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FTR #324 Biological Warfare, AIDS, Ebola & Apartheid

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Recorded less than 48 hours before the 9/11 attacks, this program eerily foreshadows the anthrax attacks that followed 9/11—to date those attacks are unsolved. This broadcast offers some possible clues as to why. Examining more of the political and historical context surrounding the late Dr. Larry Ford, this program provides a vista onto the overlapping worlds of clandestine fascist politics, the intelligence community and biological warfare research.

1. The program begins with review of Dr. Ford’s work for Project Coast—an apartheid-era South African assassination program using chemical and biological weapons. (It is important to remember that Ford had worked with, among other elements, the CIA. This makes his association with ultra-right antigovernment and terrorist groups all the more ominous. The possibility of a “national security coverup” is not one to be too readily discarded. His links to elements of the US intelligence community may be used to obscure some of his other activities from public view. It is also worth noting that other countries appeared to have utilized assets involved in Project Coast in a fashion not unlike the American incorporation of Third Reich scientists and research under Project Paperclip.)

“He [Irvine California police detective Victor Ray] steered the investigation to Ford’s backyard, where men in Andromeda Strain suits would evacuate a neighborhood and haul away an arsenal of toxins, germs, plastic explosives, and guns. In the process they unearthed a trail that stretched all the way from the CIA to apartheid-era South Africa and Dr. Wouter Basson, the man who ran the country’s clandestine bioweapons program.”

(“The Medicine Man” by Edward Humes; Los Angeles Magazine; 7/2001; p. 3.)

2. Ford had links to racist organizations and militia-movement elements, and may have offered them chemical and/or biological weapons. His “microencapsulation” system for a prophylactic vaginal suppository he was developing might have “dual-use” in a biological warfare application.

“The question still plaguing federal, state, and local investigators is a simple but urgent one: what was Ford planning to do with his germs and bioweapons expertise? The discovery of militia-movement and racist literature among Ford’s papers has raised the possibility that he offered biological or chemical weapons to terrorist groups. Concerns have also mounted over a patented feature of his Inner Confidence suppository: the microencapsulation of beneficial bacteria. It turns out this architecture could double as an ideal delivery system for bioweapons, allowing otherwise fragile disease organisms to be seeded virtually anywhere. Ford, in essence, had patented the prescription for a perfect microscopic time bomb.”

(Idem.)

3. Ford had told the family of a business partner that his work on behalf of the US national security establishment had included work on the Ebola and Marburg viruses. As will be seen later in the program, there is some suggestion that Ebola may have been utilized by the apartheid-era regime as part of Project Coast.

“Ford told the Rileys and others his subsequent work for the military and the CIA included research on biological and chemical weapons, consulting on Iraqi capabilities during the Gulf War, and sneaking into epidemic hot zones in Africa to gather samples of such killer organisms as the Ebola and Marburg viruses.”

(Idem.)

4. Reviewing more information from FTR#317, the discussion highlights Ford’s work on AIDS prevention for the apartheid-era government. (South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world and many observers feel that AIDS threatens the very future of the country.) Significantly, research on AIDS by the Broederbond underscored the possibility that the disease could become a vehicle for the restoration of white supremacy in South Africa

“But the AIDS prevention program was for whites in the military, not blacks. A secret rightwing South African organization, the Broeder-bond, [sic] conducted studies around this same time that suggested the AIDS epidemic could make whites the majority in the future.”

(Ibid.; p. 8.)

5. In light of the activities conducted by Ford and his compatriots from Project Coast, the utilization of AIDS as a weapon of extermination is not a possibility to be too readily cast aside.

“Since then, through the new government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was formed to probe the abuses of apartheid, information has surfaced about a secret South African bioweapons program. Code-named Project Coast, it was run by another Ford friend and financial benefactor, Dr. Wouter Basson; [South African deputy surgeon general Dr. Niel] Knobel had administrative oversight. Basson’s alleged ties to hundreds of poisonings and assassinations in South Africa and in the neighboring countries of Angola and Zimbabwe earned him the nickname ‘Dr. Death’ in the South African press. Documents indicating he had arranged an offshore bank account for Ford were found in Ford’s papers after his death.”

(Idem.)

6. Ford’s involvement with Project Coast may have bordered on the genocidal.

“The commission uncovered evidence that whole villages, including an Angolan settlement of several hundred people suspected of harboring rebels, may have been decimated by Project Coast weapons. This finding parallels information Nilsson’s ex-girlfriend provided: She said Ford more than once boasted of wiping out an entire Angolan village during a civil war.”

(Idem.)

7. Next, the program sets forth more information about the history of Project Coast. Zimbabwe’s Health Minister had some pointed observations about outbreaks of Ebola during that nation’s war of independence and his belief that they resulted from Project Coast.

“ ‘I have my suspicions about Ebola too. It developed along the line of the Zambezi River, and I suspect that this may have been an experiment to see if a new virus could be established to infect people. We looked on the serological evidence on strange cases, including a fifteen-year-old child which occurred in 1980. Nothing really made epidemiological sense. Do I have evidence? Only circumstantial. In fact, the Rhodesian security forces were more expert than the Nazis at covering up evidence.’”

(Plague Wars: The Terrifying Reality of Biological Warfare by Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg; Copyright 1999 [HC] by Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg; St. Martin’s Press; ISBN 0-312-20353-5; p. 220.)

8. Dr. Stamps’ observations were significant and prescient, because the subsequent inquiry into Project Coast revealed that the project had been active in neighboring countries that had fought against black majority rule at the same time as the apartheid regime.

