Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 26, 2008

The Guardian's Mysterious Tsvangirai Op-ed

Morgan Tsvangirai is the 'western' supported opposition leader in Zimbabwe who runs against Robert Mugawe.

Yesterday the British Guardian published an op-ed by Tsvangirai which called for military intervention. That op-ed has since been taken down from the Guardian website.

Today the Guardian publishes a letter by Tsvangirai, that delegitimizes yesterdays comment which is still available via the Google cache:

Why I am not running

Morgan Tsvangirai

My people are at breaking point. World leaders' bold rhetoric must be backed with military force

Our call now for intervention seeks to challenge standard procedure in international diplomacy.
We envision a more energetic and, indeed, activist strategy. Our proposal is one that aims to remove the often debilitating barriers of state sovereignty, which rests on a centuries-old foundation of the sanctity of governments, even those which have proven themselves illegitimate and decrepit.
We do not want armed conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force. Such a force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers. They would separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns.

The op-ed also spits with hate towards Mugawe calling him "a power-crazed despot." Picking from the above comment, the 'western' media repeated the call for military intervention.

Today there is a full retraction of the above. In his letter to the Guardian Morgan Tsvangirai now writes:

An article that appeared in my name, published in the Guardian (Why I am not running, June 25), did not reflect my position or opinions regarding solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis. Although the Guardian was given assurances from credible sources that I had approved the article this was not the case.
By way of clarification I would like to state the following: I am not advocating military intervention in Zimbabwe by the UN or any other organisation.

I find no editorial explanation on the Guardian website on what happened here.

  • How did the Guardian get the first piece?
  • Who assured the Guardian that the piece was written or at least authorized by Morgan Tsvangirai?
  • How did the Guardian check the claim that its was authorized?

Conspiracy minded people will smells an 'Information Operation' campaign by some USuk group that forgot to make sure that they really held the strings of their puppet. There may be other non-nefarious explanations. The Guardian urgently needs to tell why and how this happened.

Posted by b on June 26, 2008 at 7:46 UTC | Permalink


The UK and Usa want Mugabe not to succeed in taking over White Farms and assets. If he succeeded it would not be possible to contain the pressure from other African Peoples to do the same ( South Africa etc). This would result in western intrests losing control of assets in Africa as the were nayionalised by Africans. White farmers should be compensated by the British government who took over the land from the Africans and would not give it back without a bloody fight. All countries borrow from world banks. Since Zimbabwe was cut off from this necessary source the plan was to make it collapse.

Posted by: boindub | Jun 26 2008 10:05 utc | 1

thats the underlying motive behind all this. And as Debs is Dead pointed out in :
its a big myth that this is just about Mugabe. The USUk made a big mistake by underestimating the level of commitment of regular Zimbabwe masses to this issue.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 26 2008 12:13 utc | 2

Africa must unite to fight the west if we stay divided we will fall against white supremacism.

Posted by: Robert Mugabe cousin | Jun 26 2008 16:39 utc | 3

finally, a more balanced segment for thursday's democracy now
Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism: A Discussion

Today we host a discussion on Zimbabwe: We’re joined in Washington DC by Professor Gerald Horne. He is the Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston and the author of numerous books including “From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War Against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980.” Joining us on the phone from Syracuse, New York is Professor Horace Campbell. He is Professor of African American Studies and Politics at Syracuse University. He has written extensively about Pan-Africanism and Zimbabwe.

(transcript is not up yet at time of this posting)

one review of horne's "From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War Against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980"
Book Sheds Light Upon Sources of Domestic Terrorism

Horne's well-crafted book is an account of the reactionary forces that coalesced around the white supremacist government in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. He documents the multinational corporate interests, the right-wing mercenary elements, the secret intelligence networks, and the political alignments that sustained Rhodesia. Union Carbide, Chrysler, Hertz Rental Cars, TWA, McDonnell Douglas, the CIA, Strom Thurmond, Harry Byrd, Richard Nixon, and ex-president George Bush were just some of the major actors that put off majority rule and prolonged the violence and killing in Zimbabwe. Many of the same conservatives and white supremacists that supported Reagan in the 1980s against enforcing sanctions on South Africa's apartheid government also pressed the Nixon administration in the 1960s and 1970s to thwart UN-imposed sanctions on Rhodesia.

