Introducing Avaaz


Beautiful Burundi, “the Beating Heart of Africa” is situated almost in the centre of Africa with a shape like a heart. It’s located between Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. Burundi is home to the Lake Tanganyika which is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

In this case, the introduction is from on Nov. 18, 2015 (creative commons): ‘Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli’

 Given that this is the nation we’ve been discussing for the past couple days, it may prove to be the most relevant example of this brand-making, brand-busting organization’s ‘projects’.  I’m sure you’ll feel free to call crap or nonsense on any or all of it, but I like and admire the investigations that wrongkindofgreen has brought to bear on ‘liberal’ NGOs that have a deeper purpose in actuality, fwiw.

I’ll paste in the exposé, save that I’ll likely just give a link to some of the photos with their captions, rather than laboriously download them, then upload them into the WordPress media library.

But first, a few words from our sponsor, Avaaz.  Their ‘About’ page claims that ‘Avaaz is a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.”

“Avaaz—meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”, etc.
They have a counter of members; today’s is 42,412,331, and that “Because Avaaz is wholly member-funded, democratic accountability is in our DNA. No corporate sponsor or government backer can insist that Avaaz shift its priorities to suit some external agenda—we simply don’t accept funds from governments or corporations. (Read more about why it’s worth donating to Avaaz here, and chip in here.)

Now in March, 2013, provides grants from George Soros for a couple million, some to cofounder Res Publica early on, almost no grants in “2010 or 2011 show no grants for Avaaz nor Res Publica. According to its 2011 990,’s total revenue for that year was $7,519,028. claims it is “wholly member-funded.” Avaaz does not publish a detailed list of donors on its website or 990 forms, and therefore this claim cannot be verified independently.”  It’s seriously easy to disguise money through bundling foundations like Tides, so who knows?

It does seem that it’s a mixed bag of projects they promote, including some very pro-Palestian ones.  But by and large, they seem to ballast Democrat foreign policy writ creepy.  But onward:

United Nations Development Program Press Release, October 30, 2012: “The normalization of political life has been a remarkable achievement in Burundi, said Rosine Sori-Coulibaly, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Burundi. Burundi’s remarkable development achievements are coming just seven years after the civil war ended… free, fair and peaceful elections took place in 2005 and 2010 and safety and security has been reinforced across the entire national territory.”

“Burundi holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, with Musongati ranked as one of the 10 largest known deposits of the metal that have yet to be developed… The East African nation produces small amounts of tantalum, gold, limestone, niobium, tin and tungsten and also has deposits of copper, the U.S. Geological Survey says on its website.” [Bloomberg Business, June 23, 2014]

An Avaaz action/petition follows with this message on the left:

‘Burundi: before it’s too late

Nearly 20 years ago, Rwanda plunged into a horrific genocide. Now dozens are dead in neighbouring Burundi and further violence could fan the flames of the Hutu-Tutsi tensions at the heart of Burundi’s last, decade-long civil war, as well as Rwanda’s genocide. But there’s time to stop another tragedy, if we intervene right now.
Across Burundi, civilians are arming themselves with $40 machine guns and $4 grenades. Clashes with the army have already been reported. It’s all because the President just rigged an election for an illegal third term despite intensive international protest, and now refuses to step down. Experts say “carrots” won’t work — the only way to persuade him, and stop the slaughter, is if sanctions are imposed fast, and the world sends peacekeepers. But leaders are reluctant to send troops without massive public support.’   

Already almost 200,000 have fled Burundi.This is a powder keg with the potential to destroy a country and destabilize a region. But it’s not too late — not yet. Rwanda’s genocide happened because the world failed to act in time. Let’s not stand by again — sign now and say “never again”.’

Above: Avaaz Burundi campaign echos the organizations previous campaigns calling for immediate sanctions and interventions in both Libya and Syria while simultaneously demonizing the leaders of the targeted countries for destabilization. From the petition: “But there’s time to stop another tragedy, if we intervene right now.” [emphasis in original] [Source]

Avaaz Co-Founder Tom Perriello

On July 6, 2015 it was announced by the U.S. State Department that Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello would be fulfilling his role for the expansion of U.S. imperialism as special envoy for the African Great Lakes region and the Congo-Kinshasa:

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday that former Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) will serve as the Obama administration’s special envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa, an appointment that covers Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

November 6, 2015:

“He will communicate the U.S. government’s alarm at violence by government and non-government actors inside of Burundi, and the recent dangerous rhetoric by the Burundian government…” [U.S. Department of State Press Release: Special Envoy Thomas Perriello’s Travel to Burundi and the Great Lakes Region, Source]


U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and (former) U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. “Perriello is a former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and a founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group.” [Further reading: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I, Sept, 24, 2012]

Above: “Butcher of the Great Lakes” President of Rwanda Paul Kagame with Tom Perriello, US Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region – Kigali, August 19, 2015 [Photo Source(photo url)

Mineral Wealth and Political Leverage

 intimate relations

Intimate relations: President Obama with his National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, June 5, 2013. From 2005-2006 Power worked in the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama as a foreign policy fellow, where she was credited with sparking and directing Obama’s interest in the Darfur conflict. [Source: Rolling Stone]

Nov 8, 2015: Will the West Create its Next Failed State in Burundi?

