Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tom, You Are a Slime Ball!

No one disagrees that Terri's death is a tragedy and everyone feels serious heart felt sympathy for Terri's parents who had to sit and watch their daughter die. Whether you think that the tube should have been re-inserted, or she should have the right to die, no one wanted this or ever wants this situation again... except one man named Tom DeLay, who has shamelessly turned this into a political tool to push his wingnut agenda.

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior..."

So, Tom, what are you going to do now? Impeach these Republican judges for doing exactly what they were supposed to do. Are you going to prosecute them as murders for following the law and not being "activists" as you have always complained about. And, good message to send out to your crazy ass, wingnut followers. Lets see how long it is now before one of those nuts pulls a lone wolf stunt and kills a judge, thinking it is commendable.

"will look at an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the President."

No, Tom, it is you who is out of control. You are the arrogant ass that thinks the world revolves around you. It was not the judiciary that thumbed its nose at you, it was you who thumbed your nose at the judiciary and the American people. And this is coming from a man who pulled the plug on his own father after only 27 days, then used the same "out of control" judicial system to file a wrongful death suit to collect money. The courts are not there to sereve as your personal enforcers.. It is there to uphold the laws which the legislative body enacts. Judges of both political parties, from the state all the way to the Supreme Court, did exactly that.

No person is without fault (me any less), but you have taken this poor woman's death as a way to gloss over and divert attention from your own unethical behavior. Go back to crawling under houses with the cockroaches where you belong.

Update: For a rundown on all of DeLay's ethics scandals, click here
Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed

Good News for Darfur

The US is going to withdraw its block to the creation of a war crimes tribunal run by the International Criminal Court. After months and months of genocide that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, hopefully relief (justice as well as food) will soon be in Darfur.

U.S. Drops Objection to Sudan Trial

By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The United States is dropping its objections to use of the U.N.'s International Criminal Court to try Sudanese responsible for an ethnic cleansing campaign in the Darfur region that has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted more than 2 million, administration officials said Wednesday night.

The administration had preferred that an African court try the case but agreed to a compromise during daylong discussions at the United Nations on Wednesday.

The United States has strongly opposed the ICC on grounds that American service members or civilians serving overseas could be subject to politically motivated or frivolous prosecutions.

In return for its concession, the United States received assurances that Americans deployed in Sudan, in whatever capacity, would not be subject to ICC prosecutions, the officials told The Associated Press. They asked not to be identified because the decision has not been officially announced.

The decision could raise hackles among conservatives for whom the ICC is an unaccountable body that cannot be trusted to the right thing. The 97 countries that have ratified the 1998 Rome Treaty establishing the court maintain that there are sufficient safeguards built into the process to prevent unwarranted prosecutions.

The administration agreed to a compromise after concluding that opposition to the U.S. stand was too strong, particularly among Europeans, who have been united in support of the ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, as the trial venue.

Concerned about a possible U.S. veto, France on Wednesday delayed a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution to authorize an ICC prosecution.

After U.S. officials said the Bush administration was dropping its objections, France's U.N. Mission said it expects the council to vote on the resolution on Thursday, probably in the afternoon.

The western Sudanese region of Darfur has been the scene of perhaps the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The widespread death and destruction has been the result of a brutal counterinsurgency campaign led by government-support Arab militias against black African farmers. The conflict began in February 2003.

(Full Story)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More of the Propaganda President

Without argument, the Bush administration has been the most blatantly propagandist administration in our nations history. From bribing journalists to fake news reports to hand picking his audience, Bush has truly been the propaganda president. But now, he has even trumped himself once again. At a Denver stump speech for Social Security privatization, three citizens were forcibly removed from the audience "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event." How did the Republican staffers come to this decision? Bumper stickers... That's right, from bumper stickers. Apparently, you have to approve of 100% of the presidents agenda in order to see him speak. If you don't agree with the war in Iraq, you can't see him speak about Social Security. Don't even try to go see him speak about tort reform is you would "rather be fishing" because you might just decide to get up in the middle of the speech and go fishing and disrupt the entire speech. God forbid you have a child on the "honor roll" at such-and-such elementary school... you would probably be shot on sight.

Three Were Told to Leave Bush Town Meeting

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 30, 2005; Page A04

Three Denver residents yesterday charged that they were forcibly removed from one of President Bush's town meetings on Social Security because they displayed a bumper sticker on their car condemning the administration's Middle East policies.

The three, all self-described progressives who oppose Bush's Social Security plan, said an unidentified official at an event in Denver last week forced them to leave before the president started to speak, even though they had done nothing disruptive, said their attorney, Dan Recht.

Initially, the three believed Secret Service agents had grabbed them and ushered them out of the auditorium, Recht said. But he said that Lon Garner, the Secret Service agent in charge of the Denver office, told them the service investigated the matter and found it was a "Republican staffer" who removed them because they had a "No More Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on their car.

Garner said yesterday that he was told by headquarters not to comment on the matter, and referred calls to Washington.

Jim Mackin, a spokesman for the Secret Service here, said he could not discuss the allegations that a Republican staff member was involved. "We will continue to look into it," he said. Mackin said a preliminary inquiry found that the Secret Service was not involved in the incident, which was first reported by the Associated Press.

Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, said it was a volunteer who asked them to leave "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event." He said the White House welcomes a variety of voices into events but discourages people from coming to heckle the president or disrupt town hall forums. "If someone is coming to try to disrupt it, then obviously that person would be asked to leave," he said. "There is plenty of opportunity outside of the event to express their views."

This is not the first time people have complained about heavy-handed monitoring of who can attend -- and speak at -- Bush's events promoting his Social Security plan. A newspaper in Fargo, N.D., reported that when Bush came to the city on Feb. 3, more than 40 residents were barred from attending the event.

(Full Story)

In the Name of Politics

This is a very good op-ed piece written by John Danforth, a former Republican Senator and Ambassador to the UN, about how the religious right is becoming to dominate in the Republican party. I recommend the read.

In the Name of Politics


St. Louis — BY a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians. The elements of this transformation have included advocacy of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, opposition to stem cell research involving both frozen embryos and human cells in petri dishes, and the extraordinary effort to keep Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube.

Standing alone, each of these initiatives has its advocates, within the Republican Party and beyond. But the distinct elements do not stand alone. Rather they are parts of a larger package, an agenda of positions common to conservative Christians and the dominant wing of the Republican Party.

Christian activists, eager to take credit for recent electoral successes, would not be likely to concede that Republican adoption of their political agenda is merely the natural convergence of conservative religious and political values. Correctly, they would see a causal relationship between the activism of the churches and the responsiveness of Republican politicians. In turn, pragmatic Republicans would agree that motivating Christian conservatives has contributed to their successes.

High-profile Republican efforts to prolong the life of Ms. Schiavo, including departures from Republican principles like approving Congressional involvement in private decisions and empowering a federal court to overrule a state court, can rightfully be interpreted as yielding to the pressure of religious power blocs.

In my state, Missouri, Republicans in the General Assembly have advanced legislation to criminalize even stem cell research in which the cells are artificially produced in petri dishes and will never be transplanted into the human uterus. They argue that such cells are human life that must be protected, by threat of criminal prosecution, from promising research on diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and juvenile diabetes.

It is not evident to many of us that cells in a petri dish are equivalent to identifiable people suffering from terrible diseases. I am and have always been pro-life. But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law.

(Full Story)

Daily DeLay

If you are a conservative politician and the Wall Street Journal starts turning on you, you know you are in trouble. This is a paper that has written so many anit-Clinton opinion articles that they actually turned it into a book.

Smells Like Beltway

The real reason Tom DeLay is in political trouble.

Monday, March 28, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

By now you have surely read about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's ethics troubles. Probably, too, you aren't entirely clear as to what those troubles are--something to do with questionable junkets, Indian casino money, funny business on the House Ethics Committee, stuff down in Texas. In Beltway-speak, what this means is that Mr. DeLay has an "odor": nothing too incriminating, nothing actually criminal, just an unsavory whiff that could have GOP loyalists reaching for the political Glade if it gets any worse.

The Beltway wisdom is right. Mr. DeLay does have odor issues. Increasingly, he smells just like the Beltway itself.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ex-Diplomats Oppose Nominee

Presenting 59 people smarter than George Bush.

59 Ex-Diplomats Oppose Nominee
Rejection of Bolton for U.N. Urged
Associated Press
Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page A11

Challenging the White House, 59 former American diplomats are urging the Senate to reject John R. Bolton's nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"He is the wrong man for this position," they said in a letter to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar has scheduled hearings on Bolton's nomination for April 7.

"We urge you to reject that nomination," the former diplomats said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press.

The ex-diplomats have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, some for long terms and others briefly. They include Arthur A. Hartman, ambassador to France and the Soviet Union under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and assistant secretary of state for European affairs under President Richard M. Nixon.

Others who signed the letter include Princeton N. Lyman, ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria under presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Monteagle Stearns, ambassador to Greece and Ivory Coast in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations; and Spurgeon M. Keeny Jr., deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Carter administration.

Their criticism dwelled primarily on Bolton's stand on issues as the State Department's senior arms control official. They said he had an "exceptional record" of opposing U.S. efforts to improve national security through arms control.

The former diplomats also chided Bolton for his "insistence that the U.N. is valuable only when it directly serves the United States." That view, they said, would not help him negotiate with other diplomats at the United Nations.

(Full Story)

Monday, March 28, 2005

And On A... Umm... Heavier Note

Just in case you thought that you were having a crappy day (pun intended)...

Tractor Driver Dies Under Load of Manure

NRA Wants More Guns In Schools

Absurdity is no obstacle for NRA leaders. After the Red Lake, MN, shootings occurred two weeks ago, NRA's first vice president, Sandra Froman, advocated arming teachers as a solution. I am so floored by this, I am actually at a loss for words.

There is more gun violence in the country than anywhere else in the world. Maybe, just maybe, having guns in school would be just a tad bit dangerous and send a wrong message to kids...

NRA official: Teachers with guns could prevent killings

Cashing In

Go figure. Two-thirds of the money corporations gave to politicians went to Republicans, and now they are cashing in. MBNA Corp was Bush's 5th largest contributor and also spearheaded the lobbying to get the Bankruptcy Reform Act passed. Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp., also beneficiaries of the new law, were in the top 20 contributors. Wal-Mart, a heavy GOP contributor stands to benefit greatly from the recently passed tort reform. Exxon Mobil, has given $5.2 million to GOP candidates in the past decade and less than $650,000 to Democrats. Hmmm, ANWR?

And, coming soon to a bill signing ceremony near you... legal protections for drug companies, doctors, gun manufacturers and asbestos makers, as well as tax breaks for all corporation and energy-related assistance for the oil and gas industry.

Business Sees Gain In GOP Takeover
By Jim VandeHei, Washington Post Staff Writer

Fortune 500 companies that invested millions of dollars in electing Republicans are emerging as the earliest beneficiaries of a government controlled by President Bush and the largest GOP House and Senate majority in a half century.

MBNA Corp., the credit card behemoth and fifth-largest contributor to Bush's two presidential campaigns, is among those on the verge of prevailing in an eight-year fight to curtail personal bankruptcies. Exxon Mobil Corp. and others are close to winning the right to drill for oil in Alaska's wildlife refuge, which they have tried to pass for better than a decade. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., another big contributor to Bush and the GOP, and other big companies recently won long-sought protections from class-action lawsuits.

Republicans have pursued such issues for much of the past decade, asserting that free market policies are the smartest way to grow the economy. But now it appears they finally have the legislative muscle to push some of their agenda through Congress and onto the desk of a president eager to sign pro-business measures into law. The chief reason is Bush's victory in 2004 and GOP gains in Congress, especially in the Senate, where much of corporate America's agenda has bogged down in recent years, according to Republicans and Democrats...

As recent Senate votes on bankruptcy and class-action lawsuits showed, corporations rely on a number of Democrats in the House and Senate and continue to contribute generously to both parties. But in the 2004 elections, Republicans received 66 percent of corporate political action committee (PAC) money, which reflects a trend of businesses tilting support toward the GOP over the last decade. In 1993-94, business PACs gave slightly more to Democrats.

R. Bruce Josten, top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (news - web sites), said businesses feel a sense of urgency to enact as many pro-business laws as possible before a fight over judicial nominees or a Supreme Court opening brings legislative action to a "screeching halt."

