Genocide denial: here we go again

July 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm (anti-fascism, cults, Max Dunbar)

It seems that every time a genocide happens a group of people, who often have no connection to the events or expertise in the relevant fields, claim very loudly and for their own reasons that the genocide never happened.

The obvious example is the denial of the Holocaust by Neo-Nazi cranks like David Irving and Ernst Zundel who have the obvious motive of rehabilitating fascism. More recently, parts of the far left got into the act by downplaying the atrocities committed by Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian army in the Balkans during the 1990s – most prominently Noam Chomsky and his Medialens tribute sect. As Oliver Kamm wrote: ‘I don’t mean just that it’s ethically the same approach as Holocaust denial. I mean it’s the same approach.’

Now the vultures descend on Africa. Over a hundred days in 1994 Hutu government and independent militias carried out a war of racist extermination against Rwandan Tutsis. This brief generalisation is accepted by everyone connected with the subject.

Via Michael Ezra, I have found a review of Edward Herman and David Peterson’s book The Politics of Genocide. In it Chomsky disciples Herman and Peterson attempt to do for the Rwandan genocide what they did for the Balkan genocide, and for the same motives – portray the killings as an imperialist lie to justify American expansion.

Gerald Caplan’s piece is long, but essential:

Their main target, which is none of the cases mentioned so far, can be found squarely in the heart of the book. It’s chapter 4, the longest single section, and its purpose is to show that the 1994 genocide of the Rwandan Tutsi never happened. In fact the entire ‘genocide’ in Rwanda is an elaborate American conspiracy to ‘gain a strong military presence in Central Africa, a diminution of its European rivals’ influence, proxy armies to serve its interests, and access to the raw material-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo’.

Yes, in order to blame the American empire for every ill on earth, Herman and Peterson, two dedicated anti-imperialists, have sunk to the level of genocide deniers. And the ‘evidence’ they adduce to back up their delusional tale rests solidly on a foundation of other deniers, statements by genocidaires, fabrications, distortions, innuendo and gross ignorance. In this Grimm fairy tale, everyone who contradicts their fantasies is an American/RPF pawn – Paul Kagame, human rights investigator Alison des Forges, the head of the UN military mission in Rwanda during the genocide General Romeo Dallaire, and entire human rights organisations.

The main authorities on whom the authors rest their fabrications are a tiny number of long-time American and Canadian genocide deniers, who gleefully drink each other’s putrid bath water. Each solemnly cites the others’ works to document his fabrications – Robin Philpot, Christopher Black, Christian Davenport, Allan Stam, Peter Erlinder. It’s as if a Holocaust denier cited as supporting evidence the testimonies of David Irving, David Duke, Robert Faurisson or Ernest Zundel. Be confident Herman and Peterson are now being quoted as authoritative sources on the genocide by Robin Philpot, Christopher Black, Davenport and Stam, Peter Erlinder.

On the other hand, there are other writers on Rwanda on whom Herman and Peterson do not rely. They are many in number and they are totally ignored, except for the late Alison Des Forges, who is shabbily denigrated. In fact they include the overwhelming number of those who have ever written about the genocide. They include academics, human rights activists, journalists who were in Rwanda during the genocide or soon after, and others whose work brought them in close proximity to the events of 1994. Without exception, every single one agrees there was a genocide planned and executed by a cabal of leading Hutu extremists against Rwanda’s Tutsi minority.

There are of course also the many grim testimonies of both Tutsi who somehow survived and Hutu who are confessed genocidaires. Both kinds are now widely available in published collections or online; the three volumes by French journalist Jean Hatzfeld are a good beginning. Not a single such testimony or collection is referred to in ‘The Politics of Genocide’, and in fact I’ve never yet met a denier who had the guts to make his case before an audience of survivors.

Edward Herman and David Peterson have written a very short book that’s not nearly short enough. It should never have seen the light of day. It brings shame to its two American authors, its publisher Monthly Review, and all those who have provided enthusiastic jacket blurbs, many of them prominent in progressive circles – Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Norman Solomon, David Barsamian. If this is what Anglo-American Marxism, or socialism, or anti-imperialism has degenerated into, we can hang our heads in shame for the future of the left.

The Chomskyite/anti-imperialist crowd: still fucked after all these years.

68 Comments

  1. skidmarx said,

    Christian Davenport deosn’t appear to deny there was a genocide:
    The genocide caused, by their estimate, 100,000 of a total of 1 million deaths
    But then that wouldn’t fit your agenda of claiming that anti-imperialists are all David Irving clones. Though you wouldn’t want to moderate your commitment to inaccuracy by acknowledging your errors.

  2. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Fuck you, skidmark. Crawl back into your sewer and stay there.

    Only 100,000 killed as a result of the Rwandan genocide. You really are a low-life piece of shit, even by swuppie standards.

  3. luke said,

    Peter Erlinder has been arrested by the Rwandan government for genocide denial.

  4. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Let’s be frank here. The figure of around 800,000 people – mainly Rwandan Tutsis, but also Hutu opponents of the ‘Hutu power’ mob – being slaughtered within the course of two months in 1994 is a demonstrated fact. HRW, Linda Melvern, Gerard Prunier (who himself is a long way from being a fan of the current RPF regime) all offer accounts which can only be disputed by a bunch of utter cunts.

    I suppose skidmark’s next post will say that ‘only a million’ died in the Holocaust, and they were all caused by typhus, or allied bombing, or the tooth fairy.

  5. Jenny said,

    Christ, did they cross out Keith Harmon Snow’s name from the chapter and put their own? Granted, I think Kagame has used the RPF victory to try to benefit in the Congo wars, even Paul Rusesbagina* condemned him, but completely switching the roles in the genocide and outright denial is insanely disturbing.

    *Here’s one example although you could call his claim about the shooting of the plane a conspiracy theory too:

    http://www.taylor-report.com/articles/index.php?id=28

    • keith harmon snow said,

      @Jenny

      What exactly do you know about it and why do you cite me? As for the origional post, and many of the commenters, it would be helpful if people were able to think for themselves, instead of relying on propaganda (the original propaganda which inculcated teh roiginal wrong ideas) and people like Gerard Prunier and Gerald Caplan. Why don’t you folks look at Caplan’s interests (in covering up the truth and his own involvement)?

      keith harmon snow

  6. maxdunbar said,

    The thing is that David Irving etc don’t generally argue that absolutely no one died at Auschwitz. They argue that only some people died and that they died of typhus rather than as a result of systematic policy. That is still denial. They are downplaying and minimising just as the Balkans/Rwanda deniers do. It is the same method.

  7. Dr Paul said,

    What constitutes a genocide these days as opposed to a run-of-the-mill massacre depends as much upon political necessities and predilections as upon sober analysis.

    The massacre of Armenians by the Turkish state during the First World War is a case in point. Armenians generally consider this as a genocidal act: the deliberate attempt by the Turkish authorities to kill very large numbers of Armenians on the basis that they were considered an alien nationality within Turkey. A pretty reasonable case in favour of calling it a genocide, I would say.

    Not everyone thinks it was a genocide. Professor Norman Stone for example. Many Israeli authorities (I’m not sure if it was an actual Israeli state policy) didn’t until recently. Why not, and why the change? Because of the relationship between Israel and Turkey, and the cooling of that relationship over the past year or so. Hence diplomatic horsetrading leads to a massacre being upgraded to a genocide in the eyes of some people.

    Some people have used the term genocide to describe Israel’s attack upon Gaza. Whilst it was a brutal assault aimed largely at terrorising the civilian population, the term is misused here. I’ve also heard the term used more generally for the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel; again, as bad as it is, I don’t think it is pertinent as we are not talking about an attempt physically to destroy an entire nationality.

    Recently, in drumming up a casus belli against Iran, Geoffrey Robertson considered that the mullahs’ attempt to exterminate a left-wing current on the grounds of its atheism constituted genocide. This surely robs the term of all meaning.

    Now take the case of Yugoslavia and in particular the massacre at Srebrenica. This has been declared a genocide on the grounds that up to 8000 Bosnian Muslim men were killed by Serb forces. I would not consider this a genocide, on the grounds that it was one particularly brutal action within a whole series of military encounters which involved the killing and expulsion of many thousands of military personnel and civilians by military forces and irregulars, including the widespread killing of Serb villagers by Bosnian Muslim soldiers based in towns such as Srebrenica. The massacre was certainly a serious war crime, but it was not an attempt to destroy an entire nationality. Had this atrocity occurred within similar circumstances outwith Europe, it probably would not have reached the front pages of the press.

    That in these cases there are crazed nationalists who would like to exterminate ‘the other’ — ultra-Zionists, extreme Serb nationalists — does not make such brutalities genocides. Otherwise where would one stop: any relatively large-scale killing of another ethnicity/nationality would represent genocide. Britain and the USA could be accused on that basis of genocide on account of their terror bombing of German civilians during the last war; the USA likewise for Korea and Vietnam. The deaths in all these cases ran into the hundreds of thousands.

