Tim Carney—mooted as potential U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan—“Bud” McFarlane, Steeplechase (ex-CIA Milt Beardon’s outfit), Sudan—and money (March 21, 2013) .
There are good reasons why figures from the U.S intelligence community, with connections to outfits like “Steeplechase” (such as Tim Carney), should not be setting U.S. Sudan policy. Follow the money, and an awful lot of dirty linen shows up…
Sudan working on improving image in foreign media: minister
Sudan Tribune, March 20, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister of Information Ahmed Bilal Osman disclosed that his ministry attempted to hire public relations experts holding U.S. citizenship to work as consultants for improving Sudan’s negative image in foreign media. Osman, who was addressing a forum on the ‘Modern Trends in Media Management, Public Relations, and Protocol’ organized by the Federal Center for Research and Capacity Building, said that they asked a group of Jordanians holding American citizenships to conduct studies aiming at improving Sudan’s image in foreign media. However, they asked for large sums of money which the Ministry of Finance was unable to offer.
The minister underscored the need to put more efforts in the information and public relations sector in order to improve the image of Sudan abroad in addition to enhancing the official awareness about the importance of public relations which he acknowledged that the government neglected for long time. The Sudanese government frequently complains about unfair coverage particularly in Western media. News about the Darfur conflict which started in 2003 made the headlines around the world for several years. In 2008, the United Nations said some 300,000 people may have died in Darfur’s war, which the U.S. unilterally labeled as genocide. The government has put the death toll around 10,000. Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Khartoum dismisses the court as an agent of Western neo-imperialism. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45906
FBI investigating Iran-contra figure McFarlane for links to Sudan
By Ann E. Marimow, Published: March 20, 2013
Federal law enforcement officials are investigating the relationship between a former Reagan administration official known for his role in the Iran-contra scandal and the government of Sudan, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in federal court. Federal agents this month searched the ninth-floor Watergate condominium of former national security adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane, who was approached in 2008 by Sudanese officials seeking access to the incoming Obama administration. The FBI began investigating McFarlane after a 2009 Washington Post story outlined his involvement with the strife-torn African nation, which has long sought to ease U.S. economic sanctions and to be removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The Post reported that Sudanese officials helped arrange a $1.3 million contract between the government of Qatar and McFarlane, who later met with two of the Obama administration’s top policymakers on Sudan. But federal law enforcement officials allege, according to a search warrant affidavit filed March 5 in federal court in the District, that McFarlane was actually working as a lobbyist and consultant directly with the government of Sudan and “attempted to hide his relationship with Sudan by contracting with the country of Qatar.”
U.S. law makes it a crime to work as an agent of a foreign government without proper disclosure and prohibits business with Sudan because of its history of alleged genocide and other human rights violations in its decades-long civil war. McFarlane has not been charged with a crime. His attorney, Barry Wm. Levine, said McFarlane did not violate any laws. “He has devoted his entire adult life to the interests of this country and he cares deeply about the people of Darfur,” Levine said. The search warrant was filed by prosecutors under seal, but it was publicly available online. Levine said the affidavit should not have been made public and was under seal to “protect the innocent — and he is such a person.”
McFarlane said previously that he was adhering to U.S. restrictions and that his lawyers concluded that he did not need to register for the contract with Qatar. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the office handling the case, said McFarlane “is cooperating with this ongoing investigation and, through counsel, has asserted his innocence.” Before searching McFarlane’s condominium for business records, the FBI in 2010 searched his business e-mail account and went through the trash of the former offices of his small consulting firm in Arlington, according to court documents. McFarlane was interviewed by the FBI on the same day the search warrant application was filed.
The affidavit quotes extensively from e-mail exchanges between or about McFarlane and officials within the government of Sudan in early 2009. The FBI also interviewed and obtained documents from an unidentified cooperating witness who they said was familiar with McFarlane’s contract with Qatar. “I believe that these e-mails are evidence that McFarlane was entering into an agreement with the government of Sudan to lobby the U.S. government officials on behalf of Sudan,” the agent wrote in the affidavit.
