The Kidnapping And Sham “Trial” of Hotel Rwanda Hero–Rusesabagina


Even a hero like Rusesabagina, shown with Oprah in a dated picture, who protected Hutus and Tutsis isn’t safe in Kagame’s Rwanda. Photo: FreePaulRusesabagina

It is the 6th of April again and the western establishment’s corporate media intelligence propaganda system has again been cranking out black propaganda that continues to buttress the false narratives about genocide in Central Africa. Under this falsification of consciousness, the victims become the killers and the killers become the victims, and the true role and involvement of the Western powers remains entirely obscured.

“On eve of the 27th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda being observed on Wednesday,” writes one popular journal, echoing the establishment line, “experts are debating the role of media that played a critical role in inciting and prolonging the violence. The massacre that started on April 7, 1994, killed one million people belonging to a mainly Tutsi ethnic community and moderate Hutus in a span of 100 days.”

The establishment narrative excludes the long history of violence perpetrated by the elite Tutsi monarchy; it excludes the deep historiography of elite Tutsi hit-and-run terrorism against the newly independent Rwandan nation, 1959-1970; it excludes the invasion of the sovereign country of Rwanda by Ugandan soldiers in October 1990—soldiers backed by the United States and its allies; it excludes the four years of mass atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the invading Ugandan soldiers—led by Paul Kagame—against Rwandan Hutus, Tutsis and Twas, from October 1990 to April 1994; and it excludes the definitive proof that Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army orchestrated the double presidential assassinations of 6 April 1994. 

Instead we get Hollywood fictions, emotionally potent oversimplifications, racist mythologies and media soundbites cranked out, over and over, to cement the false narrative into the heads of the infotainment consuming western public.  Instead we get “experts” regurgitating old stale theories and citing fabricated evidence to perpetuate the deeply seeded and deeply seated mythology. Instead we get the whitewashed “miracle” of Rwanda’s economic recovery—achieved at the expense of over 7 million Rwandan, Ugandan, Burundian and Congolese lives.  

Rwanda’s rise to power has been achieved through a perpetual orgy of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, misery and suffering and pure starvation on an unprecedented scale, and it comes through the ongoing rape and plunder of the resources and people of Central Africa. This is what Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina calls the “grinding machine”. 

While the world is subjected to the annual onslaught of insufferable propaganda, the latest victim of the Rwandan genocide industry—Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda fame—is being quick-shuffled through the corrupt Rwandan court system in a sham “trial” reminiscent of the judicial charade that led to the brutal and botched execution of Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa. The parallels are unsettling, and the outcome may be equally unconscionable.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was the leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people, a human rights defender who struggled to free the indigenous peoples of the Niger River Delta from the yoke of slavery and destruction and the great western corporate petroleum genocide.  While the truth was obscured by a massive propaganda campaign orchestrated by Shell Oil Company with the complicity of Newsweek, the New York Times and all the rest, Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists suffered on death row until their execution by hanging on 10 November 1995.

Like Ken Saro-Wiwa, Rwanda’s humanitarian freedom fighter Paul Rusesabagina has been framed, faces false charges fabricated by a brutal arrogant pathological military regime, and the complete obliteration of all due process in Rwanda’s caricature of judicial proceedings. As it was with Saro-Wiwa, so it is with Rusesabagina: the world “community” is engaged in hand-wringing, denials, apologetics, mental masturbation, blatant disinformation, and outright lies.

“The nickname for my country is ‘the land of thousands of hills,’” wrote Paul Rusesabagina, in his autobiography, An Ordinary Man, “but this signifies a gross undercount. There are at least half a million hills, maybe more; we are the children of the hills, the grassy slopes, the valley roads, the spider patterns of rivers, and the millions of rivulets and crevasses and buckles of earth. In this country, we don’t talk about coming from a particular village, but from a particular hill.”

Paul Rusesabagina was born into a family of nine children, farmers, on the side of a steep hill, in a home made of mud and sticks. The Rwanda of his youth was green and bright, full of cooking fires and sisters murmuring and drying sorghum and corn leaves in the wind and in the warm arms of his mother. But this image of a happy, quiet youth spent in the quaint hills of some far-off place is not one the western world holds in its modern memory of Rwanda. Instead we are confronted by a perpetual pornography of horror.

