Tactical Use of Genocide in Sudan and the Five Lakes Region
When food production is disrupted by war there are few defences to natural disaster.
Interrelated wars of varying intensity continue in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Chad, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo. Much of East Africa is starving.
Amidst the terrible suffering we find the United States and its principle humanitarian organizations insisting that the Government of Sudan is committing genocide. This was officially decided in 2002 with the Sudan Peace Act 1, and the position is dutifully echoed by U.S. officials, many government funded NGO’s, and the U.S. news media.
If nations of the world agreed that a verifiable genocide were occurring, it would allow the U.S. to occupy Sudan and gain its assets. There is profit for the U.S. in deciding that Sudan’s Government has committed genocide. The nations of the world did not agree. The Director of the World Health Organization stated last summer it was not a genocide2. Medecins sans Frontières workers have reported it is not a genocide3. And finally the U.N. decided it wasn’t a genocide4. Yet something terrible has happened there.
Over four million Sudanese became displaced, according to a 1999 estimate5, and the subsequent diminished figures suggest the accounts are juggled. In the South of Sudan alone two million have died from war and starvation brought about by a rebellion and guerilla war. When peace was finally made between the Government of Sudan and the rebel forces in the South (SPLM/A), Jan. 9, 2005,6 the rebels were able to claim the land they won, to negotiate and sell its substantial oil concessions. So the war and rebellion was something other than tribal differences or raids for slaves.
The leader of the Southern rebellion, John Garang, went to Grinnell College in the U.S. and was trained at the U.S. Army command school.7 He bears some similarity to Paul Kagame, the current President of Rwanda, who also trained at the U.S. Army command school. In 1990 Paul Kagame began attacking Rwanda from Uganda, and in 1994 invaded with well armed troops, a modern weapons army, land forces, precipitating a program of mass slaughters. Was it a fluke of tribal war that became genocide? Or was it a carefully planned NATO operation that discounted African population loss ?
The same Paul Kagame remains under suspicion of having triggered the bloodshed by shooting down the plane of the former president of Rwanda, using a team under his command. After long police investigation French courts are calling him to account, since there were several French nationals on that plane.8 In turn Paul Kagame has accused the French of genocide, since there were French advisors in Rwanda’s defending army. Paul Kagame remains a strong ally of the U.S. and I recommend Michel Chossudovsky’s material on their mutuality.9
The death toll of casualties resulting from the U.S. backed invasion, and the French trained defence, and the massacres of the population, settled at 3,150,000 or 40% of the population, by 1997, according to a Rwandan ex-minister of Defence. 10 The more one learns of the Tutsi-Hutu war in Rwanda and Burundi the harder it is to avoid the awareness of a program which brought about the mass murder.
Aside from the lucrative crime of Sudan there is a pattern of heavy population loss throughout what may be a larger theatre of operations. The Tutsi invasion of Rwanda seemed carefully planned. Kagame’s army ordered foreigners out of Rwanda. Then it murdered several bishops who stayed with their congregations, and foreigners who couldn’t leave. There were supposed to be no witnesses. Amid the reports of fifth column Tutsis who were hunted down are reports of massacres of all and any civilians. A Belgian with family who couldn’t get out and was rescued, reported that in his area, the massacres of Tutsi were committed by mercenaries serving Kagame’s army11; ”the majority of the massacres were carried out with the arrival of those mercenaries who killed whoever they met without any ethnic discrimination, in a clear operation of whole-territory cleansing.”12 The Rwandan “genocide” may have been a military tactic.
Henry Kissinger, whose hand can be seen in the mayhem of the Vietnam conflict, in East Timor, in Pinochet’s takeover of Chile, in the Iran-Iraq war, was responsible for long-range planning which produced the U.S. “National Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200)” of April 24, 1974. This “identifies population growth in the less developed countries (LDC’s) of the world as a threat to American security”13. To quote again Prof. David Lutz’s essay, “The Ethics of American Military Policy in Africa:” “One of the specific ways in which population growth is seen as a potential threat to American strategic interests is its impact on the availability of minerals.”14
In southern Sudan the war that John Garang provoked and fought killed more people than the Rwandan ‘genocide’ but more slowly. Since 1983, most of the two million confirmed casualties died from starvation. The regional population was displaced. As peace was made in the South under pressure from the international community, a new war began to open in the West of Sudan (February 2003), Darfur.
