Reed Irvine - Editor
|July A , 1990||XIX-13|
The visit of Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, to the United States gave rise to what might be described as Mandela mania on the part of our news media. Mandela is a confessed terrorist who has refused to renounce the use of terror. He is deputy president and de facto head of the African National Congress (ANC), which is listed as a terrorist organization in the State Department publication Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1989 (released April 1990) and in the Defense Department's Terrorist Group Profiles, along with such organizations as the PLO, Shining Light (Peru) and the FMLN (El Salvador). Like Yasir Arafat and those affiliated with the other terrorist groups listed in these publications, the Mandelas could legally be denied visas to enter the United States.
Terrorist Group Profiles includes a two-page introduction dated November 1988 by then Vice President George Bush in which he says, "In seeking to destroy freedom and democracy, terrorists deliberately target noncombatants for their own cynical purposes. They kill and maim defenseless men, women and children. They murder judges, newspaper reporters, elected officials, government administrators, labor leaders, policemen, priests and others who defend the values of civilized society." That is not a bad description of the "armed struggle" of the ANC, which has been directed primarily against black South Africans and which Nelson Mandela refuses to abandon.
Our big media, which supposedly are eager to expose closeted skeletons, scandals and the inconsistencies of our leaders, were strangely indifferent to the inconsistency of Mandela's warm reception and the denial of visas to Yasir Arafat, whom he has described as "a comrade in arms." He was officially feted in seven of the eight cities he visited (the exception was Miami, where the Cuban- American officials couldn't stomach honoring an admirer of Fidel Castro). He was given a three-hour visit with President Bush and an invitation to address a joint session of Congress. His every move was reverentially chronicled by the news media, with more than 3,000 reporters accredited to cover his visit. The Mandela story made the evening news programs of ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN nearly every night. Except for CNN, the networks said little about his visit to Miami, where Cuban protesters vented their feelings; NBC had no report on Mandela that day.
The Washington Post had at least one Mandela story on page one every day for a week. In that period, it printed the equivalent of over 30 pages of stories and photos about the Mandelas. The New York Times was a bit more restrained; it devoted a mere 23 pages to the visit during the first week, and it dropped them from page one on two of the seven days.
Nelson Mandela was the only guest on an extra- ordinary two-hour televised "Town Meeting" program on ABC hosted by Ted Koppel on June 21. Neither Koppel nor any of the handpicked, pre-screened interlocutors in the audience mentioned the terrorism practiced by Mandela's organization against both blacks and whites in South Africa or about the domination of the ANC by the South African Communist Party. Responding to a question posed by Kenneth Adelman, a former high official in the Reagan Administration, Mandela defended his praise of three other sponsors of terrorism, Yasir Arafat, Muammar Gadhaft and Fidel Castro. The reverential treatment accorded Mandela was typified by Ted Koppel's reaction to this embarrassing revelation of the man's ideological leanings. Koppel gently suggested this was "impolitic" because it would cost Mandela the support of some Jews and Cubans.
Cindy Lee Leontsinis, editor of a South African publication called People Against Terrorism, says the ANC has used terror against moderate black mayors and councilmen because it wants to represent itself as the sole negotiator for South Africa's blacks. They take the position that the moderates must be done away with. "How they do it," she says, "is by targeting their homes, targeting their businesses and killing their children." A black mayor, B. Ndlazi, whose house and car were firebombed, nearly killing his children, says, "They wanted to intimidate me into resigning from Council so as they should take over the People's Courts and threaten the people." (These statements are shown on a new 12-minute video prepared by AIM titled Winnie Mandela's Secret.)
Tamsanqa Linda, a black South African whose home and small business were burned by ANC goons, flew to the U.S. in advance of the Mandelas to tell people about the ANC's war on blacks. Linda, a former mayor of a large black township and currently president of an association of 74 township councils, gave a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on June 22. He said that he was putting his life in danger, but he felt it was necessary to speak up for the people of South Africa "who cannot talk." He was referring to the millions of black South Africans who don't like the ANC and its radical policies but who can't get our media to report their stories.
