Project Censored v. WW4 Report: war of perceptions on African genocide

Our one-time contributor Keith Harmon Snow has won an award from Project Censored for his article, co-written with David Barouski, “Behind the Numbers: Untold Suffering in the Congo” (ZNet, March 2006). Project Censored dubs the story “High-Tech Genocide in Congo,” considering it the fifth most-censored story of the year. Snow and Barouski share the award with a writer called “Sprocket,” who wrote an article entitled “High-Tech Genocide” for the August 2005 Earth First! Journal. Both articles concern the role of the mineral coltan, used in cellular telephones, to fund militias in the war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Snow has also covered the coltan connection in his writing for WW4 Report (see “Proxy Wars in Central Africa,” July 2004), and won a Project Censored award last year for his April 2004 story for WW4 Report, “State Terror Against Indigenous Peoples in Ethiopia.” The coltan story is an important one which indeed warrants far greater exposure. However, in his Project Censored “Update” on the question, Snow makes a completely unwarranted attack on his former editors at WW4 Report—and, more importantly, undermines his own work by equivocating on the question of African genocide. The comments are online at Guerrilla News Network:

War for the control of the Democratic Republic of Congo—what should be the richest country in the world—began in Uganda in the 1980s, when now Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni shot his way to power with the backing of Buckingham Palace, the White House, and Tel Aviv behind him.

Paul Kagame, now president of Rwanda, served as Museveni’s Director of Military Intelligence. Kagame later trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, before the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)—backed by Roger Winter, the U.S. Committee on Refugees, and the others above—invaded Rwanda. The RPF destabilized and then secured Rwanda. This coup d’etat is today misunderstood as the “Rwanda Genocide.” What played out in Rwanda in 1994 is now playing out in Darfur, Sudan; regime change is the goal, “genocide” is the tool of propaganda used to manipulate and disinform.

In 1996, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, with the Pentagon behind them, launched their covert war against Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko and his western backers. A decade later, there are 6 or 7 million dead, at the very least, and the war in Congo (Zaire) continues.

If you are reading the mainstream newspapers or listening to National Public Radio, you are contributing to your own mental illness, no matter how astute you believe yourself to be at “balancing” or “deciphering” the code.

News reports in Time Magazine (“The Deadliest War In The World,” June 6, 2006) and on CNN (“Rape, Brutality Ignored to Aid Congo Peace,” May 26, 2006) that appeared at the time of this writing are being interpreted by conscious people to be truth-telling at last. However, these are perfect examples filled with hidden\ deceptions and manipulations.

For accuracy and truth on Central Africa, look to people like Robin Philpot (Imperialism Dies Hard), Wayne Madsen (Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993–1999), Amos Wilson (The Falsification of Consciousness), Charles Onana (The Secrets of the Rwanda Genocide—Investigation on the Mysteries of a President), Antoine Lokongo (, Phil Taylor (, Christopher Black (“Racism, Murder and Lies in Rwanda”). World War 4 Report has published my reports, but they are inconsistent in their attention to accuracy, and would as quickly adopt the propaganda, and have done so at times.

To which WW4 Report officially responds:

Contrary to the assertions of Project Censored award recipient Keith Snow, WW4 Report is not “inconsistent in [our] attention to accuracy.” On the contrary, Snow’s reportage for us on Central Africa, while informative and challenging, was often riddled with unverified claims which we had to press him to provide documentation for. Ultimately, his unwillingness to do so led to our mutual decision to no longer work together. WW4 Report has the highest standards of accuracy. Indeed, our mission is to resist through our example the demoralizing tendency in recent “left” journalism towards relying on shrill sanctimony at the expense of reportorial rigor. We challenge Snow or anyone else to find a single inaccuracy anywhere in the thousands of articles and news blurbs that WW4 Report has produced in the five years of our existence.

However, the impugning of WW4 Report is a small matter compared to Snow’s alarming use of quotation marks around “Rwanda genocide,” his implication that the mass slaughter was a just a “tool of propaganda” to justify Western intervention, and his similar implicit denial of the genocide currently underway in Darfur. It is ironic that he complains about the “hidden deceptions and manipulations” of others after resorting to this cyncial rhetorical trick. It was also due to such “deceptions and manipulations” in Snow’s work that we decided to part ways with him.

And it is due to such grave moral and analytical errors that Project Censored has in recent years suffered an erosion in its once-sterling reputation. (See, e.g. “The Unbearable Lameness of Project Censored,” Mother Jones, April 2000) We fear that this project, which began as a vital one, has degenerated from a watchdog on the failures of the corporate media to an exemplar of the failures of the “alternative” media.

See our last post on the Great Game for Central Africa.

  1. Project Censored
    For a better critique of Project Censored than the one offered in Mother Jones, see “Dubious Sources: How Project Censored Joined The Whitewash of Serb Atrocities,” by David Walls.

    Project Censored has made a habit of endorsing the worst of the Left’s support for the Serbian genocide project, and repeating the lies of Serbian propaganda that are so willingly spread by “Left intellectuals” who should know better. (For much more on this, see Balkan Witness, )

    The Mother Jones article is too flip for my taste and denigrates some issues of actual importance that Project Censored has addressed.

