Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily international correspondent Anthony
C. LoBaido has covered many of the human tragedies unfolding in Africa
— war in Angola, social meltdown in South Africa and the murder of
white farmers in Zimbabwe. In this report, LoBaido contrasts powerful
white interests supporting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe with, on the
other end of the spectrum, the white farmers who risk their property and
lives struggling against Mugabe’s regime.
LONDON — A remnant of whites in Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is
struggling for survival in the wake of President Robert Mugabe’s violent
crackdown on white farmers, as Rhodesians in exile here attempt to help the African nation’s racial minority from afar.
|Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe|
Only a generation ago, Rhodesia was a prosperous, independent state successfully waging a war against a Russian- and Chinese-backed Marxist insurgency. After declaring a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain on Nov. 11, 1965, Rhodesia resolutely stood against the expansion of communism in southern Africa.
Then Rhodesia suffered a fatal diplomatic blow.
In the 1970s, then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced that white regimes would not survive in southern Africa. The West essentially promised white leaders in South Africa that they would be allowed to continue practicing apartheid if they would stop arming Rhodesia in her war against communism.
Between 1979 and 1980, Rhodesia fell into Marxist dictatorship and had it name changed to Zimbabwe.
|Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe.|
While Mugabe’s persecution of white farmers in Zimbabwe has, in recent months, made international headlines, several other important stories have lurked in the shadows — out of sight of the general public.
First, there are few in the West who are aware of Mugabe’s close ties to the Stalinist dictatorship of North Korea. In the early 1980s, North Korea sent elite troops to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia to train Mugabe’s notorious 5th Brigade. Once trained, Mugabe’s troops went on to slaughter 30,000 anti-communist black Matabele tribesmen who opposed his rule.
As a quid pro quo, Mugabe’s legions are currently protecting and participating in the digging at the world’s largest uranium mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking uranium for North Korea’s increasingly muscular nuclear weapons program. Mugabe has visited North Korea to be feted by that regime. Stories of his visits, in fact, can be found on North Korea’s
official website. Zimbabwean troops are also fighting in Angola against the
anti-communist UNITA rebels
Second, Mugabe’s regime has found a new enemy in former South African President Nelson Mandela, who wants Mugabe out of power. A new ally for Mugabe, on the other hand, is current South African President Thabo Mbeke, who has applauded Mugabe’s seizures, many believe, because of the precedent they set for future seizures of white-run farms in South Africa.
| Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe.
Click here for a larger image.
Third, Mugabe’s regime is propped up, in part, by the diamond mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo — home to over 39 billion pounds of mineral treasures. Uranium, gold, cobalt and other metals can be found under her rich soil. In addition, Mugabe is currently
Marxist death squads in Congo.
Fourth, and perhaps most important of all, is the unmasking of the true powers behind Mugabe’s mining operations for both uranium and diamonds and his military adventures in Congo and Angola. These ventures find connecting points with a group of powerful and wealthy white men who continue to wield tremendous influence in Africa behind the scenes. Without the support of these Englishmen — who reside in the UK — Mugabe’s regime likely would have withered and died long ago.
In the British House of Lords, one of the pro-Mugabe white tycoons was recently named — John Bredenkamp of Sunningdale, Berkshire. Bredenkamp, who runs a global empire worth almost ?500 million, was found to have been a key figure in sending arms from a former Soviet-dominated east European regime to Zimbabwe for use in Angola and Congo.
Ironically enough, it was not so long ago that Bredenkamp once helped then-Prime Minister Ian Smith’s white, anti-communist Rhodesian regime. In fact, he actually held the purse strings for the Rhodesian Defense Force and helped Rhodesia to beat U.N.-mandated sanctions. But all of that has apparently changed.
Bredenkamp has helped supply Zimbabwe with arms, helicopters and even armor. There are also reports that he has sold anti-personnel mines to Saddam Huessein’s regime in Iraq.
Tracey Kinchen, a former
British MI-6 intelligence agent, told WorldNetDaily, “In the past, we worked with some of Bredenkamp’s satellite companies — like Casalee, Zimalzam, Breco Services, Masters International — in several of our former colonies. One minute, MI-6 [the British equivalent of the CIA] was on the side of the anti-communists in places like Rhodesia, Hong Kong, Tibet, Nepal and
Cambodia. Then, suddenly, we were told to change sides.
