvador’s painful past.

Valeria’s arms were still wrapped around her father’s neck, even as both lay, face down, dead on the Mexican side of the river, ushering the end of their desperate and, ultimately, failed attempt at reaching the US. The little girl was only 23-months-old.

Following the release of the photo, media and political debates in the US focused partly on Donald Trump’s administration’s inhumane treatment of undocumented immigrants. For Democrats, it was a chance at scoring points against Trump, prior to the start of presidential election campaigning. Republicans, naturally, went on the defensive.

Aside from a few alternative media sources, little has been said about the US role in Oscar and Valeria’s deaths, starting with its funding of El Salvador’s “dirty war” in the 1980s. The outcome of that war continues to shape the present, thus the future of that poor South American nation.

Oscar and Valeria were merely escaping ‘violence’ and the drug wars in El Salvador, many US media sources reported, but little was said of the US government’s support of El Salvador’s brutal regimes in the past as they battled Marxist guerrillas. Massive amounts of US military aid was poured into a country that was in urgent need for true democracy, basic human rights and sustainable economic infrastructure.

Back then, the US “went well beyond remaining largely silent in the face of human-rights abuses in El Salvador,” wrote Raymond Bonner in the Nation. “The State Department and White House often sought to cover up the brutality, to protect the perpetrators of even the most heinous crimes.”

These crimes, included the butchering of 700 innocent people, many of them children, by the US-trained Atlacatl Battalion in the village of El Mozote, in the northeastern part of the country. Leaving El Salvador teetering between organized criminal violence and the status of a failed state, the US continued to use the country as a vassal for its misguided foreign policy to this day. Top US diplomats, like Elliott Abraham, who channeled support to the Salvadoran regime in the 1980s carried on with a successful political career, unhindered.

To understand the tragic death of Oscar and Valeria in any other way would be a dishonest interpretation of a historical tragedy.

The dominant discourse on the growing refugee crisis around the world has been shaped by this deception. Instead of honestly examining the roots of the global refugee crisis, many of us often oscillate between self-gratifying humanitarianism, jingoism or utter indifference. It is as if the story of Oscar and Valeria began the moment they decided to cross a river between Mexico and the US, not decades earlier. Every possible context before that decision is conveniently dropped.

The politics of many countries around the world have been shaped by the debate on refugees, as if basic human rights should be subject to discussion. In Italy, the ever-opportunistic Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has successfully shaped a whole national conversation around refugees.

Like other far-right European politicians, Salvini continues to blatantly manipulate collective Italian fear and discontent regarding the state of their economy by framing all of the country’s troubles around the subject of African migrants and refugees. 52% of Italians believe that migrants and refugees are a burden to their country, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

Those who subscribe to Salvini’s self-serving logic are blinded by far-right rhetoric and outright ignorance. To demonstrate this assertion, one only needs to examine the reality of Italian intervention in Libya, as part of the NATO war on that country in March 2011.

Without a doubt, the war on Libya, justified on the basis of a flawed interpretation of United Nations Resolution 1973, was the main reason behind the surge of refugees and migrants to Italy, en-route to Europe.

According to the Migration Policy Center, prior to the 2011 war, “outward migration was not an issue for the Libyan population.” This changed, following the lethal NATO war on Libya, which pushed the country squarely into the status of failed states.

Between the start of the war on March 19 and June 8, 2011, 422,912 Libyans and 768,372 foreign nationals fled the country, according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM). Many of those refugees sought asylum in Europe. Salvini’s virulent anti-refugee discourse is bereft of any reference to that shameful, self-indicting reality.

In fact, Salvini’s own Lega party was a member of the Italian coalition which took part in NATO’s war on Libya. Not only is Salvini refusing to acknowledge his country’s role in fostering the current refugee crisis, but he is designating as an ‘enemy‘ humanitarian GOs that are active in rescuing stranded refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHRC), an estimated 2,275 people drowned while attempting to cross to Europe in 2018 alone. Thousands of precious lives, like those of Oscar and Valeria, would have been spared, had NATO not intervened on the pretext of wanting to save lives in Libya in 2011.

According to UNHRC, as of June 19, 2019, there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide; of them, 41.3 million are internally displaced people, while 25.9 million are refugees who crossed international borders.

Yet, despite the massive influx of refugees, and the obvious logic between political meddling (as in El Salvador) and military intervention (as in Libya), no western government is yet to accept any moral – let alone legal – accountability for the massive human suffering underway.

Italy, France, Britain, and other NATO members who took part in bombing Libya in 2013 are guilty of fueling today’s refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. Similarly, the supposedly random ‘violence’ and drug wars in El Salvador must be seen within the political context of misguided American interventionism. Were it not for such violent interventions, Oscar, Valeria and millions of innocent people would have still been alive today.

Why are Anti-Migrant Arguments in the E.U., U.S. Pure Hypocrisy?

Almost every day we read about the latest outbursts in Europe, targeting pro-immigration policies. There are protests, even riots. Right-wing governments get voted in, allegedly, because the Europeans “have had enough of relaxed immigration regulations”.

That is what we are told. That’s what we are supposed to understand, and even sympathize with. Anti-immigration sentiments are even pitched to the world as something synonymous with the desire of Europeans “to gain independence from Brussels and the elites”. The right-wing, often racist, spoiled and selfish proletariat is portrayed by many as a long-suffering, hard-working group of people, with progressive aspirations.

If seen from a distance, such arguments are outrageous and even insulting; at least to the billions of those who have already lost their lives, throughout history; victims of the European and North American expansionist genocides. And to those individuals who have, until this day, had their motherlands ruined, livelihoods destroyed, political will violated, and in the end, free and unconditional entry denied; entry into those very countries that keep violating all international laws, while spreading terror and devastation to virtually all corners of the world.

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In this essay, let us be as concrete as possible. Let us be brief.

I declare from the start, that every African person, every Asian, every citizen of the Middle East and every Latin American (how perverse this very name “Latin” and “America” is, anyway) should be able to freely enter both Europe and North America. Furthermore, he or she should be then allowed to stay for as long as desired, enjoying the free benefits and all those goodies that are being relished by Westerners.

To back this statement, here are several (but not all) basic moral and logical arguments:

First of all, Europe and North America do not belong to their people. They belong to the people from all corners of the globe. In order to build the so-called West, close to one billion (cumulatively, according to my friends, the UN statisticians) had to die, throughout modern and the not so modern history. Virtually everything, from theatres, schools, hospitals, parks, railroads, factories and museums, have been built, literally, on the bones and blood of the conquered peoples. And nothing much has really changed to these days. Europe and later North America invaded almost the entire planet; they looted, killed, enslaved and tortured. They robbed the world of everything, and gave back nothing, except religion and a servile and toxic bunch of ‘elites’, who are continuously plundering their countries, on behalf of the West. Therefore, Europe and North America were built on credit, and now this credit is due.

Secondly, the Western culture, without any competition, is the most violent civilization on earth. I repeat, without any competition. It cannot be defeated militarily, without further losses; losses which could be easily counted in billions of human lives. Therefore, the only possibility of how to reduce the scale of further global tragedies is to ‘dilute’ the West and its fundamentalist culture of racial and cultural superiority. The fact that Westerners are now in minority in such cities like London or New York, has not fully stopped the U.K. and U.S.A. from committing monstrous crimes, attacking and pillaging foreign countries. But were Europe and North America still homogeneous, there would hardly be any free, independent country left anywhere in the world. Migration to the West is helping, at least to some extent, to save the world. Migrants, from the first and oldest generations, demand that the voices of non-westerners, would be listened to, at least some extent.

Furthermore, and this is, of course, a well-known argument: the only reason why people from previously wealthy countries like Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Iran or Syria are forced to emigrate, is because their nations were either bombed back to the Stone Age, or destroyed through sadistic sanctions. Why? So, there would be change of the government, and instead of local citizens, the profits from natural resources would benefit Western corporations. Also, of course, in order to prevent the “Domino Effect”. The West hates the idea of the “Domino Effect”: read, the regional or global influence of Communist, socialist or progressive governments which would be determined to improve the lives of their people. West needs obedient, frightened slaves, not great heroes and bright thinkers! To stop the “Domino Effect”, millions had to die in the 1965 coup in Indonesia, in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, to name just a few unfortunate nations. If you come to a rich, socially-balanced nation, rob it of everything, overthrow its government, and reduce it to a ‘failed state’, in order for your own nation and people to prosper, would you be shocked if some of its people were to decide to try to follow the resources that you have stolen; meaning, moving to your own country?

The reason why people in the West do not follow this train of logic is simply because they are thoroughly ignorant; trying extremely hard, for decades and centuries, to remain blind. If they claim ignorance, they don’t have to act. They can just enjoy the loot, without paying the price. It is simple, isn’t it?

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Are those right-wing voters in the U.K., in Hungary, in Greece, France and Italy, as well as in other EU countries, really so blind, or so morally corrupt, that they do not see the reality?

Do they expect to have a ‘free ride’ for another century or two?

Do they teach history in European schools? I wonder. And if they do, what kind of history? I was shocked to realize that even some of my Spanish friends who are working for the United Nations, have absolutely no clue about the barbarity their country had committed in Central and South America. Or Portugal, in what is now Brazil or Cape Verde.

Now, the Italians with their Northern League (oh yes, “anti-establishment”, they love to say) firmly in government, are criminalizing people who are helping the ‘boat people’ sailing from Libya and other devastated African countries (mainly ruined by France and other EU nations) to reach Italian shores. Good ‘working people’ would rather if the refugees sank in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, as hundreds and thousands already have. And this anti-immigration rhetoric is actually being glorified as ‘brave’ and ‘anti-establishment’. How beastly, how low, the European culture continues to be. It was always ultra-violent and aggressive, but now it is also shallow, illogical and fanatic. It is not racist anymore. It is far beyond that. It is turbo-racist, monstrously selfish. I often describe it as ‘fundamentalist’, not unlike what one encounters in the so-called ‘logic’ of movements such as ISIS and al Nusra.

