More bad news from Zimbabwe

As you may know, my parents grew up in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). The last of my extended family left Zimbabwe several years ago, and they are in the process of becoming Australians. But obviously we try to stay up to date with the current chaos. Here is a recent story:

Inside Mugabe’s torture camps: beaten, maimed and poisoned with weedkiller
By Daniel Howden in Harare — Tuesday, 1 July 2008

As Robert Mugabe sought recognition from African leaders yesterday, his police have been arresting the ‘dangerous’ opposition agents that Mr Mugabe accuses of fomenting violence in the country. Mrs Chigoro is one of them. She is considered such a threat she is being kept under armed police guard at a Harare hospital.

Seventy years old, her injuries are so horrific she can no longer lie on her back or walk unassisted. She can only huddle in a claw-like shape. The appalling chemical burns that have removed her lips and melted her right cheek come from an industrial weedkiller she was forced to drink. The widow can eat no solids and survives with the aid of a saline drip. Her crime was to survive the death squads that have roamed the rural areas of this bankrupt and terrified country. The police, armed with AK-47s, have been stationed on her ward to stop her from telling her story.

Gibb Chigoro, her son, had known that he was at risk. He was the first Movement for Democratic Change candidate to win a council seat in the ruling party stronghold of Mashonaland Central. After the first round win, he had watched the militia, police and army let loose on opposition supporters, with scores killed, thousands beaten and 200,000 displaced.

The chaos arrived at the Chigoro house on Friday, 20 June, one week before the run-off election. An armed mob of some 250, led by the son of the defeated Zanu-PF councillor, Robson Dhlamini, approached the house demanding to see the MDC man. Inside was Mrs Chigoro, two of her sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. Gibb armed himself with a pistol before going outside. After threats, shots were fired by both sides until the councillor was hit in the shoulder and the calf. Once on the floor, they set upon him with iron bars, his mother recalled, breaking his arms and legs. The rest of the family received the same treatment.

Her other son, Hamilton, was shot in the leg before his arm and face were smashed with the bars. The old woman was not spared. ‘They hit me on my back and ribs. As they beat me, they said to me: ‘Did you think you could get away with betraying your country? You, old woman did you think you’d get away with this?’ I saw them shoot my son again before I fainted.’

When she came to, she found that the brutally beaten family had been dragged to a clearing in the village.
In a ritual humiliation that has been repeated throughout Zimbabwe, Gibb was forced to renounce his party and insult the MDC leader. Then they called for volunteers from the village to execute him. She did not recognise the man that pulled the trigger.

Murder complete, they were put back on the pick-up – one of the hundreds of new Mahindra vehicles with no number plates that have been purchased by the bankrupt state and issued to the death squads. Another stop was made to shoot dead Hama Madamombe, a well known local MDC supporter, and abduct his brother.

The surviving family was transported to the Tetra farm about 30 miles away, one of the thousands of commercial farms seized by the Mugabe regime. It now belongs to the notoriously violent Chigwada brothers, Effluence and Shami, who have set up one of the Zanu torture camps there.

By the time they arrived at the camp, it was dark. The beatings that had begun mid-morning started again. No one remembers how long they went on. But when their torturers grew tired they brought out the bottles of Paraquat – a Chinese-manufactured herbicide, used to kill weeds. It has become a weapon of choice in Zimbabwe’s political terror campaign and the militia have been instructed to dip their sticks in it before beating victims.

The four terrified survivors were then forced to drink it. Mrs Chigoro remembers her son, Hamilton, telling her not to swallow the burning liquid. A doctor described the effects of Paraquat: ‘It’s absorbed through the skin, the heart rate plunges and it attacks the nervous system. It acts on skin in a similar way to ammonia.’

The message not to swallow failed to reach the brother of the murdered MDC supporter. He died in agony. Miraculously the daughter, Susan, was able – despite critical injuries – to drag herself out of the camp in the night and find a police station that was willing to act on her pleas and go to the farm to rescue her mother and brother. Their ordeal did not end there. They were shadowed by their assailants from the camp and Susan was later arrested by police who have been ordered to co-operate with the torturers.

