Posts Tagged ‘Assassin’

Kevin Carter

On the 24th of July 1994 South Africa lost one of its greatest photographers, his name was Kevin Carter. He died under suspicious circumstances with his death being reported as a suicide. Carter was born in 1960, the year of the banning of the ANC, into a Catholic family that accepted Apartheid. He, like many of his generation questioned the regime and saw the inherent injustice that the Apartheid system carried; he would often have serious quarrels with his father about it.

He was conscripted into the South African Defense Force (SADF) as was normal for any young white male at the time that was not disabled or could not obtain a student deferment. He loathed upholding the Apartheid regime and was once severely beaten and called kaffir-boetie (“nigger lover”) by some of his comrades in the SADF for trying to take sides with a black mess-hall waiter.

After completing his military service he got a job at a camera supply store and this is where his journey began. He made his name as an upcoming photographer with the local newspapers. By the year 1984 riots began sweeping the black townships and Carter aligned himself with other young photojournalists who sought to expose the brutal regime. He was the first to photograph a public execution by the cruel method of “necklacing” where a tyre is put around the victim, doused with petrol and set alight. This was a common execution specifically for individuals identified as working for the oppressive state as informants.

He also captured images from the unsuccessful invasion of Bophuthatswana by white right-wing outlaws. Their intentions were to give support to the setting up of a black homeland which was part of Apartheid’s separate development policy. These images were quite jarring as they graphically displayed the dead bodies of the right-wingers after having been executed by black Bophuthatswana policemen.

This blatant exposure of the ills of the Apartheid state was reaching far and wide and increasing the calls that would rally the world against the immoralities of the regime. One begins to foresee the kind of attacks that would most likely arise from the tyrannical state known for having units of assassins and unscrupulously eliminating any opposition. Knowing the background of the government would surely lead one to worry for the safety of Carter.

On April the 12th, three months before his death, the New York Times called him and notified him that he had just won the most coveted prize for a photographer, the Pulitzer Prize. The prize was awarded for an eerie picture he shot in famine-stricken Sudan which depicted a gravely malnourished child being watched by a vulture waiting in anticipation for the child’s death. He was jetted to Manhattan, New York where he was celebrated and he wined and dined with the top echelon of the photographing industry.

Two months later he was back in South Africa. He did little work in this period. During a lunch with a colleague he mentioned that he was thinking of forming a writer-photographer free-lance team and traveling Africa. This clearly shows that he was harboring ideas for the furthering of his career. It is therefore strange that barely a month later he was found dead in what looked like a death by suicide.

The Pulitzer Prize gave him a much greater status and only served to popularize his pictures that visually divulged the usually state-censored inner workings of the Apartheid regime to the world. The prize also meant that he would not find difficulty in finding work as a photographer and was an omen of good luck for his future. Why then would this gifted, budding photographer take his own life? The absence of evidence pointing to murder leaves a shadowy cloud around the circumstances of his death. At the end only he would know the events which would lead to his ultimate demise.

Last month Secret South Africa posted a blog about the case of the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988. The incident resulted in the death of 270 people. One of those people was Bernt Carlsson from Sweden, the UN High Commissioner in Namibia. Foul play was suspected especially because of the animosity between Carlsson and the Apartheid government. Shockingly, two years earlier another important dignitary who was a close colleague of Carlsson and arguably of a much higher profile was murdered.

Olof Palme in the early 70's

Sven Olof Joachim Palme was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1969 until his assassination in February 1986. Informally known as Olof Palme, he initially rose to the position of Prime Minister of Sweden in 1969 and remained in that position until 1976. He was re-elected in 1982 and remained in that position until 1986 when he was brutally gunned down. Bernt Carlsson was one of his protégés and political allies. Olof Palme was known to polarize people’s political views, finding himself profoundly supported by those on the left and equally abhorred by those on the right. His policies made him a widely recognized international political figure because of the controversial positions he stood by.

The fateful night of his murder, Olof Palme had decided to go and watch an evening movie at the cinema with his wife Lisbet Palme. He was known for trying to live a life as ordinary as possible often going places without any protection from his bodyguards. This night was one of such nights. While walking home from the cinema on a central street in Stockholm the couple was attacked by a lone gunman. The Prime Minister took a fatal shot at close range to the back. His wife was hit by a second shot and was wounded. Despite being rushed to hospital Olof Palme was pronounced dead on arrival. Nobody was ever convicted of the assassination but when one looks at Palme’s history strong suspicions begin to get raised in the direction of Apartheid South Africa.

Born in 1927 he went on to become President of the Swedish National Union of Students while studying law at Stockholm University at the age of 25. From early on in his academic life his political stance leaned toward socialism. Later on in life he often attributed this stance to the time he spent studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in the United States (1947-1948) where he became very aware of the divisions of class and was incensed by the role racism played in the society.

The institutionalization of racism in South Africa was yet to become a major issue in international politics but Palme’s strong adverse opinions to the racist doctrine, from early on, already positioned him as a potential enemy to the apartheid state. It is also crucial to note that the South African government was to become the major opposition to the spread of communism and socialism in Southern Africa, funding several proxy wars in order to maintain ascendancy in the region and protect their unjust regime. Palme’s socialist stance would come to position him against the regime.