‘After Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ultimatum to insurrectionists to lay down their arms, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, and the International Crisis Group, a think tank headed by Western military, government and corporate officials, warned of massacres like those in Rwanda in 1994. In contrast, Charles Kambanda, Rwandan American attorney and former professor at the National University of Rwanda, describes the conflict as political and its larger context as an East/West power struggle for resources.

Charles Kambanda: What is really happening in Burundi is no different than what happened in DRC, in Congo. We have these multinational corporations, Western corporations, fighting for natural resources in that region. The best way for these companies to conquer these natural resources is to create a situation where no government is in control. Burundi is now known for a type of natural resource called nickel and they say six percent of the world’s nickel is in Burundi. And if we want to remember the geography of that region, Burundi borders with Congo, and Congo, the other side, is so rich in minerals. So we have these corporations fighting to control Burundi, to create a failed state in Burundi, so that they can get involved in illegal business in that region.” [Source]

The role of Avaaz, Purpose Inc. (the for-profit PR arm of Avaaz), and Avaaz co-founders in U.S./E.U. led destabilizations/invasions across the globe is now extensively documented. Burundi serves as a rinse, rather (sic: lather), repeat performance, only with far less notoriety/interest.

Video: April 11, 2015: Démonstration de force en faveur du 3ème mandat de Nkurunziza. Massive and entirely peaceful demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of government supporters have been completely ignored. [Source]

May 16, 2015, Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi?

“The US-funded media disinformation campaign is part of the prelude to the mobilization of street protests against the government that can be presented to the world as a ‘popular uprising’against a ‘dictator’ who is ‘killing his own people’ It is a techinique that has been perfected by US ‘democracy’ and ‘civil society’ NGOS….

In the case of Burundi, the African Union should have denounced the diabolical terrorist and media disinformation campaign against a young democratic country which has just emerged from a civil war. The fact that they did not shows that they have sided with the enemies of Africa. It is hardly surprising that truly independent, post-colonial countries such as Eritrea will have nothing to do with the sham called the African Union.”[Source]

October 3, 2015, Burundi Accuses Rwanda of Training Rebels for Cross Border Attacks

Kagame and his team want to provoke a genocide in Burundi: “Kagame and his team want to provoke a genocide in Burundi in order to put in power in Burundi the same group as the group which is in Rwanda. Everybody can see that. It is not complicated to see…. this would be the fourth Hutu president assassinated in this region since 1993.”  [Source]

Feb 21, 2014: U.S. State Department announces Perriello’s departure from the Center for American Progress:

“Former Rep. Tom Perriello is leaving the Center for American Progress to head the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and development Review, which analyzes U.S. diplomatic and development efforts abroad.”

Turns out Perriello,  and Secretary of State John F. Kerry go back a long way. Perriello, then a 22-year-old, worked on Kerry’s 1996 Senate campaign, working on getting out the environmental vote. Seems they began private talks nearly a year ago about Perriello’s coming over to the State Department. [Source]

While Avaaz stokes the fear of “another Rwanda” it is critical to note the role of the Center for American Progress to which Perriello recently served as both president and CEO, in the Rwandan Genocide. ” The simple tale of good and evil was told to the world by Samantha Power” [Source: The Deluge Film Press Release]

Human rights investigator and award-winning journalist Keith Harmon Snow, describing the U.S. Center for American Progress and its use of propaganda in portraying Africa in order to protect and further U.S. interests/ foreign policy objectives. Within the lecture, Snow discusses the psyops/propaganda strategically orchestrated behind the “Save Darfur” campaigns/movements which, in 2004, began to saturate the populace. At the helm of this “movement” was “The Center for American Progress”.

The Center for American Progress, is closely connected with the same players that founded and financed Avaaz. Today, with Avaaz at the forefront, the non-profit industrial complex has been appointed trusted messenger of a grotesque and disturbing ideology; nothing less than a complete reflection and validation of the U.S. administration’s rhetoric intended to justify the annihilation and occupation of sovereign states under the false pretense of “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect”.

December 29, 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on “building the movement infrastructure” and “objectives, strategies and core issues.”

Res Publica was founded by Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel and Tom Pravda.

