Tory MSP Adam Tomkins and the Apfel family ties to the US State Department and Rwanda
Gillian Apfel is the sister of Lauren Apfel, wife of Adam Tomkins, Tory MSP and constitutional affairs spokesman for the Tory party in Scotland.
Gillian and her husband Rodney Ford are senior diplomats with the US State Department.
Gillian was influential in deciding US foreign policy when deployed to Bagdhad, Iraq and, not to be outdone, her husband Rodney, as a foreign diplomat actively influenced the outcome of political events in a number of countries in Africa over a period of 20 years.
This short review of their involvement in the affairs of African and Middle East nations exposes the hypocrisy of US foreign policy under the last four presidents and the callous support provided by the UK government.
Rodney Ford: Diplomat. Foreign Service Institute. Department of State: Washington D.C.
September 2017 – Present. Foreign Service Institute. Language Student – Italian
August 2016 – June 2017. Graduate Student – National Security Studies. National Defense University – National War College. Washington D.C.
August 2014 – August 2015. U.S. Department of State. Deputy Director, Bureau of African Affairs, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C. Oversee the allocation of more than $38 million in public diplomacy programming, providing daily policy guidance and program support to 49 Public Affairs Sections across Africa, and overseeing public diplomacy personnel assignments for the Africa Bureau in Washington and in the field.
July 2013 – July 2014. Spokesperson. U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq. Responsible for all media-related activities advancing the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.
August 2010 – July 2013. Information Officer. U.S. Embassy Rabat, Morocco. Served spokesperson and senior adviser for all media-related activities for the U.S. Mission to the Kingdom of Morocco.
July 2007 – July 2010. Public Affairs Officer. U.S. Embassy Antananarivo, Madagascar. Directed U.S. public diplomacy efforts in Madagascar and the Union of Comoros. Advised the Ambassador on issues related to U.S. interests in Malagasy and Comoran media.
June 2004 – December 2006. Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer. Bureau of African Affairs. Managed a full range of U.S. exchange programs with South Africa.
2002 – 2004. Consular Officer. U.S. Department of State.
Gillian Apfel: Diplomat. US Department of State
Sep 2017 – Present. Foreign Service Officer. U.S. Department of State. Arlington, Virginia. Studying Italian at the Foreign Service Institute in preparation for assignment at the US Embassy in Rome.
Aug 2015 – Aug 2017. LNA Coordinator. U.S. Department of State.
Sep 2014 – Aug 2015. Consul. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Aug 2013 – Aug 2014. American Citizens Services Chief. Baghdad, Iraq. Refugee Coordinator for Admissions. Working at the US Embassy in Baghdad resettling Iraqi refugees in the U.S.
Jul 2012 – Jul 2013. Program Officer, Working at the Operations Center in Crisis Management Support. U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C.
President of Rwanda – Paul Kagame
The Rwandan government’s warped historical record of massacres in Central Africa was used to provide credence to President Paul Kagame’s 25-year totalitarian rule in Rwanda.
It was also used to justify the U.S.-backed invasion, occupation and plunder of the immensely resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite many U.N. reports documenting Kagame’s army’s atrocities in both Rwanda and Congo.
Kagame was shielded by powerful friends, including Clinton, Blair and Obama. But any attempt to cling to power beyond 2017 would not be supported by the US, the UK and the EU.
Kagame is a longtime ally of former President Clinton who presented him with a Global Citizen Award in 2009. Asked about his closeness to Kagame, Clinton said that war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide crimes that Kagame is accused of in U.N. reports had never been adjudicated in a court of law. Critics commented that U.S. administrations made sure that Kagame was never indicted by an international court.
26 Jul 2010: Campaign group sues UK government for enabling DR Congo violence
Global Witness is taking the British government to court for allegedly failing to report companies trading Congolese “conflict minerals”. The organization alleged that British companies had been trading in minerals controlled by armed groups in DR Congo in defiance of United Nations sanctions introduced in 2008 and 2009.
Global Witness said groups controlling the trade in minerals such as tin and tungsten use the money generated to buy arms to fund campaigns against civilians. A group legal adviser said it was applying to the High Court in London for an order requiring the government to put forward sanctions on British firms violating the UN resolutions.
