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17. The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan

Inter Press Service, March 9, 2009
Title: “Aren’t There War Crimes in The US? Legitimacy of Global Court Questioned Over Sudan”
Author: Thalif Deen, Black Star News, and San Francisco Bay View, March 6, 2009
Title: “Africom’s Covert War in Sudan”
Author: Keith Harmon Snow, April 1, 2009
Title: “The Darfur crisis: blood, hunger and oil”
Author: Mohamed Hassan interview with Grégoire Lalieu and Michel Collon

Student Researcher: Curtis Harrison
Faculty Evaluator: Keith Gouveia J.D.
Sonoma State University

The United States promoted the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictment of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur, in order to justify continuing Western exploitation and military interventions in the resource-rich region.

“America is an opportunist country,” explains Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad. “They want to use the ICC without being a party to it.” In effect, he said, US soldiers can have immunity, but not the president of Sudan.

At a UN press conference, the ambassador also challenged reporters to show him any photographs or film footage from Darfur that would equal the destruction of human lives and homes in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan. “Did anybody ask who is accountable for this damage and destruction?”

Asked why Sudan was being singled out, the Sudanese envoy said Western nations are eyeing Sudan’s newly discovered oil riches.
Western nations have been marginalized in the region, in terms of both oil exploration and arms supplies, by China, which has in recent years become one of Sudan’s closest political, economic and military allies. Mohamad explains that the US, UK and France, “harbor a desire to revive their colonial dreams in Sudan.”

Keith Harmon Snow warns, “It is difficult to make sense of the war in Darfur —especially when people see it as a one-sided “genocide” of Arabs against blacks that is being committed by the Bashir ‘regime’—but such is the establishment propaganda. The real story is much more expansive, more complex, and it revolves around . . . deeper geopolitical realities.”

Michele Colon explains that when the British Empire invaded and colonized Egypt in 1898, Sudan, by extension, became an Anglo-Egyptian colony. As in other African colonies, Great Britain applied the “divide-and-rule” policy. Sudan was divided into two parts. In the north they kept Arabic as the official language and Islam as religion. In the south, the English language was imposed and missionaries converted people to Christianity.  There was no trade between the two areas. The British imported Greek and Armenian minorities to create a buffer zone. Great Britain also imposed a modern economic system that we could call capitalism. They built one train line to connect Egypt and Sudan and another to connect Khartoum to Port Sudan. These looting lines were used to siphon resources from Sudan into Great Britain and to be sold on the international market. Khartoum became an economically dynamic center of colonial activity.

This imposed division of Sudan and the choice of Khartoum as its economic center led to a series of civil wars.

When Sudan gained independence in 1956, there were still no relations between the two parts of the country. The first civil war was sparked by Southern Sudan’s demand for an equitable share of the control and wealth of the country, which was still concentrated in Khartoum. When in 1978 Chevron discovered important oil fields in Southern Sudan, a second civil war broke out as Northern Sudan sought control of those revenues.

Relationships soured between US and Sudan as Chevron’s motives in the region conflicted with those of the new Khartoum-based president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir.
In this setting, Colon notes, with Sudanese oil slipping away from American interests, China came in, offering to buy raw minerals and oil from Sudan at international market prices. Whereas Africa used to be the private hunting grounds of the West, China now competes for domination of the rich African continent.

The Western agenda in Darfur, Sudan is to win back control of natural resources by weakening the Arab government and establishing a more “friendly” government that will accommodate the corporate interests of the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Israel.

The ICC was used in the strategy to turn world opinion against al-Bashir and the government of Sudan, and to further divide and destabilize the region. The legitimacy of the court is being questioned as it shows itself to be a tool of Western hegemony.

Following on the heels of the announcement that the ICC handed down seven war crimes charges against al-Bashir, a story broadcast into every American living room by day’s end, President al-Bashir ordered the expulsion of ten international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that were operating in Darfur under the veneer of humanitarian aid.

Snow points out that this expulsion was used to further ramp up Western public demand for military intervention. “Mainstream broadcasters expressed moral outrage and complained that ‘hundreds of thousands of innocent refugees will now be subjected to massive unassisted suffering’—as opposed to the assisted suffering they previously faced,” Snow continues, “but they never ask with any serious and honest zeal, why and how the displaced persons and refugees came to be displaced to begin with. Neither do they ask about all the money, intelligence sharing, deal making, and collaboration [between many “humanitarian” NGOs and] private or governmental military agencies.”