Paul Rusesabagina can no longer visit his particular hill. He was made famous by the film Hotel Rwandaa Hollywood story inspired by his actions in the face of inhumanity, but Paul Rusesabagina fled Rwanda on 6 September 1996, after an attempted assassination, and he is today in exile from his own country.2  Paul Kagame’s agents tracked him in Belgium, where he was awarded citizenship after arriving there as a refugee, and even in the United States, where he toured and spoke. He has been derided and threatened. He also received the Medal of Freedom hung round his neck by then president George W. Bush.

In an 7 April 2007 ceremony held in Rwanda to mark the 13th anniversary of the genocide, President Paul Kagame called him a “swindler” and “gangster” who works with other swindlers and gangsters who support him. The speech has raised fears in Rwanda, and amongst the Rwandan Diaspora around the world. It was not the slander of Paul Rusesabagina that has upset the Rwandan people, but the other things that President Kagame said, and the way that he said them, in Kinyarwanda. In keeping with the general climate of silence and disinformation about the political realities in Rwanda, Paul Kagame’s words went untold by the Western press.

A once-revered citizen living in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina became one of Paul Kagame’s fiercest critics in exile. On 27 August 2020, Rusesabagina was lured and kidnapped by the Rwandan government, renditioned to Kigali in complete contravention of international laws and treaties. Even Rwanda’s own Penal Code qualifies abduction as a serious and punishable offence: 

Article 151: Abduction and unlawful detention of a person:

Any person who, by violence, deception or threats, abducts or causes to be abducted, unlawfully detains or causes to be detained another person, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five (5) years and not more than seven (7) years.”

“Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame is a dictator who does not tolerate dissent,” wrote Brian Endless, PhD, Director of African Studies and the African Diaspora at Loyola University Chicago, in a lengthy report detailing the true history and false charges brought by the Rwandan government. Kagame “slanders and intimidates critics of his government, including calling them “terrorists”, who has a long record of imprisoning and even killing those he considers to be critics or political opponents.”

For Paul Kagame and the RPF, the goal of their seizure of power—premised on the aristocratic Tutsi’s historical and deeply inculcated psychological narrative of Tutsi entitlement—has always been to eliminate as many Rwandans inside Rwanda as possible, seize and occupy the long-dreamed of but heavily populated Rwandan hills, and take revenge. Hutus were the primary targets, but ‘interior’ Tutsis were also targeted. 

The RPF’s ascension to power in central Africa parallels the rise of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, a complex, ultra-secretive, layered organization comprised of thousands of military and civilian intelligence operatives, assassins, infiltrators, informants and handlers. Under the direct control of Paul Kagame and his top Tutsi commanders, the structure, methods and tactics of the DMI resemble the structures of intelligence and control that obtained during the bloody terror epochs under the last Tutsi kings (mwamis) of the Nyaginya dynasty: Kigeli IV Rwabugiri (reign: 1853-1895) and Yuhi Musinga (reign: 1896-1931). The DMI watches everything and everyone.

Kagame uses the DMI and special ‘technicians’ to instill fear in everyone, modeling his reign of power on the reign of absolute terror that obtained under King Rwabugiri. The system of power and control relies on structures, concepts and systems that originated in the traditional precolonial Nyaginya kingdoms. The Intore, for example—‘the chosen ones’—were elite fighters attached to the king’s household. The RPF has deployed thousands of Intore, chosen from all walks of life—“bus drivers, teachers, nurses, doctors, civil servants, journalists and other professionals”—as infiltrators, spies, informants, murderers and assassins trained at secret camps and diffused throughout Rwanda and its thousand hills. Kagame and the DMI’s network of spies and assassins also proliferate outside Rwanda.

Rwanda is built on a culture of lying and deception—a very sophisticated intellectual and psychological practice known as Ubwenge—inherited from the aristocratic Tutsis and their pre-colonial and colonial traditions. Lying is routine, calculated, without conscience.  Paul Kagame is the supreme liar, and the ‘Rwanda genocide’ is the supreme lie.

The greatest difference between Rwabugiri’s reign is that Kagame has adapted modern technologies and perfected the techniques, methods and sophistication of the system of power, intimidation, and control. 