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica,, Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose) who is the spouse of Woodhouse. Both Madden and Woodhouse took up residence in Burma [Myanmar] [March 23, 2013: Western Media Celebrates Faux Progress in Myanmar] Madden has co-founded a marketing firm, Parami Road in Myanmar: “Our clients are mostly international companies entering Myanmar and they demand an international standard of work.”

Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello served as president and CEO of Center for American Progress from December 2011 to  to February 2014.

Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed which officially launched in 2004.

“ is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organizations funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation.

Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose — to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of, with exception of one located in London England, all of the entities involved are American and based on US soil. [Source]

Empire is Closing on on Burundi

Today the Obama administration is frothing at the mouth over the imperial capture of Burundi.

(Samantha Power on Twitter introducing Obama speaking to the Burundian people)

November 12, 2015 Joint NGO Statement Urging Coordinated Global Response to the Escalating Human Rights Crisis in Burundi”:

“Speaking to the UN Security Council, Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, expressed his alarm at the “inflammatory and threatening language” being used in Burundi, noting that some of it was “very similar to language used before and during the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda.” Dieng warned that Burundi “appears on the verge of a descent into violence that could escalate into atrocity crimes,” adding that “the international community has a responsibility to protect Burundians.” The High Commissioner underscored this urgency, recommending “all possible influence must be brought to bear to halt what may be an imminent catastrophe.”

Preventive diplomacy should be more than a slogan at the United Nations. It should be brought to life through decisive action aimed at preventing serious human rights violations and crimes under international law in cases like Burundi where, as the High Commissioner noted, “member states and the Security Council can intervene effectively to prevent the repetition of past horrors.” [emphasis added]

This statement was signed by the the usual NGOs must subservient to empire: Amnesty International, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group (ICG), and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

In 2007, ICG and Human Rights Watch were key players in the development of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in cooperation with prominent governments, NGOs and academia. The George Soros Open Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions and grants received by the HRW in the 2011 financial year.

Perriello is a supporter of the U.S. / E.U. led “War on Terror,” a fabricated psyops, which was and continues to be an essential component to unleash a new wave of wars, invasions and occupations.


The mythology of Avaaz as a force for “good” can only be matched by the mythology that continues to shroud the facts behind the Rwandan Genocide – the very myths that Avaaz co-founders helped propagate. Myths created to obscure  a Western superpower that continues to manipulate every crisis it creates.

A western superpower that strategically utilizes the non-profit industrial complex, bankrolling it to the tune of trillions.

“So, the key question now is this: Can Burundi defy the Empire and protect its people from carpet bombing called ‘humanitarian intervention’, a terrorist invasion called ‘liberation’, a military coup called ‘transitional government’ and  a possible genocide where once again the victims will be blamed?”– Gearoid O Colmain, May 16, 2015 [Source]


The Deluge is a film in progress, undertaken to reveal the truth about invasions, insurgencies, and civil wars that have engulfed the Great Lakes Region of Africa, most of all Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during the past 20 years.

Now in his ‘Imperial Social Media: Avaaz and the Arms Merchants’ piece, Jay Taber writes:

“Promoting the imperial social media fad of equivocating on US and NATO invasions that destroy entire societies, ostensibly because the current head of state is ruthless or corrupt, Avaaz apologists neglect the growing list of countries where these invasions have made things worse. Indeed, I am at a loss to find a country in my lifetime (1952-present) where US military aggression — either directly or through proxy mercenaries and US-financed and trained death squads — made things better.

Of course, if you look at militarism as a market-oriented strategy, then making war or creating armed mayhem is just part of doing business. With the crippling financial sanctions available to the US through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, invasion is just for show — part of the expected social spectacle — that routinely transfers wealth from the U.S. Treasury to Wall Street and the military industrial complex.

Given the US influence at the UN Security Council, any country seeking to conduct its governance, diplomacy and trade independent of the US and EU risks destruction. The evidence can be seen in the chaotic, murderous aftermath reigning in these unfortunate societies, and in the tsunami of refugees seeking asylum. Meanwhile, the revolving door between the arms merchants, the Pentagon and the State Department is now open to NGOs like Avaaz and its PR firm ‘Purpose’.”

He brings a few photos:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry releases the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) with USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, and Special Representative for the QDDR (and Avaaz co-founder) Tom Perriello at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on April 28, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]  (photo url)

Rawanda’s President Paul Kagame (R) walks past US President Barack Obama (2nd R) as US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and National Security Advisor Susan Rice (C) look on during a “Peacekeeping Summit” at the United Nations headquarters on September 28, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN  (photo url)

And my personal fave:

thumbs up

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives the thumbs-up to participants in the “Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping” with National Security Advisor Susan Rice (R), U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the 70th annual UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters September 28, 2015 in New York City. Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


In the comments section, Taber links to this story at the IBTimes: ‘Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department’; truly disgusting, but sincerely unsurprising, especially concerning ‘our partners in Peace’, The Saudi Kingdom.

