Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 02, 2008

Save Darfur Coalition Propaganda

The Save Darfur Coalition, founded by the American Jewish World Service and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, is a propaganda group that argues for "western" intervention in local strife over water in the north western Sudan desert.

It generates its income through donations and spends the money to generate more donations. Not one cent is actually spend on the ground in Darfur:

[W]hen I went to Sudan in Khartoum, I had interviews with the UN humanitarian officer, the political officer, etc., and I asked them, I said, “What assistance does the Save Darfur Coalition give?” He said, “Nothing.” I said, “Nothing?” He said, “No.”

Indeed there are good reasons to assume that “Save Darfur” is a PR Scam to Justify the Next US Oil and Resource Wars in Africa and to ask: Are They A Hoax Or A Ticking Timebomb?.

NGOs working in Darfur have criticized the Save Darfur Coalition's campaigns:

Sam Worthington, the president and chief executive of InterAction, a coalition of aid groups, complained to Mr. Rubenstein by e-mail that Save Darfur’s advertising was confusing the public and damaging the relief effort.

“I am deeply concerned by the inability of Save Darfur to be informed by the realities on the ground and to understand the consequences of your proposed actions,” Mr. Worthington wrote.

Still the editors of the LA Times' editorial board sit down with that group to "discuss the situation on the ground in Sudan" and publish the talk of the propagandists without challenging any of its claims.

One of the Save Darfur mouthpieces is former ambassador Lawrence Rossin. In the LAT talk Mr. Rossin even manages to mix the Iraq WMD propaganda with his demand for "action" on Darfur. On China's influence on Sudan, which Save Darfur wants to use by pressuring China to follow its agenda, he asserts:

We're not dealing with Saddam Hussein here, who could've admitted, could've told the world that he didn't have weapons of mass destruction and probably saved himself a whole lot of grief. These people are more rational than that; these are some sharp people.

The LAT editors do not challenge that lunatic false statement of the not so sharp Mr. Rossin. Nor do they challenge any other of Save Darfur's dubious claims.

For example:

There is an issue of bringing people from Chad, Niger and other neighboring countries and providing them in some cases citizenship, IDs and giving them the land in order to change the demography or Darfur for the same reasons — the coming elections — and because these tribes are allied with the government of Sudan . . .

So the government of Sudan brings in people from Chad? These must be very bad guys!

The actual UN report says of course something very different. It recommends that Sudan gives the people who flee from Chad refugee status:

"People interviewed said that searches often turned violent with looting, beatings, arrests, murders and in some cases rapes committed by these groups. In addition to the brutal searches, many families said they left Chad because of the general insecurity and fighting between governmental forces and opposition groups," said UNHCR spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis.

"Most of the interviewees clearly indicated that they did not want to return to Chad because of the security situation," she said.

But the Sudanese government provides some of these refugees with Sudanese IDs? Well, yes, and it does so with reason:

The report mentions that in some cases, the nationality of newly arriving people is not clear as some claim to be Sudanese who left their country in the 1980s because of a severe drought and had since lived in Chad.

Darfur is a mess. Lack of water led to local conflicts between nomads and farmers. There is neither genocide nor typical ethnic cleansing. It is a struggle about a vital resource, water. Using the local struggle as a proxy, the larger political competition is between the "west" and China about access to the oil under Darfur's desert. 

The area has the size of Texas and little infrastructure. It is nearly impossible to govern and foreign troops there and the sanctions Save Darfur requests will make things worse (camps and troops consume lots of water, sanctions are ineffective and only hurt the poor.)

It is unclear what motives the Save Darfur Coalition actually has. But if it has real interest in solving the problems of the local people, why does it lie, spends all donations it gets for propaganda and argues for intervention?

Posted by b on January 2, 2008 at 13:18 UTC | Permalink


Is it me or do the neocons sound more and more like King Leopold of Belgium longing for dominion and colonies in Africa?

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 2 2008 23:00 utc | 1

no the ghost of the mad king leopold is surely roaming amonst us - from beirut to rawalpindi

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 2 2008 23:39 utc | 2

for some time now i've been saying to myself that the parallels to leopold II are very apt in multiple regards. masking their motives w/ allusions to humanitarianism, fables of free trade, promoting the principles underlying the u.s. constitution, all in the pursuit of resources & power -- and then figure in that much of it was even made possible by stanley, initially a newspaper reporter from the usa.

there's a book, Aux Origines de L'etat Independant du Congo: Documents Tires D'Archives Americaines (1966, louvain: nauwelaerts), by francois bontinck that comes recommended as a thorough documentation of the u.s. role in the emergence of the congo free state and, though i have yet to gain access to it, already have this feeling that much of its resonance will seem quite familiar.

Posted by: b real | Jan 3 2008 3:43 utc | 3

Leopold comes to mind because I am having my students read Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost and Pakenhams way too British The Scramble for Africa, which gives Leopold a big share of the narrative. I think the parallels are too obvious to ignore.

Of course, what you don't know is how my family was shaped by anti-colonial activism in the 19th century. My wife's great grandfather was deported from Great Britain for using his pulpit to dissent against the Boer War. His son was Roland Bainton, church historian at Yale Divinity school for many decades, and I married his granddaughter. I am honored to carry on the anti-imperialism, anti-fascist tradition. Right now the Campus Republicans where I teach would love to deport me. Some day I'll take a few moments to write an essay on how the Horowitz's goose stepping disciples use their partisan and twisted ideology of "free speech" to suppress free speech, but now I'm getting ready for classes and I'm just over loaded. Maybe in a few weeks.

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 3 2008 15:12 utc | 4

If you have access to JSTOR you can find a good review of b's book in African Affairs Vol 66 No. 264 (July, 1967), 274-275. It's a good summary. The book itself isn't in our state system, but I bet I can get my hands on it.