In the U.S.A., the situation is not much better. Wall on the Mexican border? Study your history! The United States robbed half of Mexico, through expansionist wars. Most of migrants who are crossing the border illegally, are actually not Mexicans (Mexico is, with all its social problems, an OECD country), but from impoverished Central American nations. And why are these nations impoverished? Every time they democratically elect their progressive governments which would be ready to work on behalf of the people, the U.S. immediately applies its fascist dictatorial “Monroe Doctrine”, overthrows the government, injects right-wing death-squads, forces privatization, and strips the country of everything, like a locust. Don’t the people from Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras or Dominican Republic, have the full right to follow the loot, too, and settle near it, in the United States?

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The Western doctrine is simple and at the same time, absolutely irrational. It is not defined, but if it were, it would read like this: “We can attack, rob, migrate wherever we choose to. Because we are white, Christian people with a superior culture and much better weapons than everyone else. No other reason, but this should suffice. Other people have to stay away, far away. Or else! If they disobey, they will be sunk by the Italians, beaten with rubber hoses on the open seas by the Greeks. Walls will be built, and people concentrated in repulsive camps, like what is being done if refugees try to cross from the south to North America.”

Oh, North America, where predominately first but also second and other generations of Europeans hunted down local native people like animals. Where the great majority of the First Nation died horrible deaths. Where the native people, in the U.S.A. and Canada, are often forced to live, to this day, in total destitution. North America, but also Australia – the same culture, same pattern, same ‘logic’.

And after murdering native people, what came next? Millions of Africans, in chains, brought as slaves by the Europeans, to build “the new world”. Men tortured and robbed of their dignity. Women tied in the fields and raped, day after day, by white plantation owners. Democracy. Freedom. Western-style.

Does such a ‘nation’, like the United States, have any moral right to decide who should cross its borders, and who to settle on its territory?

I don’t think so. Do you?

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Things can be very different. Look at Russia during the Soviet Union. It never occupied the Central Asian republics. They joined voluntarily, and if you talk to people in Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan, a great majority would happily join Russia, again; almost all feel nostalgic about the Soviet Union.

During the USSR, Moscow made sure that the standards of living in Tajikistan or Kirgizstan were almost the same as in Russia.  Instead of plundering, Russia provided great subsidies and internationalist support.

And then, after the Soviet Union was destroyed by external forces, (the arms race with the West and by Western propaganda), the country broke into several independent states. And the flow of migrants began.

Russia never closed its borders. Travel from Central Asia (destabilized by Washington) to now rich Russia is easy. Millions of people from the former Soviet republics are happily working all over the Russian Federation. And there is no ‘moral obligation’ that the Russian state has towards them. All this is actually just common sense, respect for shared history and values, and normal human kindness.

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Some will say, what the West did, it all happened long time ago. But no, it did not. It is still happening now, right now.

Of course, if you are frying your brains in some pub or club in London, or if you are sitting in a posh café in Paris, you would never think so. All you want is to be left alone, and to live your suave European life. A life built on the bones and blood of hundreds of millions of victims.

Huge and super-rich Europe cannot accommodate even one million of people flowing from the ruined Middle East? Seriously? Tiny Lebanon managed to survive an influx of 2 million refugees at the height of so-called “Syrian crises”. Crime rate did not skyrocket, country did not collapse. You know why? Because Lebanese people have heart and decency. While the West has nothing of that nature.

If your family became rich because it was robbing and murdering, would you want to return the booty? Would you open the doors to those whom your parents and brothers tortured and pillaged? Some would. After opening their eyes, they would. But not the West. It only takes. It never gives. It hates those who give. It smears, even attacks all decent nations.

The horrors are still happening right now, in devastated Afghanistan, a country reduced to ashes, after being designated as a training base for the fundamentalists ready to infiltrate and damage China, Russia, former Soviet Central Asia republics, Iran and Pakistan. I work there, I know. Or Syria. I work there too. Or Venezuela, one of my favorite countries on earth. And the list goes on and on.

I cannot anymore read those self-righteous, hypocritical outbursts, coming from the British, French, Italian, North American and Greek voters who only want benefits, while choosing to remain blind to the global genocides their regime is committing all over the world.

These people could not care less about who pays for their welfare, or how many millions die supplying them with their privileges.

They want more. They always complain “how poor and exploited they are”. They do not want to stop neo-colonialism. They only desire more money and better living conditions for themselves. “We are all humans”, they say. “We are all victims”. And then they vote in the extreme right-wing, and demand that the “refugees” be kept out.

They have blood on their hands. And most of them are not victims, but victimizers. They are not internationalists. Just mini-imperialists, selfish products of their culture of colonialism.

The West has to open the doors to the world which has been devastated during the long centuries.

Some people ‘outside’ have been literally turned into beggars, so the West could thrive.

‘Political correctness’ in London or New York lies, saying how wonderful the world outside is. No! It is not. Much of it is poor, gangrenous, horrid! Disgusting. Because it was made like that. Because it was beaten, violated, and robbed for centuries.

These people, the true victims, are demanding only two things: to be left alone and to be allowed to build their own nations, without Western military interventions, without self-serving NGO’s and Western-controlled U.N. agencies. That’s one.

Two, to go when they want to go, where their stolen riches are!

Either they will be let in, compensated and asked for forgiveness, or they will do what is their right: break the gates!

First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook

Embassy Protection Collective: We’re Still Here And We’re Staying

The Embassy Protection Collective formed on April 10, the day after the Trump administration manipulated the Organization of American States (OAS) to change the rules so they could recognize their puppet, Juan Guaido, as president of Venezuela. The OAS could not get the required two-thirds vote to recognize a government so they changed the rules to a mere majority and barely got that. By then, the US had allowed their Guaido coup forces to take the Venezuelan military attaché building in Washington, DC and three diplomatic offices in New York City.

The Trump administration is allowing extreme violent right-wing Guaido supporters to blockade the embassy. Despite a standoff in the last week, we had a series of victories over those forces and remain steadfast protectors of the embassy.

Surround the embassy with love and resistance

We adopted a theme song for the Embassy Protection Collective, “We’re Still Here” by Holly Neer. The chorus begins with:

We’re Still Here
Choosing Love Over Fear
When the Lines Are All Drawn
We’re Still Here

Challenges and Victories

We woke up on April 30 to the news that Juan Guaido was going to attempt a coup again, which made us wonder why he needs to conduct a coup if he is the “president.” We were alerted by our Venezuelan allies that this second coup attempt would be easily defeated, which it was, but to expect coup-supporters in the US to protest at the embassy.

In fact, the extremist Venezuelan coup supporters showed up that morning and tried to take over the steps in front of the building. A team of embassy protectors took a stand on the steps and stopped them from taking over the entry. More violent extremists showed up throughout the day, causing police to erect a barricade between us in front of the embassy. We sang almost non-stop to keep ourselves from engaging with them while they blew sirens and other loud noises and insulted and threatened us shouting racist and misogynist comments and using lewd gestures. Police refused to pass food and water to us or to allow our allies into the space in front of the embassy. We held that space through the night by taking shifts.

In the courtyard behind the embassy, the pro-coup forces harassed, intimidated, threatened and assaulted our allies outside who bravely prevented them from entering the building while folks inside set up reinforcements to stop them from coming in the door. This lasted until 1:00 in the morning.

The next day, May 1, we agreed to cede the front steps if the police would protect the front porch and doors from damage. We moved inside to focus on protecting the embassy from within, thinking the police would honor their duty to protect the embassy from harm. That afternoon, Carlos Vecchio, Guaido’s fake “ambassador” showed up, with the intention of taking over the embassy.

We were ready for him to enter and be forced to remove us. As he came to the front porch to speak, we stood resolute behind him holding signs and chanting, ‘No Coup.’ When he began to speak, we cut off the power to his sound system and out-shouted him. Vecchio was forced to flee, chased by reporter Anya Parampil who asked him, “Where are you going next, the White House?”  A representative vaguely told the crowd they were “working on a process to evict us.” The coup failed in Venezuela on April 30, and failed again in Washington, DC on May 1.

Parampil

✔ @anyaparampil

Anya Parampil

✔ @anyaparampil

Watch @carlosvecchio’s staff fail to answer what they plan to do from within the Maduro government’s embassy, considering they won’t even be able to issue visas.

Also can’t answer why their colleagues attended a DC think tank meeting to plan for the invasion of Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/xHXWc7bRua

The coup supporters started setting up tents around the embassy that night and blocking our people from entering the building as police stood by and did nothing. When members of CODE PINK brought food the next day, surrounded by clergy, they were stopped from delivering it. Two allies, Ariel Gold of CODE PINK and Chris Herz tossed bread and other foods onto a patio to us. They were arrested and charged with “hurling missiles” at a building.

We pushed back at police for not allowing the food in, and they provided a blockade for our members to come down and get the groceries. Coup supporters stole hundreds of dollars worth of the food. We were also able to get some medications in that day for people who required it. Since then, we have struggled to get supplies. When we lowered a rope from a window and successfully brought up four bags of food, the coup supporters rushed a barricade and assaulted our allies. It was our people who were threatened with arrest even though they were the ones who were knocked to the ground.

An older gentleman from the neighborhood wanted to bring us toothbrushes and toothpaste. He was swarmed by the violent extremists. When he tried to pass between two people to get to the door, he was thrown to the ground violently and seriously injured. He was arrested, not the ones who threw him down. It has become common for police to arrest the victims of assault, not the people who committed the assault.

