UK/USA/MDC: Bandaging the Truth
Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2008
By Nathaniel Manheru
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July 12, 2008
May the good Lord please help us! We seem to be living through an evil hour. Take this white woman journalist called Christina Lamb. I happen to have met her once. Quite unattractive and rather indifferent to femininity, she comes across as quite feeble and charitable, totally foreign to any harm to anyone, least of all a country. Until you discover her deadly side beneath this misleading patina of fragility. To the Empire, she is John Simpson's female equivalent in print journalism. Or better still Chris McGreal's female equivalent. She is M-16 affiliated; she gets her cue from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Once the Empire defines the enemy, she builds formidable propaganda against those the British establishment seek to destroy. Alongside the other two, and joined by a youthful intern at the Telegraph, David Blair, she is part of Britain's propaganda frontline. This is a very useful brief to understanding what follows.
The story of one Blessing Mabhena
Writing for the British Sunday Times of June 29, a mere two days after the run-off, Lamb claimed one Blessing Mabhena – an 11-months old baby boy of "an opposition councillor" – was "seized from a bed and flung down with force" by Zanu-PF "thugs", breaking both his legs. "Blessing," continued Lamb, "who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday's sham presidential election." Veracity is given by a moving picture of the toddler crying, presumably from unrelieved pain, both legs heavily bandaged. Another authenticator was the voice of one Jon Stewart, "a director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum" who testifies that this "is a deliberate nationwide strategy to reoccupy space so all space is occupied by the Zanu of Mugabe". A third one came by way of excerpts supposedly leaked from minutes of Joint Operations Command (JOC) revealing a bloody plot to "wipe out" over 2 million opposition supporters in the country! The story was widely circulated, widely read and widely picked by many publications from all corners of the globe. It drew 20 pages of reader reactions, all recording utter outrage at this Nazi-like atrocity. From this horror emerged – spontaneously – a fund set up by well-wishers for the treatment of young Mabhena, himself a deserving target of this telescopic philanthropy Dickens ridiculed in Bleak House.
Clubbing truth, fitting feet
A week later, on July 6, the Sunday Times, a small paragraph appeared in the same publication: hard to see, well hidden in deep pages inside well-paid, refulgent puffery, softly and cryptically confessing the story which had drawn such a wide reaction was in fact a false one. Doctors from both Zimbabwe and London had been on the boy's case and had concluded baby Mabhena had been born "with club feet". Conveniently the error was blamed on an unnamed "freelance journalist", presumably from Zimbabwe. Uneventfully, the matter was closed. Zimbabwe had been maligned, the repair and remedy raising no cost to anyone. Noteworthy, the baby-boy had been given a Ndebele surname, his parents an MDC identity for dual emotional triggers. What could have been better tailored for charges of extreme crime against humanity, ethnic cleansing and undemocratic behaviour?
The great hoax of Ruwa
Just this week, we had another spectacular one. The setting was Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre where individuals claiming to be MDC internally displaced claimed to have been viciously attacked by men "wearing army uniforms". In a case of very useful coincidence, the story was broken to the international Press at 0200hrs on Monday, the same day the G-8 was supposed to deliberate on the case of Zimbabwe. It ran on all the world networks, claiming a refuge centre housing MDC's internally displaced villagers, had been brutally attacked by men in "army uniform". One woman from the group claimed to have had her pant pulled down by one of the "uniformed thugs" whose intentions were anyone's guess. Fifteen of the attacked displaced activists, the reports added, could not be accounted for, and had to be presumed murdered by the same "Zanu-PF thugs".
Truth that never sell
Minister Goche in charge of Social Welfare and part of the negotiations with the MDC factions, rushed to Ruwa to establish the facts. Curiously the story had run without visuals, and curiously too, the usually avid international Press was phlegmatic on this one story. Any coverage would have killed it before its maximum damage. It had to run indefinitely as white copy. Meanwhile, Minister Goche listened to accounts from all the eight "victims", all of whom declared extreme trauma, To the person, they spoke calmly and in very clear Shona language, interlarded by words and phrases from the vocabulary of human rights discourse. None goofed; none stammered. Even a layman did not have to fumble for charges the combined narratives were driving at. Curiously these were supposed to be simple villagers recently displaced by vicious violence in the countryside. Yet they seemed so familiar with international statutes.
Spectacle of worldly villagers
Yet they knew how to relate to a whole Minister of Government who is also a Zanu-PF MP, unnerved and with remarkable calmness in the absence of any international official, in the presence of officials, war veterans and ZRP details. Yes, yet they knew the intricacies of negotiating with embassies to get succour and food, and of course to set terms for their relocation to any other venue other than embassy compound to which they had allegedly run for refuge. They were all armed with cell-phones which never ran out of airtime, which rang all the time, either to deliver voice messages or SMS, both from Harvest House. They knew how to reach the international office of the Red Cross; knew about IOM, Christian Care, etc, etc; knew how to field interviews with the international Press. Above all, they had internationally published manuals or organising political dissent and opposition, these very literate MDC victims from the villages.