[Below is the original 2009 Washington Post article referred to]
Former Reagan Aide Robert McFarlane’s Dealings With Sudan Raise Questions
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The government of Sudan, eager to curry favor with a U.S. government that accused it of genocide, sought help last fall from an unlikely source: a former Reagan administration official known for his role in the Iran-contra scandal. The approach by Sudanese officials led to a $1.3 million contract for former national security adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane, who went on to meet with two of the Obama administration’s top policymakers on Sudan and its strife-torn Darfur region, according to documents and interviews. The unusual talks between Sudan and McFarlane featured meetings in Middle Eastern capitals, clandestine communications with Sudan’s intelligence service and a final agreement with the government of Qatar, which is employing McFarlane as part of its peacemaking role in the eastern African region. The episode puts an old Cold War hand in the middle of the volatile 21st-century conflict in Sudan, whose president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, faces international war crimes charges for allegedly orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture and forced expulsions in Darfur. The arrangement also places McFarlane, 72, close to the edge of U.S. legal requirements, which mandate disclosure of work for foreign governments and which prohibit doing business with Sudan under sanctions first imposed in the 1990s.
McFarlane dismisses suggestions that he has done anything improper, saying he has adhered to U.S. restrictions while focusing on his work to unify feuding tribal leaders and help create jobs in Darfur. His involvement, however, presents another serious complication for the Obama administration, which is struggling to formulate a coherent policy on Sudan amid disputes between the State Department and Sudan envoy J. Scott Gration, who has signaled support for easing sanctions against the Khartoum regime. Top administration officials met Wednesday to continue a reassessment of Sudan policy, but White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said no changes are imminent. “The policy is being worked on,” he said.
Copies of internal e-mails and other documents obtained by The Washington Post portray a Sudanese government hoping to gain access to the new administration to persuade Obama aides to lift sanctions and remove Sudan from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. The strategy to approach McFarlane was dubbed “Plan Tragacanth,” named for a natural gum indigenous to the Middle East. The records show that a Sudanese diplomat played a central role in proposing and securing McFarlane’s contract with Qatar and that the diplomat was in regular contact with Sudan’s intelligence chief and other officials during the negotiations. The documents also show that Sudanese officials discussed the need to provide funds for McFarlane and others once an agreement was complete, while McFarlane pledged to “work together” toward “restoring a normal relationship between our two countries.”
In written answers to questions from The Post, McFarlane characterized Sudan as an intermediary in his negotiations with Qatar and said he has not received money or entered any agreement with the Khartoum regime. “In the course of this work, I have of necessity had periodic contact with Sudanese officials,” he wrote. “However, I do not now, nor have I ever had a business or other affiliation with any part of the Government of Sudan.” McFarlane met with Gration and national security adviser James L. Jones earlier this year about the Sudan conflict, but White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said neither official approved of McFarlane’s consulting plans. “Both General Jones and U.S. Special Envoy Gration have had conversations with Mr. McFarlane about the urgent need to improve the security situation in Sudan and the need for development in southern Sudan,” Vietor said. “However, it is inaccurate to characterize those conversations as having been about Mr. McFarlane seeking, or General Jones or U.S. Special Envoy Gration providing, approval for Mr. McFarlane’s efforts.”
Neither McFarlane nor his firm, McFarlane Associates, in Arlington, has registered as a lobbyist or foreign agent on behalf of Qatar or Sudan, or received permission from the State Department to do business with Sudan.
Several legal experts said that while this is a gray area, the situation appears to fall under the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires anyone acting on behalf of a foreign power to file disclosures with the Justice Department. “Once you start talking to U.S. officials, that’s what normally would trigger the obligation to register,” said Joseph E. Sandler, a prominent Democratic lawyer and FARA expert. McFarlane said his lawyers concluded that registration was not necessary for the Qatari contract.