She said: “We approached the UK government in early 2009 once sanctions were passed where you could list entities supporting armed groups for sanctions. We decided to take advantage of that and requested they put forward certain names. But no action was taken.
Further evidence again came up during that period, which showed that these companies were breaking sanctions. In eastern DR Congo there are still high levels of violence. By the UK government not taking action it allowed the funding of armed groups in these areas and allowing the conflict to perpetuate.”
The UK’s Foreign Office released a statement stating, “the government expects all British companies operating in the minerals sector in the DR Congo to follow high standards of due diligence. We will continue to take reports that they are not doing so seriously, and will assess in each case whether there are grounds to consider recommending to UN partners that sanctions measures be imposed or supporting proposals for listings made by other states.”
Aug 2010: UN report shows Rwanda massacred Hutus in DR Congo
A UN report detailed the mass killing of Hutu refugees by Rwandan forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s. The document investigated allegations of genocide and other human rights abuses in eastern DR Congo, between 1993 and 2003 when over a million Hutus fled to DR Congo in the wake of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
In a Wikileaks expose, Clinton Foundation staffer Amitabh Desai wrote:
“Rwandan Ambassador said criticism of Kagame seems to have quieted, partly due to Clinton and Blair’s unwavering support. Kagame and Rwanda very much appreciate their unflinching support.”
The report identified “systematic attacks” against Hutu refugees by the Rwandan army – and the Congolese rebel group the AFDL – in the years 1996 to 1998. Kagame spent many weeks attempting to quash the report and threatened to pull Rwandan troops out of UN peacekeeping missions over the allegations.
25 Nov 2011: the U.S. backed the invasion of Eastern Congo on Obama’s inauguration day
There was a U.S.-backed campaign to destabilize, depopulate and colonize Eastern Congo/Zaire since the first U.S.-supported invasion of 1996, which occurred under President Clinton, and which followed the U.S. destabilization and coup d’etat in Rwanda.
In 2001 the U.S. and its allies, again deployed their proxy army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), comprising many child soldiers, in a secret campaign to balkanize Congo and create a Republic of the Volcanoes in the region. The mission was to expand Rwanda through the annexation of the Kivu and Maniema Provinces.
Fellow participants Uganda also with U.S. support, set out to annex the Ituri province. The campaigns were backed by multinational corporations, and the goals were political, military and economic. So President Barack Obama invaded Congo, the heart of Africa, on his Inauguration Day?
The U.S.-backed military invasion of 20 Jan 2009 included U.S. military commanders, special forces, military advisers, technicians and other U.S. military personnel, and it involved weaponry supplied by the U.S. and Britain.
2 Jan 2014: Rwanda’s former spy chief ‘murdered’ in South Africa
Kagame’s former chief of external intelligence, Patrick Karegeya, was found murdered in a posh Johannesburg hotel. In exile, Karegeya had secretly been advising South African and Tanzanian intelligence.
Kagame officially denied involvement in the assassination, but speaking on the matter to a domestic audience shortly thereafter, said: “You can’t betray Rwanda and not get punished for it.”
Comment: So the U.S. supported a President complicit in the murder of former spies resident in foreign lands.
14 Jul 2015: Rwanda parliament votes in favour of Kagame’s third term
Rwandan legislators voted in support of a referendum allowing President Paul Kagame a third term in power, backing a petition signed by millions of citizens. The Rwandan constitution, adopted in 2003, limited the number of presidential terms to two and therefore barred Kagame — elected first in 2003 and again in 2010 — to stand for a third term.
But petitions signed by a total of two million people demanded that Kagame be allowed to stay in office. Parliament subsequently amended the constitution allowing Kagame to run for a third term of office. Addressing the press Kagame said that he was open to going or remaining based on what Rwandans decided ahead of 2024.
Dec 2015: US State Department briefing by Rodney Ford
Bureau of African Affairs spokesman Rodney Ford said the U.S. will not support Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s bid to abolish Rwanda’s constitutional term limits so that he can remain in power. Ford’s statement came as a surprise because Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been such a close, longstanding and useful ally and “military partner” to the U.S.