“Stamps is speaking weeks before the remarkable evidence was presented by South African soldiers and scientists at the 1998 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s hearings on South Africa’s covert biological warfare program. The Health Minister doesn’t know just how close to the truth he is.” (Idem.)
“Stamps begins to talk gloomily about the revived epidemic of anthrax which now stalks his land. ‘Even the wild animals have been infected—antelopes, elephants . . .’ The voice trails off, then picks up again. ‘We’ve asked the American Centers for Disease Control to come and help us, but they work only on a cost plus basis and my budget is small.’”

(Idem.)

“We talk about the anthrax. ‘If you can destroy a person’s cattle, you can destroy his livelihood,’ he says. ‘If you can kill a few people in the process, then you can subjugate a large number of people. And the stuff lasts forever. That is the evil of biological warfare.’ Who brought it in? Stamps picks up a cake knife and points to the south. ‘Where do you think? South Africa, of course.’”

(Idem.)

9. Nico Palm—a former engineer in the South African Defense Force—provided the authors of Plague Wars with a primary source. “Gert,” as he chose to be called, discussed his use of biological weapons during the border wars of the 1980’s.

“Palm says he has a primary source who used biological warfare against the enemies of South Africa during the covert border struggles of the 1980’s . . . Gert teases with some hints about his personal background, but not enough to make an identification. ‘I was recruited by [Wouter] Basson,’ he says casually. ‘I had the same rank and status, I was a colonel.’”

(Ibid.; pp. 250-251.)

10. “Gert” discussed the methodology of covert infection utilized by Project Coast and some of the infectious agents used.

“The bacteria and viruses, he says, were delivered in containers and used in northern Namibia. Bacteria were placed into a water source ‘wherever you identify one, or wherever you identify one destined for human consumption’.”

(Ibid.; p. 251.)

“ ‘When Hep. [Hepatitis] A was used, we had to make sure that the operators had a gamma globulin injection first. Cholera was pretty widely used also. I used it. I personally was involved in the Eastern Transvaal against FRELIMO in Mozambique. We placed the cholera upstream . . . we looked for areas, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work this out, where they didn’t filter the water or don’t clean it—places where there was no chlorination, so you drop it in and prod it.’”

(Ibid.; pp. 251-252.)

11. According to “Gert,” the actual “homme-de-main” who was selected to do the dirty work, was usually a civilian who was viewed as “dispensable.”

“Who did this? Soldiers? ‘No, no, no, no. Never, never did it happen by ordinary soldiers. You can’t blame any of the normal forces for that. Although sometimes some of our own soldiers did get infected by the cholera that we put in the water.’”

(Ibid.; p. 252.)

“ ‘This is what I’m saying, usually the guy who did it, who placed it, was dispensable—he would have been very well selected, he’s someone you can compromise, he’s either on drugs, or he drinks too much, or he’s got his hand in the cookie jar. That was all done here in Pretoria.’ Who did the selection? Basson himself? ‘He selected the guy with the criminal background . . . It was a criminal operation. The guy would wear civilian clothes.’”

(Idem.)

12. Corroborating some of Dr. Stamps’ suspicions concerning Ebola, “Gert” discussed the use of that virus and the related Marburg virus in Project Coast. “Gert” also implies that US scientists from Ft. Detrick (Dr. Ford?) were involved with a Zairian outbreak.

“ ‘Look, I know what one of the very, very, very secret specialized units had. We had to test it. And that was viral capsules that were specifically related to Congo fever and the hemorrhagic fevers.’ Ebola? ‘Yes.’ So Gert is beginning to corroborate Dr. Stamp’s suspicions in Harare that Ebola and Marburg, although indigenous, were also artificially seeded into Southern Africa. Basson, says Gert, was involved in all this. (when the last terrible Ebola outbreak occurred in Kikwit, Zaire, as late as 1995, Gert claims that Basson was there, unofficially. Twenty years earlier, when the village of Yambuku in northern Zaire witnessed one of the first major Ebola outbreaks, two South African scientists were there, allegedly working hand in glove with US military personnel from Fort Detrick.)”

(Ibid.; p. 253.)

13. As “Gert” made clear, these viruses were for offensive use by South Africa.

“Slowly, patiently, Gert confesses that these terrible viruses were ‘researched’ for offensive use by South Africa. Next, he talks elliptically about ‘taking out’ certain enemy units, even though these actions had no military value. It was done in order to find the one soldier who, according to military intelligence, had contracted an hemorrhagic fever. These sick people would then be evacuated from the border areas to South Africa, ‘to see what the effect was, obviously.’. You wanted to see what the effect because you had sown the disease? ‘For sure . . . I can tell you that I know of this thing because I did it myself. I did the evacuations. It was up in Eastern Angola, we’re talking mid-eighties.’”

(Idem.)

14. Adding sinister depth to the background of the AIDS research that Larry Ford engaged in, “Gert” discusses the deliberate infection of human targets with HIV.

“Gert lifts another veil. ‘There was some HIV tampering,’ he says. Meaning? ‘I mean all you have to do is get one covert guy, he’s HIV positive, he’s of the area. You get him to infiltrate the whole town and screw the whole lot . . . get him out and shoot him.’ Was that really done? ‘If I tell you, it was obviously done. Look, I was a wild guy. At one stage, I worked with the police, I worked with national intelligence, I worked with military intelligence, I worked with Seventh Med, I worked with everybody. I was never identified, because only a very few people knew where I was positioned.’ Was Basson your boss? ‘No, it was higher up, both military and political. [sic]’”

(Idem.)

15. As set forth in FTR#317, Dr. Ford was (according to an Air Force Academy report) part of an underground, extragovernmental network that aimed at continuing the work of Project Coast and the goals of the apartheid regime.

“The Air Force report quotes testimony from a Swiss intelligence agent who laundered money for Basson and who describes a worldwide conspiracy involving unnamed Americans. ‘The death of Dr. Ford and revelations of his South African involvement,’ the report states, ‘[raises] the possibility of a right-wing international network, [still] united by a vision of South Africa once again ruled by whites.’”

