CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The recent acquittal of the head of apartheid South Africa’s germ warfare program – dubbed “Dr. Death” by the media – appeared to surprise everyone here but the defendant himself.
Last Thursday’s court action left South Africans from all perspectives bewildered at how Wouter Basson, charged with 46 counts – including theft, transnational drug trafficking, fraud and murder – could walk out of a courtroom a free man.
Basson’s name conjures up the darkest images of apartheid’s misdeeds. His medical research and experiments on behalf of the former apartheid government – known as “Project Coast” – have taken center stage in South Africa since 1997.
Despite the African National Congress, or ANC, the ruling party in South Africa, spending 20 million rand on the case and bringing over 150 witnesses to testify against him, Basson was acquitted on all charges April 11. Basson, a former special forces soldier and germ-warfare expert, not long ago held personal relationships with former South African President P.W. Botha, Nelson Mandela, top leaders in Libya and even with the wife of former French leader Francois Mitterand.
His work in running the apartheid-era germ- and chemical-warfare campaign against pro-ANC blacks resulted in charges ranging from having taken part in 200 murders of Marxist guerillas in neighboring Namibia (called Southwest Africa until 1990) to drug dealing.
A 250-page indictment against Basson alleges his complicity in secret, government-sanctioned plans to murder top leaders in the ANC government of President Thabo Mbeki. A second indictment, this one a 274-page, two-volume tome, contains 27 charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Many of the murder charges have been dropped, since they occurred in Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia, which are outside the jurisdiction of South Africa.
Among other things, Basson has been accused of inventing poisons to kill enemies of the white minority government. The poisons were to be delivered by umbrellas in James Bond-like fashion. Still other poisons allegedly were slipped into the underwear of ANC leaders.
Strangely, Basson has also been charged with being somewhat of a “brewmeister” who invented a special kind of beer that would kill blacks if they drank it. He also is charged with trying to invent a genetic additive that was to be added to the water supply. The additive allegedly would have made blacks, but not whites, incapable of reproduction. In addition, he was accused with plotting to give Nelson Mandela cancer through unknown means – most likely through injections. Macabre charges include planting the fetus of a baboon in a tree in the backyard of Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu. Basson also has been charged with planning to kill South African Transport Minister Abdullah Omar by sprinkling a white powder on his breakfast cereal, ostensibly to cause him to have a heart attack.
As Basson walks free, many questions remain. The most important of all concerns a strange alliance of forces at work in the case. Basson was the personification of apartheid at its worst, yet to even casual observers, it seems that the ANC, led by Omar, the former minister of justice, conspired with the apartheid-era National Intelligence Agency (South Africa’s CIA, which is still dominated by whites) to see him go free. South Africans are demanding to know why, yet are afraid the answer may prove that the ex-apartheid government’s germ-warfare secrets were passed on to Iraq and other rogue ANC Islamic allies.
“South Africa has longstanding ties to Iraq, through both the apartheid government and the ANC. The apartheid-era government furnished Saddam with the infamous ‘super gun’ (a mile-long cannon that could shell Israel) that made international headlines and spawned a factual movie starring Ben Kingsley,” a former NIA official told WorldNetDaily.
“The real concern is that the ANC helped Basson walk to cover up their own tracks vis-?-vis the whereabouts of the apartheid-era biological weapons stocks. Where are they now? Remember, the ANC appointed Winnie Mandela as the first post-apartheid minister of science and technology. Did she have the scientific expertise to dispose of these weapons? Obviously not. So where are they? Why aren’t these weapons being investigated by the CIA and Western media like the apartheid nuclear weapons project was?” the official asked.
South Africa, with the help of Israel, developed several nuclear weapons, which former President F.W. de Klerk claimed were “dismantled” by the apartheid government in the early 1990s. This account was challenged by British author Peter Hunan, who wrote in “Mandela’s Nuclear Nightmare” that the Afrikaner right wing stole several nuclear weapons, which he contends would be used against the ANC in a future Third Boer War.
Intelligence on South Africa’s biological and chemical-warfare program is hazy at best, and ironically, Basson, called the “Alpha and Omega” of the program, is perhaps the only man on Earth who can give an accurate answer to the program’s genesis, scope and current status.
Basson was tried as a part of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Hearings, which were meant to heal the wounds of apartheid’s past. Omar told the international media, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a necessary exercise to enable South Africans to come to terms with their past on a morally acceptable basis and to advance the cause of reconciliation.”
Yet it was Omar himself who apparently worked with the NIA to set Basson free, the same Omar whom Basson allegedly had planned to kill by poisoning one of his meals. In an act that almost defies human comprehension, Omar, acting without a mandate, turned over 34 boxes and two folders filled with thousands of documents – the most damaging evidence against Basson – to the NIA. The 34 boxes “disappeared,” and both Omar and the NIA are now pointing fingers at one another, saying the other is still in possession of the evidence. This has, as one would expect, demoralized and shocked South Africans of all colors and political affiliations. After all, the ANC claimed that the 34 boxes would be regarded as “a national asset to be both protected and made accessible,” and later enshrined in the new National Archive in Pretoria.
But that notion proved to be patently false.
The former chief executive officer of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dr. Biki Minyuku decided – apparently on his own and with no intelligence training – that the Basson evidence, classified as “top secret” by the apartheid government, was merely “sensitive” information. He then handed the evidence over to Omar.
The TRC’s new CEO, Martin Coetzee, recently said that Minyuku “had no mandate” to reclassify or release Basson’s evidence to anyone. In April of 1999, Omar penned a letter to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stating that he had “personally taken charge” of the 34 boxes and two folders containing the evidence against Basson.
South Africa’s new minister of intelligence, Lidiwe Susulu, has told South Africa only that she understands “the NIA denies having the evidence” and that the “Truth and Reconciliation process is complex.”