These seem to be US-trained regime change operatives who use violence, psy-ops and and intimidation against us. Some are Nicaraguans and Cubans, not Venezuelans. They have unlimited resources. They are constantly bringing in more supplies. From early in the morning, we are surrounded by them and subjected to their sirens, banging of pots and pans, loud music, taunts and threats of physical harm.

They have tried to break in numerous times. They drilled through a door to the garage and damaged the lift gate with a sledgehammer. On Friday night, they banged on the doors so hard for hours that they were damaging them. We had to fortify the old wooden doors so they would not break through. The Secret Service watched while they did it and not only let them but refused to say they would protect our safety. When we called them, they said we should ask the Venezuelan government for help. It took hundreds of calls from supporters to get them to stop.

The Secret Service is allowing them to do all they can to intimidate us very likely under orders from the White House. They want the extremists to frighten us so we leave the embassy. Their actions have had the opposite effect. They have united us in our determination to protect the embassy.

Despite being barricaded in the building and cut off from access to supplies, we are victorious. We are still here and there is little chance of eviction because we are violating no laws. We have built a powerful and united community that works together to protect the embassy and to keep the violent extremists and Trump administration out.

Surrounding the Embassy with Love and Resistance

The Trump administration realizes that entering the Venezuelan Embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention would set a precedent that could put US embassies around the world at risk. As a result, they are allowing right-wing extremists to harass and threaten us and try to starve us out. That is their only hope of taking over the embassy.

We refuse to give in no matter what they do. Our lawyers are making sure there is a record of the incidents, which we have in large part due to our embedded media, Anya Parampil of The Grayzone Project and Alex Rubinstein of Mintpress News. We also have to give a shout out to TeleSur, who was embedded with us until the pro-coup forces arrived and now is providing coverage from the outside. Allies outside are identifying the pro-coup actors. We wrote to the State Department and Secret Service about the violence and have told them we will hold decision-makers and police officers responsible for their actions.  But mostly, we have responded to these intimidation tactics in solidarity and have strengthened our resolve to protect the embassy.

A highlight of the week for us, after many difficult days, was to see hundreds of Embassy Protectors show up outside yesterday. They chanted with us and sang. We ended the night with revolutionary music blasting from the second floor embassy windows and dancing together even though they were on the sidewalk across the street and we were inside the embassy. The extremists’ banging of pots, strobe lights and blasting sirens at us only added to the festive atmosphere.

Today, more Embassy Protectors returned to show solidarity and express their love. We also started receiving many messages of solidarity and appreciation from individuals and social movements in Venezuela. This means the world to us. We are surrounded by violent, right-wing, regime change forces who are trying to wear us down. These are the same actors who held violent protests in Nicaragua and Venezuela. They are making death threats, threatening women with rape and mocking us, all in a posh Georgetown neighborhood. It is surreal.

We recall the mass mobilizations in Charlottesville, Boston and New York when right-wing, racist, misogynist hate-filled people came there and urge that mass resistance to join us now. This is a critical struggle. If the embassy is overtaken, it will set us on a path to war in Venezuela, and chaos and devastation to the region. If we can continue to protect the embassy, Venezuela and the United States will have time to negotiate with third countries to serve as protectorates for their embassies and this could begin a path to peace. Perhaps Trump will even see that the Bolton-Abrams-Pompeo team has misled him and reverse the disastrous policy course he is on. There is no reason to steal Venezuela’s resources, the US should respect Venezuelan sovereignty and negotiate agreements as has been done previously.

We are asking people to come to DC to surround this embassy with love and resistance. Let’s show that love will prevail.

If you absolutely can’t come to DC, please contact your member of Congress to make them aware of the situation. Tell them:

  1. The US is required to protect embassies under the Vienna Convention, but is allowing the Venezuelan Embassy to be damaged when the Secret Service could easily protect it.
  2. The United States’ coup in Venezuela has failed. Maduro is the legitimate elected President of Venezuela and is recognized by the United Nations and over 140 countries.
  3. The Secret Service is violating the human rights of the Embassy Protectors by failing to ensure safe passage in and out of the embassy and access to supplies. We are literally under siege.
  4. Review the Declaration of the Embassy Protection Collective and sign on to show your support.

And finally, please make a donation as we have incurred many unexpected costs for this mobilization.

Venceremos!

Islamic State Celluloid

Nothing turns on the charlatan class of terrorism expertise than a video from an elusive, unknown destination, adjusted, modified and giving all the speculative trimmings.  In reading, E.B. White suggested the presence of two participants: the author as impregnator; the reader as respondent.  In the terrorism video, the maker consciously penetrates the shallow mind of the recipient, leaving its gurgling DNA to grow and mutate.

When Islamic State began its gruesome foray into the world of terrorist snuff videos, experts resembled overly keen cinephiles seeking the underlying message of a new wave.  The burning of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh in a cage in 2015 caused a certain rapture amongst members of a RAND panel.  Was this, perhaps, a celluloid standoff with rival al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose affiliates had just slaughtered the staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in their Parisian offices?

Senior Adviser to the RAND President, Brian Michael Jenkins, could not “recall a single incident in modern terrorism where terrorists deliberately killed a hostage with fire.”  There was “no religious basis for it this side of 17th century witch burning.”  Senior political scientist Johan Blank turned to scripture, finding “at least one specific prohibition of death by fire in the ahadith literature” on “the grounds that it resembled hellfire.”  The inspiration had to stem from somewhere, and Blank’s judicious offering was Ibn Taymiyyah, “fountainhead of much current jihadi reinterpretation of longstanding Islamic orthodoxy.”  Andrew Liepman, senior policy analyst, saw the video as a lucid moment of proof. “I wonder how much more evidence we need to confirm that ISIS is acting outside the norms of Islam.” Not modish, it would seem.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, has begun to resemble, in no small part, previous heads of franchise terrorist groups who have become reproductions and simulacra of themselves.  Terrorism is big business, stage sets and props, all tweeted for good measure; it is bestial theatre that draws out the voyeurs, the google-eyed analysts, and the lunatic converts.  Whether such heads are dead or not is of little consequence past a certain point: Baghdadi had supposedly been dead yet his corpse seems more than capable of putting together a presentation for audiences.  It is also incumbent on those seeking his capture or death to claim his general irrelevance.  Everyone did know one thing: the last time he gave a public performance was the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul in July 2014.

The video, aired on the Al Furqan network, is filmed in appropriately Spartan surrounds, but that is neither here nor there.  Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi thinks otherwise linking, erroneously, the making of the film with the current location of the protagonist.  “Regarding the location of Baghdadi, we can’t give intelligence information right now but it’s clear from the video that he’s in a remote area.”  As is the fashion, neither the date nor the authenticity of the recording is verifiable.  All else is a wonder, and even the Middle East Monitor is careful to suggest that the speaker was “a bearded man with Baghdadi’s appearance”.

Baghdadi lacks complexity in his message, never straying from the apocalyptic line.  “Our battle today is a battle of attrition, and we will prolong it for the enemy, and they must know that the jihad will continue until Judgment Day.” He is mindful of the fruitful carnage inflicted by the Easter Sunday bombers in Sri Lanka, and thanks them.  Such acts, he reasons, were retribution for the loss of Baghouz in Syria.

The speculations duly form a queue, and talking heads have been scrambled into studios and Skype portals.  This video may have been a retort, and reassurance, before the potential usurping moves of another ISIS figure of seniority, Abu Mohammed Husseini al-Hashimi.  Hashimi had staked a claim in stirring up discontent against Baghdadi’s more extreme tyrannical methods.  Not that he is averse to the application of hudud punishments (stoning for adultery excites him), and the quaint notion that the ruler of any Islamic State caliphate is bound to be a successor to the prophet Muhammed.  Modesty is a drawback in such line of work.

Colin P. Clarke, senior fellow at the Soufan Centre, aired his views that Baghdadi’s “sudden appearance will very likely serve as both a morale boost for ISIS supporters and remaining militants and as a catalyst for individuals or more groups to act.”  It was a reassurance that he remained the grand poohbah, atop “the command-and-control network of what remains of the group, not only in Iraq and Syria, but more broadly, in its far-flung franchises and affiliates.”

The teasing out and ponderings on minutiae are not far behind.  Resting upon a flowered mattress, and leaning against a cushion with an assault rifle by his side (nice touch for the old fox), it was bound to have an effect. The expansive beard caught the eye: The Washington Post noted that it “has greyed since his only other video appearance”. Previously, the paper noted, it had been “tinted with henna”.  Then there was the AK-74 prop, a rather popular Kalashnikov variant reprised from previous showings in the video work of Abu Musab Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden.

Such superficial renderings, the stuff of terrorism kitsch, lends itself to fundamental fact that Baghdadi might be somewhere, anywhere, or nowhere, a nonsense figure, to a degree, in a nonsense medium.  The modern terrorist franchise is fluid and far-reaching.  Followers need not feel estranged.  They can use social media, cosy-up and wait for eschatological endings.

The pioneer of this terror mania (global yet local) was al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, a figure who, along with his sparring counterpart US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, formed a perfect symmetry of simulative nonsense, the gobbledygook of post-2011 security.  Each time US forces and their allies sought to target the slippery Saudi, he vanished.  The raid and bombing of the Tora Bora complex in Afghanistan yielded no returns; the man was nowhere to be seen, having escaped, possibly, in female garb. Sightings, and rumoured killings, remained regular till the penultimate slaying in Abbottabad in May 2011.  The man, declared dead on numerous occasions, was Lazarus in reverse.

