| Hypocrite Peres who traded WMD with apartheid regime now grieves Mandela!

Israeli leader who mourned Mandela’s death helped white regime get missiles ~ Robert Windrem, NBC News.

Among the world leaders who have showered South Africa with condolences since the death of Nelson Mandela, Israel’s Shimon Peres stood out as a peer. Like Mandela, he won a Nobel Peace prize. Like Mandela, he stayed on the world stage long past retirement age. Mandela died at 95. At 90, Peres is still serving as Israel’s president.

Yoav Lemmer / AFP file

Former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) kisses Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in 2002 after a meeting at Mandela’s office in Johannesburg.

“The world has lost a great leader who changed the face of history,” said Peres on behalf of the Israeli nation. “Nelson Mandela was a human rights fighter who made his mark on the war against discrimination and racism.”

But in the 1970s, while Mandela was languishing in a damp prison cell on Robben Island, Peres was making deals with South Africa’s apartheid regime, according to interviews and documents gathered by NBC News, a recent documentary and a book based on Israeli and South African government documents. With the help of an Israeli operative now famed as the Hollywood mogul behind “Pretty Woman” and “Fight Club,” Peres traded missiles for money and the uranium needed for atomic bombs.

At the center of the relationship was a “Joint Secretariate for Political and Psychological Warfare” set up in 1975 to handle various matters, not the least of which was “propaganda and psychological warfare.” It was an outgrowth of a $100 million South African propaganda campaign to fix the country’s tarnished image. Leading the effort was the late Eschel Rhoodie, a brash apparatchik who had convinced the regime’s leaders they needed to sell apartheid to the western media.

Under terms of the agreement, championed by Peres, then Defense Minister, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister, Israel would help South Africa burnish its international reputation. South Africa would supply the money, with each country appointing a secretary to look after its interests.

As the relationship grew, the two sides began to cooperate on military, even nuclear development. Peres, the architect of Israel’s nuclear program, had procured the country’s first nuclear reactor in the 1950s, and built a clandestine agency called the Science Liaison Bureau that collected nuclear technology.

In a February 1993 interview, Rhoodie told NBC News he was the chief representative on the South African side. “Arnon Milchan was the chief representative on the Israeli side,” said Rhoodie. “We paid him about 30,000 rand [$40,000] a year.” Milchan is now a Hollywood billionaire who has produced more than 120 movies, including “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “L.A. Confidential.” When he was in his 20s, however, Peres recruited him for the Science Liaison Bureau. Peres designated Milchan to represent  Israel in South Africa.

The cooperation began in 1974 when Rhoodie flew to Tel Aviv. A year later, said Rhoodie, the countries signed an extensive agreement at the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. The agreement even envisioned a visit to Israel by South African prime minister Johannes Vorster  — a World War II Nazi sympathizer.

Peres was so pleased with the growing bond that he wrote Rhoodie a letter of thanks, dated Nov. 22, 1974, following a secret meeting in Pretoria, the South African capital.

“It is to a very large extent due to your perspicacity, foresight and political imagination that a vitally important cooperation between our two countries has been initiated,” said the letter, which asserted that the relationship rested on “unshakable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and our refusal to submit to it.”

Peres later introduced Rhoodie to Milchan in Tel Aviv, according to Rhoodie. Although the two later had a falling out, they worked closely together.

But the big moves were made at the top. In his 2010 book, “The Unspoken Alliance,” Sasha Polakow-Suransky describes the broad agenda of the two countries’ secret arrangement, as laid out in South African government documents he obtained under the country’s freedom of information laws. Of one meeting between the two sides, in January 1975, Polakow-Suransky writes:

“The group, chaired by [South African] military intelligence chief Hein du Toit, addressed Soviet and Chinese influence in Africa, weapons sales to African and Arab states, Soviet and Arab naval movements in the Indian Ocean, and most importantly, ‘Palestinian terrorist organizations and [their] cooperation with terrorist organizations that operate in southern Africa.'”

As time wore on, the discussions moved from counter-terrorism and intelligence to strategic cooperation, even the provision of nuclear-tipped missiles. Polakow-Suransky writes of another meeting in June 1974 in Zurich between Peres, then Israel’s defense minister, and P.W. Botha, his South African counterpart,

“Now, the discussion turned to warheads. Minutes from the June meeting reveal that Botha expressed interest in the Jerichos (short range missiles) if they came with the ‘correct payload,’ and that “Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes.'”