A U.N. report verifies that rebel groups in Darfur were trained by rebels from the South15. And according to a report from the International Crisis Group (ICG) the rebel group of Southern Sudan, the SPLA, “trained 1,500 Darfurians near Raja, southwest Sudan, in March 2002″16. The article also finds Darfur rebels supplied by (U.S. backed) Southern Sudan rebels with arms through Uganda, Eritrea and Chad.
In adapting the war on civilians to Darfur, small groups of guerillas attacked the Government of Sudan troops, which provoked reprisals against entire towns. Areas outside the Government of Sudan’s control would then became eligible for U.S. funding made available by “The Sudan Peace Act of 2002.”17 Reprisals came at the hands of paid marauders (the Janjaweed) often followed by the Government of Sudan’s army. War crimes were widely reported. The war in Darfur and outrageousness of the reprisals seemed to have little purpose but to elicit “humanitarian” aid and outside intervention. The fighting serves to drive people off the oil lands. People of each “side” have committed war crimes, but for no reason that serves the people. And while surrounded by representatives from European-U.S. human rights organizations. Civilians are always the victims. In Islamic areas mosques were burned, supposedly by forces working for an Islamic government. Sudanese villages were bombed or burned that stood for centuries.
Christian Aid reports that when an oil field is developed, for example the Thar Jath in 1999,18 the [Islamic] government burns the villages of the people and murders the inhabitants. If true, is the government of Sudan attempting a kind of corporate “favour”? Should the Swedish Lundin Oil Company be charged with war crimes ? Is it expedient for the mining and drilling corporations to murder all the local people who might one day claim what is in the earth ? Is that the hard deal of selling concessions to what belongs to the people ? If so it is a genocide but we should be more critical of our own societies when looking for guilt. So there is something new at work. Yet it is entirely familiar.
In Darfur, a current (2006) U.N. report concedes 1.8 million internal refugees and 200,000 refugees over the border in Chad.19
The war in Darfur prolongs an economic mechanism which worked effectively in the South for over twenty years. Between 1989 and 1998 the U.S. supplied over 700 million dollars to Sudan calling the amount “humanitarian assistance.” By a press conference in February 2006, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, said “The United States has spent over a billion dollars on “humanitarian assistance.” The USAID web site lists humanitarian assistance amounting to $509,532,362 spent for the Darfur emergency in 2005 alone.20
Catastrophe is business. As Sanctions were applied by the U.S. against Sudan, initially by designating Sudan a sponsor of terrorism in 1993, with increased economic sanctions in 1997, then diplomatically applied through the U.N. in 1996 21 (the Sudan Peace Act of 2002 is also a mechanism for applying more Sanctions), a war ravaged people was made to rely on imported foods rather than their own produce. But without terrible suffering there would be no humanitarian assistance. So the war continued requiring more assistance. 22 Non-African countries have made themselves necessary to the survival of the Sudanese people who had no need of them.
To quote the U.S.’s 2002 Sudan Peace Act: “The President is authorized to provide assistance to the areas of Sudan that are not controlled by the Government of Sudan to prepare the population for peace and democratic governance…”23
The “Sudan Peace Act of 2002 also provides a mechanism to deny Sudan access to payment from its own oil resources. It was recently discovered that Sudan has more oil than Saudi Arabia and Iran together.24 And the White Nile and Blue Nile conjoin as the water source for nations in a dry region.25 Early warning of water-wars for these headwaters of the Nile was noted by Enver Masud of the Wisdom Fund26 as early as 1996, and by Ms. Muriel Mirak of the Schiller Institute.
As desirable as Sudan was, the U.S. could not invade without provocation, and Sudan seems careful not to provoke the United States. In 1998 President Clinton’s missiles destroyed half of Sudan’s pharmaceutical industry: the El Shifa pharmaceutical factory was a civilian’s business and supplied free medicine to fifteen percent of the Sudanese. There was no legal justification of the U.S. action and no compensation offered. Essentially, Sudan did not respond. The U.S. could not take over Sudan without a pretext.