Although this fascinating book is of great interest to progressive students of US foreign policy, African de-colonization, and US politics in the 1970s and '80s, it also briefly addresses the issue of covert biological warfare undertaken by the white supremacist Southern African governments (with the support of US-based intelligence and political entities) to maintain their power. At the time of writing, of course, Horne could not have foretold the significance of this portion of the story, but readers, in today's climate, might pay special attention.

During the 1980s, South Africa's apartheid government established a special secret governmental agency -- that not-surprisingly had ties to the CIA but also had ties to the Centers for Disease Control -- to try to control the African National Congress (ANC) and the anti-apartheid movement in general. This included covert efforts to develop biological and chemical weapons, including ecstasy (to diffuse demonstrations), cholera, HIV virus, botulinum, and anthrax. The latter, according to Horne's account, was specifically used in letters to be sent to assassinate leaders of the ANC and other enemies of white supremacy in Southern Africa. After the fall of apartheid, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the late 1990s, unearthed witness testimony and documents that Johannesburg prostitutes were purposely infected with HIV, that cholera was deliberately put into water used by Southern African farmers and livestock herders, that poisoned
cigarettes, letters, candies, and other items were developed and sold on the international market (for terrorist and covert governmental intelligence communities that seem to have unique bonds) through phony corporations to raise funds for these "anti-terrorist" efforts. The commission also heard testimony by Americans involved in these activities. From the Barrel of a Gun, draws direct links between the South African efforts to preserve apartheid and those who fought to save the white Rhodesian government.

Most importantly, Horne's research demonstrates how closely intertwined were corporate interests, white racism, and US foreign policy.

campbell's article - Pan-Africanists: Our collective duty to Zimbabwe

We want to go on record in saying that neither the government of Britain nor the government of the United States has the moral authority to oppose the present government of Zimbabwe. Imperialists and neo- conservatives have their own agenda when imposing sanctions and we are against sanctions in Zimbabwe. Progressive Pan Africanists must remain vigilant so that brutal oppression of the Zimbabwean peoples is not countenanced in the name of anti-imperialism.

These sanctions have not prevented the rulers of Zimbabwe from looting the Treasury and participating in the very same forms of speculative capitalism that is lauded by neo-liberals. Under the ZANU-PF leadership the Zimbabwe Stocks Exchange {ZSE} has ballooned to phenomenal levels as a result of the speculative activities of the rulers in Zimbabwe. In a country where the economic crisis has meant increased poverty for two years the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange offered investors the highest returns in Africa. For two years in a row, 2005 and 2006, the Africa Stock Exchanges Association (ASEA) reported that the ZSE was the best performing Stock Market in Africa.

Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF may be against imperialism but this group is not against capitalism or the looting of the assets of the society. The government of Cuba has been blockaded by the United States for more than forty years. Yet this government did not support a small class that looted and got rich while the majority of the population remained poor and terrorized.

Those who support the working peoples of Zimbabwe must insist on transparency in dealing with transnational corporations and the integrity of the ruling personnel in their day-to-day activities. This call for accountability is especially important in so far as though we are opposed to the threat of war coming from ZANU PF we are not encouraged by the policies and posture of the leadership of the MDC. These elements have displayed an amazing level of intellectual subservience to the West and to the ideas of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

one more pambazuka article
When uncle Bob and uncle Sam were friends

This is not the first time that America and the West, bankrolled and oversaw a one party dictatorship or military rule for decades only to ditch the regime when it is no longer serving their interests. But only after dusting off blood from their hands and clothes, and presenting themselves as the moral voice, urging for war crimes against the very regime that they baby-seated, reared and mentored. From Mobuto Seso Seko, Saddam Hussain, Charles Taylor and the Taliban to Uncle Bob—the list of rulers utilized and dumped like used condoms by Uncle Sam and his brethren is endless.