Three armed police from Mashonaland now stand guard over mother and son who were transferred to a hospital in Harare. Both face being rearrested if they survive their injuries.

Shepherd Mushonga is their local MP – one of only two MDC winners in his region – he has also been in hiding but has tried to document their ordeal. He said of the torturers: ‘Armed by the state, ordered by the state, they’re getting away with murder. If the world does not learn of what happened it will happen again. This is the tip of the iceberg.’

‘One of the reasons for the viciousness in this area was that Zanu thought it had total control until the March upset. We won and we have paid the consequences in broken bones. This is war against defenceless families.’

Mrs Chigoro said: ‘I have been through the liberation war but I never believed I would live through something like this. I never saw anything like what has happened to my family.’

If ever there was a reason for military intervention!!  In view of Mugabe’s welcome in Sharm – this is one of the many ghastly accounts of reality in Zimbabwe which surely the world cannot ignore.

I don’t think an invasion is the right policy. But the time for talk is fast running out. There are aggressive options short of invasion, and these should be explored. If it is too difficult to simple put a bullet in Mugabe, then perhaps we could explore the option of a missile into his home.

Such action is foreign aid. I don’t believe the government should use taxpayers money to pay for foreign aid.

But if the government relaxed their restrictions on militias and mercenaries there are other options. If members of the Australian SAS or the old Rhodesian Selous Scouts said that they intended to kill Mugabe and appealed for funds, I think they would easily raise the funds. I would contribute. And the government should allow it.

The recent rescue of hostages in Colombia show that a small number of military men can achieve good results.

In addition, we should be more willing to accept Zimbabwean refugees. Australia has a proud history of accepting people in trouble and it is a traditional that we should proudly continue.

40 thoughts on “More bad news from Zimbabwe

  1. Is assassination necessarily the best option.

    Maybe if a certain high profile South African leader suggested that the many incidents in Zimbabwe are simply not acceptable and since Mugabe was unable to prevent (diplomatically speaking) those incidents, then he needs to stand down.

  2. The assassination thought occurred to me while Mugabe was flouncing around at that UN-shindig in Rome. A fair few thousand Euros slipped to an appropriate member of the Cosa Nostra would have done nicely, I think.

  3. Given the hysteria associated with mercianares like David Hicks I agree with the notion that the Australian government should clarify things and grant immunity to any Australain citizen involved in the assasination of leaders within any outlawed regime. And Mugabes regime should be included on a corresponding schedule of outlawed regimes. The only exception I would make is that I don’t think the immunity should apply to any assasination carried out on Australian soil. If someone like Mugabe tries to visit or flee to Australia then after his arrival it should be the Australian government that moves against him.

  4. I don’t think an invasion is the right policy. But the time for talk is fast running out. There are aggressive options short of invasion, and these should be explored. If it is too difficult to simple put a bullet in Mugabe, then perhaps we could explore the option of a missile into his home.

    Such action is foreign aid. I don’t believe the government should use taxpayers money to pay for foreign aid.

    Libertarian purity is a great thing but I really think in this case a full scale invasion is called for. (You don’t need to look down the bottom to see who this is do you.)

    Facts are that it is no longer just Mugabe, the whole apparatus of the state is in this case culpable and i seriously doubt that the elimination of the leader will solve the problem. I am sure that on his demise the strongest of his generals would take over, and things could get worse. The stuff i am reading today seems to indicate that the brutality has hardened the attitude of his opponents.

    I don’t think those who are aligned with him can afford to let go now. I am fairly aware of the brutality of the regime through a friend and there is a lot of fairly graphic stuff on, (go to the “To view documents archived for this organisation, click here.”)

    There is no longer time to look for libertarian solutions, we need an army in there now.

  5. It was the South African government that brought the former Rhodesian government to its knees by withdrawing support. It was about 1978/1979, as I recall. Not that it makes much difference, but I was living there at the time.

    Withdrawal of support by South Africa would have the same effect now. By that I mean close the border to trade. No fuel for military vehicles, no trade, no ammunition, no international telephone service.