Wal-Mart, the retailer many experts consider the most-sued company in America, stands to benefit from the new class-action law, which is designed to cut down on lawsuits and big verdicts by steering some cases into federal courts, away from state courts with track records of siding with plaintiffs and awarding multimillion-dollar verdicts, according to policy experts.

The company, which expressed disdain for Washington politics in the 1990s, changed its tune dramatically after then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) sat down with the company's managers in Bentonville, Ark., in the late 1990s and warned them of the perils of sitting on the sidelines.

Soon after, Wal-Mart became a major player in GOP politics, funneling money to groups such as the U.S. Chamber to lobby on its behalf and creating a political action committee. In the elections last year, the company's $2.4 million PAC was the third-largest corporate PAC in the country, with nearly 80 percent of its money going to Republicans. Wal-Mart officials contributed more than $30,000 to Bush last election, according to Federal Election Commission (news - web sites) data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that prepared the fundraising data for this article.

(Full Story)

Friday, March 25, 2005

A "Culture of Life" Needs to be Expanded

This is a very good reminder that while people are focused on Terri Schiavo, death and tragedy far exceeds that of a single woman in Florida, or an women's clinic in North Carolina. For there to be a "culture of life," there needs to be inclusion of the gun violence that kills thousands of American children every year. A culture of life movement has to go beyond the abortion and right-to-die if it wants be seen as more than a religious political agenda.

Native Americans Criticize Bush's Silence
Response to School Shooting Is Contrasted With President's Intervention in Schiavo Case

By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 25, 2005; Page A06

MINNEAPOLIS, March 24 -- Native Americans across the country -- including tribal leaders, academics and rank-and-file tribe members -- voiced anger and frustration Thursday that President Bush has responded to the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history with silence.

Three days after 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed nine members of his Red Lake tribe before taking his own life, grief-stricken American Indians complained that the White House has offered little in the way of sympathy for the tribe situated in the uppermost region of Minnesota.

"From all over the world we are getting letters of condolence, the Red Cross has come, but the so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing," said Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa Indian who is the founder and national director of the American Indian Movement here. "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he should be the first one to offer his condolences. . . . If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that."

(Full Story)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Good Call Guys...

Ohio's ban on gay marriage looks like it will cause them some headaches. Because the state is not allowed to recognize relationships other than a marriage between a man and a woman, domestic violence charges cannot be used against unmarried couples.

Ohio judge: Gay marriage ban prohibits domestic violence charges against single people

H/T Faerietales.

DeLay Gets A Gift That Keeps On Giving

The man does not stop

In helping lead the charge to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo alive, House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay has invoked God, diverted attention from his own ethical woes and again become a lightning rod for critics of his party's conservative agenda.

No surprise here. But, wait, there is more...

DeLay told a conservative Christian group that the Schiavo case was a gift from God for their cause...

A gift? Why, what ever could you mean by this, Mr. DeLay?

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo to elevate the visibility of what's going on in America," the Texan congressman told a meeting of the Family Research Council.

God has brought you Terri Schiavo? She is a gift from God? Oh, I see. God struck down Terri in the prime of her life and let her stay in a vegetative state for the past 15 years so you, Mr. DeLay, could push your wingnut agenda. Wow, God really is on your side, isn't he, giving you these gifts of brain damaged women? What other gifts does he give you you? Was Osama a gift?

And here I was, the only "gift" I was asking for was the health and safety of my friends and family. Little did I know I could have gotten someone's heart to stop beating... silly me.

Anyone out there who might have some chest pains today, fret not, it is nothing to worry about. It is just Tom Delay praying really hard for another "gift".

Republican Leader Invokes God in Schiavo Battle

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri's Federal Case

Just a note on the recent rulings in Federal courts on the Terri situation. I hear conservatives over and over saying that these judges are "activist" judges. I have come to realize that "activist judge" in conservative speak just means a judge who does not rule the way the conservatives want.

These judges are anything but activist. They are ruling on the letter of the law. You may or may not agree with the ruling on moral grounds, but you cannot call them activists.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Yeah... Right...

Let me get this right... Conservatives believe in the sanctity of life for a brain damaged woman, but are willing to fry kids and the mentally retarded at the drop of the hat.

Liberals don't believe the state can take the life of a convicted murder, but a mother can abort a fetus.

Conservatives believe in the sanctity of marriage, except now.  A christian scientist can refuse treatment for their child for religious reasons, but terri's husband can't refuse for other reasons.

Liberals think a person making medical decisions on religious grounds is a moron, but a husband who wants to pull a feeding tube on the wifes alleged wishes is brave.

Conservatives call for a culture of life, except in the middle east where the the death of innocents is called collateral damage not right to life.

Liberals seem to talk more about the death of iraqis than US troops

Conservatives want to protect our country by stripping it of all the civil rights and freedoms that make the country worth fighting for.

Liberals are so concerned with government intrusion into our privacy that it would leave us completely vulnerable to those who would want to harm us.

Conservatives believe the state needs to protect a fetus until it is born and then wants to completely forget about it for the rest of its life.

Liberals don't give a damn about a fetus until it is born and then think the state is responsible for its care until it dies of old age in boca raton.

Conservatives believe the state can sentence a man to death, but a a terminally ill cancer patient can't choose when to end their own life.

Am I getting this all right?  Can someone please explain this to me?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Scalia Slams Court

Scalia is coming out publicly against the recent Supreme Court Ruling on juveniles and the death penalty. For him, the decision of this should be left to the states. There are arguments for this, but the most compelling arguments are against it. It appears that Scalia doesn't really understand the constitution. It is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the text. There is no "finding of new rights" in the decision. "Cruel and unusual punishment" is written directly into the constitution. Can anyone out there give me a definition of that phrase WITHOUT their own interpretation? Scalia would have the court abrogate its constitutional responsibility... and he wants to be the Chief Justice?

Scalia Slams Supreme Court

What a Mess

It is not an easy thing to balance the budget. When you are considereing the thousands of different programs out there, ranging from military to education, to social services, there is just so many things. I don't envy Congress one single bit. They have to protect the American people, equipe our troops, and care for the welfare of the most unfortunate of us. The Senate has decided not to cut funding to Medicaid. Cutting medicaid really will not lead to any savings because it just pushes the costs onto the states, so I applaud this measure. But what I don't understand is why they are doubleing the amount of tax cuts to $134 billion (A third of our current deficit). We are in tough economic times. We cannont grow our way out of it with tax cuts - it is just impossible. The only responsible thing to do is to forego the tax cuts until we are in better fiscal shape. Then, in 10 years, we can revisit the situation. Alan Greenspan is even retracting his prior support of tax cuts, calling it a "mistake." we are the first country in the history of the world to cut taxes during a time of war. We will all have to suck it up and do our part to support our country and its people.

No one likes paying taxes, but it is much better than turning this country into a bannana republic.

Congress passes $2.6 Trillion Budget

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Conservatives often complain about the left calling Bush stupid or dumb. But, with his picks for the world bank, Paul Wolfowitz, and UN envoy, John Bolton, can you call him anything but stupid or dumb? Hey, lets take two people who are disdainful of international institutions and make them the US's representatives... Freek'n brilliant.

I am sorry, but there is no defense of these choices. Bush is stupid.

Wolfowitz Tapped to Lead World Bank

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

ANWAR Floor Debate

The ANWAR vote is comming up at 1pm. I have just found out that the majority of the oil produced at ANWAR will be exported, not kept in the US. Thats right folks. The oil will be going to China instead of staying here to reduce gas prices.

Republicans Vote Down Return to Ethics Investigation

Yesterday, Republicans voted down a resolution proposed by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California to create a bipartisan task force to make recommendations to restore confidence in the ethics process, but Republicans tabled the measure 223-194.

Recently, Republicans single handily changed the Ethics Committee rules so violations can only be investigated if a member of the other party also is willing to investigate the allegation. Prior to this rule change, if the committee was split, there was automatically an investigation opened. This ensured that partisan politics did not get in the way of the commencement of an investigation. Now, if the committee is split, there is no investigation. This measure was enacted to protect the Republican 2nd in command, Tom Delay, who was admonished 3 times in as many months prior to the rule change.

Trade Deficit Hits All Time High

For everyone who is going around praising Bush for the growing economy, there is a huge looming fiscal collapse around the corner that he is doing nothing about. I am not a "sky is falling" type of person, but we are in serious trouble here. Medicare/Medicaid is a problem bigger than SSI (even though SSI is a problem in its own right). As long as the cost of health care raise faster than the economy grows, we can never catch up.

The national debt is also out of control and the trade deficit hit an all time high last year. One third of the foreign trade debt is from importation of oil. Opening up ANWAR will on produce 1% of what we consume. We need to focus on alternative energy sources now. We need to focus on health care now.

As Bush goes around touting a private SSI plan that does absolutely nothing to fix the problem, he should be focusing on the real economic crisis at hand - health care and our debt spending.

Trade Deficit Hits Record $665.9B in 2004


WASHINGTON - The United States deficit in the broadest measure of international trade soared to an all-time high of $665.9 billion in 2004, showing in stark terms the speed with which the country is becoming indebted to the rest of the world.

The Commerce Department (news - web sites) reported Wednesday that the shortfall in the current account was 25.5 percent higher than the previous record, the $530.7 billion deficit set in 2003. The department also noted that the deficit was worsening as the year ended with the shortfall in the fourth quarter hitting a record $187.9 billion, up 13.3 percent from the third quarter deficit.

The Bush administration contends the soaring trade deficits reflect a U.S. economy that is growing faster than the rest of the world, pushing up imports and dampening demand for U.S. exports. But private economists are worried that the huge level of resources being transferred into the hands of foreigners will eventually result in lower U.S. living standards.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Breaking News from CNN

Jury finds former CEO Bernie Ebbers guilty in connection with multi-billion dollar accounting scandal, collapse of Worldcom. Details soon.

You're next Kenny Boy!


Ebbers guilty
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Bernard Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, was found guilty Tuesday for his role in the mammoth accounting scandal that brought the company down two and half years ago.

A federal jury in New York, on its eighth day of deliberations, convicted Ebbers on all nine counts that he helped mastermind a $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom, now known as MCI.

Ebbers, 63, had been charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of securities fraud and seven counts of filing false statements with securities regulators. He faces up to 85 years in prison.


It has been quite amazing to me that the congress could be so hypocritical as to pass the bankruptcy reform legislation that tells all Americans, "ya'll better take responsibility for your own spending," but then keep spending taxpayers money, cutting taxes for the rich, and running up the hugest deficit in the nations history. Last year, there was a Senate proposed "pay-as-you-go" amendment which was backed by all the Democrats and four moderate Republicans. The "pay-as-you-go" plan required that all tax cuts be offset by reduction in spending elsewhere, so this plan was completely unacceptable to the Bush administration and the Republican House of Reps.

The "pay-as-you-go" amendment, which Sen.. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), opposed last year, but is now backing, will come up for a vote on Wednesday. Hopefully, Congress can be shamed into passing it this time after recently passing legislation that make it much harder for Americans to declare bankruptcy. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Voinovich Now Backs Pay-as-You-Go Budget

The Daily DeLay

For those who are following the ethics problems of the House's most powerful man.

DeLay's ethics woes could slow GOP plans

Monday, March 14, 2005

Run For the Hills Folks...

The wingnuts will be in quite a tizzy tonight. While, this will undoubtedly be sent to the California Supreme Court on appeal, this is a huge developement in the U.S.'s cultural war.

Update: Top ten reasons to ban gay marraige H/T DA

Judge Says Calif. Can't Ban Gay Marriage

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge ruled Monday that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, saying the state could no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman.

In the eagerly awaited opinion likely to be appealed to the state's highest court, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said that withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.

"It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," Kramer wrote.

The judge wrote that the state's historical definition of marriage, by itself, cannot justify the denial of equal protection for gays and lesbians.

"The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional," Kramer wrote.

Kramer ruled in lawsuits brought by the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couples last March. The suits were brought after the California Supreme Court halted a four-week marriage spree that Mayor Gavin Newsom had initiated in February 2004 when he directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians in defiance of state law.