    There are other cases; one disputed case being the famine in the Soviet Union in 1932-33, which was the result of agricultural policies enacted by the Soviet regime under Stalin. Many Ukrainian nationalists consider it a genocide, deliberately implemented by Stalin to break the Ukrainian nation. Now whilst the famine was the result of government policies, it is also argued that the fact it hit the Ukrainian peasantry the hardest is because the area affected was one of the Soviet Union’s main agricultural areas, and the national impact was coincidental. Moreover, other Soviet areas were badly hit, such as Southern Russia, the North Caucasus and Kazakhstan.

    Pol Pot is sometimes accused of genocide, although one can ask if wiping out large numbers of one’s own nationality can constitute that particular crime.

    One might also ask about the intention of those committing large-scale killing based upon nationality and/or ethnicity, and whether this is of importance whether considering if such an act constitutes genocide or not, whether any government’s or movement’s policies are explicitly or implicitly genocidal. Does this — or should this — have any bearing upon the matter?

    Finally, does denying that a certain massacre constitutes genocide, whilst readily admitting that it constituted a gross atrocity, a large-scale war-crime — as with what I consider about Srebrenica — put me beyond the pale? That seems to be an implication of the original posting.

  8. Jenny said,

    I would say as long as you don’t try and justify said crimes, you’re fine, but I’ll let Max settle this one.

  9. Jenny said,

    Though I would say the Israe l goverment ‘s loathing of Gaza’s Palestinians to the point that they’re destroying homes and starving them is a sort of genocide, yes.

  10. resistor said,

    Gullible Dunbar yet again uses the far-right Harry’s Place as a source.

    Caplan’s credibility is destroyed by Herman and Peterson in their reply

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/hp040710.html

    Dunbar writes

    ‘Over a hundred days in 1994 Hutu government and independent militias carried out a war of racist extermination against Rwandan Tutsis. This brief generalisation is accepted by everyone connected with the subject.’

    That’s what Dunbar specialises in, brief generalisations. I wonder why he tries to deny that Blair’s friend, the dictator Kagame, carried out a genocide both in Rwanda and Congo?

  11. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ReSSiSStor accuses someone of being ‘far-right’. My irony-ometer has just imploded.

    You can crawl back to your sewer as well.

  12. maxdunbar said,

    Paul

    It’s not just a question of numbers. Under international law genocide is defined as:

    any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide

    This is what happened at Srebrenica.

    I wouldn’t accuse the Iranian regime of genocide although they do torture and kill a great deal of civilians, which should be enough.

    Daniel Goldhagen, in Worse Than War, agrees that Hiroshima constituted genocide as well as British atrocities in Kenya. Johann Hari has a good piece on conservative apologists for empire: http://www.johannhari.com/2006/06/12/there-can-be-no-excuse-for-empire

    Resistor

    Except that Caplan relies overwhelmingly on Kagame critics:

    Before we dismiss all these authors as tools of Yanky imperialism, it needs to be added that several of the most prominent – Des Forges, Uvin, Prunier, Lemarchand, Kuperman – are (or were) fierce critics of the post-genocide Kagame government in Rwanda. Yet none has thought to retract their original views on the reality of the genocide.

    • keith harmon snow said,

      Caplan misrepresents all these poeple somewhat, and notice that he does not include Filip Reyntjens — just one example of Caplan’s bias and selectivity — who DID seriouslay alter his views. The rest are apologists. Des Forges was a state department agent who was NOT a critic until it became necessary for even her to do so.. Thats called damage control (or opportunism).

      http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com
      Apocalypse in Central Africa:
      The Pentagon, Genocide and the War on Terror

      keith harmon snow

  13. Dr Paul said,

    Re Max’s comment: the official definition of genocide could effectively be applied to any conflict: the terms ‘part of’ and ‘members of’ could be as few as two members of any of the defined groups. Numbers must have something to do with it, as otherwise any nationally or ethnically-inspired attack leading to more than one death could be considered a genocide, along with the non-fatal factors outlined in the statement, which broaden the term even further.

    So why is Srebrenica, with a death toll of at least 3000 and possibly 8000, considered a genocide, whereas other acts over the decades of ethnically or nationally-inspired violence with considerably larger death tolls not so considered? As I wrote earlier, if this massacre had occurred outwith Europe, it would barely have registered in the news. On the basis of the official definition — and particularly ‘causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group’, the forcible expulsion between 200 000 and 250 000 Serbs from Krajina, involving 1000 deaths, by Croatian forces at much the same time as the Srebrenica massacre, could also be considered a genocide (and is by some Serb authorities) but wasn’t officially. I would call both war crimes, but not genocidal actions.

    The answer must be political: who is doing what to whom, and whose complaints and/or accusations are taken seriously, and whose aren’t. Diplomatic horsetrading comes to mind. The upgrading by various Israeli authorities of the large-scale massacres of Armenians by Turkish armed forces during the First World War to genocidal status, on the basis of a change for the worse in Israeli-Turkish relations, I reckon proves my point.

  14. maxdunbar said,

    Because it was an attempt by Serbian forces to wipe out Bosnian Muslims specifically because they were Bosnian Muslims. No amount of obsfucation and chaff-throwing about Israel will obscure this, I’m afraid.

  15. Double take said,

    I would rarely celebrate someone’s death but, after this thread, the time has come to admit this website, and indeed this world, would be better off without Skidmarx and resistor.

    It takes a special kind of subhuman to gloat over and belittle the mind numbingly horrific murder of thousands of women and children, but that’s what they do. I warmly wish them both a spectacular and particularly nasty end.

  16. resistor said,

    Dunbar ignores the detailed rebuttal provided by Herman and Peterson. Just on example:

    Caplan criticizes us for contending that the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s “1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda was carried out not by Rwandans but by Ugandan forces under Ugandan President Museveni, the RPF being ‘a wing of the Ugandan army’.”7 He adds that “There is no source given for this assertion, which contradicts almost all other histories of the invasion.” But in reality there are many sources for this assertion — and one of them is Caplan himself. Thus in his OAU report, Caplan wrote that on “October 1, 1990, . . . the RPF struck with a large, well-organised force led by former senior officers of Museveni’s [National Resistance Army],” with the RPF’s leadership to be assumed shortly thereafter by “Paul Kagame, Museveni’s former deputy head of military intelligence. . . .” “Museveni’s Uganda had been the birthplace of the RPF,” Caplan pointed out in the same report, “and his government had continued to support [the RPF] as they fought their way to victory. . . .”8 Taken together, Caplan’s assertions go well-beyond ours in claiming RPF-origins within the Ugandan army. Yet when we assert this, Caplan accuses us of an “extraordinary re-writing of history.”

    …as for

    ‘Because it was an attempt by Serbian forces to wipe out Bosnian Muslims specifically because they were Bosnian Muslims.’

    Nearly all of the dead were members of the 28th Division of the Bosnian Army who had abandoned Srebrenica and were trying to break through Bosnian Serb lines to get to Tuzla. The majority would have been killed in action. There is evidence that several hundred were killed after surrendering, which is a war crime but not genocide. The Bosnian Muslim commander of Srebrenica, Naser Oric, also had a policy of taking no prisoners and killed old men, women and children.

    Now,an example of real genocide which was admitted once but is now denied by imperialist apologists like Dunbar.

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1084

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

    –60 Minutes (5/12/96)

  17. BenSix said,

    I warmly wish them both a spectacular and particularly nasty end.

    Your respect for human life shines out like coal in a cellar.

  18. Double take said,

    Thank you BenSix, though these two are something considerably less than human.

  19. sackcloth and ashes said,

    I agree with Double take – reSSiSStor (who now thinks it necessary to add Srebrenica to his record of ghoulishness) and Skidmark are scum who have long since made their political journey from the far left to the far right. Both deserve to drown in a vat of of shit.

    Incidentally, it’s worth noting that reSSiSStor doesn’t acknowledge the fact that Albright took those comments back almost as soon as she made them. Nor does he have any comment to make about Saddam’s willingness to let his own people suffer the consequences of sanctions – sanctions which would have ended with compliance with SCR687 and other successive resolutions. The final word should be left with Peter Sluglett, someone who (unlike our Strasserite troll) actually knows something about Iraq, and actually cares about its people:

    ‘The reaction of many concerned individuals outside Iraq, particularly amongst the old anti-imperialist left, is to blame the West and the sanctions for Iraq’s sufferings. With due respect to the many decent individuals who hold such views, I am not convinced. Of course the sanctions regime works inefficiently, the United Nations has no experience in running such a programme for such a long period, and there have been examples of heavy-handedness, stupidity, and bad faith. Tragically, the people of Iraq have suffered, and continue to suffer, immensely. But it is surely reasonable that an attempt should have been made to force Iraq to give up its weapons of mass destruction [particularly given Saddam’s record of using said weapons against Iraq’s people – S&A]. Ultimately, the sanctions regime is still in place because the ruler of Iraq thinks it more important to retain access over these weapons than to relieve the suffering of the people over whom he rules.

