MA Greens Oppose Anti-Sudan Bill
- View SourceStatement opposing anti-Sudan bill before the state senate
March 30, 2007
From: David Rolde <davidrolde @ comcast.net>
Hi everyone. I went to the hearing at the state house yesterday. It
didn't feel like a real hearing to discuss an issue. It was more like
a media propaganda event against Sudan. JCRC mobilized a couple
hundred people to come. They had Mia Farrow speak and show slides.
Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray was the first speaker. They had a lot
of politicians and JCRC people and professional pro-war agitators
speak for a few minutes each for almost three hours. The rhetoric
against Sudan and China was inflammatory and extreme. (Someone even
accused China of "providing the machetes in Rwanda") The committee
members (the Joint Committee on Public Service) praised the speakers,
and the committee members who said anything during the hearing were
clearly part of the movement to demonize Sudan - I mean they presented
themselves as having proudly participated in the process to get to
this point where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is considering
taking action against Sudan. Someone said there was a letter signed by
Kerry and Kennedy and all 10 Massachusetts US Congressmen in favor of
the divestment bills.
I got there before the hearing started. Someone at a table outside
told me that I couldn't sign up to speak because all the speakers had
been determined in advance. But I went in to the hearing room and
asked one of the committee members who told me that I could sign up to
After three hours, once a lot of people had left, they let me speak.
Joachim Martillo also spoke in opposition to the bill right after me.
Aside from us the only person who said anything in opposition to the
bill all day was recently resigned state senate president Robert
Travaglini, who manages one of the funds that would be required to
divest by the bill. Travaglini said that he opposes divestment on
principal that investment should generally be in whatever will make
the highest returns, but he waffled and didn't really seem very opposed.
I'm not sure if cooperating with this hearing was the right thing to
do. Maybe I should have disrupted the hearing while Mia Farrow was
speaking while the TV cameras were still there. The state house cops
recognized me and warned me not to. But anyway I did wait and speak
and was polite. I gave the committee about 25 copies of a packet
including my written testimony, a page of links for info on Sudan, the
2004 GRP Statement on US Imperialism & Sudan, and my article that is
in the online version of the Fall 2006 GRP newsletter. The material
in the packet is in this email below. In my spoken testimony, I read
parts of my written testimony and a little bit of my article and, as
Grace suggested, focused more on Sudan and left out most of the
hypocrisy section - although I did mention the hypocrisy.
I think this is a very important issue that we need to work on more.
It is offensive for our state government to be falsely accusing
Africans of genocide and to be cheerleading for regime change in
Sudan. We shouldn't accept this quietly.
Testimony of David Rolde representing the Green-Rainbow Party of
Massachusetts in opposition to Senate Bill 1474: 'An Act Relative to
Pension Divestment' and in opposition to House Bill 2556: 'An Act
Regulating Divestment in Sudan'
March 29, 2007
The Green-Rainbow Party opposes Senate Bill 1474 (Docket Number:
SD01591 filed by Harriette Chandler), House Bill 2556 (filed by Denis
Guyer) and all other bills calling for divestment from Sudan that are
before the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in
We oppose the bills not only because divestment would deprive Sudan of
revenue and thus be harmful to the people of Sudan, but also because
the bills are based on an unjust and offensively racist demonization
of the government and people of an African country whose people have
suffered greatly from years of US economic warfare and overt and
covert US military warfare against them.
Unjust and Hypocritical Demonization of Sudan
US imperialist and Zionist organizations have spent millions of
dollars on an anti-Sudan propaganda campaign to vilify the Sudanese
government and Sudanese people and to try to convince Americans that
the Sudanese government is committing genocide against the people of
Sudan's Darfur region. In reality there is no genocide. There has
been a civil war in Darfur with many armed factions - some
anti-government factions being supported by the US - fighting against
each other. The numbers of deaths are often exaggerated. The word
"Janjaweed" in Darfur does not refer to a specific organization but
refers to any armed group whether they are independant bandits, allied
with the government, or allied with one of the anti-government rebel
movements. The motivations for the anti-Sudan propaganda campaign are
to convince Americans to support war against Sudan in order for the US
government to gain control over Sudan's oil and other resources or to
install a new Sudanese government more compliant to US wishes.