    But since South Africa doesn’t want to do anything, I favour a cruise missile strike to take out Mugabe and his inner circle. No invasion is needed. The ‘war veterans’ and close collaborators would be fed to the lions, but that’s an acceptable price.

    And I don’t accept that all taxpayer funded foreign aid is inherently wrong. While we should always look closely at how our money is used, it would have been callous and inhuman to reject government aid to Aceh after the tsunami. A few taxpayer-funded cruise missiles would also be acceptable.

    In Columbia it was government troops posing as leftist sympathisers who rescued the hostages.

  6. Jim – a few questions.

    Who should invade, Australia, the UN, the USA?

    And will the people of Zimbabwe be greeting us with flowers when we liberate them?

  7. If someone like Mugabe tries to visit or flee to Australia then after his arrival it should be the Australian government that moves against him.

    So you favour the government having a monopoly on all the guns, Terje?

  8. I think you should be allowed to have guns for sport and self defence. I don’t think you should in be permitted to shoot people in Australia purely on the basis of a government published schedule. What you are allowed to do outside Australia is subject to a different sent of considerations.

  9. If Mugabe flies to Australia do you think you should be allowed to shoot him dead in Woolworths with immunity?

  10. Basically Terje anyone prepared to guarantee to provide a better environment of human rights than the current regime, and to leave when the job is done. Slobodan Milosevic would be acceptable.

  11. Nobody can offer such a guarantee Jim. All they can do is try or not try as the case may be. Personally I think Australia lacks the capacity to invade in any meaningful way. The UN or the USA would be suitable options but unless the other governments in the region are willing to co-operate it could be extremely messy.

    Personally I think the mistake in Iraq was to endeavour to leave the place in a good state. The war might have made some geopolitical sense in terms of enlightened self interest if the US had merely killed Saddam and the head goons and then made a hasty exit. Trying to engineer a liberal democracy was where they ran into trouble.

  12. Mate, I have no intention of invading just at present. It doesn’t have to be one of us. Europe has a number of underutilized armies since the Germans and Russians dropped most of their ‘attitude’ and I’m sure they could do the job.

    The point I am making is that we need to at least put a stop to this, but in the process not hand over to some bastard who is worse, and not get tied down in an ongoing shitfight.

    I agree with you on the trying to engineer a liberal democracy side of things, some regions have cultural values that are just inconsistent with liberal democracy, and Iraq is one of them.

  13. Jim – I don’t think Iraq is incompatible with liberal democracy. I just don’t think liberal democracy can be successfully imposed.

  14. I don’t think Iraq is incompatible with liberal democracy.

    Nor do I. I also don’t think it was a mistake to attempt to implant liberal democracy in Iraq. In fact, quite a lot of progress has been made towards that. The country has already voted for a constitution and elected a parliament. A slide back into dictatorship would not be tolerated.

    The mistake was to sweep away all traces of the Saddam regime and start afresh. All Baath party members were sacked from the public service and the army disbanded. It ignored the fact that party membership was a prerequisite for advancement under Saddam, just as Communist Party membership was a requirement in the Soviet Union. Those adversely affected provided support for both the sectarian and fundamentalist insurgents.

    If the Americans had kept much of the army and public service intact, much of the violence could have been avoided and liberal democracy would be better established.

    As it is I think it is putting down roots. Baath party ostracism is over, the clans are now part of the solution rather than part of the problem, and violence is waning. Unless Obama screws it up by running away, it’s going to turn out well. Which is just as well, because the world sure needs Iraq’s oil.

  15. Terje and David; I respect your opinions but my concern here is that with the current militancy of the more extreme islamic elements with their demands (supported by Iran) for a theocracy, probably makes this very difficult.

    Despite this I generally agree with most of what David has said here.

  16. I wouldn’t rule out government foreign aid either. But I don’t think it would be necessary for violent interventions short of full invasion. I think people are vastly under-estimating the ability of free people to coordinate when they are allowed.

    Most Australian’s don’t believe that a free society can voluntarily look after their poor. Socialists simply don’t believe that the free-market could provide education. Many people seem dumb-founded by the idea of privately provided roads. Even lots of libertarians refuse to consider the idea of privately provided security services. And I understand that many don’t want to think about the possibility of privately coordinated strikes against rouge regimes…

    …but I think all of these people are far too quick to dismiss the effectiveness of voluntary coordination, and far too eager to assume that only the government can successfully coordinate large-scale action.

