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Genocide: U.S. calls for more sanctions against Sudan, but Germany sees business opportunities

The German media is very critical of any wrong doing by the US government, a few US soldiers and many US companies. Hedge funds were not just characterized as bloodsuckers, but as American bloodsuckers. German companies receive less criticism. Sometimes they even receive government support for doing business with rogue states.

The Sudanese government is complicit in the genocide in the western province of Darfur, but the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor sponsored a "German Pavilion" at a trade fair in the Sudanese capital in February 2005 and will do so again in February 2006 due to "the positive feedback from the German participants," according to one chamber of commerce.

Neokomplott has exposed another chamber of commerce, which calls the genocide "political disturbances," praises Sudan's dynamic oil industry and the improved business climate and mentions the German government's support of the fair. 

The German participants of this year's fair included Siemens AG (capital goods), AgfaPhoto GmbH (capital goods, consumer goods), AutoStar Ltd. (authorized Mercedes Benz dealer for Sudan Automobile Industry), DEUDIAM (diamond tools and machines), KWH (plastic pipe equipment), SMF (liquid goods packaging machines), Vietz (pipeline equipment, welding technology), and WIDOS (plastic welding machines, tools).

Whereas Germany wants to increase business relations with Sudan, the U.S. Senate called last week for multilateral sanctions against the Sudanese government, a strengthening of the arms embargo and accelerated and expanded assistance to the African Union, whose peacekeeping troops patrol Darfur. The U.S. added Sudan to its terrorism list in 1993 because it was a safe haven for terrorist groups. According to Businessweek:

U.S. terrorism sanctions have kept American companies out of Sudan since 1997, except for sales of humanitarian goods. No other government has imposed curbs. Plenty of big European blue chips that are mainstays of global portfolios, such as Germany's Siemens (SI ) and Alcatel (ALA ) of France, have ties to Sudan. A Siemens spokesman says the company has "very limited business, mainly focused on infrastructure and medical products."

The trade fair in 2006 will not be about medical products. According to Eric Reeves, professor at Smith College and respected Darfur activist, Siemens is "presently building outside Khartoum the world’s largest diesel-powered electrical generating plan." He concludes:
Europe, despite apparently tough talk in some quarters, is still far from prepared to jeopardize its own economic interests. Germany is a case in point. German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul was reported over a year ago (September 13, 2004) as saying she "favours tough sanctions against Sudan." The German minister said that contradictory promises from the Sudanese leadership had not help improve security in Sudan's troubled Darfur region where Arab militias are accused of carrying out a campaign of genocide. Wieczorek-Zeul recommended an arms and oil embargo along with the freezing of Sudan's assets. (Deutsche Welle, September 13, 2004) But notably, Wieczorek-Zeul says nothing about the German commercial presence in Khartoum, of the sort emblematized by giant Siemens AG: it is this presence that does so much to sustain the National Islamic Front and convince the regime that ultimately petrodollars speak louder than the cries of death and suffering in Darfur.
Many Americans appeal to the boards of university endowments and pension funds to sell their stocks of Siemens and of other European companies that do business with Sudan. According to the divestment campaigners, Siemens has "substantial operations, projects and infrastructure in the country of Sudan, totaling well over $180 million." They argue:
Were a respected international company such as Siemens to withdraw from Sudan in protest of the genocide, it would set an important precedent. Put simply, the Sudanese government will not stop the genocide as long as Western companies continue to help underwrite Sudan's economic growth.

More on divestment from Siemens at Passion of the Present and loveamericafirst.

The German Federal Foreign Office seems to regret that the there are not yet German governmental loan guarantees for doing business with Sudan. ("Da bislang noch keine Hermesdeckung der Bundesregierung für Auslandgeschäfte mit Sudan möglich ist...")

The editors of Neokomplott and Extrablog have written protest letters to the Africa Verein and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor.

DIE ZEIT-Blogger Ulrich Speck criticizes that the German media reports in detail about the violence in Iraq, but did not care about Iraq under Saddam's rule and does not care about mass murder in Darfur today. The German media would only pay more attention to Darfur, if the US would intervene. Speck contends that the Europeans are not interested in engaging in world politics, but prefer to sit back, condemn US mistakes and pretend moral superiority. [via Deutschling]

More about the genocide in Darfur at Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft, Al Sharq,
Sleepless in Sudan, Cuppa Politics, and Corporate Engagement.

Linked at:  10 ft 2 ftCao’s Blog, TMH’s Bacon Bits, Is it Just Me?, The Political Teen, Conservative Cat, Wizbang, Point FiveThe Business of America is Business, Big Dog, Samantha Burns,Right Wing Nation, Stuck on Stupid, Adam’s BlogOblogatory Anectodes, Myopic Zeal.


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Martin on :

Darfur Daily News: Holocaust Lessons To Learn "Germany is holding a series of events this month marking the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, where its Nazi leaders were convicted of crimes against humanity. The media is currently awash with news stories, plays and articles about the end of the Second World War and the War Crimes trial which exposed Germany’s leaders at their worst. (...) As Lord Janner writes: “What then have we learned from the Nazi crimes and the Nuremberg trials? Not enough. From the former Yugoslavia to Rwanda, from Sierra Leone to Darfur, mass murders have continued. We must remember the evil past, both to recognise it in the present and to strive to prevent it in the future. At least the Nuremberg trials brought justice for a few – and lessons to be learnt by us all.” " [url][/url]

FrauBudgie on :

A thoughtful and eye-opening article. I'm honored by the trackback.

Terri Goon on :

Thank you for this. Any highlighting of what is going on in Sudan and Darfur is needed by all of us. While we, as a world, have never had much luck in having sanctions help in any situation, they may help keep the situation in the news.

Chris on :

Very interesting post. Sudan's a dark chapter in our inept foreign policy.

Rosemary on :

Dear Jorg, Thank you for stopping over at [url=]Causes of Interest[/url]. Every Thursday I receive an e-mail from [url=]Save Darfur[/url] and I usually have it up by Saturday. This is an awesome site, and an awesome story! Great job. Have you noticed when we wanted to go into Kosovo there was wall to wall coverage? If only we could get the press, the president, the congress, and every mover and shaker to plaster the news, we may be able to interject some justice for our brothers and sisters in Darfur. I wonder if anyone else knows that al Qaeda is training in those mountains? There are 2 million Africans displaced, and over 400,000 men, women, and children murdered? That is aside from the torture, rapes, and enslavement. We have not stopped slavery worldwide, and the numbers of dead have now exceeded over 1/2 of what happened in Rwanda. I understand people do not like unpleasantries, but it is our obligation as human beings to help these people. If it makes them uncomfortable enough, maybe, just maybe, we could get the people who can do something about it off their darn arses! Please forgive my harsh language. I just keep trying, and it does get frustrating. They did pass the Darfur Accountability Act in the USA Senate. Let's hope that does SOMETHING. Have a good day.

Davids Medienkritik on :

We at Davids Medienkritik were happy to run this story and do our part. Hats off to the other bloggers involved who made it posssible with their research and effort. Ray DMK

Chris on :

Heres an interesting documentary on the sudan crisis:

Violations of African Union troops in Darfur on :

Allegations of sexual abuses, by those who are supposed to curb sexual crimes, should not be left unaccounted for. Please listen to the silent horrors unheard by many in the following link: Whatever has been done to alleviate the suffering of the innocent is highly appreciated and the least to be done is to sign the petition in the following link:

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