Rumsfeld, for his part, insisted on those known knowns, known unknowns and “things we do not know we don’t know”. Unwittingly, he had given the age its aptly absurd epitaph, and with that, much work and fare for the witch doctors of terrorism keen to gorge upon the next video offering from their beloved subjects.  Ignorance in this case, not knowledge, is power.

Sri Lanka: Candidate for a New NATO Base?

Sri Lanka, Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019: More than half a dozen bomb blasts shook the country killing from 250 to more than 350 people. Depending on who counts, the death toll varies. The devastation took place in several catholic churches and luxury hotels. Other explosions, including from – what they say – are suicide bombers, have since killed another several dozens of people. Many are children, women – christian worshippers. Why the luxury hotels? Western (Christian) tourists?

Yesterday, another explosion ripped through a suspicious building, killing 18, including children and women. Again, they, the ‘authorities’, say suicide bombers, who didn’t want their ‘cache’ to be discovered. Conveniently they are all dead – the “suicide bombers”. Nobody can ask them any questions.

There was a lot of confusion, and still is, all through Sri Lanka. Nobody claimed credit for the massacres. There were rumors that Sri Lanka’s President received warnings ahead of the attacks from foreign intelligence, but ignored them. The President denies these allegations. And the explosions continue.

Finally, the verdict is in. The culprits are an Islamic terrorist group, associated with ISIS. What else is new?

Sri Lanka’s population is composed of about 70% Buddhists, 13% Hindus, almost 10% Muslims, mainly Sunni, the Salafi version, and about 7% Christians. The New York Times reports that the accused mastermind of the terror attacks was strongly influenced by Wahhabism, the same extreme hardliners that control most of Saudi Arabia.

Hatred between religions seems on the rise. In New Zealand a few weeks ago a white supremacist assaulted a mosque, killing 50. This past weekend, a shooting in a Synagogue near San Diego, California, killed a woman. The murderer said he was inspired by the New Zealand massacre. Are these spontaneous, interreligious mini-wars part of a foreign directed ‘divide to conquer’ effort, a strategy that has been used by empires for centuries, but seems to be alive and well with the current Washington based empire?

MintPress News reports that “Sri Lanka Easter attacks are the handiwork of terrorists returning from fighting in Syria, practicing the Saudi-backed Wahhabi Salafist ideology,” adding, though not confirmed yet, they, [the attacks], are in keeping with the modus operandi of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi terrorism worldwide. [The] Saudi sponsorship of Salafi Wahhabi dogma [is found] across the globe. From Boko Haram to ISIS, and from the Taliban to Al Qaeda, a common ideological thread runs through these terror groups. This is the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi Salafi ideology whose South Asian counterpart is Deobandi.  For abbreviation purposes, it is becoming increasingly common to term this interconnected ideology as WSD (Wahhabi Salafi Deobandi).”

May we expect a wave of Saudi-sponsored WSD terrorism in the east too?  Is the horror Saudi government protected by the US, because it does its bidding? And this bidding leads to making gradually Islam extremism the justification for NATO bases around the globe?  Perhaps in Sri Lanka, tomorrow? So far Sri Lanka is clean from NATO. Sri Lanka has not even an association agreement with NATO.

Just look at the world-geostrategic location of Sri Lanka, linking the Arabian Sea with the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka may also have a direct, open-sea connection with the small British island of Diego Garcia, in the Chagos Archipelago, north-east of Madagascar. Diego Garcia hosts the US’s largest Navy base outside the American Continent. Many of the drone killings in Yemen, Syria and other places in the Middle East originate from Diego Garcia. The “civil war” in Syria was (and still is) largely directed from Diego Garcia, as well as from Djibouti.

Wouldn’t it be logical for NATO to set up base in Sri Lanka to control South East Asia? Saudi guided WSD attacks would create the necessary chaos justifying all the AngloZionist secret services – plus NATO – to descend on Colombo to create further protests and anarchy, a never-ending internal strife, giving the war industry a new never-ending flow of profit, hence, further justifying the never-ending war on terror and thereby moving yet an inch closer to Full Spectrum Dominance over Mother Earth and her hapless spectators — what western humanity has become — a bunch of complacent consumers, drenched in turbo-capitalist market ideology, too comfortable to go on the barricades.

The key and engine to all of this is NATO, whose modus operandi is killing for a living, for dominance and for profit. If there is ever to be Peace, and that’s what the vast majority of the inhabitants of this globe wants – I’m not exaggerating pretending that 99.99% of world population wants to live in peace – then NATO must go. NATO must be dismantled.

So, Europe which has the largest membership in NATO (27 out of 29 nations) has to put the money where her mouth is: Europe calls for Peace, Europe claims to be Peace-loving – really? Then put your money into creating Peace – pulling out of NATO, refusing at once to fund this killing machine under the pretext of “protecting Europe”. Protecting Europe from what? From whom? Not from Russia, despite all the highly propagandized and highly corporate-funded Russiagate/Russia phobia, exacerbated by a new artificially implanted fear – China. These countries have no history of expansion, like the west.

They only seek friendly relations of trade, of transport, cultural and research interconnectivity within the supercontinent, Eurasia, and ultimately, they promote a multi-polar world. The best example is the Chinese President Xi’s ingenuity, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that just finished its highly successful forum in Beijing, where more than 120 nations signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) and cooperation agreements with China for tens of billions of dollars equivalent. What a way of cooperating, instead of sowing western-style belligerence.

Europe and the rest of the world is not in danger, except in danger of itself for being a vassal of the US and for hosting 30-plus NATO bases which would be first in the line of fire, if the east is forced to defend itself from that permanent Pentagon-NATO driven aggression.

Europe withhold your funding for NATO, get out of NATO, dismantle NATO NOW, before NATO sets up yet another base in Asia, before NATO spreads more death around the globe.

• First published by the New Eastern Outlook – NEO

Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings

The number of dead is bound to rise, already standing at more than three hundred.  The bombs, worn by seven suicide bombers, struck at three churches during the period of Easter Sunday worship, and three hotels.  As the dead were counted and the wounded accounted for, the situation through the glass darkly was a troubled one.  Information relayed had either been ignored or discounted. In some cases, it never reached necessary recipients.

While the individuals behind the bombings were hardly forthcoming about their handiwork, there were suggestions as early as April 4 from Indian security sources that one group was readying to initiate various attacks.  National Thowheeth Jama’ath, an Islamic group, had piqued the interest of police enough to lead to the identification of members and their addresses on April 11.

One of the suicide bombers, it transpired, had also been arrested some few months prior on suspicion of vandalizing a statue of Buddha.  Such acts of serious desecration were not alien to the NTJ; the use of bombings on such scale was, however, not their forte.

On Monday, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, confirmed what had already been a fast held suspicion: even after the warning of April 4, the prime minister and his associates had been “completely blind to the situation.”

The picture painted by the minister seemed a gruesome admission of defiance in the face of detailed warnings.  Intelligence agencies had “informed, from time to time, starting from April 4, 48 hours before the attacks and finally ten minutes before the tragedy struck.  They gave warnings about a possible attack on April 4 for the first time.”  From then on, the National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis kept the Inspector General Police (IGP) abreast of the “imminent attacks” having “actually informed that an organisation called ‘Thowheed Jamath’ planned suicide attacks and had even mentioned their names.”

Scenes of confusion and dangerously comic dysfunction unfolded in the government.  Despite various organs being informed about the threat – the ministerial security division (MSD), the judicial security division, and security divisions of former presidents and the Diplomatic Security Unit, there was a failure, according to Senaratne, “to warn the Prime Ministerial Security Division (PMSD) and the Presidential Security Division (PSD) of the attacks.”  When the PM attempted to convene a security council meeting, no one turned up.  When the President had made a previous effort to do the same thing, there was a delay of 20 minutes.  He had to “sit in the State Defence Minister’s room for some time.”  Nor was the Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga, briefed.  “Unfortunately, I did not know anything about it.”

Efforts to minimise, contain and deflect have become standard fare, with blithe ignorance forming the central defence.  Rich lashings of blame are also in full circulation.  This gives the air of monstrous acceptance: we bungled, but haven’t we before?  Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, on Monday, felt that the intelligence assessments had not warranted a serious, full security response, despite the level of detail supplied, and their frequency.  “Intelligence,” he stated disingenuously, “never indicated that it’s going to be an attack on this magnitude.  They were talking about isolated incidents.  Besides, there is no emergency in this country.  We cannot request the armed forces to come and assist as we can only depend on the police.”

Having claimed the received intelligence pointed to mere potential “isolated incidents” (the suggestion here is that a monstrous act, when seen as an isolated one, can be rationalised according to a security and ethical calculus; in short, more permissible), Fernando proceeded to normalise the entire episode.  “It’s not the first time a bomb went off in this country.  During the height of the war, when emergency regulations were in force and roadblocks installed at every two kilometres, bombs went off.  Why are you trying to isolate this unfortunate incident?”

At the highest levels, the Sri Lankan government has suffered political sclerosis.  President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, have been waging wars cold and hot against each other for some time.  When Wickremesinghe was re-appointed after being sacked by the cranky Sirisena in December last year, in turn replacing a cantankerous Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President extolled his own democratic credentials.  While he held a personal dislike for his appointee, he also respected “the parliamentary tradition”.

The post-attack reaction is also proving to be an unhinged affair.  Sri Lankan authorities immediately imposed a social media blackout.  Dazed and confused as officials are, the idea of not containing an agitated public as inquiries are conducted seemed a grave threat.  Besides, a country bathed in the blood of decades of communal violence continues to teeter before the next provocation, the next inflammatory message of inspired retribution.

There was little pride in asserting that the group was “a local organisation”, with all suicide bombers having been Sri Lankan citizens.  But not wishing it to be an entirely indigenous affair, Senaratne wished to speculate that, “there was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”  Another source of blame had been identified.