So there began a tug of war using the United Nations Convention on Genocide. The Sudanese people were suffering. Crimes against women in Sudan were reported in The New York Times and The New Yorker amid the jewelry ads. The U.N. Convention, if broken, would let the U.S. save the Sudanese from the Government of Sudan. One would expect the Sudanese to be careful to avoid even the appearance of genocide. So the Government of Sudan has remained at war with outside provocation. Medecins Sans Frontières, whose doctors serve the sick in Darfur, is very careful to avoid any partisan political statement.
Physicians for Human Rights is a U.S. NGO and part of the Harvard Human Rights Initiative. Doctors in the States risk being thought of as venal: not doctoring the poor as a group could be considered a crime against humanity so the concept of Physicians for Human Rights is welcome. From the Physicians for Human Rights January 2006 report, its assessment of the current situation in Sudan: “By eliminating access to food backup support and water and by expelling people into inhospitable terrain and then in many cases blocking crucial outside assistance the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed have created the conditions to destroy the non-Arab people of Darfur in contravention of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide….”27
As of January 2006 the African Union has nearly 7000 soldiers on the ground trying to keep peace and it is costing 17 million dollars/month28. A lack of funding is controlling the mission and may close it down in March. It is likely to ”fail” because the U.S. wants European mechanisms to intercede, to assure a lucrative transfer of the rights to natural resources to Western corporate interests.29
Current U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, reveals30 that given the U.S. presidency of the U.N. Security Council [and the African Union’s lack of funds] the peace-keeping mission will be transferred to U.N. control and direction, although the Government of Sudan has not acceded yet. When asked by many journalists the same question regarding the U.S. position on its finding of “genocide,” neither Frazer nor Assistant Secretary of State Silverberg addressed the questions. Conclusion: the tactic of calling Government of Sudan war practices a “genocide,” is not tactically necessary if the U.S. can move into Sudan with the U.N..
Facts about Darfur and the entire region which are left out of media reports, may clarify. I start with Idi Amin who became ruler of Uganda, the country next door to Sudan, in 1971. Amin like his customary opposition, Milton Obotu, Uganda’s president at Independence (1962), was raised in Western thought within the world view of a British colonial regiment, which he then joined. As a leader he was noted by Europeans for his fidelity to Africa, and the outrageousness of his human rights violations, slaughtering a hundred thousand African political opponents at a time. Muslim sources considered Idi Amin in league with Israel, a sponsor of his regime for possible use against Sudan.31 Sudan had supported the Arabs in Israel’s “Six Day War,” so after Ugandan Independence, Uganda’s army was at least in part, Israeli trained. Amin visited Israel and he was an early supporter of rebels in South Sudan32 .
Military tactics of colonialists in Africa tend to drift off the edge of the world, as though Judao-Christian minds when freed from the constraining habitat of numbered streets or picket fences, forfeit sure ethical sense. The Judao-Christian mind was collectively scarred by the Holocaust, and the reality of nightmare. Possibly traditions left behind by colonialists are seen as rituals by people who have no intrinsic interest. Is it fair to say that there is little African history or legend portraying the mass murders which occurred after colonialist training ? It becomes a relevant question with the slaughter in Rwanda, the former Belgian colony. Did Africa know mass murder before King Leopold’s genocide of the Belgian Congo ? In the Americas, did one find mass killings before European arrival ? In the Americas I blame the Catholic Inquisition for the fate assigned pagans in mass killing of Native Americans. For the religious massacres of Europe, the fate of the Cathars, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre etc. one might question the religious basis of European conformity.
Sudan and Uganda were British colonies, and more religiously pluralistic than most African countries. However there are British firms, companies, families, that have been dealing with the oil and mining rights of Sudan, for generations. When John Garang’s rebels finally did make an oil deal for their concessions they made it with a small English company called White Nile Ltd. (not White Nile Petroleum). Israel’s interest in the region and continuing presence usually remains covert. British East Africa was considered as a feasible site for the Zionist state, before Palestine was chosen.