Ghazi Salahuddin, a close Bashir adviser and negotiator for the ruling National Congress Party, said during a recent interview in Khartoum that McFarlane is not working for his government. But he acknowledged that the former Reagan aide had talked with Mohammed H. Babiker, whom he described as a “government official” previously involved in high-profile border talks with southern Sudan. “Any allusion to the possibility would be misguided,” Salahuddin said, referring to McFarlane working for the National Congress Party. “It would be damaging to his reputation. And in the first place, it’s not right.”
Sudan is still reeling from a bloody 21-year civil war between the Muslim-dominated north and the mostly Christian and animist south, which is set to vote on independence in 2011. In a separate conflict in the western region of Darfur, millions have been displaced amid massacres by Khartoum-backed militias and continued fighting among rebel tribes.
John Prendergast, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a prominent Darfur expert, said McFarlane’s nebulous role disrupted peace talks in Ethiopia this summer, when, he said, one tribal leader backed by McFarlane asked for $6 million in funding from Gration’s office. He said the proposal caused an angry uproar among other Darfur leaders and nearly derailed the summit. “When a paid consultant engages directly in the process in support of one of the belligerents, with real question marks about whose agenda is being served, that can be destabilizing,” said Prendergast, who serves as co-chair of the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group. Jerry Fowler, president of the Save Darfur Coalition, said McFarlane’s activities are an example of the Bashir regime’s “no-holds-barred PR strategy.”
“This apparent relationship with McFarlane just shows the extent to which they will go to try to buy influence, especially with the United States,” he said. McFarlane was a top foreign policy and national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan until being waylaid by allegations of wrongdoing in the Iran-contra affair. He pleaded guilty in 1988 to misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress but was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. He served as an adviser last year to the GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). McFarlane said he became interested in Sudan during an interfaith trip to the region with members of Congress in 2007, and he has done consulting work in southern Sudan since then. In November 2008, McFarlane recounted in an e-mail, he was approached by a former business partner, Albino Aboug, on behalf of Sudan’s government.
“Albino asked whether I was willing to discuss with senior representatives from the Khartoum government how to foster negotiations between Khartoum and the Darfur rebel groups and also how to move toward renewed diplomatic negotiations between our countries,” McFarlane wrote. “I agreed to do so.” In early January, Aboug and McFarlane met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with Babiker, who is currently stationed as a Sudanese diplomat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; it is unclear whether a Qatari representative was present, and McFarlane declined to provide details. The Qatari Embassy in Washington did not respond to telephone messages.
What followed was a month-long exchange of e-mails and documents between McFarlane and Babiker, culminating with McFarlane’s contract with Qatar. Sudanese officials asked McFarlane to approach four former U.S. diplomats to ask whether they were interested in assisting in the effort; a proposed budget set aside $100,000 a month to pay them. But all four men turned McFarlane down. Former Missouri senator and Sudan envoy John Danforth said in an interview that he felt his involvement would create “confusion” among the parties; another former envoy for President George W. Bush, Rich Williamson, said, “It didn’t make sense for me to get involved.”
Robert B. Oakley, a former ambassador to Somalia and Zaire who served as Danforth’s deputy, said McFarlane told him he was “trying to broker some arrangements between the Sudanese government and the Obama administration.” “He’s a wheeler-dealer,” Oakley added. “I remember him from Iran-contra and all the rest. I didn’t get into it; I didn’t want to, quite frankly.” During this time, Babiker was in regular communication with senior Sudanese intelligence officials about McFarlane, the documents show. The documents suggest that the parties were keen to avoid public links between McFarlane and Sudan, with McFarlane stressing the need for a third party such as Qatar.
Yet an Arabic-language memo from Babiker to an unidentified Sudanese superior on Jan. 25 refers to the need to “provide the necessary money for the activities of the group,” according to a translation. A week later, McFarlane sent an electronic copy of the proposed contract with Qatar to Babiker “for your consideration” before it was signed, the documents show. McFarlane also drafted a letter from Qatar inviting himself to the contract signing, then sent the language to Babiker to pass on to Qatar for approval. The final contract was signed in Doha, Qatar’s capital, on Feb. 9 with Sudanese officials present, according to the records.