For one stark example, the Arusha Peace Accords (1993) legitimized the RPF’s illegal invasion of Rwanda and they gave the RPF a disproportionate share of power. The accords served as a devastating policy instrument used against the Rwandan government of Juvenal Habyarimana to force concessions favorable to the RPF: the accords were a monumental charade that the RPF had no intentions of honoring.  The accords also served the duplicitous RPF tactic of ‘fight and talk’ and each diplomatic demarche of this sort allowed the RPF to further infiltrate and consolidate its power. 

Under the accords the RPF troops demanded a military presence to protect RPF officials in Kigali: a contingent of 600 RPA soldiers (with over 100 DMI operatives) were stationed at the Centre Nationale de Developpement (CND) parliament in Kigali.  Kagame’s DMI operatives and technicians used the CND as a base to terrorize Kigali from August 1993 to April 1994: RPF dissidents have confessed to bombing cafes and buses, assassinating Hutu leaders, fomenting chaos everywhere.

The ‘technicians’ reported to the DMI high command, directly under the control of Paul Kagame. Even before the 100 days of carnage, the DMI was enacting the most horrible, cold-blooded revenge.  While ‘interior’ Tutsis were also targeted, the actions against Hutus— described by RPF defectors—constitute genocide on no uncertain terms. 

Commanded by Paul Kagame, the Rwandan Patriotic Army—comprised of English speaking Tutsis (many with Ugandan citizenship) who had fought for Yoweri Museveni in the genocidal war in Uganda and funded by powerful Tutsi elites in the diaspora—killed hundreds of thousands of Hutus between 1990 and 1995, and they killed Tutsis by staging attacks so that the blame would fall on the Habyarimana government.

From October 1990 the RPA scorched earth through northern Rwanda, obliterating entire villages. Practicing a bad-faith strategy of “talk and fight,” the RPA displaced over a million Rwandans. Famine, starvation, assassinations, and massacres attended the RPA’s every duplicitous advance. The masses in Rwanda justifiably feared renewed subjugation under the exiled Tutsi guerrilla from Uganda—who they saw depopulating and seizing their beloved Rwandan hills. Meanwhile, the RPA solidified their victor’s narrative—Hutus as killers, Tutsis as victims—through the Western press and human rights nexus.

Hutus suffered most, but “interior” Tutsis— French-speaking Tutsis who stayed behind or returned to Rwanda after the “Hutu revolution” of 1959 and the subsequent Tutsi refugee warrior Inyenzi attacks of the 1960s—were also churned to blood and dust by the RPA grinding machine. The elite Tutsi military’s assassination of Burundi’s Hutu president (1993) and the RPA’s double-presidential assassinations of Rwanda and Burundi’s Hutu presidents on April 6, 1994 sparked the violence of the so-called “100 days of genocide”.

“The thesis of Mr. Kagame’s RPF, considered today as the ‘official’ thesis, claims that the Hutus prepared acts of genocide against the Tutsis.” Cameroonian journalist Charles Onana nailed it. “That genocide would not have been possible, however, without the attack against the airplane. The key question is, therefore, who shot down the airplane?”

“The Bush and Clinton administrations, with their British counterparts, supported Kagame and the RPA because Habyarimana, though originally installed in a CIA-supported coup in 1973, had become a proxy of the French. After Habyarimana’s killing Clinton urged the removal of UN forces so the RPA would win Rwanda’s civil war.” How deeply did the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), USAID, U.S. Special Forces, Canadian Security Intelligence Services, and MI-6 back the RPA juggernaut?

French journalist Charles Onana reported that the UN’s Rwanda Emergency Office, set up in Nairobi (Kenya) in April 1994, was staffed by U.S. Army officers (and others) who acted as the Operational Headquarters for the RPA, listened in on all the Rwandan government’s military (Forces Armées Rwandaises) communications, provided intelligence, and directed RPA field operations.

