Creating South Sudan: George Clooney, John Prendergast, And George Bush
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AfrobeatRadio Host Wuyi Jacobs: South Sudan celebrated its independence from the Northern government of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on July 9th. The New York Times congratulated movie actor George Clooney, an ardent campaigner for Southern Sudanese independence, on his victory, though many African people thought that the Sudanese people might have more rightly been at the center of the South’s Independence Day story. Others emphasized the U.S. and allies’ interest in managing Sudan’s vast oil reserves. AfrobeatRadio’s Ann Garrison has more.
AfrobeatRadio/Ann Garrison: Movie actor George Clooney received more international congratulation than South Sudan’s new President Salvaa Kirr, as did his fellow campaigner John Prendergast, former Director of African Affairs on Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and staffer at the National Intelligence Council. Prendergast appeared on the Colbert Report to show off the new Southern Sudanese map that Colbert gave him credit for, but said that the Southern Sudanese really have the humanitarian intervention of former President George Bush to thank for their independence:Stephen Colbert: Who really should get credit for ending that fight and, and making the opportunity for this country to come into existence? John Prendergast: The South Sudanese fought and then they pushed for a peace deal that would give them the chance to vote. But there’s no question that America, as the country that has the most influence in Sudan, played a major role in ensuring that that peace deal actually came to fruition and gave the Southerners a chance to vote for independence. Stephen Colbert: And who was the president in office when that peace was achieved? John Prendergast: That would be President Bush. Stephen Colbert: Give it right up here, Baby! Give it right up here! (Hand slap.) All right, let’s mark that down in the history books. And, babies in South Sudan? Name them George. Thank you so much. John Prendergast: Thank you for having me. Stephen Colbert: JOHN PRENDERGAST!!!
AfrobeatRadio: Mahmood Mamdani, a scholar and professor at Uganda’s Makerere University, is less sanguine about South Sudan’s status as a U.S. protectorate. In his Pambazuka News essay “South Sudan: Rethinking Citizenship, Sovereignty And Self-Determination,” Mamdani wrote that independence had never been a goal of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army led by martyred leader John Gareng, and that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to South Sudan’s January independence referendum only because, post 9/11, he feared becoming the next target of US aggression, after Afghanistan and Iraq. As a consequence, Al-Bashir’s northern, Khartoum government now faces Southern control of 75% of the former Sudan’s oil, after the collapse of oil revenue sharing talks.
And, many NGO lobbies and editorial writers have made it clear that they won’t be satisfied until President Al-Bashir is tried at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where he is the first sitting head of state to be indicted.
Veteran Africa investigator Keith Harmon Snow, who has written extensively about Sudan and one of its most oil rich and war torn states, Darfur, says that the people who should be tried at the Hague are the western war criminals who have backed 20 years of covert guerrilla warfare, war crimes and genocide.
Keith Harmon Snow: The U.S., Britain and Israel prosecuted this covert war through their key military proxies, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, which had nothing to do with “liberation,” and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, which had nothing to do with the people. As in Rwanda, English-language propaganda about South Sudan centered on false accusations of genocide, and on the massive disinformation campaign about “slavery” which was peddled by the Judeo-Christian organizations that were shipping weapons and Bibles into Sudan under the so-called “humanitarian” enterprise OPERATION LIFELINE SUDAN. US State Department disinformation falsely accused Bashir of atrocities actually committed by the US-Israeli guerrilla proxies like the Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and its Darfur wing, the Sudan Liberation Army, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s Ugandan People‘s Defense Forces.
The covert US wars in Rwanda, Congo, South Sudan and Darfur — and the propaganda fronts that covered them up — have been coordinated by the same people under every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan: national security agents like Roger Winter, Susan Rice, Prudence Bushnell, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, and John Prendergast. The disinformation traveled from USAID official Roger Winter to Dr. Eric Reeves, a hysterical liberal English professor who spearheaded the disinformation campaign about Sudan out of his offices at Smith College. And then we had the front groups like ENOUGH and STAND – Students Taking Action Now on Darfur — and Hollywood actorvists — George Clooney, Mia Farrow, Don Cheadle, Angelina Jolie — all greasing the skids of genocide for their own private profits and “humanitarian” images, for the Israeli arms industry, for Coca Cola and Unilever, for big oil, and for Wall Street investment bankers like Philippe Heilberg.
AfrobeatRadio: Snow says that the corporate executives now laying claim to South Sudan’s resources include former Pentagon and State Department officials:
Keith Harmon Snow: Now this is where it gets really interesting. Heilberg’s JARCH Capital acquired 400,000 hectares in South Sudan — landholdings the size of Vermont — from Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army warlord Gabriel Matip. Other JARCH Capital executives include a former Clinton era Pentagon agent, Gwyneth Todd, and Joseph Wilson, the Bush II Ambassador whose wife Valerie Plame was exposed as a CIA agent after Wilson exposed Bush for lying about uranium yellowcake from Niger being sold to Saddam Hussein. Notably, in 1997 — just before Clinton bombed the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan — Joseph Wilson ran the National Security Council’s East Africa Desk. Working under him at the time, of course, was NSC agent John Prendergast — America’s humanitarian poster boy for Sudan and George Clooney’s sidekick.