There is no prize if you guess what trajectory Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change are most likely to tread if they ascend power. My two year old son, Goitsemodimo, has whispered to me that Zimbabwe will be under the tyranny of the market and remote control by “the empire.”

Posted by: b real | Jun 26 2008 19:52 utc | 4

for this past yr or so, guardian's "comment is free" was all about darfur [the genocide olympic] , burma, zim, tibet, china, sort of like saturation bombing 24 x 7.
actually it was all about china --- every one of these "basket case" was blamed on china.
makes one wonder, is it merely coincidence that uk's "most progressive" paper seems to be peddling the same agenda as uncle sham. ?

i had quite a number of posts deleted by the moderator there.
the cif has just revamped itself into a new face, after this "upgrade", the comments take eternity to load, often never at all. however, many threads are credited with a few hundreds of comments , apparently others dont have the same problem as me with the new design.

Posted by: denk | Jun 27 2008 6:37 utc | 5

I think your pan-Africanist friends should be told that we do not eat ideology, that despotism in the name of protecting ideology is a non-runner.
All that Zimbabweans want right now is food, schools for their children in a working economy and cars and TV's and the ability to excel in the international economic playground.
If Mugabe cannot deliver these because of sanctions by the west, or whatever reason he gives, then he better realise that the west has the power to make his people suffer and start playing ball.
But what I really believe is that Mugabe does not believe in all those ideological issues; he just wants to stay in power.

Posted by: Makusha Mugabe | Jun 27 2008 8:58 utc | 6

Makusha Mugabe@6,
The people of Zimbabwe are deeply divided on whether Mugabe should cave-in to USUk interests. And they have to make the choice. If Mugabe loses the election, he should step aside.

However, regardless of who leads Zimbabwe, the core issue of land reform must be addressed otherwise Zimbabwe will remain deeply divided.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 27 2008 12:53 utc | 7

I wonder if we are mindful enough of the extent of suffering being endured by ordinary Zims. Inflation is running at 9 million percent. The Western press may blame Mugabe all they like but this is a direct result of extra-ordinary sanctions by the West. And the actual human cost in lives, health & well-being to innocents must be massive.

the sanctions have gone way too far. And we are witnessing an immoral outrage that is creeping towards genocide. Is it really worth it, regardless of what type of monster Mugabe is or is not ?

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 27 2008 17:42 utc | 8

It seems to me that CNN International and all the Brit teevee stations have got quite hysterical about the run-off election in Zimbabwe. Now that it is over, will they be able to keep up the daily chatter? Will they be able to prepare their publics for open military intervention to restore colonial control? If they don't it sure won't be for lack of trying.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 28 2008 13:29 utc | 9

the USUk & Tsvangirai insistence that Mugabe is the "problem" in Zimbabwe is very flawed. In fact, the farmers, war-veterans, rural-folks & their collective communities are much more radicalized & defiant than Mugabe himself. Mugabe is vilified & demonized, not for being hostile to the White farmers, but for not cracking down on the very large & substantial population of dispossessed Black Zims who want their land back. And Mugabe's land reform approach is actually extremely generous to White Zim farmers.

The question is whether Tsvangirai is up to the task assigned by his White masters. Its seriously doubtful since as its turned out, he needs refuge in the Dutch embassy in his own country.

Lets be serious about this. Heres a country where roughly half of the people consider the other half to be traitors and stooges of White interests. Kind of like an extreme episode of the field Negroes vs the House Negroes.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 28 2008 15:18 utc | 10

Gee.. the Lancaster House agreement specified there would a 10 year moratorium on expropriating ‘white farmers’, after Mugabe was elected the first time. (I call them that for want of a better term.) Mugabe respected it and more. For what 15 or more years, to everyone’s surprise.