The plaintiffs said withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians trespasses on the civil rights all citizens are guaranteed under the California Constitution.

(Full Story)

More on DeLay

The funny thing about politics is that loyalty goes only so far. It will be interesting to see what happens as more and more light gets shown on DeLay. No one is going to protect DeLay at the risk of their own seats.

DeLay Ethics Allegations Now Cause of GOP Concern

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Playing the Strings of Democracy

Ahhh... anyone remember the good old days when Americans were allowed to question the Presidents policies? Decent was still considered to be one of our constitutional rights. When "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" actually meant we could tell the President what we, the people, were really thinking.

Yes, I sit here reminiscing on those long past days of the pinnacle of our Democracy. But, alas, those days our gone. Now, you have to sign a loyalty oath to get within 100 yards of the president. If you disagree with anything he says, you will be swiftly escorted from the eyesight of our benevolent exalted one. Whether it be opposition to the war in Iraq, or a dislike for privatizing Social Security, you are deemed unworthy of being in his presence.

This somehow reminds me of something... but I can't quite put my finger on it... Oh yes!... It is like all of those "un-democratic" monstrosities that the President rails against. You know, the ones where the government plans all the gatherings and rallies to show support for that government. China, Syria, Iran, North Korea are names that come to mind. No other western democracy even comes close to the PR orchestra that the Bush administration does.

Bush: Much 'Educating' to Do on Soc. Sec.

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

SHREVEPORT, La. - In state after state along President Bush (news - web sites)'s Social Security (news - web sites) road campaign, hand-picked audiences cheer him, leaving the impression that the nation wholeheartedly backs his ideas for reform. The reality is different.

While a majority of Americans approve of Bush's handling of terrorism and foreign policy, just 37 percent like his approach to Social Security, an Associated Press poll found.

"I've got a lot of educating to do to convince people not only that we have a problem, but we need to come together and come up with a solution to Social Security," Bush conceded at the end of a two-day swing through Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

Bush has hosted Social Security events in 14 states since his Feb. 2 State of the Union address.

At each one, the audience lends supportive applause when he talks about the federal retirement system's solvency problems and his desire to let younger workers set up private retirement accounts.

Only when dissenters manage to slip into the presidential events and voice their disapproval is there an inkling of what opinion polls clearly show: Not everyone is on board.

At a stop earlier in the day in Memphis, Tenn., a young woman shouted "No" as Bush marketed his ideas onstage. The woman, one of four people who interrupted Bush's remarks, was escorted out of the event. A man in the crowd later shook his head and muttered aloud: "There's no guarantee. There's no guarantee," apparently in disagreement with Bush's proposals.

(Full Stroy)

DeLay... Again!

It can only be a matter of time before DeLay gets sidelined... Oh, wait. The Republicans have changed the Ethics Committee's rules so that won't happen. Hopefully, the voters of Houston have enough decency to throw him out. Even if it is another Republican they elect, DeLay needs to go.

Report: Gambling Co. Foots DeLay Junket
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay traveled to Britain with his wife, several aides and lobbyists on a $70,000 junket mostly paid for with money from an Indian tribe and a gambling services company, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Not long after the outing, Rep. DeLay, the second most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, played a key role in killing gaming-related legislation opposed by the company and tribe.

DeLay, R-Texas, reported in House financial disclosures that the weeklong May 2000 trip was paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit organization. However, the Post reported, lobbyist Jack Abramoff suggested the trip and arranged for two of his clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery Inc., to send checks to the center to cover the travel.

A lawyer for the tribe and an eLottery official said they were unaware the checks were meant to pay for the DeLay trip, which included golf at Scotland's legendary St. Andrews course.

Edwin J. McGuinn, the president of eLot Inc., parent of eLottery, told the Post, "It certainly was our impression that any and all moneys were being positioned to get the attention and focus of our cause."

The newspaper's review of documents related to the trip found the dates on the two checks coincided with the day DeLay's party left on their trip. The Choctaw and eLottery each sent a $25,000 check, the Post found.

(Full Story)

Friday, March 11, 2005

No More Rules

No more ethics rules in the House. The Democrats have shut down the ethics committee. Why? Because they are refusing to sign off on new rules pushed by the Republicans that would make it next to impossible to ever investigate ethics violations. What Republicans don't seem to realize is that, while they will be able to protect Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, they will not be able to investigate any misdoings by Democrats either.

After DeLay was admonished three times in a row by the bipartisan committee, House Speaker, Dennis Hastert, replaced and "independent minded" Republicans on the ethics committee with Republicans who will be loyal to the Hammer.

I am glad the the Democrats are stonewalling the Republicans on this one. Congress needs more accountability, not less.

House Ethics Panel in Gridlock

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 11, 2005; Page A02

The House, facing new controversy about the travel of Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other lawmakers, was left last night with no mechanism for investigating improper behavior by its members when Democrats shut down the ethics committee by refusing to accept Republican rules changes that restrict the panel's power.

Democrats said they do not plan to allow the ethics committee to organize until Republicans repeal a series of rule changes they pushed through in January, making it more difficult to initiate an investigation unless at least one Republican member supports the probe.

The committee met in secret for 2 1/2 hours. It was the first meeting since House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) replaced the chairman and two other members with lawmakers more loyal to the leadership. "These rules undermine the ability of the committee to do its job," Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.), the panel's top Democrat, said in an interview after a 5 to 5 vote that stalemated action. "An ethics committee has to do a good job if it's going to do any job at all."

The standoff followed a Washington Post report that DeLay accepted a trip to South Korea in 2001 from a group that had registered as a foreign agent. House rules prohibit members from taking gifts from such groups. The ethics committee has admonished DeLay three times in the past year for official misconduct, and some ethics experts believe that the latest revelation could trigger another investigation.

Justice Department documents show that the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a business-financed entity, registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on Aug. 22, 2001. DeLay; his wife, Christine; and two other Republican lawmakers departed on a trip financed by the group on Aug. 25 of that year.

(Full Story)

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

The former New Hampshire Republican Party executive director Charles "Chuck" McGee has plead guilty to a felony charge for masterminding a scheme to jam Democratic GOTV phone lines during the 2002 elections. Despite a plea for leniency by Democratic Party chair Kathleen Sullivan, McGee was sent up the river for "seven monts in a federal minimum security prison and fined $2000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service."

(Full Story)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Promise to My Grandfather

This is a diary from Daily Kos titled "A Promise to My Grandfather: A Follow Up." It is a very good post I was put onto by American On Line and Maxed Out Mama

Note: there is a good discussion on the meaning of this post over at SC & A

Good News - Bad News

Luckily for the millions of American children, the Clear Skies Initiative will never make it out of committee. It has died a peaceful death. Hopefully, Bush will not try to resurrect it like he has tried to resurrect his judicial nominees.

In the first defeat of his second term, Bush's pollution bill dies in Senate

Unluckily for the millions of American children (at least the middle class and poor ones) the Republicans are still in control of the government. they plan on giving more tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations while they cut every social program in sight. This includes billions of dollars in spending cuts for veterans, agriculture, education and health care programs, while making room for as much as $106 billion in tax reductions over the next five years.

GOP Lawmakers Present Tax-Cutting Budgets

It Just Doesn't Stop For DeLay

More and more and more. The abuses by DeLay seem to go on for miles. Now, it looks like he was taking money from foreign lobbyists. But, to be fair, it appears that there were three other Republicans and three Democrats who also benefited.

S. Korean Group Sponsored DeLay Trip

By Mike Allen and R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page A01

A delegation of Republican House members including Majority Leader Tom DeLay accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea in 2001 from a registered foreign agent despite House rules that bar the acceptance of travel expenses from foreign agents, according to government documents and travel reports filed by the House members.

Justice Department documents show that the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a business-financed entity created with help from a lobbying firm headed by DeLay's former chief of staff, registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on Aug. 22, 2001. DeLay; his wife, Christine; and two other Republican lawmakers departed on a trip financed by the group on Aug. 25 of that year.

The exchange group in late 2003 hosted three Democratic House members and another Republican on a similar trip. It spent at least $106,921 to finance the three-day trip in 2001 from Washington to Seoul by the Republicans, which DeLay (Tex.) and accompanying staff assistants described at the time as having an "educational" purpose.

DeLay's aides said yesterday that the congressman did not learn of the group's registration until this week. "There's no way we could have known, and they didn't inform us of the fact that their status changed," said DeLay's communications director, Dan Allen.

The Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives on Gifts and Travel state that "a Member, officer or employee may not accept travel expenses from 'a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal.' "

(Full Story)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

An Ann Fan

She's my hero Posted by Hello

Ann Coulter does it again... how she has kept her grip on conservative Americans continues to baffle me. How you wingnuts can defend this bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-American is beyond me.

I knew of her for a while, but my first real exposure to her was right after 9/11 when she said that we needed to go to the middle east, "invade their countries, kill their leaders and make them all Christians." I kept waiting for her to bust out laughing and say, "na, na... I'm just kidding. Not even I am that hypocritical." But, she didn't.

Another good one was when she weighed in on the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance featuring singers Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake

"And last year's Super Bowl show, ooh, simulated interracial sex."

While the rest of America was fixated on Janet's boob, Ann was fixated on the fact that there was a white man and a black woman.

But, my all time favorite quote from Ann was when she talked about America's worst domestically grown terrorist. Coulter said in a 2002 interview that,

"[m]y only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building,"

Wow! That's what I call a patriot. Someone who condones terrorism... as long as it is against those nasty liberal New Yorkers. Talk about giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Hey, terrorists, it ok if you blow something up in America... just choose your target better.

Now she is getting into the racial slurs again while defending Jeff Gannon.

Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president.

Take a look at Helen Thomas. This woman started covering the white house while GW was still doing lines of coke in a Yale bathroom. Just because of her ethnic heritage is middle eastern does not make her a terrorists and I highly doubt she poses any threat to the president. Yeah, she could probably take Dubya in a one-on-one match up, but I am sure there is enough Secret Service around him to keep that from happening.

Ossama's sleeper agent Posted by Hello

I am not one for censorship, but if you are a right-winger, take Ann Coulter off your link list. The first thing I look at on a conservative blog is their link list. If Ann is on there, I know the blogger is probably as nutty as Ann.

UPDATE: For all of you wingnuts out there that insist on worshiping at the alter of the Dark Mistress, here is something for you to play with. Yes, that is right (but yet so wrong), your very own Ann Coulter play doll. This is where I found yet another classic quote.

Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except islam post 9/11. Even islamic terrorists don't hate America as much as liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they would have indoor plumbing by now.

She is just a gem, ain't she?
Have fun.

Daily Show: The Secrets of New Journalism Success

Here is a link to the Jon Stewart's Daily Show peice on blogging. It is good for an afternoon laugh.

Those Rat Bastards

As if the slaughter of 3000 innocent lives was not enough.

Was al Qaeda targeting Russell Crowe?


Seeing the Forest

Thank you Mr. Graham! Finally someone in the government is waking up and seeing this as it is. Whether or not there are privatized accounts, the fiscal crisis for social security remains. The Baby boomers will retire and Bush's plan does absolutely nothing to fix the current crisis.

Graham Says GOP Erred By Focusing on Accounts
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page A08

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who has spent weeks attempting to recruit Democratic support for a plan to restructure Social Security, said yesterday that Republicans "made a strategic mistake" by initially focusing on a proposal to create individual investment accounts.

The accounts, the centerpiece of President Bush's proposal, would benefit young and poorer workers by letting them use compound interest to help make up for any benefit reductions, Graham said. But he said the accounts, by themselves, will not fix the solvency problem Social Security faces as baby boomers begin to retire.

"We've now got this huge fight over a sideshow," Graham said during a meeting with Washington Post reporters and editors. "It's always been a sideshow, but we sold it as the main event. [Critics are] attacking it as the undoing of Social Security. That's what frustrates me -- that we're off in a ditch over a sideshow, and there's plenty of blame to go around."

The House will take its first formal step toward a Social Security bill today when Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) holds a hearing about the future of the benefits system. The session will feature testimony from Comptroller General David M. Walker, who heads the Government Accountability Office, and two trustees of the Social Security system, Thomas R. Saving and John L. Palmer.

Graham's comments echoed those of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who said last week that he wants to encourage Democrats to participate in the debate by first focusing on solvency questions and later taking up the issue of individual accounts.