Ah, the true face of diplomacy….and noblesse oblige…


‘Super Imperialism in 84 Seconds’ by Michael Hudson; Prof Michael Hudson explains in under 90 seconds how US military budgets are financed by the nations it encircles.

30 responses to “Introducing Avaaz

  1. Naked BarBarack Emperor 0bama better drop US’ imperium and seriously devote his efforts instead to the ANTI-Constitutional armed rebellion burgeoning in “The Homeland” public places:

    • Ho; i’d seen it at both RT and the guardian, bruce. the ‘patriot movement’ lives here still, of course. i loved: “The militiamen told OregonLive there were about 150 of them, but a couple who delivered food to the refuge HQ estimated that there were just 15.”

      If it’s so, i’d agree w/ them on one count: “Supporters of the Hammonds believe they were treated unconstitutionally because the two were convicted of arson under a provision of an expansive federal law punishing terrorism.”

      now, every form of dissent = terr’ism.

      but…do i count you as abstaining on Avaaz then?

      my eyes seem to have had their run for today. tomorrow ‘i shall return’. or is that ‘shill return’?

      best to you, and to all others. leo is rising in the east by nor’ east late at night, and orion is….breath-taking in the east.

  2. Well, YES; Avaaz (like 0) is Company (CIA). But the Bundy boobs are in ANTI-Constitutional armed rebellion. Why are jest 15 rebels getting ‘vittles’ DELIVERED?! Interior should have nipped ’em all in Cliven’s original halfascist Bund!

    • yeah, but they were ‘white patriots’ then. untouchables of a different sort. ;-)

      i will say that perusing a few media sites this mornin’, this is the equivalent of ‘missing white blonde student’. three or four stories plus videos of ‘the rumble at malheur’. well, then the sauds’ 47 executions, too….

    • here ya go, bruce. this one’s from a man who visits malheure often: ‘The Bundy Militia Raid on Burns: What the Media Left Out’

      you also may be tickled that i saw a piece at al jazeera with #Y’allQaeda in the title. ;-)

  3. Thanks for updating me on what Tom Perriello has been up to. Compared to what came before and after in that district, he was much better suited as a Member of Congress. But his tribunal history and development entrepreneurialism experience has led him into Soros’s sweet business.

    I can see how Perriello would be an Obama pick to do something special in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Sierra Leone/Charles Taylor experience and Avaaz look good on a resume. As does the Twentieth Century Fund. And yet another Yalie. Perriello is 41. He should be coming up on at least an ambassadorial or assistant secretary of State appointment in the next round under Madame Clinton. (If you are in the “inevitability” corner of predictions.) Ambassador to Uganda or Ambassador to the DRC. Probably the lesser. Maybe even Burundi.

    It looks like the US foreign policy folks are going to be preoccupied with Iran and Saudi Arabia for a little bit. So Burundi might not get cued up as quickly as it was moving. Other than shutting out China, it still doesn’t make much sense to me. One other factor in the mix is the deep roots of evangelical Christian meddling in the Great Lakes region. Uganda is by far the poster child with its several “Christian” militias and homophobic legislation. They can be as troublesome as the Saudi-sponsored jihadis in the Middle East. Only they come with the direct backing of some Members of Congress and groups like Focus on the Family.

    The photo is a reminder that normal life continues even within strained nations and war zones. There are even some shots that come out of normal life and relatively undamaged areas of Syria and Iraq. But those places do not exist in the conflict areas, which become mostly rubble.

    Thanks for shining attention on an area not floodlit on the blogs. My spidey sense is twitching about Central America; seems to be a bit of a blackout there but lots of refugees driving Mr. Trump nuts. Remembering Madame Clinton’s Honduras gambit early in her career as Secretary of State and knowing that Kerry is preoccupied with Syria, Iran, and the diplomacy of taking down DAESH, might be a good time to find out what the good Madame Roberta S. Jacobson is up to.

    BTW, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs is Linda Thomas-Greenfield, another one with a thin biography but 34 years of experience in the Foreign Service. D’ya think she was stamping visas in Malawi until around 2000? Sometimes folks with very obvious biographies like Tom Perriello get more of a focus when we should be trying to understand where the processes are moving things instead of the characters.

    Oh well. Enough for tonight. Later.