Polakow-Suransky quotes another memo that makes it clear Botha was talking about nuclear warheads. The nuclear part of the deal was never consummated, writes Polakow-Suransky, now an editor at the New York Times.

Peres has denied ever offering nuclear weapons to the apartheid regime.

But Israel certainly developed its own nuclear weapons, apparently with the help of South Africa. Rhoodie and another high-ranking South African official told NBC of an arrangement between the two countries in the late 1970s in which South Africa supplied 600 tons of uranium to Israel in return for 30 grams of tritium, used to detonate nuclear weapons. The uranium was codenamed “mutton,” the tritium “tea leaves” and the overall exchange was called “Project Mint.”

As part of his procurement role, Milchan has long admitted he bankrolled a California firm that exported nuclear triggers and other missile components to Israel.  The U.S. also had suspicions that the Peres-inspired Joint Secretariate may have been used by Israel to provide triggers (“krytrons”) and other nuclear technology to South Africa in the early 1980s. “We considered the possibility that krytrons had gone to South Africa.  We had no hard evidence,” said a senior U.S. Customs official at the time.

Whether or not Israel supplied triggers to South Africa, it did provide the apartheid regime with Jericho missiles, or at least Jericho technology, by 1989. On July 5 of that year, U.S. spy satellites tracked a missile launch from the Overberg test range east of Cape Town. Computers compared the shape, temperature and other elements of the missile’s heat plume with those of other rockets. The computers said the new South African missile’s exhaust trail bore a striking resemblance to that of the Jericho-I, a short-range missile that Israel had begun developing in 1962. Another satellite took images of the South African missile’s launcher. It was identical to the one Israel used to launch the Jericho I.

The launch dramatically helped the apartheid regime, according to a U.S. Defense intelligence Agency assessment. Once the missiles were operational, the report predicted “Pretoria will have acquired another means with which to intimidate its regional neighbors.”  The same assessment pointed to “substantial Israeli assistance.” The U.S. also found that Israel had used the Overberg site to test its more advanced Jericho II missile six times between May 1987 and January 1990.

It was long after the missile launches that South African President F.W. de Klerk brokered the end of the apartheid regime with Mandela. By 1994, Mandela was president of South Africa, and Israel’s relationship with the new government deteriorated. The ANC’s intelligence wing had kept close tabs on the ties between the Israelis and the white minority government. The ANC’s expert on the relationship became the new head of South African intelligence. By August 1994, the last Israeli military families had left South Africa.

A new Israeli ambassador to South Africa was named. Elazar Granot, an honorary president of the Socialist International, had protested apartheid and Israel’s relationship with the old government. But in a 2004 conversation with Polakow-Suransky, he said that one good thing had come out of the relationship.

In the mid 1990s, during meetings in Norway, Israel negotiated initial agreements with the Palestinians that allowed for limited Palestinian autonomy. “Maybe Rabin and Peres were able to go to the Oslo agreements because Israel was strong enough to defend itself,” said Granot. “Most of the work that was done –I’m talking about the new kinds of weapons — was done in South Africa.”

Peres, through the office of the president, issued a denial of the assertions about nuclear sharing when Polakow-Suransky’s book was published in 2010.

“There exists no basis in reality for the claims [that] Israel negotiated with South Africa the exchange of nuclear weapons,” said the statement.

Milchan, in a documentary that aired on Israeli TV two weeks ago, defended both his procurement of weapons components and his work for South Africa, which he said he did after being recruited by Peres.

“I did it for my country and I’m proud of it,” he said.

But Milchan has said he was appalled by what he saw in apartheid-era South Africa, and notes he is the producer of “12 Years a Slave.”

Robert Windrem produced several stories on “Nightly News” and “Today” between in the late 1980s and early 1990s about the relationship between South Africa and Israel, and wrote about it in his 1994 book, “Critical Mass: The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World.”He was also a consultant for an episode of the Israeli TV documentary series “Fact” about Milchan’s clandestine activities that aired in November.

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| Perspective: Why imperialism mourns Mandela!

