- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

When George W. Bush appointed John Danforth his special envoy to Sudan in September, many anticipated that the respected former senator, who is also an Episcopalian minister, would find ways to end the calamitous civil war in that country.
Mr. Danforth's report, already presented to the president, consists of amorphous, pie-in-the-sky diplomatic proposals that depend on the trustworthiness of the Khartoum government in the north. His failed mission ensures the continued enslavement of black Christians and animists in the south of Sudan by militias supported by the National Islamic government in the north. Alabama Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus, who has been deeply involved in finding a solution for the tragic human-rights violations in Sudan, commented on the Danforth proposals to Philip Dine of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"He says the government of Sudan has killed 2 million people. He confirms the slave trade; the government goes down to the south, kidnaps people and puts them into slavery. First he recognizes the hideous situation, and then he proposes that we make an arrangement with this … regime."
While in Sudan, Mr. Danforth did get the government to agree to pledge it would stop intentional mostly air attacks on black civilians in the south. But, Jon Sawyer has reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"The Khartoum government did not agree to the ban on civilian attacks until after killing 24 civilians in an assault in February on an unarmed U.N. food-program site, for example. Its army is now engaged in what human-rights groups have called the systematic displacement of civilians who live near important oil-exploration sites in south-central Sudan."
Nina Shea, of the Center for Religious Freedom, and Freedom House, emphasizes: "Khartoum will never conduct good-faith peace negotiations, as Danforth proposes, over power-sharing, revenue-sharing (from oil fields) … Danforth's statement that foreign oil developers are more likely to venture into Sudan if there is peace and political stability … is sheer fantasy. Enormous profits are being made right now in Sudan by Talisman (of Canada) and other oil partners of Khartoum."
And that's why, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, "Daniel Flaherty, vice president of the national Foreign Trade Council, a group of multinational companies that trade and invest overseas, praised Danforth's report for not seeking to prevent foreign businesses from investing in Sudan."
That means free markets, but not for slaves.
Last year, Mr. Bachus proposed the only realistic way to end the killings, the ethnic cleansing, the slavery and the gang rapes of black women taken in slave raids: an amendment to the Sudan Peace Act.
This amendment passed by the House by a vote of 422 to 2 would have barred foreign firms from raising capital or listing its securities in America capital markets so long as the foreign company is involved in oil and gas development in partnership with the Khartoum government.
At the time, James Buckey, head of Talisman Oil, a major investor in oil development in Sudan, said that if the Bachus amendment became law, "I don't think anybody could afford not to have access in the U.S. capital market. No asset is worth that."
The Bachus amendment was stripped out of the Sudan Peace Act in the Senate, although Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and other Republicans had come out strongly for an end to slavery in Sudan, and the "liberal" Democratic Senate leadership was silent. Just as an organized protest by black ministers, congressmen, evangelicals and human-rights advocates was underway, September 11 ended the momentum.
During his campaign for the presidency, President Bush said that when confronted by difficult decisions, he would ask what Jesus would do. He should ask the question now. In any event, this compassionate conservative if he is to be true to his instincts and principles will reject the Danforth report and speak strongly in favor of the resurrection of the Bachus amendment as Reps. Dick Armey, Henry Hyde, and other members of the House asked for it to be acted on by the Senate last month.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post's and the New York Times' journalistic malpractice on covering Sudan was continued by Dan Rather on CBS's "60 Minutes II" on May 15, with more questionably sourced stories of "fake slaves" being used by slave traders to collect redemption money. But Mr. Rather did not himself, on that program, go to Sudan and interview with his own translator any former slaves, village chiefs, black clergy, or the families of liberated slaves.
The American Anti-Slavery Group and Solidarity International, who rescue slaves, have not been duped.
Dan Rather was duped.


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