Anti-Sudan propaganda is also part of the general anti-Arab and
anti-Muslim rhetoric that is used to gain US domestic support for the
war in Iraq, continued US support of Israel, and for the so-called
"war on terror".
The anti-Sudan bills before the Massachusetts legislature demonize the
government and people of Sudan - the largest country in Africa. The
bills serve to amplify the drums of war against Sudan and set the
stage for further U.S. imperial war against Sudan. The Chandler Bill
cites Colin Powell and George W. Bush and other U.S. government
officials - the same persons who lied about Iraq's non-existent
"Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "links to Al Qaeda" to promote the
invasion of Iraq - as accusing the government of Sudan of "genocide"
and of "supporting international terrorism". Accusations like these
have recently and historically been used by the U.S. government as
pretexts to go to war against many countries. All the bills depend
on continuing US state department designation of "genocide" - a
designation that can be placed and removed because of Sudanese
government compliance or non-compliance with US dictates about other
issues and about access to Sudanese resources. International
organizations, including the United Nations and the African Union,
have not used the term "genocide" in regards to Darfur, have not
accused the Sudanese government of genocide, and have criticized all
sides in the civil war. International organizations have also
estimated fewer deaths in Darfur than the Chandler bill cites and have
not blamed the Sudanese government for all the deaths.
The demonization of Sudan as expressed in these bills is hypocritical
on several levels. First: the text of the bills blame the Sudanese
government for problems that were caused by US intervention.The US has
starved Sudan with sanctions and a trade boycott, destroyed Sudan's
largest pharmaceutical plant with a missile strike thus rendering
Sudan incapable of producing needed medicines for its people and
livestock, instigated the civil wars in Sudan, armed the rebels, and
then blamed the Sudanese government for all the deaths (whether by
violence or famine or disease) and callled it genocide.
Second: people in the USA do not hold the moral high ground to be able
to accuse others of human rights violations. The United States
government itself supports international terrorism and has killed
millions of people with direct warfare in Iraq, Korea, and Southeast
Asia and thousands of people in Afghanistan, Panama, Somalia and
elsewhere. The US government through covert military support of
insurgencies and open military support of brutal regimes has killed
thousands - and perhaps millions - of people in Palestine, Congo,
Sudan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia, Haiti, etc.
The US has committed genocide in Iraq, and is supporting a genocidal
colonial settler regime in Palestine. But the Massachusetts
legislators are not considering divesting from Israel or divesting
from US weapons manufacturers. The Sudan divestment campaign is aimed
primarily at the Chinese oil company to try to stop China from
obtaining oil from Sudan. China's growing economy represents a threat
to US global economic hegemony. The US already cut China off from
Iraqi oil by invading Iraq. The Massachusetts legislators are not
considering divesting from US oil companies who benefit from US
imperialist warfare and neoliberal trade agreements forced on other
countries by the US government at the behest of US oil companies.
While the crudest anti-Sudan propaganda labels the civil wars in Sudan
as race wars, in fact almost the entire population of Sudan are black,
and almost everyone in Darfur is an Arabic speaking Muslim. The
allegations that the Sudanese government has economically neglected
Darfur must be seen in the context that Sudan is an impoverished
country with a per capita GDP of less than $2500 per year, that
economic development during British colonial rule was regionally
uneven before Sudan's independence only 50 years ago, that Sudan has
not had the resources to fully recover yet from colonial
underdevelopment, and again that Sudan is dealing with civil wars
instigated by the US.
Meanwhile in the USA millions of people of color are in prison or live
in fear of harassment by the police and court system. There is
widespread poverty and lack of equal access to economic opportunities
- especially for people of color - in our wealthy country. Indeed
the USA was founded on genocide and exploitation of Native Americans
and of African slaves.
Divestment would be harmful to the people of Sudan
The U.S. government started limited sanctions against Sudan in the
early 90s, accusing Sudan of "supporting international terrorism"
because the Sudanese government expressed support for the Palestinian
cause and did not support the US "Gulf War" against Iraq.
In 1997 the Bill Clinton administration, with executive order 13067,
imposed a complete trade and financial embargo against Sudan so that
US persons or companies are not allowed to buy from or sell to Sudan.
This embargo or boycott is still in effect. The embargo has damaged
the Sudanese economy and caused immense suffering to the Sudanese
people. Sudan is cut off from some markets for its exports.
