Raging in Sudan for the past 18 years is a "civil war" - by implication Africans killing Africans -- which has devastated millions of human lives. Human rights advocates have also documented horrific political repression by the National Islamic Front (NIF) government of Khartoum. Using food as a weapon, disrupting planting cycles and social services, and pillaging food stores, the war has brought unmerciful suffering on millions of people. Some 1.7 million Sudanese have died, often noncombatants, often women and children.
In the Smith College lecture reported by the Voice (Dec. 2000), Professor Eric Reeves decried the NIF as "the only party that wants the conflict to continue." Voice correspondent Dimitri Oram says his article entirely ignores the opposition Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) because the SPLA was hardly discussed by Reeves. It is "a very one-sided war," Reeves says. "For example: the government has an air force, while the opposition forces lack even a single plane."
Reeves has published about 40 Op-Eds, he says, in major U.S. and U.K. newspapers, and he is "interviewed on a very regular basis by all major news media in the U.S." He also produces a daily analysis on the Sudan situation, and he persists in lobbying congressional legislators to forge a peace in Sudan. He has never traveled to Sudan, and he admits that he is far less informed about the geopolitical dynamics of Sudan's southern neighbors like Congo and Rwanda.
Respecting Professor Reeves' righteous indignation about, and his attacks against multinational oil conglomerates indifferent to the slaughter that they perpetuate, Reeves should be commended for speaking up at all on Sudan. His efforts toward capital markets sanctions against the oil companies unquestionably deserve our complete support. Nonetheless, his picture is significantly misrepresentative, and it is selective, and it is precisely Reeves' incomplete picture or his naivete -- or his intentional obfuscation of truth -- that dictates his privilaged access to the U.S. media.
Any failure to articulate the roles of the U.S. government, the U.S. military, the United Nations, the U.S. media, "humanitarian" aid organizations, or powerful extra-governmental forces - e.g. multinational corporations and their directorships and clandestine security and intelligence operatives - serves, inadvertently, at the very least, to support these western terrorist enterprises and their brutal agendas. Sound harsh? For the victims, it is.
War does not occur in a vacuum. Sudan's National Islamic Front government, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, their allies and enemies, are entangled in the international geopolitical struggle for control in Central Africa. The war in Sudan also hinges on dynamic Arab-Israeli interests. Neither is war in Sudan divorced from the Ethiopia-Eritrean conflict, from war in Angola or Sierra Leone.
This article examines the greater context of war in Sudan, that hidden, destroyed and manipulated by the U.S. media. Here is the tip of the iceberg on foreign intrigue, exploitation and espionage in Africa. It is based on research about Africa over the past five years, and ten months of investigations in Africa. The most recent visit ended in late December 2000. Because Rwanda and Uganda comprise the power center for U.S. control of central Africa, the Sudan conflict is explored here through a Uganda prism. Sources in Africa will not be named: their lives are at risk as it is.
Please consider that We, the U.S. public, nurtured by this insidious and perpetual propaganda machine, are overwhelmingly misinformed, apathetic and racist about Africa. Behind this shield of ignorance and indifference the U.S. government prosecutes open war with impunity against virtually all peoples and lands non-white. Africa is the extreme. Islam is the extreme. Sudan is the extreme.
It is irresponsible to ignore, dismiss or deny the role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or US Special Operations Forces (SOF) in a country as ideologically hostile and strategically lucrative as Sudan. To put this in context of the scope and capabilities of these forces, SOF conducted over 2216 deployments involving more than 14,000 personnel in 139 countries in 1994 alone. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) overseas Navy Seals, Army Rangers and Delta Force, elite units deployed for psychological operations, counter-insurgency and tactical special exercises. Like the CIA, the SOF are unquestionably hostile threats to Khartoum.
THE ROAD TO HELL
(Is Paved With US Landmines...)
Ties to U.S. intelligence predate the current Islamic regime. From 1964 to 1984 Sudan was run by the corrupt U.S. client dictatorship of Col. Jaafar Nimeiri. Within three days of the March 4, 1984 visit by former CIA Director and then Vice-President George Bush -- which came under the U.S. propaganda banner of food AID for starving millions -- Nimieri instituted a purge against Islamic society, including mass arrests, executions and torture. Draconian IMF and World Bank "reforms" led to starvation, unemployment, mass riots and state repression. As Nimieri stood arm-in-arm with Ronald Reagan for a New York Times piece in April, the U.S. quickly sent $64 million of a $181 million aid package to Khartoum to crush the insurrection which soon toppled "old friend" Nimieri. The State Security Apparatus then employed 25,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time agents and informers.
A 1989 coup brought the National Islamic Front (NIF) to power. In the 1990's the Pentagon and CIA increasingly targeted Sudan as a hotbed of terrorism [read: Islam]. CIA Director John Deutch in 1996 visited Ethiopia to delineate preemptive strikes on Sudanese "terrorists" and their sponsors. Bill Clinton dispatched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed a pharmaceuticals factory in Khartoum that was duplicitously marked as a chemical weapons production site by CIA operatives. The true motivation for this bombing remains cloaked in the secrecy of the "National Security" apparatus, a euphemism for the private accumulation of wealth and power at the expense of the public trust.