(“The Medicine Man;” Los Angeles Magazine; 7/2001; pp. 8-9.)

The possibility that this underground organization might unleash its biological terror on the United States was foreshadowed by some of the statements made by Ford and his associates.

“They say he [South African trade attaché Gideon Bouwer] raved about the ability to keep whites in power through biological warfare, and he hinted at being part of a separate agenda—some sort of extragovernmental conspiracy, like the one described in the Air Force report, that had plans to unleash biological agents worldwide on South Africa’s enemies if the need should ever arise. ‘Just be ready,’ Fitzpatrick remembers Bouwer warning him cryptically, then asking, ‘How fast could get your daughter out of the country if you had to?’ ‘I have to be honest,’ Fitzpatrick says. ‘Gideon could be a great guy. But there was something dangerous about him. And when he started talking about that master plan, about what a great service Ford had done for his country, and about getting out of the country, it gave me chills.”

(Ibid.; p .9.)

16. Ford’s alleged participation in the extragovernmental and apparently fascist underground milieu assumes added significance when evaluated against the post-apartheid “Third Force.” The “Third Force” was a powerful, deadly and (by those familiar with it) respectfully feared underground extension of the apartheid/Broederbond power axis. (As will be seen later on in this program description, Mandela’s fear that Project Coast and the “Third Force” might be connected was not without foundation.)

“In the end it was British representatives who decided to approach President Mandela, with a minimum of fanfare, to advise him that he was inheriting an ugly biological assassination program from the previous administrations. Mandela’s first reaction was: ‘Oh my God!’ He was initially terrified that the South African ‘Third Force’ elements, including such organizations as Eugene Terre’ Blanche’s ultra right-wing and fanatical AWB, might lay their hands on it.”

(Plague Wars; pp. 272-273.)

17. The “Third Force” was not a peripheral organization.

“The most determined of these whites came to be known as ‘The Third Force’. They comprised not the mad neo-Nazi right, but revanchist politicians and hard men in the military, and the military intelligence and civilian intelligence agencies, and the myriad covert action groups involved in fighting clean or dirty, internally or externally, to maintain white supremacy.”

(Ibid.; p. 266.)

18. The aforementioned Nico Palm described this post-apartheid underground organization in more detail, referring to it as “Die Organisasie” and “the Spider Network.” With the links between the Third Reich and the Broederbond and with the vigorous postwar presence of Third Reich émigré elements in the Third Reich, it seems probable that “Die Organisasie” retains connections to the Underground Reich.

“Palm spoke enigmatically of ‘Die Organisasie,’ a pulp fiction nom de guerre (which he calls, even more melodramatically, the ‘Spider Network’). It is a group of white South Africans who wait patiently for he demise of the ANC government and a return to the old days. They are not the mad pseudo-Nazis of the far right, but something far more organized, well financed, and patient. Other people know them as ‘The Third Force.’ We are to hear of them time and again from ex-soldiers like Nico Palm all the way up to South Africa’s deputy defense minister, Ronnie Kasrils. Significantly, files have also been opened by MI5 in potentially significant union of like-minded South African right-wingers. All of them are ex-pats now living in the United Kingdom, who may support the destabilization of any black South African government.”

(Ibid.; p. 250.)

19. Those familiar with “Die Organisasie” regard it with a mixture of fear and respect.

“It is with in this context that Gert now raises the question of Die Organisasie. He is clearly apprehensive of its power, and it is the only moment he appears truly concerned. ‘These are people who take no prisoners,’ mutters Nico [Palm]. Gert grimly nods his head.”

(Ibid.; p. 254.)

20. Dr. Larry Ford’s associate and supervisor in Project Coast—Wouter Basson—was no stranger to “Die Organisasie.”

“We recall there was, in the documents found at his [Basson’s] home, a fax from Britain. It stated that should Basson ever find himself in trouble—real trouble—there was a safe house ready for him not half-an-hour from London. All he had to do was to make his own way to Heathrow. The signature on the fax had been whited out. In fact, the message had been sent by a former Rhodesian/South African citizen who now lives and works in West London, who was once very close to Basson, and worked with him on the biological warfare program. He is ex-Special Forces, and linked to Die Organisasie. Now he is a businessman, married with family, whose permanent residence is in London.”

(Ibid.; p. 281.)

21. The final element of discussion concerns Basson’s apparent connections to “Die Organisasie.” Juergen Jacomet—a former Swiss intelligence operative who had worked with Basson—reflected on the motives for Basson’s involvement in an “Ecstasy” deal.

“So what was Basson up to that night? He says simply that he was framed. Another version has that he did it purely for personal gain; there is a third explanation, that it was a mixture of personal gain and helping to raise funds for the Third Force, of which Basson is considered to be a member.”

(Ibid.; p. 277.)

“Basson’s possible connections with the Third Force were elliptically referred to by Juergen Jacomet, the former Swiss military intelligence agent who worked with Basson on money-laundering aspects of Project Coast in Europe . . .”

(Idem.)

22. The program details Jacomet’s relationship with Basson and the apartheid regime.

“In fact, back in the mid-1980’s, the Swiss agent had first worked with General Lothar Neethling, South Africa’s Police Forensic chief, delivering arms to South Africa, in an extensive sanctions-busting arrangement. Neethling introduced Jacomet to Basson, and the two men became friends. Basson often visited Jacomet at his Berne home. Eventually, Jacomet traveled to South Africa on several occasions to help Basson and Neethling in the dirty wars of the 1980’s.”

(Idem.)

23. Jacomet hypothesizes that Basson would not have engaged in the Ecstasy deal for profit.

“Now, sitting in a quiet West London garden on an early spring day in 1998, Jacomet relaxes with coffee and cigarettes and discusses the arrest of Basson and the Ecstasy allegations. He scoffs at the prospect of his friend being a profiteering drug dealer. ‘It makes absolutely no sense if you know him. It makes no sense tat he would mix with street dealers. If it happened at all, there must be a higher interest.’ Such as? ‘It might be to procure money to support a certain group which represents the interests of South Africa and wants the return of a white-dominated government.’”