  17. How long did it take to raise a few million from private donors around the world after the Asian Tsunami?

    Compare that to the amount of time it took the government to respond in Rwanda.

    I’m not totally convinced that governments respond to such issues in a timely or effective manner. Though I have been accused of generally lacking faith in politicians in the past… so my skepticism probably won’t shock you. 🙂

  18. MEMO FROM: John Winston Howard
    TO: President Robart Mugabe
    My Dear Friend,
    Congratulations on your recent success in once again being elected President of Zimbabwe. Your popularity, as shown by the voters, proves once again that opposition parties are there to be eliminated. During my term as Prime Minister of Australia it was always my aim to do as much as possible to dominate discussion to ridicule and embarrass the opposition, in an effort to totally eliminate their influence. Some called it “wedge politics” and bullying, but I call it “strong leadership”. You have certainly shown the world that you too are a Strong Leader.
    I have read reports that many of your people were forced to vote. Do not concern yourself with that, as in Australia EVERYONE is forced to vote!
    I would like to take the opportunity to also congratulate you on achieving a goal that I had started on, but only partly completed. Australia’s gun control program, including gun crushing and gun bans, were my proudest achievements. I note that some time ago Zimbabwe, under your strong leadership, has total gun control, where only the Police and Military have firearms. As I have stated publicly, “I hate Guns” so I can only dream of the time when Australian civilians will not have access to any guns. The world should take notice of what Zimbabwe as a Country and you personally, have gained by means of gun control.
    My warmest regards,
    (Ex-Prime Minister of Australia)

  19. Great article.

    I’m highly wary of altruistic based military intervention ie: Vietnam, Iraq as opposed to WWII.
    Zimbabwe isn’t a threat to Australia so how do you justify military action?
    Even with military action, how do you know another Mugabe won’t come along?
    Iraq has shown how extended military efforts attempting to give people democracy are costly and ineffective. Their democracy is Hamas friendly and cost the US billions of dollars and many of their own soldiers lives. I don’t regard Iraq as a sucess at all. I don’t see why Iraq couldn’t still harbour terrorists. And the country doesn’t even have reliable electricity and drinking water supplies.

    Perhaps there’s a case for a quick and devastating militalry strike on the country to kill the moral of Mugabe supporters but I strongly doubt it.

    I’d be happy to donate to a group willing to assassinate Mugabe. And I’m sure the thousands of ex-Rhodesians in South Africa would too.

  20. TerjeP, if I saw Mugabe in my local supermarket, I would buy a gun from my local underground supplier (hardened crims never have trouble getting guns, so how hard can it be?), race back to the market, and shoot him dead. Then I would expect to be released by either a sympathetic jury, or a limp-wristed crusading judge. AND I would be the guest of many a talkshow on radio and TV!

  21. How Tim?

    Costs and benefits. Intervening to decapitate Zanu PF might cost less than aid and accomodating refugees, decreased international trade and so on.

    Except that our Governments have refused to purchase cruise missiles which decrease the risk of losing valuable platforms and personnel.

    How do you stop another Mugabe?

    Repeated deterrence and punishment.

    Iraq is a failure. Withdrawal has the possibility of being more damaging and to the West the possibility of more blowback is significant.

    But you are also right. We should abolish the Whitlam and Fraser era “anti mercenary” laws. No Govenrment is willing or perhaps able to do what mercanaries and volunteers are willing and able to do.

  22. I’m highly wary of altruistic based military intervention

    As are we all. But you support private altruistic military intervention, which is good.

    Zimbabwe isn’t a threat to Australia so how do you justify military action?

    What’s the big deal about national boundaries? If Mugabe was the Premier of Tasmania, would you refuse to intervene because Tasmania is not a threat to NSW? The proper question is, when do you help your fellow man – whether privately or via the government? Being on the other side of a national border should not be relevant.

    Even with military action, how do you know another Mugabe won’t come along?

