Monday, July 02, 2007

Dunmurderin'? How Apartheid terrorists have found a cosy rest home

BRITISH authorities are keeping a tight watch on terrorists, and erring on the side of security when it comes to keeping extremists and those with a violent record out of this country, right?

It all depends. . .

We know how certain right-wing Italian gentlemen were able to stay here and set up businesses and dubious "charities", while back home they were wanted for questioning in connection with bombing atrocities. Home Secretaries came and went, and so did extradition requests, but at least Roberto Fiore was safe here until the heat died down.

It's hard to believe that Abu Nidal came into London from time to time to do business, but I guess his money was good and why go to the trouble of arresting him? As for Islamic extremists they were OK because didn't Mrs.Thatcher say they were "batting for freedom" in Afghanistan? When former Home Secretary David Mellor, writing in his Sunday People column, demanded to know who let Abu Hamza al Misri have British citizenship, I checked the dates and was able to write in "You did"; but the former Tory MP did not reward or even thank me for retrieving his memory.

I could go on about who gets in and who is kept out, even as visitors. My Serb comrade Radi Pavlovic who spoke against Serb expansionism and atrocities was not allowed a visa to come again, even while the British government was entertaining Karadzic. Iraqi union leader Hassan Juma'a has been invited but denied a visa. When black South African and Namibian comrades came for conferences in the 1990s they faced long interrogation at the airport before we managed to spring them, often needing to take a lawyer or two.

By contrast, the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight has been looking at how some white South Africans who fought a rearguard action for Apartheid have been able to settle here. They were implicated in among other things, the assassination of the ANC's Chris Hani. On April 19, 1993, Hani, who had replaced Joe Slovo as ANC secretary-general, was shot dead outside his home in Boksburg, Johannesburg.

Clive Derby-Lewis, a South African Conservative MP, had supplied the pistol used. But as Searchlight's Gerry Gable tells us, the gun was part of a haul taken from a South African air force base. The 1991 arms theft was carried out by Leonard Michael Veenendal, who later figured in a murder case in Namibia arising from a 1989 attack on a UN base. Chris Hani's name was number three on a hit list after Nelson Mandela and Slovo. The list was in the possession of Derby-Lewis' wife Gaye, who said she recieved it from Arthur Kemp, a journalist linked with South African intelligence.

Searchlight reveals that although he had been on Interpol's most wanted list for the Namibia killings, Veenendal has been allowed to settle in Britain, and despite press reports tracing him to Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire, he now works for Cambridgeshire County Council's Education ICT Service as a technical services manager.

Arthur Kemp, who was arrested but never charged in the Hani killing, kept his intelligence career in post Apartheid South Africa for a time, but since coming to Britain and writing a book about the neo-Nazi AWB he has become a leading officer of the British National Party.

Joining him in the BNP is a former AWB supporter, who was implicated in a 1992 attempted school bombing, Lambertus "Bep" Nieuwhof , whom Searchlight reported in March was now living in the village of Peterchurch, Herefordshire, where he runs an IT company called Vidronic. It said Nieuwhof helped set up the Hereford branch of the BNP.

I must admit I did not pay attention to the March article, maybe because at the time I was focussed on the case up North, where Pendle BNP member Robert Cottage had been found guilty on explosives charges, and the BNP had given up pretending it did not know the man.

Now, appetite whetted, and thinking back to some of the shadowy attempts to hold back South African developments, I'm wondering whether the BNP connection is all or if there are more significant things to come out, such as more influential links.

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