    It took over four years for the oil-for-food arrangements proposed by the United Nations to be put in place. The Iraqi regime demurred because of what it saw as a derogation of national sovereignty. Do Saddam Husayn and his entourage in some sense represent the people of Iraq? The West’s crime (in this case abetted by the former Soviet Union and its allies) has been to tolerate, and to build up, regimes like those of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Husayn, and many others, for so long. Iraq longs to be rid of Saddam Husayn, and it is in no one’s interest but his own that he should remain in power. It is a tragic irony that the West and others have made him so invincible’ (‘Iraq Since 1958’ (London: I. B. Tauris 2001), pp.xiii-xiv).

  20. John Meredith said,

    Resistor defiantly standing up for the right to deny genocide? What a lovely chap he is.

  21. skidmarx said,

    This brief generalisation is accepted by everyone connected with the subject.
    Except those that don’t, but they can be placedoutside the realm of acceptable discourse, so that views can be attributed to them that they don’t hold, and their detailed rebuttals of the claims of the “acceptables” can be ignored. No need to adjust your argument when the reality doesn’t fit.
    As it happens I used to buy into the RPF view of the events in Rwanda. Even after reading a couple of well-written articles at the Tomb last year I still tended to think that the genocide should give Kagame and co. a lot of leeway. But the weakness of the argument put forward here and its support makes me think that the other view was right all along.

    As for DT and Rasclart & Ahole – thanks for the helpful advice, it is good to see you realising the full potential of your intellect and demonstrating your love for humanity; unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to find a sewer that you or those like you haven’t fully occupied.

  22. resistor said,

    ‘Albright took those comments back almost as soon as she made them.’

    Well she would, wouldn’t she.

    As for Sluglett’s, ‘Ultimately, the sanctions regime is still in place because the ruler of Iraq thinks it more important to retain access over these weapons than to relieve the suffering of the people over whom he rules.’ Completely irrelevant as Saddam had destroyed all WMDs years before.

    More on Sluglett here
    http://asterism.blogspot.com/2006/02/sluglett-gets-slugged_03.html

    Do you deny the scale of deaths due to sanctions estimated by the UN too?

  23. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘As for DT and Rasclart & Ahole – thanks for the helpful advice, it is good to see you realising the full potential of your intellect and demonstrating your love for humanity’

    You’re not human. You’re a piece of brownshirt filth, and if you had brains and a conscience you’d recognise that genocide denial puts you beyond the pale.

    As for ReSSiSStor, perhaps he’d like to ask himself why Saddam’s regime did not comply with SCR687 and other successive resolutions calling for Iraq to shed its WMD programmes. Perhaps he’d like to explain away the findings of the Iraq Survey Group. Perhaps he’d like to explain why the UNSC proposed oil for food relief in 1992, and Saddam only accepted it in 1996. And perhaps he’d like to explain why he still thinks that the figures of child deaths given by the UN office in Baghdad can still be counted as reliable, given that it was staffed by Baathist officials.

    But I won’t hold my breath.

    • skidmarx said,

      if you had brains and a conscience you’d recognise that genocide denial puts you beyond the pale.
      You ably display the lack of thinking that is endemic to many who come to this site to support imperialism. I didn’t deny any genocide, merely pointed out that the post had inaccurately suggested that one of those it cited had not utterly denied that a genocide had taken place. Have you considered reading what people actually say before declaring yourself to be an uebermensch compared to them?

  24. resistor said,

    ‘why Saddam’s regime did not comply with SCR687 and other successive resolutions calling for Iraq to shed its WMD programmes’

    It did

    ‘Perhaps he’d like to explain away the findings of the Iraq Survey Group.’

    I don’t need to explain anything away, it was run by the CIA. The US refused to allow the UN weapons inspectors to do the job.

    Are really accusing Denis Halliday of being a Baathist official
    http://www.casi.org.uk/halliday/bio.html
    you really are the lowest of the low.

  25. Harry Tuttle said,

    Nearly all of the dead were members of the 28th Division of the Bosnian Army who had abandoned Srebrenica and were trying to break through Bosnian Serb lines to get to Tuzla. The majority would have been killed in action. There is evidence that several hundred were killed after surrendering, which is a war crime but not genocide.

    Several hundred, you say? No, that’s not what the ICMP found:

    Through the use of DNA identity testing, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has revealed the identity of 6,186 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica, by analyzing DNA profiles extracted from bone samples of exhumed mortal remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from blood samples donated by relatives of the missing.The overall high matching rate between DNA extracted from these bone and blood samples leads ICMP to support an estimate of close to 8,100 individuals missing from the fall of Srebrenica.

    Source: International Commission on Missing Persons

    Even the Bosnian Serb government admits more than 7,000 were killed. From the BBC

    Only last month, an official Bosnian Serb report admitted for the first time that more than 7,000 had been killed.

    Eight thousand killed, and you claim the vast majority were members of the military. That would be odd, given that 2,168 soldiers were claimed dead, with 3,175 soldiers having reached Tuzla. Roughly 5-6,000 soldiers of the 28th were in the column, the rest being civilians. If 8,100 remains have been found and 2,168 members of the 28th were accounted for, it would stand to reason that the rest were civilians. So the vast majority of those killed were not members of 28th Division of the Bosnian Army as you claim.

    As Oliver Kamm wrote: ‘I don’t mean just that it’s ethically the same approach as Holocaust denial. I mean it’s the same approach.’

  26. skidmarx said,

    The last I saw of Oliver Kamm on the internet, he had a very dishonest approach.

  27. resistor said,

    From

    http://www.srebrenica-project.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91:the-popovi-judgment-legally-questionable-morally-bankrupt&catid=12:2009-01-25-02-01-02

    ‘Dr. Simić meticulously categorized mass grave remains by degree of completeness and pattern of injury. The picture which emerged from his investigation was most contrary to the prosecution’s case, yet it was the prosecution’s own evidence that he was dissecting. In the end, he canvassed the number of paired femur bones [6] in the autopsy reports in an effort to determine how many individuals were buried in Srebrenica mass graves, having died of all causes. He found a total of 1,919 right and 1,923 left femur bones. Thus, with a very high degree of reliability it was established that in total there were under 2,000 individuals in all the Srebrenica mass graves exhumed by the prosecution.’

  28. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor

    You are a twat of Chomskyian proportions.

    From the International Commission on Missing Persons:

    Through the use of DNA identity testing, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has revealed the identity of 6,186 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica, by analyzing DNA profiles extracted from bone samples of exhumed mortal remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from blood samples donated by relatives of the missing.The overall high matching rate between DNA extracted from these bone and blood samples leads ICMP to support an estimate of close to 8,100 individuals missing from the fall of Srebrenica.

    http://www.ic-mp.org/press-releases/dna-results-of-the-international-commission-on-missing-persons-reveal-the-identity-of-6186-srebrenica-victims-dnk-izvjestaji-medunarodne-komisije-za-nestale-osobe-icmp-otkrili-identitete-6186-sreb

    These are the people that actually identified the bodies.

    They are more reliable than whatever pro-Milosevic crank Resistor has wheeled out from one of the internet’s darker places.

  29. maxdunbar said,

    I didn’t deny any genocide, merely pointed out that the post had inaccurately suggested that one of those it cited had not utterly denied that a genocide had taken place.

    I’m wondering if it’s worth trying again to explain to Skidmarx that minimising or downplaying the bodycount is as much denialism as saying that no one died.

    Davenport estimates about a tenth of the actual bodycount in Rwanda.

    David Irving estimates a fraction of the actual bodycount of the Holocaust.

    • skidmarx said,

      Davenport estimates about a tenth of the actual bodycount in Rwanda.

      Try reading the quote again:
      The genocide caused, by their estimate, 100,000 of a total of 1 million deaths

      He’s estimating that 10% of the deaths were due to the genocide, not that only 10% of the deaths actually took place.
      Who gets to declare that a genocide has taken place, and so any discussion of the causes that doesn’t only focus on one side is equivalent to Holocaust denial?[Sorry, not just ethically the same approach as Holocaust denial, but exactly the same thing] Is it you, is it Oliver Kamm, is it the US Senate? When you declare arguments that disagree with your position a priori out of order because you’ve constructed a similarity with another unacceptable position, you seem to get extremely lazy, and assume that anything can be said about those you disagree with, regardless of the truth or even what those people are saying, because you are on the side of the angels and can do no wrong. That may do for a small group of like-minded people to protect their views from any challenge by reality, but it’s hardly going to convince the outside world.

      • maxdunbar said,

        So what happened to the other approx 700,000?

        Did they die of chicken pox, or something?

      • skidmarx said,

        You could read what Davenport and Stam say for yourself, but here’s some highlights:
        Our research showed the vast majority of the 1994 killing had been conducted by the FAR, the Interahamwe and their associates. Another significant proportion of the killing was committed not by government forces but by citizens engaged in opportunistic killing as part of the breakdown of civil order associated with the civil war. But the RPF was clearly responsible for another significant portion of the killings.
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        Miller-McCune Research Essay
        October 6, 2009

        What Really Happened in Rwanda?
        Researchers Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam say the accepted story of the mass killings of 1994 is incomplete, and the full truth — inconvenient as it may be to the Rwandan government — needs to come out.

