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Oil in Darfur? Special Ops in Somalia?
The New Old "Humanitarian" Warfare in Africa
By Keith Harmon Snow
February 7, 2007
To top it off, the war in DRC did not begin in August of 1998, as the IRC likes to put forth, and the humanitarian crisis in DRC was far more underreported than that of Sudan for several reasons. The IRC, in their report, acknowledges the actual start of the war in DRC (Zaire), even though they routinely cites mortality statistics in the context of a war whose beginnings they place in 1998:
"In 1996, Uganda and the new administration in Rwanda [RPA/F], in consort with armed Zairean groups, invaded eastern Zaire, purportedly to improve security along Rwanda and Uganda’s borders. Within a few months the invading forces, with their Zairean allies, gained control and overthrew the Zairean government, installed a new administration and renamed Zaire the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)."
The fighting in DRC did n ot stop, and the humanitarian crises, in 1997-1998, was a nightmare unfolding. Congo—by August of 1998—was embroiled in an international conflict that involved Western governments, or factions of Western power elites, and their errand boys with extortion rackets, and the many multinational corporations, all of which were backing militias and armies in the Congo war. The Clinton administration, allied with the government of the U.K. and Belgium, and with some Israeli backing, was involved through their proxy armies. The Pentagon was backing both the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Rwanda Patriotic Army/Front (RPA/F), and U.S. covert operations were underway in DRC, and this was all forbidden territory for the Western media to report on. Doctors Without Borders was apparently no exception.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports assessing the devastation caused by the war in DRC correctly situated both the beginnings of the war and the scale and magnitude of the humanitarian cataclysm.
"Since 1996, the conflict has claimed more than 3.5 million civilians. More than 1,200 Congolese die every day from conflict-related causes—preventable diseases, poverty, gender-based violence."
The International rescue Committee reported in April 2000: "the death toll from this war has consistently been woefully underestimated (see New York Times, Feb. 6, 2000)…"
The humanitarian crises in Sudan may or may not have received more attention than the humanitarian crises in DRC, but the scale of crises in the DRC, and the international involvement, were either completely in whiteout or greatly underreported by the Western press. Covert operations and illegal arms shipments were also being channeled through Uganda to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in South Sudan, and that was certainly in whiteout, and it is crucial to examine the writings of Dr. Eric Reeves in search of any clue of the nefarious involvement of external military agents, private military companies, or the existence and manifestation of covert government programs.
Recall that President Clinton ordered or sanctioned the Pentagon’s Operation Infinite Reach, an illegal cruise-missile strike on Afghanistan (50 cruise missiles) and Sudan (25 cruise missiles), destroying a purported chemical weapons facility at the Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory in August of 1998. Sudan at the time had been designated a terrorist state by the Clinton Administration. Britain supported the attack, and the lies that were used to justify it. The plant, which had its official opening in June 1997, was privately owned and partly financed by the Eastern and Southern African Preferential Trade Association. Al-Shifa was extremely important to the Sudan: it had raised the country's self-sufficiency in medicine from about 3% to over 50%. It produced 60-90% of the drugs used to treat the Sudan's seven leading causes of death; malaria and tuberculosis are at the top of the list. Al-Shifa also produced virtually all of the country's veterinary medicine. The Sudan has very large herds of camels, cattle, sheep and goats, all vital to the economy and food supply, and all susceptible to treatable infestations and diseases.
The plant was bombed in August of 1998, after one year in operation, and the message was clear: there will be no independent economic players impinging on Western pharmaceutical profits and their global empires. Has Dr. Eric Reeves ever condemned the U.S. for the Al-Shifa bombing and the massive loss of human life attributed to the crippling of Sudan’s only pharmaceutical factory? (If so, his condemnation has not been found by this author.)
At the same time, with the logistics and support coming in through U.S. military and state department conduits in Kenya and Uganda, the Sudan in 1998 was also benefiting from Operation Lifeline Sudan —if we believe the advertising rhetoric about humanitarian relief benefiting starving children and war orphans. OLS was a vast "humanitarian" operation ostensibly designed to serve the humanitarian needs of Sudan’s disaffected victims of war.
The failure of the international community to respond to the 1988 famine in Sudan led to the creation of the United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), a cross-border emergency relief program. By the mid 1990’s Operation Lifeline Sudan had achieved a major foothold throughout south Sudan, with a consortium of United Nations agencies and some 60 international "relief" agencies all vying for a piece of the billion dollars a year pie, and thousands of humanitarian foot soldiers receiving lucrative salaries. While OLS may be a "humanitarian" operation, it is also a United Nations-backed military operation with massive infrastructure projected from Nairobi, Kenya, into South Sudan.
It’s hard to imagine that the profit-making media would have denied the coverage that Operation Lifeline Sudan needed in order to sustain donations from Western media consumers whose hearts are ever being tugged by the ubiquitous images of the starving African children ever plastered across the pages of magazines and newspapers or beamed into every living room in America by satellite TV. It is the donors funding, after all—and the public cry to "do something"—that greases the gears of the misery machinery. Was the 1998 famine in South Sudan ignored?
According to Human Rights Watch, at the height of the 1998 famine—presumably one of the many humanitarian concerns behind the pivotal lunch conversation between Doctors Without Borders’s director Joelle Tangay and Dr. Eric Reeves—Operation Lifeline Sudan was drawing one million dollars a day.