That is an understatement. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has found that the NIA had been shredding and/or altering apartheid-era documents through 1996, two years after the ANC took power. the Basson evidence that has disappeared includes full transcripts of secret TRC hearings and 13 boxes relating to South Africa’s biological and chemical-weapons programs.
Perhaps the most amazing fact of all is that it took the South African media, through reports published late in 2001, to even bring the issue of Basson’s lost evidence into the public eye. If not for these reports, the entire issue would have been completely buried.
Also included in the Basson evidence were documents relating to the assassination of Dulcie September, the former top ANC liaison in France. September was murdered in 1988 by the apartheid-era Civil Cooperation Bureau. The former head of the CCB’s Western European section, interviewed by WorldNetDaily, said that he refused to carry out September’s assassination because she was a “non-military target.”
Who is Basson?
Basson is no ordinary 50-year-old cardiologist and military surgeon. He is the founder of the former South African Defense Force’s special forces medical support battalion and biochemical weapons unit. He holds various degrees, including a master’s degree in physiology and physiological chemistry. Basson even found time during his trial to study for and earn another degree, a bachelor of commerce. This is not surprising, since Basson took control of the SADF’s bioweapons program by the age of 30, without any training or supervision in the bioweapons craft. He was given free rein to create the program and manage its financial dealings.
To the ANC, he is a mad doctor run amok, and his medical practices on behalf of Project Coast, conducted from behind the secure walls of the Roodeplaat Research Laboratory, are the epitome of evil. The ANC has spent almost a decade putting together its case against the doctor.
Basson’s alleged crimes are deemed by many to be terribly sinister, since they were carried out in the name of science, medicine and keeping European Christian civilization alive in the face of the Marxist ANC. As such, they represent one of the darkest chapters in the otherwise self-styled Christian history of the Afrikaner. Basson has continued to work as a surgeon at the South African army’s hospital in Pretoria. His accusers claim that his work killing anti-apartheid activists began in 1981 and did not cease until the ANC took power in 1994.
For example, during Basson’s trial, which lasted more than 30 months, one of his subordinates, Johan Theron, spoke about an event that occurred in 1983. Theron, then a soldier in the South African Defense Force, was ordered by Basson to chain three black ANC anti-apartheid activists to some trees in a secluded forest and cover their bodies with a toxic chemical jelly. Theron says he followed the orders, claiming in court that he did so “to see if it would kill them.”
However, the toxic jelly did not kill the three men. So, when the experiment went awry, Basson allegedly ordered Theron and another soldier to inject the men with a deadly muscle relaxant. The injection caused their lungs to collapse. They died slowly of suffocation, and later their bodies were loaded onto an airplane and dumped into the icy ocean off Namibia’s Skeleton Coast.
Theron and others also testified that when the poisons Dr. Basson ordered applied to ANC cadres did not kill them, they had to “kill them with hammers, because a knife or gun left too much blood.” Many times, according to testimony, the bodies were dumped into the ocean from an airplane.
Yet how did Basson manage to beat the rap with so many testifying against him?
To begin, Willie Hartzenberg, the judge in the case, decreed that Basson’s intelligence briefing with the NIA was inadmissible in court. This was a great blow to the prosecution, for in this briefing Basson is alleged to have given damaging testimony against himself.
Basson’s own performance in court helped him immeasurably. He received the highest-level training from the SADF’s elite forces in surviving interrogation, training that came in quite handy. He had previously won a trial launched by the Office of Serious Economic Offences. During the most recent trial, he seemed unflappable and answered the charges against him with the aplomb of a man tossing aside a drumstick at a thanksgiving feast.
Basson called his work “patriotic” and in the service of “God and country.”
In the end, Hartzenberg told the prosecution that the whole Basson trial had “blackened the eye” of the SADF personnel dragged into the affair, who, the judge said, “never had any problem” with Basson or his actions. Hartzenberg rejected Theron’s testimony outright. Theron is a self-confessed mass-murderer who served as a colonel in military intelligence in Namibia during the SADF’s border war in Angola against the Cubans and former Soviet bloc. Hartzenberg, who tried the case without a jury, told the prosecution that they had “not proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that Basson had carried out the crimes of which he was accused.
Many South Africans might beg to differ with Hartzenberg’s verdict. The ANC announced last week it would appeal the case and retry Basson in an appellate court. An ANC statement said that the government was “horrified” at the verdict. Many South Africans agree with that notion.
But for now, Basson is free. The doctor was in fact so confident of an innocent verdict that he set up a victory party more than a week before the verdict was announced. As the verdict was read aloud in court, several of South Africa’s former generals in the SADF cheered aloud. Outside the court, protesters booed the verdict and carried signs protesting Basson and his alleged crimes.
“So we have black and Muslim ANC elites helping to cover up Basson’s trail of evidence, while at the same time, the whites working with the TRC are screaming bloody hell, seeking to blow the whistle on the ANC cover-up,” Afrikaner Joseph Coetzee, who once worked on South Africa’s weapons of mass destruction projects under Basson, told WorldNetDaily.
“Do you smell a rat? How stupid does the NIA and ANC think we South Africans are? If anything, the Basson affair should unite all South Africans as never before. The apartheid and ANC elites have been in collusion for decades, and they still are in collusion. They don’t want justice, they want to sanitize their respective sins,” Coetzee added.
Coetzee told WorldNetDaily that Basson, like other alleged apartheid-era killers, could have received amnesty from the TRC.
“The real question in my mind is why Basson chose to face life in prison over amnesty. The answer is simple. He knew the NIA and ANC would set him free to cover up the trail of the weapons to the Middle East. Basson has something on them all,” Coetzee concluded.