Groping for truth
All were heavily bandaged, looking very ill. Until they started giving their stories, in the process getting remarkably animated, forgetting their condition obliged subdued presentations. Until the Minister brought in the Provincial Medical Director to probe what lay beneath the heavy bandages. Lo and behold, nothing serious, save light bruises from a calibrated stampede. Grains of grass deliberately planted to suggest a tussle. Still the minister insisted the lady who claimed violation be examined.
Seeing events were taking a turn for the worse, she quickly indicated she had not been touched, although she felt some pain somewhere on her back. Again the Minister insisted the doctor probes that back. Where exactly is the injury, asked the good doctor? Whereupon the lady's hand kept changing points of pain, leading the good doctor down to terrifying depths and zones. The man of the stethoscope balked, clearly reluctant to follow the lead that seemed to radiate the victim's face, that seemed calculated to gratify other ends.
Part time, mealtime refuges
And the missing persons? Well, all hailed from nearby Epworth. Their history? Well, to the name, these were part-time refugees who felt most insecure at breakfast, lunch and supper! Outside these meal-times, they would be home in Epworth, doing their odd jobs. Good calculation in these hard times. And because they are not tied to the place geographically, they could always be used for other purposes, including the all-important assignment of that fateful Monday. But a lot more emerged, once more reminding me of the hazards of propaganda. One young man who claimed he had escaped attacks in Marondera confessed the group had left Harvest House because of hunger and appalling conditions inside that building. There was no food; there were no ablution services; not even blankets. Need you wonder to hear that the MDC is closing its Century House haven, blaming it all on State raids? And if one gets to know about MDC plans to go the banditry route, would this be surprising? Chinamasa is right: in the intervening weeks we will get to know the Jonasi Savimbi in our midst.
Superfluous election agents
Another – a woman – indicated she had been deployed alongside many others to Hwedza as an election agent, but got left in limbo when Tsvangirai unexpectedly decided he was pulling out of the race. Fearful, they decided to leave for the mountains where they stayed until the MDC sent them $40bn through a contact in the village for transport back to base. Yet another one had a plaster. From where? Well not from Ruwa but from Madziwa where he had been hurt from a scuffle with Zanu-PF youths. Circumstances? Well, he had left his home in Kuwadzana suburb in Shamva for an undisclosed operation. The story ended there for the young man could not be pressed any further. Was this the same operation through which the MDC caused mayhem in Mashonaland Central?
More lies, more liars
I could go on and on recounting many such incidents, not forgetting of course a similar one from Violet Gonda of the British funded anti-Zimbabwe pirate radio, SW Africa, claiming Zanu-PF thugs' latest victim is a 70-year-old man. I could go back to the story of an MDC activist who died from Aids in South Africa, whom Chamisa claimed had died from wounds inflicted by "Zanu-PF thugs"; go back to the legendary story of beheading, ran by Basildon Peta who in South Africa doubles up as a journalist and an MDC public relations officer; indeed could go back to the race Kwinjeh – now a high-ranking MDC official – and her politically calculated claim that the army had buried a headless corpse of a soldier killed in the DRC, just ahead of the MDC launch in 1999. Not of course to forget another recent one published in the British Guardian a mere two days before the run-off. This was an opinion piece attributed to Tsvangirai calling for a multinational invasion of Zimbabwe. Knowing the consequences, Tsvangirai left the Dutch Embassy to reach Government in order to distance himself from the report. Or two other stunts lined up for this Monday involving self-created violence at a factory in Chitungwiza owned by MDC's Madzimure whose "extensive damages following at attack by Zanu-PF youths, Tsvangirai was supposed to tour. Or the false alarm to the international Press that Tsvangirai had just survived an armed attempt on his life, again slotted for Harare, which left many journalists stunned. It has been a very innovative campaign, calculated to move the world, risk the country through black propaganda.
Trojan Horse, hidden fighters
Poor MDC! It is not even in charge of the lies that are supposed to take it to State House! It is not even in charge of statements published in its name or those of its leaders. Some others are and hey, the bastards have overreached. Britain's SAS guys have been in the country, working closely with residual Rhodesian structures – both military and farming – re-launched ahead of the March 29 harmonised elections. Part of this contingent from the British army were stationed at the British Mission, with another section melting into the countryside under the cover of a UK-based, Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded NGO I shall have occasion to reveal. The machinery woven around this element of the British military, working closely with Rhodesia's residual security and farming structures, carried the burden of the MDC campaign in the run-up to the March harmonised elections. The funding came in variously, including from George Soros, himself symbolising the American part to this Anglo-Saxony assault of Zimbabwe. This was a high-risk covert venture which could only be mounted but once, and in circumstances of a great political hurly-burly, which is what the environment of the harmonised elections provided. This is why the result had to come right in March, no other time, no other election. So much had been done, so little else could be done afterwards. Hence the desperate, concussive attempt by the whole of Europe and America to stampede a false electoral result which would have given victory to the MDC in March. Hence the present attempt to freeze the will of the "Zimbabwean people" on the March 29 result, as if that result was conclusive in the first place. Or as if March 29 amounted to a legal cul-de-sac about which Zimbabwe had to turn to superior bodies and will, outside of its own supreme law and popular vote for resolution. March 29 thus amounts to a disastrous, British-led external covert operation from which Brown is trying to recover by any means. I notice the radical Executive Intelligence Review of LaRouche has the basic outline of the plot.
