John Granville’s Real Killers: Bashir’s Genocidal Regime

By Nathan Kleinman, for the International Aurora

January 1, 2008- Early this morning US diplomat John Granville was assassinated in Sudan. The genocidal regime in Khartoum is already trying to pin his murder on terrorists, and the US government is already buying into this lie.

Please take a few moments to read Jeffrey Gettleman’s overly objective article in tomorrow’s New York Times, but be sure to navigate back to finish reading this important essay.

I consider the article “overly objective” because while he presents many relevant facts, Gettleman fails utterly to connect the dots. The uninitiated reader must come away from the article believing that al-Qaeda-type “terrorists” probably killed Mr. Granville and his driver, Abdel Rahman Abbas. But anyone with any in depth knowledge of Sudan (including, I suspect, Mr. Gettleman himself) realizes that the Khartoum government is responsible.

And I don’t just mean indirectly responsible, as Pervez Musharraf arguably is for Benazir Bhutto’s death, but completely, directly responsible. The reporter, Mr. Gettleman, based in Nairobi, Kenya, of course knows that he too must tread lightly. Working for the New York Times will do nothing to protect him from assassination at the hands of a Khartoum government whose reach certainly extends to Nairobi. And given the present violence and instability in Kenya, Gettleman could also be killed by the Sudanese government without a single finger pointing toward Khartoum.

John Granville and his driver were undoubtedly assassinated by Omar Bashir’s criminal regime in Khartoum.

Their deaths came on the first day of the year, a significant fact for many reasons.

January 1st is Sudanese Independence Day. Khartoum has long called the US and UN’s designs for Darfur part of some “imperialistic” plan, so an attack on America on Sudanese Independence Day seems to be a signal that they are serious about their rhetoric.

Further, today is the first full day the United Nations has joint control of the meager peacekeeping forces in Darfur (the so-called “UN-AU hybrid force”), the very existence of which has long been resisted by Khartoum and long been promoted by the United States.

And today also happens to be the day after President Bush signed a landmark Sudan divestment bill, aimed at Sudan’s oil and defense industries, which Khartoum and many others assumed would get a pocket veto, and thus not become law. Bashir and his ilk hate this new law, and see it as a stepping-stone to further sanctions against Sudan.

John Granville was murdered by the Sudanese government to send a chilling message to the United States: stop meddling in Sudan, or bear terrible consequences.

With this assassination, US relations with Sudan have now officially reached the level of farce.

Through years of genocide, slavery, and oppression, the Bush administration has continued to insist that Khartoum is a “strong partner in the war on terror.” We are told that they have shared and continue to share important information with us. Yet we are also told they are state sponsors of terrorism.

It is long past time to end this farce.

From the third paragraph of Gettleman’s article: “The UN had recently warned its staff in Sudan that there was credible evidence that a terrorist cell was operating in the country and planning to attack foreigners.”

How convenient. Surely the UN received this vague information via the US, a product of our oh-so-valuable intelligence sharing with Sudan: They warn us to expect attacks on foreigners from terrorists, then they attack a foreigner, and lay the blame at the feet of unknown terrorists.

If they actually had evidence of such impending attacks, wouldn’t they be able to stop them?

Shockingly, our government’s close relationship with the government of Sudan continues. According to the Times article, a spokesman for Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said today that US and Sudanese law enforcement agents were working closely together to investigate the assassination. The US Embassy had no comment.

So Sudan’s investigators will be sure to lead US investigators down whichever path leads to whomever Khartoum wishes to blame (likely some poor saps who pose a threat to the regime, or else a few nobodies who will not be missed when Bush sends them to Guantanamo). Or, perhaps more likely, the investigation will lead to no individuals in particular, and the amorphous terrorist threat will take the blame.

Do I have any proof of Khartoum’s responsibility? Forensically, of course not. All of the proof has already been destroyed. The cover-up was complete before a single shot was fired. But the circumstantial evidence alone is damning.

Beyond what I have already described—the geo-political reasons for Khartoum to strike against the US today—John Granville himself represented a grave threat to the regime of Omar Bashir.