Linda, the son of a factory worker, said he came under attack by the ANC because he had built up a successful small business. He said the ANC does not like blacks who have worked hard and prospered within the system, because they expose the falsity of Marxist theories. He said the ANC is a front for the South African Communist Party, which wants to impose on South Africa a system that will impoverish the country. South African blacks don't want to end up like Angola, Mozambique and other black-ruled African states whose socialist economies are "in tatters," Linda said.
Unlike Mandela, who has said he prefers communism to apartheid, Linda said if he had to choose, he would take apartheid. But he doesn't think that choice is necessary. He was appalled to find how little most Americans know about conditions in South Africa. He said they don't realize how far the government has gone in removing racial barriers.
Linda's press conference was aired several times on C- SPAN. The TV networks and the big print media, including both the AP and UPI, were not interested in reporting his message. Crossfire and Nightline would not give him a hearing. But numerous radio talk shows throughout the country did. Thanks to them and to C- SPAN many Americans learned that Nelson Mandela does not speak for all South African blacks. ABC News belatedly got around to reporting this on June 27. Its "World News Tonight" aired a good story from South Africa reporting that many blacks there reject Nelson Mandela and the ANC, just as Linda had said.
One of the most horrible but effective terrorist tools the radical blacks have used to eliminate and intimidate those who might stand up against them is "neck lacing." This consists of binding the hands and feet of the victim, draping a gasoline-filled tire around his or her neck and setting it afire, subjecting the victim to a slow, excruciatingly painful death. This is done by mobs, who add to the suffering by beating and stoning the writhing victims. (Winnie Mandela's Secret describes and shows actual scenes of this barbarism.)
It is unthinkable that anyone who has condoned, much less encouraged, such atrocities would be welcomed in this country, honored by high officials, cheered at mass gatherings, and escape any critical comment by our ever-vigilant media. It is equally unthinkable that a person who had been implicated in the abduction, torture and murder of a 14-year-old black renowned as an anti-apartheid activist would be honored by the American people, its media and especially by American blacks. But this is exactly what happened when Winnie Mandela came here with her husband.
In April 1986, Winnie Mandela publicly endorsed "neck lacing," telling a Soweto mob, "With our necklaces we will liberate this country." Mrs. Mandela was also implicated in January 1989 in the abduction of three young black men and a boy from a Methodist Church shelter. Mrs. Mandela's bodyguards, known as the "Mandela United Football Club," snatched them and took them to Mrs. Mandela's home where they were beaten, whipped and subjected to other forms of torture. The object was to get them to say that the Methodist minister, who is white, had abused them sexually. Two of them did so but later recanted. A third escaped. The boy, 14-year-old Mokhetsi "Stempie" Seipei, did not give in and was beaten into unconsciousness. On January 7, 1989, his battered body was found in a field with his throat slit. Stempie was famous as an anti-apartheid activist, having been arrested for his activities when he was only 10.
The police went to Mrs. Mandela's home in Soweto, where they confiscated weapons, noted blood-splattered walls in outbuildings, and seized large quantities of bedding, carpeting and a van for forensic examination. Mrs. Mandela claimed that she was not home when the torture took place, but even Tom Sebina, the ANC spokesman in Lusaka, Zambia, doubted that claim. The survivors said Mrs. Mandela was present and had participated in the torture, and they testified to that effect when the leader of the bodyguards was tried for murder in May 1990. The judge said in his summation that the evidence showed that Mrs. Mandela had been present and had taken part in the beatings. He said the evidence had "the ring of truth," implicitly suggesting that Winnie Mandela was an accomplice in the crimes, even though she had not been charged. This was reported in a lengthy story, largely devoted to the murder case. by the New York paper, Newsday, on June 20, the day the Mandelas arrived in New York City.