    • yes, bucolic pastoral beauty…and what comes next? no, i dunno exactly why the campaign is on the march, but it has some heavy funding by the avaaz ‘activist’ alarmists. and the incestuous relationships among them is stark and dark.

      it makes me ill to see them all givin’ so much love to paul kagame though. i admit, it’s quite a political football as to his part in the genocide(s) in rawanda. of the different op-eds and claims i’ve read, this one seems about right to me. to see that he was on msnb ‘being grilled’ on genocide made my belly roil.

      i had to look up both those women’s names, but yes…clinton was quite coyly deceitful as to her part in the overthrow of zelaya, wasn’t she? she seems to have the same teflon coating bubba does.

      you may be right about central america; only place i find much news about the south is at i’d been collecting a few things to highlight for a post. you can click a nation on the left sidebar.

      on edit: i forgot intercontinental cry; i get their good newsletter.

  4. i’d had to laugh a bit when i first read this interview title at trnn: “Rwanda’s Kagame Eligible for Third Term Despite Civil Society Crackdowns; Rwanda genocide survivor Claude Gatebuke says the U.S., which spends $200 million a year on the Rwandan government, is starting to see president Paul Kagame more as a liability than an asset “- December 21, 2015
    Claude Gatebuke is executive director of the African Great Lakes Action Network (AGLAN).

    There hadn’t been a transcript, so i blew it off, especially after sharmini’s opening lines of context. but it seems he spoke his version of the truth along the way. but i don’t see any ‘change of heart or mind’, do you?

    but what i did come back to say that the transcript’s up now, and that he mentioned this:
    “The person who’s known to have written the story of the Rwandan genocide, Alison Des Forges, the leading researcher on Rwanda prior to the genocide, was banned from entering the country even though she had been very favorable to the RPF government, or the Rwandan Patriotic Front government, that is running the country. She had provided extensive testimony in the court in Arusha against genocide suspects. She was banned from entering the country because the Rwandan government did [inaud.].”

    oddly enough, i’ve read diametrically opposed opinions on just what alison des forges’ book (long-time HRW researcher) actually said, and bumped into this piece by the man in the videos, keith harmon snow, at rawandaonline, which includes:

    ““In May of 1994, a few weeks into the killings of Tutsis in Rwanda, [Alison Des Forges] was among the first voices calling for the killings to be declared a genocide,” reported Amy Goodman, posthumously, on Democracy Now. “She later became very critical of the Tutsi-led Rwandan government headed by Paul Kagame and its role in the mass killings in both Rwanda and neighboring Congo after 1994. Last year, she was barred from entering Rwanda.”

    To say that Des Forges was “amongst the first voices calling for the killings to be declared genocide” in 1994 is an Orwellian ruse. The genocide label applied by Alison Des Forges and certain human rights bodies in May of 1994 was misdirected, used to accuse and criminalize only the majority Hutu people and the remnants of the decapitated Habyarimana government (much as the genocide and war crimes accusations have been selectively applied against President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan).

    The Clinton administration refused to apply the genocide label: to do so might have compromised an ongoing U.S.-backed covert operation: the invasion of the Pentagon’s proxy force, the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A).” (paul kagame, [snip]

    ““With U.S. military forces of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) now backing a joint Ugandan-DRC offensive in the northeastern DRC to wipe out the Lord’s Resistance Army,” wrote Madsen on 16 February 2009, “with hundreds [sic] of civilian casualties in the DRC and Uganda, and a secret pact worked out between Kabila and Kagame to permit Rwandan troops to occupy the eastern DRC, the target of both operations is securing the vast territory that is rich in commodities that the United States, Britain and Israel—all allies of Uganda and Rwanda—want badly. Those commodities are gold, diamonds, columbium-tantalite (coltan), platinum and natural gas.”

    and on…and on…more citations calling bullshit on de forge and her participation in show trials, military and special forces among the RPF, kagame’s training by “education under the Pentagon’s Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) at the Command and General Staff College of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, beginning in 1990″…and yada, yada.

    yeah, maybe more is going on with the hits against burundi than even burundians realize.

  5. It’s strange what I’ve learned with a little research after reading these anti imperialist screeds about conflicts and personalities in Africa. Paul Kagame received most of his foreign Military Intelligence training in Cuba before his short stay in the US and he and the RPF stressed that it was Western Colonial rule and meddling that divided the different peoples of Africa. He also supported the Chinese development model over the Western aid model that they had to depend for basic needs.

    What is most troubling is the repeating apologia and deflection about the Rwanda genocide, some of it coming from people who were possibly directly involved in the killing, being accepted as facts or at least acceptable opinions.

  6. well, you may be correct, peter. and gatebuke is apparently a survivor of the genocide. but i binged for ‘trained in cuba; and mainly found articles saying ‘both’ cuba and leavenworth. this piece at the telegraph at least attempts to ask kagame the hard questions and accusations that still hound him; his answers are smooth, even though he bristles’ at them. still supporting M23 in congo, for another.