“Now, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the Congo are all funding pro-Marxist armies with diamond sales. And, as far as I can tell, top Zimbabwean officials are cashing in on mining operations and the war in the Congo. If the EU were to seize the planes that fly in to Belgium from Africa — planes that bring in the diamonds to be sold in Antwerp — then these wars in Africa would probably come to an abrupt halt. But the greed of the Europeans knows no limit.” added Kinchen.
A top Brendenkamp ally is Jacobus Coetzee, the former chief at Armscor — the Armaments Corporation of South Africa. During apartheid, men like Coetzee and Eeben Barlow, the creator of Executive Outcomes — a private corporate army — worked for Armscor. The company was set up to be the center point of South Africa’s military-industrial complex. Coetzee has served as the top man on the totem pole at Casalee.
Indeed, Brendenkamp has his fingers in many pies. For example, Master’s International serves as a public relations and managerial entity for many top cricket and rugby players and golfers in the UK and former British colonies. There has also been speculation that Brendenkamp has helped Mugabe hide the president’s financial assets in Zimbabwe, the UK and Holland.
Another of Mugabe’s white angels is Billy Rautenbach, whose resume includes time spent as a road rally driver of international acclaim. Rautenbach is an elite businessman whose connections and drive have fostered his own global business empire of sorts. Rautenbach’s main company is Ridgepoint Overseas Development Ltd., based in the British Virgin Islands.
In recent months, Rautenbach was given a good deal of power in Gecamines, a major Congo-based copper mining company. Rautenbach, given free reign to maneuver by Congo’s Marxist dictator Laurent Kabila, brought in his own heavy hitters, including his Center Mining group, which reportedly was going to begin digging for cobalt.
The diamond mining funds that fill Mugabe’s coffers are but one source of his income. Mugabe has sent over eight tons of illegal ivory to China in exchange for cash and AK-47s. The shipments are made through Libya.
Libya has also granted loans to Zimbabwe (along with Kuwait and South Africa) to allow Mugabe to keep his foreign missions overseas open. Without the loans to run consulates and embassies abroad, Mugabe would have no overseas representation.
|MI-6 headquarters in London on the Thames River, which was mysteriously rocketed with a Stinger missile recently.|
“MI-6 knows about the illegal ivory shipments, but they are too busy sucking up to Red China to protest,” said Kinchen, who now works with the legendary anti-communist-China computer hackers the
Laurie Holden Group.
“Additionally, Mugabe tried to set up a front company concerning his new diamond interests in the Congo and float stock on the London exchange. But that attempt failed,” added Kinchen.
Opposing Mugabe’s rule
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party have come under siege by the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC. The MDC wants to impeach Mugabe for his ruination of Zimbabwe. In response, Mugabe has recently threatened to put Smith on trial for genocide.
Smith, who is now in his 80s, still runs a farm in Zimbabwe. To refer to Smith as a survivor would be an understatement. He is a former fighter pilot who was shot down over Italy during World War II. There, he rallied a group of Italian partisans to fight against fascism. Smith is one of only 70,000 whites left in Zimbabwe — out of a total population of just under 13 million. Under the Smith regime, there were over 330,000 whites living in Rhodesia. Though they are few in number, those opposing Mugabe’s rule are gaining ground.
For example, during the recent United Nations Millennium Summit, Mugabe was served with a summons in New York. The dictator is being sued by Maria Stevens of Sweden, whose husband, David, was abducted from a police station, shot and killed last April, allegedly by Mugabe’s backers. The lawsuit asks for $400 million in damages for the killing of whites in Zimbabwe. Stevens, who must now raise her children alone, claims that she knows who her husband’s killer is. The couple had shared their profits with the blacks who worked on their farm.
Stevens has pointed out that the first person to die in Mugabe’s anti-white terror campaign was not a white, but a black policeman trying to stand up to Mugabe’s henchmen.
“The Commercial Farmer’s Union, the churches, banks — every business should have gone to Mugabe when the farm invasions started and said, ‘Stop now or we burn our tobacco crops, so you lose as well as us,'” she stated.
Stevens has an ally in Adella Chiminya, whose husband Tichaona was burned alive in his car. Chiminya says she will testify on behalf of Stevens when she returns to Zimbabwe, even if she is arrested. Tichaona Chiminya was likely targeted because he was the campaign manager for Morgan Tsvangirai, who ran for the MDC in opposition to Mugabe.