What is not reported in English-speaking press is that the US had just stepped up its ongoing war for control of Sudan. There are US Special Forces on the ground throughout the region, and the big questions are, 1) How many of the killings are being committed by US proxy forces and blamed on al-Bashir and the government of Sudan? And 2) Who funds, arms and trains the rebel insurgents?
Colon concludes that while the Western strategy is to magnify regional conflicts in order to mobilize international opinion and destabilize the Sudanese regime, “the truth is that if Khartoum were to stop dealing with China, the US would not mention Darfur again.”

Update by Keith Harmon Snow

How do you whitewash a whitewash? Having manufactured the massive body of propaganda needed to persuade the English and Hebrew speaking world that an unadulterated genocide is occurring in Darfur, Sudan, committed by the heavily armed Arab Government of Sudan—and its ‘Janjaweed’ militias—against an unarmed civilian population of black Africans; having inflated death tolls and exaggerated the levels of violence (even as violence and death tolls are diminishing or nonexistent); having masked all military involvement of Western countries behind the moral imperatives of altruistic western charity and aid (our self-less Judeo-Christian dedication to humanitarian action); having duped millions of people into following your charade by throwing money at them, hidden behind glossy brochures, congressional lobbies and vested-interest advertorials; having organized good-intentioned people into a ‘grassroots’ collective falsely equated with the Apartheid movement; and having been discovered to be a massive body of deceptions, mischaracterizations, selective facts and outright lies, where do we go from here?

The brief exposé “AFRICOM’S Covert War in Sudan” merely scratched the surface of the massive body of ‘Save Darfur’ propaganda, one of the false narratives created by the Empire to obliterate its culpability in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It has been completely ignored by the establishment press, and receives equally indifferent, or even hostile, treatment from the left liberal ‘progressive’ press.
Indeed, there is no doubt that genocide has occurred in Sudan, be it Darfur or Kordofan or the mountains of Juba. But genocide is concomitant with the imperial enterprise all over Africa, and all over the world, and that is the political economy of genocide.

For some excellent news coverage and exposés of the establishment’s false narratives on Sudan, or other places, see the work of Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon in Black Agenda Report (e.g. Dixon: “Darfur “Genocide” Lies Unraveling—Only 1,500 Darfuris Died in 2008, Says African Union,” June 24, 2009); also look to editor Milton Alimadi at Black Star News (see, e.g. Amii Omara-Otunu, “Western Humanitarianism or Neo-Slavery,” November 7, 2007; or Alimadi, “U.S. Illegally Trained Uganda on Torture,” April 19, 2009; or keith harmon snow, “The U.S. and Genocide of Acholi,” July 5, 2007).
The true grassroots movements to help Sudan, Uganda and Congo can be supported through the non-government organizations Friends of the Congo (.org), Campaign to End Genocide in Uganda Now (, and UNIGHT For the Children of Uganda (

One of the final war crimes of George W. Bush was his order to the Pentagon to immediately airlift military equipment to Rwanda, destined for Darfur, to the genocidal government of Paul Kagame, one of the protagonists destabilizing Congo and Sudan. Also backing the Rwandan Defense Forces and Ugandan People’s Defense Forces covert operations in Sudan, the Obama Administration has escalated military involvement in all frontline states: Chad, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, all the foreign-backed rebel groups in Darfur recruit and deploy child soldiers, with some 6,000 armed children in Darfur and 8,000 in Sudan.

Weapons shipped by Israelis, including radioactive shells, were not the first to be sent illegally through Kenya—most weapons shipments cross the Kenya-Uganda border at night—but the government of Kenya arrested one official who spoke freely about their true destination (Africa Research Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 1). Washington was quick to point out that “it may not be illegal for Kenya to provide weapons to Sudan”—in violation of the international arms embargo—and the Pentagon continues to fortify South Sudan in advance of its scheduled ‘independence’ (2012), while South Sudan’s de facto ‘president,’ General Salva Kiir Mayardit, has an open-door in Washington (Africa Research Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 1). The bulk of South Sudan’s 2008 budget ($US 2.5 billion), involving huge USAID and other ‘aid’ donors, was spent on weapons. And the International Crises Group, and its clones—ENOUGH! and Resolve Uganda and Raise Hope for Congo—are all talking about peace, but peddling war (see Milton Alimadi, “Resolve, Enough! So Called Peace Organizations Promote War in Uganda,” Black Star News, June 17, 2009,

Keith Harmon Snow is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work outside of academia contesting official narratives on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, while also working as a genocide investigator for the United Nations and other bodies. He is also a past and present (2009) Project Censored award winner. His work can be found through his website,

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