The Sudan People's Liberation Army SPLA leader John Garang is a Christian of the minority Dinka tribe with a degree from Grinell College (Iowa) and advanced degrees from Iowa State, and with military training from the U.S. Army's Fort Benning in Georgia. Originally based in Ethiopia, the SPLA shifted to South Sudan and Uganda after rebel leader Yoweiri Museveni seized power by force in Uganda in 1987. Several factions often at war with one another, the SPLA has for years received covert military support from the U.S. and its clients.
In 1996, the U.S. sent nearly $20 million in military hardware through the front line states of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. Since then the US has escalated its covert support but U.S. military assistance is also routed through Egypt and Israel, who have trained rebels and shipped weapons via Eritrea, Uganda and Ethiopia. In 1998, U.S. military assistance to Egypt was $500 million, and to Israel $1000 million. Uganda has contracted Israel to refurbish four Russian Mig fighter aircraft recently acquired.
Yoweri Museveni's presidency in Uganda came at the expense of hundreds of thousands of refugees. A former Dar Es Salaam University (Tanzania) classmate of John Garang -- and of Congolese figurehead Laurent Kabila (assassinated!) -- Museveni soon became the primary conduit for US military support to the SPLA in Uganda.
Egregious atrocities committed by the Uganda People's Defence Forces against President Museveni's opposition escalated in the late 1980s and 1990s and were mostly ignored by human rights organizations. Ugandan opposition and human rights activists claim that intimidation, torture and massacres perpetrated over the 14 years of Museveni's control far overshadow the brutality under Idi Amin, the Ugandan leader demonized by the West for balking at neocolonial policy forced on Uganda by the West, or the atrocities committed under his sucessors during the "civil war" of the 1980's.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is one of several military threats that sprung out of people's disaffection to Museveni, his Anglo-American patrons, their private agenda aimed at looting Uganda, and their silent war against the people. These rebel factions are routinely demonized by the US media for strategic - albeit horrible - tactics learned from Museveni and his rebel army and pursued by the UPDF. The western press with a virtual media blackout favors Museveni's Uganda with very selective, expedient coverage.
The new Museveni government after 1987 quickly forged cooperative military agreements with John Garang and the SPLA to help defend Uganda from growing insurgencies. The "insurgency" of the LRA for example, provided the U.S., the SPLA and Museveni with a public relations pretext used to gain continued weapons acquisitions and logistical support. In fact, the U.S. and Uganda were covertly arming the SPLA in Sudan.
Having eliminated most of the actual LRA rebels, but to support the pretext for arms shipments to Uganda, UPDF forces disguised themselves as LRA insurgents, attacked villages and raped, tortured and murdered innocent civilians, and then returned to SPLA camps in Uganda and Sudan. (Such UPDF tactics persist.) When the few legitimate LRA rebels emerged from the bush (1996) for "good faith" peace talks with the Museveni government, their position was undermined: Museveni tasked Col. Fred Torit (now a Minister in parliament) with frustrating the peace accords. Forced back to the bush, the LRA sided with Sudan's National Islamic Front. Armed and supplied by Khartoum the LRA pursued a massive forced recruitment campaign. Suddenly the LRA was a serious force for both SPLA and Museveni to contend with, and an effective obstacle to the covert U.S./SPLA project in south Sudan.
The SPLA has perpetrated its share of atrocities in Sudan and it is unreasonable to ignore their responsibility in perpetuating war. March of 1997 saw a series of coordinated assaults on southern Sudanese towns where the SPLA captured wounded or killed 16,000 enemy soldiers. SPLA forces have looted relief supplies and medical facilities, slaughtered civilians, torched villages. They have raped, pillaged, and abducted and forcibly recruited child soldiers.
ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS
The U.S. has consistently denied that it provides military aid for the SPLA or other north/south factions of the pro- "democratic" and pro- "Christian" Sudanese Allied Forces (SAF). Opposition members in Uganda cite meetings between SPLA, Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF), and U.S. military personnel. Weapons have been and continue to be flown in through Entebbe (Uganda) and the neighboring airfield recently refurbished by U.S. military contractors; from Tanzania weapons are shipped across Lake Victoria.
U.S. Special Ops have trained guerillas in and out of Uganda for operations in Congo, Rwanda, and Sudan, and for Uganda's own insurgencies. Ongoing programs include the Joint/Combined Exchange Training (J/CET): From 1995-97 the J/CET program ran operations in 34 of 53 African countries. The International Military Education and Training (IMET), and Expanded-IMET (E-IMET) fund, arm, and train foreign soldiers in the U.S. The Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) missions are run by the U.S. Army Special Forces Command. The Africa Center for Security Studies (ACSS) programs are reportedly run by retired U.S. military experts involved in School of the Americas atrocities using death squads and torture as policy.