“Whoever shot down the plane, the killing began within hours, as Kagame and his Tutsi army fought their way toward Kigali to stop the genocide they had helped provoke.” U.S. scholar-diplomat Stephen Weissman wrongly asserts the false narrative where “Kagame and his Tutsi army” stopped the genocide, and the authors of the assassinations are unknown, but he also flags covert operative Roger Winter. “Traveling with them, by his own account, was at least one American—[Kagame’s] friend Roger Winter. Should Congress ever investigate America’s role in the Rwandan holocaust, Mr. Winter would be a star witness.”

Roger Winter was not the only foreign intelligence operative involved in the aristocratic Tutsis’ war to reclaim Rwanda. Israeli Mossad spy-master David Kimche was believed to be in the field with the RPA. Other officials who should be tried in an international war crimes and genocide tribunal include: Herman Jay Cohen, Prudence Bushnell, Richard A. Clarke, Brian Atwood, Andrew Young, Madeleine Albright, and U.S. defense attachés Lt. Col. Thomas P. Odom, Richard Skow, Lt. Col. Richard K. Orth, Lt. Colonel Bud Rassmusen, and the DIA’s Africa spymaster William G. Thom.*

On April 6, 1994, at 8:22 PM, two MANPADS surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) were fired at Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana’s presidential plane as it prepared to land at Kigali International Airport. One missile missed; the second missile hit the plane causing it to explode over the Habyarimana presidential residence. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, their aides, Rwanda’s military chief of staff, two Burundian cabinet ministers, and the French crew of Jacques Heraud, Jean-Pierre Minaberry, and Jean-Michel Perrine were killed. The French crew were operating “in official service” to France. Within hours of the murders the RPA had mobilized a major assault on Kigali, impossible absent substantial a priori planning. Luc Marchal, the Belgian UNAMIR commander of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), “was astounded how fast RPF forces—between 25,000 and 30,000 troops—moved into position after the plane was shot down.”

The U.S. military heavily backed the RPF tactically and strategically. Key to the operation were “former” Special Operations Forces (Ronco Company) providing military equipment and ferrying RPA troops from Uganda to Rwanda, the Pentagon’s logistical and communications support, and DIA and CIA operatives. 

The SAMs used in the double presidential attack came from U.S. military stockpiles seized during the first Iraq war and were reportedly assembled at a warehouse in Kigali rented by a CIA Swiss front company. French anti-terrorist Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere spent several years investigating the shoot-down on behalf of the families of the French flight crew. Bruguiere told Boutros-Boutros Ghali, secretary-general of the UN in 1994, that the CIA was involved in shooting down the plane.

Contrary to Pentagon and U.S. State Department claims that satellite reconnaissance photos of Rwandan (or Zaire) territory were unavailable, the Pentagon provided very clear satellite imagery shot over Rwanda at the height of the “100 days of genocide” to the Department of Homeland Security for its unjust framing and prosecution of Rwandan refugees hunted by the Kagame regime.

What happened in Rwanda from 1990 to 1994 can be counted amongst the Western defense and intelligence apparatus’ most sanguinary achievements: a U.S.-sponsored coup d’etat that dis- placed French interests in Central Africa in favor of North American, British, Belgian, and Israeli interests. These interests revolve around plunder and private profit, and they prevail through de-population, destruction, and terrorism as policy.

In 1990, the RPF created the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) to oversee their military structure. “The DMI is hated and feared by most of the Rwandan population, inside and out- side of Rwanda due to its reputation for cruelty and killing operations,” reads a “Top Secret” UN report documenting RPF terrorism (suppressed by the UN for years). “Most of the massacres attributed to the RPA were committed by the DMI.

Under Jack Nziza, head of special actions at the DMI, operatives infiltrated government-controlled zones wearing Hutu army uniforms and assassinated prominent Hutus and Tutsis, while routinely committing sabotage. On the hills of Rwanda, the RPF massacred Hutus in batches of tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands, buried them in mass graves, dug up these graves, and burned the bodies to disappear all evidence.

The crimes committed by the RPF are so horrible that the perpetrators only want to forget them: “Injecting syringes of kerosene into ears. Smothering people with plastic bags. Choking with ropes and cords. Impaling women and girls with tools. Using agafuny—the RPF’s war hammer—to crack skulls and spill brain matter out like porridge. Burying people alive. Shooting women and children in the back. Forcing victims to dig their own graves. The methods are intimate, sadistic. They were used before, during and after the genocide, and are still being used on civilians by the Directorate of Military Intelligence.”