Graham, who is advancing an alternative to Bush's plan, suggested the same tack. "Let's have a conversation along these lines: Let's make a commitment to permanently find solvency, and see where we go," he said. "Set the accounts aside for a moment. Let's see if we can find solvency."

(Full Story)

Not So Fast There, Hot Shot

Conservatives will never cease to amaze me in what they allow the Bush administration to take credit for. First, Bush bitterly opposed the 9/11 commission and then took credit for its findings. Then Bush bitterly fought against the Department of Homeland Security then took credit for creating it. Now, the administration and conservatives alike are trying to take credit for the pull out of the Syrian army from Lebanon and the elections in the West Bank.

First, the movement by Lebanon for self rule started way before Bush ever flip flopped on the idea of nation building. While Bush was still shredding documents, Lebanese business leaders were already calling for self determination. Syrian rule has seriously hampered Lebanon's economic growth. The war in Iraq did not trigger this sudden outcry... It was the assassination of their former Prime Minister. Unless Bush was the one behind that, he cannot take credit.

Second, is the elections in "Palestine." This again, had nothing to do with Bush. It was because Arafat finally bought the farm. If Arafat was still alive, there would have been no elections. Once again, unless Bush was behind Arafat's death, no credit is due.

So, Neo-Cons, please stop patting yourself on the back for something you had nothing to do with.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

No Soup For You

The Senate missed a chance to show real values by passing a raise in the minimum wage. Both the Republican and Democratic proposals were defeated yesterday. So, the minimum wage continues to be below the national poverty limit. And, unlike Rush Limbaugh asserts, 75% of people who are earning minimum wage are not high school students.

Senate Defeats Minimum Wage Increase

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON - The Senate defeated dueling proposals Monday to raise the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage — one backed by organized labor, the other salted with pro-business provisions — in a day of skirmishing that reflected Republican gains in last fall's elections.

Both plans fell well short of the 60 votes needed to advance, and signaled that prospects for raising the federal wage floor, unchanged since 1996, are remote during the current two-year Congress.

"I believe that anyone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year should not live in poverty in the richest country in the world," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., arguing for the Democratic proposal to increase the minimum wage by $2.10 over the next 26 months.

Republicans countered with a smaller increase, $1.10 in two steps over 18 months, they said would help workers without hampering the creation of jobs needed to help those with low skills. "Wages do not cause sales. Sales are needed to provide wages. Wages do not cause revenue. Revenue drives wages," said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

The Democratic amendment was defeated, with 46 votes for and 49 against. The GOP alternative fell by a wider margin, 38 for and 61 against.

While the outcome was never in doubt, Democrats said in advance they hoped to use the issue to increases chances for passage of state minimum wage initiatives in 2006, as well as to highlight differences with Republicans who will be on the ballot next year.

Kennedy accused Republicans of advancing a "deeper poverty agenda" for the poor by including several provisions to cut long-standing wage and overtime protections for millions of Americans. He took particular aim at Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., a conservative who is atop the Democratic target list for 2006 and the lead supporter of the GOP minimum wage alternative.

"The senator from Pennsylvania has a record of opposing increases in the minimum wage," Kennedy said. "He has voted against it at least 17 times in the last 10 years."

"I have not had any ideological problem with the minimum wage, " Santorum responded, adding he voted for the last increase to clear Congress, in 1996. He said the other elements of the GOP plan were designed to help small businesses and give workers more flexibility in their work schedule, and not, as Kennedy said, weaken their rights.

Democrats sought minimum wage increases in three steps of 70 cents each, to $7.25. Republicans countered with raises in two steps of 55 cents apiece, to $6.25, as well as several pro-business provisions.

These include an option for employees to work up to 80 hours over two weeks without qualifying for overtime pay; a provision restricting the ability of states to raise the minimum wage for restaurant employees; and waiving wage and overtime rules for workers in some small businesses now covered.

(Full Story)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Darfur Action Committee Report

“Where are the men seized in This Wind of Madness?” is the question asked by Sao Tome poet Alda do Espirito Santo. Although written about another war at a different time and place in Africa, Santo’s words are profoundly relevant to today’s conflict in Sudan. For black Sudanese to weather the storm of killing in Western Sudan, political and military leaders in Khartoum and the desert highwaymen of Darfur must be made to realize that their lives, liberty, and fortunes are subject to certain forfeit for their crimes.
Rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan began an uprising in February 2003 after years of skirmishes between mainly African farmers and Arab nomads over land and water in the arid area. The Islamist government turned to militias, drawn chiefly from the nomadic Arab population, to help suppress the rebels. The militias, known as the Janjaweed, have committed widespread atrocities against African villagers uprooting more than 2 million people, who have fled to other regions in Sudan or across the border to Chad. The British government and others estimate that up to 300,000 civilians have died in Darfur since fighting broke out. Moreover, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 Internally Displaced Persons (“IDPs”) are dying every day from disease and malnutrition in dozens of makeshift refugee camps.
Time is rapidly running out for the 1.85 million IDPs in Darfur and the 213,000 refugees who have fled to Chad. The following actions are urgently needed to alleviate what the United Nations - prior to the Indian Ocean tsunami - termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
· Provide Food Aid. The malnutrition situation remains fragile and well beyond emergency thresholds for the IDPs living in 148 makeshift refugee camps in Darfur. Global acute malnutrition rates are at 21.8% with 3.9% severe malnourishment. We implore the Senate to pass, and President Bush to sign into law, the authorization for $150 million in emergency humanitarian [food] aid to Sudan which is contained in H.R. 1268. We also urge the President to accelerate the release of previously authorized humanitarian assistance funds earmarked for Darfur.
· Protect Aid Workers. Even if funding targets for the provision of food aid are met, security and logistical problems will remain daunting. In December 2004, Save the Children, U.K., a major relief organization, pulled out of the region completely after four of its staff were killed in Darfur, where it provided health care, food support, child protection and education to some 250,000 children and family members. More recently, according to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, incidents of banditry have been on the rise in western Darfur. In addition to these dangers, Darfur is a difficult context in which to operate logistically with minimal infrastructure throughout the region. As a quick and inexpensive solution to the security problem, we urge that U.S. government funding be earmarked to provide armed civilian security contractors to “ride shotgun” with humanitarian food convoys. To overcome environmental obstacles, we further urge the U.S. to provide aid agencies with additional means of air transport (e.g. helicopters).
· Devise a Peacekeeping Strategy: A well thought out peacekeeping strategy must be devised taking into account the mission statement, rules of engagement, cost, and political factors.
· Impose Limited Sanctions. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1591 adopted on March 29, 2005 imposes an arms embargo on Sudan and places a travel ban and asset freeze on Sudanese government officials. Legislation pending in both the House and Senate also calls for travel bans and assert freezes. These targeted sanctions will not harm the general civilian population of Sudan and might influence Khartoum to comply with world community demands. Accordingly we support pending legislation to the extent that it provides for implementation of these measures.
· Prosecute War Crimes. There must be diligent prosecution of war criminals in the International Criminal Court in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1593 adopted on April 1, 2005. Specifically, the Prosecutor should forthwith investigate, and if appropriate, indict 51 alleged war criminals referred to the U.N. Secretary General by the International Commission of Inquiry on February 1, 2005. At the dawn of the 21st century with the memory of the Holocaust and more recent genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia fresh in our collective psyche, the unequivocal response to those who would perpetrate crimes against humanity in Darfur must be that there is no place on earth where they can escape the reach of justice.
· Negotiate a Political Settlement. Although humanitarian aid is desperately needed in the short run, a long-term political solution is key to resolving the catastrophe in Darfur. President George W. Bush is generally credited with having rejuvenated the north-south multilateral peace process largely through the efforts of his special envoy to Sudan, John Danforth. Those efforts resulted in a comprehensive settlement of the 20-year civil war in Sudan between the north and the south. Robust U.S. leadership and engagement is now likewise absolutely crucial to the success of the peace negotiations taking place in Abuja, Nigeria between Khartoum and the Darfur rebels.
The problems in Darfur are complex and not susceptible of easy resolution. We are absolutely convinced, however, that the foregoing measures, described in greater detail below, can restore an air of sanity to this troubled region if implemented with the urgency required.

The tragedy in Darfur has played itself out as an increasingly critical side-show to a decades long battle for control of the country of Sudan. From the time the British granted Sudan its independence in 1956, a series of coups and elections have put Sudan under the control of military dictatorships, extreme right wing governments, and briefly a communist government. Generally, regardless of who was in control, the Sudan government heavily favored the Muslim population.

The fight between the Muslim oriented government and southern rebels who represented the mostly non-Muslim south of Sudan began before independence and abated in the early 1970s. Then, in 1983, the government of Sudan attempted to impose Muslim law on the entire country. The predominantly Christian non-Muslims in the south saw that as a betrayal and the civil war flared up again. The major player for the southern rebellion has been the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army (“SPLM/A”) led by John Garang. Because there were many Christian casualties among the southern population during the civil war, the U.S., prompted by Christian missionary agencies, became interested in the conflict and used its diplomatic power to try to bring about a settlement between the central government and the southern rebels.

Darfur, formerly an autonomous sultanate, was conquered by Britain in 1916 and incorporated into Sudan. It is located in the western part of Sudan, and varies geographically from desert in the north to grasslands in the south. Darfur covers about one-fifth of Sudan’s territory and has approximately six million people, one-seventh of Sudan’s population. It includes a mixture of Arab and non-Arab ethnic groups, both of which are predominantly Muslim, and virtually all of whom are dark-skinned. The ties of the Arab and non-Arab groups to their Arab and African tribal roots are extremely strong.

The Arabs are mostly nomadic, herding camels in the desert north and cattle in the southern grasslands. The Africans, including the Fur, Zaghawa, Daaju and Massalit, the largest tribes, live in western Darfur and tend to farm although the African Zaghawa tribe who live in the north of Darfur, where there is also a significant Arab population, herd cattle and move south with their herds at harvest time.

A drought that began in the 1980s turned much of Darfur’s grasslands into desert. As the area occupied by the Sahara expanded, the competition for water, grazing rights, and prized agricultural land intensified. Northern herding tribes were driven further south and west in search of grasslands. In the north, Arab herders resented the Zaghawas’ encroachment onto the Arabs’ diminishing grazing lands. African farmers in the west, who were just beginning to utilize tractors and other mechanized farming equipment to make their land more productive, resented the encroachment by Arab nomads from the north who trampled farms in search of pasture and water for their cattle and horses. The farmers began to impede the migrations. The tribes began increasingly violent feuding over the scarce resources. In the meantime, Arabs began coming in from countries to the west, exacerbating the feuds. The Sudan government did nothing to defuse the tensions.

Disputes over land had always been common. Tribal leaders traditionally mediated those disputes, and their decisions previously had been respected in Khartoum. The government of Sudan had weakened the old tribal administration system, replacing it with state institutions that were not trusted enough by the people to be able to resolve the economic and ethnic disputes that were growing. As the tribes became more polarized, they resorted to armed conflict.

In 1986, Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi had armed the ethnic-Arab tribes of Darfur and enlisted them to fight Garang’s SPLM/A. After helping the government of Sudan beat back an SPLM/A attack in Darfur in 1991, one of the armed Arab tribes sought to resolve ancient disputes over land and water rights in the Darfur region by attacking the Zaghawa, Fur, and Massalit peoples. Thousands of non-Arabs and hundreds of Arabs were killed, tens of thousands of cattle were lost, more than six hundred villages were burned, and hundreds of Arab tents were burned. A 1989 inter-tribal conference came up with recommendations for compensation and punishment that were largely unheeded, leaving strong grievances.

Despite the fact that both Arab and non-Arab factions were culpable, the Sudanese government sided with the Arabs, encouraging the formation of an “Arab Alliance” in Darfur to keep non-Arab ethnic groups in check. Weapons flowed into Darfur and the conflict spread. After President Bashir seized power in 1989, the new government disarmed non-Arab ethnic groups but allowed politically loyal Arab allies to keep their weapons.
Sudan’s central government had neglected Darfur, providing inadequately for roads, schools, hospitals, civil servants or communications facilities. Most top posts were awarded to local Arabs even though Africans thought themselves to be in the majority. The violence against African tribes escalated. Ethnic Africans and others in Darfur appealed to the Sudan government to include their concerns in the U.S.-backed peace process that was under way to resolve the dispute between the northern and southern regions of Sudan. When that effort failed, African tribal activists believed that only taking up arms, as Garang had done in the south, would allow them to get world attention.