Stevens and other victims of Mugabe’s policies have been assisted by the Human Rights Forum. It is the group’s hope that judgments against Mugabe will lead him to lose his overseas assets which, as mentioned, are considerable. Most of these assets are held by a complicated web of companies registered in the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands. In 1999, a group called Transparency International ranked Zimbabwe as the 45th most corrupt regime on Earth — beating out Russia and Nigeria.
Any judgment made against Mugabe in New York will make it extremely difficult for him to travel abroad to speak at the U.N., where he recently boasted of his actions against the white farmers to a cheering audience. Damage claims against Mugabe can be enforced in any number of nations with international bodies, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, New York and elsewhere.
The case against Mugabe is growing, with more than 1,000 crimes ranging from beatings to murder to torture documented by the Human Rights Forum. One crime that was thwarted involved Blessing Chabundo, who defeated Mugabe’s right-hand man, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, in the recent elections. After the election, Chabundo’s house was burned down and he was covered with petrol to be burned alive. Chabundo escaped death, however, when the matches of his attackers failed to light and he was able to run away to safety. Mugabe later appointed Mnangagwa as the new speaker of the parliament.
|Zimbabwe farmer Iain Kay was severely beaten earlier this year by government-supported squatters and “war veterans.”|
James Rubin, acting U.S. State Department spokesman when the farm invasions began, said “We are calling very strongly on President Mugabe to accept responsibility to uphold the law and to uphold the law for all Zimbabweans. We are deeply troubled and deplore President Mugabe’s suggestion that white farmers are the enemies of the people of Zimbabwe. That is utter nonsense.”
Since the invasions began, Rubin has resigned his post and currently lives in Great Britain with his wife, CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour.
The colonial spirit
Alan Harvey, the leader of the UK-based Springbok Club and editor of the South African Patriot in Exile newsletter, told WorldNetDaily, “It is rare for an octogenarian to be able to put the fear of God into a tyrant, but that is what Ian Douglas Smith certainly seems to have done to comrade Mugabe. The latest rantings — that all those who fought for Western civilization during the Rhodesian Bush War will be charged with ‘genocide’ and that Ian Smith in particular will be arrested on these grounds when he returns to Zimbabwe — were not only the words of a megalomaniac, but also show clearly what a total illusion all the talk of ‘reconciliation’ is as far as African tyrants are concerned. Mr. Smith has laughed off all these lunatic ravings and, indeed, has dared Mugabe to arrest him and put him on trial, saying that he would welcome the opportunity of having his say in court. He has good reason to be unafraid of these threats, as it is clearly a sign of just how unhinged the dictator has become as his own imminent removal from power becomes ever more certain.”
Harvey continued: “There is a maxim that a cornered rat is the wildest rat, and this certainly seems to be the case here. By standing up to the tin-pot dictator Mugabe, at the age of 81 [Smith] could well act as a catalyst to hasten [Mugabe’s] downfall and to usher in a far less oppressive regime. It may not herald the rebirth of Rhodesia, but that area of land between the Limpopo and the Zambezi may well be taking a giant step on the road back to civilized rule. Smith’s brave defiance in his 80s may well go down in history as an even greater achievement than his inspirational leadership during the glorious days of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence.”
Now that Mugabe has seized over 1,000 farms, and plans to take over 2,000 more — over 66 percent of the total farmland — it would appear that the future looks volatile at best. Perhaps famine may come to Zimbabwe, which would require Western aid that may or may not be forthcoming. Yet for the MDC, it would seem there is reason for a positive outlook on the future, despite Mugabe’s “victory” in recent elections.
The South African government is working with some of Mugabe’s more intelligent and pragmatic cabinet staff — men like finance minister Simba Moyo — in an attempt to rescue Zimbabwe from catastrophe. The courage of the MDC has also been an inspiration to freedom-loving people the world over — at least those who are following the complicated saga unfolding in southern Africa, the UK and elsewhere.
“They [the MDC] performed prodigies of heroism which recall the Christian martyrs throughout the ages,” said Rev. Arthur Lewis, director of the
Rhodesian Christian Group. Not to be overlooked is the fact that no less than four white members of Parliament were elected by black constituents in the recent elections.
