Ann Curry, newscaster on NBC's Today, has devoted herself to keeping Darfur in the headlines. Last November she traveled to the refugee camps of Chad to report on village arsons, raped women and war orphans. Now Curry is in Khartoum for an Exclusive interview with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. Confronted with evidence of 1,000 destroyed villages in Darfur, al-Bashir chose outright contradiction rather than the denial Curry anticipated.
Instead of denying his government's complicity in the rampage of the janjaweed militias, al-Bashir claimed that reports of widespread ethnic cleansing in Darfur were flat false. He alleged the same style of fabrication that Secretary of State Colin Powell had invoked at the UN Security Council to assert that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He extended the Iraq parallel further, insinuating that charges against his government were a precursor to intervention by an oil-hungry United States. As for all those rapes, al-Bashir told Curry: "It is not in the Sudanese culture or in the culture of the people of Darfur to rape. It does not exist."
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