(Ibid.; pp. 277-278.)

24. In discussing the Third Force, Jacomet expresses the same fear of the organization that we have already witnessed.

“Jacomet, now nervous, is pressed to expand a little. ‘There is a group of people here in London, he says. ‘One could call them the friends of South Africa. They have it in mind to see a strong white South Africa again. There are American connections too. [Emphasis added.] They need funds, and it is possible that the drug business has helped them. You know, it would really be very foolish of me to talk more about this. They are serious people.’ Jacomet searches for the popular expression, and, remarkably, finds the same aphorism used by Gert about the same people. ‘They don’t take prisoners,’ he says finally.”

(Ibid.; p. 278.)

25. In discussing the Third Force, Jacomet makes a reference to “an American” who worked with Basson. This may very well be a reference to Ford.

“And who are ‘they’? Jacomet mentions some well-known South African names—men previously associated with Third Force activities. He also refers to an American name known to Britain’s MI5 for his alleged involvement with Basson in money laundering, sanctions busting, and biological agents procurement. [Emphasis added.] Once again, Die Organisasie is mentioned in respectful tones, and, once again, the details remain scant and elusive. Jacomet remains silent.”

(Idem.)

26. The discussion concludes with rumination about the possibility that the Underground Reich, utilizing some of the apparent connections evident in the relationships of Dr. Larry Ford, might very well launch a bio-terror strike against the United States. Once again, one should note in that context that this broadcast was recorded on 9/11/2001.

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #324 Biological Warfare, AIDS, Ebola & Apartheid”

  1. good afternoon. when are you going to make your information available to post on facebook, twitter etc.? thank you.taif’tul’islam-p.o.box 338-compton,ca.90223

    Posted by MUHAMMAD ABDULLAH | November 18, 2010, 4:22 pm
  2. Oh look at that: President Trump decided to promote a far right hoax meme about the mass killing of South African white farmers. This appeared to be in response to Fox News host Tucker Carlson running on segment on a proposal by South Africa’s president to expropriate some of the farm land that his historically overwhelmingly held by white farmers. The proposal is still under debate and there has been no mass seizure of land. But that didn’t stop Tucker Carlson from running a segment on his show claiming that the South African government had started “seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color.” Trump then upped the crazy by claiming that there’s been “large scale killing of farmers.” The killings of farmers and farm workers is actually at a 20 year low according to statistics put out by a South African farmers association.

    Both Trump and Carlson echo the narrative currently being promoted internationally by far right South African groups who are trying to rally international support. And as we’re going to see, one of these groups, AfriForum, has been particularly successful at this. Not only have they received support from far right US figures like Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, and Mike Cernovich, and Tucker Carlson. But they also took a trip to Washington DC back in May that included visits with National Security Advisor John Bolton, Ted Cruz, the Cato Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the International Republican Institute, and USAID.

    First, here’s an article about Trump tweeting out the “large scale killing of farmers” lie last week in response to Carlson’s segment falsely claiming there was already widespread seizure of white farmers’ farmland:

    The New York Times

    Trump Cites False Claims of Widespread Attacks on White Farmers in South Africa

    By Kimon de Greef and Palko Karasz
    Aug. 23, 2018

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa — President Trump waded into South Africa’s proposal to seize land from white farmers, saying in a post on Twitter late Wednesday that he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study” the “the large scale killing of farmers” — a claim disputed by official figures and the country’s biggest farmer’s group.

    I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018

    Mr. Trump’s comment came after the Fox News host Tucker Carlson presented a late-night program on South Africa, including land seizures and homicides, and described President Cyril Ramaphosa as “a racist.”

    The tweet gives prominence to a false narrative pushed by some right-wing groups in South Africa that there have been numerous seizures of white-owned land and widespread killings of white farmers. Some of those groups have brought their claims to the United States on lobbying trips.

    On Thursday, the South African minister of international relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, described the tweet as “regrettable” and “based on false information.” The government said it would seek clarification from the United States Embassy, and Ms. Sisulu planned to “communicate with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on the matter through diplomatic channels.”

    The government has said expropriating farms is necessary to deal with longstanding inequities and that only unused land would be subject to seizure, suggesting that land that is being actively farmed would be safe.

    In a country still struggling with the effects of apartheid and widespread economic inequality decades after Nelson Mandela became the country’s first black president, Mr. Trump’s tweet was likely to inflame the divisive landownership debate.

    Are there widespread killings of farmers?

    The number of killings of farmers, including farm workers, is at a 20-year low, 47 in the fiscal year 2017-18, according to research published in July by AgriSA, a farmers’ organization in South Africa. That is down from 66 during the fiscal year before. The figures were consistent with a steady decline of violence since a peak in 1998, when 153 were killed.

    South Africa recorded 19,016 murder cases from April 2016 to March 2017, according to the South Africa Police Service. The national murder rate last year was 34.1 per 100,000 people, but the number of people living on farms is not fully known, which makes comparisons difficult.

    Most official statistics do not break down homicides by race.

    “There is no official crime category called ‘farm attack’ or ‘farm murder,’ ” according to Africa Check, a local fact-checking organization.

    Some white South Africans say they believe that farm killings are underreported, politically motivated and part of a conspiracy to rid the country of white residents. AfriForum, a right-wing minority rights group, has lobbied internationally — including in Washington — to draw attention to farm homicides and what it calls the “racist theft” of land.

    “Nobody is disputing that people living and working on farms and small holdings are the victims of violent and often brutal attacks and murders,” said Kate Wilkinson, a senior researcher at Africa Check. “What is disputed is whether they face an elevated risk versus average South Africans.”