Why imperialism mourns Mandela ~ Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Web Site.

The death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 has touched off a worldwide exercise in official mourning that is virtually without precedent.

No doubt working people in South Africa and internationally pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by the African National Congress leader—as well as thousands of others who lost their lives and freedom—during his long years of illegality, persecution and imprisonment under the hated Apartheid regime.

Capitalist governments and the corporate-controlled media the world over, however, have rushed to offer condolences for their own reasons. These include heads of states that supported South Africa’s apartheid rule and aided in the capture and imprisonment of Mandela as a “terrorist” half a century ago.

Barack Obama, who presides over the horrors of Guantanamo and a US prison system that holds over 1.5 million behind bars, issued a statement in which he declared himself “one of the countless millions who drew inspiration” from the man who spent 27 years on Robben Island.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, the standard-bearer of the right-wing Tory Party, ordered the flag flown at half-mast outside 10 Downing Street and proclaimed Mandela “a towering figure in our time, a legend in life and now in death—a true global hero.”

Billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, who ordered flags in New York City lowered, and Bill Gates felt compelled to issue their own statements.

What is noteworthy in the sanctimonious blather served up by the media on the occasion of Mandela’s death is the way in which a man whose life is inextricably bound up with the history and politics of South Africa is turned into an entirely apolitical icon, a plaster saint embodying, in the words of Obama, “being guided not by hate, but by love.”

What is it that the capitalist oligarchs in country after country really mourn in the death of Mandela? It is clearly not his will to resist an oppressive system—that is something they are all prepared to punish with imprisonment or drone missile assassination.

Rather, the answer is to be found in the present social and political crisis gripping South Africa, as well as the historic role played by Mandela in preserving capitalist interests in the country under the most explosive conditions.

It is significant that on the day before Mandela’s death, South Africa’s Institute for Justice and Reconciliation issued an annual report showing that those surveyed felt overwhelmingly that class inequality represented the paramount issue in South African society, with twice as many (27.9 percent) citing class as opposed to race (14.6 percent) as the “greatest impediment to national reconciliation.”

Two decades after the ending of the legal racial oppression of Apartheid, the class question has come to the fore in South Africa, embodied in the heroic mass struggles of the miners and other sections of the working class that have come into direct conflict with the African National Congress.

These eruptions found their sharpest expression in the August 16, 2012 massacre of 34 striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, a mass killing whose bloody images recalled the worst episodes of Apartheid repression at Sharpeville and Soweto. This time, however, the bloodletting was orchestrated by the ANC government and its allies in the official trade union federation, COSATU.

South Africa today ranks as the most socially unequal country on the face of the planet. The gap between wealth and poverty and the number of poor South Africans are both greater than they were when Mandela walked out of prison in 1990. Fully 60 percent of the country’s income goes to the top 10 percent, while the bottom 50 percent lives below the poverty line, collectively receiving less than 8 percent of total earnings. At least 20 million are jobless, including over half of the younger workers.

Meanwhile, under the mantle of programs like “Black Economic Empowerment,” a thin layer of black ex-ANC leaders, trade union officials and small businessmen has become very rich from incorporation onto boards of directors, acquisitions of stock, and contracts with the government. It is under these conditions that ANC governments that have followed Mandela’s, first under Thabo Mbeki and now Jacob Zuma, have come to be seen as the corrupt representatives of a wealthy ruling establishment.

Mandela, who played a less and less active role in the country’s political life, nevertheless served as a facade for the ANC, which traded on his history of sacrifice and his image of humble dignity to hide its own corrupt self-dealing. Behind the facade, of course, Mandela and his family raked in millions, with his children and grandchildren active in some 200 private companies.

The New York Times published an article Friday under the worried headline, “Mandela’s Death Leaves South Africa Without Its Moral Center.” Clearly, there are fears that the passing of Mandela will serve to strip the ANC of what little credibility it has left, opening the way to intensified class struggle.

Concern among capitalist governments and corporate oligarchs over the implications of Mandela’s passing for the current crisis in South Africa is bound up with gratitude for services rendered by the ex-president and ANC leader. In the mid-1980s, when the South African ruling class began its negotiations with Mandela and the ANC on ending Apartheid, the country was in deep economic crisis and teetering on the brink of civil war. The government felt compelled to impose a state of emergency, having lost control of the black working class townships.