In about 1982 Roger Winter of the Committee for Refugees, a U.S. “presence” oriented to the State Department, began visiting Museveni and his aide Paul Kagame in the Ugandan countryside. Both were subsequently funded by the U.S.. Museveni became leader of Uganda in 1986, and with Museveni’s help, Kagame invaded Rwanda where he became President.33 Mr. Winter followed his funding to visit with Paul Kagame on occasion during Kagame’s invasion of Rwanda, as the U.N. forces’ General Dallaire frantically sought international help to stop the inevitable massacres. These victories for U.S. policy were purchased by foreign aid payments to Uganda. Winter was also an early, strong, long-time backer of John Garang’s army34.
The U.S. was able to use Museveni and Uganda as a base for expanding its influence in Sudan. The funding of the Sudan operation was difficult to justify since it could signal an aggression against a sovereign nation, so John Garang’s guerrilla war was apparently funded with “humanitarian” aid.
The aid went to feed a rebel army of the U.S. selected and trained leader, at war with the Muslim Government of Sudan. The mechanism appears to be: the suffering of the people brought humanitarian aid. Which could be used to feed and arm an army. The rebellion dragged on for years because the people’s suffering was so awful no one could stop the humanitarian assistance.
This mechanism secures for the U.S. and those within its sphere, rights to natural resources. Is it possible so many are killed because the inhabitants of each region can claim these rights for themselves? Particularly under true democracies or socialism. In Sudan, the inhabitants are being exterminated. The sequence of this mechanism was driven home in the history of North America with displacement of Native Americans, the genocide, the transfer to other reserves, amid lands now used for mining and oil drilling and the profits of others.
If one wishes to find responsibility for “genocide” then, in Sudan, one might look to the historical record.. What groups have committed genocide before ? Under what historical conditions ? Would they for example, commit genocide for profit ? What some have noted is the propensity of Sudanese in the North, preponderantly Arab and Muslim, to raid for slaves the villages of the south, preponderantly Black and Christian. The U.S. has been able to stand against Slavery in propaganda campaigns against the Government of Sudan. Racial and religious distinctions provided a natural contention to raise when attempting to destabilize a region during early attempts by Israel and then the U.S..
It would be unjust not to remember two points of history which everyone is supposed to forget.
The first is that Sudan’s civil war began before independence (1956) when it became clear that the post WWII British would not divide the country to honour both the Arab North and Black South. Keeping it together gave power to those who could keep peace between the two. Black army officers revolted in 1955, and a civil war costing 1.5 million lives ended in 1972. The Black forces were called the Anya Nya.35
The second point, almost written out of history, is the Kingdom of Lado which exists, yet without formal recognition of its borders and without American approval. The homeland of its tribes approximates much of the area held by U.S.- selected John Garang’s army, and extends over European made borders into neighbouring countries. Many of the tribes have been generally displaced by the use of Southern Sudan for the strategic interests of other nations. Settlement of the historical grievance which has kept the African homeland from its people might include Britain, Sudan north and south, Uganda, Congo-Zaire, Central African Republic, Belgium and France, pledging to guarantee the African kingdom’s integrity as a United Nations protectorate.36
Those with some responsibility for the victory of European-American interests in that area of Africa during John Garang’s funding are: Roger Winter, for years the chief of his own Committee for Refugees, and Susan E. Rice, Assistant Under Secretary of State for African Affairs under Clinton, a protege of then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, of Roger Winter, and work-along with Philip Gourevitch of the New Yorker at that time and John Prendergast and Gayle Smith both of the National Security Council. Ms. Rice was a long time defender of Mr. Garang and U.S. funding. Actual arms delivery to Mr. Garang’s forces has been traced to humanitarian groups : Norwegian People’s Aid 37 (Daniel Eiffe) – stopped in 1998, and the Norwegian Church Emergency Aid38. Michael Harari, of Israel’s Mossad, was allegedly involved39, as well as Alberto Prado Herreros. both men with previous smuggling experience in Nicaragua supplying the Contras40. Human Rights Watch has documented some involvement by Bulgaria.41 Arms shipments to Uganda and Rwandan troops invading the Eastern Congo were allegedly a U.S. State Department operation working under Ms Rice and Ricardo Zuniga42 and there is some evidence of the gold rich Congo territory being used for weapons purchase after transporting the gold to the coast.43
The distribution of millions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid to the South was often accomplished by NGO’s working directly for U.S. agencies. Food as a weapon of war was a tactic not initiated by the Government of Sudan but by the aggressor. Subsequently in Darfur, the Government of Sudan shows reluctance in cooperating with the NGO’s which fueled a devastating war against them using the lands and lives of the innocent.
