Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Alison Des Forges
In the Rwanda “genocide” case, the “human rights” community played an unusually active role in supporting the real aggressors and killers, in close parallel with their own governments’ perspectives and policies. As in the case of the Western aggressions against Yugoslavia (1999) and Iraq (2003), Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations simply ignored the “supreme international crime” (or “act of aggression by Uganda,” in Herman Cohen’s phrase), while conveniently, and in hugely biased fashion, paying attention to lesser human rights violations.48 They downplayed or ignored entirely the refugee crisis created by the Ugandan-RPF invasion and occupation of northern Rwanda and the armed penetration and de facto subversion of the rest of the country by the RPF. Every response to these by the Habyarimana government, from October 1990 on, was scrutinized for “human rights” violations and framed as evidence of unlawful state repression. The NGOs systematically evaded the massive evidence of RPF responsibility for the April 6, 1994, shoot-down, surely because the finding conflicts with their deep commitment to the model of a preplanned Hutu genocide and the RPF’s self-defensive rescue of Rwanda—the twin components of the established perpetrator-victim line. We believe that their biases played an important role in supporting the RPF’s aggression, its penetration of the country, and the execution of its final assault on power. Above all, we believe that their biases and propaganda contributed substantially to the mass killings that followed—all in accord with the needs of actual U.S. policy.  Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
 THE RWANDA GENOCIDE FABRICATIONS Human Right Watch, Alison Des Forges & Disinformation on Central Africa by Keith Harmon SnowTimothy Longman and Des Forges, the co-authors of the HRW treatise, Leave None To Tell The Story, both worked with USAID, the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon. Des Forges was a member of the HRW board from 1988 and was “principal researcher” on Rwanda and Burundi, 1991-1994. In this period Des Forges also consulted for USAID, and collaborated with the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council. Simultaneously, Des Forges worked with, informed and influenced U.S. Congress-people, Permanent Representatives at the United Nations, the U.N. Under-Secretary General, and U.N. Special Rapporteur for Rwanda and Special Rapporteur for Summary and Arbitrary Executions. Des Forges also pumped the disinformation into the academic world through her high-level ties to human rights committees, African and Africana Studies departments and the elite African Studies Association.
In the same period, Des Forges constantly influenced the U.S. media through special briefings to the editorial boards and reporters of the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, and Associated Press, and she was frequently presented as an “expert” on genocide in Rwanda for CNN, 60 Minutes, Nightline, All Things Considered, BBC, Radio France Internationale, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Such relations explain the mass media’s consistency in producing the monolithic disinformation about Rwanda that shielded the illegal U.S.-backed and covert RPF/A (Ugandan) guerrilla insurgency. The blanket media coverage falsely situated the “Rwanda genocide” as it is now widely misunderstood: 100 days of genocide, 800,000 to 1.2 million Tutsis killed with machetes; the ‘highly disciplined’ RPF/A stopping the genocide. Such is the disinformation that indoctrinated the English-speaking media consumers and created a mass psychological hysteria about Rwanda that persists to this day.
Timothy Longman worked with Des Forges in Rwanda in 1994 and has worked regularly with both USAID and HRW on contracts in Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, throughout the late 1990’s and into the present; Longman worked in Rwanda on one USAID contract for Management Systems Incorporated, a firm whose clients include the Pentagon. Longman also worked as a consultant for HRW in the spring of 2000 conducting field research in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and producing “a detailed report on human rights conditions in rebel-controlled areas.”
The Des Forges and Longman position vis-à-vis their whitewashing of the Tutsi-led RPF/A-organized genocide in Rwanda certainly explains the sanitation of HRW reports, and it raises questions, for example, about how Human Rights Watch ‘researchers’ navigate their ‘work’ in rebel (read: Rwandan and Ugandan) controlled areas in DRC. It also raises questions about how, why and when HRW does or doesn’t expose the western operatives, non-government organizations and multinational corporations: a singular example is the Human Rights Watch report that mildly exposes the criminal operations of Anglo-Gold Ashanti—a company partnered with the Bush-connected Barrick Gold Corporation—in eastern DRC. HRW says nothing about Moto Gold, Mwana Africa, Banro Resources, Hardmann Oil, Tullow Oil, De Beers, H Oil & Minerals, OM Group, Metalurg, Kotecha, International Rescue Committee—and the many proxy armies, militias, gun-runners and other organized white collar war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Congo.
The role of HRW as an intelligence conduit to the U.S. Government is incidentally confirmed by Samantha Power in her book A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide—a whitewash of U.S. and allied war crimes for which she was rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize. While Power’s “bystanders to genocide” thesis about Rwanda is a total inversion of the facts, she notes in passing that “Human Rights Watch supplied exemplary intelligence to the U.S. Government and lobbied in one-on-one meetings” in April and May 1994, and that Alison Des Forges and other HRW staff visited the White House on April 21, 1994. Samantha Power is currently a member of the National Security Council in the administration of President Barack Obama.
“Roger Winter was with the RPA on the front lines in Rwanda and he regularly briefed the Clinton Administration of the RPA’s military achievements,” says Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, former Rwandan official. “Alison Des Forges contributed to the RPF/A takeover of Rwanda. I have no doubt about that… I met her three times, first in 1995, and in 2004 she encouraged me to testify at the ICTR. I said no way: I will only testify if RPF officials are arrested. She insisted I should testify, she was confident that the RPF were going to be arrested. I think she did not realize that the U.S. government would never accept that. She was something of an opportunist.”
“I don’t know how assassins could control icing on the wings or why it was necessary to bring down 50 other people just to silence her,” says ICTR lawyer Chris Black, commenting on the speculation that Alison Des Forges was assassinated by ‘plane crash’. “It would have been much simpler to kill her in all sorts of other ways. But she was no big critic. She made some noises, but it was just to give Human Rights Watch some credibility.”