When this murder became known, the United Democratic Front, which is controlled by the ANC, virtually read Mrs. Mandela out of the movement. A spokesman said, "We are outraged at Mrs. Mandela's complicity in the recent abductions of Stempie. Had Mrs. Mandela's 'football team' not abducted Stem pie and his three colleagues he would have been alive today.... We are of the view that Mrs. Mandela has abused the trust and confidence, which she has enjoyed over the years.... Often her practices have violated the spirit and ethics of the democratic movement."
Phil Donahue paid homage to Winnie Mandela in a program that aired in many cities on June 25. Donahue was at his obsequious worst, but he did raise two potentially embarrassing questions -- her endorsement of neck lacing and her alleged involvement in Stempie Seipei's abduction and murder. His purpose in doing so was clearly to give Mrs. Mandela an opportunity to explain away these accusations. His treatment of her gave new meaning to the term "velvet gloves." Here is how Donahue handled the neck lacing issue.
Donahue: Your husband was never convicted or even charged with an attempt to hurt another person. The charges against your husband that sent him to prison were for violence against property. And during his imprisonment, one of the ploys used to increase the pain was the suggestion that you were unfaithful. So you were used then, and I suppose you're not surprised that you were used several times by what I assume you believe to distract the world from real issues. But I must ask you this question. In view of the abuse that you have taken, the names you have been called, the invasion of your personal home, solitary confinement, being thrown out of your own bed, all of this, some of us might wonder if you are not angrier than your husband, and please let me offer the evidence. Did you say, "With our matchboxes and our necklaces we shall liberate?" Did you say that, and if you did should we be understood [sic] for our wondering about your anger? Mrs. Mandela: That was quoted completely out of context. Angry as I might have been, I belong to a disciplined organization -- the African National Congress. I totally believe in the armed struggle the African National Congress decided to embark upon, and I believe my anger would be expressed in a disciplined manner in the armed struggle we have waged against the South African regime.
Mrs. Mandela then made a long speech that had nothing to do with her statement about neck lacing. Donahue, who doesn't like long and irrelevant answers to his questions, made no effort to interrupt and get her back to the subject. She finally concluded with this statement: "We will watch that negotiation table. If anything goes wrong there, I will be the first to go back to the bush, take up arms and fight the South African government." That brought her a standing ovation. Taking great pains to avoid giving offense, Donahue then returned to neck lacing. This exchange ensued. Donahue: In light of unprecedented and unique moral power extending from your husband and yourself, you will understand my interest in the following question. Neck lacing has to do with the execution of black South Africans who are perceived to have gone over to the other side. Are you prepared to go on record against this practice and to renounce matchboxes and violence as having any possible positive contribution to the tension in Natal Province, for example, and other places? [There have been over 4,000 black-on-black killings in Natal in the past three years as a result of conflict between the ANC and other black organizations, including Inkatha, the Zulu organization headed by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.] This exchange ensued. Mrs. Mandela: As far as neck lacing is concerned, no sane human being would condone that method of eliminating any opponent. It is brutal and barbaric and to my knowledge, no one has ever, ever given green light or stamp of approval to that method of elimination. Donahue: So this we-shall-liberate quote is not what you meant at all. Mrs. Mandela: That is absolute nonsense. What I had been trying to say then was that our children had been so oppressed and had met up with such violence from the government that they had resorted to that form of method of eliminating their enemies and that was not the form of method approved by ANC. No sane person would ever, ever approve that. It was quoted completely out of context. I would have no reason whatsoever to believe in that form of elimination of our enemy when, in fact, we have the armed struggle. As I have pointed out, we belong to a disciplined organization.
Perhaps Phil Donahue did not know that there is filmed footage of Mrs. Mandela endorsing necklacing. Winnie Mandela's Secret includes this footage. It shows her addressing a large outdoor rally in Soweto in April 1986. She is shown militantly shouting, "We have no arms. But we have stones. We have our boxes of matches. We have our bottles.... With our necklaces, we will liberate this country!" The crowd goes wild. The context clearly shows that she was encouraging the crowd to practice necklacing, not reject it.