Therefore Sudanese exports must be sold for a lower price than they
would be in a more competitive market situation, or sometimes no buyer
can be found. So Sudanese revenue is decreased and poverty
increased.Things that Sudan needs - for instance human and veterinary
medications that can't be produced locally since the Clinton
administration destroyed Sudan's Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in 1998
- must be bought for a higher price in a market with reduced Sudanese
access to vendors, or in some cases needed goods cannot be obtained by
Sudan at all because Sudan cannot afford them or because they are only
available from the US.
Divestment from Sudan by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts might make
it more difficult for Sudan to sell oil to China and possibly other
exports to other buyers and thus would further reduce foreign revenue
to Sudan. This revenue is needed by the people of Sudan - it provides
jobs - and by the government of Sudan to build infrastructure and
provide services to the people of Sudan.
US Economic sanctions, (of which Massachusetts divestment from Sudan
would be part), are used by the US government to coerce or try to
coerce the Sudanese government into following US dictates. The US
wants Sudan to support US policies in Africa and the Middle East and
to support Israel. The US government, on behalf of US-based
corporations, wants unlimited access to and control over Sudan's oil,
uranium, gum arabic and other agricultural produce, and other
resources. And the US government wants access to Sudan's territory to
build military bases and pipelines. US government interests do not
generally coincide with the interests of the people of Sudan. The
Sudanese government, in order to acquiesce to US demands in hopes of
US economic sanctions being removed or in hopes of the US stopping
covert military operations against Sudan, would have to act against
the interests of the Sudanese people.
Finally, sometimes US economic sanctions against a country are a
prelude to overt warfare or an invasion. Demonization and economic
sanctions set the stage for war. Iraq is a good example of this.
Massachusetts divestment from Sudan would make a US, NATO or
US-sponsored UN invasion of Sudan more likely to happen. US troops,
including soldiers from Massachusetts, could end up being sent to kill
and die in Sudan. This would plunge all of Sudan into warfare and be a
disaster for the people of Sudan.
Concern for the people of Sudan is laudable. It is important to
understand the US role in Sudan and to understand the conflict in
Darfur as a civil war rather than incorrectly as a genocide.
Demonization of the Sudanese government and divestment from Sudan are
harmful to the people of Sudan rather than helpful. The Green-Rainbow
Party urges the Massachusetts legislature to reject Senate Bill 1474
(An Act Relative to Pension Divestment), House Bill 2556 (An Act
Regulating Divestment in Sudan) and any other bills calling for
divestment from Sudan.
The Green-Rainbow Party has called for removal of all US economic
sanctions against Sudan and for normalization of relations with Sudan.
The Green-Rainbow Party is opposed to US or UN or other imposed
military intervention in Sudan. To help the people of Sudan the
Massachusetts state legislature should lobby the US federal government
to remove economic sanctions against Sudan, normalize relations with
Sudan, stop threatening Sudan, and refrain from arming or supporting
any armed groups in Sudan.
References and Information Sources
"United States Terrorism in the Sudan"
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
a comprehensive and well-footnoted article about US intervention in
Sudan in the 90s
Ketih Harmon Snow's articles on Sudan
'Darfur: an open discussion on intervention, regime change & the
politics of genocide'
Hear forum audio at Traprock Peace Center website
article summarizing the forum at
The Peace and Justice Foundation
"What Concerned Citizens Should Know about the Crisis in Darfur
by El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan
other articles on Sudan at
'Darfur, Sudan: Seeking the Truth'
video interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan
The European Sudanese Public Affairs Council
Articles by Sara Flounders of the International Action Center
"The U.S. Role in Darfur, Sudan"
"Why Sudan Rejects UN Troops"
Articles by Columbia University Professor Mahmood Mamdani
"How Can We Name the Darfur Crisis: Preliminary Thought on Darfur"
"The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency"
"U.S. Imperialists Increase Efforts to Recolonize Sudan"
by Natividad Carrera
(quotes George Bush as saying The pervasive role played by the
government of Sudan in Sudan's petroleum and petrochemical industries
threatens U.S. national security and foreign policy interests)
"Darfur, Imperialist Intevention and Anti-Arab Hysteria"
by Eugene Puryear
on African Holocaust . net
"Myths About the Arab Slave Trade"
by Owen `Alik Shahadah
"Darfur Truth Report"
"Thousands Protest in Darfur against Security Council Resolution for
Interview with Sudanese Compatriot Ismail Kamal
"UN Peackeeping Paramilitarism"
by Steve Lendman
"While World Capitalists Spend Trillions on Wars, Hunger Kills 18,000
Children Each Day"
by Hassan El-Najjar
Green-Rainbow Party Statement on U.S. Imperialism and Sudan
We reject the racist mischaracterization of the situation in Darfur as
genocide being perpetrated by Arabs. In reality, the conflict in
Darfur is complex involving several warring armed factions. The US
military and economic intervention over the last decade, which has
worked to impoverish and destabilize Sudan, has largely caused the
humanitarian crisis of civil war and famine in the Darfur region.
