SUDAN WATCH: Sudan: Judge allows Talisman genocide case to proceed despite Canada, U.S. warnings

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sudan: Judge allows Talisman genocide case to proceed despite Canada, U.S. warnings

This seems daft. But who knows if there is more to it than meets the eye. Nothing anymore would surprise me about politics and the Sudan.

A U.S. judge refused to dismiss a church's lawsuit alleging that Calgary-based oil producer Talisman Energy Inc. aided genocide in its pursuit of oil in Sudan, despite efforts by the U.S. and Canada to stop the suit.

Note these snippets from a report by AP via Canadian Press Aug 31, 2005:
The ruling allowing the suit to proceed came Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote reviewed a diplomatic letter from the Canadian Embassy calling the case an "infringement in the conduct of foreign relations by the government of Canada" that would have a "chilling effect" on Canadian companies in the Sudan.

In the lawsuit, Talisman, one of Canada's most international oil and natural gas producers, is accused of such crimes as ethnic cleansing, killings, war crimes, confiscation of property, enslavement, kidnapping and rape in Sudan.

Talisman would not comment on the recent ruling. "The judge has instructed both parties not to argue the case in the press," company spokesman Barry Nelson told The Canadian Press Wednesday. "And we are therefore unable to say anything."

In the past, Talisman has argued vociferously that its presence was helpful to the war-torn country of Sudan, building needed infrastructure and helping broker peace.

But after years of criticism from social and church groups about its 25 per cent stake in the prolific Sudanese project, Talisman sold out to India's state-owned oil company in the spring of 2003 for $1.1 billion Cdn.
It seems to me all wrong that western companies are pushed out, paving the way for others to move in who are not as helpful to locals. What did India, Malaysia, China and Russia do to help the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur and Chad? Surely the poor locals would have been better off if Talisman, British Petroleum et al were there in a big way. There might even have been better relations with China and Russia, resulting in more leverage at the UN Security Council for Sudan to agree on UN peacekeepers for Darfur.

Captain Marlow writes an insightful post entitled EU starving the developing world that ends with this [imo it could apply to the Sudan]
"Sadly, everything has become a political issue and it is now impossible to trust reports on biotech, ecology, global warming. Numbers are manipulated to score political points, not to describe facts. The various activists seem to have played a self-defeating game here, since no one believes their alarmism anymore. The problem is that we all lose if we play this game instead of seriously looking for solutions."
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Sudan's post-war parliament opens

Aug 31 BBC report says Sudan's new parliament has met for the first since January's peace deal:
In his speech, President Bashir reiterated his determination to "find a peaceful solution" to the conflict in Darfur. Meanwhile, UNICEF has said attacks on humanitarian aid convoys by bandits in Darfur have become rampant.

"Not a single day goes by without two, three or four attacks on aid convoys," UNICEF's representative in Darfur, Keith McKenzie, told a new conference in London.

He said Darfur's 11,000 aid workers were doing an excellent job, but he warned that the rising level of lawlessness was making some agencies consider reducing their presence at a time when the need for their help was growing.

The number of refugees in the region has risen to more than 3m, with some 2m of them housed in 200 camps.
Sudanese President Bashir

President Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989 (AP photo and caption courtesy BBC)
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Former NATO Commander urging UNSC to send NATO troops to Darfur

Sudan Tribune publishes a report Aug 31 saying former NATO Commander Wesley Clark is urging the UN Security Council to despatch about 12,000 NATO troops to Darfur to protect civilians.

The report states that "to rein in these excesses, an African Union force of 18,000 troops is expected to be on the ground in Darfur by next year."

Note, neither the author nor source of the report is credited. There is no telling who wrote it or where it's been lifted from.
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Petrochina pumps up the war chest

Extract from a report at by Jackie Home, Sep 1, 2005:
Analysts estimate that Kazakhstan will become the world's second largest oil supplier within the next two decades and China has already started to capitalise on this by building a 3,000km pipeline between the two countries. Phase one of the development is expected to be completed by the end of this year and is being jointly managed with the Kazakhstan government.
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Eric at Passion of the Present points out Trip to Darfur Travelogue which features some especially good photographs. Thanks Eric.



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