As Fernando surmised, it would be foolish to put too much stock in future efforts on the part of the government.  Yes, assistance was being sought from Interpol, the FBI and the Australian Federal Police. But he could not “take confidence with terrorism.  No country in the world can assure that it’s not going to happen.  But we are trying our best.”  A brutally frank response, though hardly a cleansing exculpation.

Rwanda: 25 Years on, U.S. Taxpayers Paying Millions for Homeland Security’s Sham ‘Genocide Fugitive’ Trials in Boston

April 6, 1994 – April 6, 2019

On 6 April 1994, the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, their top military staff and six French crew members were assassinated when surface-to-air missiles shot down the Rwandan presidential jet on approach to Kigali airport. It is now well established that the assassination plot that decapitated the Hutu-led governments was executed by Rwanda’s now president and strongman-for-life, then Major General Paul Kagame, commander of the terrorist Tutsi-Hima army that invaded Rwanda from Uganda.

Now, 25 years later, while Kagame and the Rwanda genocide industry commemorate the 25th anniversary of the so-called 100 days of genocide, U.S. taxpayers continue to pay millions of dollars for yet another bogus asylum show trial targeting another genocide survivor and fugitive from the terrorist Kagame regime. Meanwhile, reporting on the trial in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston newspapers have not challenged the vested-interests of their quoted sources or the machinations of the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

The wreckage of the presidential Mystere Falcon airplane, shot down on approach to Kigali airport on 6 April 1994, at rest after air-to-surface missiles caused it to crash into the presidential compound. Photo by Cranimer, New Vision newspaper, Kampala, Uganda.

Jean Leonard Teganya, 46, is a wanted man who has spent much of his adult life trying to start over and recover from the atrocities he survived in Rwanda.

Teganya was a medical student who volunteered at the hospital in Butare, Rwanda in the spring of 1994, treating the sick and wounded when no doctors or nurses were available (due to the large numbers of casualties).

Mr. Teganya was also a victim of the violence in 1994, rescued by fellow students after being attacked by an armed militia in Butare. He fled Butare around 20 June 1994, after killings intensified in the region in parallel with the arrival of the Rwandan Patriotic Army.

In June of 1994 Mr. Teganya fled Rwanda during the mass exodus of some 2 million Rwandans to neighboring countries. Mr. Teganya ended up in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) at Nyakavogo, a (mostly) Hutu refugee camp that in September of 1996 was attacked by Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) in violation of international humanitarian law.

A trial in a federal court in Boston commenced against Jean Leonard Teganya on 11 March 2019. Photographs of the scars of his wounds were shown to the Boston jury by the attorneys from the public defenders office that are representing him.

Witnesses for the prosecution, flown in from Rwanda for the trial in Boston, swore under oath that Mr. Teganya wore the hats, shirts and scarves of the ‘extremist Hutu’ parties. Prosecution witnesses described in great detail the insignia that was on Mr. Teganya’s hat: a machete and tool. He helped commit genocide, the U.S. prosecutors and immigration agents in Boston said, then tried to claim asylum.

‘The defendant had a problem,’ Assistant US Attorney Scott L. Garland told a jury in US District Court in Boston during opening arguments in the trial against Teganya,’ reported the Boston Globe. ‘His problem was that his application for asylum would be denied if the US found out what he had done in Rwanda, because persecutors cannot claim asylum.’

More than two weeks of hearings later, witnesses for the defense described Mr. Teganya as an amicable, quiet man devoted to helping other people. They described an intelligent, sensitive and caring fellow student who did not participate in party politics. More than 15 witness stated under oath that Jean Leonard Teganya never wore the signature clothing of the more radical Hutu political parties.

Where and how were the Rwandan prosecution witnesses to Mr. Teganya’s alleged crimes identified and who identified them? These are some of the pivotal questions that an ICE agent on the witness stand at Mr. Teganya’s trial was unable or unwilling to answer with conviction.

Did the ICE agent commit perjury?

Hutu, Death Agents, Have become Its Victims

As the cataclysm unfolded in Rwanda in 1994, the western media reported from behind the RPA lines. The RPA narrative became the mainstream establishment narrative (that remains the predominant one): Tutsis as victims, Hutus as killers.

When the United Nations High Commission for Refugees special rapporteur Robert Gersony reported on the RPA’s widespread killing of scores of thousands of Hutu inside Rwanda, the report was squashed: all Hutus were killers, all Tutsis were victims. Gersony went silent and stayed silent.

As a survivor of the mass atrocities and genocide that occurred in his home country of Rwanda during the civil war, Jean Leonard Teganya was one of millions of innocent non-combatant Rwandans uprooted and driven from his homeland.

Forced to flee at the age of 21, from one country to another, he was for all practical purposes a fugitive from injustice (at the hands of the RPA), forced to survive or perish under the constant nagging memory of the horrors that he witnessed and the threat of arrest and persecution by the current regime in Rwanda.

His real crimes? He is a Hutu. He is an intellectual. He is a survivor. He had a U.S. government issued work permit and (for over two years) he was working at a prestigious university.

Mr. Teganya persevered in finding a new home, building a new life, raising a family.

And the worst crime of all? Jean Leonard Teganya was on the path of gaining asylum in the United States of America.

When president Paul Kagame and his Directorate of Military Intelligence in Rwanda learned that Mr. Teganya was legally employed as a laboratory technician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge Massachusetts, and that Mr. Teganya was about to gain legal U.S. residency status through the formal immigration process, they set about manufacturing a case against him.

The RPA slaughtered hundreds of thousands of unarmed non-combatant Rwandans–mostly Hutu women, children and elders–and also uncountable Congolese citizens during the Rwandan and Ugandan invasion of Zaire in 1996 and 1997.

At the height of the slaughter in Zaire, the New York Times and other major international media published story after hand-wringing story that basically manufactured consent for the ongoing genocide against the unarmed innocent Hutus in Zaire.

The New York Times article of 13 April 1997 that basically gave the green light for the continued massacres of innocent non-combatant refugees in Zaire–mostly women, children and the elderly.

On 1 October 2010, the 20th anniversary of the RPA invasion of Rwanda (1 October 1990), the United Nations published an extensive Mapping Report of atrocities in the DR Congo. The Mapping Report established clear patterns and documented atrocities declared to include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the RPA and its allies.

Zaire (the Congo) was not the first place that Hutu refugees experienced massacres, torture and unimaginable brutality at the hands of the RPA. The Hutu people also experienced atrocities of this unimaginable and unprecedented inhuman scale, magnitude and character during the four years of terrorism and war prosecuted by the RPA in Rwanda.

Jean Leonard Teganya’s flight from Rwanda in 1994 led him from Zaire to India to Canada.

According to the ICE press release of 4 August 2017, Jean Leonard Teganya was arrested in Massachusetts on that date but the press release does not disclose the full circumstances of context of Mr. Teganya’s status in the United States, or his employment at MIT:

Jean Leonard Teganya, 46, was charged with one count of immigration fraud and one count of perjury. Teganya made his first appearance in federal court in Boston on Friday afternoon.

As alleged in court documents, approximately 800,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Prior to and during the Rwandan genocide, Teganya was a medical student and medical trainee at the Butare hospital in Butare, Rwanda. Several witnesses present in Butare during the genocide described Teganya as active in the political party of the genocidal regime, the MRND, and its militia, and stated that he actively participated in the persecution of Tutsis, the group that was largely targeted during the genocide.

According to court documents, Teganya left Rwanda in mid-July 1994, and traveled to Congo, India, and then Canada. In 1999, Teganya applied for immigration benefits in Canada. Canadian authorities twice determined that Teganya was not entitled to those benefits, and ordered his deportation because he had been complicit in atrocities committed at the Butare hospital during the genocide. After 15 years of litigation, Teganya evaded the order of deportation and fled across the border into the United States. On Aug. 3, 2014, Teganya was encountered walking on foot after he crossed from Canada into Houlton, Maine. Teganya was taken into custody and later made false statements on documents submitted to U.S. authorities by failing to disclose the extent of his affiliations and activities with the MRND and Hutu extremists.

If you were to read only what was written about Jean Leonard Teganya by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald in the years, months and weeks that preceded the trial, or the stories that appeared after the trial began on 11 March 2019 and before closing arguments were heard on 3 April 2019, you would be convinced that Jean Leonard Teganya is a monster of human being capable of the most sadistic violence.

Asylum trial portrayed a monster. Defense aims to change the narrative,” reads Maria Cramer’s Boston Globe article of 2 April 2019.

No matter the stories’ leads, most of these articles quickly spin off into the never-never land of established lies, false accusations and manufactured evidence that are peculiar to Rwanda genocide asylum trials held in the United States and Canada over the past 20 years.

Like the select group of Kagame agents and regime insiders that peddle them, these falsehoods, tactics and methodologies of oppression have become the staple mechanisms and tools of strong-arm long-arm authoritarianism used to reach outside Rwanda and silence, terrorize and extradite (from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Netherlands, etc.) any Rwandan that in any way challenges the Rwandan regime.

When all else fails, there is always the RPA assassination program.

In March 2019, Paul Kagame publicly and unapologetically bragged about the necessity and righteousness of the assassination of former RPA/RPF cadre member Seth Sendashonga–assassinated by RPA agents in Nairobi Kenya in the late 1990’s.

The Rwanda Genocide Industry

On the U.S. side, working for the dictatorship in Rwanda, and keeping tabs on Mr. Teganya from the moment he entered the U.S. in his quest for asylum, crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in Maine in August 2014, was Brian Andersen, a special agent with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit.