U.S. operations in Southern Sudan could not have been a secret to anyone working the area. The operation was hidden from the world to promote vast humanitarian expenditures for the war. Starvation was a creation of policy. On Nov. 29, 1999 President Clinton signed a bill directly funding Garang’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army.44
On February 3, 2006, current Secretary of African Affairs Frazer announced brightly to reporters that John Garang’s widow, was in Washington for Bush’s State of the Union speech45.
Considering the meaning of genocide then46, and the laws against it, an objective application of the law endangers the personal freedoms of these mentioned above. Within a context of the American domestic law against genocide several could face the death penalty. A Congressional hearing would reveal where they received their orders.
U.S. information war needs moral ground, to bend hatred of genocide away from outside interference, to the Government of Sudan. But to insist the catastrophes of Sudan are caused by itself is shameful. Sudan seems to have been marked for attempted destruction when it refused to support the Coalition bombing and ruin of Iraq in 1991.
We are experiencing powerful perception management of the war in Darfur. By February 2006 the attempts to take over another third world country seem to be proceeding according to plan. The mechanisms revealed repeat themselves: a powerful country refuses the African Union adequate funding so the mission is ineffective; which requires the UN to place troops from wealthy allies, the countries / corporate hosts which caused the problems. It is a naked policy, if you consider that the cause of the problems is de-stabilization. I’m not sure there is a way to counter a mechanism of making innocent civilians suffer to the extent that intervention is required, other than documentation, and eventual prosecution for the crimes we find unforgivable. Reparations may eventually be available in U.S., European and Israeli courts (currently victims of the CIA’s war in El Salvador are finding some restitution in U.S. courts) holding the individuals to account who caused and carried out the crime, but it is less possible when millions are victim, and simply it may be more appropriate to apply the Convention on Genocide. Reparations are not a viable answer. They are a commiseration in mourning. Vengeance is no answer and partakes in endless war. The Convention on Genocide provides some answer; it clarifies our world by making unacceptable what must be unacceptable, offering some hope that those employing genocide for strategic goals will be recognized and prosecuted.
1. One Hundred Seventh Congress of the United States of America., Sec. 2 Findings: (10); H.R. 5531, Jan. 23, 2003.
2. Khaled Mohammad Ali,”Widening split Hits Darfur Rebel Group,” IslamOnline.net, August 11, 2005.
3. Imam El-Leithy, ”No Genocide, Mass Rapes In Darfur: WHO,” IslamOnline.net, July 29, 2005.
4. Ibid.; also “Sudan’s mass killings not genocide: UN report,” CBC News, Feb. 1, 2005.
5. Susan Rice, “Sudan Must end Its brutal War against Civilians,” International Herald Tribune, Sept. 1, 1999.
6. Misanet / RIN, ”South Sudan constitution signed as SPLA forces enter Juba,” Afrol News, 6 December 2005.
7. Gray Phombeah, “Obituary: John Garang, ” BBC News Website, Aug. 1, 2005.
8. ”France Accused of Genocide Role,” BBC News, March 16, 2004, .
9. Michel Chossudovsky, “Rwanda: Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa: The US was behind the Rwandan Genocide,” Global Research.ca [Access: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=
viewArticle&code=CHO20030508&articleId=373], May 8, 2003 [May 2000 and previous].