    You don’t, but that’s no reason for inaction. And as Mark says, repeated deterrence and punishment are educational.

    I don’t regard Iraq as a sucess at all. I don’t see why Iraq couldn’t still harbour terrorists.

    Don’t ignore the facts – Iraq is a success in most of the country. Problems only remain in two or three provinces, among them Baghdad where most journalists are located.

    Terrorists can be harboured anywhere.

    Perhaps there’s a case for a quick and devastating militalry strike on the country to kill the moral of Mugabe supporters but I strongly doubt it.

    The case has been made in this thread. Why do you doubt it?

  23. I don’t support private altruistic action either. I think the many ex-Rhodesians in South Africa and around the world have an egoistic, personal reason to want to kill Mugabe. Because they have seen a land fond to them destroyed, because they probably have some relatives/friends left behind, because they may want revenge for all their lost assests etc. My entire family is from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and that’s why I too would happily support such a cause.

    I still think South Africa has to be the answer. How much has the west talked to South African government about Zimbabwe? I don’t know.
    South Africa has self interest reasons to get rid of Mugabe. Because they have lost out economically over the years, and because they are struggling with the daily influx of illegal immigrants and if news reports are correct violence has increased lately in townships.
    I imagine that South African investment in Zimbabwe has been forcibly seized by Mugabe and that the South African government did nothing to protect the property of their citizens.
    It’s such a pity Mbeki has always been Mugabe’s bum buddy. And South Africans should demand this change because his old boys club is negatively affecting them directly.

    Re Iraq: I think the purpose of government is to protect the rights of citizens within its jurisdiction. The military is therefore a necessary function of government designed to fulfill this role, protecting from outside threats.
    I think it’s totally wrong to let US soldiers die doing acts of charity that not only don’t benefit US taxpayers, but cost them money and IMO make them no safer (Iraq). Soldiers aren’t missionaries, they are risking their lives because they think it’s worthwhile to defend their country, so to have their government turn around and send them on charity missions and other peace keeping exercises that danger them without increasing US security is a total perversion of their ideal purpose.
    Correct me if I’m wrong because this isn’t an area I’m that knowledgable in, but I thought the democratically elected government in Iraq was friendly to groups such as Hamas which has known links to terrorists. Therefore, the world is not safer from Islamic motivated terrorism now. Therefore even if Iraq itself is better off, the US military action was a failure because the purpose should have been to protect US citizens from another 9/11.

    On the other hand, I find the idea of a quick, devastating strike on Iran quite compelling, although military politics isn’t my forte. I like the argument that Japanese imperialist ideology died after the H bombs, because the country was totally demoralised by such a crushing defeat. So I’d be all in favour of an Israeli/US strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

  24. TimR — we can’t guarantee that Mugabe’s replacement will end up being better. With regards to the future we always have to deal with uncertainty. But it’s reasonable to think that Zimbabwe is likely to be a better place if you could remove the current meglomaniac.

    You argue against an invasion, so I assume you’re arguing against Jim. I think DavidL prefers just targetting Mugabe, and I prefer that private action against Mugabe be legalised.

    I agree that Iraq is yet another example of failed government intervention. DavidL is right to say that it has improved lately, but that is compared to a very low base. Recent actions have been successful. But the war taken as a whole has not been a success. However… that doesn’t mean that every military action must necessarily end in failure. For example, I linked to the recent recovery of hostages in Colombia.

    You say you don’t support private action either. What do you mean? Are you saying that you want the government to ban such actions? Or are you saying that you personally wouldn’t support such action?

    I agree that the South African government could do MUCH more to resolve the situation. But I don’t have much faith in any government to react in a timely or effective manner.

    You support for a strike on Iran is a bit weird. The consequent war would be costly and long-term, and I don’t think it would successfully cower the muslim world into passive compliance. Japan & Germany are quite different examples in that they were already developed.

    DavidL — while morally all humans may be equal, the role of government is generally accepted to relate to the citizens of their country. It is not viable for a national government to have the goal of international protection, stability, freedom & happiness.

  25. I doubt that SA has any intention of helping, or they would have done so by now. I received the following from a friend who did not link it and as result I have not yet verified it: –

    March 30 2008.