The statement was, however, unequivocal: It read:
“ The United States supports the principle of democratic transition in all countries in the region through free, fair, and credible elections, held in accordance with current constitutions, including provisions regarding term limits. The United States believes that democracy is best advanced through the development of strong institutions, not strongmen. For that reason, we do not support changing constitutions to benefit the personal or political interests of individuals or parties. Changing constitutions and eliminating term limits to favour incumbents is inconsistent with democratic principles and reduces confidence in democratic institutions. We are committed to supporting a peaceful, democratic transition in 2017 to a new leader elected by the Rwandan people.”
Comment: Kagame ignored the US State Department’s statement and got himself elected yet again. And the US is still backing him because they need his army to police other states.
5 Aug 2017: Kagame re-elected president with 99% of the vote in the Rwanda election
Paul Kagame, 59, the controversial president of Rwanda, won a landslide victory in the African state’s election, securing a third term in office, and extending his 17 years in power. The result will surprise no one, inside or outside Rwanda. Kagame won international praise for the stability and economic development he brought Rwanda since the 1994 genocide when an estimated 800,000 people were killed, but he has also been accused of running an authoritarian, one-party state.
1 Dec 2014: Nigeria ends U.S. mission to counter Boko Haram
In May 2013, the U.S. Army posted a story on its official website announcing that soldiers and special operators would train a Nigerian 650-man Ranger battalion to fight Boko Haram, marking the first time that U.S. troops would train their African counterparts for a mission other than peacekeeping.
Col. John Ruffing, chief of US Army Africa’s Security Cooperation Division, said: “It is not peacekeeping — it is every bit of what we call decisive action, meaning those soldiers will go in harm’s way to conduct counterinsurgency operations in their country to defeat a known threat.”
But only 8 months later it emerged that the Nigerian government had terminated the U.S. effort to train a battalion of its troops to fight Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group responsible for abducting hundreds of schoolgirls earlier in the year.
According to Rodney Ford of the State Department. Who stated:
“We regret the premature termination of this training, as it was to be the first in a larger planned project that would have trained additional units with the goal of helping the Nigerian Army build capacity to counter Boko Haram. The U.S. government will continue other aspects of the extensive bilateral security relationship, as well as all other assistance programs, with Nigeria. The U.S.government is committed to the long tradition of partnership with Nigeria and will continue to engage future requests for cooperation and training.”
The move followed the U.S. refusal to sell Cobra helicopters to Nigeria. The transfer was denied over concerns that Nigeria couldn’t properly use and maintain the Cobras, a State Department spokeswoman said.
The decision drew criticism from Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., who said it would hinder the country’s efforts to bring down Boko Haram.
The United States Is Illegally Sponsoring an Army That Recruits Child Soldiers
American law prevents military aid to countries that employ child soldiers—but that hasn’t stopped the US in South Sudan where approximately 13,000 children have been recruited into armed groups, according to the United Nations children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In 1996, the United States began funnelling military equipment through nearby Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda to rebels in southern Sudan as they battled for independence. A decade later, after the civil war ended in a peace deal, Washington officially began offering military “assistance” to the SPLA, according to State Department documents.
At that point, without fanfare and far from the prying eyes of the press, the United States launched a concerted campaign to transform the SPLA from a guerrilla force into a professional army. Asked about the scope of the training, Rodney Ford, the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs spokesperson, said:
“ The US government began a comprehensive defence professionalization program which started in 2006 and continued after the referendum and independence of South Sudan until December 2013. This assistance included infrastructure, vehicles, human rights training, logistics, administration, medical, military justice, finance, and English language training among an array of other military subjects. The US government, for example, conducted a comprehensive medical program with the South Sudanese military which entailed procuring mobile field hospitals, building clinics, training nurses and improving the military’s medical infrastructure.”
Ford emphasized that no “lethal equipment” was provided and noted that the lessons were designed to “give soldiers the tools and skills that would benefit the civilian population.”
It sounded almost like they were building a South Sudanese Peace Corps. In reality, there was more to it. US support was not strictly a kumbaya effort of medical clinics and human rights instruction. It included:
Training and equipping of the elite presidential guard.
Construction of a new SPLA headquarters in Juba.
Renovation of a training centre at the SPLA Command and Staff College in Malou, a town north of the capital.
Construction of the headquarters of two SPLA divisions in the towns of Mapel and Duar.
Training programs for general officers and senior instructors.