    Does the South African government want to seize land?

    Yes.

    Mr. Ramaphosa announced on Aug. 1 that the governing African National Congress (A.N.C.) would move ahead with a proposal to change the country’s Constitution and allow the expropriation of some land without compensation.

    Land reform is a highly divisive issue in South Africa, where whites own disproportionately more private land than the black majority in both urban and rural areas.

    What is its argument for doing so?

    Mr. Ramaphosa has said that speeding up what he described as land reform will bolster economic growth and agricultural production.

    More fundamentally, the government has argued, returning land to black South Africans would make the country — which has one of the largest income gaps in the world — more just. Resolving to support land redistribution without compensation was “a call to action to decisively break with the historical injustice of colonial, apartheid and patriarchal patterns of land ownership, and to build a South Africa that belongs to all,” the A.N.C. said in a statement in May.

    In an op-ed article published by The Financial Times on Thursday, Mr. Ramaphosa wrote: “As the World Bank has observed, ‘South Africa’s historical, highly skewed distribution of land and productive assets is a source of inequality and social fragility.’ ”

    He also said in January, “We can make this country the Garden of Eden.”

    Within the A.N.C., a faction aligned with former President Jacob Zuma has strongly pushed for land seizures. Mr. Ramaphosa, a former businessman regarded as more moderate, has promised that land expropriation will not threaten economic stability or agricultural output, although the government has not specified how the process will work.

    A series of hearings on the subject has been held in the provinces in the past couple of months, as Parliament weighs changing the law. The issue is expected to loom large in national elections next year.

    Has the government changed the Constitution?

    Not yet.

    During Wednesday’s broadcast, Mr. Carlson said Mr. Ramaphosa had started “seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color.” But that is not true. Mr. Ramaphosa’s proposal requires a parliamentary motion and has not yet become law although some version is expected to pass.

    South Africa’s Constitution already allows for land expropriation below market value, “perhaps even at zero value,” noted Andries du Toit, the director of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

    “Why has the state not already used these provisions? The answer in part seems to be that expropriation is very difficult — you are heading for a process where the final decision will be made by a court, not the government,” Mr. du Toit said.

    A campaign by right-wing groups bears fruit

    Some right-wing groups in South Africa, like AfriForum, have pushed the false narrative that there have already been numerous seizures of white-owned land.

    The groups have drawn support from conservative American commentators such as Alex Jones, Ann Coulter and Mike Cernovich, who in 2016 tweeted that “white genocide” was “real” in South Africa.

    Leaders of AfriForum visited Washington in May and met with Senator Ted Cruz and members of the Cato Institute. A representative of AfriForum also appeared on Mr. Carlson’s show in May, generating much chatter among the group’s supporters on social media.

    Mr. Carlson, who has often used inflammatory language on issues of race on his show, has become one of Mr. Trump’s favorite Fox News hosts. Mr. Trump himself has made many racially explosive remarks, and political analysts say they expect him to continue using that language to firm up support among his conservative voter base, which includes vocal white nationalists and white supremacists.

    Mr. Trump apparently singled out Mr. Pompeo in the tweet because Mr. Carlson had read aloud what Mr. Carlson called an “unbelievable statement” from what he called “Mike Pompeo’s State Department.” The statement was a long and nuanced explanation of the department’s perspective on land ownership in South Africa, and it said that the country had a “strong democracy” and was engaged in an “open process” over the land tensions.

    After reading it, Mr. Carlson mocked the statement.

    Another rightwing group from South Africa, the Suidlanders, toured the United States last year, meeting with David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, among others.

    In reaction to Mr. Trump’s tweet this week, Patrick Gaspard, a former American ambassador to South Africa, said on Twitter: “The President of the US needs political distractions to turn our gaze away from his criminal cabal, and so he’s attacking South Africa with the disproven racial myth of ‘large scale killings of farmers.’ This man has never visited the continent and has no discernible Africa policy.”

    ———-

    “Trump Cites False Claims of Widespread Attacks on White Farmers in South Africa” by Kimon de Greef and Palko Karasz; The New York Times; 08/23/2018

    “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018”

    That was what Trump decided to tweet last week: he’s going to ask Mike Pompeo to look into farm seizures and the large scale killing of farmers. And it appears to be in direct response to a segment on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show the previous night. Because of course Trump is a big fan of Tucker Carlson, one of Fox’s barely-crypto-white nationalist hosts:


    Mr. Trump’s comment came after the Fox News host Tucker Carlson presented a late-night program on South Africa, including land seizures and homicides, and described President Cyril Ramaphosa as “a racist.”

    The tweet gives prominence to a false narrative pushed by some right-wing groups in South Africa that there have been numerous seizures of white-owned land and widespread killings of white farmers. Some of those groups have brought their claims to the United States on lobbying trips.

    Mr. Carlson, who has often used inflammatory language on issues of race on his show, has become one of Mr. Trump’s favorite Fox News hosts. Mr. Trump himself has made many racially explosive remarks, and political analysts say they expect him to continue using that language to firm up support among his conservative voter base, which includes vocal white nationalists and white supremacists.

    Mr. Trump apparently singled out Mr. Pompeo in the tweet because Mr. Carlson had read aloud what Mr. Carlson called an “unbelievable statement” from what he called “Mike Pompeo’s State Department.” The statement was a long and nuanced explanation of the department’s perspective on land ownership in South Africa, and it said that the country had a “strong democracy” and was engaged in an “open process” over the land tensions.

    After reading it, Mr. Carlson mocked the statement.

    And, of course, the reality is that the killing of farmers and farm workers in South African is at a 20 year low, according to research put out by a South African farmer’s organization:


    Are there widespread killings of farmers?

