Rwanda : Second Thoughts on the Hotel Rwanda- Boutros-Ghali: a CIA Role


Jan 30, 2005
Second Thoughts on the Hotel Rwanda
Boutros-Ghali: a CIA Role in the 1994 Assassination of Rwanda's
President Habyarimana?

With war still raging in the Eastern Congo for the fourth time since
1996, serious questions must be asked about the UN's inability to
respond effectively. Former UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali has
been raising such questions ever since Washington vetoed his second
mandate at the UN in November 1996. For the English version of my
book Rwanda 1994, Colonialism Dies Hard, I interviewed Boutros-Ghali
about the wars that have wreaked havoc on Central Africa and
especially Rwanda and the former Zaire. His observations about the UN
and the possible role of the CIA in the April 6, 1994 assassination
of two African heads of state are stunning.

In March 2004, the former Secretary General declared to the French
daily Libération that a major problem at the UN was that the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations was very infiltrated by the
American authorities. Here, briefly, is how the UN is infiltrated and
the impact.

"The US authorities have taken control of the UN system through
financial administration and the appointment of officers and staff
who are paid directly by the United States. The UN doesn't have the
means to appoint senior officers and specialist staff. When these
people are selected and paid by a foreign government, they are
obviously more loyal to that government than to the UN. As a result,
reports presented to the Secretary General and to the Security
Council are purged and modified." To find out more about this
analysis, Boutros-Ghali recommends reading the paper entitled
Multilateralism Besieged that he presented on behalf of the South
Centre in October 2004 (

"In practical terms," he added, "in the case of Rwanda, the
Department of Peace-Keeping Operations (DPKO) would send me reports
on the situation based on information provided by my special envoy
Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, General Romeo Dallaire and others. But these
reports would be purged, modified and drafted according to a specific
foreign policy."
Asked about the famous fax sent by General Dallaire to the UN
headquarters in January 1994 describing a plan to eliminate many
Tutsis, Boutros-Ghali replied: "That story is greatly exaggerated.
There was not only one fax. Every day the UN would receive faxes
saying 'We heard there's a plot afoot' And that leads to another
weakness of the UN. The UN has no intelligence service. Member
countries are much more informed about what's going on than the UN
Secretary General. Moreover, they refuse to share their information!"

Boutros-Ghali insisted that he does not wish to understate his own
responsibility in Rwanda. "I said publicly that I failed in Rwanda. I
did not succeed in convincing Security Council members to act. The
United States with the strong support of Great Britain did everything
they could to prevent the UN from intervening, and a majority of
countries followed their lead." It should be noted that Boutros-Ghali
declared on at least two occasions, including once to me in November
2002, that the "Rwandan genocide was 100 percent American

Why did the United States and Great Britain oppose intervening in
Rwanda when it could have been helpful and necessary?

Boutros-Ghali: "Is this not a repetition of Fashoda?" The reference
is to the fort on the Upper Nile (now in Sudan) where French and
British troops met in September 1898. France was trying to dominate
Africa from Dakar to Djibouti while the British wanted to build a
railway to link its 'possessions' from 'The Cape to Cairo'. France
withdrew and conceded Fashoda to the British.

"Central Africa has been the scene of an Anglo-American conflict with
France. After all, what has happened in the Congo: war and at least
100,000 Hutus killed. That whole affair has been suppressed. The
report on those deaths was never published. The French supported
Mobutu, while the Americans and the British were behind Uganda and
Rwanda, and they won. The background to these wars is a repetition of
Fashoda. It began with Rwanda, and before that Uganda, which is part
of the Anglo-American block. Uganda has no political parties, but it
is never criticized, never denounced. () If there had been no foreign
aggression by a Uganda against Rwanda in 1990, there would have been
no war and no genocide."

Boutros-Ghali is astonished by the silence concerning the
assassination on April 6, 1994, of the heads of state of two African
countries, Rwanda and Burundi, which triggered the massive killing.

"It is a very mysterious scandal. Four reports have been made on
Rwanda: the French Parliament Report, the Belgian Senate Report, Kofi
Annan's UN report, and the Organization of African Unity report. All
four say absolutely nothing about the shooting down of the Rwandan
President's plane. That just goes to show the power of the
intelligence services that can force people to be quiet."

The only partial exception is the seven year investigation conducted
by the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière. That
investigation has implicated current Rwandan President Paul Kagame
and the Rwandan Patriotic Front for having planned, ordered and
carried out the April 6 assassination. But the silence continues
since the Bruguière report has not been officially filed, only
having been leaked to Le Monde.

According to Boutros-Ghali there's much left to be found out. "Judge
Bruguière, who I invited to a conference in Monaco, told me that
according to his investigation, the CIA was involved in that
assassination. The Anglo-American intelligence apparatus is much
stronger than France's. Perhaps the French secret service decided
that they have no interest in making the Bruguière report public
at this time."

If the CIA was involved in the assassination of Rwandan President
Habyarimana in April 1994, as the French judge has claimed, then it
is easier to understand why the Official Story about the Rwandan
tragedy continues to call that terrorist attack an "accident" or
a "crash". Worse still, considering the terrible consequences that
exceed the wildest predictions of any sorcerer's apprentice, serious
questions remain unanswered about the efforts made and means used to
erase the tracks leading to the criminals involved in the killing of
the two African heads of state, and to misinform and mislead
international public opinion about the real causes of the Rwandan
tragedy that followed.

Second thoughts about Hotel Rwanda

Moreover, those who, like most of the movie critics, have been
smitten by the two films about Rwanda now showing, "Hotel Rwanda" and
the documentary "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo
Dallaire" should read, or reread, two important books that help put
it all in perspective. The first one, to help come to grips with the
wild imaginings about the devil and his cold hands, is Black Skin,
White Masks (1952) by the great anti-colonialist writer and
psychiatrist Frantz Fanon. The following excerpt is particularly
relevant: "In Europe, Evil is represented by the Black man. The
hangman is black, Satan is black, people talk of darkness, and when
one is dirty, he is black * be it physical or to moral dirt.
People would be surprised to see the very large number of expressions, if
they were all recorded where the Black man is equated to sin."

The second book, "The Africa that Never Was" (1970) is the product of
a comprehensive study of mainly British literature on Africa from
1560 to 1960. The authors, Hammond and Jablow, identify a set of
conventions, metaphors and images that pervade the literature *
and cinema * that together were developed during, and helped to
legitimize, slavery and colonialism. Together they offer a fantasy
vision of a continent and a people that never existed and never could
exist. The authors show for example, that unlike for the tales about
bloody wars in Europe, nobody in the literature on Africa finds, or
attempts to find, social, economic, political, international or
institutional reasons for the wars. Based on the literature, people
just seem to like killing each other in Africa.

It is sad to see that these colonialist views pervade modern
literature and film about Africa and especially Rwanda.

Robin Philpot is a Montreal writer. Rwanda 1994: Colonialism dies
hard, the English adaptation of the French language book Ça ne
s'est pas passé comme ça à Kigali is now published in its entirety
on line by the Taylor Report at

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