by Faith J. H. McDonnell
What’s the going rate for souls these days? How about $20,000 a month? Such was the deal offered by the National Islamic Front (also known as the National Congress Party) government of Sudan to Washington, DC attorney Bart S. Fisher for help getting Sudan removed from the U.S.’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Act for Sudan, a new alliance of activists against genocide in Sudan,1 alerted U.S. Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) to the Islamist government in Khartoum’s hiring of Fisher. When Khartoum had tried the same thing in 2009, Mr. Wolf wrote a scathing letter to President Obama asking him to direct the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to deny any waiver requests by U.S. companies seeking to represent the government of Sudan. An OFAC waiver is necessary because in 1997 then President Clinton issued an Executive Order imposing a trade embargo against the entire territory of Sudan and total asset freeze against the Khartoum government. Clinton cited Sudan for “continued support for international terrorism, ongoing efforts to destabilize neighboring governments and the prevalence of human rights violations, including slavery and denial of religious freedom.” Not much has changed.2
On Tuesday, December 13, Wolf, who had written once again to President Obama, went to the House floor to condemn Khartoum’s arrangement with Bart Fisher, saying:
Mr. Speaker, I was appalled and outraged to learn yesterday that the genocidal government of Khartoum has hired a lobbyist to represent its interests here in Washington. . . Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan Bashir is an internationally indicted war criminal. Bashir is accused by the International Criminal Court of five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture and extermination, and two counts of war crimes.
But Khartoum’s crimes are not simply a thing of the past. . . .