Lieutenants from Rhodesia
I challenge the media to research into the political and military background of MDC personnel fronted in the March elections, to disprove my postulate on the role of Rhodesia's former uniformed services – direct and paramilitary – and its civil service arms, principally teachers in running MDC's machinery. A good starting point is Buhera, Gutu, Zaka and Chikomba. This is the one great story no one has sought to investigate, write and publish, simply because it goes against the grain. Just who are these MDC MPs which Zimbabweans, hoping to satisfy their stomachs, voted in on March 29? Why is there no curiosity in the media to build profiles of leading MDC personalities, including its MPs-elect? The revelations will be shocking, including the discovery that a prominent lawyer MDC MP-elect was in fact a lieutenant in the Rhodesian army who then got cashiered from the army at Independence to join the courts as an interpreter. Why does a political party that likes to build its legitimacy around alleged State-sponsored violence, recruit from the machinery of Rhodesian violence against blacks? Why from the white settler farmers who occupied our land? What is the intended outcome?
Season of Anglo-Saxony chaos
Which takes me to my next point. When it became apparent the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission could not be stampeded into endorsing the proposed electoral fraud; became apparent that Zanu-PF was raising uncomfortable queries regarding results and the whole voting process, the whole mission slid into utter chaos. And for days, both the Americans and the British would not agree on the best way forward against the sordid fact of a collapsed covert intervention and the bleak prospect of the most damaging revelation that in fact these so-called doyens of ballot democracy had sought to rig it for a preferred outcome. Could Tsvangirai go back for a run-off in a new environment of a more alert Zanu-PF and a simplified contest in which the personality factor would decide, predictably certain to go against leadership qualities-shorn Tsvangirai? Zanu-PF's relentless preparations for a run-off rendered the date academic, forcing the panicky Anglo-Americans to force Tsvangirai back into the ring, prayerfully hoping the momentum built in March would carry him past June 27. Again, the dilemma was a simple one: unable to reject results of an internationally supervised recount, these doyens of constitutionalism could not be seen to be sidestepping the constitutional dictates of Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai had to run, which is why the emissary was no other than McGee, US ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Enter the Selous Scouts
Once it became clear the MDC could not carry the day, the strategy changed to discrediting both the process and outcome. The instruments were obvious: Selous Scout tactics of highly photogenic brutality to move the world; sponsoring the election observation process for pre-ordained condemnatory verdicts; heightening attacks on the Mbeki mediation effort to put the matter beyond Sadc and Africa, to the UN Security Council where they read a greater preparedness to push through more drastic measures against the Zanu-PF Government, including military invasion. It is a fact that Sadc, the AU and PAP observer missions were funded by American and British money, among other Western sponsors. It is also a fact that country observer missions were wholly sponsored by American funds, including the vocal Botswana team which largely comprised personnel from hostile, American-sponsored NGOs. The few countries which, and few persons who did not receive America's dirty money, are the ones who stood against this choreographed negative judgment for which Britain and America had invested so heavily.
But these missions needed valid reasons to justify the negative verdict, which is where the calibrated, photogenic violence so covertly managed by British SAS elements working with Rhodesia's residual Selous Scout structures, came in. The spontaneous inter-party clashes which are inevitable in any election, provided a useful backdrop to this operation which continues to this day, albeit with reduced ardour. The pictures Gordon Brown used to sway G-8 leaders came from this operation whose communication side is being manned by British intelligence elements infiltrated into the country. Again the Executive Intelligence Review carries glimpses of this grim operation whose pattern will get clearer not too long hence. Presently, the British and the Americans are torn between a proxy war against Zimbabwe, drawn out insurgency by the MDC, or an outright British-led frontal assault on Zimbabwe. A client state through which to aggress Zimbabwe is proving harder to get, with public opinion in Zimbabwe's neighbourhood clearly ranged against such a bloody proposition. Insurgency is being driven by Rhodesians, led by Roy Bennett. The fear is a drawn out conflict, as well as the daunting fact of an uncertain rear. Reports from two think-tanks based in South Africa and Kenya are the very first attempts at making this dimension of MDC banditry known publicly. The last option is fraught, made worse by the propaganda reverses at the G-8 Summit where Africa was alienated. Made worst by the uphill battle at the Security Council. Un-helped by the resumption of talks in South Africa. Made decidedly unattractive by the British army's failing commitments elsewhere, commitments so poorly performed, leading to a plummeting of morale in its armed force. How do you go to war with a Force where half the strength is agitating to leave it, citing greater exposure, poor command, unholy wars? And of course Britain knows we have been preparing for this eventuality for quite a while, which is why it will be so suicidal. Except that is Brown's other name, is it not? He pins his vain hopes on lies or war. Neither will wash. Icho!
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