    Rapport newspaper writes today that from July 2008, all SA private property can be expropriated from its owner for public use or benefit by ANC-regime after July 2008, when the new Expropriations Act goes into effect.

    Any private property – not only land used for agriculture — can be appropriated by the South African state ‘s ministry of public works. Effectively, this marks the end of capitalist-style private property rights in South Africa. And all private-property owners will just have to accept any price offered to them by the government under this new law unless they are willing to engage in expensive lawsuits to get the market-related price for their properties.

    Effectively, this new law thus effectively ends all private-ownership rights in South Africa. It includes ALL properties countrywide: if the ministry of internal affairs wants land for housing ‘previously disadvantaged residents, they can and undoubtedly will expropriate land owned by churches, banks, individual homeowners or commercial businesses.

    Already the country has no agricultural land left in the legal sense since all agricultural land now falls under the jurisdiction of municipal boundaries countrywide. In 1994 when SA still exported agricultural products on a massive scale, it had 85,000 farmers using less than 7% of the total land surface. At the moment, less than 10,000 commercial farmers remain, raising crops on less than 0.75% of the total land surface. The country is now facing serious food
    shortages for the first time in its entire recorded agricultural history since the mid-1600.

  26. I think Australia should repeal all anti-mercenary laws, and introduce legislation granting immediate citizenship to anyone (along with their immediate family) who assassinates a high-ranking member of a criminal regime. We would, obviously, need to define a criminal regime and have a “criminal regime watch list” or something. No doubt Zimbabwe would be on there.

  27. DavidL – I’m perplexed by your attitude towards national borders. If government actions should not be constrained by borders of a geographical nature why should any other artificial limits apply? Why not let them breach legalistic borders such as private property rights, free speech and a multitude of other limits on executive government? National borders are a traditional limit on the excesses of government that we undermine at our peril. Libertarians of all people should safe guard the few remaining limits on executive government that we have. Remove that notional limitation to their activity and we essentially sign up for world government. I prefer government in a box.

  28. National borders are a traditional limit on the excesses of government that we undermine at our peril. … I prefer government in a box.

    National borders are more often used to bolster government power than limit it. Indeed, as Samuel Johnson famously said, patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Particularly when the scoundrel purports to speak on behalf of the nation.

    I like Orwell’s quote, “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.”

    Most national boundaries in the world started as lines on a map drawn in the cities of Europe when colonisation was all the rage. As a result they bear little relationship to ethnic, cultural or economic considerations. They have certain utility in terms of international relations, but should not be taken too seriously.

    To rely on a national boundary to deny offering assistance to your fellow man is obscene. If there is a bushfire disaster in South Australia with many people hurt and homeless, we might expect our governments to provide some assistance (in conjunction with private charity). But it would be offensive to decline such assistance purely because South Australia was legally another country rather than just another State. National boundaries ought to be much lower on the totem pole than that.

    Some will say it is a misuse of taxes to spend it on people in another country. I say if it’s OK to spend it on people in our own country (and generally I’m not in favour of that very much), why is the national boundary given such significance? There are often good reasons not to spend money on people in other parts of the world (that it often doesn’t help them being a good one), but the fact that they are within different national boundaries is not one of them.

    I can’t think of any way in which national borders constrain government action, except for avoiding military conflict. They do not define private property and are not analogous to other rights except in a communal sense. I can think of many instances in which inflated threats to national boundaries have been used by governments to increase their power and reduce individual rights.

  29. Temujin- that was a joke, right? How could anyone be worse than Mugabe? Please, point me to a worse leader!
    Jim Fryar- does this mean that South Africe has caught up with us now? We have laws of resumption of land for ‘public good’ use, and so does the USA (see ‘Kelo’).