As for the ANC's position on necklacing, the videotape quotes an interview that Alfred Nzo, former general secretary of the ANC, gave the London Times, in which he said, "Collaborators with the enemy must be eliminated. Whatever the people decide to use to eliminate those enemy elements is their decision. If they decide to use the necklace, we support it."
Jerry Richardson, the leader of Mrs. Mandela's bullyboy bodyguards, was convicted of attempted murder and kidnapping this past May. The three men abducted and tortured along with Stempie all testified that Winnie Mandela personally participated in the torture, hitting them with a whip and with her fists. Despite that, Mrs. Mandela was not charged with any crime, nor was she called as a witness. Eight other members of her "team" were charged with abduction and assault.
The New York Times on May 10 reported a plausible explanation. It said, "According to one account of the affair, President F.W. de Klerk, in talking with Mr. Mandela before his release on Feb. 11, promised that the authorities would not humiliate him by bringing charges against his wife." In spite of that, three days later, Mandela said in Nigeria that his wife was "the victim of the most scandalous persecution by the government and its agencies." He said, "Even now as I am talking to you she is still being persecuted in South Africa."
Phil Donahue bought that line, which had been delivered to him personally by Nelson Mandela in an interview shortly after Mandela's release from prison. On his June 25 program, Donahue aired this portion of that interview:
Donahue: Mr. Mandela, do you see the upcoming trial of the head of the Winnie Mandela Soccer Team following the death of the young adolescent as another government set-up? N. Mandela: Well, I have no doubt that it is. The way the South African police have conducted themselves in the investigation of the so-called offense has been totally disgraceful, and it is clear that their intention was not to investigate the commission of any crime, but it was partly to destroy the image of the family.
Donahue asked Mrs. Mandela if she cared to add anything to that statement, noting that Richardson had since been convicted. This is what she said:
Mrs. Mandela: Yes, unfortunately in terms of the law in South Africa the case is still going on, and I cannot personally comment on it. But as you well know, it was never really a trial of Mr. Richardson. The press conducted the trial itself, and it was a family that was on trial. If I had been part of that, the natural thing for the government would have been to charge us. I was not given that opportunity to be charged and to clear myself in a court of law. Donahue: You were not only not charged; you were not called as a witness. Mrs. Mandela: I was not called as a witness. I still look forward to one of those. That's the only way I can explain myself to the public. Donahue: No one remotely suggests that you supported or cooperated in this murder. Mrs. Mandela: The South African press did. Donahue: Well, all right. Okay, they did. (Chuckles) But here's the, so many millions identify with your anger. It is not unbelievable that if you thought 14-year-old Stompie was somehow cooperating with the government that you would somehow at the very least shake your fist at him. Did you?
Mrs. Mandela: And yet that did not happen. I am a social worker by profession. I would have had better methods of dealing with that situation if it had been addressed to me.
That was the end of the discussion of Mrs. Mandela's role in the murder of a well-known 14-year-old black anti-apartheid activist. The audience was given no facts about the case -- only the charge that the whole thing was a set-up to damage the reputation of Winnie Mandela. Phil Donahue, who tapes his programs in New York City, could not have missed all the stories in The New York Times, several of them on page one, that reported the evidence implicating Mrs. Mandela in this horrible crime and her public censure by the UDF. And yet he made that incredible statement to Mrs. Mandela: "No one remotely suggests that you supported or cooperated in this murder."
This program was taped before a heavily black audience in New York, a city that has been gripped by racial tensions stirred up by the murder of two black youths, Yusef Hawkins and Michael Griffith, by young whites. The first question asked of Nelson Mandela on the Koppel- hosted ABC "Town Meeting" was asked by a black clergyman who cited those murders as a stain on the city of New York and as reason to question the right of the United States to assume moral leadership in the fight against apartheid. But neither Phil Donahue nor any member of his studio audience saw any reason to question the moral authority of Winnie Mandela, and her staunchest defender, Nelson Mandela, to lead that fight. Most of the members of the audience might be excused for their ignorance of the facts, but Phil Donahue is either one of the nation's biggest hypocrites or one of its worst informed TV talk show hosts.