Most interesting however, and a point not to be missed in consideration of the current efforts to secure and expand Western relief operations in Darfur (and now Chad), the donors for Operation Lifeline Sudan are almost all Anglo-American and European entities or their leading economic partners: Australia, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Does anyone reading this article doubt that war is not today waged by all kinds of economic means?
Indeed, there are reports that suggest that the 1998 "famine" was an example of how the Government of Sudan retaliated against the use of food as a weapon and itself used food—or the denial of food—as a weapon. In July of 1998 the famine hit hard, not because there wasn’t any food, but because the SPLA rebels were relentlessly attacking the Government of Sudan and the GOS was responding in kind, making it impossible for the massive Operation Lifeline Sudan to function. Suddenly, in an effort by the GOS to deny food aid (read: food) to the SPLA rebel forces, in an attempt to starve the rebels out, the Western world declares a "famine" alert with some "2.6 million people at risk."
It is important to recognize that OLS had been in Sudan for a decade, that the bureaucracy and infrastructure were there, that billions of dollars had been spent to institutionalize feeding centers and food as charity. In response, the OLS system had built up a major following: 2.6 million people dependent on food deliveries from the OLS network. OLS was a massive defacto public administration operating in parallel with the GOS. When the GOS strategically applied pressure to prevent food from reaching the region—and from reaching the SPLA rebels, clearly the beneficiaries of food and infrastructure—the SPLA buckled: In July 1998, the SPLA rebels declared a three-month cease-fire to allow food shipments to reach hundreds of thousands of hungry people in the southwest—including the SPLA themselves. On the third of August 1998 the Government of Sudan declared a unilateral cease-fire in response. War was not the driving factor behind the famine, or the suffering: it was food. More specifically, it was Western "humanitarian intervention" that drove the war and insured the proliferation of massive despair, suffering and death.
Across the oceans the Western AID industry, the newspapers, the journalists—all shared in the profit, while shaking their heads, side to side, as if to say: "those savage Africans. What is to be done? We must save them from themselves."
Little has changed. Today the argument is: "we must help them help themselves."
On 27 December 1999, Doctors Without Borders’ U.S. side executive director Joelle Tanguy appeared on the PBS radio program and on-line journal titled On-Line News Hour, a News Hour with Jim Lehrer affiliated program. Recall that Joelle Tanguy, who was then the executive director of the US arm of Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres, was the person who Dr. Eric Reeves claims inspired him to become the independent voice and advocate for the people of Sudan.
As we earlier noted, Reeves’ described the auspicious Tanguy meeting this way: "We were lamenting the fact that Doctors Without Borders felt compelled to name southern Sudan the most under-reported humanitarian crisis of 1998."
"Well in fact it started last year," Tanguy said, in the opening statement of her PBS interview,. Tanguy was referring to 1998, the first year of the Doctors Without Borders annual assessment. "We were so frustrated during the Monica Lewinsky scandal that we were facing a massive famine in southern Sudan, and were not able to break the news. And we started to realize this was not the first occasion."
Famine in Sudan was the number two in 1998 in the Doctors Without Borders first annual list of the Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Emergencies. Note that Doctors Without Borders’ 1999 list of the world’s top ten most unreported crises did not include Sudan at all. Note also that Doctors Without Borders cited "famine in Sudan" as one the top humanitarian emergencies in 1998. Doctors without Borders was not declaring the entire Sudan civil war as a top humanitarian crises, but merely the famine which, according to Human Rights Watch, was highly localized:
Southern Sudan occupies almost one third of the territory of Sudan, which at 2.5 million square kilometers is the largest country in Africa. The largest concentration of the population most vulnerable to the famine is in Bahr El Ghazal, in southwestern Sudan, where the famine of 1988 killed an estimated 250,000 people.
Due to conflict between the GOS and the SPLA, and their militias and factions, and due to pilfering and diversion of relief supplies from Operation Lifeline Sudan, the populations that had descended on the region of Bahr El Ghazal were facing famine. But famine does not occur in a vacuum. Indeed, it appears to occur in the midst of humanitarian "operations" and world food programs.
Did the famine in Bhar El Ghazal in 1998 materialize in spite of Operation Lifeline Sudan and the massive infrastructure that sustained it? Or did famine occur because of it?
In their summary description of what was then the number two most underreported humanitarian crisis of 1998, "2.6 Million Face Starvation in Sudan," Doctors Without Borders wrote:
" The famine in southern Sudan produced mortality rates that in some areas equaled or exceeded those reported in Ethiopia during the crisis of 1985. During one week in mid-July, 120 people were dying each day in the area of Ajiep (pop. 17,000) in the province of Bahr el Ghazal, and many other villages recorded catastrophic death rates. Not only were there no blockbuster concerts in support of the victims, few people seemed to know about the famine at all."
Comparing the UN OCHA assessment of some 1200 people dying in DRC every day, over a sustained period of four to six years, with the Doctors Without Borders assessment of mortality of 120 people per day, during one week in mid-July only, one wonders why Doctors Without Borders did not place DRC at the top of the list of the most underreported list of humanitarian disasters of 1998. In fact, it was not on the list at all.
The Democratic Republic of Congo was number five in the 1999 Doctors Without Borders Top Ten list of humanitarian disasters, and Sudan did not appear at all. Remember that we are talking not about what constitutes a disaster, or how large a disaster it is, but how Doctors Without Borders ranked the emergency with respect to media coverage.