The accord stipulated that compensation would be paid to the ‘white farmers’ by GB and the US. First Thatcher, then Blair, reneged, and refused to pay. The US - I don’t recall their statements etc. - wouldn’t pay either.

Then the West sent in the IMF - they went on about competition and cash crops (which were doing well) mostly they objected to free health and education. Maybe he, Mugabe, cracked then?

Wiki has an article on those agreements, I haven’t read it, don't know enough to judge the quality.>link

Usuk loathed Mugabe from the start.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 29 2008 14:16 utc | 11


i simply cannot bear their fucking anti mugabe hysteria - he may be an incompetent & a tyrant but so was margaret thatcher & the same press was pleased to lick her shit soiled shoes

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 29 2008 15:01 utc | 12

some western propaganda exposed

this june 29th article in the sunday times, w/ the pic of the crying baby w/ both legs in casts, is still online w/o any editorial correction

Robert Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Let’s kill the baby’

A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.

She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.

Blessing, 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.

they did issue a weak followup on july 6 w/ that points out the original is complete b.s.

Doubts raised over haunting image from Zimbabwe

Last week’s Sunday Times carried a prominent report about an 11-month-old baby whose mother said his legs had been broken when he was dashed to the ground by Zanu-PF thugs.

The story, supplied by two freelance journalists, prompted readers to offer money for medical treatment and the newspaper decided to help.

However, doubts about the mother’s account arose when our reporter tried to arrange an operation. An orthopaedic surgeon said an x-ray of the child’s legs showed no sign of fractures. Doctors in Harare and London said he had club feet.

The mother, whose husband is an opposition councillor, repeatedly insisted that the child had been maimed when he was picked up from a bed and hurled to the floor. Her story, which was first reported in The New York Times, was reiterated last week by Newsweek, the US magazine.
Aware that other children have been hurt in attacks on the opposition, a freelance reporter who provided the story took the mother at her word. Part of this reporter’s article was then inserted into a front-page story by Christina Lamb without her knowledge.

Our inquiries in the past few days suggest we were wrong to report that the baby’s legs had been broken in an assault. For that, we unreservedly apologise.

of course the first thing that comes to mind is the early 1990's psyop plant about iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators & throwing them on the floor.

i didn't bother to dig up the coverage in the NYT & other sources who ran it, but i see an IHT mention of the recant.

NY Times corrects front-page photo caption

The New York Times ran a lengthy correction Wednesday after it learned that a recent front-page photo of a crying Zimbabwean baby boy with casts on his feet misrepresented the child's injuries.

The caption on the June 26 photo said that the boy sustained his injuries from state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe. But subsequent reporting determined that the boy had club feet and that his mother exaggerated the injuries.
Doctors said Monday that X-rays showed no broken bones and discovered the boy had club feet, a congenital birth defect that can turn feet inward.

Posted by: b real | Jul 11 2008 15:39 utc | 13

here's the NYT article, w/ the appended editor's correction

Zimbabweans Make Plea for Help as Runoff Nears

A front-page picture caption on June 26 describing an 11-month-old boy whose legs were in casts stated that his legs were broken and that his mother said the injuries were caused by an episode of state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe. After the picture and an accompanying article that also described the injuries were published, The New York Times took the boy to a medical clinic in Harare for help. When the casts were removed, medical workers there discovered the boy had club feet. Doctors said on Monday that X-rays of the baby’s legs showed no evidence of bone fractures.

The mother subsequently admitted that she had exaggerated injuries she said had been sustained by the boy during an attack by governing party militia. In multiple interviews, she said that youths backing President Robert Mugabe had thrown her son to the concrete floor — and she still says that event did occur.
The mother, however, later told The Times that the boy had been wearing casts even at the time of the attack, as part of a treatment he had received for his club feet at a different medical facility. She said she misrepresented the boy’s injuries to generate help because she could not afford corrective surgery for the boy.

Posted by: b real | Jul 11 2008 15:54 utc | 14

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