1. Help us get out the truth about Winnie Mandela by sending the enclosed card to the editor of your local newspaper. Many editors are printing these as letters to the editor. 2. We have sent Phil Donahue a copy of the AIM video, Winnie Mandela's Secret, which shows (1) Winnie Mandela telling Donahue that she never endorsed necklacing and (2) her speech in South Africa in which she endorsed this barbaric practice. We have urged Donahue to air this. You can help by writing or calling Phil Donahue, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10020. Ask him to tell the truth.
AIM REPORT is published twice monthly by Accuracy_ In Media, Inc., 1275-K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, and is free to AIM members. Dues and contributions to AIM are tax deductible. The AIM Report is mailed 3rd class to those whose contribution is at least $20 a year and 1st class to those contributing $30 a year or more. Non- members subscriptions are $35 (1st class mail).
IN THIS REPORT WE HAVE MADE SEVERAL REFERENCES TO A NEW AIM VIDEO, Winnie Mandela's Secret. This is a short (12 minutes) and powerful video that I think will be of interest to those of you who have access to a VCR. It is about the strategy of intimidation of moderate blacks as practiced by the African National Congress, and it has very strong footage of necklacing, juxtaposed with Winnie Mandela's speech endorsing this incredibly barbaric practice. It shows Phil Donahue asking Winnie about this, and Winnie's lying reply. Believe me, this is a film that will both move you and anger you. It won't be easy to get it shown on TV because the scenes of necklacing are gruesome and because it absolutely destroys Winnie Mandela. But everyone who has seen it says we have to get it shown to as many people as possible. We are going to make it available to the media at a press conference on July 2, and we are planning to send copies to TV stations around the country, as we did with the video showing the arms being dug up in Jennifer Casolo's backyard. But I anticipate that to get it on TV we axe going to have to pay for the time, and we are going to say at our news conference that we will try to raise enough money to enable us to buy a fair amount of time.
IF YOU SHARE MY INTEREST IN COUNTERING THE BARRAGE OF MISINFORMATION fed to the public about the ANC and the Mandelas, please help us get this video shown by contributing to the fund for that purpose. We will provide a free copy of the video to everyone who makes a contribution of $10 or more. I would put emphasis on the more, because $10 is pretty close to our actual cost. For contributors of $100 and over, we will also send a free autographed copy of Profiles of Deception, the new book by Cliff Kincaid and me. Use the coupon on the back to make your contribution. Remember, it is tax-deductible.
THE MAIN MESSAGE THE MEDIA HELPED PROPAGATE DURING MANDELA'S triumphal tour was that he and his ANC speak for all South African blacks and are therefore the only viable alternative to the apartheid system. That is as false as Winnie Mandela's explanation of her "necklacing" statement. We tell in this report of one not-so-famous moderate black leader, Tamsanqa Linda, who came here to put the lie to that claim. He is but one of thousands of enlightened modern South African black leaders. None of them, including Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of six million Zulus, can get our big media to pay them the attention they deserve. It is their moderation that turns off our media. Despite the disgrace of communism in Eastern Europe, most of our journalists seem to be fascinated by communists in Asia, Africa and Latin America. An earlier AIM Report (March-A 90) focused on the ANC's longtime subordination to the South African Communist Party and its program. This issue concerns ANC violence. Blacks and whites in South Africa are concerned about both. Others should be also. South Africa has nuclear weapons. If Mandela got control of them, would he provide them to his comrades in arms, Arafat, Gadhaft and Castro? And if he did, who would be the targets of their nuclear blackmail?