10. ”On 10-06-98 James Gasana, Rwandan ex-Defence Minister for the democratic transition who resigned in July 1993 and went into self-exile in Switzerland gave, in his declaration to the French Mission for Information concerning Rwanda, some figures of the victims that we consider to be very reliable, perhaps a little underestimated. He says that in mid-1997, the sum of all the testimonies that had been collected allowed him to declare that the total number of victims in the Rwandan conflict was 3,150,000 people, 40% of the country’s population that, according to the 1991 census executed under UN supervision, totalled 7,150,000 inhabitants.” from “The African Great Lakes : Ten Years of Suffering , Destruction and Death,” by Joan Casolivia and Joan Carrero,” January 2000, Cristianisme i Justicia.
11. Ibid., Casolivia and Carrero.
13. David W. Lutz, “The Ethics of American Military Policy in Africa,” Jscope 2000, Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics. [Feb. 8, 2006, access: http://www.usafa.af.mil/jscope/JSCOPE00/Lutz00.html].
14. Ibid.. Lutz.
15. Irwin Arieff, ”Arms flow to Sudan’s Darfur despite Embargo: UN,” Reuters, Jan. 10, 2006.
16. Brian Smith, “Mounting evidence of US destabilisation of Sudan,” World Socialist Web Site, Nov. 19, 2004.
17. Ibid., H.R. 5531, Sec. 5.(a).
18. ”Link Between Oil and Abuses in Sudan Documented,” Christian Aid, afrol.com, March 15, 2002.
19. ”Sudan: Civilian Deaths Almost Double in Darfur, Annan Says,” UN IRIN, Jan 2, 2006.
20. Feb.7, 2006, access: http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/sudan/darfur.html.
21. Susan Rice, “Crises in Sudan and Northern Uganda,” Statement before the Subcommittees on Africa and on International Operations and Human Rights of the House International Relations Committee, 7/29/98.
22. This is not an original point.
23. H.R. 5531; Sec. 5.(a) “Assistance to Sudan.”
24. Brian Smith, “Mounting Evidence of U.S. De-stabilization of Sudan,” World Socialist Web Site, Nov. 19, 2004.
25. Ibid., Smith.
26. ”Sacrificing Africans, Muslims to Bring Water to Israel,” Enver Masud, March 22, 1996, The Wisdom Fund.
27. ”Is Darfur’s assault on survival a call for Security, Justice and restitution ?” Physicians for Human Rights Boston/Washington, January 11th 2006.
28. ”Sudan: African Union extends peacekeeping mandate,” IRINNews.org, Jan. 13, 2006.
29. UPI, “U.N. plans to deploy Sudan peacekeeping force,” World Peace Herald, Jan. 13, 2006.
30. Press briefing: “Briefing on U.S. efforts in Darfur and U.S. efforts to lead the UN Security Council and work with the African Union and other nations on a transition of the African Union mission in Sudan to a UN mission,” United States Department of State. ReliefWeb, Feb. 3, 2006.
32. Richard Dowden, “Revealed : How Israel Helped Amin to Take Power,” The Independent, UK, Aug. 17, 2003.
33. Ibid., EIR.
34. Ibid., EIR.
35. Elliott A. Green, “The Forgotten Fifty-Year Slaughter in Sudan,” Think Israel, May-June 2005.
36. ”News Service for the Kingdom of Lado” [Feb. 10, 2006, access: http://www.npi-news.dk].
37. See: “Perpetuating Conflict and Sustaining Repression: Norwegian People’s Aid and the Militarisation of Aid in Sudan,” The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, December 1999 [access:http://www.espac.org/pdf/Perpetuating%20Conflict%20and%20Sustaining.pdf.]; March 2000 [access:
39. Ibid., EIR
40. Ibid., EIR.
41. Ie. this involves tanks to the SPLA supplied through Uganda. “Bulgaria: money talks, arms dealing with human rights abusers,” Human Rights Watch, April 1999 .
42. Ibid., EIR.
43. Press briefing, U. S. Department of State, Feb. 3, 2006.
44. Ibid., Lutz.
45. Press briefing, U.S. Department of State, Feb. 3, 2006.
46. See: United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. To note North American reservations and declarations access: http://www.nightslantern.ca/01.htm#convention.