We oppose any military intervention in Sudan by the US, the UN, or
imposed by any other foreign power. We also oppose the imposition of
sanctions on the Sudanese government, particularly since US sanctions
since 1997 with selective aid to rebel groups have been used to
exacerbate civil war in Sudan and since the world has witnessed
sanctions under the UN being used as an instrument of genocide in Iraq.
We recall the unprovoked criminal attack that destroyed the al-Shifa
pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, launched by the Clinton administration
in 1998, and call for the US government to pay reparations for this
brutal transgression which rendered Sudan unable to produce needed
human and veterinary pharmaceuticals. In 1967 Martin Luther King noted
that the United States is the "greatest purveyor of violence in the
world today." Given that this fact about the USA has remained true, we
condemn the US government declaring Sudan a "terrorist" nation. The US
should normalize relations with Sudan.
In the short term, unconditional food aid and medical aid are needed
and should be sent to the Darfur region. In the long term, we will
work for an end to imperialist and corporate interventions in all
their forms in Sudan and throughout Africa as these policies have lead
to chronic war and poverty on the continent. African nations should
have their debts forgiven, and they should be free to reject
International Monetary Fund structural adjustment policies which
benefit multi-national corporations to the detriment of local populations.
We strongly condemn the practice of both the George Bush and John
Kerry Presidential campaigns for distorting the human tragedy in
Darfur for use towards domestic political ends and as a pretext for
action to gain control over Sudanese oil that is currently being
developed by China and other non-Western countries.
Stop the U.S. and Zionist War Against Sudan
By David Rolde
Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts
The United States has been waging war against Sudan for the past 15
years, and we need to stop it. Just like with Iraq, the U.S. war
against Sudan is a war for oil and a war for Israel. The proposed
invasion of Sudan is based on lies. The lie of accusing the government
of Sudan of "genocide in Darfur" serves the same function as the lie a
few years ago accusing the government of Iraq of "possessing weapons
of mass destruction". The U.S. government, and its allies the Israeli
and UK governments, are the real world champion purveyors of genocide
and possessors of WMDs.
Sudan, the geographically largest country in Africa and the home of 35
million people, has been devastated by U.S. attacks for the past 15
years. In the early 90s the U.S. government declared Sudan to be a
"state sponsor of terrorism" because the government of Sudan does not
support Israel. The U.S. government imposed sanctions against Sudan.
The U.S. sanctions and trade boycott escalated in severity several
times during the 90s and 00s and damaged the Sudanese economy causing
immense human suffering. Throughout the 90s the U.S. government armed
and funded the SPLA rebels in the south of Sudan in a war against the
Sudanese government, and against rival southern groups, in which
millions of persons were killed or displaced. Millions of southern
refugees fled from the SPLA and now live in Khartoum, the northern
capital. The culmination of U.S. support for war in Sudan was the
so-called "Sudan Peace Act", signed by George W Bush in 2002, which
allocated one hundred million dollars per year to the SPLA.
One notable episode of the US war against Sudan happened in 1998 when
the U.S. government of Bill Clinton, with a missile strike, destroyed
Sudan's only pharmaceutical plant, the al-Shifa plant near Khartoum.
This rendered Sudan unable to produce needed human medications to
treat endemic diseases such as malaria and also veterinary medicines
needed by Sudan's livestock industry which is a major part of the
livelihood of the people of Sudan.