As Gettleman describes it, “Mr. Granville had been deeply involved in a project to distribute 450,000 radios equipped with generator cranks and solar panels, which work in places with no electricity.

“The goal was to prepare southern Sudan [sic] for elections in 2009 and a possible referendum on independence in 2011…”

These two planned elections are stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the (northern) Khartoum government and the (southern) Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement in 2005, following more than two decades of war and only after heavy diplomatic pressure from the United States.

The CPA, as the agreement is called, has not been fully implemented thus far, but the US has looked the other way and maintained its intelligence relationship with the government in Khartoum. If the elections do not take place on schedule, it will be clear to all involved that the CPA is no more. So Khartoum, in order to maintain international legitimacy, must hold elections as planned.

Since the world will be watching Sudan on the actual election day (which by the CPA must take place before July 2009, and, if free and fair, would sweep Bashir out of power), Khartoum is beginning now to attempt to rig the vote in any way possible. Blocking rural Southerners’ access to information by killing the man who would bring radios to the South is just one tactic. Frightening the United States out of Sudan is another.

This election-rigging campaign started with the settlement (and immediate voter registration) of Arabs from across Africa into freshly-destroyed Darfuri villages.

It is beyond naive to believe that “terrorists” randomly chose Mr. Granville to be their first American victim in Sudan in many years.

Despite what Khartoum or the US government says, the truth is clear. Just as Khartoum got the world to believe that thousands of Sudanese desperately wanted British teacher Gillian Gibbons executed for naming a teddy bear Muhammed, they will now have us believe that terrorists are stalking Americans in Sudan.

Bashir runs a totalitarian dictatorship. Nothing happens in Khartoum without his regime’s go ahead. Just as demonstrations cannot happen without his blessing or urging (and it was naive of the global media to report the teddy-bear-demonstrations without noting this fact), so too for assassinations.

We must not allow ourselves to be cowed by Bashir and his criminal cohorts.

We must give proper meaning to John Granville’s tragic death.

And we must realize, now, today—on the 52nd anniversary of Sudan’s independence—that our only true allies in Sudan are the suffering and struggling people of that land, not their corrupt oppressors.

Peace and freedom in Sudan cannot be achieved until we do.

[Article first published at http://www.InternationalAurora.org]

3 Responses to “John Granville’s Real Killers: Bashir’s Genocidal Regime”

  1. Good article, Nathan, but like Gettleman, you are failing to connect the dots all the way. Sure, the National Islamic Front regime is responsible, but it is also a terrorist, Al Qaeda attack. Those two realities are not incompatible. Sudan has been at the heart of Al Qaeda, of Islamist terrorism, of global jihad, since the beginning, and nothing has changed. You are right, though, the inconceivable part is that the USG continues to accept crumbs of so-called “intelligence” from Khartoum and has not taken seriously the threat that Khartoum poses not only to its own black, African people, but to the world. God bless you, John Granville. Well done, good and faithful servant. The good people of Sudan will not forget what you have done for them.

  2. Thank you for your comment Faith. I agree that is important to recognize that Sudan has been al-Qaeda’s most important long-term staging ground, but it is equally important that we not buy into Khartoum’s propaganda in this specific case. We cannot assume that this was a “terrorist, Al Qaeda attack,” as Khartoum and the US government would have us believe, simply because the tactics resemble Al Qaeda tactics and Sudan is a known extremist hideout (where Bin Laden once lived and operated with impunity). In this case, the Khartoum government alone had the means, motive, and opportunity to assassinate Mr. Granville. What interest would Al Qaeda have in killing this particular man, on this particular day? Perhaps Khartoum utilized Al Qaeda-connected individuals to carry out the attack, but only to divert blame from themselves. Responsibility for this murder lies squarely at the feet of Sudan’s dictator, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, and no where else. Bashir and his government are the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Giving Al-Qaeda even a modicum of blame right now only clouds the issue.

  3. I am Sudanese pastor here in Iowa. I met Moses Stephen my fellow Sudanese in December 24/2007
    I have website for peace too, http://www.nerda.org

    Rev Karlo Okoy

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