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Friday, October 2, 2009

NO GOLD STAR FOR U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION - We're NOT Smiling


Cookies for General Scott Gration to give to the Government of Sudan
for implementation of his policy to end the genocide

The United States Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration in this article
U.S. Envoy's Outreach to Sudan is Criticized as Naive states, in regards Darfur, Sudan and the ongoing genocide since 2003, the following:

"We've got to think about giving out cookies (to the Government of Sudan)," said Gration, who was appointed in March. "Kids, countries -- they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement."

The students from Stand Now took action on Wednesday of this week in relation to Special Envoy Gration's comment:

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Text from the youtube page:
"To draw attention to Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration's troubling strategy, students from STAND, the student-led division of Genocide Intervention Network, headed to the Sudanese embassy to present the Government of Sudan with a gold star and smiley face."
Uploaded by StandAntiGenocide

W
ith a small gesture, citizens demonstrated how absurd Gration's Gold Star strategy is and how important it is for President Obama to make sure his Special Envoy is pursuing a balanced approached to Sudan that includes sticks – not just smiley faces and gold stars.

And Washington wasn't the only place where students took action this week. Activists across the country sent nearly 600 e-mail messages to President Obama regarding the troubling nature of the Special Envoy's remarks.

Source for the text below: Giving Sudan its Gold Star by Stand Now's High School National Outreach Coordinator, Mickey Jackson

I have to admit that until this week, I never dreamed that anything could possess me to trudge through the rain with a bunch of other DC-area students and lay a hastily-made cardboard-and-paper gold star against the door of the Sudanese embassy. But then again, I never dreamed that Scott Gration, the Obama Administration's special envoy to Sudan, would tell the Washington Post that we should try to end a genocide by "giving out cookies...gold stars, [and] smiley faces" to an indicted war criminal.


We are fully aware that Wednesday's action at the Sudanese embassy was a stunt. As a rule, STAND students do not rely on stunts to bring attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur; we are known and renowned for our smart, targeted advocacy campaigns directed at our elected officials and executed by thousands of dedicated student activists nationwide. But this week, we felt the need to highlight the absurdity of General Gration's comments, and the Administration's highly conspicuous lack of a tough, coherent policy for addressing the ongoing atrocities and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. And so we took it upon ourselves to step up to the plate for General Gration and give the Sudanese government the gold star that they apparently have so richly earned.

Consider taking an extra minute to send a message to the President Obama. Tell him that eight months is too long to wait for a strong Sudan policy. Tell him that General Gration's comments do not reflect his own views on Sudan. Tell him to personally get involved and fulfill the promises that he has made to the anti-genocide constituency.

Another Washington Post Bombshell
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Another day, another disastrous news cycle for the administration on Sudan. As if yesterday’s story in the Post was not enough, a piece today delves into a fascinating and sordid web of connections between disgraced former U.S. National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane and the Sudanese government as part of an effort to improve Khartoum’s relationship with the Obama administration. McFarlane was apparently contracted by the Sudanese government – for $1.3 million channeled through Qatar – to lobby Obama administration officials.

This is a well reported story, and it is a tale full of very, very bad judgment by some key players: by McFarlane who did not disclose that he was employed to lobby at the behest of a foreign government that is still designated as a state sponsor of terror; by U.S. Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration and National Security Advisor Jim Jones, who not only met with McFarlane but appear to have found him a useful intermediary; and, by everyone else who thought that using Qatar as a front for payments to McFarlane to help obscure his direct links to Sudan’s National Congress Party was a clever idea. The insistence by the White House that McFarlane just wanted to come in and discuss “the urgent need to improve the security situation in Sudan and the need for development in southern Sudan" does not seem particularly credible. It is hard to imagine McFarlane being paid over a million dollars by the NCP to go to the White House and chat about development.

The only people who look sensible out of all this are some of the former U.S. officials who had a role in Sudan policy and were smart enough to stay miles away from a relationship that clearly stank to high heaven. As Bob Oakley, a former U.S. Ambassador describes in the article, McFarlane was "trying to broker some arrangements between the Sudanese government and the Obama administration." Oakley calls McFarlane "a wheeler-dealer," and added, "I remember him from Iran-contra and all the rest. I didn't get into it; I didn't want to, quite frankly."

Combined with yesterday’s story in the Post, it is becoming painfully clear that U.S. policy toward Sudan is threatening to become unglued. We are still awaiting word as to what came out of the yesterday’s policy review, but something has to change.

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We are visitors on this planet.

We are here for ninety or one hundred years

at the very most.

During that period,

we must try to do something good,

something useful, with our lives.

If you contribute to other people’s happiness,

You will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.

H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama


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GENOCIDE WILL STOP WITH US


While We Wait Sudan


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