In their 2000 assessment the DRC was number six (no Sudan); number five in the 2001 assessment (no Sudan); number three in the 2002 assessment (Sudan was number seven); DRC was number five in the 2003 assessment (Chad was number one, due to fighting in Central Africa Republic and Sudan); number two in the 2004 assessment (no Sudan); number one in the 2005 assessment (South Sudan was number six). In the Doctors Without Borders Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2006, DRC was number seven, under the heading "Congolese Endure Extreme Deprivation and Violence."
There was another country that repeatedly made the Doctors Without Borders most underreported humanitarian disasters list. From 1999 to 2006, Somalia made a regular appearance. The importance of examining Somalia as a top ten humanitarian crises and comparing it to either Congo or Sudan comes in remembering that Somalia was one of the top recipient countries for "humanitarian" relief, from 1982 to 1994, and it was under the banners of protecting and providing "humanitarian relief" that 20,0000 plus U.S. military forces invaded Somalia in 1992, we were told, to save some 2 million Somalis from starving. The parallels with Darfur, Sudan are striking.
The early 1990’s crises in Somalia had its roots in the invasion of Western humanitarian aid organizations that occurred steadily as big money and big relief flooded into Somalia from circa 1981 onward. By the mid 1980’s the aid machine had been cranked into full gear, and food, supplies and concomitant relief funds had saturated and crippled the local economy. Somalia’s capacity for feeding its own people was undermined by the massive surplus food dumped on the fragile Somali market. All hope of Somali self-sufficiency was gobbled up by predacious capitalists as sure as the unsuspecting swimmers who were taken by the great white sharks which hunted along Mogadishu’s beaches. The profits accrued on both sides of the vast sea that separated the United States from Somalia. The resources—relief supplies, food, money—were converted into weapons that served to fuel the fires of ethnic rivalry.
By the mid-1980’s the prospect of a career in "development" working for a humanitarian non-government organization (NGO) began to draw Westerners who recognized the massive growth opportunity that lay ahead. People seized the moment and hoardes of western infidels flocked to Africa with lucrative contracts in hand and the prospect of unlimited career potential and permanent adventure. People were no longer jumping on the relief bandwagon out of a love and concern for helping fellow human beings, but because they saw the blooming aid market for what it was: a ground floor opportunity to combine travel, adventure and private profit, and to gain moral currency in the bargain.
The Western imperatives of geopolitical control meant that western corporations, intelligence networks and arms providers swooped in like vultures to prey on, manipulate or secure the allegiance of anyone and everyone, and on all sides of the borders with Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. With some 70% of Somalia mapped out into petroleum concessions by 1986, the competition for contracts, control and access was in full swing.
From the point of view of the United States, the long-running government of President Siad Barre was a benevolent dictatorship: the US supported it for years, ever provoking internal rivalries and cross-border geopolitical meddling in Ethiopia. One of the last major "policy" actions of any significance achieved by the Barre dictatorship was the granting of all major petroleum rights to four Western companies. After a furious political scramble to seize control, involving Royal/Dutch Shell, Agip and other companies, the Barre government in 1989 granted all petroleum concessions to just four firms: Conoco, Chevron, Amoco (now BP) and Philips Petroleum.
Note that Chevron director J. Bennet Johnston is also a director of Nexant, the Bechtel Corporation subsidiary and contractor involved in the oil pipeline being constructed from the oil-rich Semliki Basin under Lake Albert, on the Congo-Uganda border, to the U.S. military port at Mombasa, Kenya. The Nexant contract supports the petroleum operations of Heritage Oil and Gas, a nefarious petroleum minor whose owners include Tony Buckingham, a shady businessman whose mercenary firms—like Sandline International—operate in all the wrong places across the continent. The Heritage deal was sealed amidst the war in DRC, where negotiations to secure the oil were completed with the warring governments— Uganda and DRC—on both sides of Lake Albert. Unsurprisingly, Tony Buckingham’s business partners include Ugandan President Museveni’s half-brother Salim Saleh, and Saleh’s arms company brokered weapons to the SPLA—armored personnel carriers for the "rag-tag" rebels—as Dr. Eric Reeves ever portrayed them.
The vast petroleum reserves in Somalia are connected underground via the petroleum rift system of the Ogaden Basin, Ethiopia, and under the Straits of Hormuz to Yemen. Houston-based Hunt Oil maintains operations in the Oganden Basin, in Ethiopia, a short helicopter ride from Camp United, in Hurso, Ethiopia where the some 2000 plus covert forces of the 10 th Mountain Division and 3 rd U.S. Infantry Regiment have been training Ethiopian soldiers in preparation for the U.S. invasion of Somalia in December 2006. It was George Herbert Walker Bush himself who christened the Hunt Oil Petroleum refinery in Yemen in 1986. Interestingly, one of the directors of Rolls Royce Marine, involved in the petroleum operations targeting Darfur (see below) and supporting Chinese interests, is Todd Hunt out of Dallas, Texas.
The Conoco compound in Mogadishu was turned into the defacto U.S. Embassy with the arrival of US troops in 1992, and it served as a base of US military and intelligence operations. USMC General Frank Libutti and G.H.W. Bush Envoy Robert Oakley established their headquarters there.
