Apartheid Guns and Money
Apartheid was a system of racial segregation and oppression that was enforced by the white minority government in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. During this period, the regime faced increasing resistance from the black majority and other oppressed groups, as well as international condemnation and sanctions. To maintain its power and profit, the apartheid state developed a covert network of allies, collaborators, and enablers across the world, who helped it to illegally obtain weapons, oil, and money. This network involved heads of states, arms dealers, aristocrats, bankers, spies, journalists, and secret lobbyists, who were complicit in a crime against humanity.
Apartheid Guns and Money is a book by Hennie van Vuuren, a researcher and activist who works with Open Secrets, a non-profit organization that exposes economic crimes and abuses of power. The book is based on a decade of meticulous research, involving archival material, interviews, and newly declassified documents. It reveals some of the darkest secrets of apartheid's economic crimes, their murderous consequences, and those who profited from them. It also challenges the current generation of South Africans to confront their past and demand accountability from those who were involved in the apartheid arms money machine.
The Apartheid Arms Money Machine
The apartheid regime relied heavily on its military and security forces to suppress the liberation movements and the popular uprising that challenged its rule. However, as the international community imposed mandatory sanctions on South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, the regime faced difficulties in acquiring weapons and oil to sustain its war machine. To overcome this obstacle, the regime created a secret network of agents and intermediaries who operated in nearly 50 countries, including some of its ostensible enemies. These agents were tasked with finding suppliers, negotiating deals, transferring funds, evading detection, and eliminating whistleblowers.
The book details how the apartheid state used various methods to circumvent the sanctions and obtain the goods it needed. Some of these methods included:
Creating front companies and shell corporations to disguise the true identity and origin of the transactions.
Using third-party countries as transit points or intermediaries to facilitate the delivery of weapons and oil.
Bribing or blackmailing officials, politicians, businessmen, journalists, and others who could influence or facilitate the deals.
Exploiting loopholes or exemptions in the sanctions regime or international law to justify or legalize the deals.
Using covert operations or false flag attacks to create a pretext or a diversion for the deals.
Laundering money through banks, financial institutions, or offshore havens to hide the source and destination of the funds.
The book also exposes some of the key players and beneficiaries of this network, who spanned across continents and sectors. Some of these players included:
The governments of Israel, France, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, and others who sold weapons or oil to South Africa or facilitated its deals.
The corporations such as Armscor (South Africa's state-owned arms company), Dassault (France's leading arms manufacturer), ThyssenKrupp (Germany's industrial giant), Barclays (Britain's largest bank), UBS (Switzerland's largest bank), BAE Systems (Britain's largest arms company), Kredietbank (Belgium's largest bank), Alfa Group (Russia's largest private conglomerate), Caltex (a joint venture between Chevron and Texaco), Shell (the Anglo-Dutch oil company), Total (France's largest oil company), Elf Aquitaine (France's state-owned oil company), Sasol (South Africa's synthetic fuel producer), De Beers (South Africa's diamond monopoly), Anglo American (South Africa's mining giant), Lonrho (a British multinational with interests in Africa), Rio Tinto (a British-Australian mining company), and others who supplied goods or services to South Africa or profited from its deals.
The individuals such as PW Botha (South Africa's president from 1978 to 1989), FW de Klerk (South Africa's president from 1989 to 1994), Magnus Malan (South Africa's defence minister from 1980 to 1991), Pik Botha (South Africa's foreign minister from 1977 to 1994), Craig Williamson (South Africa's notorious spy and assassin), Adnan Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia's billionaire arms dealer), David Stirling (Britain's founder of the SAS and mercenary leader), Tiny Rowland (Britain's tycoon and owner of Lonrho), Marc Rich (Switzerland's fugitive commodities trader and founder of Glencore), Ronald Reagan (US president from 1981 to 1989), Margaret Thatcher (Britain's prime minister from 1979 to 1990), François Mitterrand (France's president from 1981 to 1995), Helmut Kohl (Germany's chancellor from 1982 to 1998), Shimon Peres (Israel's prime minister from 1984 to 1986 and from 1995 to 1996), Saddam Hussein (Iraq's president from 1979 to 2003), Ayatollah Khomeini (Iran's supreme leader from 1979 to 1989), Jonas Savimbi (Angola's rebel leader and founder of UNITA), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe's president from 1980 to 2017), Nelson Mandela (South Africa's president from 1994 to 1999 and leader of the ANC), and others who were involved or implicated in the network.
The Consequences and the Challenges
The book argues that the apartheid arms money machine had devastating consequences for South Africa and the region, as well as for the world. Some of these consequences included:
The prolongation of the apartheid regime and the delay of the democratic transition.
The escalation of violence and repression against the anti-apartheid movement and the general population.
The destabilization and destruction of neighboring countries and the fueling of civil wars and conflicts.
The violation of human rights and international law and the undermining of the global order and institutions.
The entrenchment of corruption, cronyism, and impunity within the state and the society.
The erosion of trust, accountability, and transparency in the public and private sectors.
The loss of resources, opportunities, and development for millions of people.
The book also challenges the current generation of South Africans to confront their past and demand accountability from those who were involved in the apartheid arms money machine. It argues that the legacy of apartheid's economic crimes still haunts the country, as many of the perpetrators, beneficiaries, and collaborators have escaped justice or have joined forces with the new elite. It calls for a renewed commitment to the values of democracy, human rights, and social justice that inspired the struggle against apartheid. It urges for a thorough investigation, prosecution, and restitution of those who committed or enabled these crimes. It also advocates for a public education, awareness, and dialogue on this issue, as well as a reform of the laws, institutions, and policies that enable corruption, collusion, and state capture.
Apartheid Guns and Money is a groundbreaking book that exposes some of the darkest secrets of apartheid's economic crimes, their murderous consequences, and those who profited from them. It is based on a decade of meticulous research, involving archival material, interviews, and newly declassified documents. It reveals how the apartheid regime created a covert network of allies, collaborators, and enablers across the world, who helped it to illegally obtain weapons, oil, and money. It also challenges the current generation of South Africans to confront their past and demand accountability from those who were involved in the apartheid arms money machine. It is a book that is essential for anyone who wants to understand the history, politics, and economics of South Africa and its role in the world.
For more information about the book, please visit [Hurst Publishers] or [Open Secrets].