    1. We agree
      The Mother Jones story is especially disturbing in its belittling of the entirely legitimate case of Mumia Abu Jamal. This is the perennial dilemma: “moderates” cede a radical critique or threatening causes, which are then taken up by supposed “anti-imperialists” who cultivate illusions about the likes of Slobodan Milosevic or the Khartoum butchers. We didn’t post the Mother Jones link as our critique of Project Censored, but to demonstrate how the project’s credibility has eroded on the American left. The real danger is precisely that a radical critique is being delegitimized. The last thing Mumia needs is for his cause to be mixed up with that of Milosevic. Many thanks for posting these links, which are admittedly far more useful, serious and informative than the Mother Jones story.

      1. Mumia and Milosevic
        Bill writes, “We didn’t post the Mother Jones link as our critique of Project Censored, but to demonstrate how the project’s credibility has eroded on the American left.”

        Regardless of the merits or lack thereof of any particular critique of Project Censored, what credibility does Mother Jones have on the American left?

        “The last thing Mumia needs is for his cause to be mixed up with that of Milosevic.”

        Many people who defend Mumia also defend other victims of police-judicial frame-ups, even when those victims are very far from being the kind of hero of the world struggle against capitalism and imperialism that Mumia is. And many of those who demand freedom for Mumia are probably also apologists for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, whose crimes make even the most wildly alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic pale in comparison.

        1. “alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic”?
          You know, I challenged you several days ago, after you made the utterly baseless claim that this website cuts slack for the US torture state, to name another left website that has been more aggressive in its coverage, and to cease in cluttering up my website with red herrings until you do so. Since then, you have not responded to my challenge, but been utterly relentless in posting endless red-herring comments. (E.g., I have a bourgeois “democracy fetish” because I believe in equal rights; implying that Belarus in not a “torture state” in spite of evidence of widespread and systematic torture; calling the Palestinian critics of Cynthia McKinney “allegedly Palestinian” despite no evidence that they have misrepresented themselves, etc.) In no case have you responded to my counter-arguments, but have just gone on to post more such drivel in other items. You are starting to cross the line into trolldom. Why should I provide you with a forum for your sinister propaganda, when you obviously do not argue honestly?

          1. Are you consciously dishonest, or just pathological?
            1) You took one smaller phrase out of context from the following noun phrase in my previous comment:

            Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, whose crimes make even the most wildly alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic pale in comparison.

            — a phrase in which I said nothing about which alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic might be real — and used it to distract attention from the points I was making, which you chose not to deal with, probably because you don’t, in fact, disagree with them.

            Or do you really think that any of the real or alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic are on the order of the crimes of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party? Also, do you claim that every allegation made against Milosevic by anybody, including all those made by NATO imperialists, Croatian fascists, Bosnian islamists and Albanian Kosovar organ harvesters and heroin traffickers, is true.? (And please don’t accuse me of saying that all or even most opponents of Milosevic fall into those categories! But many certainly do!)

            2) I never accused you of “[cutting] slack for the US torture state” and have no intention of engaging in a research project to compare the quantity and quality of your coverage of that issue with that of other left websites.

            3) I further clarified what I meant by ‘democracy fetish’ in a follow-up comment on the page you link to.

            4) I didn’t imply anything one way or another regarding the allegations of torture against the Byelorussian state. I put ‘torture state’ in quotes because I was quoting your characterization of that state without owning it.

            5) Re: “allegedly Palestinian”: When people anonymously invoke factoids like their nationality, race, ethnicity, previous political positions, etc., to give extra weight to what they are saying, the burden is on those, like you, who invoke such factoids to either assert personal knowledge of their truth, putting their own reputations on the line, or provide external evidence. More generally, anonymous assertions of fact that can’t be independently verified have no informational value.

            1. Yes, approving your posts probably is pathological
              You accuse me of dishonesty? The mind boggles.

              1. Wiggle as you may, the phrase “alleged crimes of Slobodan Milosevic” is intended to cast doubt on his crimes.

              2. You certainly did accuse me of cutting slack for the domestic torture state. You wrote:

              BTW, Bill, although you did post a summary report last week on the California prisoners’ hunger strike, the brutal treatment of prisoners in California and the U.S. generally doesn’t seem to arouse in you even a fraction of the passion you display in response to people like Edward Hermann or Keith Harmon Snow who allegedly let their single-minded anti-imperialism distort their arguments. And no, I’m not questioning your right to criticize sloppy arguments by anti-imperialists, but I am questioning how you apportion your passions and energies.

              Over the years, I have posted three or four stories calling out Edward Hermann and Keith Harmon Snow. I have posted voluminous stories on human rights abuses by the US military and CIA, and the growing police-militarization of US society. So admit that you made a completely bogus accusation, or go away.

              3. Your “further clarification” on my “democracy fetish” indicated that we should “support” North Korea. Thanks a lot.

              4. Wiggle as you may, the use of scare quotes around “torture state” is intended to imply that it isn’t.

              5. “factoids”? There you go again. The Palestinian nationality of McKinney’s critics wasn’t irrelevant. McKinney has made a name for herself as a supporter of the Palestinians, and now betrays the Palestinians’ Arab brothers in Libya. Entirely relevant. And I reiterate that since there was nothing at all suspicious about the statement or the website it appeared on, your use of scare quotes only demonstrates bad faith.

              You have overstayed your welcome here. Go get your own website. You can diss me there to your heart’s content. Adios.