  30. I didn’t say I don’t support private action, in my first comment I said I’d probably donate money to a private assassination.
    I think Mugabe should definitely be ousted and it’s an incredible tragedy that someone who has been such an evil leader and so destructive for so long has stayed in power.
    My only point is that I don’t see the logic for the Australian/US military to get involved because I don’t see how Zimbabwe is a threat to the rights of Australian citizens.
    I don’t support what I see as altruistically motivated military action that doesn’t benefit those paying for it. For example, I don’t think the Australian military should spend so much time in East Timor.
    I think there’s a case for military action from neighbouring African countries such as South Africa even though this will realistically never happen, especially with the alcoholic Mbeki or the polygamist, lefty Zuma in power. But even though South Africa’s treatment of Zimbabwe has been totally inadequate all these years while Mugabe violates the rights of South Africans eg/ large amounts of unidentified immigrants, loss of all supperannuation funds for ex-Rhodesians, confiscation of assets backed by South African investment – I still don’t see how you justify Australian military action which I believe to be already over-used in altruistic based campaigns.

    I visited South Africa not too long ago and talked to an old ex-Rhodesian man I met on the plane who was convinced South Africa would go the way of Zimbabwe. Reading Jim’s comment # 29 reminded me of that guy.

    In regards to private assassination attempts, I think they are a “do at your own risk” thing. I don’t see how you can expect any government to sanction this from private parties. However in the case of Zimbabwe, I reckon you’d probably avoid prosecution from outside countries. As long as you could get out of Zimbabwe first.

  31. Nicholas; I assume you are talking about, we can’t guarantee that Mugabe’s replacement will end up being better. With regards to the future we always have to deal with uncertainty.

    I agree with this, there is no guarantee that a replacement will be better, Mugabe has descended to such a level of depravity it would be difficult to envisage worse, but that is no guarantee that worse does not exist.

    The South African laws appear to be part of a policy that has been mentioned of “Africanization.” As such it is highly likely that it will be the precursor of wide spread nationalization of private assets.

  32. It’s always good to end a thread on a high note. Here’s what those nutters at the CEC had to say about Zimbabwe in a press release today. Appears to have been written for them by Mugabe.

    Appeal to reason: Don’t fall for British lies—again—on Zimbabwe

    When George Bush and Dick Cheney deliberately lied to justify the biggest diplomatic/military blunder in our time—the Iraq war—remember who it was who fed them the key “intelligence” used to make the case: the British.

    It was Tony Blair and the British who “sexed up” the Iraq dossier, which enabled Bush to claim that 1) Saddam was buying yellowcake uranium from Niger, and 2) Saddam’s weapons-of-mass-destruction could be deployed to attack Britain within 45 minutes.

    The British weapons expert who exposed the British lies, David Kelly, later turned up dead, ostensibly by suicide.

    Five years later, over one million Iraqis have been killed, five million displaced, and the claims of the real weapons inspectors, that Saddam had no WMDs, have been confirmed.

    Now, the British are at it again, this time targeting Zimbabwe with a propaganda offensive calculated to cast Robert Mugabe as the next Saddam Hussein, and hence justify outside interference into the nation.

    What is the background to the crisis in Zimbabwe?

    Zimbabwe was formerly Rhodesia, the jewel in the Crown of the British Empire in Africa, claimed, and named, in 1895 by Cecil Rhodes, the bankroller of the British Roundtable, who boasted of his intent in his writing titled Confession of Faith:

    “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings; what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence; look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence… Africa is still lying ready for us, it is our duty to take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes: that more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race, more of the best, the most human, most honourable race the world possesses.” [Emphasis added.]

    Eighty-five years later, when those “despicable specimens of human beings” won independence for Zimbabwe, two percent of Zimbabwe’s population, the white descendents of “the finest race in the world”, controlled over 70 percent of the land. The British pledged to assist in solving the obvious problem of land redistribution at the Lancaster House negotiations that established independence. For 18 years, effectively nothing happened, and then in 1997 Tony Blair reneged on the pledge. It was when Mugabe was forced to take matters into his own hands, that Tony Blair’s government unleashed the diplomatic assault on Zimbabwe, including crushing economic sanctions, that continue to this day.