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 3 2008 15:27 utc | 5

am grateful to Bainton for his translation of Castellio's De Haereticis.

Posted by: rjj | Jan 3 2008 17:07 utc | 6

@ Diogenes (#4) - Where can I send a bottle of sherry?


Posted by: beq | Jan 3 2008 17:44 utc | 7

i would not be the least surprised if many here carry an anti-imperialist lineage because i sense through even our beautiful differences - anti imperialism is the highest form of humanism

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 3 2008 17:59 utc | 8

Sherry? Anytime. Just drop it by.

Universal directions to my house:

Take I-95 north until it ends (last US exit in Houlton, ME). Then take Route 1 north 45 miles. At the second stop light (in 45 miles after I-95), turn right. Go up the hill and take the 4th left. We're the 5th house on the left, white with a red front door. Just knock and you'll at least get a shot of Jagermeister for the cold. Its medicine.

Directions work from Florida to Maine.

As for Castellio, Bainton considered him a soul mate, as he did Michael Servetus. Bainton had his faults, but despised anything that crushed freedom of conscience. He performed our wedding ceremony at Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School 30 years ago.

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 3 2008 18:22 utc | 9

I loooove Maine and I'm less then a mile from there in 10 hours or so.


Posted by: beq | Jan 4 2008 1:57 utc | 10

not enough time to follow the trail on this & start connecting all the dots to see what it all amounts to, but here's a few dots to start

press release today from jarch capital, llc
Jarch appoints Larry C. Johnson as Vice-President, J. Peter Pham as Senior Adviser

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Larry C. Johnson will serve as Vice President of Jarch. Mr. Johnson is in charge of intelligence and security for the Company. He has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors and in both the domestic and international arenas. Mr. Johnson has worked with US military commands in scripting exercises for the Pentagon. In addition, he has previously worked for both the Central Intelligence Agency and the US State Department. Mr. Johnson is an internationally recognized expert on security, as well as crisis and risk management.

pham is a neocon-friendly "intellectual" who has strong backing in high places (JINSA, perhap?) and has managed to get added to house & senate hearings on africa regularly, sometimes at the last minute, as i've pointed out over the previous year.

ken silverstein, from nov. 20th
Jarch Capital’s Sudanese Gambit

Paris-based Africa Energy Intelligence (AEI) recently carried a fairly alarming article on Jarch Capital, an investment fund headed by a former Salomon Brothers trader named Phil Heilberg. Jarch has big interests in African natural resources and its leadership includes Joseph Wilson [vice chairman]. According to AEI, Jarch has looked for business in Darfur, where Heilberg “has hitched his star to one of the leading rebel chiefs in the region,” as well as in the “breakaway province of Somaliland.” The story says that Jarch’s advisory board includes Tuhat Pol, president of an “Ethiopian opposition movement calling for an armed uprising against the Addis Ababa government.”

An affiliate of Jarch also claims to have a rich oil deal in southern Sudan. I won’t go into all the details, but to make a long story short: the southern Sudanese are intensely divided along ethnic lines and alliances are constantly shifting. A provisional government in the south recently suspended its participation in a union government with the Islamic north. Some fear a resumption of the North-South civil war, one of the bloodiest of modern times, which came to a halt with a peace agreement in 2005. And even if that doesn’t happen, the south might well declare independence from the north before 2011, when a national unity government is supposed to be finalized.

Into this powderkeg comes Jarch, trying to enforce its oil deal (which involves exploration of a huge oil block in southern Sudan that covers 240,000 square kilometers) with threats of legal action. AEI says the investment fund originally signed the deal before the 2005 peace deal, and many in the current southern leadership say it is not binding.

It’s a dangerous situation: “The State Department isn’t supportive of Jarch’s involvement because it knows that once Americans go after oil in the south any hope of a national unity government collapses,” an American who closely follows events in Sudan told me. “The southerners are already fighting over power and this would get them fighting over oil too.”

sudan tribune, dec 1st: Oil Jarch recruits another Sudan’s SPLA general

December 1, 2007 (PARIS) — A US private investment group claiming rights over oil concessions in southern Sudan announced that a prominent SPLA general had joint its board of advisors.

Jarch Management Group Ltd said in a press statement dated on November 26 and received today that Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Gen. Peter Gadet has joint its advisory board.

"General Peter has a tremendous amount of experience in the Greater Upper Nile region and brings this knowledge of South Sudan to Jarch." Said the statement.

Early last November Jarch said that Paulino Matip Nhial, deputy commander-in-chief of the SPLA, has joined the advisory board of Jarch Management as vice chairman.

Phil Heilberg, the chairman of the US firm, which is registered in the Virgin Islands, alleges that on February 12, 2003 he signed with the SPLM contracts to explore and exploit oil in Block B in southern Sudan.


Phil told Sudan Tribune last year that these contracts gave Jarch exclusive rights to all commodity contracts until 2009.

This Block B was disputed pendant two years between the British White Nile and the French Total which remains the holder of the rights to explore and exploit oil in this block. The White Nile has been ousted by a decision adopted by the National Petroleum Commission on 17 June 2007.

Total, which owns 32.5% in the block and the operator of the consortium, explored the area in the 1980s before war made operations impossible.

also some comments attached to that link

march 2006 : US Jarch Capital accuses SPLM of violating oil deal on Block B

some ideological opponents of joe wilson took up some leads here -- The friends of Joe Wilson (updated)

Posted by: b real | Jan 4 2008 5:55 utc | 11

Save Darfur people

are all very white.

Literally, they are blond as blond and have freckles.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 6 2008 18:25 utc | 12

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