AfrobeatRadio: South Sudan has fertile farmland, timber, copper, uranium, and other mineral reserves, and much of the world’s gum arabic, which is essential to making soda pop and ice cream, but its most contested resource is oil. Prior to the independence of North and South, Sudan was the third largest oil producer in Africa, but seventy-five percent of its known oil reserves were in what became, on July 9th, South Sudan. Pipelines controlled by the Sudanese government in Khartoum transport the oil in the South to refining infrastructure in the north, and to Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, for export.
President Omar Al-Bashir threatened to shut down the pipelines before talks on oil sharing broke down, and the South responded that it might bypass Khartoum and connect its oil to a new East Africa pipeline running through Uganda and Kenya to the Indian Ocean. If built, this pipeline would unify what Ugandan American Milton Allimadi, editor of the New York City-based Black Star News, describes as a vast oil field in Southern Sudan and Northwestern Uganda, all of which is now secured by the U.S. military and its African partners.
Milton Allimadi: Southern Sudan borders Northern Uganda, and going from that region into Western Uganda, that’s a vast oil field. If you look at it as a continuous region, starting from Western Uganda sweeping into Northern Uganda into Southern Sudan . . . very rich oil fields . . . which, considering the U.S. presence in the region right now, is much more secure than some of the oil fields in the Middle East.
AfrobeatRadio: Within days of its independence, the Government of South Sudan announced the formation of its joint venture with Glencore International, a public limited corporation traded on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, and registered in Jersey, a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel. Glencore was founded by international commodities trader Mark Rich, who was indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and making illegal oil deals with Iran during the late 1970s-early 1980s Iran hostage crisis. Rich was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and has never returned to the U.S., although President Bill Clinton pardoned him on January 20, 2001, Clinton’s last day in office.
Many NGOs and the Public Eye, an international, Swiss-based corporate watchdog, accuse Glencore of human rights abuse, catastrophic environmental damage, disregard for worker safety, and, anti-union aggression in the Global South, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Glencore owns a 77% share of Katanga Mining, which is now valued at over six times Glencore’s 2008 investment. In May, the Government of Zambia accused Glencore of evading taxes by inflating operating costs, underreporting copper and cobalt mined, and manipulating prices.
In 2007, Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized a Glencore tin smelter in Bolivia, and earlier this year, Morales began talks with mining unions about nationalizing Glencore’s Bolivian mines.
Investigative journalist Keith Harmon Snow says that American taxpayers should understand South Sudan’s joint venture with Glencore as the conclusion of years of U.S. covert operations financed by U.S. taxpayers:
Keith Harmon Snow: The American public has been hoodwinked into believing that the situation in Sudan is independent, and that there’s now an autonomous, independent country. What’s been pulled over the American public’s eyes is all of the corporate interests, all of the killing that’s been done by the American military interests on the ground, the private military companies connected to the United States, and by our proxy forces. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan Liberation Army are funded by the United States, all covertly, and this is what the American taxpayers are paying for.
AfrobeatRadio: Snow says that it is, nevertheless, no surprise that the people of South Sudan voted for independence in the January referendum.
Keith Harmon Snow: The people of South Sudan are going to vote in favor of independence, given the opportunity to do so. We’re talking about a whole bunch of factors that come into play here, including a lack of education, a lack of agency, starvation. What the people of the South have seen for the last 20 years is a war, and people prosecuting this war include the North, but also include the South, the Sudan People’s LIberation Army, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces and the people that back them, which would be the U.S. government, the Pentagon, Britain, and Israel in particular. So after suffering for 20 years of warfare, given the opportunity to vote, it makes perfect sense that the people would vote for an independent South Sudan.
There’s no reason at all why they wouldn’t. And one has to support an independent South Sudan, if that’s what the people of South Sudan are voting for. However, what’s really important to understand is that the people of South Sudan have also been the victims of the warfare that was perpetrated on them by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which is not a people’s army. It has been a ruthless military occupation of the South, which has perpetrated all kinds of war crimes–using villages, the southern people’s villages as human shields, and then claiming of course that they’ve been bombed by the government of Sudan, which is the standard narrative. So it’s much more complicated than just saying that 90% of the people went out and voted for an independent South Sudan, which again, is the only thing that makes any sense, given the opportunity to do so.
AfrobeatRadio: Keith Harmon Snow’s 2009 investigative report, “AFRICOM’s Covert War in Sudan,” was one of Project Censored’s Top 25 Censored Stories for that year. It can be read on the website of the San Francisco Bay View, Dissident Voice, or the Black Star News.
For Pacifica, AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.
Broadcast on Pacifica WBAI-N.Y.C.’s AfrobeatRadio, 08.02.2011.
San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own blog, Ann Garrison, and produces forAfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend Newson KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.