Was Turkey behind last year’s Syrian chemical weapons attack? That is the question raised in a new exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the intelligence debate over the deaths of hundreds of Syrians in Ghouta last year. The United States, and much of the international community, blamed forces loyal to the Assad government, almost leading to a U.S. attack on Syria. But Hersh reveals the U.S. intelligence community feared Turkey was supplying sarin gas to Syrian rebels in the months before the attack took place — information never made public as President Obama made the case for launching a strike. Hersh joins us to discuss his findings.
Rwanda is holding commemorations for the 20th anniversary of the genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. On April 6, 1994, Rwanda’s extremist Hutu government and military began a campaign to exterminate the minority Tutsis. Men, women and children were massacred in an orchestrated pre-planned campaign of genocide not seen since the Nazi Holocaust. The world claimed it was unaware of the magnitude of the slaughter, and United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in the country stood by helplessly and watched the massacre unfold. Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will light a flame that will burn for 100 days, the length of time it took government soldiers and Hutu militia to carry out the killings. France has pulled out of the events following accusations by Kagame that it participated in the mass killings. We are joined by two guests: Jina Moore, international women’s rights correspondent for Buzzfeed, reporting from Rwanda; Jean-Marie Kamatali, a former dean of the National University of Rwanda School of Law.
Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read "Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'" At a press briefing in 1994, Reuters correspondent Alan Elsner asked: “How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide? State Department spokesperson Christine Shelly responded, “Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer.” Samantha Power, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. inaction in her 2001 article, "Bystanders to Genocide.” She wrote, “The United States did much more than fail to send troops ... It led a successful effort to remove most of the U.N. peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements.” We speak to Emily Willard of the National Security Archive and University of Wisconsin, Madison professor Scott Straus, author of "The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda.”