In February of 2003, the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (the “SLM/A”) was formed, with a force of about 4,000 rebels, to act on the grievances of the African population of Darfur, and to a lesser degree, the grievances of the population of Darfur as a whole. The Justice and Equality Movement, with fewer than 1,000 rebels, had been established in 2002 but later joined the SLM/A in several campaigns against government forces. At first, the SLM/A appealed to both Africans and Arabs, going so far as to appoint an Arab as commander of the SLA in south Darfur. The SLM/A described its goals in terms meant to appeal to the broadest cross-section of Darfur: to protest “policies of marginalization, racial discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, and divisiveness” with the goal of creating “a united democratic Sudan on a new basis of equality, complete restructuring and devolution of power, even development, cultural and political pluralism and moral and material prosperity for all Sudanese.” On April 12, 2003, Sudan’s President Bashir downplayed the SLM/A’s rebellion, calling it “acts of armed banditry.”

Two weeks later, on April 25, 2003, the SLM/A made a major raid on a Sudanese military air field in El Fashar, killing a hundred soldiers, destroying airplanes and helicopters, stealing weapons, ammunition and vehicles, and kidnapping the head of the Sudanese Air Force. The government of Sudan then decided to treat the SLM/A as a major threat.
The government strategy, employed against Garang and his rebel allies in the south of Sudan, had been to bomb from the air and employ Arab tribesmen to launch raids on the ground. In the fighting which erupted in the West, the regular army could not be trusted to fight against their neighbors and families because a majority of Sudan’s army troops were from Darfur. So the Sudanese government called on Darfur’s Arab tribal leaders to defend their homeland against the SLM/A rebels. In a move later regretted by Sudanese leadership, the Sudanese government called on Musa Hilal, sheikh of his Arab tribe, to lead the Arab militias. His selection was problematic because he had recently been prosecuted, imprisoned and banished from Darfur for among other reasons, having been a long-time instigator of skirmishes by the Arabs against the Fur and other African tribes. With arms and funds from the government, he set up a training camp for militias that were to be part of or associated with the Popular Defense Forces (non-military groups utilized by the government to fight rebels) and rallied Arabs to the cause of suppressing the SLM/A rebellion and populating all of Darfur with Arabs. The Arab militias organized by Hilal and others, referred to by many as the “Janjaweed” (Arabic for horse and gun), have participated in pillaging, looting and raping in Darfur, and together with the Sudanese Air Force and Army, with whom they often carry out their attacks, have killed as many as 300,000 Darfur residents, destroyed 400 villages and caused more than 1.85 million people to flee from their homes to refugee camps in Sudan and 213,000 to escape to neighboring Chad. According to press and NGO reports, the Sudan government has given Janjaweed recruits salaries, communication equipment, arms, and identity cards.

The Janjaweed, along with other armed outlaw groups, continue to terrorize and destroy African villages and often attack people who leave the refugee camps, killing the men and raping the women. The Janjaweed and other outlaw groups have at times made it difficult to deliver necessary food and aid to the refugee camps. On December 21, 2004, Save the Children, U.K., suspended relief operations in Darfur after four of its staff were killed and less than a week later, the U.N. World Food Programme temporarily halted operations because of the violence.
The Sudanese government has not cooperated in acting against the militias nor has it provided information about militia leadership to the United Nations, as requested.

A. Historical Funding Levels

A total of $1.14 billion has been contributed towards the Darfur crisis from the international community since September 2003. This covers contributions to U.N. agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross in Chad and Darfur and contributions to the African Union ceasefire-monitoring mission, the latter amounting to $176 million. Out of the total amount $ 824 million is registered as cash contributions and $313 million as in-kind contributions.
The United States was the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Darfur in 2004, accounting for 33% of total funding, followed by the European Commission with 17%, and the United Kingdom with 14%.
The food sector was the largest recipient of funds accounting for close to 35% of the total funds for the Darfur crisis, followed by health with 7% of the total funding, coordination and support services with 7%, shelter and non-food items with 4%, and water and sanitation with 3% of the total funding. Donors also funded multisectoral activities amounting to close to 24% of the total funding.
Although a humanitarian catastrophe was averted in 2004, the outlook for 2005 remains very poor. While the presence of humanitarian providers has increased considerably, the increases in assistance have not been enough to keep up with the increase in needs.
B. OCHA 2005 Work Plan
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (“OCHA”) in its 2005 Work Plan for the Sudan (the “Work Plan”) lists the following humanitarian challenges in Darfur:
· Food Security and livelihoods: An estimated 465,000 households in Darfur will be in need of agricultural assistance early in 2005 due to crop failure. Without such assistance, food aid will continue to be needed in large quantities. In addition, 90% of Internally Displaced Persons (“IDPs”) have lost their livestock, which hampers income generation, water gathering and hinders return.
· Food aid: In September 2004, 70% of IDPs and conflict-affected residents received some form of food assistance. Increasing numbers of people are becoming dependent on food aid, including 1.4 million IDPs and 21% of residents. Another 26% of the resident population requires close monitoring.
· Malnutrition: The malnutrition situation remains fragile and well beyond emergency thresholds. Global Acute Malnutrition (“GAM”) rates are at 21.8%, with 3.9% severe malnourishment. Among the affected population an estimated 50,000 children will be in need of supplementary feeding programs and a further 9,000 will be in need of therapeutic feeding programs.
· Water and sanitation: About 60% of IDPs and conflict-affected residents do not have access to safe drinking water. Some 70% do not have access to sanitary means of excreta disposal.
· Health: 48 of an estimated 148 IDP locations are covered by one or more primary health care centres, serving around 70% of the war-affected population. The main morbidities are malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infections. There were two main disease outbreaks in 2004; Hepatitis E, with nearly 12,300 clinically diagnosed cases and 142 deaths, and Shigellosis dysentery type 1, with 68 deaths out of 42,700 reported cases. Strengthening of surveillance and management of communicable disease outbreaks remain a priority as does routine immunization.

OCHA’s 2005 U.N. food aid project will be carried out under the aegis of the U.N. World Food Programme (“WFP”). WFP’s principal objectives are to:
(i) ensure that the basic food needs of vulnerable populations affected by conflict and drought are met, thereby saving lives; and
(ii) improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups by reducing and maintaining GAM rates below 15%.
In the 2005 Work Plan, the United Nations and its partners requested $1.56 billion to meet needs in Sudan in 2005, with $691 million of the sum required for activities in Darfur. As of March 4, 2005, a total of $345 million had been provided by donors, of which $256 million has been dedicated to support the United Nations Work Plan projects in Darfur. Although this response has been positive, it remains insufficient. In addition, with $240 million of the total sum allocated for food aid, donors have not concentrated on other equally important sectors, such as shelter and non-food items. In order to prevent funding shortfalls, the United Nations has produced a timeline for requirements within the Work Plan during 2005. According to the timeline projection, a total of $322 million was required for United Nations activities in Darfur by the end of January 2005. Unfortunately, this funding target was not met.
However, the good news is that despite funding shortfalls, food assistance is generally being provided according to the schedule contained in the Work Plan so far this year. WFP reported that, as of March 6, 2005, a total of 7,963 metric tons (“MT”) of food were dispatched by road and air from Khartoum and El Obeid to the Darfur state capitals, representing 22 percent (or approximately the amount required to be delivered that week) of the monthly distribution plan of 36,795 MT and 18 percent of the overall monthly dispatch plan of 43,120 MT. WFP is currently pre-positioning commodities in West Darfur in advance of the rainy season to prevent the disruption of food distributions.
C. U.S. Government Aid
As of March 11, 2005, $329 million in aid had been provided by the U.S. in this Fiscal Year.
In March , 2005, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed H.R. 1268 (an emergency supplemental appropriations bill), which among its many other appropriation provisions restores $150 million in emergency humanitarian [food] aid to Sudan. The bill is now being considered by the Senate.
The WFP reported on March 9, 2005, that two vessels containing a total of 65,847 MT of wheat provided by the USAID Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) through the Bill Emerson Trust arrived in Sudan in February, 2005.
The following charts summarize U.S. government assistance to Darfur and Chad in Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005 as of March 11, 2005. A list of abbreviations follows the charts.

ACF – Administration for Children and Families
WFP – United Nations World Food Programme
IRC – International Rescue Committee
ACTED – Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
ARC – American Refugee Committee
CRS – Catholic Relief Services
CHF – CHF International (Community, Habitat and Finance)
IMC – International Medical Corps
Medair – Medical Environmental Development with Air Assistance
MCI – Mercy Corps International
SC/UK – Save the Children/UK
SC/US – Save the Children/US
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
UNFAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
UNICEF – United Nations Children Fund
UNJLC – United Nations Joint Logistics Centre
OCHA – U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UNSECOORD – United Nations Security Coordinator
WHO – World Health Organization
ICRC – International Committee of the Red Cross
Air Serv – Air Serv International

The following map shows the location of U.S. government funded humanitarian programs in Darfur.

Source: USAID
D. Security and Environmental Challenges to Provision of Food Aid
Lack of security continues to hamper the effective distribution of food this year as was the case in 2004. According to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, incidents of banditry are on the rise in West Darfur. On March 8, 2005 two NGO vehicles were stopped outside Habila by armed attackers on horseback who looted the vehicles. On March 10, 2005 two humanitarian vehicles were stopped on the road between Geneina and Kerenik. One vehicle was allowed to proceed; however, money and communications equipment were stolen in North Darfur during that week. In the first incident, a driver en route from El Fasher to El Obeid escaped after his truck was fired upon. The truck, which was empty, remains missing. In the second incident, eight leased trucks were stolen in Al Kuma near Um Kadada. Four of these trucks were loaded with WFP commodities. In the third incident, three leased trucks that were empty were stolen in Sherif Katashi. One driver was injured and the convoy leader was detained.
In December 2004, Save the Children, U.K., a major relief organization, pulled out of the region completely after four of its staff were killed in Darfur, where it provided health care, food support, child protection and education to some 250,000 children and family members. Less than a week later, the WFP stopped its deliveries temporarily when rebels attacked police stations in the neighboring state of West Kordofan. Road closures prevented 70 trucks carrying rations for some 260,000 people from reaching Darfur.
WFP reports that it is preparing to deploy an additional six “security professionals” to perform “security assessments” from March to June 2005. The “security assessment” is intended to assist in the expansion of WFP food assistance, which is currently distributed predominately in IDP locations.
In addition to security concerns, food delivery efforts are hampered by the physical environment of the region. Darfur is a difficult context in which to operate logistically, with minimal infrastructure throughout the region. Darfur’s only paved roads connect the three state capitals. During the rainy season, sections of these roads become impassable. Taking into account the large distances to travel, the remote and dispersed location of much of the population, and the effect of the rainy season, air operations are essential in order to provide uninterrupted humanitarian assistance. Air operations are minimized as much as possible outside of the rainy season via the provision of a common trucking service. As part of its nationwide program to rehabilitate transport infrastructure, WFP plans to rehabilitate the Er-Rahad/Nyala rail corridor this year to reduce transport costs of humanitarian aid. However, if IDPs and conflict-affected persons are to receive services during the rainy season, a large and flexible (e.g. helicopter) air fleet will remain a necessity.
E. Remedial Actions
We strongly urge the Senate to pass, and President Bush to sign into law, the authorization for $150 million in emergency humanitarian [food] aid to Sudan which is contained in H.R. 1268. We also urge the president to accelerate the release of humanitarian assistance funds earmarked for Darfur that have been already authorized by prior legislation. Even if funding targets for the provision of food aid keep pace with levels projected in the Work Plan, security and logistical problems will remain daunting. To address these problems, we would recommend that U.S. government funding be allocated to provide armed civilian security contractors to “ride shotgun” with WFP food convoys and to provide the WFP with additional means of air transport (e.g. helicopters). As noted above, $176 million has been provided by the international community since 2003 to support A.U. ceasefire monitoring efforts. However, as of March 4, 2005, this expenditure had resulted in the deployment of only 1,405 A.U. soldiers. By contrast, only $1 million has been earmarked in 2005 by U.S. AID for emergency food airlift operations. Serious questions must be asked about the priorities reflected in this allocation of resources. The A.U. has no real mandate or inclination to provide security to IDPs or humanitarian aid workers. The organization has been extremely slow to deploy its promised 3,500 troops. Furthermore, it has been quick to blame its lackluster efforts on inadequate U.S. logistical support and funding, according to anecdotal reports from the field.
While civilian security contractors would probably be no match for coordinated military attacks, they would likely discourage disorganized opportunistic bandits and common criminals who seem to pose the greatest threat to humanitarian food deliveries at this time. It is to be noted that the U.S. relied almost exclusively on civilian security contractors to successfully safeguard Ambassador Paul Bremmer during his entire tenure in Iraq. Delivery of food by helicopters instead of by truck would reduce both security and environmental obstacles.

Estimates of the number of troops needed to constitute an effective peacekeeping force in Darfur vary widely. Professor Eric Reeves of Smith College has written that “authoritative military assessments” put the number at 50,000. The African Union has agreed to provide 3,500 soldiers, although only 1,405 troops had been deployed as of March 4, 2005.
On March 24, 2005, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to send 10,000 troops and more than 700 civilian police to southern Sudan for an initial period of six months to support the peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A, which ended more than two decades of civil strife between the north and south .
After considerable analysis and discussion, it has become apparent that it is virtually impossible to come up with any meaningful estimate of the number of troops or their makeup, that would be required. The refugee problem is complicated by the sheer magnitude of the number of people involved (1.85 million), the complicity of the Khartoum government in the terroristic activities of the Janjaweed militias, the sabotaging by the militias of relief activities, (including the murder of unarmed relief workers), the geographic location of the camps, and the harsh climatic conditions prevailing in the area. To suggest a number at this point would be completely arbitrary, given the limited information available regarding the overall situation.
A number of factors need to be evaluated before even considering the deployment of a peacekeeping force. A few of them are as follows:
1. The reaction of the Sudanese government to the insertion of a peacekeeping team into their state. Without their approval and support, it is likely that any peacekeeping effort by a third party force must fail. The government would have to commit at the very least to adopting a neutral position and “no fly” zones over the camps and areas in which the force would be stationed. Given their actions to date, this may not be a realistic expectation. Without Khartoum’s approval, the peacekeepers could find themselves in another Mogadishu.

2. The reaction of the other African nations to the concept of a peacekeeping force. Would they support such a proposal or regard an action of this nature as a blow to the sovereignty of the nations of Africa?

3. Who would provide the troops and support personnel, in what numbers, and for what length of time? The United States, which is one of the few nations in the world that can project and support armed forces in foreign locations, is stretched to the breaking point by its present commitments around the world, most notably in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is hard to imagine another nation taking the lead in sponsoring a peacekeeping force in Darfur, although for political reasons an alternative force may be necessary. A United Nations sponsored group may be the only answer. Regardless of the source of the unit, the nation or group providing the troops will determine the number it is willing to commit, and for what length of time.

4. What is the mission statement of the peacekeeping unit? Is it to patrol actively and defend the refugees and relief workers aggressively, or is it merely to observe and monitor the situation?

5. What are the rules of engagement? Given the savagery exhibited by the janjaweed to date, this needs to be spelled out clearly. Even a passive monitoring force has to have the ability to defend itself. When the shooting starts, what do the peacekeepers do?

6. How will the cost of the peacekeeping effort be funded? This is a critical question. Who foots the bill and for how much? As stated in Section III A above, $176 million has been contributed to the A.U. ceasefire monitoring mission by the international community.

7. A peacekeeping force must integrate its actions with diplomatic efforts to relieve the existing situation. In the long run, diplomatic efforts by the U.S., Great Britain, and other nations, coupled with international pressure on the government of the Sudan, may offer the best hope for bettering the refugees’ situation.

8. What is the exit strategy? If a force is provided, what is the time frame projected for its involvement and when and how does it extricate itself from the country.

Given the fact that the Sudanese government has not acted against the Janjaweed militias, has provided them with arms and monetary support, has not provided information on the size of the militia units, their leadership, or government troop units in the area, and generally appears predisposed to continue the suppression and elimination of its African citizens, it is probably unrealistic to think that a peacekeeping unit of sufficient size and possessing the armament necessary to defend the IPDs effectively can be deployed in Sudan at this time. The Blair five point program (discussed below), while recommending only a limited number of 3,500 African Union troops as monitors, may be most workable proposed troop deployment plan.


Sanctions can take many forms, including restrictions on the importation and exportation of non-military goods and services, restrictions on capital investment, restrictions on arms and arms technology imports, targeted restrictions on travel, and asset freezes on specified individuals. Given the importance of oil to Sudan, most of this discussion on sanctions involves Sudan’s oil. However, other types of sanctions are also discussed.

A. The Role of Oil in Sudan
Oil exploration in Sudan began in the early 1960s. The activity was originally concentrated offshore in the Red Sea. As of March 2005, by some estimates Sudan’s proven reserves of crude oil stood at 563 million barrels, more than twice the 262 million barrels estimated in 2001. Sudanese Energy Ministry representatives place estimated total reserves in the country at 5 billion barrels and estimated proven reserves at 700 million barrels. As of June 2004, crude oil production was averaging about 345,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), up from 270, 000 bbl/d during 2003. Crude oil production has been rising steadily since the completion of a major export pipeline in July 1999 and is expected by Sudanese officials to surpass 500,000 bbl/d by the end of 2005. In August 2001, in recognition of Sudan's growing significance as an oil exporter, OPEC granted the country observer status at OPEC meetings.
The effect of oil infrastructure on local Sudanese populations is unclear. Some reports indicate that large areas have been depopulated and human rights violations have increased as a result of oil related activities. Other reports (mainly from oil companies) indicate that populations around oil facilities have increased because of greater security from the depredations of militia groups and the presence of some amenities (e.g. health clinics, water etc.)
After the U.S. imposed sanctions in November 1997 (see below), the rest of the world, with the exception primarily of China, India and Malaysia, has kept its distance. Pressure from the U.S. and human rights groups worldwide saw commercial companies Talisman of Canada and Austria’s OMV sell their stakes. Foreign concessions now are limited primarily to Indian state Oil and Natural Gas Corp., Malaysian state Petronas and China National Petroleum Corp., which owns a 40 percent share of the local Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which is an international consortium of petroleum companies that controls two of the most important oil fields in Sudan. Starting in mid-2005, the China National Petroleum Corp is expected to produce oil in the Melut Basin east of the Nile River. Other Chinese companies are involved in the construction of the 1,392 kilometers long pipeline from the Melut Basin to Port Sudan at the Red Sea and in the $215 million project of constructing an oil export terminal port in this Sudanese city. Since 1999 China has poured up to $3billion into developing oil fields and building a pipeline, refinery and port.
As a result of the December 2004 peace agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM/A settling the civil war in the south, it is expected that Sudan will see a substantial increase in investment in both production facilities and new exploration initiatives. French oil giant Total announced in December 2004 that it had renewed oil agreements with Sudan that were abandoned in 1985 because of the war. U.S. oil companies have recently begun to show interest in Sudan`s undeveloped oil fields. Houston-based Marathon Oil recently received permission from the U.S. government to sign a revised exploration and production sharing agreement with the Sudanese government related to interests held since 1983 with Total, Kuwait-based Kufpec and Sudan`s national petroleum company.
B. A Brief History of Sanctions on Sudan
In November 1997 the United States first imposed economic sanctions against Sudan through Executive Order 13067 in response to Sudan's "support for international terrorism, ongoing efforts to destabilize neighboring governments, and the prevalence of human rights violations, including slavery and the denial of religious freedom." The Executive order prohibits trade between the two countries, as well as investment by U.S.-owned businesses in Sudan. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated that the sanctions were intended to "deprive the regime in Khartoum of the financial and material benefits of U.S. trade and investment, including investment in Sudan's petroleum sector."
Since the imposition of economic sanctions in 1997, Sudan has been effectively prohibited from securing financing of infrastructure and pipelines for oil exploitation in the United States or with the involvement of U.S. citizens.
In February 2000 the Clinton administration broadened the sanctions to include a prohibition against U.S. citizens and companies conducting business with the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. The Sudanese government's joint oil venture was designated a "sanctioned entity" because of reported linkage between company revenues and military activities in Sudan. According to the international press and several U.N. reports, the Sudanese government led preemptive strikes in areas of petroleum developments and infrastructure. These comprehensive sanctions, however, did not apply to the foreign individual parent companies of the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which included Calgary-based Talisman Energy.
In response to the civil war between Khartoum and southern Sudan, in October 2002 President Bush signed into law the “Sudan Peace Act”. Among other things, this Act requires the president to certify every six months that the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A are negotiating properly. If the president finds the Khartoum regime is not negotiating in good faith or has interfered with aid efforts, he may choose from certain sanctions, including denying Sudan's government access to oil revenues.
The “Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act of 2004” was signed into law by President Bush on December 23, 2004. This legislation reflects the sense of Congress that the President should encourage members of the UN to cease importing Sudanese oil and should press the UN Security Council to take actions against Sudan’s oil industry, as contemplated in UN Security Council Resolution 1564 (see discussion below), should the government of Sudan fail to fulfill its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1556 and 1564. The Act also addresses many other aspects of the situation in Sudan in general and Darfur in particular. For example, it calls for providing more assistance and humanitarian aid, pressing the UN Security Council to pursue accountability for those Sudanese government and military officials and other individuals who are found to be responsible for carrying out the atrocities in Darfur, and freezing the assets and restricting the travel of those persons. The Act also authorizes specified additional funds to be appropriated to the President to support the implementation of a comprehensive peace agreement in all regions of Sudan including Darfur and to address the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Darfur, including support of an African Union mission in Darfur.
On March 17, 2005 H.R. 1424, the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act of 2005, was introduced in the House and referred to the House Committee on International Relations. Among other things, the bill directs the president and the secretary of state to block the assets of and deny visas to Sudanese government officials, members of the military and other individuals implicated in the atrocities in Darfur. The bill also (1) authorizes the president “to use all necessary means, including use of the United States armed forces”, to stop genocide in Darfur and enforce United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1556 and 1564; (2) authorizes and “strongly encourages” the president to consider utilizing unmanned armed planes and other military assets to neutralize the militia groups and aircraft used to attack civilians to provide cover and assistance to militia groups; and (3) authorizes the president to use force to enforce no-fly zones. Finally, the bill directs the president to use his authority under prior legislation to prohibit any entity engaged in any commercial activity in Sudan from raising capital in the United States or trading its securities on U.S. capital markets.
On March 2, 2005 S. 495, the Accountability in Darfur Act, was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The bill directs the president to freeze the assets of individuals named by the UN as perpetrators of violations of human rights in Darfur and to deny visas to such persons or anyone else the president determines was or is or involved in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide in Darfur.
In the run-up to the recently concluded peace agreement between Khartoum and the SPLM/A, then Secretary of State Colin Powell promised that an end to fighting in southern Sudan would speed up the normalization of relations. The U.S. government has also made it easier for major companies to get exemptions from the sanctions.
While U.S. and worldwide humanitarian pressures have discouraged oil investment in Sudan among the western powers generally, formal multilateral oil sanctions are not in effect at this time.
On July 30, 2004 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1556 by a vote of 13 to 0, with China and Pakistan abstaining. The resolution demands that Sudan fulfill the commitments it made to disarm the militias and apprehend and bring to justice Janjaweed leaders and their associates. The resolution also calls on Sudan to allow humanitarian access to Darfur, embargoes the sale or supply of materiel and training to non-governmental entities and individuals in Darfur, endorses the African Union deployment of monitors and a protection force to Darfur, and holds out the possibility of further actions, including sanctions, against the Sudan in the event of non-compliance.
On September 19, 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1564 by a vote of 11 to 0 with four abstentions (Algeria, China, Pakistan, and Russia). Among other things, the resolution provides that if the government of Sudan fails to comply with Resolution 1556 or 1564, or fails to cooperate with the African Union monitoring mission in Darfur, the Security Council “shall consider taking additional measures as contemplated in Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, such as actions to affect Sudan’s petroleum sector and the Government of Sudan or individual members of the Government of Sudan, in order to take effective action to obtain such full compliance or full cooperation”. In order to obtain support for this resolution, U.S. drafters responded to objections from individual countries by making the threatened imposition of sanctions more conditional and less automatic and by adding language acknowledging steps the Sudanese Government had taken to ease restrictions on relief workers and broaden cooperation with the UN aid workers.
In October 2004 the European Union warned Sudan it will impose unspecified sanctions if security in Darfur does not improve within two months.
On March 29, 2005 the U.N Security Council adopted Resolution 1591, which calls upon Member States to impose asset freezes and travel bans on those who "impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities ... or are responsible for offensive military overflights." The U.S.-backed resolution, which passed 12-0, with Algeria, Russia and China abstaining, also widens an embargo on armed groups in Darfur to include the Sudanese government, which will now need approval from a new Security Council committee to bring weapons into Darfur.
C. Should Oil Sanctions be Imposed?

Sanctions in general are controversial, because of questions about their efficacy and also because of their potential negative consequences on innocent populations. The matter is complicated by the fact there are so many different kinds of sanctions that can be applied in any given situation. In addition, each situation entails a unique set of political, military, economic, strategic and other geopolitical factors, so that, it is also difficult to extrapolate conclusions or lessons from one situation that can be applied meaningfully to another situation. Finally, whether or not sanctions “work” is a matter of degree and perspective. For example, sanctions worked in Iraq in the sense that they prevented Saddam Hussein from developing WMD and from acquiring much needed arms, but they did not succeed in removing him. And they did result in tremendous suffering on the part of the Iraqi people.
There are strong arguments against sanctions, following the theory that countries are more apt to change through inclusion in and cooperation with the world community rather than exclusion. Many humanitarian groups tend to oppose sanctions involving non-military goods and services because of the toll they can exact on the innocent populations of the country targeted. Commercial and business groups often oppose such sanctions because they result in lost business opportunities. Many academics believe that while some sanctions might be effective in the short run, ultimately they are not effective because they deteriorate over time. Many governments, including the U.S., and the United Nations, on the other hand, see sanctions as an instrument short of military intervention to implement and enforce decisions and policies.
There is general agreement that unilateral sanctions usually do not work, although even here there can be exceptions. Some will argue, for example, that U.S. oil sanctions on Libya were a significant factor in pressuring Gadhafi to renounce terrorism and give up his WMD programs. Thus, even though the U.S. has imposed oil sanctions on Sudan since 1997, and other western countries for the most part have refrained from purchasing Sudanese oil or investing in the Sudanese oil industry during the past several years, Sudan is selling as much oil as it can produce. At the same time, U.S. companies are foreclosed from being in on the ground floor of the development of oil resources in Sudan that could prove to be among the biggest in the world, and the U.S. is foreclosing itself from a potentially plentiful source of oil. This is an especially important consideration given the current worldwide demand and competition for oil, a demand and competition that can be expected to increase dramatically.
Given this current worldwide demand for oil, especially from China, India and other developing nations, anything short of an enforceable worldwide embargo on Sudanese oil would likely have little if any impact on Sudan. There may be one caveat to this proposition: Sudan is no doubt eager to have access to superior U.S. oil exploration and extraction technology, even though it may not need U.S. markets for its oil exports. The prospect of gaining access to this technology might act as an incentive to Sudan to meet at least some U.S. and international demands or conditions regarding Darfur.
There is more controversy concerning the effectiveness and desirability of multilateral sanctions. Certainly broad-based multilateral sanctions can put tremendous pressure on the target country and can achieve certain specified results. Multilateral sanctions certainly played a crucial role in ending apartheid in South Africa. On the other hand, the same sanctions can cause death and widespread suffering of the populace in general of the target country. As noted above, Iraq is an example of the mixed results of multilateral sanctions.
Even if the U.S. and other western countries were successful in getting the United Nations to impose multilateral oil sanctions on Sudan, the question still remains whether the sanctions would have their desired results and whether there would be other, negative consequences that would outweigh the benefits. Potentially, such sanctions could force the Sudanese government to facilitate international humanitarian aid relief in Darfur and ensure the safety of aid workers, end military and militia activities in Darfur and cooperate in bringing to justice those members of the military and the Janjaweed who are responsible for the atrocities committed in Darfur. If nothing else, such sanctions would significantly decrease the revenue that the Sudanese government would have to buy arms to fund its and the Janjaweed’s military activities in Darfur. In fact, the SPLM/A had said that it supported oil sanctions for this reason regarding the civil war in the south.
However, the imposition of such sanctions could backfire and cause Sudan to disengage from whatever international discussions and peace efforts it is currently undertaking in regard to Darfur, prevent the flow of whatever little humanitarian aid is now reaching Darfur, and even increase or encourage the Janjaweed to increase the level of violence in Darfur. Also, it could damage the fragile peace now holding in the south. And, while it is impossible to predict what effect the sharp decline in revenue to the Sudan government that would result from multilateral oil sanctions would have on the people of Sudan generally, the possibility of significant hardship must be considered.
A possible alternative to oil sanctions would be an “oil- for- food” program like the program that was put in place in Iraq. While much has been written lately about the abuses that occurred under that program, the fact that abuses existed does not mean that the concept itself is inherently flawed. In fact, given the experience with and lessons learned about the Iraqi program there is no reason to believe that a better tuned and monitored program could not be implemented successfully with respect to Sudan.
On the other hand, other forms of sanctions, such as arms embargoes, restrictions on travel and asset freezes, as discussed above, while not having the same potential to achieve desired results as multilateral oil sanctions, are not likely to cause hardship to the population in general and are more likely to be accepted and enforced by the international community.
A. Security Council Resolution 1593
The Committee believes that members of the Sudanese government and Janjaweed militias as well as rebels involved in carrying out atrocities in Darfur must be held accountable for their crimes. To that end there must be diligent prosecution of war criminals in the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1593 adopted on April 1, 2005. In that resolution the Security Council, “[t]aking note of the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur … [referred] the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court”.
The report of the International Commission of Inquiry (the “Commission of Inquiry”) referred to in Resolution 1593, which was released on February 1, 2005, concluded that the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias carried out mass killings and probably war crimes in Darfur, but stopped short of calling the violence genocide. The report, which was written by a 5-member panel, led by Antonio Cassese, the former presiding judge of the war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia, recommended that the International Criminal Court (the “ICC”) investigate evidence of widespread abuses including torture, rape, killings of civilians, and pillaging. The Commission of Inquiry gave U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, a sealed file of the names of 51 people it believes responsible for war crimes to be handed over to a competent prosecutor. Published reports say the list includes members of the Sudanese government, anti-government rebels and Arab Janjaweed militiamen. We urge the Prosecutor to investigate, and if appropriate, indict those named in the sealed list.
The Committee recognizes that there is enormous political opposition both in Congress and the Oval Office against invoking the process of the ICC. There is fear in both branches of government of establishing a precedent which could subject American service personnel to sham trials in kangaroo courts. These considerations, which we feel are valid, led the United States to abstain from voting on Resolution 1593. However, the resolution does attempt to address these concerns by providing:
“that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a contributing State outside Sudan which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [which includes the U.S.] shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that contributing State for all alleged acts or omission arising out of or related to operations in Sudan established or authorized by the Council or the African Union, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the contributing State”.

Thus Americans accused of criminal acts in Sudan related to U.N. or African Union operations would be subject to the American judicial process and not that of the ICC.
B. The ICC
On July 17th, 1998, 120 countries voted to adopt the Rome Treaty, creating the ICC, a “permanent institution [which] shall have the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern.” Art. 1. With its seat in The Hague, the bench is comprised of 18 judges elected to nonrenewable nine-year terms by a vote of a two-thirds majority of the States Parties to the Statute. On April 12th, 2002, the threshold number of nations needed to ratify the treaty was reached and the ICC’s official jurisdiction began on July 1st, 2002. As of May 3, 2004, 94 nations had ratified the treaty. Those yet to sign the important document include the United States, China, and of current grave concern, Sudan.
Rooted in the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg Trials, Article 5 of the Rome Treaty sets forth the jurisdictional requirements of the crimes the court has the authority to prosecute. Broadly outlined, the treaty establishes its jurisdiction as “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole. The Court has jurisdiction in accordance with this Statute with respect to the following crimes: (a) The crime of genocide; (b) Crimes against humanity; (c) War crimes; (d) The crime of aggression.”
Once a case has been adjudicated, the panel of judges will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. For those found guilty of the crimes charged, there are several penalties that may be imposed. Article 77 allows for punishment through imprisonment and/or fines, forfeiture of proceeds, property and assets derived directly or indirectly from that crime. Each individual is to be sentenced according to the gravity of their crimes and the circumstances of the convicted persons. Art. 78 (1)
C. Khartoum’s Reaction to Resolution 1593
At a meeting on April 3, 2005, over which President Omar al-Bashir presided, Sudan’s cabinet rejected Resolution 1593 and appointed a committee to work out “how to deal with this situation”. Khartoum called Resolution 1593 a violation of its national sovereignty and insisted that Sudan courts were competent to try to alleged war criminals. A week earlier on March 27, 2005 prior to adoption of Resolution 1593, the government of Sudan announced that it would try 164 suspects in court in Sudan, including some government officials for alleged crimes such as rape and murder in Darfur.
We agree with the Commission of Inquiry that any judicial action by the Sudanese government to prosecute war crimes in which government sponsored militias and government officials may themselves be implicated is wholly inadequate. In recommending action by the ICC, the Commission of Inquiry dismissed the Sudanese government’s ability to deal with the abuses. “The Sudanese justice system is unable and unwilling to address the situation in Darfur,” it said. “The measures taken so far by the Government to address the crisis have been both grossly inadequate and ineffective, which has contributed to the climate of almost total impunity for human rights violations in Darfur.” “Very few victims have lodged official complaints regarding crimes committed against them or their families due to a lack of confidence in the justice system,” it added.
Khartoum’s intransigence and the ongoing violence in Darfur, while currently hindering prosecution, should not be seen as a permanent bar to legal redress through the ICC. Justice may be delayed by hostilities but not denied. The war in Darfur – like all wars – will end one day. Moreover, political and economic relationships may shift over time and the environment for prosecution of human rights violations in Darfur may improve just as it has in other situations. War criminals are currently being prosecuted in Rwanda for actions committed ten years ago. The government of Chile recently charged General Pinochet for crimes committed during his rule thirty years ago. And in January 2005, the once “sovereign” State of Mississippi indicted a 79-year old white supremacist for the murder of 3 civil rights workers in that state in 1964.
In the absence of imminent prosecution, what is important now is that war crimes be thoroughly documented and recorded while memories are fresh. Witnesses need to be interviewed, depositions taken and documentary evidence assembled for eventual use at trial. The international news media, through its reporting of atrocities in Darfur, and the Commission of Inquiry have begun this process.
A. Abuja Peace Process
Although humanitarian aid is desperately needed in the short run, a long term political solution is key to resolving the catastrophe in Darfur.
From the outset, the political goals of the SLM/A have been clear. In its founding manifesto the SLM/A asked Arabs and Africans to join in protesting Khartoum’s “policies of marginalization, racial discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, and divisiveness.” The group said it wanted “to create a united democratic Sudan on a new basis of equality, complete restructuring and devolution of power, even development, cultural and political pluralism and moral and material prosperity for all Sudanese.” It said all regions should have significant autonomy but work together under a shared identity for Arabs, Africans, Christians, and Muslims.
Although these objectives have yet to be realized, the Sudan government and Darfur rebels meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 9, 2004, in African Union (“AU”) sponsored talks, signed a new ceasefire agreement intended to halt bloodshed and ensure that aid groups would have access to Darfur’s refugees. Sudan agreed to the creation of no-fly zones over Darfur banning military flights over rebel positions.
Despite Khartoum’s assurances of compliance with the new treaty – Sudanese Spokesman Ibrahim Mohammed promised, “We will do our most to make sure it is implemented on the ground” – the ceasefire barely held for a few hours before violence resumed. Although the AU has a small contingent of troops in Darfur to monitor the accord, there is no way to enforce the “no-fly” zones as American warplanes did in the skies above Kurdish locations during the period between the two Iraq wars. However, following reports of bombing in January 2005, the AU did confirm that the government had started removing its Antonov bombers from El Fasher and Nyala. Although the government has kept its military helicopters in Darfur, there were no reports of the helicopter gunships firing their weapons in February 2005.
The November 9, 2004, agreement follows on the heels of an earlier ceasefire agreed to in April, 2004. At that time the AU agreed to send one hundred and twenty unarmed observers to monitor compliance with the truce. The AU monitors have been hopelessly ill-equipped to prevent repeated violations of the cease fire which have been well documented by the international news media.
Following the April 2004 agreement, AU-sponsored peace talks resumed in Abuja in August between the Sudanese government, the SLM/A and representatives of the Justice and Equality Movement, another Darfur rebel group. Those talks initially yielded little progress, as did a second round of talks held in September. The sticking points in the second round were alleged ceasefire violations and disagreements over the scope of the talks.
Negotiations resumed again in late October culminating in the November 9, 2004 ceasefire referred to above. However, the attempted negotiation of a comprehensive political settlement for the region has yet to yield an agreement.
The recent Abuja talks followed closely a mid-October summit in Tripoli, Libya, in which the Sudanese government met with leaders from Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, and Chad. Those parties agreed that more material and support would be necessary to end the crisis in Darfur. The leaders from the five African nations did lend their support to the impending AU-sponsored talks in Abuja. Egypt has scheduled a new round of five-way talks for April 20, 2005, at Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. However, it is unlikely that these talks will yield any more progress than the earlier discussion since the SLM/A will not be present. In rejecting SLM/A participation, SLM/A Chief Abdel Waheed Mohammed said the Egypt talks were “damaging because the Sudanese government exploits these mini-summits like a mask of support which only increases its stubbornness.”
In February 2005, the SLM/A conditioned its participation in future talks in Abuja on E.U. and U.S. oversight of cease fire obligations.
B. Peace in Southern Sudan: The IGAD Protocols
In contrast to the Abuja peace process which has yielded little progress, talks in Kenya between the SPLM/A, and the government of Sudan have resulted in a number of agreements – albeit over a 10-year period - with respect to resolution of the north-south Sudan conflict.
There is no formal connection between the southern insurgents – the SPLM/A, and the western rebels – the SLM/A although the two groups did meet in Eritrea on October 4, 2004, to discuss common goals and strategy. The next day, however, Khartoum reiterated its opposition to any type of self-rule for Darfur and said rebels in that region would not be given the same benefits agreed to with Southern insurgents after 20 years of war.
Nevertheless an examination of the north-south peace process is helpful from an historical perspective and as context within which to map a strategy for peace in Darfur. Despite Khartoum’s insistence that the two situations are different, an understanding of what has worked in the Kenya negotiations may provide the tools to fix what is broken in the Abuja talks. Indeed, as discussed below, the U.N. Security Council expressly linked the two conflicts in its November 19, 2004, resolution endorsing an agreement to end North-South hostilities.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (“IGAD”) was asked to help negotiate a peaceful resolution to the North-South conflict by the Sudanese government in 1993. The SPLM/A accepted the IGAD mediators and the IGAD peace process started in March of 1994 in Nairobi. That year both the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A accepted a Declaration of Principles providing for a united Sudan with a secular and democratic political system and the fair sharing of resources. The parties then committed themselves to negotiating a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The parties also committed themselves to try to establish a united Sudan, but gave southern Sudan a chance for independence if a resolution of the issues central to the conflict could not be resolved. However, the talks then dragged on for eight more years.
On July 20, 2002, major progress was made when the parties agreed to the Machakos Protocol. The Machakos Protocol provided for a six-year interim period, after which the South would be allowed to separate from Sudan. Subsequent protocols signed in Kenya covered the status and role of armies, cease-fire, troop size, concentration and location; wealth sharing; management of the oil sector; the monetary authority and reconstruction of the South; and arrangements for shared administration of three contested areas during the six year interim period.
On November 19, 2004, the government of Sudan and southern rebels pledged to end two decades of war by December 31, 2004, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) in front of the U.N. Security Council which had convened in Kenya to press for peace in Africa's largest country. Immediately afterwards the 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution promising speedy aid once the war is formally ended and voicing hope that peace in the south would spill over into Darfur in the west, which the U.N. – prior to the Indian Ocean tsunami - had termed the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The signing of the MOU by the government and the SPLM/A was the climax of the two-day Council meeting in Nairobi.
Finally, on January 9, 2005, the two sides signed a permanent accord to end hostilities and provide for power sharing between the North and the South. John Garang, leader of the southern rebels, will be a vice president in the new regime reporting to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Both English and Arabic will become the official languages but Islamic law will only apply in the North. More than 100,000 government and rebel forces will redeploy to a 1956 North-South boundary. The agreement must now be ratified by the Sudanese parliament and rebel leaders and a new constitution drafted.
A number of things contributed to the success of the IGAD talks, not the least of which was robust U.S. leadership and engagement in the peace process which jump started talks which began a decade earlier but made little real progress prior to U.S. involvement. The South African Institute for Security Studies has summarized the factors resulting in the IGAD Protocols as follows:
“[I]t must be stressed that President George W. Bush appointed special peace envoy, Senator Danforth, five days before the 11 September attack, thus demonstrating US commitment in the Sudan peace process. Interest in Sudan by a number of key constituencies-the Congressional Black Caucus, the influential Christian right, liberals, human rights activists, American humanitarian agencies, and the oil lobby upset at being denied entry in the potentially lucrative Sudan market-combined with heightened concerns about international terrorism after 11 September, all contributed to the increased engagement of the US in Sudan. Indeed, US engagement in Sudan steadily increased from President Clinton’s Executive Order of November 1997 which imposed comprehensive trade and economic sanctions [see Section V above] through to the Sudan Peace Act of October 2002 [see Section V above] which stipulates further sanctions if the GoS [Government of Sudan] was found to be not participating in the peace negotiations in good faith. Further pressure was brought to bear by Sudan being identified as one of seven countries on a State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. While some have questioned the timing, ethics and one-sided American pressure on the GoS, there is little doubt that collectively these measures sent a powerful message to the government.

If a similar confluence of events can be aligned in Darfur, it may be possible to make real progress toward achieving a political settlement to the crisis in western Sudan. That active U.S. involvement in the peace process is essential to success of the negotiations is underscored by the SLM/A’s conditioning its future participation in the Abuja talks upon E.U. and U.S. oversight of the ceasefire.
For the U.N.’s part, much of the Security Council’s November 19, 2004, resolution supporting the efforts of the Sudan government and the SPLM/A to reach a comprehensive peace agreement to end the war in the South was devoted to the Darfur conflict in the west. The resolution expressed “serious concern at the growing insecurity and violence in Darfur, the dire humanitarian situation, continued violations of human rights and repeated breaches of the ceasefire." The Council demanded that Government and rebel forces and all other armed groups immediately cease all violence there and cooperate with international humanitarian relief and monitoring efforts, warning that the Council would "take appropriate action against any party failing to fulfil its commitments." It called on Member States to provide urgent and generous contributions to the humanitarian efforts underway in Sudan and neighboring Chad, where some 213,000 Sudanese from Darfur have sought refuge.
C. Tony Blair’s Five Point Plan
On October 6, 2004, British Prime Minister Tony Blair flew to Khartoum to present a five-point action plan designed to address the ongoing violence in Darfur. The plan obligates the Sudanese government to:
1—Permit the free movement of 3,500 African Union troops as ceasefire monitors in Darfur; only a few hundred African Union soldiers had previously been stationed in Darfur.
2—Identify its troops, troops under its control, and its munitions in Darfur.
3—Remove Sudanese troops from the field (and return them to their barracks) to allow refugees to return to their home lands.
4—Commit to reaching a peace agreement in Darfur and in southern Sudan (where the SPLM/A, composed largely of Christian blacks, had been involved in a long running civil war with the Khartoum government) by the end of 2004. [A comprehensive peace agreement was signed on January 9, 2005, as described in Section VII B above.]
5—Abide by humanitarian accords signed with the United Nations, which will allow humanitarian aid to be distributed unfettered in Darfur.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir immediately accepted the Plan but has yet to fully comply with its terms.
Blair is head of the European Union and Britain is President of the G-8 countries this year. He has promised to make Africa one of his two priorities as Chairman of the G-8 countries. We applaud the Prime Minister’s initiative and commend his willingness to use his good offices to help bring about social and political change in Sudan.
Humanitarian Aid and Security for Aid Workers. Humanitarian aid is urgently needed in Darfur. Food is the biggest single need. The malnutrition situation remains fragile and well beyond emergency thresholds for the IDPs living in 148 makeshift refugee camps in Darfur. Malnutrition rates are at 21.8% with 3.9% severe malnourishment. Assistance is also needed to provide safe drinking water, effective sanitation facilities, shelter, disease control (primarily malaria, diarrhea and acute respiratory infections) and agricultural assistance. The United Nations estimates that $691 million will be needed in 2005 to meet Darfur’s humanitarian aid needs. A lack of security hampers the effective distribution of food aid in Darfur. Bandits steal trucks involved in distributing food, and relief workers have been killed, forcing organizations involved in the humanitarian effort to pull out or curtail their efforts. In addition, environmental factors, such as heat and terrain, make the efficient distribution of food and other aid more difficult.
The U.S. and the rest of the international community should take all measures to ensure that adequate funding is made available immediately to address the malnutrition and other health problems in Darfur. President Bush should use all funds authorized by prior legislation, and the U.S. Congress should pass and President Bush should sign into law the appropriations for an additional $150 million for this purpose contained in H.R. 1268.
The U.S. and the rest of the international community should make funds available and do whatever else is required to provide security for aid workers to ensure that they can distribute food and take other health measures in safely. Adequate U.S. government funding should be earmarked to provide armed civilian security contractors to “ride shotgun” with humanitarian food convoys. To overcome environmental obstacles, we further urge the U.S. to provide aid agencies with additional means of air transport (e.g. helicopters).
Peacekeeping Strategy: Clearly, an effective peace keeping force is needed in Darfur. The African Union has a force of from 1,500-3,000 troops in Darfur now, but it is too small and its mandate is too limited to provide the needed security. Estimates vary widely as to the number of troops that would be needed. Many other factors would be involved in the deployment of a peace keeping force, including the degree of cooperation and support for the mission that could be expected from the Sudanese government, who would supply the troops and the funding for the troops, what the mission of the force would be, etc.
Sanctions: We support the implementation of the arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze recently called for by the U.N. Security Council and the travel ban and asset freeze proposed in legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. However, we do not feel that oil sanctions are appropriate at this time. We question whether such sanctions would be supported by enough countries to make them effective, and whether on balance the potential benefits resulting from such sanctions would outweigh the possible harm to the population resulting from the lack of revenue that such sanctions would entail. We do encourage the U.S. government to explore selective restrictions on U.S. capital investment in Darfur as leverage to encourage the government of Sudan to more rapidly and effectively implement the necessary measures to achieve peace. Also, we feel that a prohibition against companies engaged in commerce in Sudan from raising capital in the U.S. or trading their securities on U.S. capital markets, as called for in the pending House legislation, are not appropriate at this time. Should the measures that we do support and encourage fail to achieve their desired results in a timely manner, these latter measures should be reconsidered.
War Crimes Prosecution. There is widespread agreement that those members of the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed, as well as anti-governmental rebels involved in carrying out atrocities in Darfur must be held accountable for their crimes. On April 1, 2005, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1593, authorizing the referral of the matter to the International Criminal Court (Algeria, Brazil, China and the U.S. abstaining). We endorse Resolution 1593.
Political Settlement. The provision of humanitarian aid to Darfur is necessary but not sufficient. The U.S. should make every effort, both unilaterally and in cooperation with other members of the international community, to encourage and facilitate a long term political settlement in Darfur.
Notwithstanding recurring peace talks between Khartoum and the SLM/A, and a cease fire signed in 2004, a comprehensive political settlement for Darfur has not been achieved. A peace agreement was in fact implemented in December 2004 to end the civil war in the south, and at least some of the factors that lead to that successful result might be applicable to the situation in Darfur. One such factor was substantial involvement by the U.S. government and non-governmental organizations.