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SENATOR MENDENDEZ: DOING BUSINESS WITH TERRORISTS AND SLAVEHOLDERS

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Posted by Reverend Edward Allen on January 30, 2006 at 17:09:40:

SENATOR MENDENDEZ: DOING BUSINESS WITH TERRORISTS AND SLAVEHOLDERS

In light of the terrorist attacks on September 11 and the ongoing war to combat terrorism, much could (and should) be made about senator Robert Menendez's indirect aid of terrorism, his legislative efforts that may have helped terrorists, his support for Bills, which appear to exploit the atmosphere of crisis.

Menendez has helped support the terrorist-sponsoring nation of Sudan, which had close ties to Osama Bin Laden.

Menendez sponsored three Bills in 1997 and 1998 to exempt Gum Arabic, the export of Sudan from a prohibition on the import of products from that Country (H.R. 3465/3340/1808). Though they all failed, his efforts did result in a waiver for Gum Arabic.

Current U.S. sanctions against Sudan restrict all goods and services from entering the U.S. except for Gum Arabic. Menendez worked hard to exempt the product, since his district includes the headquarters of the main U.S. Gum Arabic importer, Importer Services Corporation, which has given large campaign contributions to Menendez.

So campaign money is apparently the price tag for doing business with a nation that allows slavery, rapes, murder, mutilations and other human rights violations and which has sided with intemational terrorists. In addition, the groups that lobbied most heavily for the exemption - food processors, soft drink companies, candy makers and drug companies - have given hundreds of thousands of dollars in Pac money to Menendez since 1997, according to his campaign finance reports.

Sudan's Islamic government has long been high on the U.S. list of terroristsponsoring states, largely because Osama Bin Laden lived in Khartoum for five years in the early 1990's. His companies farmed Gum Arabic, according to London's Independent on Sunday in a December 2, 2001, story. Most accounts claim Bin Laden was using Khartoum as the hub of a global terrorist network, which is why he was expelled from the country in 1996. Sudan has also been sanctioned by the U.S. for its practice of slavery and its persecution of women and Christians, which has raised the ire of African-American members of Congress.

In fact, questions surrounding Bin Laden, Sudan and gum Arabic began to surface in Menendez's district in 1998 after the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The gum Arabic importers in Menendez's district were questioned by journalists about their ties to Bin Laden, according to a September 11, 1998 story in the Baltimore Jewish Times. Yet Menendez apparently took no action to withdraw his support for the gum Arabic exemption, except to say that he was trying to verify reports of Bin Laden's link to the Sudanese product. Some later news reports discounted Bin Laden's "monopoly" on gum Arabic, but there seems no question that he was involved, just as there is no question that slavery exists in Sudan, and that Menendez took money from people who stood to benefit from a situation that was not in America's best interest.

Charles, Jacobs, president of the American Anti-Slavery Group, blasted Menendez in his September 28, 2000, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the congressman's stance on gum Arabic and his support of Sudan.

On the same day in an op-ed in the Washington Post, Menendez was still trying to justify his stance on gum Arabic and Sudan, saying, "No one should do business with thugs. But if they control a product that we can't seem to live without ... the market will find a way to get it to our shelves..."

When it comes to discussion about lifting economic sanctions against Cuba, Menendez has been quoted saying, "Why reward a tyrant who has enslaved his people for more than 35 years. Castro's human rights record is deplorable". (Federal Document Clearing House/Congressional Press Releases, March 17, 1994.) Yet when it comes to Sudan, he apparently feels no such righteous indignation. In that case, it's all about money. His convictions are market-driven.

Hypocrite or Humanitarian

Governor Corzine wrote in his senate newsletter, confronting our moral challenge; we cannot be silent. Senator Corzine sponsored the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, a Bill that was passed on November 18th by the senate.

Congressman Donald Payne of Newark sponsored the same Bill in the House of Representatives.

Governor Corzine stated so long as fellow human beings are being killed, we all have a role, and responsibility to act.

Governor Corzine and Congressman Donald Payne have betrayed the peoples trust. They are not practicing what they preach.

Governor Corzine's appointment of Robert Menendez to U.S. senate is a disgrace to the African American Community as well as all people of moral values.

Neither Governor Corzine nor Congressman Donald Payne has said one word about Bob Menendez's support of the genocide that continues today in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "There comes a time when silence is betrayal."

Sincerely,

Reverend Edward Allen
(732) 768-3796

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