    “As a young man he joined the leftist Ugandan rebel army led by Yoweri Museveni, the current president of Uganda, and spent five years as a guerrilla fighter in the bush. Intelligence was Kagame’s speciality, gathering information about the terrain, the enemy, the villagers. It suited his observant, analytical, conspiratorial mind. When Museveni took power in 1986, he sent Kagame to Cuba for training with 67 intelligence officers under his command.” and

    “Kagame assumed the presidency. He started devouring books about Singapore, South Korea, China and the other ‘Asian Tigers’, which had managed to leap out of poverty in less than a generation by means of disciplined, authoritarian leadership and entrepreneurial capitalism. Rwanda is a small, landlocked, overpopulated country with few natural resources, and long, expensive trade routes. How was it going to develop? Kagame announced an ambitious plan to turn Rwanda into the high-tech commercial, banking and communications hub of east and central Africa by 2020.”

    yep, plenty of fans like “who include Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and the CEOs of Google and Starbucks, the tinderbox nature of post-genocide Rwanda, and the results he has achieved so far, justify his strong hand and poor human rights record”, etc.

    but i do find it interesting how often you use phrases akin to ‘anti imperialist screeds’ to ballast your dissenting opinion. kagame’s lucky to have such a good PR firm like avaaz on his side. ;-)

    • You won’t read any support of or apologies for Kagame in my comments just opinions about the screeds that try to convince people that anyone who has military training in the US or leads a government that takes US aid is somehow bonded for life to US interests, if they ever were. Kagame is being attacked in Washington today even though he has voter support for extending his time in office and I think some US aid was severed over his involvement with M23 in Congo a few years ago.

      These tenuous connections to US imperialism create easy answers and blame for complicated conflicts that may or may not have anything to do with US interests.

      There were certainly a large number of reprisal killings after the RPF came to power and started hunting down the perpetrators of the genocide and many innocent people were probably killed but that was not genocide just summary executions and it was stopped.

      • that reads a mite differently than your first comment. ;-)

        but it may just matter which folks get trained at military colleges in the usa; dunno in this case, but here are the notable foreign peeps at that school; dunno if there’s a pattern.

        i have seen very little of ‘washington attacks’; might you amplify that? just this week the state dept. and sam powers issued tsk-tsks to kagame, noting that he would set back african democracy, etc.

        but he sure has been joined at the hip with susan rice, the clintons, maybe even kerry, in business deals, and note his ‘fans’ in the telegraph piece. rice suppressed UN reports about his involvement in genocide, and yes, it seems that kerry had phoned him in october of 2013 to tell him to stop supporting m-23.

        but the news from the guardian this morning is quite damning: ‘Burundi civil war fears as president accused of campaign of murder; As president Pierre Nkurunziza continues to cling to power, Amnesty International has documented arbitrary arrests, disappearances and deaths’

        it’s frustrating not to know what’s really going on, and i confess this reminds me a bit of the charges of the opposition party in VZ, and the various human rights organizations that laid heavy claims against the G. but then again, maybe it is what’s happening, and pierre is a murdering thug.

        • The problem with Burundi is that it may be a justified R2P situation which will elevate Sam Powers and the Liberal Interventionists in the eyes of the world, and themselves, which could have dangerous consequences in the future. Remember that the US was widely condemned for doing nothing during the Rwandan genocide.

          The fact that China and Russia are advocating for the same policy negates the anti-imperialist’s claim of an east/west conflict in Africa, this is east/west engagement at least for now.

          • It’s a bit frightening to me how easily you and other people can draw conclusions such as “joined at the hip’ based on PR photos and public engagement that are required for any poverty stricken nation such as Rwanda to receive desperately needed aid from the West.

            From what I read Kagame would reject aid if he could because it damages their economy but the results now would be devastating so he can’t without mass suffering. There is some investment with this aid and China is investing so there is some progress and growth.

            • so sorry to frighten you, but i seem to have read things you haven’t, most notably op-eds concerning US businesses and politicians who have had many dealings with kagame. cripes, even thomm hartman. ;-)

          • i’m with those who note that not one nation who has been deemed ‘worthy’ of R2P doctrine is anything but worse now. there have to be other alternatives. yes i hear you on east’west as far as the votes, but as to the truth of what’s really going on in burundi, or who is doing the killing, my morning reading has cause more questions about it than convictions.

            i won’t bother you with the links or sources of claims save for a piece at al jazeera on dec. 3: ‘‘US envoy: Burundi on brink of civil war; Regional and world powers are concerned about possible repeat of ethnic violence that led to genocide in Rwanda’

            the envoy? avaaz founder tom perriello.

  7. Wolf Richter’s year-end/new-year column was just linked from Yves’s blog. What jumped out at me from that was that the commodity that lost to most in price in 2015 was nickel, which I believe was the major commodity at the base of the Eritrean economy. The consequences of that large a price drop feeds back through the labor market for miners and through whatever royalty payments go to the government. Not a happy situation for the Eritreans.