        By Christian Davenport and Allan C. Stam

        Comments (18) | PRINT | E-MAIL

        The accepted story of the mass killings of 1994 is incomplete. The full truth — inconvenient as it may be to the Rwandan government — needs to come out. (wikipedia.org) Related Stories

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        Academic Research Does Not Take Holidays OffIn 1998 and 1999, we went to Rwanda and returned several times in subsequent years for a simple reason: We wanted to discover what had happened there during the 100 days in 1994 when civil war and genocide killed an estimated 1 million individuals. What was the source of our curiosity? Well, our motivations were complex. In part, we felt guilty about ignoring the events when they took place and were largely overshadowed in the U.S. by such “news” as the O.J. Simpson murder case. We felt that at least we could do something to clarify what had occurred in an effort to respect the dead and assist in preventing this kind of mass atrocity in the future. We were both also in need of something new, professionally speaking. Although tenured, our research agendas felt staid. Rwanda was a way out of the rut and into something significant.

        Although well-intentioned, we were not at all ready for what we would encounter. Retrospectively, it was naïve of us to think that we would be. As we end the project 10 years later, our views are completely at odds with what we believed at the outset, as well as what passes for conventional wisdom about what took place.

        We worked for both the prosecution and the defense at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, trying to perform the same task — that is, to find data that demonstrate what actually happened during the 100 days of killing. Because of our findings, we have been threatened by members of the Rwandan government and individuals around the world. And we have been labeled “genocide deniers” in both the popular press as well as the Tutsi expatriate community because we refused to say that the only form of political violence that took place in 1994 was genocide. It was not, and understanding what happened is crucial if the international community is to respond properly the next time it becomes aware of such a horrific spasm of mass violence.

        Like most people with an unsophisticated understanding of Rwandan history and politics, we began our research believing that what we were dealing with was one of the most straightforward cases of political violence in recent times, and it came in two forms: On the one hand was the much-highlighted genocide, in which the dominant, ruling ethnic group — the Hutu — targeted the minority ethnic group known as the Tutsi. The behavior toward the minority group was extremely violent — taking place all over Rwanda — and the objective of the government’s effort appeared to be the eradication of the Tutsi, so the genocide label was easy to apply. On the other hand, there was the much-neglected international or civil war, which had rebels (the Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF) invading from Uganda on one side and the Rwandan government (the Armed Forces of Rwanda or FAR) on the other. They fought this war for four years, until the RPF took control of the country.

        We also went in believing that the Western community — especially the United States — had dropped the ball in failing to intervene, in large part because the West had failed to classify expeditiously the relevant events as genocide.

        Finally, we went in believing that the Rwandan Patriotic Front, then rebels but now the ruling party in Rwanda, had stopped the genocide by ending the civil war and taking control of the country.

        At the time, the points identified above stood as the conventional wisdom about the 100 days of slaughter. But the conventional wisdom was only partly correct.

        The violence did seem to begin with Hutu extremists, including militia groups such as the Interahamwe, who focused their efforts against the Tutsi. But as our data came to reveal, from there violence spread quickly, with Hutu and Tutsi playing the roles of both attackers and victims, and many people of both ethnic backgrounds systematically using the mass killing to settle political, economic and personal scores.

        Against conventional wisdom, we came to believe that the victims of this violence were fairly evenly distributed between Tutsi and Hutu; among other things, it appears that there simply weren’t enough Tutsi in Rwanda at the time to account for all the reported deaths.

        We also came to understand just how uncomfortable it can be to question conventional wisdom.

        We began our research while working on a U.S. Agency for International Development project that had proposed to deliver some methodological training to Rwandan students completing their graduate theses in the social sciences. While engaged in this effort, we came across a wide variety of nongovernmental organizations that had compiled information about the 100 days. Many of these organizations had records that were detailed, identifying precisely who died where and under what circumstances; the records included information about who had been attacked by whom. The harder we pushed the question of what had happened and who was responsible, the more access we gained to information and data.

        There were a number of reasons that we were given wide-ranging access to groups that had data on the 100 days of killing. First, for their part of the USAID program, our hosts at the National University of Rwanda in Butare arranged many public talks, one of which took place at the U.S. embassy in Kigali. Presumably put together to assist Rwandan NGOs with “state-of-the-art” measurement of human rights violations, these talks — the embassy talk, in particular — turned the situation on its head. The Rwandans at the embassy ended up doing the teaching, bringing up any number of events and publications that dealt with the violence. We met with representatives of several of the institutions involved, whose members discussed with us in greater detail the data they had compiled.

        Second, the U.S. ambassador at the time, George McDade Staples, helped us gain access to Rwanda government elites —directly and indirectly through staff members.

        Third, the Rwandan assigned to assist the USAID project was extremely helpful in identifying potential sources of information. That she was closely related to a member of the former Tutsi royal family was a welcome plus.

        Once we returned to the U.S., we began to code events during the 100 days by times, places, perpetrators, victims, weapon type and actions. Essentially, we compiled a listing of who did what to whom, and when and where they did it — what Charles Tilly, the late political sociologist, called an “event catalog.” This catalog would allow us to identify patterns and conduct more rigorous statistical investigations.

        Looking at the material across space and time, it became apparent that not all of Rwanda was engulfed in violence at the same time. Rather, the violence spread from one locale to another, and there seemed to be a definite sequence to the spread. But we didn’t understand the sequence.

        At National University of Rwanda, we spent a week preparing students to conduct a household survey of the province. As we taught the students how to design a survey instrument, a common question came up repeatedly: “What actually happened in Butare during the summer of 1994?” No one seemed to know; we found this lack of awareness puzzling and guided the students in building a set of questions for their survey, which eventually revealed several interesting pieces of information.

        First, and perhaps most important, was confirmation that the vast majority of the population in the Butare province had been on the move between 1993 and 1995, particularly during early 1994. Almost no one stayed put. We also found that the RPF rebels had blocked the border leading south out of the province to Burundi. The numbers of households that provided information consistent with these facts raised significant questions in our minds regarding the culpability of the RPF relative to the FAR for killing in the area.

        During this period, we confirmed Human Rights Watch findings that many killings were organized by the Hutu-led FAR, but we also found that many of the killings were spontaneous, the type of violence that we would expect with a complete breakdown of civil order. Our work further revealed that, some nine years later, a great deal of hostility remained. There was little communication between the two ethnic groups. The Tutsi, now under RPF leadership and President Paul Kagame, dominated all aspects of the political, economic and social systems.

        Lastly, it became apparent to us that members of the Tutsi diaspora who returned to Rwanda after the conflict were woefully out of touch with the country that they had returned to. Indeed, one Tutsi woman with whom we spent a day in the hills around Butare broke down in tears in our car as we drove back to the university. When asked why, she replied, “I have never seen such poverty and destitution.” We were quite surprised at the degree of disconnect between the elite students drawn from the wealthy strata of the Tutsi diaspora, who were largely English-speaking, and the poorer Rwandans, who spoke Kinyarwanda and perhaps a bit of French. It was not surprising that the poor and the wealthy in the country did not mix; what struck both of us as surprising was the utter lack of empathy and knowledge about each other’s condition. After all, the Tutsi outside the country claimed to have invaded Rwanda from Uganda on behalf of the Tutsi inside — a group that the former seemed to have little awareness of or interest in. Our work has led us to conclude that the invading force had a primary goal of conquest and little regard for the lives of resident Tutsis.

        As the students proceeded with the survey, asking questions that were politically awkward for the RPF-led government, we found our position in the country increasingly untenable. One member of our team was detained and held for the better part of a day while being interrogated by a district police chief. The putative reason was a lack of permissions from the local authorities; permissions were required for everything in Rwanda, and we generally had few problems obtaining them in the beginning. The real reason for the interrogation, however, seemed to be that we were asking uncomfortable questions about who the killers were.

        A couple of weeks later, two members of our team were on a tourist trip in the northern part of the country when they were again detained and questioned for the better part of a day at an RPF military facility. There the questioners wanted to know why we were asking difficult questions, what we were doing in the country, whether we were working for the American CIA, if we were guests of the Europeans and, in general, why we were trying to cause trouble.

        On one of our trips to Rwanda, Alison Des Forges, the pre-eminent scholar of Rwandan politics who has since died in an airplane crash, suggested that we go to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania to seek answers to the questions we were raising. Des Forges even called on our behalf.

        With appointments set and with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, we arrived in Arusha, Tanzania, for our meeting with Donald Webster, the lead prosecutor for the political trials, Barbara Mulvaney, the lead prosecutor for the military trial, and others from their respective teams. As we began to talk, we initially found that the prosecutors in the two sets of cases — one set of defendants were former members of the FAR military, the other set of trials focused on the members of the Hutu political machine — had great interest in our project.

        Eventually, Webster and Mulvaney asked us to help them contextualize the cases that they were investigating. Needless to say, we were thrilled with the possibility. Now, we were working directly with those trying to bring about justice.

        The prosecutors showed us a preliminary database that they had compiled from thousands of eyewitness statements associated with the 1994 violence. They did not have the resources to code all of the statements for computer analysis; they wanted us to do the coding and compare the statements against the data we had already compiled. We returned to the U.S. with real enthusiasm; we had access to data that no one else had seen and direct interaction with one of the most important legal bodies of the era.