When on 6 January 2007 the New York Times ran flak to cover up the US invasion of Somalia, the article correctly described the US military mission of the early 1990’s—previously billed as a humanitarian mission—as a "failed attempt to capture a dictator." The article is an example of shameless propaganda, as simplistic and misleading in its attention to the geopolitical realities in Somalia as we see everywhere in the mainstream media coverage of "genocide" in Darfur. The article peddles the idea of an African "peacekeeping" force to quell violence in Somalia. Indeed, the New York Times presses the line that Western diplomats, including the visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, are "urging African nations to quickly put together a peacekeeping force before Somalia reverts to anarchy."
Nigeria , Uganda and South Africa have all "volunteered" troops for Somalia, the Times, noted. What the New York Times did not say, and has never flushed out, is that Uganda is a major base of US military operations in Central Africa, from which programs pursuing economic, political and military dominance are projected into DRC, Kenya, Somalia, and, especially, Sudan. Uganda and Kenya have provided the preponderance of support for the SPLA in South Sudan; Kenya and Ethiopia have both served as U.S. bases from which Special Operations Command (SOCOM) forces have been striking out and penetrating Somalia. Ethiopia seeks a major seaport currently denied by Eritrea: Somalia offers the perfect storm through which to pump out Ethiopian oil secured, for example, by the genocide of the Anuak and other minority people. Yet this genocide is off the radar of the "Stop Genocide!" coalitions and their extensive Genocide Intervention forces precisely because the government of Ethiopia—unlike the uncooperative and audacious Government of Sudan—is a U.S./U.K./Israeli client state.
In its reportage on Somalia the NYT has mentioned nothing about the private military companies and SOCOM operations that occurred throughout 2006, or of SOCOM covert operations training for Ethiopian troops at Camp United in Hurso, Ethiopia, both of which laid the groundwork for the escalated invasion of December 2006. It was a U.S. military invasion backed by Ethiopia, and not an Ethiopian invasion "giv[en] a yellow-slash-green light" by the U.S. as stated by John Prendergast of the International Crises Group (high on list of notable "spokesmen" everywhere pressing the "genocide" line on Darfur).
The United States has major military alliances with Nigeria and South Africa as well , each serving to further the corporate military agenda. Nigeria is the most notable story in media whiteout, where the petroleum companies are waging a sustained and low-intensity genocide against the indigenous peoples of the Niger River Delta.
Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI)—a mercenary firm founded by 32 retired U.S. generals—has been training the Nigerian military. Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root, and with the involvement of French and Japanese companies, has been caught red-handed bribing Nigerian officials for petroleum-related contracts, establishing slush funds and offshore front companies to shield rapacious operations and evade taxes.
Royal/Dutch Shell has been directly connected to weapons shipments and atrocities in the Delta, including the August 2006 massacre of 15 members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and one Shell employee who were on route to meet with Shell officials; President Olusegun Obasandjo was involved.
In 2006, Israeli defense conglomerate Aeronautic Defense Systems Ltd. secured a controversial $US 276 million contract to supply Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles (UAVs)—aerial robotic drones for surveillance and attack—to be used by the Nigerian military against people fighting for their survival against genocide in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. Shell Oil began operations in the Niger River Delta in 1958 and they have given nothing back except suffering and violence: who are the real terrorists?
The suggestion, therefore, that Uganda, Nigeria and South African troops will be "peacekeepers" in Somalia is absurd and the possibility of this being raised only underscores the extent to which the general public is so easily sold on the language of euphemisms and deception.
The people of Darfur should take note.
But back in the 1990’s, the U.S. military’s Operation Restore Hope was never a "humanitarian" mission: that was the cover story provided by the Pentagon and peddled by the media. Again, the parallels with Darfur today should be noted.
As the US soldiers pulled out of Mogadishu in 1993, the "humanitarian crisis" packed up its bags and shipped out as well. The spotlight shifted elsewhere. The massive public concern for human life stirred up by the Western press disintegrated like the bones of the tens of thousands of innocent victims shot by the guns bought from the sale of US food dumped on Somalia by USAID, the World Food Program, and other billion dollar agencies like Save the Children.
"The United States abandoned Operation Restore Hope in Somalia immediately after the fiasco of 3 October 1993," wrote Michael Maren in The Road to Hell. "From that point on nothing the Americans did was meant directly to affect the situation on the ground; everything was aimed at minimizing negative political fallout back home until they packed up and left five months later. With the Americans happily out of the picture and hostility raging in Mogadishu, the rest of the UN mission was doomed. It was only a matter o time before international will and, most important, international funding, would dry up."
"Any doubt about that was sealed two weeks after the American departure when a plane was shot down in Kigali, Rwanda, killing the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and setting off what may be the worst concentrated massacre in human history. Journalists followed the events. Money followed the news. And NGOs followed the money. Somalia was forgotten, except by the UN, which continued operating in Mogadishu as if they were going to be there forever."
The disaster called Somalia is a product of Western "humanitarianism" and "intervention." It began with "humanitarian relief" in the 1980’s, but with the misery industry came the corruption and the weapons, and big salaries for white people who averted their eyes to contradictions, took the money and ran. When the U.S. military came to the rescue it was first described as for "purely humanitarian objectives." Once on the ground it became an exercise in "nation-building." In the end it morphed into the hunt for a terrorist dictator. By 1994 Somalia was a bigger disaster than it had ever been, and the U.S. pulled out on a platform of…well…nothingness. It was a business calculation: cut your losses and move out.