    There are now signs that it is a classic British dirty tricks operations behind the election violence being used to demand Mugabe’s overthrow: African military sources told the Executive Intelligence Review news service that the brutality and professional, execution-style nature of the killings in the lead-up to the June 27 presidential run-off had all the hallmarks of a British-style counterinsurgency “third force”, like the Rhodesian special forces Selous Scouts (named after Cecil Rhodes’ friend Frederick Courteney Selous) used against the freedom fighters in the 1970s, which were a more advanced form of what the British had deployed against Kenya and Malaya (Malaysia) in those countries’ respective struggles for independence from the British Empire.

    At the June 23 United Nations Security Council meeting, Britain conveniently blamed Mugabe for the violence which was making a fair election impossible, to demand the UNSC name MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai President.

    Zimbabwean Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku countered that “there have been numerous cases of MDC-T supporters going around dressed in Zanu-PF regalia and beating up people. This is an outdated strategy used by the Selous Scouts during the liberation struggle, and with the predominance of Selous Scouts in the MDC-T, it is obvious what is going on.”

    Morgan Tsvangirai was supported in the 2005 election by Ian Smith, Rhodesia’s last leader under whom the Selous Scouts carried out their murderous campaign; one of the veterans of Smith’s Rhodesian Front, Roy Bennett, is the MDC’s chief fundraiser, criss-crossing British Commonwealth countries rattling the tin for the overthrow of Mugabe.

    This is the background that is well known by Zimbabwe’s neighbours, like South Africa—hence their resistance to Britain’s agenda.

    It is clear that the British are using the crisis they set up in Zimbabwe, to overturn the key principle of international law which established the sovereignty of nation states, the Treaty of Westphalia, in their drive to shore up their globalisation empire, in the face of a global economic breakdown crisis which is forcing national governments to assert their national interests, in areas like food and fuel, against the demands of the British for more free trade.

    The architect of Zimbabwe’s chaos, Tony Blair, confessed to this objective in a March 5, 2004 speech:

    “So for me, before Sep. 11 [emphasis added], I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country’s internal affairs are for it, and you don’t interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted into this philosophy…”

  33. I wonder why they had this.

    WASHINGTON, July 7, 2008 – Defense personnel have completed the transfer of 550 metric tons of Iraqi uranium ore to Canada, Defense officials said here today.

    The Iraqi government asked the United States to help transfer the yellowcake — as the ore is known — from Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center near Baghdad to its buyer in Canada, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.

    Yellowcake is a uranium ore that can be processed to become nuclear fuel. State and Energy Department personnel also participated in the transfer.

    “This was material that was discovered when we initially went in to Tuwaitha,” Whitman said. “It was under the control of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency since that time.”

    Whitman stressed that yellowcake is not of direct use in a nuclear weapon. “It is a commodity that is traded routinely in the global nuclear energy sector,” he said. “It can be used as a feed material for nuclear weapons if a country has access to the necessary fuel technology.”

  34. I mentioned this post to a friend from over there and he Emailed me with the following comment: –

    The events in that article are truly appalling and sickening. My brother in Zimbabwe recently told me that he’d had unconfirmed reports that white farmers had also been forced to drink a poisonous substance but I’ve seen nothing about it. Why don’t the local press print articles like the one in this blog?

    I’d love to see Mugabe have a painful lingering death or get shot but he’s almost a puppet now. The Joint Operational Command are now running the country, so those leaders would take over and also need to be taken out. The only internal options I now see are if economic conditions for the lower ranks of the army and police get so bad that they rebel with a counter coup. South Africa has the power to remove them but won’t.

    The one thing all South Africans are looking forward to is the 2010 soccer world cup. If they lost that due to external pressure it would be a major embarrassment and might just prompt them to do something. As it is, most ex-Rhodesians/Zimbabweans are totally despondent and feel there is no justice in the world, not only for them but especially for those like Mrs Chigoro.

    Certainly the old Rhodesian SAS could have done the job but they’re all old men now and there is no safe base to operate from in Africa.

    You’ve got some good comments in that blog Jim. Thanks for letting me know

  35. The news from Zimbabwe keeps on getting worse. Their inflation rate is in the millions, now, I believe. Some people might think that this is due to all the sanctions, but why should people want to go near a country where the government can just take your land and hand it to its’ own supporters, as has happened with farms? Why go near a country where the government won’t accept the results of elections. None of that is the fault of the British or the Americans.

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