MEDIA TREATMENT OF MANDELA AND WIFE WINNIE WENT BEYOND THE BOUNDS of acceptable journalistic conduct, with reporters acting more like cheerleaders than newsmen. Jim Naughton of the Washington Post wrote on June 27 that at a press conference in Washington "Mandela demonstrated his mastery of the American media once again.... it is hard not to respect a man who prefaces his answers with such statements as: 'That question is completely unnecessary if you have listened to my remarks today.' 'That is not a matter I am going to discuss with you.' 'This is a matter which you should leave entirely in our hands.'" Naughton wrote, "Despite these blows, some members of the press engaged in a little unprofessional applause as Mandela left the room." This was let's-not-be-mean-to-Mandela week. If George Bush responded like that to reporters' questions, would they applaud him for putting them in their place?
NO RESPECTER OF AMERICAN CELEBRITIES, MANDELA EVEN DARED TO REBUKE TED Koppel for suggesting that he had been impolitic in praising Arafat, Gadhaft and Castro. Mandela replied, "Apparently, Mr. Koppel, you have not listened to my argument, or, if you have done so, then you have not been serious in examining it. I have replied to one of our friends here that I have refused to be drawn into the differences that exist between various communities inside the USA. You have not commented that I'm going to offend anybody by refusing to involve myself in the internal affairs of the USA. Why are you so keen that I should involve myself in the internal affairs of Cuba and Libya? I expect you to be consistent." Koppel was silent for six long seconds. Perhaps he was biting his tongue to hold back a tart reply. Mandela finally broke the silence, saying, "I don't know if I have paralyzed you," and the largely black audience cracked up.
JOHN TIERNEY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES CAPTURED THE MOOD OF HIS COLLEAGUES in a story about Winnie Mandela that discussed her appearance on Donahue. He devoted four of his 23 paragraphs to the Stompie Seipei murder scandal. He gave Donahue credit for doing what others had not done -- mentioning the controversy. He then said, "But his was one embarrassing question that even Mr. Donahue had no heart to pursue, not this week."
LET'S GIVE CREDIT TO THOSE WHO BROKE RANKS AND VENTURED TO TELL AT LEAST some of the truth about the Mandelas. Kudos go to The Washington Times, which did not succumb to Mandela mania. In addition to several critical editorials and columns, The Times ran a good story by Joyce Price about Tamsanqa Linda and his criticisms of Mandela and devoted half a page to another Price story headed, "Conservative Group Protests 'Terrorism' by ANC." This was staged at the State Department during Mandela's call on Secretary of State Baker. The protesters simulated a necklacing. On June 20, it ran high on its front page a story by AP correspondent Greg Myre reporting that black newspapers in South Africa were showing little interest in Mandela's trip and that the largest black weekly had criticized his call for continuation of sanctions. Susan Hack, a Newsday special correspondent in Johannesburg, wrote one of the toughest stories we've seen about Winnie Mandela's role in the death of 14-year-old "Stompie" Seipei. It ran the day the Mandelas arrived in New York and included a report that the attorney general of Transvaal Province, Kalu yon Lieres, might yet charge Winnie as an accomplice in the murder. Both the Mandelas have complained that she hasn't been given the opportunity to clear her name in court. ABC's "World News Tonight" was the only network news program to report black opposition in South Africa to the ANC, showing one black saying he feared black rule as much as the present government and another saying, "Heaven help us if the ANC takes over."
SUCH FEARS HAVE BEEN INTENSIFIED BY STORIES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESS about ANC members who have managed to escape from ANC "punishment camps" in Tanzania, where the head of the ANC's military arm arbitrarily orders execution and torture of those who displease him. The newspaper, The Citizen, reported on May 17, "Seventeen people accused of fomenting revolution (against the ANC) were incarcerated in old shipping containers in the sun for days on end. One man who suffered fits was dragged out and shot through the head...People were stripped naked and flogged with electric cable on the buttocks and on the soles of their feet." Nelson Mandela was forced to admit that the torture charges were true. He claimed those responsible had been disciplined and expelled from the ANC, but one of the escapees was shot and killed as he left an ANC office, where he had gone to complain about harassment.