    The number of killings of farmers, including farm workers, is at a 20-year low, 47 in the fiscal year 2017-18, according to research published in July by AgriSA, a farmers’ organization in South Africa. That is down from 66 during the fiscal year before. The figures were consistent with a steady decline of violence since a peak in 1998, when 153 were killed.

    It’s important to note that, while there South African government is debating whether or not to expropriate farm land – which will inevitably disproportionately impact white farmers since they hold the vast majority of the land – that proposal hasn’t actually become law:


    Has the government changed the Constitution?

    Not yet.

    During Wednesday’s broadcast, Mr. Carlson said Mr. Ramaphosa had started “seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color.” But that is not true. Mr. Ramaphosa’s proposal requires a parliamentary motion and has not yet become law although some version is expected to pass.

    South Africa’s Constitution already allows for land expropriation below market value, “perhaps even at zero value,” noted Andries du Toit, the director of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

    “Why has the state not already used these provisions? The answer in part seems to be that expropriation is very difficult — you are heading for a process where the final decision will be made by a court, not the government,” Mr. du Toit said.

    But that hasn’t stopped far right groups like AfriForum from waging an international lobbying campaign to promote the notion of mass killings of farmers and frame the land expropriate proposals as the “racist theft” of land. And in AfriForum’s case, that international lobbying effort has been wildly successful, especially in the US:


    Some white South Africans say they believe that farm killings are underreported, politically motivated and part of a conspiracy to rid the country of white residents. AfriForum, a right-wing minority rights group, has lobbied internationally — including in Washington — to draw attention to farm homicides and what it calls the “racist theft” of land.

    “Nobody is disputing that people living and working on farms and small holdings are the victims of violent and often brutal attacks and murders,” said Kate Wilkinson, a senior researcher at Africa Check. “What is disputed is whether they face an elevated risk versus average South Africans.”

    A campaign by right-wing groups bears fruit

    Some right-wing groups in South Africa, like AfriForum, have pushed the false narrative that there have already been numerous seizures of white-owned land.

    The groups have drawn support from conservative American commentators such as Alex Jones, Ann Coulter and Mike Cernovich, who in 2016 tweeted that “white genocide” was “real” in South Africa.

    Leaders of AfriForum visited Washington in May and met with Senator Ted Cruz and members of the Cato Institute. A representative of AfriForum also appeared on Mr. Carlson’s show in May, generating much chatter among the group’s supporters on social media.

    Another rightwing group from South Africa, the Suidlanders, toured the United States last year, meeting with David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, among others.

    In other words, it’s not just Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump following the lead of groups like AfriForum. Major right-wing institutions appear to be on board with this deception campaign.

    And AfriForum’s success in lobbying the US government wasn’t limited to meeting with Ted Cruz during their trip to the US back in May. As the following article notes, the group got to meet with officials at the International Republican Institute (which receives US government funding), USAID (at their DC headquarters too), and National Security Advisor John Bolton:

    The Huffington Post

    Ted Cruz Staff, USAID Met With Group That Called Apartheid A ‘So-Called’ Injustice
    Leaders of AfriForum, an Afrikaner rights group, also posed for a picture with national security adviser John Bolton.

    By Jessica Schulberg and Akbar Shahid Ahmed
    05/11/2018 05:20 pm ET

    WASHINGTON — The leaders of a South African group that has referred to apartheid as a “so-called” historical injustice recently toured Washington and met with top members of the U.S. government, including officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development and staffers for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). They even bumped into national security adviser John Bolton.

    AfriForum, an Afrikaner rights organization, promotes the idea that white people in South Africa are under attack by that country’s government. It has been trying to spread its message internationally.

    During their meetings in Washington, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel and deputy CEO Ernst Roets handed out copies of Roets’ book Kill the Boer, which pushes the controversial claim that white farmers are being singled out for systematic violence in South Africa.

    On Wednesday, Kriel and Roets met with USAID officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters. It’s unclear whether the officials were aware of AfriForum’s views prior to the meeting.

    “USAID meets with a wide variety of organizations to gather perspectives on political, economic, social, and development trends in countries where we operate,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, wrote HuffPost. “USAID programmed approximately $258 million in FY 2017 resources in South Africa for programs that strengthen small businesses, create employment, improve job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and treatment.”

    Also on Wednesday, Kriel and Roets posed for a photo with Bolton at a Fox News studio, according to National Security Council spokesman Robert Palladino. Bolton did not know the AfriForum leaders, Palladino added. But the duo tried their best to make an impression: They gave Bolton a copy of Roets’ book and posted the picture on Twitter.

    Great turn of events: With a bit of luck @ErnstRoets and I met John Robert Bolton, USA National Security Advisor to @realDonaldTrump. We also gave him a copy of Ernst's new #KillTheBoerBook on #FarmMurders & #ExpropriationWithoutCompensation in SA. @afriforum #AfriForumUSA . pic.twitter.com/CIEIqmyA3O— Kallie Kriel (@kalliekriel) May 9, 2018

    AfriForum, which describes itself as a civil rights group, was formed in 2006 as an outgrowth of a white trade union. It focuses on the rights of Afrikaners, a South African ethnic group largely descended from Dutch and French Huguenot settlers. The organization has 280,000 dues-paying members, according to Roets.

    Although AfriForum does not typically make explicitly racist statements, it often uses misleading or false data to characterize South Africa as a country in which white people are oppressed. When a South African land reform scholar tweeted statistics that undercut its claims about attacks against white farmers, Roets appeared to threaten her in a rant posted last Saturday on YouTube.

    “Violent crime is a serious problem on farms, as it is in some urban areas in South Africa, but there is no indication that it is anything other than ordinary crime, and it certainly doesn’t justify a narrative of deliberate targeting of whites on the basis of their ethnicity,” said Nic Dawes, a deputy executive director at Human Rights Watch. “AfriForum uses the language of rights in pursuit of an agenda which is really about preserving white privilege in South Africa and elsewhere.”

