|Undisclosed Affiliations - 'From genocide deniers to biotech apologists' - pt 4 (10/4/2004)|
In the week of the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, GM WATCH has been looking at the genocide deniers who became biotech apologists. Here's the final piece in the series:
1. From 'Massacring the truth' to 'Rewriting Rwanda'
This is a story that began in 1995 with Fiona Fox's article, 'Massacring the truth in Rwanda'. Few realised then that Fox's dismissal of the world's concern over the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis as an 'emotional overreaction' was but the first shot in a lengthy campaign - a campaign that continues to this day.
Take the just-published article 'Rewriting Rwanda' by Barrie Collins, a London-based South African. Collins continues Fox's historical revisionism, claiming, 'Today's accepted wisdom about Rwanda bears little relation to the real events of 10 years ago'.
Collins is also the author of the 1998 book, 'Obedience in Rwanda'. As with 'Rewriting Rwanda', this also bucked the historical mainstream, carefully avoiding the use of the word 'genocide' to describe massacres which were so rapid and so extensive that they outdid even the Third Reich in the resultant rate of extermination. Barrie Collins also put in appearances as a defence witness for some of those subsequently convicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda of involvement in the genocide. http://www.ictr.org/ENGLISH/cases/Nahimana/decisions/260303a.htm
Collins also contributed a chapter on the lessons of Rwanda to a book edited by David Chandler, 'Rethinking Human Rights' (January 2003). Other contributors included Fiona Fox and Phil Hammond, who in a chapter looking at both Bosnia and Rwanda drew on Collins.
Phil Hammond was at one time part of the London Information Research Exchange (LIRE), whose members served as apologists for Serb nationalist war crimes. LIRE was an outgrowth of the Campaign Against Militarism which in turn connected to those behind LM magazine, which was the publisher of Fox's 'Massacring the truth in Rwanda'.
While those behind LM raise no objections to Western economic and corporate domination of other countries, which they seem to regard as a necessary corollary of 'progress', they have a libertarian contempt for Western armed intervention. This leads in turn to a concern about the way in which conflicts are reported.
Any portrayal of the Tutsis or the Bosnian Moslems as victims of horrific atrocities is seen as likely to fuel 'hysteria' or 'moral panics', leading to demands for greater outside intervention, both in those conflicts and elsewhere. The LM network have therefore fought to undermine such perceptions. The ways in which they do so are revealing.
Martin Cohen, the Editor of the journal of the Philosophical Society, The Philosopher, reports how at a talk he gave at Leeds University in the early months of the Bosnian war, members of the LM network sought to stifle debate and bury criticism of the Serbs 'in a cynically calculated bombardment of misinformation and propaganda.' From their perspective, he suggests, ' "truth" was a bourgeois notion, political power was the higher cause.' http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,184070,00.html
LM's 'battle of ideas' over Bosnia resulted in the magazine being successfully sued for libel by journalists working for the TV broadcaster ITN. Undaunted by the legal and financial setback of the verdict, LM's co-publisher Claire Fox - Fiona Fox's sister - launched the Institute of Ideas (IoI) on the very day that LM folded in the face of massive damages. Shortly afterwards, Mick Hume, LM's ex-editor and by then a Times-columnist, launched the website of a new online magazine, Spiked. Its managing editor was Helene Guldberg, LM's ex-publisher.
Barrie Collins article, 'Rewriting Rwanda' is published by Spiked. Spiked, like the Institute of Ideas, LIRE and the Campaign Against Militarism (CAM), is an example of the LM network's talent for spawning platforms and fronts with which to forward their agenda.
In the case of Rwanda, the network gave birth to Africa Direct, which claimed to be 'a network of people who promote critical journalism on African issues... and support individuals and organisations who are reclaiming African sovereignty'. In reality, it was yet another offshoot of CAM.
In July 1997 Africa Direct staged 'Rwanda: the Great Genocide Debate Conference'. The principal speaker at the event was one 'Barry Crawford'. It seems quite probable that 'Barry Crawford' may have been an alias of 'Barrie Collins', given that the use of a nom de guerre was standard practice amongst members of the LM network at this period. Hence Fiona Fox had published 'Massacring the truth' under the pseudonym 'Fiona Foster'. Claire Fox was 'Claire Foster', and so on.
Also part of Africa Direct was John Pender who writes on development issues for Spiked and who, like the Rwandan genocide deniers Barrie Collins and Fiona Fox, contributed to David Chandler's book 'Rethinking Human Rights'. Another contributor was Chris Gilligan. Among the articles just published by Spiked alongside Collins' 'Rewriting Rwanda' are ones by Chandler and Gilligan.
This incestuous and self-perpetuating world of undisclosed affiliations replicates what Brad K. Blitz found in his study of revisionism and denial in relation to the Bosnian conflict. Blitz considered the role of LM contributors like Joan Phillips (the pseudonym of Joan Hoey, the sister of former Labour minister Kate Hoey) and Thomas Deichmann, both part of LIRE, in the reporting of the conflict. Blitz noted how 'marginalized ideologies' are advanced through the 'incestuous nature' of what he calls 'the publication drive'.
The players are not, Blitz writes, 'advancing knowledge but are rather recycling the founding ideas of certain ideological arguments that mesh with their own political agendas. Phillips' outrageous comments (many of which came straight out of the government-controlled Belgrade media) are re-packaged... [in an article] in Foreign Policy... [which] is then cited by... Diechmann who also makes reference to Phillips' 20 Things You Know About the Serbs That Aren't True . Diechmann is Phillips' colleague who then promotes the work of another author... [who] himself cites... Phillips and again repeats the same accusations.' http://www.freeserbia.net/Documents/Lobby.html
In the interests of disclosing affiliations, below we provide a list of LM-related front groups and a profile of the Institute of Ideas (IoI) which regularly organises seminars and conferences, as to a lesser extent does Spiked, designed to promote the LM agenda. Genocide deniers like Fiona Fox, Barrie Collins, and Thomas Deichmann have all contributed to IoI events.
As a Guardian art