        Interest by and cooperation with the ICTR did not last as long as we thought it would, in no small part because it quickly became clear that our research was going to uncover killings committed not just by the Hutu-led former government, or FAR, but by the Tutsi-led rebel force, the RPF, as well. Until then, we had been trying to identify all deaths that had taken place; beyond confidentiality issues, it did not occur to us that the identity of perpetrators would be problematic (in part because we thought that all or almost all of them would be associated with the Hutu government). But then we tried to obtain detailed maps that contained information on the location of FAR military bases at the beginning of the civil war. We had seen copies of these maps pinned to the wall in Mulvaney’s office. In fact, during our interview with Mulvaney, the prosecutor explained how her office had used these maps. We took detailed notes, even going so far as to write down map grid coordinates and important map grid sheet identifiers.

        After the prosecution indicated it was no longer interested in reconstructing a broad conception of what had taken place —prosecutors said they’d changed their legal strategy to focus exclusively on information directly related to people charged with crimes — we asked the court for a copy of the maps. To our great dismay, the prosecution claimed that the maps did not exist. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, we had our notes. After two years of negotiations, a sympathetic Canadian colonel in a Canadian mapping agency produced the maps we requested.

        As part of the process of trying to work out the culpability of the various defendants charged with planning to carry out genocidal policies, the ICTR conducted interviews with witnesses to the violence over some five years, beginning in 1996. Ultimately, the court deposed some 12,000 different people. The witness statements represent a highly biased sample; the Kagame administration prevented ICTR investigators from interviewing many who might provide information implicating members of the RPF or who were otherwise deemed by the government to be either unimportant or a threat to the regime.
        All the same, the witness statements were important to our project; they could help corroborate information found in CIA documents, other witness statements, academic studies of the violence and other authoritative sources.

        As with the maps, however, when we asked for the statements, we were told they did not exist. Eventually, defense attorneys —who were surprised by the statements’ existence, there being no formal discovery process in the ICTR — requested them. After a year or so, we obtained the witness statements, in the form of computer image files that we converted into optically readable computer documents. We then wrote software to search through these 12,000 statements in our attempts to locate violence and killing throughout Rwanda.

        The first significant negative publicity associated with our project occurred in November 2003 at an academic conference in Kigali. The National University of Rwanda had invited a select group of academics, including our team, to present the results of research into the 1994 murders. We had been led to believe that the conference would be a private affair, with an audience composed of academics and a small number of policymakers.

        As it turned out, the conference was anything but small or private. It was held at a municipal facility in downtown Kigali, and our remarks would be simultaneously translated from English into French and the Rwandan language, Kinyarwanda. There were hundreds of people present, including not just academics but members of the military, the cabinet and other members of the business and political elite.

        We presented two main findings, the first derived from spatial and temporal maps of data obtained from the different sources already mentioned. The maps showed that, while killing took place in different parts of the country, it did so at different rates and magnitudes — begging for an explanation we did not yet have. The second finding came out of a comparison of official census data from 1991 to the violence data we had collected. According to the census, there were approximately 600,000 Tutsi in the country in 1991; according to the survival organization Ibuka, about 300,000 survived the 1994 slaughter. This suggested that out of the 800,000 to 1 million believed to have been killed then, more than half were Hutu. The finding was significant; it suggested that the majority of the victims of 1994 were of the same ethnicity as the government in power. It also suggested that genocide — that is, a government’s attempts to exterminate an ethnic group — was hardly the only motive for some, and perhaps most, of the killing that occurred in the 100 days of 1994.

        Halfway into our presentation, a military man in a green uniform stood up and interrupted. The Minister of Internal Affairs, he announced, took great exception to our findings. We were told that our passport numbers had been documented, that we were expected to leave the country the next day and that we would not be welcomed back into Rwanda — ever. Abruptly, our presentation was over, as was, it seemed, our fieldwork in Rwanda.

        The results of our initial paper and media interviews became widely known throughout the community of those who study genocides in general and the Rwandan genocide in particular. The main offshoot was that we became labeled, paradoxically, as genocide “deniers,” even though our research documents that genocide had occurred. Both of us have received significant quantities of hate mail and hostile e-mail. In the Tutsi community and diaspora, our work is anathema. Over the past several years, as we have refined our results, becoming more confident about our findings, our critics’ voices have become louder and increasingly strident.

        Of course, we have never denied that a genocide took place; we just noted that genocide was only one among several forms of violence that occured at the time. In the context of post-genocide Rwandan politics, however, the divergence from common wisdom was considered political heresy.

        Following the debacle at the Kigali conference, the ICTR prosecution teams of Webster and Mulvaney let us know in no uncertain terms that they had no further use of our services. The reasons for our dismissal struck us as somewhat outrageous. From the outset, the prosecution claimed it was not interested in anything that would prove or disprove the culpability of any individuals in the mass killings. Now, they said, the findings we’d announced in the Kigali conference made our future efforts superfluous.

        Shortly after our dismissal, however, Peter Erlinder, a defense attorney for former members of the FAR military who were to be tried, contacted us. This was after several others from the defense had also attempted to contact us, with no success.

        We had misgivings about cooperating or working with the defense, the gravest being that such work might be seen as supporting the claim we were genocide deniers. After months of negotiating, we finally met Erlinder at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pa. The defense could have made a better choice for roping us in. Erlinder, a professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, was an academic turned defender for the least likable suspects.

        After we obtained lattes and quiet seats in the back of the coffee shop, Erlinder came straight to the point: He was, of course, interested in establishing his client’s innocence, but he felt it would help the defense to establish a baseline history of what had taken place in the war in 1994. As he explained, “My client may be guilty of some things, but he is not guilty of all the things that any in the Rwandan government and military during 1994 is accused of. They have all been made out to be devils.”

        What he asked was reasonable. In fact, he made the same essential offer the prosecution had: In exchange for our efforts at contextualizing the events of 1994, Erlinder would do the best he could to assist us in getting data on what took place. With Erlinder’s assistance, we were able to obtain the maps we’d seen in Mulvaney’s office and the 12,000 witness statements. With this information, we were able to better establish the true positions of both the FAR and RPF during the civil war. This greater confidence of the location of the two sides’ militaries made — and makes — us more certain about the culpability of the FAR for the majority of the killings during the 100 days of 1994. At the same time, however, we also began to develop a stronger understanding of the not insignificant role played by the RPF in the mass murders.

        About this time, we were approached by an individual associated with Arcview-GIS, a spatial mapping software firm that wanted to take the rather simplistic maps that we had developed and improve them, thereby showing what the company’s program was capable of. Our consultant at Arcview-GIS said the software could layer information on the map, providing, among other things, a line that showed, day by day, where the battlefront of the civil war was located, relative to the killings we had already documented.

        This was a major step. In line with the conventional wisdom, we had assumed that the government was responsible for most all of the people killed in Rwanda during 1994; we initially paid no attention to where RPF forces were located. But it soon became clear that the killings occurred not just in territory controlled by the government’s FAR but also in RPF-captured territory, as well as along the front between the two forces. It seemed possible to us that the three zones of engagement (the FAR-controlled area, the RPF-controlled area and the battlefront between the two) somehow influenced one another.

        In his book, The Limits of Humanitarian Intervention, Alan Kuperman argued that given the logistical challenges of mounting a military operation in deep central Africa, there was little the U.S. or Europe could have done to limit the 1994 killings. To support his position, Kuperman used U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency information to document approximate positions of the RPF units over the course of the war. We updated this information on troop locations with data from CIA national intelligence estimates that others had obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and then updated it again, incorporating interviews with former RPF members, whose recollections we corroborated with information from the FAR.

        Our research showed the vast majority of the 1994 killing had been conducted by the FAR, the Interahamwe and their associates. Another significant proportion of the killing was committed not by government forces but by citizens engaged in opportunistic killing as part of the breakdown of civil order associated with the civil war. But the RPF was clearly responsible for another significant portion of the killings.

        In some instances, the RPF killings were, very likely, spontaneous retribution. In other cases, though, the RPF has been directly implicated in large-scale killings associated with refugee camps, as well as individual households. Large numbers of individuals died at roadblocks and in municipal centers, households, swamps and fields, many of them trying to make their way to borders.
        Perhaps the most shocking result of our combination of information on troop locations involved the invasion itself: The killings in the zone controlled by the FAR seemed to escalate as the RPF moved into the country and acquired more territory. When the RPF advanced, large-scale killings escalated. When the RPF stopped, large-scale killings largely decreased. The data revealed in our maps was consistent with FAR claims that it would have stopped much of the killing if the RPF had simply called a halt to its invasion. This conclusion runs counter to the Kagame administration’s claims that the RPF continued its invasion to bring a halt to the killings.

        In terms of ethnicity, the short answer to the question, “Who died?” is, “We’ll probably never know.” By and large, the Hutu and the Tutsi are physically indistinct from one another. They share a common language. They have no identifiable accent. They have had significant levels of intermarriage through their histories, and they have lived in similar locations for the past several hundred years. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Belgians, in their role as occupying power, put together a national program to try to identify individuals’ ethnic identity through phrenology, an abortive attempt to create an ethnicity scale based on measurable physical features such as height, nose width and weight, with the hope that colonial administrators would not have to rely on identity cards.