    The Great Lakes region and DRC have been hammered by the same poor performance of those eagerly sought commodities. And like most commodity nations, they never banked the profits into a better local economy during the good times. China itself is going through that nutcracker. It will not take much in bad times to create troubled nations. Even in the US, guys ranching on almost free grassland are restless. Demand for meats are crumbling because of health concerns — e coli, anybody. Resource concerns and recycling even in the absence scarcity pricing are going to reduce demand for newly mined metals and oil. Especially in an economic regime of enforced austerity in the richer nations – US, European Union, and to a degree Japan. Developing nation commodity producers certainly are hit harder.

    BTW, winter has finally arrived. 21F tonight; high 31F tomorrow. Chihuahua was glad to stay in his coat all day today. Slate junco perched outside on an oak tree this morning was fluffed up like a fuzzy Christmas tree ball with a beak.

    • i believe that nickel was the one. but it got me to remembering that at some point, my longtime hearthrob/boyfriend jamie dimon/s (and friends) had been actually warehousing steel (though ive forgotten which sort/grade, tra la la), and other stable commodities, hedging for a ‘better future’. dunno how that might translate for eritrea, but as far as ‘meat’, i’ forgotten to add in all thee discussions of china and africa, that i’d read that as the standard of living had been rising in china, formerly ‘poor’ citizens did not want to continue with a diet of rice and fish paste, but wanted ‘meat’. yes, and as agricultural meat farming is seen as so injurious to the planet’s sustainable agriculture and perhaps, human health. african lakes, as in burundi? think: water (not just billions n gold) in libya as a major prize (h/t: matt taibbi)…

      yes, i yam again a bit of an omnivore, but for some possibly silly or not reasons, including the ‘eat for your blood type’ books.

      on edit: egad, i’d forgotten your weather. my stars, and today following days of blizzards and keening winds, it was…45 degrees here. so warm we were able to clean our little Vermont castings stove ahead of the next wave. fun on your dark-eyed junco variant. here, they’re called black headed juncos, and there are legions of the dears this winter crapping all over the porch, lol. every year in the bird world here is different, of course.

      on edit: “put it down, and back away!

      • The political, military, economic and propaganda stories about Africa, Burundi in particular, seem important until compared with the underlying but ignored big story about Africa, the Population Bomb that has exploded there over the last few decades. I had trouble comprehending the population density numbers I saw for countries such as Burundi, 700+ people per sq mile and Rwanda with 1100+ people per sq mile, these are extreme numbers and they are rural not urban. In 1950 Africa had a little over 200Million people total, today there are a Billion Africans.

        If GW/Climate Change hits central Africa we may see a refugee crisis unlike anything seen so far. Eritrea already produces 60,000 refugees a year, the largest source of EU migrants until the Syrian crisis.

        China and the West are deeply involved in the politics and economics of the continent but no one seems to be doing anything to even slow the exploding population.

        • that’s a hella big population increase, and hard to imagine density numbers in rural areas. this twitter account, famine early warning network, has lots of current climate maps and food danger zones.

          i dunno if the west and china do anything much in that area, but the UN does have such a body. wikipedia lists a lot of the reasons that birth control isn’t used often, and which kind are and aren’t really available. along the way in the search, it seems al gore got in mega-hot water for advocating for it in 2014. people can rightly get touchy about eugenics.

          on edit: i dunno in which nations, or percentages of women still undergoing female genital mutilation figure in, but women may not be in charge of their bodies in too many places, including BC, abortion, etc.

          oh, one catholic site said that the aging population in africa isn’t considered much, but i wasn’t able to get the drift of the argument. but i will say that it’s also possible that some of the newish superbugs and plagues will kill huge numbers of humans in the not-too-distant future.

          • Modern medicine, aid and trade are what primed Africa for this population explosion and the Catholic Church is predominant in some of these countries so the UN has little power to promote ZPG.

            I doubt they can depend on new superbugs if Ebola is an example, any more than genocide to thin the population, with modern medical intervention to counter and isolate outbreaks and R2P to address genocides.

            Humans are robust and resilient, the great plagues of history killed mostly because of ignorance, we still have Bubonic Plague in NM but it rarely kills or spreads, even the hantavirus was contained and is almost forgotten except by one of my neighbors who painted hantavirus warnings on his buildings to keep thieves out.

  8. Your links as always are amazing, wendye. And you most certainly have read things I haven’t, for one. A belated happy new year, if we can manage that, to all students and educators on this forum. (Special thanks for the Michael Hudson interview; I can’t hear enough from that man.)