Brian Anderson testified at Jean Leonard Teganya’s trial in late March 2019, and he is cited by the Boston Globe without any due journalistic diligence or even a modicum of investigative reporting to vet or uncover the truth about Anderson’s history and practices used to hunt down supposed genocidaire fugitives.

“Brian Andersen, a special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, which investigated the case, testified that his team found the witnesses in Rwanda and established contact with them,” wrote Maria Cramer, for the Boston Globe on 1 April 2019.

No April fool’s joke, what the Globe did not report is how special agent Mr. Andersen has worked with the Kagame regime to hunt, frame and persecute many Rwandan Hutus, survivors of the cataclysm of 1994.

Special agent Andersen has been involved in at least four previous high profile but bogus Rwanda genocide asylum cases, two of these in Boston, one in Manchester New Hampshire, and one in Utah.

Expert witnesses for the prosecution in several of these cases have included Dr. Phil Clark, a British academic at London’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Zachary Kaufman, an academic at the Kennedy School of Government, and Rony Zachariah, a doctor with Medecines Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) who was present in Rwanda for a short spell before being evacuated during the atrocities of April 1994.

Each of these three experts has made a career out of whitewashing the crimes of the Kagame regime through publishing, public speaking, and/or testifying at one-sided Rwanda genocide tribunals or asylum hearings.

Dr. Phil Clark has been discredited by his own peers in the international academic community. Clark has for many years maintained friendly relations with Kagame and peddled the RPA narrative in complete disregard of evidence of the RPA’s crimes to the contrary; Clark’s tight relations with Kigali suggest some significant financial or material reward for helping to spread the propaganda of the regime.

In the October 2017 immigration trial of Prudence Kantengwa adjudicated by Federal Immigration Judge Sanchez, federal prosecutor Mary Kelley succeeded in getting Dr. Phil Clark qualified as an expert: the immigration judge dismissed Clark’s direct ties to the Kagame regime. Dr. Clark testified by videoconferencing from London; he was allowed to refer to his notes, even search the Internet–while under oath and on the virtual witness stand–to buttress his testimony.

Witnesses for the defense were required to appear in Boston in person, and Judge Sanchez disallowed Rwanda scholar Dr. Susan Thomson as an expert witness for the defense, claiming that Dr. Thomson’s testimony would be duplicative of issues addressed by Dr. Phil Clark. In fact, based on her multiple highly critical reviews of the genocide text edited by Dr. Phil Clark and Dr. Zachary Kaufman (see below), Dr. Susan Thomson would likely have offered testimony in strong contradiction to the prosecution’s expert witness Dr. Phil Clark.

Defense witnesses who did appear at the Kantengwa hearings were not allowed to surf the Internet, refer to documents or books, or even access their personal notes while giving testimony.

Federal prosecutor Mary Kelly harassed the two leading defense witnesses (Keith Harmon Snow and Claude Gatebuke) that Immigration Judge Sanchez did qualify as experts. Ms. Kelley attempted to intimidate, stifle or completely silence the witnesses.

In the Kantengwa case, Immigration Judge Sanchez found in favor of Rwanda and its collaborator, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and thereby set the stage for the extradition and deportation to Rwanda of Prudence Kantengwa.

In the appeal brief filed by Kantengwa’s defense attorneys (William Joyce, “Brief in Support of an Appeal of an Immigration Judge’s Decision,” filed in Falls Church Virginia, A 098 277 297) the appeal attorney explicitly flagged the unprofessional and immature behavior of federal prosecutor Mary Kelley, both in the context of her hysterical outbursts and harassment of the two qualified defense experts and in the context of Prudence Kantengwa’s initial immigration trial adjudicated by U.S. Federal Judge Klein.

Judge Klein, who initially heard Ms. Kantengwa’s case, noted for the record in her written opinion the DHS trial attorney’s [Mary Kelley’s] lack of respect for the court and unnecessarily combative questioning of Ms. Kantengwa and her witnesses. Tr. #1 at 1242 (“I want whoever reviews this case to listen to the tone of this trial attorney [Mary Kelley] throughout this case.”); id. at 1250 (Judge Klein to attorney Kelley: “…it gets to the lack of respect that you have for this Court…”); IJ Klein Dec. at 48 (“On various occasions during cross-examination, DHS counsel’s tone toward the respondent was accusatory and aggressive.”).

This aggressive questioning continued in Ms. Kantengwa’s hearings before Judge Sanchez, in part leading to the reticence of witnesses to respond to questioning…(DHS accusing Ms. Kantengwa of violating and ICTR sequestration order)…(DHS likening Ms. Kantengwa to a Holocaust denier)…(DHS accusing Mr. Gatebuke of misrepresenting his identity)…(DHS accusing Mr. Gatebuke of having a bank account in the Caymans)…(DHS comparing Mr. Snow to Adolph Hitler)…(bond counsel for Ms. Kantengwa to DHS: “I don’t know why your [sic] harassing [the respondent].”) The end result of this very aggressive and possibly inappropriate line of questioning plus the investigator [ICE special agent Brian Andersen] running in and out of the court room led to an atmosphere of intimidation both to the experts and to the respondent.

Though a seasoned Judge from another court arena, Judge Sanchez was newly appointed to the Immigration Courts and the trial of the United States v. Prudence Kantengwa was one of the first immigration cases he heard.

Ms. Kantengwa’s appeals attorney also noted the conflict that arose in the court when a defense witness refused to reveal his sources. Defense expert [Keith Harmon Snow] testified that he had interviewed a Rwandan genocide survivor who had witnessed crimes against humanity and who was himself the survivor of severe and inhuman forms of torture committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Army. Judge Sanchez asked the expert [Snow] to reveal the name of witness/victim and when the expert repeatedly refused to name the source or provide to the Court any video or audio recordings of said victim’s statement, Judge Sanchez ruled that the expert’s [Snow’s] opinions on torture in Rwanda be stricken from the record.

In his decision, Judge Sanchez afforded less weight to the expert’s [Snow’s] testimony on the grounds that he was “non-responsive to DHS questioning” and he refused to provide the names of sources to the Court upon demand.

During the trial, attorney William Joyce, the defense counsel for Prudence Kantengwa, strenuously objected to the requirement that experts require names of sources, particularly given the presence in the courtroom of the ICE agent — Brian Andersen — who conducted an investigation in Rwanda of Ms. Kantengwa and her sister Beatrice Munyenyezi.

The appeals attorney also noted in the Kantengwa appeal that:

In fact, there is a serious question as to whether the ICE agent [Brian Andersen] sitting at the [prosecution] table who was also running in and out of the courtroom and providing information to government counsel was attempting to intimidate Mr. Snow. In fact, the respondent’s counsel requested an off the record discussion to discuss what could be considered possible intimidation towards Mr. Snow.

The tactic used by Mary Kelley and Brian Andersen of targeting innocent Rwandans who showed up at hearings in support of other defendants or respondents, or who have been named or identified in immigration hearings, is not without precedent, as noted above.

Dr. Zachary Kaufman, who is Dr. Phil Clark’s academic and editorial colleague, has also maintained a tight relationship with the Kagame regime, effectively serving as one of Kagame’s hired guns. Dr. Clark’s relationship involves material and financial rewards in exchange for whitewashing the regime and gaining access to the country and the largess (and privileges) secured by the criminal RPA cadres and their illegal networks in Rwanda and Congo.

Paul Kagame has numerous times been invited (and appeared) as speaker at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government where Kaufman and genocide expert and stateswoman Samantha Power both have deep historical and current ties. Like Clark and Kaufman’s publications, Samantha Power’s publications on ‘genocide in Rwanda’ are laden with inaccuracies, omissions, distortions and selective truths.

Clark and Kaufman published an edited volume titled After Genocide (2009) that was criticized by Dr. Susan Thomson, a Rwanda scholar whose professional work and vocal criticisms of the regime lead to her being declared persona non grata in Rwanda. Thomson and other scholars also signed a public letter criticizing Dr. Phil Clark’s work and his ties to the Rwandan government. Thomson’s dislike of the Cark/Kaufman book was so strong as to provoke her to write not one but two book reviews that were subsequently published in academic journals.

The preface of After Genocide was written by Paul Kagame and, besides a few chapter contributions by Clark and Kaufman (and a collection of more honest and professional academic chapters), there is also a chapter by another of Paul Kagame’s leading hired guns, the English-speaking propagandist Tom Ndahiro.

Recall that the Tutsi aristocrats and their Ugandan brethren who invaded Rwanda were English speakers, while the Tutsi that suffered the genocidal onslaught in 1994 were French speakers. Kagame and company did not trust, or care about, French speaking Tutsis who ‘stayed behind’ in Rwanda in the 1960s and 1970s when the Tutsi aristocrats fled, and when so many innocent Tutsis targeted in retaliation for Tutsi guerrilla (Inyenzi) attacks against Rwanda also fled to neighboring countries.

Zachary Kaufman was quoted in one of the main Boston Globe articles about Jean Leonard Teganya. Reporter Maria Cramer brought Kaufman into the story to provide an official authoritative and definitive quote to repudiate the defense attorney’s demonstration that Rwandan witnesses for the prosecution are coached, and the defense team’s demonstration of witnesses’ inconsistencies.

In the same story, the Globe briefly discussed the two other recent cases that involved Brian Andersen, Munyenyezi and Kantengwa, but special agent Andersen is not mentioned in connection to those two cases. Instead we read Harvard University expert Zachary Kaufman declaring the final judgement on the matter:

Teganya is the third Rwandan since 2012 to face prosecution in New England for allegedly hiding links to the genocide to obtain asylum…

In 2012, Prudence Kantengwa, a Hutu, was sentenced to 21 months for lying on her asylum application about her affiliation with the party that orchestrated the genocide, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development.

