In Africa Genocide Article, Writer Distorts Our Book

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Putting aside the serious mischaracterizations of our book in this
article, we are very pleased to see analyses that challenge the
distorted narratives of the Western corporate press reaching readers.

[Global News: Response To A Critique]

As the authors of "The Scramble for Africa: Darfur - Intervention and
the USA," we find it necessary to respond to Keith Harmon Snow's
highly confused and misleading references to our work, and the strange
litany of positions he attributes to it, and to us.

Harmon Snow writes that "The book makes no mention of covert
operations or private military companies operating in South Sudan or
Darfur." Yet this is demonstrably false. We mention the role of
Dyncorp in both south Sudan and Darfur (page 88), and, more
prominently, Blackwater – in fact, twice in the main text (88, 115),
and also for two paragraphs in an endnote (248). Perhaps Harmon Snow's
razor eye for detail somehow missed the book's index, in which both
companies are listed.

He roundly condemns us for citing "ad nauseum all the usual
propagandists," like Eric Reeves. But of course citing does not mean
approving. In fact, we label Reeves a "hawkish commentator and
invasion advocate" (xxvii), and at different points observe that he
pursues his arguments "bizarrely" (xxvii), "very naïvely (to be
charitable)," and that he is simply "wrong" (272). In a broader point,
even in writing from a leftist perspective, there is of course value
in referencing mainstream works (in addition to left-wing ones) where
appropriate, as doing so serves to broaden the audience that will be
open to the arguments.

As is obvious, relatively few who are not already leftists will be swayed
if citations are only given to left-wing works, though if a critique of US
policy appears "even" in the New York Times or another mainstream
publication, it is much likelier to resonate with the broader public.

Harmon Snow also incorrectly notes that while we call Omar al-Bashir a
"major war criminal," we "never similarly condemn" Western powers such
as the U.S. and Israel, and their leaders. Again, the factual record,
easily available to anyone who reads the book, indicates otherwise.

We note that, "Given that the U.S. has been named the biggest threat
to world security in polls of global opinion, one may wonder when a
blue-helmeted UN liberation force will be deployed to the streets of
Washington to halt its war against the people of Iraq" (64), and that
Washington's concerns about the ICC are a reflection of the fact that
"it might become a serious instrument for justice, and will thus turn
to investigating US crimes" (xxxviii). We reference Israel's "ethnic
cleansing of Palestinians" (63), its "war crimes" (116), and the fact
that its "massive crimes are perceived to be in service of Western
geopolitical interests" (64). Again, the positions Harmon Snow
attributes to us are utterly unrecognizable.

Even where Harmon Snow directly cites our work, he deftly manages to
misrepresent our arguments. Referencing our comment in the foreword
that, "there would be little to mourn in Bashir's overthrow, and such
a move—depending, of course, on the actors involved, and its prospects
for success—could be cautiously supported," he comments that, "In
other words, it's fine for white people from the United States to
organize the overthrow of sovereign governments, as long as we
selectively chose the 'right' people for the job."

We make our assertion in the context of discussing the Justice and
Equality Movement-led coup attempt against Khartoum in May of this
year. There is simply nothing about non-Sudanese trying "to organize"
a coup, and in actuality we argue vehemently in the book against any
sort of foreign-led regime change in Khartoum, and spend an entire
chapter on the imperialist uses of the doctrine of "humanitarian
intervention." Rather, as is obvious to any individual with any notion
of the concept of "solidarity," our comments mean that we stand with
the oppressed segments of the Sudanese population in their struggle
for justice, whether their oppression comes from internal or foreign
sources.

What we present above suggests one of three conclusions: (1) that
Harmon Snow did not read the book, (2) that he read it and did not
understand it, or, (3) that he read it, understood it, and
nevertheless chose to deliberately misrepresent the analysis presented
therein. We will not speculate on which of the three, or perhaps some
combination of them, is behind his mangling of our arguments, though
none of the possibilities qualify him to be writing about our analysis
in the first place.

We invite the editors and readers to draw their own conclusions about
the merits of our book and arguments (our website
<www.scrambleforafrica.org> features several excerpts from the text,
as well as our other writings on the Darfur conflict), and expect that
this letter will be appropriately included on the page containing his
article.

Putting aside the serious mischaracterizations of our book in this
article, we are very pleased to see analyses that challenge the
distorted narratives of the Western corporate press reaching readers.
It is impossible for those of us living in the U.S. to act in
solidarity with the oppressed in Africa unless the realities and true
causes of African conflicts are known. That is particularly true when
our government plays a direct role in the violence.


Kevin Funkco-author, Scramble For Africa: Darfur - Intervention
and the USA
www.scrambleforafrica.org


 

Response To A Reaction To My Article:


By Keith Harmon Snow

Thanks so much for posting the complaints of these authors, however,
I'm surprised at their hubris. My article does not set out to review their
book, but to situate it. Readers should indeed make their own
assessments, keeping a few critical points in mind.

While the names Dyncorp and Blackwater do indeed appear in the
book, I invite readers to examine these limited appearances, and
while labeling Dr. Eric Reeves as "hawkish" and "wrong" the authors
nonetheless engage his wrongness. In comparison, on both of the
above, see: OIL IN DARFUR? COVERT OPS IN SOMALIA?
www.allthingspass.com/journalism.php?catid=24>.

Their complaints avoid my critique of Alex De Waal.
The foundation of the book is built on the propaganda produced
by a Western intelligence insider (De Waal) whose name
(references, footnotes, excerpts of his writings, policy
prescriptions) appears over 165 times in 127 pages.

De Waal was pivotal (1995) in institutionalizing the establishment
narrative about "genocide" in Rwanda, which These authors regurgitate
throughout: the Hutus did it. Their discussions of past "interventions"
and "genocide" re: Haiti, Rwanda and Somalia -- is premised on the
Rwanda mythology and, like their assessments of "interventions"
in Haiti and Somalia, are uninformed.

The authors' further argue around the works of propagandists like
Stephanie McCrummen -- a.k.a. Boston Globe, Washington Post,
NYT, etc. -- who has produced corporate garbage about gorillas in
Congo that has been roundly trashed, while covering up for Walter
Kansteiner and Richard Leakey, Jane Goodall Institute etc.
(See: "S.O.S. in Eastern Congo"
www.allthingspass.com/journalism.php?catid=45 .)

There is no criticism, but instead wholesale approval, of the
International Crises Group and its' many satellites and colonies.
Ditto their uses of editorials and commentaries etc. by John
Prendergast or Wesley Clark-- a former general and champion
of the new humanitarian warfare paradigm.

They do not understand the African Union "peacekeeping mission
in Darfur, just as they fail to even mildly conceive the deracinating
effects of massive foreign "AID" enterprises, the involvement of intelligence
services in these. They circumnavigate any substantive discussion of
the current involvement of the SPLA, LRA, UPDF.

The authors are armchair analysts who are smart, caring, ambitious --
capable thinkers and writers -- but who nonetheless contribute mostly
noise to the deafening roar of propaganda re: Africa. They have no
experience on the ground, especially in that region, and like
Dr. Eric Reeves, and most Western spectator news consumers,
they get all their information from others or directly from the propaganda
system.

Anyone can create a blog and generate perpetual noise and thus gain a
following. But let's at least be honest about what we do and do not
understand and, more important, the power of our whiteness and how
we displace, marginalize and silence deeper voices in our foolishness.


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