    • so lovely to see you here, juliania, and welcome. i must say, i did play it three times, and may have gotten his message. (oddly, his site’s version had been under attack, or something, so i went searching…) (one day, he’ll disavow capitalism altogether, won’t he?) ;-)

      but i’ve shied away from economics ever since my years-long friendship with obey in geneva, a brilliant capitalist (initials, not command) kerfuffle over ‘new rules: if hedged financial transactions were on clearinghouses, they would be covered by the FDIC’. sorry to say, he was wrong, but his comments at my.firedoglake akin to ‘i know you folks try to understand this stuff’…made me a laughingstock there. (i really did try not to mind). ;-)

      but yes, hudson illuminates so much of what the financial world has become, and gotten away with in complete impunity (fines don’t matter one iota, of course).

      and happy post new year, post kwanzaa, and chanukka to you. (ha; our chirren got so tired of our ecumenically lighting candles, saying prayers… by the end of these seasons.)

  9. good morning, all.

    last night we were treated to an exceptional musical event…by owl. one pair to the north, one pair to the east, communicating in ways i’d never heard before.

    at first, they traded hoo-hooos back and forth, perhaps mating songs. later on, the higher-ranged vocalists, which i assume were females, began to overlap their songs with the males, exquisitely adding gentle trills as they harmonized. oh, i wish you all might have heard it, and been enriched by their art.

    i did my best (but deteriorating) owl song in the intervals, but they rather pointedly ignored me. mr. wd reckons they were great-horned owls, as they nest and mate earlier than the others. for them, and their glorious gift, this piece of music i only recently heard by dvd.

  10. lots of good stuff here wendy, as usual. really too bad you didn’t get the owls.
    i’ve been busy throwing up, for jesus’ sake, at the “obama wept” thing.

  11. i (ahem) confess that i did call to them (in wendy-tongue) that i would love it if they came to the weeping birch and get their photos tooken. but that would take something akin to a miracle…

    oh, ish, i saw those headlines and photos. did he hafta pull on his eyelashes to make a tear? i get the white house emails; most make me ill, but i like knowin’ what propaganda they’re sellin’. the TPP bullshit is perhaps the worst recently.

    how ’bout lettin’ us read the Torture Report, Mr. Transparency?

    • you are a brave soul getting those WH reports. probably get you one or two less days in the FEMA camp though ;) yeah, how to square COP21 & TPP…how to square that….politics is hard! that’s a real noodle scratcher! wait, i’ve got it!!!!! more exclamation points please! COP21 is what he *wants* to do. TPP…well, you gotta do things to get elect…i mean, stay in…wait, is POTUS a marionette of The Interests, or the Most Powerful Man in the World? so confusing.

      • ya know, i’ve wondered if the bern might not be another potential trojan horse like O. domestic shit is negligible to the PTB, yes?

        but gosh-ola; i’d never thunk that my fema camp stay might be reduced for receiving the WH emails. i confessed that when i saw denis McDonut’s name on this one a few hours ago…i sent it to my Hell pile. ach; i’ve retrieved it just for you. just a few words from our sponsor on ‘the state of the Onion is Six!!!! days:

        “After all this time in the White House, here’s what I know to be true:

        We still have work to do, but there’s no question: Together, we’ve brought America back.

        The budget agreement we reached helps avoid senseless cuts and will unlock critical investments in our national defense as we battle terrorism.

        We have verifiably cut off Iran’s paths to a nuclear bomb and fundamentally changed a policy in Cuba that failed to induce change for over half a century.

        We are producing more oil than we import, even as we develop more clean energy and continue to reduce harmful carbon pollution.

        Our high school graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and last year, incarceration rates and crime rates both went down.

        All the while, unemployment is down to 5% while health insurance coverage is up to 90%, even as health care inflation has continued its historically slow increase.

        But what we have left to do is bigger than any one policy initiative or new bill in Congress. This is about who we are, where we’re headed, and what kind of country we want to be.

        That’s why, in his final State of the Union Address, President Obama’s doing something different. There’s a lot we have accomplished over the last seven years and plenty we can tackle in the year ahead — but this year, the President will do what is rarely done in Washington: Think beyond the next election.

        Look for him to focus his address on the challenges — and opportunities — that will impact America for generations to come. Together, as a nation, we face some critical choices. If we make the right ones that build on the best of what our nation has to offer, we will leave our kids and grandkids an America that’s never been stronger, fairer, and more prosperous.

        So here are a couple to-do’s for you: Stay tuned for something new from the President — both from the podium and online at”

        (follow him on twitter; he has TWO!!!! tweets to his name.) but meanwhile, the house just voted to ‘repeal ObamaDon’tCare’.

  12. the things you endure for us wendy. oh god, the SOTU…the Oscars…the NFL Playoffs…the interminable election…so much empty hollow theater around this time of year…

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