And now the U.S. is back in Somalia trumpeting the ubiquitous threat of Islamic Jihad . But it doesn’t even matter: most people are completely unaware that the U.S. is involved and naively accept the propaganda peddling Somalia’s latest misfortune as a war between African ( Ethiopia and Somalia) nations (sic).
On 6 January 2007, following the invasion like clockwork, Doctors Without Borders released their annual list of the Top Ten Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2006. Somalia was number one. In the Doctors Without Borders summary of the disaster there is no mention of the Boeing Chinook helicopters (troop carriers) plying the Somali skies or the amphibious assault vehicles that landed on Somalia’s beaches. There is no mention of the U.S. covert war that had been going for the past three years, at least, involving the U.S. Special Operations Command, or private military companies like ATS Worldwide.
While the Pentagon and the Bush White House have for some years now been running a covert intervention in Somalia, the absence of any coverage at all by the Anglo-American or European press is not surprising. There has been nothing to inform the American public of the illegal shipments of cash or weapons funneled to factions on the ground in Somalia.
While it is clearly a second go at Somalia, it feels more like a Rwanda redux. The American public has been completely misinformed about the role that the Clinton White House played in shooting down the plane in Rwanda, in 1994, and the double presidential assassinations that sparked the "genocide" there, and wiped clean the public memory of the massive media deceptions on Somalia.
The worse it looks the better it sells. Famine and horror become commodities. From Darfur we get photographs of the dead bodies, but anyone can ride out the relief apparatus and take a picture of sick and dying Africans. Victims and refugees flock to relief centers, "presenting to visiting reporters a concentration of misery that [is] indeed shocking."
Reporters, editors and politicians—and now Hollywood celebrities—are transported to the relief centers, housed and fed by the relief agencies working there; they are also primed with facts. Visitors rely on an infrastructure designed and controlled by the relief operation and their security apparatus, but such things are never challenged.
On September 17, 1997, the United States Institute for Peace held a conference titled Religion, Nationalism, and Peace in Sudan. Speakers on the panel "Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy" included John Prendergast, former National Security Council member and current staff of the International Crises Group (ICG), and Roger Winter, formerly of the U.S. Committee for Refugees.
In his talk, NSC expert John Prendergast outlined three distinct U.S. Government initiatives being implemented or maintained in pursuit of the isolation and/or marginalization of the Government of Sudan. The "Front Line States Initiative" supported Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia with "defensive non-lethal military equipment." According to Prendergast, the U.S. was supporting the three "front line" states—all neighbors of Sudan—"in their effort to defend themselves from Sudan's campaign of regional destabilization by providing defensive non-lethal military equipment" to those three countries.
The overt provision of "non-lethal military equipment"—military equipment is military equipment—as openly noted by Prendergast as early as 1997 occurred in parallel with an unreported but sustained campaign of covert military operations supporting neighboring political and military factions in Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. According to Smith College African Studies Chair Elliot Fratkin, in 1993 the U.S. "declared Sudan a country sponsoring terrorism and it began supporting the SPLA." We should here note that there have been very few, if any, overt statements verifying the covert military relationship between the U.S. Government and/or the Pentagon and military factions involved the long civil war in Sudan: Dr. Fratkin’s comments therefore appear as an aberration which directly contradict the ideological framework, constructed by Winter, Prendergast and Reeves, which defines Sudan as a purveyor of "state terrorism" and Islamist "genocide" committed by the Bashir government. African Affairs departments at elite Western colleges and universities almost never address the western security and intelligence apparatus, or covert operations, in Africa.
Prendergast went on to outline the "robustness" and "increasing capacity" of U.S. Government’s programs in "sustainable development" efforts targeting poverty stricken areas in Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Eritrea, areas seen as "the breeding grounds for terrorism" and "the Sudan Government’s recruiting grounds for terrorists." Prendergast outlined the important role of development assistance provided to Sudanese organizations in "rebel held" territory. This included established U.S. Government relationships providing "assistance" to the Sudanese opposition umbrella, the National Democratic Alliance, and other organizations, to "promote democracy."
These initiatives, Prendergast said, "give[s] us an opening to support the development of democratic civil institutions in areas controlled by the SPLM.... It will allow us the possibility to support those [organizations and civil society] in southern and eastern Sudan to promote the rule of law through the support of local court systems and civil administrations, something that has already been going on for some time now."
A subsequent comment by Prendergast attests to the true agenda of the National Security Council and the U.S. Government: economic and financial control. Prendergast unequivocally stated: "We have engaged in a process which aims to expel Sudan from the IMF, as I mentioned before, if they don't comply with basic economic reform criteria."
From this we arrive at the true definition of a "rogue state," a state that does not follow the rules of "free market liberalization" as dictated by the international financial institutions, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Export-Import Bank, and the many other Bretton Woods institutions and money houses that back them. Indeed, Sudan is one of the five countries in the world that reportedly maintain their independence from the central banking system that the United States and its partners control: Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Libya are the other four. These countries are all part of the "Nexus of Evil" targeted by the right-wing missile-defense think-tank, the Center for Security Policy.