        One result of the Belgian efforts was to show — convincingly — that there is no observable difference on average between the typical Hutu Rwandan and the typical Tutsi Rwandan. Some clans — such as those of the current president, Paul Kagame, or the earlier Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana — do share distinctive physical traits. But the typical Rwandan shares a mix of such archetypal traits, making ethnic identity outside of local knowledge about an individual household’s identity difficult if not impossible to ascertain — especially in mass graves containing no identifying information. (For example, Physicians for Human Rights exhumed a mass grave in western Rwanda and found the remains of more than 450 people, but only six identity cards.)
        In court transcripts for multiple trials at the ICTR, witnesses described surviving the killings that took place around them by simply hiding among members of the opposite ethnic group. It is clear that in 1994, killers would have had a difficult time ascertaining the ethnic identity of their putative victims, unless they were targeting neighbors.

        Complicating matters is the displacement that accompanied the RPF invasion. During 1994, some 2 million Rwandan citizens became external refugees, 1 million to 2 million became internal refugees, and about 1 million eventually became victims of civil war and genocide.

        Ethnic identity in Rwanda is local knowledge, in much the same way that caste is local knowledge in India. With the majority of the population on the move, local knowledge and ethnic identity disappeared. This is not to say that the indigenous Tutsi were not sought out deliberately for extermination. But in their killing rampages, FAR, the Interahamwe and private citizens engaged in killing victims of both ethnic groups. And people from both ethnic groups were on the move, trying to stay out in front of the fighting as the RPF advanced.

        In the end, our best estimate of who died during the 1994 massacre was, really, an educated guess based on an estimate of the number of Tutsi in the country at the outset of the war and the number who survived the war. Using a simple method —subtracting the survivors from the number of Tutsi residents at the outset of the violence — we arrived at an estimated total of somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 Tutsi victims. If we believe the estimate of close to 1 million total civilian deaths in the war and genocide, we are then left with between 500,000 and 700,000 Hutu deaths, and a best guess that the majority of victims were in fact Hutu, not Tutsi.
        One fact is now becoming increasingly well understood: During the genocide and civil war that took place in Rwanda in 1994, multiple processes of violence took place simultaneously. Clearly there was a genocidal campaign, directed to some degree by the Hutu government, resulting directly in the deaths of some 100,000 or more Tutsi. At the same time, a civil war raged — a war that began in 1990, if the focus is on only the most recent and intense violence, but had roots that extend all the way back to the 1950s. Clearly, there was also random, wanton violence associated with the breakdown of order during the civil war. There’s also no question that large-scale retribution killings took place throughout the country — retribution killings by Hutu of Tutsi, and vice versa.
        Of course, we have never denied that a genocide took place; we just noted that genocide was only one among several forms of violence that occured at the time. In the context of post-genocide Rwandan politics, however, the divergence from common wisdom was considered political heresy.

        You also completely fail to address the question of method. Millions died in Iraq as a rseult of the sanctions regime and the Western intervention. Millions died as a result of the American war against Vietnam. Yet why are you not calling out Oliver Kamm as a genocide denier as a result of his support for the first, or Michael Ezra because of his questioning of the figures and denial of American culpability in the second? The only logical reason I can think of is that you are politically aligned with these people and thence with American imperialism, and so choose your villains and victims accordingly.

  30. Harry Tuttle said,

    Max wrote:

    They are more reliable than whatever pro-Milosevic crank Resistor has wheeled out from one of the internet’s darker places.

    Dark place is right, the site he uses as a source is run by a Serbian nationalist with links to… wait for it… a racist MEP! Daniel Simpson wrote a lengthy piece on the man behind srebrenica-project. As for Dr. Simić’s claims:

    For example, discredited distortionist Dr. Simić claimed that “the total number of victims in all thirteen Srebrenica mass graves is well under 2,000”.

    Little did he know: There are at least 80 known mass graves belonging to the Srebrenica Genocide victims, and not only “13” as he claims. All mass graves are scattered throughout Podrinje region – the River Drina valley in eastern Bosnia. If less than 2,000 victims come from “13” mass graves that Serbian propagandist Ljubiša Simić is referring to, then it is plausible that more than 8,000 victims come from all 80 mass graves.

    This supposed Serbian ‘expert’ also claimed that “around half of the total number of the Hague’s Srebrenica post-mortem reports are based on only few bones — in many cases just a single bone or bone fragment — which, simply put, ‘does not allow for any meaningful forensic conclusions to be drawn.'”

    In fact, Bosnian Serbs first buried the bodies near the execution sites but then dug out many of them with bulldozers and reburied remains in secondary mass graves in an attempt to hide the crime. That’s why multiple bone fragments belonging to one victims could be found in multiple mass graves. However, DNA evidence confirms that Serb forces slaughtered 8,100 Bosniaks during the Srebrenica Genocide. Although 6,186 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide have been identified through DNA analysis, they can be reburied only after 70 percent of the bodily remains have been identified.

    Source: Srebrenica Genocide blog

  31. resistor said,

    I see Tuttle links to a site that excuses Naser Oric’s murder of civilians. Scum,

  32. resistor said,

    By the way, the ‘International Commission on Missing Persons’ is a US front.

    History

    ICMP was established at the behest of United States President Bill Clinton in 1996 at the G7 summit in Lyon, France, to confront the issue of persons missing as a result of the different conflicts relevant to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995. ICMP was first chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who was succeeded as Chairman by U.S. Senator Bob Dole. ICMP’s current Chairman is James V. Kimsey (U.S.).

    Yes the same Bob Dole who did so much to destroy Yugoslavia

    http://balkanblog.org/2007/11/03/1563/

    ‘In early 1987, kicking off his 1988 bid to wrest the GOP nomination from then-vice president George Bush, Dole received $1.2 million from Albanian American supporters in New York City, while DioGuardi received $50,000 at the same dinner.’

    and

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/19/world/us-citing-human-rights-halts-economic-aid-to-yugoslavia.html

    ‘ The motive behind the Nickles Amendment originally was to find a legislative vehicle for a group of senators and representatives to penalize the government of the Serbian Republic in particular and Yugoslavia in general for the repression of ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo region of Serbia. Albanian-Americans Lobby

    That effort has been spearheaded by Senator Bob Dole, the minority leader. In recent years, Mr. Dole, Republican of Kansas, and other members of Congress have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in political action committee contributions from the Albanian-American lobby. Albanian-American organizations have often called for United States steps against Serbia.

    There are about 1.7 million ethnic Albanians in the formerly autonomous province of Kosovo. In recent years, the Serbian government of President Slobodan Milosevic has imposed a form of martial law in Kosovo. More than 90 Albanians have been killed in clashes with Serbian security forces in the last two years.

    But Senator Dole and his supporters on this issue found it impossible to single out Serbia, one of Yugoslavia’s six constituent republics, in any meaningful legislation. They settled instead in conference with the House for an amendment that would hold Yugoslavia’s federal Government responsible for human rights violations in any part of the country.

    Since then, however, Yugoslavia has plunged ever deeper into a constitutional crisis, leaving the federal Government virtually paralyzed and the country without an armed forces chief or a head of state.’

  33. maxdunbar said,

    Pathetic, isn’t it?

  34. maxdunbar said,

    I mean, your guy, Stephen Karganovic, worked as an interpreter for the defence team of convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik!

    Doesn’t that embarrass you, even a little?

    There’s also this:

    To prove his point about the Serbian ‘victimhood’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stephen Karganovic uses the so called “UN Document” titled “Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993.” This document, filed under “A/46/171 and S/25635”, does NOT contain any official U.N. conclusions. The copy of this document is used on many Srebrenica genocide denial web sites, one of them being “Emperor’s Clothes” (web site run by Jared Israel, long-time Milosevic’s apologist and disgraced Srebrenica Genocide denier). The document had been carefully drafted by Slobodan Milosevic’s “Yugoslav State Commission for War Crimes and Genocide” and submitted to the U.N. on June 2 1993 by Serbian ambassador Dragomir Djokic. At the time, Djokic had worked in concert with then-Bosnian Serb “Iron Lady” Biljana Plavsic, professor of biology whose ‘scientific research’ included such genetic discoveries as her theory that “Muslims are genetically deformed”.

    http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2009/04/srebrenica-historical-project.html

    And you have the nerve to come on here and accuse us of being racist against Muslims.

    You couldn’t care less about Muslims, could you?

  35. stephen marks said,

    Resistor really is a prat. Firstly, he clearly has no idea of how to use source material. He accuses Dunbar of using ‘the far-right Harry’s Place as a source’ when Dunbar actually quotes from an article which was referred to and quoted from by Michael Ezra in a Harry’s Place post but which originally appeared on Pambazuka News [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/], a weekly e-mag with thousands of activist contributors from all over Africa. It is one of the best sources there is on popular struggle against imperialism capitalism and oppressive local elites in Africa, and its politics has nothing at all in common with Harry’s Place.