In the environment of lies, distortions, and terror, no one can be trusted, informants proliferate, people are perpetually watched, and friends and neighbors are interrogated, arrested, charged with crimes they didn’t commit. Rwandans are forced to confess and recant (depending on the prerogatives of the day), while the highest officials are sometimes assassinated, and people are routinely disappeared. Survivors of atrocities suffer unbearable grief, social isolation, and loss of meaning in life due to their inability to exhume, celebrate, bury, and mourn their dead loved ones, and the suffering is worsened by the political climate of unspeakability that prevents victims from discussing who was killed and who killed them.

Power and control are maintained by instilling terror, and this translates to silencing all dissent, all discussion. The DMI provides a structure that is both hierarchical and overlapping, with checks and balances ensuring total domination and total subservience. Hutu, Tutsi, Twa, anyone and everyone in Rwanda from the poorest peasant to Kagame’s closest military “comrades” are living and dying in a climate of absolute fear and insecurity dictated by a twisted, modernized, more fascistic and sadistic version of the traditional pre-colonial ideology of aristocratic Tutsi supremacy. At the pinnacle of this elite extremist terror space is Paul Kagame.

The RPF war created a huge population of internal refugees and a state of absolute terror across the northern sectors of Rwanda. UN Rapporteur Ndiaye cited 350,000 displaced prior to February 1993, and between 800,000 and one million by August 1993. These desperate internally displaced people fled to and surrounded Kigali.

“In Byumba—where the RPF first invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990—Kagame went to a market and committed so many atrocities,” says Dr. Eliel Ntakirutimana, a Rwandan medical doctor practicing in Laredo, Texas. Philip Gourevitch judged and convicted Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, Eliel Ntakirutimana’s father, in his fictitious book even before the pastor had been arrested. “More than a million people fled to Kigali. All their farms had been taken, all their goats killed, they were living on the streets. When these people hear that the RPF is coming to Kigali, what do you think they are going to do? They are going to FIGHT!”

Rwanda was no tragedy in the geopolitical eyes of Western capitalist corporate power; it was a resounding success story celebrating the implementation of the new “humanitarian” intervention and the whitewashing of genocide. Paul Kagame and his elite Tutsi commandos committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide before, during, and after the “100 days of carnage” of 1994, and they continue doing so to this day. They are also responsible for the genocide against Tutsis. ~

Keith Harmon Snow is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, a former human rights & genocide investigator with the United Nations, and an award-winning journalist and war correspondent.

 1-See: Keith Harmon Snow interview with Paul Rusesabagina: “The Grinding Machine: Terror and Genocide in Rwanda,” Toward Freedom, April 24, 2007.

2-See: Keith Harmon Snow, “Hotel Rwanda: Hollywood and the Holocaust in Central Africa,” .

3-Brian Endless, PhD, Paul Rusesabagina, the MRCD and the FLN: what s the real story? A report to confront the false charges brought by the Rwandan government,” March 2021.

4- Judi Rever, In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, Random House Canada, 2018: 122.

5-See, e.g.: Amy Greenbank, Spies in our Suburbs: Unearthing an Alleged Shadowy Network of Spies and their Efforts to Silence Dissent, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 19, 2019; and Keith Harmon Snow, “The US Sponsored ‘Rwanda Genocide’ and its Aftermath: Psychological Warfare, Embedded Reporters and the Hunting of Refugees,” Global Research, April 12, 2008.

6-See: Tutsi Prince Antoine Nyetera, Rwandan Culture and Mindset,; and Gaspard Musabyimana, “The Culture of Lying in Rwanda,” The latter document was first published in French with the title, “La Culture du Mensonge au Rwanda,” by a Rwandan exiled in France in support of French writer, Pierre Pean, who was sued by Paul Kagame because he wrote a book titled Noires Fureurs, blancs menteurs (2005) in which the author accused Paul Kagame of hatred towards both Hutus and Tutsis. Pierre Pean wrote that Kagame and all Rwandans in general use systematically ‘lying’ and ‘covering up’ or ‘concealment’ as a modus operandi and culture.

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