Trained by U.S. Green Berets, Uganda's 3rd Battalion was immediately deployed to crush an insurgency in western Uganda. SPLA guerillas have also been trained by Special Ops. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has foreign agents operating in Africa who travel under U.S. passports to consult and direct clandestine operations. South Africa - a staunch American ally - has shipped military hardware to both sides in the Sudanese conflict.
Private military companies (PMCs) like Military Professional Resources Inc. (MPRI), run by some 16 former U.S. generals out of Washington D.C., Sandline International (U.K.), and Executive Outcomes (S.A.) operate with impunity across Africa, typically securing sites and guarding private foreign enterprises. These elite mercenary armies have certainly been contracted to defend oil operations in Sudan. They deploy superior firepower and overwhelming lethal force.
(See Covert Action Quarterly, Diamonds Are Forever: The Role of the US Military (Africa) Spring/Summer 2000; see for US Firms, War Becomes a Business, Boston Globe, 2/18/97; see An Army of One's Own, Harpers, 2/97.)
The World Bank/IMF have given Uganda at least $1.8 billion, funds routinely routed to Uganda's war efforts and weapons stockpiles. Receiving some $1.5 million in +transparent+ weapons assistance from Washington in 1998 and 1999, Uganda has also purchased military equipment with minerals pirated out of Congo. No coincidence, and in affiliation with PMCs and their intelligence networks, Barrick Gold Corporation is mining the Kilomoto gold deposits just over Uganda's western border in Congo. Former CIA Director and U.S. President George Bush, U.S. Senator Howard Baker, and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney are just three of Barrick's big guns (Annual Report, Barrick Gold Corporation). War on Uganda's northeast SPLA frontier revolves around gold concessions controlled by a Branch Energy (UK) partnership with Museveni's gang. Such elite enterprises prosper because of their secret intelligence and security links; all have numerous agents at the highest levels of governments, all are pirating mineral wealth out of the Congo-Uganda-Sudan theater of war.
ALLAH'S WILL BE DONE
Khartoum's bombing of civilian population centers may be deliberate and horrible, but SPLA guerillas have intentionally set up bases in existing villages to use the civilian population as human shields. Further, the one-sidedness of Khartoum's air capacity is partially offset by the voluminous "humanitarian" relief sorties ferried in and out of Sudan by land and air.
Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) is a multi-billion dollar international enterprise coordinating 35 major U.N. and foreign government (UNICEF, WFP, WHO, FAO, UNHCR, USAID), non-government (OXFAM, CARE, ICRC, World Vision) and religious relief and donor organizations working in Sudan. Journalist Wayne Madsen reports that "while they are not actually CIA fronts, some of these Christian and other ["humanitarian"] relief organizations have been involved in shipping weapons to the SPLA with food and medicine relief flights."
Southern Air Transport - a known CIA front - shipped landmines and other weapons on Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) flights: NPA was a Nobel Prize co-recipient for their campaign to ban landmines (1998). USAID is considered a cipher for covert weapons shipments: "Skyways" out of Nairobi and "Legion Express" out of Miami are two of the air transport companies believed to be CIA fronts retained by USAID for OLS sorties (Wayne Madsen: Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999).
Some 2.0 million people are said to have died in Sudan since 1983. In Congo, some 3.0 million people have died over the past three years. Given the interests of western aid, intelligence, security and defense industries, of multinational petroleum and mining conglomerates, of agribusiness, and of their public relations, propaganda, diplomatic, and legal corps, war-by-design seems not only plausible, but probable. In fact, it appears that one the Reagan-Bush-Clinton administrations' major foreign policy objectives on Africa is depopulation. This policy is proliferating under George Bush Jr.
"Civilian destruction and dispersal [by the Sudan government] are the means of ensuring that the opposition military forces in the south are denied food, or the aid of a cohesive society," wrote Professor Eric Reeves in the Washington Post. "It is a crude but terribly effective weapon of mass destruction. To make sure of the genocidal efficiency of the bombing campaign, the Khartoum regime... is attacking with much greater frequency the medical and food relief programs of those trying heroically to save people of the south from disease and starvation."
This certainly is a nasty and crude and horrible way to wage war. It is also the favored way of the United States. War is war. Virtually every sector of American society profits by the perpetuation of war and its concomitant horrors in Africa. Barring some significant US gesture of reconciliation, do we honestly expect the Khartoum government to sit "in good faith" at the same table and talk -- with the duplicitous agents of western multinational corporations, intelligence and the military - about PEACE?
Keith is an INDEPENDENT freelance journalist and investigator entirely dependent on individual donations and voluntary contributions. He has lived under the poverty line for over a decade, and he has continues to work as a volunteer for three non-profit humanitarian organizations.
Reprinted with permission from the author from: