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Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2001 / 4 Tishrei, 5762

Nat Hentoff

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Sudan: Nurturer of terrorism -- IN April, the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism began its report with a statement that is critical for Americans to understand now that we are in a state of war against murderous international fanatics:

"United States policy seeks to pressure and isolate state sponsors (of terrorism) so they will renounce the use of terrorism, end support to terrorists, and bring terrorists to justice for past crimes."

The report named the seven governments the "Secretary of State has designated as state sponsors of international terrorism." And the day after the mass killings of Americans on our own soil, Colin Powell repeated the names of the deadly seven: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan.

Contrary to some commentators, Powell's angry statement on Sept. 11 that state nurturers of terrorism must be held accountable for acts by those they harbor was not new. It was already American policy.

A closer look at that April State Department Report reveals that Sudan continues to harbor members of various groups -- including associates of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, the Lebanese Hizballah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and HAMAS.

Two days after the destruction of New York's World Trade Center, the assault on the Pentagon, and the ruthless, random assassinations of thousands of Americans, Colin Powell, as well as CIA and FBI sources, began to identify associates of Osama bin Laden as among those responsible for these horrors.

Here is how the State Department counterterrorism report from last April described this evil empire: "Established by Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s ... its current goal is to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems "non-Islamic" and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries."

Back in February 1998, the State Department summarized bin Laden's declaration of purpose: It is the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens -- civilian or military and their allies everywhere.

It is imperative to point out that Osama bin Laden does not speak for the great majority of Muslims. He has twisted that faith into an abomination of its essential teachings. But clearly, he has many allies, hidden in many places, ready to strike. As the State Department noted, his "al-Qaeda (the base) has a worldwide reach."

Whether or not Osama bin Laden gave a direct order for the attack on America, he has been unequivocally proved to be involved in terrorist acts; and that makes his consistent supporter, Sudan, one of his principal accomplices.

On the very day corpses were buried under the World Trade Center, a conference committee of the House and Senate was about to be appointed to prepare an agreement on the Sudan Peace Act, which would then be sent to the president.

The conference was to decide whether to include an amendment passed overwhelmingly by the House that would ban from the United States' capital markets -- including stock exchanges -- foreign oil companies that are providing huge revenues to the government of Sudan by investing in its oil fields.

A few days before the terrorist attack on America, the Catholic Bishops of Sudan accused these foreign oil companies of "profiting from gross and systematic violations of human rights," as the Khartoum government uses these revenues to further finance its slave raids against black Christians and animists in the South; the ethnic cleansing of those who remain to get at the oil deposits beneath their lands, and to fuel the helicopters that bomb Christian schools and hospitals. And those oil company funds can also be used to further international terrorism.

In an editorial on Sept. 10, the Boston Globe said of a report that the president would veto these sanctions against the oil companies: "A Bush policy of protecting oil companies rather than the enslaved women and children of southern Sudan should not be called realism. Its proper name is appeasement."

To effectively war against this cradle of terrorism -- Sudan -- the president should ban these oil companies from our capital markets by urging Congress to pass the Complete Sudan Peace Act. Osama bin Laden, says the State Department, has a "working agreement" with the government of Sudan.

JWR contributor Nat Hentoff is a First Amendment authority and author of numerous books. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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