Jenni Williams Thought Experiment
By Stephen Gowans
In March 2007 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice invited Jenni Williams to Washington to receive the US State Department’s 2007 International Woman of Courage Award for Africa . Williams is an anti-Mugabe activist who leads Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a group which, according to a US State Department report , receives US government funding through Freedom House, a CIA-interlocked  organization headed by Peter Ackerman, junk bond trader Michael Milken’s former right hand man.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine an American being invited to Harare by Robert Mugabe to receive the International Person of Courage Award for the North Atlantic. Imagine further that the recipient is the leader of a civil society group called Women of America Arise and that the group is financially assisted by the Zimbabwean government. How believable would the claim be that our person of courage is not an agent of the Zimbabwean government? How much scorn would be heaped upon her for accepting an accolade – and money — from the “monster”, Mugabe, in Harare, no less? How likely would it be that our person of courage would escape calls to be sanctioned or deported? And what would we think of a progressive scholar who dismissed the idea that our person of courage could in any way be considered an agent of Zimbabwe, or that she represented an independent left?
In reply to a September 25, 2008 Netfa Freeman article in the Black Agenda Report, “Zimbabwe and the Battle of Ideas”, progressive scholar Stephen Zunes declared that it was impossible to consider Jenni Williams, the woman who is feted in Washington by the monster Condoleezza Rice, to be an American agent. Zunes heads up the board of academic advisors of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, a body which trains people to use nonviolence to bring down governments that refuse to accept the free trade, free enterpise, free market demands that are the cornerstone of US foreign policy. The ICNC is run by Peter Ackerman – the same Peter Ackerman, who, pursuing a post-Michael Milken career, also runs the CIA interlocked Freedom House, the same Freedom House that funnels Uncle Sam’s lucre to Jenni Williams. And Stephen Zunes, working with Freedom House head Peter Ackerman at the ICNC says Jenni Williams can in no way be considered an American agent.
1. Jim Fisher-Thompson, “Zimbabwean receives International Woman of Courage Award,” USINFO, March 7, 2007. http://www.america.gov/st/hr-english/2007/March/200703071523081EJrehsiF0.7266962.html
3. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Pantheon Books, New York, 1988, p. 28.