    [declaration of interest – I know what I am talking about because I have written for it].

    In fact the McCarthyite smear tactic of associating people with the politics of websites or blogs which they link to as sources is a favourite trick of – Harry’s Place!

    So why did Ezra, an unscrupulous Zionist hack who specialises in hatchet jobs on the left, quote
    Caplan’s review of Herman and Peterson? Because H&P’s contemptible genocide denial plays into the hands of those who want to portray the left as apologists for mass murder and tyranny – which alas a few idiots on the left really are, so long as the murderers and tyrants in question appear, or are believed, to be opposed by the United States.

    In fact in the latest Pambazuka News Caplan in reply effectively makes mincemeat of Herman and Peterson [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/65974], and their dishonest use of source material is thoroughly kebabed and shredded by Adam Jones [http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/65977].

    If leftist David Irving clones like Herman, Peterson and ‘Resistor ‘ did not exist, Oliver Kamm and HP would have to invent them. The best service they could render the left would be to keep their gobs shut until they have acquired a moral backbone and half a brain.

  36. sackcloth and ashes said,

    T’he genocide caused, by their estimate, 100,000 of a total of 1 million deaths’

    Which still happens to be a lie, Skidmark.

    What makes you different from any of the scum that claim that ‘only a million’ died in the Holocaust? Nothing whatsoever. And the same goes for reSSiSStor too.

  37. skidmarx said,

    Which still happens to be backed up by some awkward facts, such as that there were not enough Tutsis left in the country for them to be the sole victims of a genocide that is supposed to have killed a million people.

    Quite a lot. I’ve never owned a brown shirt to my immediate recollection, I don’t have a commitment to irrational fantasy(do stop me when you recognise yourself), I try not to habitually refer to those I disagree with using pestilent or faecal terminology,I like to think I don’t have an intellectual grasp that far exceeds my reach, I don’t tend to think that one people should be allowed to steal the land of others to establish their divinely-granted lebensraum, I don’t have a psychopathic hatred of those that would like to see a better world based on the commonwealth of workers.

    My apologies to our host for overly pasting above. Everything between
    more in this section
    and
    on the move, trying to stay out in front of the fighting as the RPF advanced
    was unintentionally copied, thoughany one who wants to argue against the authors’ conclusions wouldn’t do any harm if they read some of what their argument actually is, though it wouldn’t ill-become Harry Tuttle to focus on the question “Who is supposed to police the guardians of truth?”or to repeat:
    You also completely fail to address the question of method. Millions died in Iraq as a rseult of the sanctions regime and the Western intervention. Millions died as a result of the American war against Vietnam. Yet why are you not calling out Oliver Kamm as a genocide denier as a result of his support for the first, or Michael Ezra because of his questioning of the figures and denial of American culpability in the second?

  38. skidmarx said,

    or even Max Dunbar.

  39. resistor said,

    As for Caplan and his use of sources, this beyond parody

    http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/61625

    Who killed the president of Rwanda?
    Gerald Caplan

    ‘Now along comes a new document prepared by an ‘Independent Committee of Experts’ appointed by the government of Rwanda’

    Can you see the problem here?

    ‘In my view, the Commission’s report is largely persuasive. But you can immediately see how much more credible it would be if the members hadn’t all been Rwandans appointed by the Kagame government.’

    Er, yes.

    ‘I am confident that an independent commission appointed, say, by the African Union, would have delivered the same conclusions…’

    I’m sure you are

    ‘…but with far more credibility.’

    Not to the credulous.

  40. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Millions died in Iraq as a rseult of the sanctions regime and the Western intervention.’

    According to whose figures, skidmark? May I remind you of Rehan Mullick’s story, cited above?

    ‘Millions died as a result of the American war against Vietnam’.

    And as I’ve already pointed out to you skidmark, the Communist government in Hanoi admitted that the bulk of the casualties they suffered were military (Viet Cong and PAVN). And there’s the small matter of the casualties the Communists inflicted on the South Vietnamese people. Which again, I reminded you of, when you visited HP to have your arse handed to you on a plate.

    But then lying little cunts like you don’t care about small details like that, in the same way that you keep peddling lies about Rwanda that you’ve just happened to read on Richard Seymour’s website.

    Incidentally reSSiSStor, do you think it likely that in April 1994 a group of RPF were able to cross into Rwanda with a supply of MANPADs, get close to Kigali, acquire accurate intelligence on the flight path of President Habyarimana’s plane, shoot it down, and then escape the dragnet conducted by the Rwandan Army, the gendarmerie, and the Presidential Guard?

    Or have you decided that brains are as superfluous as morals as well as our swuppie friend?

  41. skidmarx said,

    I don’t recall you pointing out any such thing,and I think you were peddling lies if you were,(now I come to think of it I remember some supposedly impartial or pro-Vietnamese source that turned out to be no such thing)but obviously if you want to follow the “same approach”(copyright Ollie Kamm) as Holocaust deniers in refusing to accept the American genocide in Vietnam, go right ahead.

  42. Will said,

    can’t be arsed reading tghru all the fuckking crap deposited here but by the logic of the filth (the usual suspects) it follows that because there are millions of Jews alive today the Nazis did not perpetrate a genocide.

    i know who needs killing. And it ain’t the fuckkIng JewS — Flamethrow the bloG comment scum cunTs. in one go. Then throw them into a skip for transportaion to Ikea.

  43. Will said,

    deeply weird shit that is blog comment scum.

    Real deep weird shit. the religious scu8m need for real offing.

    An attachment to liberation theology is either opportunistic or self-deceiving.

    Radical religionists attach themselves to various desired aspects of Marxism, but amalgamating class analysis with the obscurantist metaphysics of their religions, suitably sanitized to render them revolutionary. is bullshit.

    Aside from philosophical falsification, there is the deeper issue of the
    relation of social development to forms of consciousness, suitably repressed by
    both Stalinism and liberation theology. The deeper issue of dialectic is not
    simply one of materialism vs idealism, but the dialectical relation between
    consciousness and the state of society. Thjere is a lolt goling on here — a real lot.\\

  44. johng said,

    The best account of the Rwandan genocide is ‘When Victim’s Become Killers’ by Mamdani. This both fully acknowledges the genocide whilst at the same time not air-brushing the record of the RPF or the new regime.

  45. resistor said,

    ‘do you think it likely that in April 1994 a group of RPF were able to cross into Rwanda with a supply of MANPADs, get close to Kigali, acquire accurate intelligence on the flight path of President Habyarimana’s plane, shoot it down, and then escape the dragnet conducted by the Rwandan Army, the gendarmerie, and the Presidential Guard?’

    Clearly sad sack is so ignorant that he does not know that the RPF/RPA had over 600 military in Kigali at the time of the shooting as a part of the Arusha agreement.

    http://freeuganda.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/paul-kagame-ordered-the-assasination-of-habyarimana/

    http://hungryoftruth.blogspot.com/2010/04/m7-museveni-kagame-hand-in-shooting.html

  46. johng said,

    I’m completely agnostic on the question of who shot down the airplane. However it should be said that the RPF were able to successfully win the war they were fighting and become the administration in Rwanda just shortly after the genocide, My understanding of the genocide is that since 1960 across the great lakes region there had been regimes constructed which were built on populist understandings of ethnicity. In each of these states there were periodic periods of ethnic cleansing. What made the genocide in Rwanda so terrifying in its scale was that in this case the regime was facing defeat at the hands of a guerrila movement. regional and international mediation (Arusha accords) produced a situation were demands were made that RPF members should serve in the government. Given the military balence of forces this produced a crisis within the regime which the extremists in the government were able to utilize to produce an atmosphere of panic and crisis in large sections of the population about imminant ‘Tutsi domination’. Given the history of the great lakes region and the record of various states in the region in relationship to these questions that fear and panic could easily be manipulated particularly in a situation of imminant military defeat. That military defeat happened but not before a nasty ‘dirty war’ had been turned into an opportunity for Hutu extremists to conduct the horrific genocide, this opportunity being created by ignorent and ill-thought out international intervention. Not the normal interpretation of the lessons of Rwanda but, I think, an important one. The ending of the genocide and the expulsion of those responsible for it are of course welcome. However subsequently horrific mass killings occured in other areas of the great lakes region and the present regime in Rwanda is to say the least a little odd, given the composition of the population. Raising these issues is important for those genuinely concerned about human rights work as opposed to those who simply want to push a political agenda in favour of military intervention as a catch-all solution to human rights abuses.

  47. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘I come to think of it I remember some supposedly impartial or pro-Vietnamese source that turned out to be no such thing’.

    You lying little fuck. I told you that Hanoi admitted to 1.1m military fatalities between 1960-1975 (that’s PAVN and VC). Those are the Communist side’s figures, skidmark. You chose to ignore them because they don’t confirm to your pathetic little dogmatic mind.

    Verifiable estimates of North Vietnamese civilian casualties (as compiled by R. J. Rummell) are between 50-70,000 from 1965-1973. If civilian deaths outstripped military ones, the Lao Dong would have been the first to admit it:

    Incidentally, have you got anything at all to say about the unknown numbers of boat people who perished trying to flee Vietnam after 1975? I’ve known some who were lucky enough to survive their flight, and I find your refusal to acknowledge the fate of those less fortunate to be utterly foul, but unsurprising coming from your type.

