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Daily Hampshire Gazette
Letter to the Editor
10/02/06

RE: September 22 letter challenging our Op/ed "Peacekeepers Out of Sudan"


Dear Editor:

The "Opposition to Peacekeepers Prolongs Sudan's Suffering" (Sept. 22) letter, accusing genocide researcher Dimitri Oram and I of "disinformation," is unfair.

The writers belong to a local synagogue, and to an activist group in the Valley whose Op/Ed appeared in the Gazette on 7 September 2006. The national movement they advocate and support involves the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the
Holocaust Memorial Museum, and many Christian organizations, and it constitutes a massive public relations lobby that is leading kind-hearted U.S. citizens down a dangerous path.

Sudan is at war. This involves NATO and Pentagon support for the African Union, which is always described as a "neutral" and "peacekeeping" force. In fact, our Op/Ed greatly understated the role the U.S. military plays in Sudan today.

Proponents of "genocide" in Sudan got their start with Smith Colleges' Dr. Eric Reeves, who endlessly shouted "genocide against the Christians of South Sudan" in
the 1990's. This was never substantiated. Today's "genocide" claims are refuted, even by Doctors Without Borders. English professor Eric Reeves is on record (Washington Post, August 2004) calling for "regime change" in Sudan. His inflated accountings of the numbers of victims
is at odds with other, more reliable, sources.

With massive US/UK/Israel/Christian/Jewish support, the Southern Christian "rebels" have waged Holy War against Islamic people in Sudan for decades, and the specious economy where "Christians are "captured as slaves" was the former theme used to inflame Western sensibilities.

While popular columnist Nicholas Kristof furthers the "genocide" line, he also calls for sweatshops (slavery) in Africa; this belies his interests and, justifiably, raises accusations of racism.

Southern adherents of animism, by the way, have suffered another Holy War by Christian missionaries who undermine their cultural integrity and survival - resources considered as "World Heritage" by Nobel Laureates.

For those who truly care about suffering - and I do include the authors of the recent letter - the suffering stems from the unfolding war for access and control of Sudan's natural resources. These include:
petroleum (see the real Sudan oil maps atwww.TRAPROCKPEACE.org); uranium (for Israel's nuclear ambitions); gum Arabic (for soft drinks, foods and pharmaceuticals); gold; platinum; natural gas; and refined sugar. Contrary to popular imagery of God-forsaken deserts, Sudan is the "breadbasket" of Africa and the Middle East, rich in agricultural land, and these too are under assault by Western agribusiness.

Americans would do well to listen to the British politician who last week chastised the US and UK governments for whipping up war in Sudan. [2]

Indeed, even the people of Darfur have protested against "humanitarian" intervention. [3]

Many Americans felt betrayed to learn that, in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction behind the urgency to war in Iraq. Now we are enmeshed in that quagmire, and another like it in Afghanistan.

Please get all the facts before advocating another invasion, in another Moslem country, based on disinformation, grandstanding, and private profit. Emotion is no substitute for truth. .


keith harmon snow
Northampton, MA

ENDNOTES

[1]

Many sources criticize and contradict the Reeves accountings; for
example, see [2] below:
"U.S. and UK must end 'megaphone' diplomacy on Darfur," Reuters, Fri
Sep 29, 2006.

*******************************************************
[2]

U.S. and UK must end "megaphone" diplomacy on Darfur
Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:44am ET

By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and the United States must
stop making threats over the crisis in Sudan's vast
Darfur region because the government in Khartoum knows
they can't back them up with action, a leading British
diplomat said on Friday.

Mark Malloch Brown, Britain's outgoing United Nations'
deputy secretary general, told the Independent
newspaper London and Washington were isolated in their
stance and they needed to tone down the rhetoric and
build an international consensus.

"The megaphone diplomacy coming out of Washington and
London: 'you damn well are going to let the U.N.
deploy and if you don't beware the consequences' isn't
plausible," he said in an interview published on
Friday.

"So Tony Blair and George Bush need to get beyond this
posturing and grandstanding.

"The Sudanese know we don't have troops to go in
against a hostile Khartoum government; if Sudan
opposes us there's no peace to keep anyway; you're in
there to fight a war," he added. "It's just not a
credible threat."

Fighting between militias, government forces and rebel
groups has ravaged the vast region for three years,
resulting in the killing of an estimated 200,000
people and the displacement of 2.5 million others.

However, the Sudanese government, accused of
supporting the militias, has refused to allow the
United Nations to send in a 22,000-strong force to
replace the AU, accusing it of attempting to
recolonize the country.

The African Union mandate in Darfur had been set to
expire on September 30 but the AU mission has now been
extended by three months with additional logistical
and material support from the United Nations and a
funding commitment from the Arab League.

Britain, which has repeatedly called for action to
resolve the Darfur crisis, has also called for a
concerted political effort to turn a shaky peace
agreement signed by one rebel faction and the
government in May into practice.

Malloch Brown said the veiled threats left the
Sudanese government free to portray themselves as the
"victims of the next crusade after Iraq and
Afghanistan".

What was instead needed was a carrot and stick
package, backed by an international consensus, of
incentives and sanctions that could be clearly
understood by Khartoum.

He said Khartoum wanted normalized relations with
Britain and the United States, the ability to use
their new oil wealth, a supportive U.N. deployment and
protection from the International Criminal Court.

"But in the other pocket there need to be sanctions.
And those pluses and minuses need to be echoed not
just by a group of Western leaders but by a much
broader cross-section of countries that Sudan respects
and trusts," he said.

He particularly noted efforts to bring China, a major
oil client of Sudan, into the international coalition
to bring pressure to bear on Khartoum.

In the meantime, the West should put its hands into
its pockets and fill the $300 million shortfall in aid
to the starving millions in Darfur, Malloch Brown
urged.

******************************************************
[3]

THOUSANDS PROTEST IN DARFUR AGAINST SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION FOR UN
DEPLOYMENT
Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 02:43 PM
http://www.harolddoan.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1892


THOUSANDS PROTEST IN DARFUR AGAINST SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION FOR UN
DEPLOYMENT

Press Release - U.N. News Center

Sept. 6 2006

About 10,000 demonstrators have protested in the South Darfur town of
Nyala against last week's Security Council resolution calling for the
deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force in the strife-torn
Darfur region, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reported today.

Many of the demonstrators threw stones at UN offices in Nyala, the
provincial capital, as well as at the compounds and vehicles of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric
told reporters.

Last Thursday, 12 Council members voted in favour - while three
members abstained - of expanding UNMIS' mandate to cover Darfur, where
spiralling violence and displacement has led senior UN officials to
warn of an impending humanitarian catastrophe.

Resolution 1706 "invites the consent" of the Sudanese Government to
the deployment of more than 17,000 additional troops. But Khartoum has
said on several occasions that it is opposed to any kind of UN force
taking over the role of the African Union's (AU) current operation,
known by the acronym AMIS, in Darfur.

Speaking to reporters yesterday in Alexandria, Egypt, during his tour
of the Middle East, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the planned
force of blue helmets will only be effective if there is Sudanese
consent and cooperation.

But he warned the Government that if it is not successful at
protecting an estimated 3 million people in need of humanitarian
assistance, then "it will have
lots of questions to answer to the rest
of the world."

Mr. Dujarric said UNMIS also reported that armed men fired on an AMIS
patrol of six vehicles near Kutum in North Darfur on Monday. The
mission said the patrol was able to return safely to Kutum, while the
armed men fled when one of their vehicles was hit during an exchange
of gunfire.


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