At the 1997 meeting, Roger Winter spoke at length about the U.S. Government policy in Sudan. On 26 July 2005, the U.S. Government named Roger Winter, the then USAID assistant administrator for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance, as Special Representative for the Deputy Secretary of State, on Darfur. Roger Winter is one of Dr. Eric Reeves’ primary sources; ICG staffer John Prendergast is another. The International Crises Group directors, fellows and trustees include numerous economic hit men and architects of neoliberal policies, foreign interventions and the U.S. warfare and intelligence apparatus.
But it was back in the late 1980’s that Roger Winter and the U.S. Committee for Refugees organized a conference in Washington DC to assist the Rwandan Patriotic Front with its program to overthrow the government of Rwanda. The RPF, backed by Washington, Britain, Belgium and Uganda, invaded Rwanda in 1990. By 1994 they had achieved their goal: the coup d’etat that unseated President Juvenal Habyarimana. Millions of people died in the process.
According to Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda, the invasion of Rwanda led to the deaths of millions, as the invading forces—the RPF/A led by Rwanda’s President today Paul Kagame—raped, pillaged and massacred from 1990 to the present. They called it "100 days of genocide" and blamed it solely on the Hutu government that was overthrown: the genocide label was expediently, and judiciously, applied. The intentional mischaracterizations of events in Rwanda in 1994 have led to widespread misunderstandings and deceptions about Rwanda today. Roger Winter was a supporter behind the RPF/A invasion and coup d’etat. The parallels with Sudan are striking.
The Darfur "mission" of U.S. Marine Brian Steidle offers another perfect example of how information and involvement about the Darfur conflict is turned completely on its head, such that truth becomes lie and lie becomes truth. Like Dr. Eric Reeves, and National Security Council and former White House staffer John Prendergast, now we have "ex-" Marine Brian Steidle—a 28 year-old former Marine Captain and Admiral’s son—as a ubiquitous fixture in the U.S. propaganda campaign for Darfur. Like Bob Dole, Steidle’s propaganda is peddled by the Holocaust Memorial Museum and, well, everyone else.
"A former Marine, I had arrived in Sudan's Darfur region in September 2004 as one of three U.S. military observers for the African Union, armed only with a pen, pad and camera. The mandate for the A.U. force allowed merely for the reporting of violations of a cease-fire that had been declared last April and the protection of observers. The observers sometimes joked morbidly that our mission was to search endlessly for the cease-fire we constantly failed to find. I soon realized that this was no joke."
The suggestion that Steidle is an objective and impartial observer is ridiculous. The African Union is a NATO-backed force which supports and furthers the military interests of the Anglo-American-Israeli "Save Darfur!" axis. NATO has airlifted troops and provided other logistical support. Recall that NATO—under the imperatives of U.S. foreign policy—devastated the former Yugoslavia with a bombing campaign that was sold to the Western world as a "humanitarian" rescue. Satellite reconnaissance of Darfur (and all Sudan) is achieved through top-secret remote sensing platforms that were originally used by USAID, in partnership with Bechtel Corporation, for "development" programs of the 1980’s. Remote sensing platforms have provided "unclassified" USAID maps showing burning villages in Darfur: the classified versions of these maps are used by military intelligence.
The African Union is comprised partly of several thousand Rwandan Defense Forces (formerly Rwandan Patriotic Army). The RDF shipped to Darfur were funded, armed and trained by the Pentagon, and some have committed egregious atrocities, and participated in genocide against innocent non-combatant Hutu refugees, in the Congo. The RPF/A campaign of terror has continued in Rwanda since it first began: with the RPA invasion of 1990.
RDF military officials, including President Kagame, and his top General, James Kabarebe, were in command in the field when hundreds of thousands of Hutu were massacred in the RPA/UPDF march across Congo; these same officials are perpetuating the ongoing war in eastern DRC. According to Paul Rusesabagina, the current government of Paul Kagame in Rwanda is today perpetuating terrorism within Rwanda that could well lead to another explosion of genocidal killings: the perpetrators, according to Rusesabagina, will be the Kagame government forces.
The U.S. military currently has at least six major ongoing military programs, shrouded in secrecy, ongoing across the heart of Africa. There are the standard programs like the International Military and Education Training Programs (IMET), and the Extended-IMET program, and other less well known programs like the Africa Crises Response Initiative (ACRI), and its offspring under different names; the Joint Command Exchange Training Program (JCET); the Pan-Sahel Initiative, which stretches across Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Sudan; and the "Golden Spear" program, which involves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The ACRI program trained Ugandan troops that soon invaded the Congo (DRC); ACRI was apparently the work of Susan Rice, Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, in the Clinton Administration. As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Susan Rice is today bone of the most vocal advocates for decisive military action to "Stop Genocide!" and "Save Darfur!"—again, by any means necessary. ACRI’s Uganda trainees also worked with the SPLA in South Sudan. Susan Rice reportedly has close ties with ex-National Security Council staffer Shawn McCormick who went to work for BP, one of the oil companies (Amoco) with concessions interests in Somalia today; Rice is also very close with Roger Winter of USAID.
In June 2003, President Bush announced the commitment of $100 million for an East Africa Counterterrorism Initiative (EACTI) to provide counterterrorism equipment, training, and assistance to six countries in the region: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. As part of this effort, EACTI provided $10 million for an intensive in-country antiterrorism training program for Kenya.
The Pentagon is also launching another program called the Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI).
While the U.S. European Command—EUCOM—has historically been responsible for all Africa operations, the Pentagon is in the process of setting up a designated Africa Command. The plans call for rapid-reaction force bases to be set up all over Africa to be "activated periodically to train African forces."