    A quarter-century after the end of white-minority rule in South Africa, the country’s white population still owns 72 percent of privately held farmland and a mere 10 percent of South Africans own 90 percent of the nation’s wealth. The post-apartheid government has bought up land for redistribution and assigned it to new owners, on the grounds that many were descended from black South Africans who unjustly lost their property during the colonial era and white rule.

    But the idea of allowing the government to confiscate land without compensation has gained traction amidst public dissatisfaction with the governing African National Congress party. In February, the South African Parliament called for constitutional reform that might permit such initiatives to boost black land ownership.

    AfriForum and others have seized on the idea of “land expropriation” as evidence of white South Africans being unjustly persecuted. They also claim that ongoing attacks on white farmers are racially motivated rather than part of the country’s broader problem with violent crime. Roets described the notion of expropriation without compensation to HuffPost as if it were an imminent policy change, rather than a proposal up for debate.

    Experts on the South African situation say it’s unlikely that commercially vital white-owned farms will actually be seized and suggest the dispute is being exaggerated for political reasons.

    AfriForum’s leaders traveled to the U.S. — stopping in Texas and Washington, D.C. — to raise awareness about violence against farmers and land expropriation, Roets said.

    The AfriForum leaders also took their message to the studio of pro-white nationalist Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and to the halls of Congress, where they met with staffers in Cruz’s office and “at least one” member of the House of Representatives, Roets said. He declined to name the member.

    We had a very constructive meeting in the office of Senator Ted Cruz today. #AfriForumUSA@afriforum @kalliekriel pic.twitter.com/cGr8lRG5aW— Ernst Roets (@ErnstRoets) May 10, 2018

    In addition, Roets and Kriel tweeted about meetings at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank; the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank; and the International Republican Institute, a democracy promotion nonprofit that receives U.S. government funding.

    “We agreed that rule of law and property rights are essential components of economic development,” Marian Tupy, a senior policy analyst at Cato, told HuffPost in an email. “Conversely, expropriation without compensation is incompatible with tranquility and prosperity. [The] international community should do what it can to dissuade [the South African] government from embracing catastrophic policies that destroyed Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.”

    Asked about AfriForum’s apparently dismissive comment about apartheid being a “so-called” historical injustice, Tupy said there “should be no doubt that apartheid was a historical injustice” – and then suggested there were similarities between the current South African government and the apartheid regime.

    “The current policies of [the South African] government are explicitly racist, because not all South African citizens are treated equally before the law (some people are favored over others, as was the case under apartheid),” Tupy wrote.

    Roets disputes that AfriForum ever questioned whether apartheid was an injustice. In his telling of the story, an AfriForum legal representative used the phrase “so-called ‘historical injustice’” to refer to an argument from the opposing side during a court case over removing Afrikaans street names. The phrase was taken out of context, Roets told HuffPost.

    Some in Washington appear to be persuaded by Roets’ narrative. “It is my understanding that AfriForum did not refer to ‘so-called’ injustices of apartheid; that we all agree that apartheid was an unjust system; that the words ‘so-called’ were lifted out of context to besmirch the reputation of AfriForum; and that a non-racial society based on individual, not group, identity ought to be the goal in South Africa,” Tupy wrote in an unprompted follow-up email that included Roets on the cc line.

    But in its complaint laying out the facts in the court case, AfriForum “repeatedly refers to the Municipality’s attempts at correcting ‘so-called ‘historical injustices of the past,’” two judges on the Constitutional Court of South Africa wrote in a 2016 judgment.

    Roets has also referred to apartheid as a “woolly concept,” a comment he stands by. “What I mean by that is that it is a term that everyone is talking about, but if you ask people what it means, everyone would give a different answer,” he said. “Racism is also a woolly concept, democracy is also a woolly concept, reconciliation is a woolly concept.”

    Asked what apartheid meant to him, Roets said it was a “system of categorizing people according to the color of their skin and it was a system that failed miserably.” But he argued that the current South African government is engaged in the same kind of “government social engineering.”

    Far-right groups in South Africa are working hard to win support abroad. They’ve received help from U.S. and Canadian commentators like Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Mike Cernovich and Lauren Southern who have pushed their narrative of white persecution.

    AfriForum’s work has helped “feed the efforts of the conspiracy theorists and hate networks that hope to create a globalized narrative of white victimhood,” Dawes of Human Rights Watch said. “The anti-immigrant and racist sentiment they peddle is too often informing the policy agendas of governments and political parties outside South Africa.”

    Earlier this year in Australia — a popular destination for the nearly half-million white South Africans who have emigrated since apartheid ended — Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pledged to issue fast-track visas to white farmers he called “persecuted.” The Australian government backtracked after official complaints from South Africa and a United Nations statement urging Australia to save visas for people in greater need, like the hundreds of refugees it has detained offshore.

    AfriForum’s visit to the U.S. was a success, Roets said.

    He appeared happily surprised by his group’s ability to land meetings with American government officials. “We achieved much more than we thought we would — in terms of how we were received, in terms of the people we met with, who we were able to get in touch with,” he said.

    ———-

    “Ted Cruz Staff, USAID Met With Group That Called Apartheid A ‘So-Called’ Injustice” by Jessica Schulberg and Akbar Shahid Ahmed; The Huffington Post; 05/11/2018

    Far-right groups in South Africa are working hard to win support abroad. They’ve received help from U.S. and Canadian commentators like Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Mike Cernovich and Lauren Southern who have pushed their narrative of white persecution.”

    International support is what AfriForum is seeking and that’s exactly what it got during it’s visit to the US, in spades. Because if you’re looking for international support for your cause, you could hardly do better than a meeting with USAID officials at the agency’s headquarters:


    AfriForum, an Afrikaner rights organization, promotes the idea that white people in South Africa are under attack by that country’s government. It has been trying to spread its message internationally.