    ‘Clearly sad sack is so ignorant that he does not know that the RPF/RPA had over 600 military in Kigali at the time of the shooting as a part of the Arusha agreement.’

    Oh, so how did they get hold of SAMs, cunt?

    ‘I’m completely agnostic on the question of who shot down the airplane.’

    Well you shouldn’t be, Mr PhD-fail, because the people who did it deliberately acted to trigger a genocide.

    • skidmarx said,

      That’s a pretty rubbish table you link to. But even so the figures from Hanoi for civilian deaths are given as between 1.3 and 1.6., but may only be for 1972 and it’s hard to tell if they’re expected to be multiplied by 1000 or 1,000,000.
      , so how did they get hold of SAMs, cunt?
      You do look for things in the oddest of places.

  48. sackcloth and ashes said,

    From ‘Africa Confidential’, 51/2, 22nd January 2010.

    ‘Two years of inquiries by a Rwandan committee of experts have ended in the conclusion widely accepted at the time: the Falcon 50 carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana was shot down on 6 April 1994 by Rwandan Hutu extremist soldiers and there was plenty of warning. The Comité Indépendant d’Experts, chaired by Jean Mutsinzi, heard from Major Bernard Ntuyahaga of the presidential security unit that in 1993 the President had refused to fly even to the funerals of the Burundian and Ivorian presidents.

    That December, the extremist Hutu newspaper Kangura predicted his murder in March, because he had made a power-sharing deal with the Tutsi-led Front Patriotique Rwandais (FPR).

    A confidant of Habyarimana’s Private Secretary, Colonel Elie Sagatwa, said the plot came from a group of extremist officers, Amasasu. Belgian security officials warned Habyarimana that the deal with the FPR was his death warrant. The wife of Jacky Héraud, the French pilot of the doomed executive jet, said her husband had heard about a possible murder attempt and she passed that on to French journalist Sébastien Spitzner. All this contradicts the findings of French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière; he blamed the FPR.

    Major General Laurent Munyakazi of Rwanda’s former armed forces said that Col. Théoneste Bagosora, head of the Defence Minister’s private office, had foretold the assassination; Bagosora and Hutu fellow officers feared that combining their force with the FPR would mean demobilising 35,000 of their men. The then Chief of Staff, Col. Déogratias Nsabimana, opposed the genocide plans. The former Central Bank Governor, Jean Birara, said that was why Bagosora had at the last minute ordered Nsabimana to board the aeroplane.

    A Belgian corporal serving with the United Nations mission in Rwanda, Mathieu Gerlache, said he saw two bright flashes approach the plane from Kanombe army camp, near the airport. With UN colleagues, British Captain Sean Moorhouse made inquiries in 1994-95 and confirmed that the firing came from Kanombe. Ballistic analysis by the UK Defence Academy supported his view.

    The Hutu officers had anti-aircraft specialists trained in Libya, China, France, North Korea and former Soviet Union and missiles from those countries (except Libya) plus Egypt and Brazil. The UN force believed the army possessed 15 French Mistral missiles and its chief, Canada’s Gen. Roméo Dallaire, said Paris had also delivered Russian SAM-16 missiles. (A French parliamentary mission had claimed in 1998 that Uganda had given the SAMs to the FPR.) Allegations about intercepted FPR radio messages were found to be false.

    The Committee found that the UN had been denied access to Rwandan army sites beforehand, and as soon as the plane was down the massacre of Tutsi began, while aviation boss Stanislas Simbizi, leader of an extremist Hutu party, destroyed files and recordings. The Committee does not claim to know the type of missile but notes that France has the plane’s black box and fragments of the fatal missiles, which were apparently Soviet-made SAM-16s. It would clear the air if someone in Paris said what they must know.’

    Suck it up, reSSiSStor, you piece of shit.

  49. johng said,

    Sack Cloth has a very strange way of ‘proving’ his point. essentially he produces evidence supported by his side of the argument and imagines that this will convince those who disagree. Its actually a bit peculiar. In any case, as stated, I don’t think its enormously important who exactly shot down the airplane. The main thing is to work out why this event could trigger a cataclysmic genocide.

  50. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Sack Cloth has a very strange way of ‘proving’ his point. essentially he produces evidence supported by his side of the argument and imagines that this will convince those who disagree.’

    Well perhaps John G___, you can consult the ‘evidence’ (or rather the lack of it) suggesting that President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by anyone other than the Akazu and their minions in the security forces, compare it with that which I offer, and then actually decide for yourself who was responsible for the assassination. It’s a radical suggestion, I know, but it beats the shit out of waiting for the SWP line.

    ‘In any case, as stated, I don’t think its enormously important who exactly shot down the airplane. The main thing is to work out why this event could trigger a cataclysmic genocide.’

    Read Linda Melvern, Romeo Dallaire and Gerard Prunier. Follow their sources. Your questions will be answered. It’s called ‘research’, John. It’s something that proper academics do.

    • keith harmon snow said,

      Dont read any of them. They are all liars and their sources are all liars or fabrications.

      Kagane shot down the plane with CIA support.

      keith harmon snow

  51. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘But even so the figures from Hanoi for civilian deaths are given as between 1.3 and 1.6., but may only be for 1972 and it’s hard to tell if they’re expected to be multiplied by 1000 or 1,000,000.’

    Figures for North Vietnamese civilian deaths as a result of the Linebacker raids of 1972 are given as 1,624 by Hanoi. You might want to learn to read at some point.

    I’m still also waiting for reSSiSStor to explain how an RPF hit team was able to sneak up to the outskirts of the RGF base at Camp Kanombe with some SA-16s, how they had advance knowledge of the timings and flight patterns for Habyarimana’s plane, and how they were able to shoot it down, and then escape death or capture at the hands of the Rwandan military and gendarmerie, not to mention the Presidential Guard. I’m not going to hold my breath.

  52. Will said,

    keith harmon Snow

    Fuck yeah.

  53. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Dont read any of them. They are all liars and their sources are all liars or fabrications.

    Kagane shot down the plane with CIA support’.

    Evidence would be nice, arsehole.

  54. keith harmon snow said,

    I dont engage in dialog with people who resort to childishness. (The evidence exists for those who are capable of reasonable discernment and independent thinking.)

  55. resistor said,

    Sackcloth challenged me to explain how Kagame could have smuggled troops into Kigali in order to shoot down the presidential plane. He was so ignorant that he didn’t know that there were over 600 RPA military already there as part of the peace accords.

    Did he admit his error?

    Need I ask?

  56. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Were they all living in Camp Kanobe, reSSiSStor? And how did they have access to Habyarimana’s flight plans? More’s to the point, how did the hit squad escape a city stuffed to the gills with RGF troops, gendarmerie and the Presidential Guard?

    Can you answer these questions? Need I ask?

  57. sackcloth and ashes said,

    BTW, you still haven’t responded on this point earlier:

    http://spinwatch.org/-news-by-category-mainmenu-9/172-united-nations/927–the-man-who-tried-to-blow-the-whistle-on-the-un-oil-for-food-scandal

    ‘The UN was required to employ hundreds of local Iraqi staff as part of its deal with Saddam, yet little effort was apparently made to ensure that this did not lead to widespread penetration of the mission’s most sensitive operations by regime loyalists. Indeed, among the most important disclosures in the report is the scale of infiltration of the database staff at Unicef, the UN’s children’s agency. This was the organisation that had produced the much-quoted but highly controversial estimate that 500,000 Iraqi children had died because of sanctions, a figure based partly on an extrapolation of statistics provided by Saddam’s own health ministry.

    In his report, Dr Mullick told his bosses that the Unicef database was “run by a coterie of individuals with direct links to the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The daughter of an Iraqi deputy prime minister and her cousin closely guarded the date-related activities there.”

    Although the 500,000 statistic was produced before he was posted to Baghdad, Dr Mullick told The Telegraph that he was sceptical about the accuracy of figures emerging from Unicef in Baghdad. “The death of a single child because of sanctions is a tragedy, but there is no excuse for exaggerating the figures,” he said.

    Similarly, he listed the local staff working on the oil-for-food database: the son-in-law of the deputy foreign minister, the daughter of a top official, the son of a retired intelligence official, the son of a former ambassador and the relatives of other Ba’ath party members.’

    So when you tried to claim I smeared Denis Halliday (who I didn’t even refer to), you were wrong. Will you admit your error? Need I ask?

  58. keith harmon snow said,

    Our Hero — General Romeo Dallaire — smuggled troops into Kigali as well, through the United Nations so called “peacekeeping” mission. But, yes, there were alreday there. As I said, I dont engage with people who employ childishness. The discussion with this guy is futile, and i never trust anyone who doesnt use their real name. So I will refrain, likely, from further comment,.

  59. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Do you have any proof that Dallaire ‘smuggled troops’ into Kigali?

    No you don’t. Well fuck off then, you lying little shit.

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