In 2004, during the U.S. presidential election campaign, the U.S.
government started leveling false allegations of "genocide" against
the Sudanese government in regards to the new civil war in Darfur in
the west of Sudan. The U.S. media and pro-imperialist "human rights"
organizations (such as Human Rights Watch which is controlled by
billionaire George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations) falsely
portrayed the conflict in Darfur as a slaughter of Black Africans by a
"White Arab" Sudanese government. In reality it was a civil war among
many armed groups, some of which were supported by the US and Israel,
fighting over limited resources in an impoverished region. Nearly
everyone in Sudan is a Black African. And nearly everyone in Darfur
is a Black African Arabic-speaking Muslim. The numbers cited for the
"genocide" in Darfur were inflated estimates of how many people might
die from famine and disease.
This year the propaganda against Sudan in the United States has
intensified again. On April 30, 2006, the U.S. government in
conjunction with U.S. Zionist groups, staged a large pro-war rally in
Washington DC. U.S. congresspersons, as well as members of the Bush
administration, spoke at the rally calling for the war against Sudan
to be escalated by sending in an invasion force of U.N., NATO or U.S.
troops. Nearly every pro-Israel group in the USA has anti-Sudan
propaganda on the front of their website. In Massachusetts an example
of a Zionist group doing pro-war activism is the Jewish Community
Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston.
The anti-Sudan rhetoric is no different than the rhetoric that the
U.S. government uses against other countries that the United States is
attacking. One aim of U.S. attacks against Sudan is to gain or
maintain control over Sudan's natural resources: notably petroleum but
also uranium, other minerals, gum arabic, and the Nile River which
supplies water to Egypt. China currently has access to oil from
Sudan, and the U.S. government wants to cut China off. Destabilizing
and impoverishing Sudan serves American and Israeli hegemonic
interests to make sure there are no prosperous independent nations in
the Middle East and North African regions.
But within the United States the anti-Sudan rhetoric is useful for
more than just getting Americans ready for more overt war against
Sudan. Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric regarding Sudan is part of
the general anti-Arab and anti-Muslim propaganda that is used to gain
U.S. domestic support for the war in Iraq, continued U.S. support for
Israel, and the so-called "war on terror". Zionist groups in the
United States have been purveying anti-Arab propaganda regarding Sudan
for many years before the Darfur war, making false claims about
"slavery" in Sudan. Slave redemption efforts in Sudan have been shown
to be a hoax. Divesting from Sudan is a Zionist anti-Arab
counter-proposal to the idea of divesting from Israel. Lies about
Arabs divert attention from efforts to end Israeli apartheid in
On September 1, 2006, the US rammed a resolution through the UN
Security Council calling for tens of thousands of UN troops,
ostensibly "peace-keepers" but really an imperialist invasion force,
to be sent to Darfur to replace the current smaller US-puppet African
Union force. On September 17, Zionists and other pro-war Americans
held an anti-Sudan rally in Central Park in New York City. The keynote
speaker at the rally was Madeleine Albright, Clinton's Secretary of
State, who is infamous for having admitted that the Clinton
administration and the UN had killed half a million Iraqi children
through the sanctions in the 90s but nevertheless defending the
actions against Iraq as worthwhile. Rally attendees were asked to
wear blue hats to signify their desire to send "blue helmet" UN troops
to invade Sudan. These UN troops would not be "peace-keepers". We can
see the likely outcome by looking at Haiti where, in 2004, the US
deposed the legitimate government and then sent in a UN occupation
force which has terrorized the country and brutalized the Haitian
people. When foreign UN soldiers get to Darfur and can't determine
which Black Arabic-speaking Muslims are the "bad Arabs" and which are
the "good Africans", the UN troops will kill people indiscriminately.
The Sudanese people will rightly resist. The situation will escalate.
US warmongers will call for sending more troops, including US troops,
and bringing the war to Khartoum. It will be a disaster. The US war
against Sudan needs to be stopped and reversed now.
Anti-war activists are not working hard enough to stop the US and
Zionist war against Sudan. The current threats against Sudan are just
as serious as the threats against Iran. Anti-war activists should be
focusing more effort to stop the war against Sudan and to work against
US imperialism in Africa in general - the current war against Sudan is
just one manifestation of centuries of European colonialism and
neo-colonialism in Sudan and Africa. The situation for the people of
Sudan will improve once foreign intervention in Sudan stops.
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