Three years later, Kantengwa’s sister, Beatrice Munyenyezi, a Hutu mother of three who had moved to New Hampshire, was sentenced to10 years for lying about the killings and rapes she ordered as head of a roadblock in Butare, where Tutsis were stopped, checked for identification, and often murdered on the spot.

Like Teganya, Munyenyezi argued that the witnesses against her were motivated by the possibility of financial compensation or by fear of the Rwandan government.

But other scholars of the genocide said they are skeptical that the government has interfered with witnesses’ testimony.

“I have never seen any evidence of such,” said Zachary Kaufman, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a lecturer at Stanford Law School. “It is not unexpected that an accused genocide perpetrator would try to muster any defense they could…”

At least one of the Rwandan witnesses for the prosecution in the Teganya trial has appeared in court for more than one of the cases ‘investigated’ by ICE special agent Brian Andersen. Witness statements show remarkable similarity in the kinds of details they provide and, under cross-examination, in the omissions or contradictions of their testimonies.

The reasons and process whereby Rwandan Hutus have come under the gaze of special agent Brian Andersen are very irregular, if not illegal, and the four previous cases are all interconnected. Mr. Andersen is not alone in the decision-making process that has led to the expenditure of millions of dollars for each of the five cases to be explored herein. Mr. Andersen’s ally in hunting down and persecuting innocent Rwandans in the United States includes Boston federal prosecutor Mary Kelley.

What the Boston Globe also did not report about special agent Andersen is that the Federal Court in Utah found against the Department of Homeland Security and the efforts of Brian Andersen, after the judge in the case realized that the investigation had been botched, the evidence fabricated.

Special agent Andersen and prosecutor Mary Kelley have deployed what has become standard boiler-plate language, tactics and the production of fraudulent witnesses, in the pursuit of ‘justice’ meant to satisfy the dictatorship in Rwanda and silence its critics.

Mr. Andersen and other agents have traveled frequently to Rwanda, where there is no possibility of independent research or investigation, and where ‘witnesses’ are often produced by or coerced by the Kagame regime into satisfying its interests of suffering the repercussions of violence against themselves or their families. In other cases, witnesses are promised lenience on their prison sentences or financial rewards for their cooperation. Some witnesses agree to testify to settle old scores.

“Did the government of Rwanda play any part in selecting the witnesses?” the Boston Globe on 1 April 2019 reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garland asked Andersen this question under oath. “No, they didn’t,” Andersen replied.

Of course they did. Did special agent Thomas Brian Andersen commit perjury?

Under cross-examination on the witness stand at Mr. Teganya’s trial in Boston, special agent Brian Anderson was asked how he found the Rwandan witnesses who testified to Mr. Teganya’s alleged crimes. Special agent Andersen faltered, badly.

The Boston Globe did not report on special agent Brian Andersen’s poor performance under cross-examination.

Brian Andersen committed perjury, and it is not the first time. What happened in Utah?

Finally, after hearing some truthful testimonies by defense witnesses, and under the byline of reporter Laura Crimaldi, the Boston Globe began waking up and reporting about Jean Leonard Teganya’s character and the ordeal he survived with greater accuracy and depth.

During much of the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994, Jean Leonard Teganya said, crowds of victims assembled each day outside the teaching hospital in Butare — overwhelming medical staff with the severity of their wounds.

A month into the violence, Teganya, a Hutu and then a third-year medical student, said he, too, became a victim. Attackers beat him over the head and slashed his leg and ankle with a machete in a secluded area near his dormitory, he said.

Answering questions from his defense lawyer for about three hours, Teganya delved into his life story for the jury, discussing his Tutsi mother, his education at a Catholic seminary and medical school, and the chaos at the hospital in Butare, the country’s second-largest city.

Paul Kagame Terrorism Inc.

While Jean Leonard Teganya was helping the sick and wounded in Butare, and throughout the four year war, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) was perpetrating massive war crimes and crimes against humanity against anyone in their warpath. From 1990 through 1993, the RPA’s scorched earth policy decimated entire villages in northern Rwanda, and this is where the RPA began its slow march to conquer territory across Rwanda. As the RPA continued its steady war of terrorism, hundreds of thousands of refugees were uprooted from homes and villages, forced to become refugees in their own country.

Northern Rwanda is an area of the country where the masses–mostly Hutu, but also some Tutsis and Twa–shared a collective history of generations of extreme violence and injustice suffered at the hands of the Tutsi aristocracy that once ruled the kingdom from central Rwanda.

Paul Kagame and the other Tutsi guerrilla invaders from Uganda were raised on stories of how their noble Tutsi ancestors were the benevolent benefactors of the Rwandan masses. The masses in this case included the predominant Hutu population of over 80-90%, with between 10 and 10% Tutsi, and about 1% Twa. The ethnic categories take on little meaning when one begins to comprehend the nature of the Tutsi aristocracy, their client-patron relations, systems of reward and punish, shifting allegiances and alliances.

The RPA was backed by powerful foreign allies, and their atrocities were whitewashed by the international media and the academics that have always peddled the Tutsis as victims narrative. This narrative was constructed in large part by the human rights establishment, following the lead of the London-based non-government organization African Rights.

From 1990 on, RPA terror cells began infiltrating Kigali, the capital, and all other areas of Rwanda, and with them came atrocities that were frequently blamed on the Habyarimana government. These included assassinations, massacres and disappearances. By March 1993, Rwanda’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) population exceeded one million people.

Hungry, homeless, out of work and money, suffering horrible trauma, despair and the sadness and grief of having lost family members whose lives (and deaths) were further defiled by the inability of survivors to property attend to burials and burial customs. The RPA practiced a scorched earth policy. They did not want to have to administer a territory or deal with local populations. The RPA displaced people and villages, shelled IDP camps, machine gunned huge crowds of people that they first lured into public spaces, and then they marched on. They killed some captives, buried them in mass graves, incinerated them in hugs ovens, baked them to death in tractor-trailer shipping containers, bulldozed them into the forests, and used survivors as porters to transport ammunition, dig trenches, cook their meals, serve as their sexual slaves, and they usually shot them in the end no matter.

As the RPA occupation of Rwanda continued, the Hutu majority government of Juvenal Habyarimana was framed for genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda as early as 1993, while the RPA enjoyed increasing authority, power-sharing and impunity for the horrible and widespread atrocities that were being committed in broad daylight, under cover of night, in villages, in prefectures, across the country in the form of targeted assassinations and other dirty tricks. Trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Paul Kagame was schooled in art of ruthless, lethal, contemporary guerrilla insurgency.

Racketeering? Perjury? Conspiracy?

It is important to first realize that special agent Brian Andersen apparently has some kind of special mission to hunt down, arrest and extradite anyone that the Kagame regime accuses of participation in genocide.

One of Mr. Andersen’s fellow Hutu hunter’s is the federal prosecutor Mary Kelley, also based out of Boston Massachusetts.

Kelley and Andersen worked together to frame, arrest, prosecute and imprison Prudence Kantengwa (Boston, MA) and Beatrice Munyenyezi (Manchester, New Hampshire) the sisters of Jean Marie Vianney Higiro.

Paul Kagame has been trying to get his hands on Jean Marie Vianney Higiro since Higiro fled Rwanda in 1994. The former director of the RWandan Office of Information (ORINFOR) during the Habyarimana regime, Higiro and his daughter, a U.S. citizen, were evacuated from Rwanda on 7 April 1994 by U.S. marines who escorted them to Bujumbura, Burundi, and then flew them to Nairobi Kenya on route to the USA.

The trial of Beatrice Munyenyezi was also fraught with irregularities. One of these was the prosecution’s introduction of formerly highly classified satellite images taken by U.S. intelligence reconnaissance satellites during flyovers of Rwanda in June 1994. These photos were introduced by a Pentagon analyst. Their existence had never previously been disclosed.

In his opening statements in a Concord, New Hampshire (USA) courthouse on February 23, 2012, federal prosecutor John Capin launched the U.S. government’s trial against a 41 year-old Rwandan so-called ‘genocide fugitive’ by wielding satellite photographs purportedly showing the road blocks where she “commanded extremist Hutu militia and ordered the rapes and killings of Tutsi” in Rwanda in 1994.

In a remarkable development, this is the first time in the history of the ‘Rwanda genocide’ trials or related Rwanda asylum hearings where Pentagon satellite photographs have been produced as evidence, and the first time that the existence of satellite photographs taken over Rwanda during the so-called ‘100 days of genocide’ has ever been verified.

Later in the Munyenyezi trial the U.S. prosecutors produced a ‘Pentagon analyst’ who testified about the satellite photographs. The Pentagon analyst was Mr. Eric R. Benn, Technical Executive, Analysis and Production Directorate, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The photographs introduced into the public record include very high resolution images shot over Rwanda in May, June and July of 1994.

Under cross-examination during the Munyenyezi trial, the Pentagon analyst admitted that other photos–that would have exonerated the accused–existed, but after a hastily arranged court recess the analyst changed his story declaring that no such photos existed.

“My sister and her attorneys were denied access to exculpatory evidence that consists of satellite photo taken in April 1994.” Jean Marie Vianney Higiro has watched as his sisters have been framed and attempts have been made to frame him. “The photos that the Pentagon submitted to the court were taken in June, and they do not show any roadblocks. The defense attorney for Beatrice asked if there were photos taken in April [1994] because that’s when they [prosecution] said the roadblocks were there. The gentleman from the Pentagon said yes these photos existed. Then there was a break in the trial. When the trial resumed the gentleman said the photos did not exist. These photos [April and early May] would have shown that there were no roadblocks when my sister was allegedly checking ID cards. They were denied exculpatory evidence.”