The international and South African mining corporations, banks and other firms, together with the most conscious elements within the Apartheid regime, recognized that the ANC—and Mandela in particular—were the only ones capable of quelling a revolutionary upheaval. It was for that purpose he was released from prison 23 years ago.

Utilizing the prestige it had acquired through its association with armed struggle and its socialistic rhetoric, the ANC worked to contain the mass uprising that it neither controlled nor desired and subordinate it to a negotiated settlement that preserved the wealth and property of the international corporations and the country’s white capitalist rulers.

Before taking office, Mandela and the ANC ditched large parts of the movement’s program, particularly those planks relating to public ownership of the banks, mines and major industries. They signed a secret letter of intent with the International Monetary Fund pledging to implement free market policies, including drastic budget cuts, high interest rates and the scrapping of all barriers to the penetration of international capital.

In doing so, Mandela realized a vision he had enunciated nearly four decades earlier, when he wrote that enacting the ANC’s program would mean: “For the first time in the history of this country, the non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name and right mills and factories, and trade and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.”

However, this “flourishing,” which boosted the profits of the transnational mining firms and banks while creating a layer of black multi-millionaires, has been paid for through the intensified exploitation of South African workers.

The ignominious path trod by the ANC was not unique. During the same period, virtually every one of the so-called national liberation movements, from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the Sandinistas, pursued similar policies, making their peace with imperialism and pursuing wealth and privilege for a narrow layer.

In this context, the death of Mandela underscores the fact that there exists no way forward for the working class in South Africa—and for that matter, worldwide—outside of the class struggle and socialist revolution.

A new party must be built, founded on the Theory of Permanent Revolution elaborated by Leon Trotsky, which established that in countries like South Africa, the national bourgeoisie, dependent upon imperialism and fearful of revolution from below, is incapable of resolving the fundamental democratic and social tasks facing the masses. This can be achieved only by the working class taking power into its own hands and overthrowing capitalism, as part of the international struggle to put an end to imperialism and establish world socialism.

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| Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy!

Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy ~ Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research.

Accusing politicians or former politicians of “breathtaking hypocrisy” is not just over used, it is inadequacy of spectacular proportions. Sadly, searches in various thesaurus’ fail in meaningful improvement.

The death of Nelson Mandela, however, provides tributes resembling duplicity on a mind altering substance.

President Obama, whose litany of global assassinations by Drone, from infants to octogenarians – a personal weekly decree we are told, summary executions without Judge, Jury or trial – stated of the former South African’s President’s passing:

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again … His acts of reconciliation … set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives.

“I studied his words and his writings … like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, (as) long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him … it falls to us … to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love …”

Mandela, said the Presidential High Executioner, had: “… bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”(i)

Mandela, after nearly thirty years in jail (1964-1990) forgave his jailors and those who would have preferred to see him hung. Obama committed to closing Guantanamo, an election pledge, the prisoners still self starve in desperation as their lives rot away, without hope.

The decimation of Libya had no congressional approval, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s dismembered. Drone victims are a Presidential roll call of shame and horror and the Nobel Peace Laureate’s trigger finger still hovers over Syria and Iran, for all the talk of otherwise. When his troops finally limped out of Iraq, he left the biggest Embassy in the world and a proxy armed force, with no chance of them leaving being on even the most distant horizon.

Clearly learning, justice and being “guided by love” is proving bit of an uphill struggle. Ironically, Obama was born in 1964, the year Mandela was sentenced to jail and his “long walk to freedom.”

Bill Clinton, who (illegally, with the UK) ordered the near continual bombing of Iraq throughout his Presidency (1993-2001) and the siege conditions of the embargo, with an average of six thousand a month dying of “embargo related causes”, paid tribute to Mandela as: “a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation … a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was … a way of life. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived.” Tell that to America’s victims.

In the hypocrisy stakes, Prime Minister David Cameron can compete with the best. He said:

“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero.

… Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.

On Twitter he reiterated: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” The flag on Downing Street was to hang at half mast, to which a follower replied: “Preferably by no-one who was in the Young Conservatives at a time they wanted him hanged, or those who broke sanctions, eh?”

Another responded: “The Tories wanted to hang Mandela.You utter hypocrite.”