Adds Kinchen: “Mugabe blames colonialism for Rhodesia-Zimbabwe’s problems. He is a liar and a fool. Look at Singapore and Malaysia — they were British colonies and today are very wealthy. He is a kleptocratic leader. Mugabe says ‘I am no Idi Amin,’ but I say he is far worse. Amin and others of his ilk — they knew no better. Mugabe is a genius of wickedness, trained by Jesuit missionaries and a college graduate with a degree in economics. He’s had Harvard-trained economists tutor him. He’s been told to break up state monopolies. He knows better, yet he has deliberately destroyed the nation with his ruinous and corrupt policies.”
Mugabe’s economic policies have indeed been disastrous. Inflation is at record levels, the currency has been debased, exports are down, agricultural production is in a freefall, foreign investment and tourism have plummeted. Almost 30 percent of all adults have HIV-AIDS by some estimates. Infant morality rates are increasing, as are crime and unemployment — 60 percent of adults living in the cities have no job. The Zimbabwean dollar is trading at Z$60 to US$1. It was Z$8 to US$1 in 1995. Domestic interest rates on treasury bills are at 70 percent. Mugabe’s bloated civil service and military rolls have taken up a huge percentage of the government’s budget.
Additionally, over 400,000 black farm workers have lost their jobs in the recent farm invasions — led by “war veterans” of Mugabe’s army. Most of these “veterans” were children or not even born during the Rhodesian Bush War. Also, as a result of the invasions, bank loans to white farmers are going unpaid and investment and reinvestment in the farming sector of the nation’s economy is almost non-existent. Zimbabwe’s agricultural extension services have been rendered obsolete for lack of funding. Still, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have continued to fund Mugabe’s economic policies — which have led Zimbabwe to have the lowest economic growth rate in all of Africa.
The Rhodesian remnant
There is still — after two decades of Mugabe’s rule — a “remnant” of Rhodesians living in exile who are committed to battling Mugabe.
They may not have the connections or business acumen of the pro-Mugabe whites, but what they lack in finances they make up in passion. They include Lewis, Dennis Walker and groups like The Rhodesian Christian Group,
Northern Rhodesians Worldwide and several others.
|British Member of Parliament, Roger Gale|
Other strong voices against Mugabe come from men like British Member of Parliament Roger Gale of North Thanet, who told WorldNetDaily, “Blair’s foreign policy, from dealing with Kosovo to Mugabe, is a total shambles.”
However, British Home Secretary Jack Straw has promised to offer 20,000 visas to white Zimbabweans fleeing Mugabe’s reign of terror.
Another tiger in the corner of the Rhodesians-in-exile movement is Geoff Cook, a former intelligence officer who served in the war against Mugabe’s campaign to install a Marxist regime in Rhodesia. Cook now resides in London.
“In the intelligence corps, we found Cuban and North Korean involvement with the Mugabe terrorists,” Cook told WorldNetDaily. “I learned that the Cubans and North Koreans, along with Red China, were arming Mugabe’s terrorists — the ZANLA-PF. There was another group, ZIPRA, that was being armed by the Russians.”
Ethiopia, Algeria and Libya also aided Mugabe in his terrorist Bush War, which began in earnest in 1971.
Cook also pointed to the irony in the fact that Rhodesians volunteered, along with the Afrikaners, to fight and die in the Korean War, yet South Korea voted at the U.N. for anti-Rhodesian and anti-South African sanctions.
“Is that any way to thank us for the sacrifices our people made on behalf of South Korea?” he asked rhetorically.
Cook’s wife, Jean, who helped him run their farm in Rhodesia, feels that the U.N.-sponsored sanctions were “the best thing that ever happened to Rhodesia.” She also lauded the collective spirit of the Rhodesians now living in exile.
|Outside London’s parliament building on U.N day. Both the U.N and the UK have supported Mugabe.|
“After sanctions, we no longer could import anything vital to the war effort. So we set up factories to make things ourselves. I, myself, worked on some important projects. We had blueprints to build locomotives, for example. The drawings had certain parts blacked out for secrecy, but we knew what they were,” Mrs. Cook said.
Speaking of the differences between Rhodesia and South Africa during the heyday of the apartheid era, Mrs. Cook said, “We had a different spirit in Rhodesia. We had better relations between the whites and the blacks. … I feel that the racial problems in Rhodesia could have been resolved if not for Mugabe’s communist overthrow of the nation.”
Added Mr. Cook, “Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of Britain is over 100 years old now and she still refers to Zimbabwe as ‘Rhodesia.’ She had traveled to Rhodesia earlier in her life for the opening of the Cariba Dam.”