    During their meetings in Washington, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel and deputy CEO Ernst Roets handed out copies of Roets’ book Kill the Boer, which pushes the controversial claim that white farmers are being singled out for systematic violence in South Africa.

    On Wednesday, Kriel and Roets met with USAID officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters. It’s unclear whether the officials were aware of AfriForum’s views prior to the meeting.

    “USAID meets with a wide variety of organizations to gather perspectives on political, economic, social, and development trends in countries where we operate,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, wrote HuffPost. “USAID programmed approximately $258 million in FY 2017 resources in South Africa for programs that strengthen small businesses, create employment, improve job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and treatment.”

    Beyond that, they met with John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor during their appearance at Fox News Studios, where they also met Tucker Carlson. Note how Bolton’s spokesman tries to play dumb by asserting that Bolton did not know the AfriForum leaders, the kind of answer that says nothing about whether or not Bolton knew what the group was all about:


    Also on Wednesday, Kriel and Roets posed for a photo with Bolton at a Fox News studio, according to National Security Council spokesman Robert Palladino. Bolton did not know the AfriForum leaders, Palladino added. But the duo tried their best to make an impression: They gave Bolton a copy of Roets’ book and posted the picture on Twitter.

    Great turn of events: With a bit of luck @ErnstRoets and I met John Robert Bolton, USA National Security Advisor to @realDonaldTrump. We also gave him a copy of Ernst's new #KillTheBoerBook on #FarmMurders & #ExpropriationWithoutCompensation in SA. @afriforum #AfriForumUSA . pic.twitter.com/CIEIqmyA3O— Kallie Kriel (@kalliekriel) May 9, 2018

    The AfriForum leaders also took their message to the studio of pro-white nationalist Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and to the halls of Congress, where they met with staffers in Cruz’s office and “at least one” member of the House of Representatives, Roets said. He declined to name the member.

    So while it appears that President Trump’s recent proclamations were due to him parroting Carlson’s show, it’s worth keeping in mind that John Bolton may have also been whispering in his ear.

    They even even with the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the International Republican Institute (which receives US government funding). So this really was like the right-wing red carpet treatment for this group:

    We had a very constructive meeting in the office of Senator Ted Cruz today. #AfriForumUSA@afriforum @kalliekriel pic.twitter.com/cGr8lRG5aW— Ernst Roets (@ErnstRoets) May 10, 2018

    In addition, Roets and Kriel tweeted about meetings at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank; the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank; and the International Republican Institute, a democracy promotion nonprofit that receives U.S. government funding.

    “We agreed that rule of law and property rights are essential components of economic development,” Marian Tupy, a senior policy analyst at Cato, told HuffPost in an email. “Conversely, expropriation without compensation is incompatible with tranquility and prosperity. [The] international community should do what it can to dissuade [the South African] government from embracing catastrophic policies that destroyed Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.”

    Asked about AfriForum’s apparently dismissive comment about apartheid being a “so-called” historical injustice, Tupy said there “should be no doubt that apartheid was a historical injustice” – and then suggested there were similarities between the current South African government and the apartheid regime.

    “The current policies of [the South African] government are explicitly racist, because not all South African citizens are treated equally before the law (some people are favored over others, as was the case under apartheid),” Tupy wrote.

    And, like many far right groups, AfriForum denies its extremist message when confronted about it:


    Roets disputes that AfriForum ever questioned whether apartheid was an injustice. In his telling of the story, an AfriForum legal representative used the phrase “so-called ‘historical injustice’” to refer to an argument from the opposing side during a court case over removing Afrikaans street names. The phrase was taken out of context, Roets told HuffPost.

    Some in Washington appear to be persuaded by Roets’ narrative. “It is my understanding that AfriForum did not refer to ‘so-called’ injustices of apartheid; that we all agree that apartheid was an unjust system; that the words ‘so-called’ were lifted out of context to besmirch the reputation of AfriForum; and that a non-racial society based on individual, not group, identity ought to be the goal in South Africa,” Tupy wrote in an unprompted follow-up email that included Roets on the cc line.

    But in its complaint laying out the facts in the court case, AfriForum “repeatedly refers to the Municipality’s attempts at correcting ‘so-called ‘historical injustices of the past,’” two judges on the Constitutional Court of South Africa wrote in a 2016 judgment.

    Roets has also referred to apartheid as a “woolly concept,” a comment he stands by. “What I mean by that is that it is a term that everyone is talking about, but if you ask people what it means, everyone would give a different answer,” he said. “Racism is also a woolly concept, democracy is also a woolly concept, reconciliation is a woolly concept.”

    Asked what apartheid meant to him, Roets said it was a “system of categorizing people according to the color of their skin and it was a system that failed miserably.” But he argued that the current South African government is engaged in the same kind of “government social engineering.”

    But as the article points out, AfriForum’s deceptive messaging campaign about the targeting of white farmers is actually quite useful for far right white supremacist movements all around the globe. Why? Because it feeds into the now-global far right narrative of white victimhood:


    AfriForum’s work has helped “feed the efforts of the conspiracy theorists and hate networks that hope to create a globalized narrative of white victimhood,” Dawes of Human Rights Watch said. “The anti-immigrant and racist sentiment they peddle is too often informing the policy agendas of governments and political parties outside South Africa.”

    And that last point is probably why we should only expect more and more disinformation around this issue: the far right white supremacist movements around the globe can thrive only when they can convince random white people that they are under assault and need to view all non-whites as inherent enemies. So a narrative like “white farmers are being slaughtered” is simply going to be too good to pass up whether or not it’s true, especially for someone with Trump’s rhetorical skill set.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 30, 2018, 2:53 pm

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