Declassified Pentagon photos purportedly showing the location of (nonexistent) road-blocks in Butare that were produced in the case of United States v. Prudence Kantengwa.

Brian Andersen played some role in advancing the false story of roadblocks in Butare, where Beatrice Munyenyezi was alleged to have been checking IDs to single out Tutsis to be raped or killed, and he thus played a role in framing Beatrice Munyenyezi.

On June 22, 2010 a Search and Seizure Warrant was approved by the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire for the purpose of invading the Manchester N.H. home of Beatrice Munyenyezi.

The warrant was based on the affidavit of Thomas Brian Andersen, Jr., the same ICE Special Agent involved in the case of Jean Leonard Teganya. In his affidavit, Andersen distilled the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda down to a few essential details that helped to frame Beatrice Munyenyezi as a genocidaire.

When the story of Munyenyezi’s arrest was reported in Boston Magazine, ICE special agent Brian Andersen was the hero and Beatrice Munyenyezi was “The Monster Next Door.”

Beatrice Munyenyezi claimed she was a refugee from the Rwandan genocide,” wrote Boston Magazine. “Federal agent Brian Andersen suspected she was someone far more sinister.

Compounding the injustice against Jean Marie Vianney Higiro and his family, ICE agents had Prudence Kantengwa arrested and tried for perjury based on the non-existent roadblocks story. When ICE agents interviewed Kantengwa, they claimed, she did not mention the roadblocks in Butare that became the pivotal (though falsified) evidence against Beatrice Munyenyezi. Kantengwa did not mention the roadblocks because they did not exist. Kantengwa was nonetheless adjudged guilty of perjury.

Both Prudence Kantengwa and Beatrice Munyenyezi were denied exculpatory evidence and both remain in prison today.

Prudence Kantengwa was further judged guilty of perjury on account of her alleged failure to mention that her husband, Athanase Munyemana, was a member of the MRND party. Note, this is one of the boiler plate accusations used against many Rwandans falsely accused by the regime in Rwanda and by the U.S. asylum courts. First, for decades Rwanda was a one-party dictatorship where membership in the government MRND party was obligatory. Second, Althase Munyemana was a state prosecutor in Rwanda who had been transferred to the Service Central de Renseignements (Central Intelligence Services). As a prosecutor, sent by a government minister to work for the CIS, Munyemana was forbidden by Rwandan law from joining any political party.

Federal prosecutor Mary Kelley apparently also worked for Homeland Security, at which time she had both the Kantengwa and Munyenyezi cases referred to the District Attorney. Kelley was also the federal prosecutor in the case against Prudence Kantengwa. Kelley tried to connect Jean Marie Vianney Higiro to both of his sisters’ cases–to frame him as well. This was clearly a direct collaboration with the Kagame regime.

In October 2017, during the Kantengwa trial, federal prosecutor Mary Kelley was forced to disclose a report written by one of her [the prosecution’s] expert witnesses that Kelley disclosed was funded by the Rwandan government.

Another of Mary Kelley and Brian Andersen’s comrades in their Hutu hunting quest is Eugenie Mukeshimana, a Rwandan Tutsi woman who is clearly a paid activist/lobbyist for the Kagame regime. As one Rwandan confided privately: “this is one of Kagame’s hired guns.”

Working in some very irregular capacity as an “interpreter”, Ms. Mukeshimana is also some kind of special adviser to the federal prosecutors in Boston.

Eugenie Mukeshimana has appeared in federal court every day, advising the federal prosecutors at the trial of Jean Leonard Teganya.

Eugenie Mukeshimana has a substantial Internet presence, and she is known by rwandan nationals (with U.S. citizenship) for her pro-regime activism in political and legal circles in Boston, Washington, New York and New Jersey.

Jean Marie Vianney Higiro remains under constant surveillance and monitoring by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On 9 November 2016, the day after the U.S. presidential elections were decided, two F.B.I. agents appeared at the home of Dr. Jean Marie Vianney Higiro. This was only 12 hours after Donald Trump was elected. While the agents failed to observe protocol by reading Dr. Higiro his Miranda Rights, Dr. Higiro was nonetheless cooperative and invited the two agents into his home. He also answered all their questions for over an hour.

The Obama administration had clearly made some deal with Paul Kagame, and it was time to clean house and tidy up unfinished business during the last days of Obama’s lame-duck presidency.

“I thought they were going to arrest me,” Dr. Higiro says. “It’s not over. Who knows what’s going to happen.”

Taxpayers in the United States should demand that a Federal Grand Jury be convened to investigate the corruption, perjury, racketeering and conspiracy being perpetrated in bogus Rwanda genocide asylum trials.

The following people (not an exhaustive list) should be deposed under oath:

  • ICE agent Thomas Brian Andersen
  • ICE agent Kevin Cronin (who has also traveled to Rwanda, works with Andersen to frame refugees and U.S. citizens of Rwandan origins)
  • ICE agent Jordan Regan
  • U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services agent Meghann Boyle
  • Federal prosecutor Mary Kelley
  • Federal Prosecutor Andew Lelling
  • Federal Prosecutor George Varghese
  • Homeland Security Investigations agent Jeffrey Stillings
  • Rwandan “interpreter” and RPA agent Eugenie Mukeshimana
  • MSF doctor and RPA agent Rony Zachariah

How many scores or hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayers dollars are being spent on these fraudulent trials?

The fifteen-day trial of Beatrice Munyenyezi in February and March 2012 was concluded with four additional days of deliberations by an all-white jury. On 15 March 2012 the jury delivered a deadlocked decision and the U.S. government declared a ‘mistrial’. The re-trial began 10 September 2012.

Mark Howard, one of Beatrice Munyenyezi’s attorneys, revealed to the press the huge sums of money spent by the U.S Judiciary to try Rwandan genocide suspects.

Howard estimated that U.S. taxpayers paid between US$ 2.5 million and $US 3 million for Munyenyezi’s first 2012 prosecution and trial in federal court. Howard estimated (at the time) that the second 2012 retrial was likely to cost an additional US$ 1 million.

Howard’s estimates include attorney fees, agent salaries, the ‘extraordinary expense’ of investigating in a foreign country, the costs of bringing some fifteen witnesses to New Hampshire, and the hiring of experts.

In the case of Jean Leonard Teganya, some 15 witnesses appeared for the prosecution, with at least 18 witnesses for the defense. Most of these witnesses were flown in from other countries.

The combined costs of the four or five trials mentioned herein must have (or will) exceed $15 million dollars.

According to ICE statistics from 2017:

The investigation leading to Teganya’s arrest was conducted by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston and supported by ICE’s Boston Office of the Chief Counsel and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track, and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians, and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 785 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 108 such individuals from the United States.

Currently, HSI has more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 70,400 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 213 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

Souls on Ice

ICE special agent Brian Andersen appeared as an expert witness during an immigration hearing in Salt Lake City, Utah. On trial was a woman named Agnes Mukantagara, a Rwandan refugee who was forced to seek asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, after coming under threat by the Kagame regime. Agnes Mukantagara was working for the U.S. Embassy at the time of her falling out with the regime, and the U.S. Embassy facilitated her admission into the United States.

Agnes Mukantagara appeared in Boston in an immigration hearing involving Prudence Kantengwa. Homeland security operative and federal prosecutor Mary Kelley spotted Agnes Mukantagara and Beatrice Munyenyezi sitting in the courtroom and Kelley pressed ICE to launch an investigation to find out who they were and ascertain their immigration status.

On the witness stand at the Mukantagara trial in Salt Lake City, special Agent Brian Andersen reportedly admitted that Agnes Mukantagara’s case originated in Boston after she appeared in federal court as a witness in Prudence Kantengwa’s case. Andersen also reportedly said he was sent to Kigali to investigate Mukantagara.

In Kigali, Rwanda’s national commission created to hunt down genocidaires provided special agent Andersen with an office where he could work and interview potential witnesses. The government commission brought witnesses to that office for special agent Andersen to interview–witnesses selected to provide Andersen with information that would serve the regime’s interests.

When asked under oath if he had moved outside of the office to perform his duties and gather information special agent Brian Andersen reportedly said ‘no.’ When asked whether he knew that Agnes Mukantagara’s first husband had been murdered by the RPA, Mr. Andersen reportedly said ‘no.’ When askd whether he had met Mukantagara’s relatives during his stay in Kigali, he reportedly said ‘no.’ When asked whether he knew that the government commission trains and schools witnesses, special agent Brian Andersen reportedly said ‘no.’

Later it came to light that Mary Kelley has undertaken her own special research project to learn what she could about Agnes Mukantagara. In so doing, Kelley discovered that one Agnes Mukantagara was tried by one of Rwanda’s public Gacaca Tribunals. Agnes Mukantagara was found guilty of genocide, but not as an organizer, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. (See, for example: John Quigley, The Genocide Convention: An International Law Analysis, Routledge, 2016: p. 35)

Mary Kelley apparently used the information she so proudly discovered about Agnes Mukantagara, one convicted of genocide at a Gacaca Tribunal in Rwanda, to help make the case against Agnes Mukantagara, one who fled from the threat of the RPA to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There are/were two Rwandan women with the name Agnes Mukantagara.

Based on Kelly’s tip, the Rwandan regime set about to manufacture a dossier against Agnes Mukantagara. The whole case began in court in Boston, under the ever vigilant Hutu hunting eyes of prosecutor Mary Kelley and special agent Brian Andersen.

After Brian Andersen’s testimony in Salt Lake City, under cross-examination by the defense, the judge found in favor of Agnes Mukantagara’s request for asylum, ruling against the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS, of course, immediately filled an appeal.

Photography Credits: Keith Harmon Snow