McFarlane, whose salary under the contract is $410,400, according to a fee schedule sent to Babiker, said he has “no basis for assuming” that Sudan is funding any part of the contract. Babiker confirmed his talks with McFarlane in an e-mail but did not respond to a list of follow-up questions.
And specifically on Carney:
Tim Carney and Khartoum:
Key here is understanding Carney’s attitude toward Anis Haggar, a wealthy businessman from Sudan who arranged a meeting with the NIF/Bashir in January 2001, and the “Steeplechase Group” he has funded:
 From a formerly “Secret” USG memo:
“Ambassador Petterson is the author of ‘two books, Inside Sudan: Political Islam, Conflict, and Catastrophe (l999) and Revolution in Zanzibar: An American’s Cold War Tale (2002). In 1997, he began to work pro-bono as a part-time consultant on Sudan for the Steeplechase Group, which is a consulting firm that strives to end the war in Sudan and improve relations between the US and Sudan. The Group was established by Sudanese businessman, Anis Haggar. In 2000, Ambassador Petterson started receiving a retainer [deleted] per month from the Steeplechase Group. [ http://media.nara.gov/9-11/MFR/t-0148-911MFR-00933.pdf ]
Anis Haggar’s ties to the regime in Khartoum are significant, and should be highlighted in any discussion of Carney’s possible nomination as special envoy. So, too, should Steeplechase Group—there is much here that troubles me: see next item.
 Ethics Conflict Seen as ex-CIA Officials Turn to Lobbying
By Nicholas Thompson
The Boston Globe
Tuesday 13 May 2003
At least one other former CIA station chief has registered as a foreign agent for a country he once worked in: Milton Bearden, CIA station chief in Sudan from 1983 to 1985. Sudan is one of seven countries involved in state-sponsored terrorism, according to the State Department. Bearden works for a firm, headquartered at his house, called the Steeplechase Group, which is run by Anis Haggar, a Sudanese businessman. Haggar is closely linked politically and financially to the Sudanese government, run by the National Islamic Front, or NIF, according to current and former government officials.
But Bearden says there is total separation between Steeplechase and the government of Sudan and that reports of Haggar’s ties to the NIF are mostly red herrings. ”He doesn’t need any money from the government — he is the largest taxpayer in Sudan,” Bearden told the Globe. Bearden added that he registered as a foreign agent only out of ”an abundance of caution.’‘ [But Haggar’s investments would have been much more valuable if Bearden, Carney, and others had been successful—ER]
According to its disclosure report, Steeplechase works with ”US government officials to arrange meetings with Sudanese officials to discuss the prospects for peace and to discuss international petroleum developments and their potential impact on Sudan’s petroleum industry.” Steeplechase Group was paid about $300,000 last year for this service. ”I help out with the peace negotiations,” Bearden said. He added that he also is helping Sudan with reducing the number of child soldiers involved in its civil conflict and reducing its AIDS rate.
Other Sudan observers are concerned Bearden is relying on the sensitive contacts he gained while in the CIA to help persuade Congress and the Bush administration to lift or limit sanctions against Sudan, thus creating opportunities for American investment. Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College and Sudan specialist who testifies frequently on Capitol Hill, says the CIA is closely involved in setting US policy toward the country, and that to reach peace in its long-running civil war Sudan ”needs more international pressure. It doesn’t need high-paid lobbyists with contacts in the CIA telling it how to avoid the pressure.”
 For Carney’s own visit with al/Bashir and the NIF, as arranged by Haggar, see also: note 22, page 508 of War and Peace in Sudan: A Tale of Two Countries, by Manṣūr Khālid (2002) re: Carney and al-Bashir (Khalid was Sudan’s foreign minister under Nimeiri, and yet had pro-South sympathies as well—extremely well informed. (To view, enter in google search:
“anis haggar” | “steve mufson” | sudan | Khartoum | 2001
Northampton, MA 01063
Eric Reeves’ new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012) is available in eBook format, at no cost: www.CompromisingWithEvil.org