In March 2004, Chadian soldiers trained under the Pan Sahel Initiative were involved in a firefight, ostensibly with Algerian "terrorist" groups, who suffered significant mortalities; the Pentagon initially declined any US involvement but later admitted that U.S. support included a Navy P-3 Orion aircraft operating from Algeria and roughly 100 American servicemen; other operational support included communications, intelligence and reconnaissance.
In March 2004 the U-S military delivered food, medical supplies and other assistance to Chad, claiming to be supporting "government troops there who had battled suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida." Two C-130 Hercules cargo planes delivered more than 19 (metric) tons of "aid" to Chad, including food, blankets and medical supplies. The rush mission was ordered by the U-S military's EUCOM, following a request from the government of Chad. The aircraft were from the 37th Airlift Squadron based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
U.S. forces have also taken up positions on an 88-acre base in Djibouti, formerly used by the French Foreign Legion. It is part of US Central Command’s purported effort "to intercept al Qaeda operatives fleeing Afghanistan for East Africa." The Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa—operating out of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya—also has engaged in "civil affairs operations" and "police training" designed to strengthen the ability of local governments in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. EUCOM directed the Antiterrorism Assistance program to work with the civilian law enforcement agencies of Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Niger. ATA delivered at least $6.6 million in training and assistance to some of these countries in Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005. A special anti-terrorism squad, composed of the German Naval Air Wing, is currently based in Mombasa to monitor ships plying the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coast.
These are not isolated examples of U.S. military support or operations in the Sahel or Horn of Africa regions. On the contrary, they reveal the tip of the iceberg, or as it may better be understood, the tip of the "Golden Spear." These programs and the agendas they serve are always, and euphemistically, described as beneficial to Africa and African people, as "pro-democracy" and "sustainable development." Such euphemistic language is all doublespeak for the true agenda: total economic and military domination of Africa, primarily to secure and plunder natural resources essential to the permanent warfare economy of the U.S. and its partners; in this equation there is no intention of supporting or aiding African people unless it serves to maximize profits.
The U.S. special operations (SOCOM) trainings of soldiers in Chad, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, raise questions about the involvement of these soldiers in the "complex emergencies" in Chad, Somalia and Central African Republic. It would be absurd and irresponsible—given the petroleum and other resources at stake—NOT to assume that these forces are involved in clandestine Project Pheonix or School of the Americas signature type programs in Sudan ( Darfur).
"The conflict in Darfur is not a battle between uniformed combatants, and it knows no rules of war," Marine Brian Steidle wrote. This is nonsense like the kind Dr. Eric Reeves would invent. The same tactic is employed by the Western media and the U.S. military that controls and embeds them: the photographs of uniformed soldiers of the various rebels groups fighting the Government of Sudan exist, as do the soldiers themselves, and they are sometimes wearing spick-and-span military fatigues.
The statement is both true and it is not true. The crimes are being committed, and they are being committed by agents involved in a war, and the last person who should have any credibility under the circumstances is a U.S. military agent masquerading as a caring, God-fearing, humanitarian witness to genocide. The magnitude of the hypocrisy is stunning, and it is only exceeded by the intuitive awareness that the very same agents decrying "genocide" are stirring it up.
On the other side of the elusive truth, the statement by Marine Steidle that "[t]he conflict in Darfur is not a battle between uniformed combatants, and it knows no rules of war," is something that Steidle should know very well, being that he is an American Marine, because the U.S. military is responsible for the most egregious atrocities ever committed by human beings against human beings, in violation of every single international treaty and standard set by the Geneva Convention. This behavior is not passé.
In fact, the U.S. openly taunts its supposed moral immunity from these international laws and covenants, and it taunts its violations of them, and with characteristic arrogance of the highest degree it holds American military power and its agents above the oversight of the International Criminal Court or any other international legal or humanitarian body. Dr. Eric Reeves and Mel Middleton fall into this category as well. The very tactics of a "no holds barred" war—mass murders, assassinations, tortures, disappearances, the proliferation of terror—are taught at U.S. military colleges and in field training programs, and they have been practiced, in the field, under secret U.S. programs since at least 1941, and they are happening now, all over the world.
The same is true of the U.S. military’s illegal and immoral use of chemical weapons, radioactive weapons, lasers and other top secret weaponry, and its experimentation on populations through the use of these weapons. Add to the list the now indisputable evidence that the U.S. military is using weather warfare technologies to the detriment of human populations and the global climate.
Everything said about the U.S. military applies equally, if not more so, to the Israeli military and the MOSSAD intelligence networks, and to its U.K. and other European partners.
According to one private military company, ATS Worldwide, a Florida-based operation, as revealed by Africa Confidential in the spring of 2006: "We’ve ramped up and prepared to support follow-on missions in support of the U.S. military and governmental agencies…We’ve executed our operation in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Central and South America. We work primarily for the U.S. government in conjunction with the private sector or companies."
Consisting of ex-military personnel, the company principals explain on their web site that the purpose of ATS Worldwide is to make it easier on the military to contract out and train these forces in order to deploy them in hot spots throughout the world, including, perhaps, ‘denied areas’ like Somalia, or even Darfur, where it is not politically acceptable for U.S. regular forces to operate, until that is, a crisis of suitable proportions can be engineered to allow some form of military intervention. This is exactly what we are seeing in Darfur, but it is cloaked in a psychological operation against the American public for which the mass media plays and stellar role in peddling "humanitarian" concern.