Mr. Cook, like so many other Rhodesian expatriates, believes that the use of the term Rhodesia is a moral decision, striking to the core of what he sees as the essential difference between European Christian civilization and the Marxist anarchy that has befallen Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s rule.
“We fought hard and well in the anti-terrorist campaign that was called the Rhodesian Bush War,” said Mr. Cook.
“We were organized in small units in the Rhodesian Light Infantry and Intelligence Corp. Sometimes there would be only three of us — a driver, myself and a machine gunner.”
Added Mrs. Cook: “I married my husband in 1976. But six months later, because of the strain of the war, he was a different man. His health suffered and he was upset and irritable because of the evil things, the killings he saw out in the war zone. He had many nightmares. It was a very difficult time for him and for our family.”
Getting the message out
After the Rhodesian campaign ended with the overthrow of the white, anti-communist government, Mr. Cook was offered a position in the South African Defense Force. He refused, despite the fact that he would have been able to keep the same rank.
While some Rhodesian soldiers who fought against Mugabe were imprisoned — and remain imprisoned today in horrible conditions — the Cooks eventually made it back to England. Once there, they began the process of helping set up the Rhodesians Worldwide group. The organization serves as a social organization and as a means to help raise funds for needy Rhodesians trapped in Zimbabwe — or those seeking to escape Mugabe’s nation and come to the UK in search of a new life.
“We have barbecues. We have
Internet links, a magazine and social get-togethers. Then there is the remembrance service for the Rhodesians who fought and died in the wars. We are now setting up a scholarship fund to help needy students — my husband will be handling that personally. But still, we have to be careful in our advertising. When I put up an ad at the supermarket, I can’t use the word ‘Rhodesia.’ It has to be worded in such a way that people will remember the good times of Rhodesia — the food, the land and other things — and then understand what our group is. It is almost like an intelligence operation,” said Mrs. Cook.
“And when we wanted to put an ad in a large newspaper about Rhodesians Worldwide, the vast majority of papers in the UK refused to print the ad. Can you imagine this?” asked Mrs. Cook. “Still, we must help everyone we can. I can’t tell you how many phone calls we get from people saying, ‘I am escaping from Zimbabwe, I just landed at Heathrow Airport. Can you assist with somewhere to stay or help us get some work?’ And, of course, we try and help everyone. Because if we don’t, then who will?”
“There is very little available information in the public domain on Mugabe,” added Mr. Cook. “I am absolutely appalled at the current plight of the
white farmers in Rhodesia. In Yugoslavia and Kosovo, the British government bent over backwards to help the victims in that war. Personally, I feel very bitter that the British government gave no help to the Rhodesian farmers. Over 90 percent of the white farmers in Rhodesia have British roots going back in some cases to the 1930s and 1940s. More Rhodesians fought in World War II per capita than any other country in the British Empire.”
Speaking about the lack of political will in the British government to take on Mugabe — even among the Conservative Party — Mr. Cook said, “Mr. Hauge, the Conservative Party leader, is more concerned with internal problems. Mugabe’s mass murders of the white Rhodesian farmers are not front-page news in England. Since there are no big headlines, he feels there is nothing to make a fuss over.”
Another Rhodesian war veteran, Roger Greenfield of Liverpool, told WorldNetDaily, “When Mugabe struck down the Parliamentary system of Zimbabwe in 1987, the British government overlooked the fact that he was, in fact, making himself ‘president for life.’ The official government line was that it was not ‘an erosion of democracy.’ It’s insane. Furthermore, the massacre of the white farmers in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe is a bad omen. I predict you will see Mexicans killing whites in Texas, Arizona and California. Then you will see it happening in Australia as well. It’s already happening in South Africa under the communist ANC, as well as in Kenya.”
The Cook’s children and their grandchild are currently trapped in Zimbabwe on their farm, wondering if Mugabe’s henchmen will come to take over their land, or worse.
Said Mrs. Cook: “Crops are rotting. Fruit is rotting on the trees. They did not spray this year because of the turmoil. All that I want is for my children to be able to escape Zimbabwe and find work on a farm overseas in the field of agricultural engineering in either America, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand — anywhere. Running a farm is not easy, but our children have many skills in agriculture.
“We have tried our best to help others in need. Now we need a miracle ourselves.”
Click here for information regarding the Cooks and groups attempting to assist former Rhodesians in Zimbabwe.