Deployment of a “training advisory team” to guide the overhaul of intelligence, communications, and other key functions.
Employment of Kenyan and later Ethiopian instructors to teach basic military skills to SPLA recruits.
Provision of secure voice and data communications to SPLA general headquarters.
Development of riverine forces and up to 16 tactical watercraft.
Military police instruction.
Training of commando forces by Ethiopian troops.
Establishment of a non-commissioned officers academy at Mapel with training from private contractors and later US military personnel.
Comment: Disgraceful support of military forces largely staffed by underaged children. But oil is the key factor.
Judge Hussein Al-Anbaki, his family:
16 Aug 2014: Time running out for Iraqi judge who jailed terrorists
In 2008, the U.S. Congress authorized a Special Immigrant Visa program to allow Iraqis, Kurds and Afghans who had worked for the U.S. government and were now in danger of doing so, to immigrate to the U.S.
For more than five years, Iraqi Judge Hussein Al-Anbaki worked alongside U.S. troops battling to bring terrorists to justice only to be denied safe haven in the USA. Now he’s engaged in an even bigger fight — trying to get himself and his family into the U.S.
In a letter to Al-Anbaki, Gillian Apfel, refugee coordinator for the U.S. Chief of Mission, stated:
“You were not actually employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. Your work with the Law and Order Task Force was the result of a cooperation agreement between Multi-National Force Iraq and the government of Iraq.”
A local state prosecutor and a New Haven immigration lawyer are spearheading an effort to convince the U.S. government to issue Al-Anbaki and his family special visas.
They say with U.S. troops gone from Iraq terrorist groups have become emboldened and are assassinating judges, and they are worried Al-Anbaki is next on their list.
Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Emily Dewey Trudeau, defending, said:
“This is not just about wanting a better life for himself and his family, this is about wanting a life. Their lives are now in peril because he helped us. As an investigative judge, Al-Anbaki worked within the Iraqi judicial system gathering evidence on terrorism against both American soldiers and Iraqi citizens that he would then present before an Iraqi trial panel. He did it because he believed it was the right thing to do because these were people not only dangerous to the Americans in Iraq, but to the Iraqi people as well,”
Trudeau went on to say that it had been the judge’s decision not to be on the U.S. government’s payroll. He believed he could do a better job if he was considered neutral. She said:
“He purposely remained neutral as a member of the Iraqi judiciary, but he did receive other compensation from the U.S. We supplied him with a secure housing facility so he could carry out his work without getting killed. If I had hired someone in Iraq to keep up my WiFi, giving them a paycheck, that person would be eligible to come to the U.S., but not the judge. He tries to come here and gets the door slammed in his face.”
2006, murder and execution by insurgents of Army Specialist David J. Babineau and captured Private First Class Kristian Menchaca and Private First Class Thomas L. Tucker is worthy of comment. She said:
” Eight thousand American and Iraqi soldiers searched for three days before finding their bodies. They had been tortured and mutilated and rigged with an improvised explosive device. Judge Al-Anbaki volunteered to lead the investigation into their deaths. It was the first time an Iraqi judge had worked to get justice for Americans murdered in Iraq. He also rode with convoys of U.S. troops into the insurgent territory to interview potential witnesses to the kidnapping and murder of the two soldiers. He was instrumental in persuading local Iraqis to come forward and testify against terrorists, something that had never been done before because people were too afraid. He convinced them to have faith that the legal system would bring bad people to justice. Eventually, as a result of his efforts, a terrorist was convicted in the case. While on one hand, it was disappointing that only one of the terrorists was convicted, the fact that there was a conviction through the Iraqi judicial system was a victory, and it did bring some justice to the families of the soldiers that were killed,”
Referring to another incident, she said
” On Nov. 14, 2006, paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested around 100 members of staff from two departments and around 50 visitors. The bodies of those kidnapped were found buried in shallow graves in 2012. Judge Al-Anbaki again volunteered to get involved. His work required him to question at length many senior officials of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government who were responsible for corruption and sectarian violence. In doing so the judge placed the lives of his family and himself in great danger. But he believed he could use the Iraqi justice system to weed out corruption and terrorists from the government.”
Comment: A cold unfeeling response from Gillian Apfel, to a plea for help from someone who put his own and his family’s lives in jeopardy in support of the US.