Save Darfur, indeed.
How many people have died? And how many lives will be saved? With Darfur we are treated to hysterical accountings of events and numbers by Dr. Eric Reeves that seem to perpetually rise and rise, and get worse and worse, while also seeming to stay exactly the same.
FRONTLINE’s numbers on the dead in Darfur, reported in January 2005, contradict the accounting of both Dr. Eric Reeves and of the Government of Sudan:
Since the 1983 start of the civil war, more than 4 million people have been displaced, and an estimated 2 million have died. Opposition groups as well as the government have been accused of atrocities in the conflict.
Since 2003, violence in Darfur—called ethnic cleansing by some and genocide by others—has left an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 dead and an estimated 1.2 million to 2 million people displaced. Survivors face severe shortages of food and clean water.
An estimated 2.3 million civilians in Darfur are in need of emergency aid, but bottlenecks created by both the government and the rebel forces cut them off from food and medical supplies.
By January of 2005, Dr. Eric Reeves was claiming some 400,000 people killed in Darfur since 2003. As far as these numbers of dead go there is no reason to believe or trust the accountings by Dr. Eric Reeves: the numbers of dead could as well be more than Dr. Eric Reeves has tallied, or they could be far less, but we have already established that Dr. Eric Reeves is not a trustworthy source. The manipulation of statistical dead, etc., also has precedence in the significant African examples of Somalia (1982-1994), Rwanda (1990-2007), Congo (1996-2007). (There is no shortage of examples of statecraft based on manipulation of statistics, or the refugees themselves.)
Additionally, the latter point above is not to be missed: both government and rebel forces cut civilians in Darfur off from food and medical supplies. According to Eric Reeves, almost universally, the Government of Sudan is the single party behind the killing and starvation in Sudan. First it was so in Christian South Sudan, and now it is so in Darfur. It is not the killing and starvation that one should question, but the parties involved in the creation and perpetuation of the crises, and the way that the crises is presented in the Western media.
Commenting on the 1998 famine in South Sudan mentioned above, Human Rights Watch noted that it was not only the Government of Sudan who was responsible for the crises.
The famine thus was not caused by incomprehensible forces… The SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] strategy and tactics also disproportionately affect civilians. In particular, [SPLA’s] sieges to force the surrender of government garrison towns and the taxation of or diversion of relief food from the starving population are abusive of civilians on both sides of the elusive front line.
So there it is again: the incongruity between the writings and accusations of Dr. Eric Reeves—always pointing to the Government of Sudan—and the murderous hand of the SPLA, which Dr. Reeves’ quite neatly exonerates by omission. We see the same omissions in Dr. Reeves’ coverage of Darfur: the rebels are inexplicably de-linked from the instability, if mentioned at all, and there is no mention of the external military support: the networks of weapons shipments or logistics providers, or the roles of private military companies—mercenaries—like Dyncorp, ATS Worldwide or Pacific Architects and Engineers, all of whom work in Sudan, as was briefly introduced above.
A perfect and poignant example of Dr. Eric Reeves’ sympathetic alliance or allegiance to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army—whether by commission or omission—is his 4026 word "Crash-Course On Darfur" published in two parts by the New Republic Online on 18 July 2005. As implied in the title, the "Crash Course on Darfur" was presumably presented for the general public to come quickly up to speed on events in Darfur so that they could, as demanded by the mounting campaign to "Save Darfur," do something.
In the section of this authoritative treatise where he writes about the Government of Sudan’s history of atrocities and bombings against South Sudan prior to the Darfur conflict Dr. Reeves’ fails to offer even the simplest reference to the covert SPLA insurgency that was provoking both offensive and defensive actions from the Government of Sudan and contributing to misery and suffering of the very population the SPLA was hiding amongst and conscripting from:
The result of these [GOS] policies was that between 1989 and 2002 many hundreds of thousands of Sudanese were either killed or displaced. In the Nuba Mountains and the oil regions of southern Sudan, as in Darfur, the NIF regime settled upon a deliberate policy of human destruction, targeting ethnically African populations that had rebelled against, or were victims of, decades of political and economic marginalization."
Indeed, Dr. Reeves’ only mention of the SPLA is in reference to erstwhile liberation leader: "John Garang, leader of the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army..."
What most people reading the Reeves backgrounders and crash-courses on Darfur, or Sudan more generally, do not connect, is that John Garang, while a member of the Sudanese armed forces, received military training in the U.S. at Fort Benning Georgia—home to the School of the Americas, which trains soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics, including torture. (Such realities obviously need to be repeated again and again and again.)
John Garang was very close with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and the SPLA received massive military and operational support from Uganda. EUCOM has been supporting UPDF forces in their fight against the dissident Lord’s Resistance Army, which itself is reportedly backed by the Government of Sudan: EUCOM General Wald cemented this relationship in 2004 with a public announcement, though clandestine support for Uganda had been ongoing.
Given that the "Crash-Course on Darfur" has nothing of substance regarding the deepest underlying facts of the Sudan situation, and given that most readers searching for facts will take a bite out of the first apple they find and then, likely, throw their twenty or fifty bucks into the cause, the writing serves only to misinform and mis-educate. Why should anyone dig any deeper? This Reeves guy sounds reasonable enough. It’s
Source: Global Research,