The two tweeters clearly knew their history. In 2009, when Cameron was pitching to become Prime Minister, it came to light that in 1989, when Mandela was still in prison, David Cameron, then a: “rising star of the Conservative Research Department … accepted an all expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa … funded by a firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime.”

Asked if Cameron: “wrote a memo or had to report back to the office about his trip, Alistair Cooke (his then boss at Conservative Central Office) said it was ‘simply a jolly’, adding: ‘It was all terribly relaxed, just a little treat, a perk of the job … ‘ “

Former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain commented of the trip:

“This just exposes his hypocrisy because he has tried to present himself as a progressive Conservative, but just on the eve of the apartheid downfall, and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, when negotiations were taking place about a transfer of power, here he was being wined and dined on a sanctions-busting visit.

“This is the real Conservative Party … his colleagues who used to wear ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ badges at university are now sitting on the benches around him. Their leader at the time Margaret Thatcher described Mandela as a terrorist.” (ii)

In the book of condolences opened at South Africa House, five minutes walk from his Downing Street residence, Cameron, who has voted for, or enjoined all the onslaughts or threatened ones referred to above, wrote:

“ … your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by.

He ended his message with: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Hopefully your lower jaw is still attached to your face, dear reader. If so, hang on to it, worse is to come.

The farcically titled Middle East Peace Envoy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair (think “dodgy dossiers” “forty five minutes” to destruction, illegal invasion, Iraq’s ruins and ongoing carnage, heartbreak, after over a decade) stated:

“Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south … stood for the first time together on equal terms.

“Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.

“I worked with him closely …“ (iii) said the man whose desire for “humankind to be free and equal” (tell that to the Iraqis) now includes demolishing Syria and possibly Iran.

As ever, it seems with Blair, the memories of others are a little different:

“Nelson Mandela felt so betrayed by Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he launched a fiery tirade against him in a phone call to a cabinet minister, it emerged.

“Peter Hain who (knew) the ex-South African President well, said Mandela was ‘breathing fire’ down the line in protest at the 2003 military action.

“The trenchant criticisms were made in a formal call to the Minister’s office, not in a private capacity, and Blair was informed of what had been said, Hain added.

‘I had never heard Nelson Mandela so angry and frustrated.” (iv)

On the BBC’s flagship morning news programme “Today” former Prime Minister “Iraq is a better place, I’d do it again” Blair, said of Nelson Mandela:

“ … he came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world and for peace and reconciliation in the 21st century.”

Comment is left to former BBC employee, Elizabeth Morley, with peerless knowledge of Middle East politics, who takes no prisoners:

“Dear Today Complaints,

“How could you? Your almost ten minute long interview with the war criminal Tony Blair was the antithesis to all the tributes to the great man. I cannot even bring myself to put the two names in the same sentence. How could you?

“Blair has the blood of millions of Iraqis on his hands. Blair has declared himself willing to do the same to Iranians. How many countries did Mandela bomb? Blair condones apartheid in Israel. Blair turns a blind eye to white supremacists massacring Palestinians. And you insult us by making us listen to him while our hearts and minds are focussed on Mandela.

How could you?” (Reproduced with permission.)

As the avalanche of hypocrisy cascades across the globe from shameless Western politicians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflected in two lines the thoughts in the hearts of the true mourners:

“We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Notes

i. http://www.businessinsider.com/nelson-mandela-dead-obama-statement-2013-12#ixzz2mg2vrGbd

ii. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/camerons-freebie-to-apartheid-south-africa-1674367.html

iii. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/nelson-mandela-dead-live-updates-2895110#ixzz2mhBKAdVA

iv. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/12/nelson-mandela-tony-blair-peter-hain-iraq-invasion

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| Palpable hypocrisy: Vultures feed off Mandela’s memory!

The vultures feeding off Mandela’s memory ~ Nureddin Sabir, Editor, Redress Information & Analysis. 

The death of Nelson Mandela, the world’s most revered fighter for freedom, justice and dignity, has been met with genuine, spontaneous sadness all over the world.