Apartheid South Africa’s aims at growing their nuclear weapon arsenal was something well known in the world arena at the time. One can only imagine the stir that Palme created amongst the South African government of the time with his continuous campaign against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The gravity of this campaign in terms of its direct approach to dealing with imperialism pales in comparison with his outright and very vocal opposition to apartheid on the world stage. This opposition manifested in his stubborn support for economic sanctions against Apartheid South Africa. His support for the struggle of the people in South Africa also extended as far as both political and financial support for the leading organization opposing Apartheid, the African National Congress (ANC).

On the 21st of February, a week before he was assassinated, Palme made the keynote address to the Swedish People’s Parliament Against Apartheid which was held in Stockholm. The event was attended by thousands of anti-apartheid sympathizers, leaders and officials from the Anti-Apartheid Movement as well as from the ANC. Oliver Tambo, President of the ANC, was amongst those of the most prominent leaders that attended the event. In Palme’s address he made one his most remembered statements, “Apartheid cannot be reformed, it must be eliminated”. This statement made him a direct threat to the immoral leaders of the vampiric apartheid state.

Eugene de Kock

The ANC was reviled by the apartheid state, so much so that the state actually had units of assassins whose mandate was to target key figures in the organization and other figures outside it who were seen to be supporting it in any way. No clear evidence for Palme’s killing was ever found that could conclusively point the finger at the apartheid government. However, ten years after Palme’s assassination, Colonel Eugene de Kock, a former South African police officer and covert assassin alleged that Palme had indeed been killed by the apartheid government. The reasons cited were his strong opposition to the apartheid government and Sweden’s financial and political support of the ANC.

De Kock named Craig Williamson who was a former police colleague of his and a South African superspy. Swedish police investigators visited South Africa a month later to try and find evidence to substantiate the claim but were unsuccessful. In a September, 2010 interview, Tommy Lindstrom, head of the Swedish Crime Investigation Department (CID) during the 80’s was asked who he thought was responsible for the assassination. He responded without hesitation that he still suspected apartheid South Africa were behind the assassination.

Several of the names that came up in the Lockerbie article popped up again in this one, is this a concidence? Why would Eugene de Kock deliberately lie about the killing of Olof Palme? De Kock had nothing to lose or gain by claiming responsibility for the murder. Sweden and Palme particularly, were clearly throwing as much weight as they possibly could to put pressure on the apartheid government. Knowing the violent nature of the oppressive state it certainly would not be a surprise to find confirmation of their role in the assassination. Finally, the lack of hesitation of Sweden’s highest rank of detective at the time to point the blame to the apartheid government certainly seems convincing. We leave it up to you decide…

Through Project Coast, the Apartheid Government developed a range of biological and chemical weapons that were used to eliminate political rivals. The following article deals with one of the Apartheid Government’s preferred assassination methods: lacing items of clothing with poison.

There have been a variety of documented reports, detailing how Apartheid agents laced items of clothing with lethal toxins and poison, so that they would be slowly absorbed by their victims and cause death without suspicion of foul play.

In an article published by the Daily Mail in 2007, shocking details were finally put on record when Adriaan Vlok, the hardline Apartheid-era police minister, admitted to trying to kill Frank Chikane, a black anti-apartheid activist by lacing his underwear with poison. Vlok was the only apartheid-era minister to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And while he received an amnesty for a series of bombings that he orchestrated during Apartheid, he faced criminal chargesfor his assassination attempt on Chikane’s life.

Frank Chikane, who survived the attack, went on to play an important role in South Africa’s new government, becoming advisor to former President Thabo Mbeki. Chikane testified that the specific type of poison used against him attacked his nervous system, making him violently ill.

Unfortunately the use of poisoned items of clothing was not an isolated incident during Apartheid. According to other reports, the Roodeplaat Research Laboratories developed a poison that could be applied to T-shirts. As the toxin entered the bloodstream, it would form a blood clot causing heart failure. An autopsy would thus show the cause of death to be natural. This plan was part of an attempt to target black student activists, but ultimately failed when the police hit squads who were to distribute the T-shirts “chickened out.”

How many people were killed by the Apartheid Government through this insidious and cowardly tactic? What other dirty tricks did the Apartheid Government have up their sleeves? The further I dig back into the past, the stronger I believe that the truth is stranger than fiction.

The South African Police are on the hunt for Joe Mamasela, a former Vlakplaas death squad member and self-confessed killer of anti-apartheid activists. According to reports (http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article582534.ece/Former-apartheid-killer-still-at-large) Mamasela is being sought for the murder of his landlord.

Mamasela allegedly gunned down Joseph Nhlapo, on Saturday, after an argument with him about an eviction notice.

Mamasela confessed to the assassination of Port Elizabeth’s Pebco3 – Sipho Hashe, Qaqawuli Godolozi and Champion Galela but was granted indemnity from prosecution after helping to track down former security policemen involved in assassinations in the apartheid era.

Police are still searching for Mamasela but have warned the public that he is considered armed and dangerous.

Isn’t it weird that we have numerous former Apartheid assassins and soldiers within our society?

I wonder how many we have…