Whether it is because of Mandela’s selfless sacrifice for his people, his 27 years of perseverance in the face of adversity or his willingness to forgive his wicked incarcerators, millions of people in all corners of the world are genuinely grief stricken at the passing of this giant of giants. They mourn not only the huge gap he leaves behind, but also the fact that the standards of decency he had set are unlikely to be met by any living politician. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu says,

…he will go down in history as South Africa’s George Washington, a person who within a single five-year presidency became the principal icon of both liberation and reconciliation, loved by those of all political persuasions as the founder of modern, democratic South Africa…

[T]he crucible of excruciating suffering which he had endured purged the dross, the anger, the temptation to any desire for revenge, honing his spirit and transforming him into an icon of magnanimity. He used his enormous moral stature to good effect in persuading his party and many in the black community, especially young people, that accommodation and compromise were the way to achieve our goal of democracy and justice for all.

The hypocrites and vultures

But there are also the hypocrites and vultures seeking to feed off the outpouring of emotion unleashed by Mandela’s death. At the top of the list of these scoundrels are, as one would expect, Israeli, US and British politicians. As Ami Kaufman says in +972 Magazine, “Israeli politicians have begun updating their Facebook pages with eulogies for the late Nelson Mandela,” and, he asks: “What do statesmen of the Jewish state – one of the last Western countries to support the South African apartheid state and which today practises apartheid-like policies between the [Jordan] river and the [Mediterranean] sea – have to say about the man who brought racism to its knees? (You can read what these despicable bigots have to say in Kaufman’s article here.)

Indeed, as Juan Cole points out,

The attempt to make Nelson Mandela respectable is an ongoing effort of Western government spokesmen and the Western media.

He wasn’t respectable in the business circles of 20th-century New York or Atlanta, or inside the Beltway of Washington, DC. He wasn’t respectable for many of the allies of the United States in the Cold War, including Britain and Israel.

Cole reminds us of the facts which the forked-tongued hypocrites in the US and among its Israeli and European allies would rather we forget:

The US considered the African National Congress to be a form of communism, and sided with the racist prime ministers Hendrik Verwoerd and P.W. Botha against Mandela.

Decades later, in the 1980s, the United States was still supporting the white apartheid government of South Africa, where a tiny minority of Afrikaners dominated the economy and refused to allow black Africans to shop in their shops or fraternize with them, though they were happy to employ them in the mines. Ronald Reagan declared Nelson Mandela, then still in jail, a terrorist, and the US did not get around to removing him from the list until 2008! Reagan, while delivering pro forma denunciations of apartheid or enforced black separation and subjugation, nevertheless opposed sanctions with teeth on Pretoria. Reagan let the racist authoritarian P.W. Botha come to Washington and met with him.

Likewise British PM Margaret Thatcher befriended Botha and castigated Mandela’s ANC [African National Congress] as terrorists. As if the Afrikaners weren’t terrorizing the black majority!…

The Israeli government had extremely warm relations with apartheid South Africa, to the point where Tel Aviv offered the Afrikaners a nuclear weapon(presumably for brandishing at the leftist states of black Africa). That the Israelis accuse Iran of being a nuclear proliferator is actually hilarious if you know the history. Iran doesn’t appear ever to have attempted to construct a nuclear weapon, whereas Israel has hundreds and seems entirely willing to share.

In the US, the vehemently anti-Palestinian Anti-Defamation League in San Francisco spied on American anti-apartheid activists on behalf of the apartheid state. If the ADL ever calls you a racist, you can revel in the irony.

Ronald Reagan imagined that there were “moderates” in the Botha government. There weren’t. He wanted “constructive engagement” with them. It failed.

Principles vs unscrupulousness

Mandela subscribed to a value system a world apart from that of the Western and Israeli vultures now seeking to make political capital by heaping praise on him,postmortem. He, as Cole says, “was a socialist who believed in the ideal of economic equality or at least of a decent life for everyone in society. He was also a believer in parliamentary government. So, he was a democratic socialist.” They, on the other hard, are out and out capitalists, the spokesmen and slaves of global corporations and, in the case of the Israelis quoted by Kaufman, racists, bigots, land thieves and squatters.

Mandela, to quote Cole,

is a pioneer to be emulated. We honour him by standing up for justice even in the face of enormous opposition from the rich and powerful, by taking risks for high ideals. We won’t meet his standards. But if all of us tried, we’d make the world better. As he did.

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