Friday, August 26, 2011

US Plot to Discredit Zimbabwe Security Services and Diamond Industry Exposed

US plot to discredit Zim security exposed

Saturday, 13 August 2011 22:46
By Munyaradzi Huni

THE US Embassy in Harare has hatched a plot that is being co-ordinated by its new military attaché, Lieutenant-Colonel Ronald Miller, to cause alarm in Sadc by using a South African-produced television news programme, Carte Blanche, to discredit the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces by falsely alleging that the security sector in the country is illegally selling firearms allegedly stolen from former white farmers to African conflict spots in the DRC, Sudan and Uganda, it has been unearthed.

This is part of the on-going regime change intrigues by the US, UK and EU governments and their allies to try to weaken the country’s national security under the cover of the Global Political Agreement process.

Detailed documents including email correspondence exclusively obtained by The Sunday Mail from authoritative diplomatic sources close to the US Embassy reveal an alarming determination by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, who joined the US Embassy in June, and who is working with his local contacts, who include one Chris Dhlamini, to force the so-called security sector reform in Zimbabwe “by any means possible”.

Lieutenant-Colonel Miller’s network includes “activists among NGOs and in the media in and outside Zimbabwe” to mobilise opinion against Zimbabwe in Sadc, AU and the UN. Apparently, Lieutenant-Colonel Miller’s major brief is “to find and do anything by working with NGOs and media actors to unravel and bring to book Zimbabwe’s security sector” ahead of the country’s next elections”.

Revelations of the sinister media plot come in the wake of a related campaign by the British Embassy channelled through the discredited BBC’s Panorama programme which falsely claimed in a report broadcast last week that the Zimbabwe National Army is running torture camps in Chiadzwa, in a failed two-pronged bid to prevent the now irreversible selling of Chiadzwa diamonds and to implicate Zimbabwe’s security sector in false human rights violations in the hope that the allegations would attract UN sanctions.

These media smear campaigns are consistent with the launch in May of a £3 million DFID programme coordinated by the British Embassy in Harare to pay NGOs and media actors to tarnish the image of national institutions in Zimbabwe in the hope of influencing the outcome of the forthcoming harmonised general elections. The DFID programme is being complemented by a similar multimillion-dollar initiative funded by Usaid and being used by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller at the US Embassy.

According to evidence gleaned from some of the written questions seen by The Sunday Mail and which the Carte Blanche news team has been hoping to pursue with Zimbabwean authorities at the instigation of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, the US Embassy is seeking to contrive false links to implicate the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) in deals that involve alleged illegal exports of firearms to the DRC, Sudan and Uganda through National Cartridge Company, a South African-based business concern which trades as Suburban Guns based in Cape Town and run by Charles Montgomery, who has become a major player in the US Embassy plot. Suburban Guns also represents Holts Auctioneers, a leading British gun auctioneer, and trades as Holts Africa.

Working closely with Ian Rowbotham, a Zimbabwean whose father’s gun, a William Evans double barrel shotgun 470 serial number 10098, was bought from Holts Auctioneers by an American, Thad Scott, Montgomery and Lieutenant-Colonel Miller’s US Embassy officials and their local Zimbabwean contacts — who include former white farmers and some retired ZRP officials — have been desperate to trace back the gun to ZDI in the hope of building a case of alleged illegal exportation of guns by the company and to use that link to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe’s security sector.

Communication between Montgomery and the Carte Blanche news team in possession of The Sunday Mail shows clear acknowledgement by the news team that its investigations have come to grief because it has failed to establish a prima facie case of illegality by the ZDI, ZRP and the security sector in general or even the Zimbabwe Government itself.

Correspondence at hand shows that Montgomery, who claims to have seen with his own eyes some 20 000 small arms of all sorts allegedly taken from former white farmers, has come under immense pressure from Lieutenant-Colonel Miller at the US Embassy in Harare to insist without any proof that, “there are other ways to kill the cat” by building a false case to expose the ZRP and the ZDF in the alleged illegal selling of arms.

In one of the correspondences on the matter sent on May 31, 2011 seen by The Sunday Mail, Montgomery wrote that “I have a very sad tale but really hope you can assist. In 2007, I was invited to go to Zimbabwe to inspect +/- 20 000 [guns] that were in the hands of the Zimbabwe Government.

“After inspection, I found about 1 000 guns that were of HOLTS quality to export to London. In amongst this lot was the Williams Evans .470, serial number 10098. The gun was shipped to the UK in March 2008 and sold in the June sale of 2008 to Thad Scott. A year ago, I was approached by the original owner of the rifle who traced me down and showed me proof that he is still the rightful owner of the gun (still currently licensed in his name). Sadly, in 2004 he and his family were evicted from his farm by Zimbabwean land grabbers (Mugabe’s Mob) and was given 24 hours to vacate his home and 10 000-hectare farm and what was a lifetime’s work. He put his 5 guns (one of which is the W. Evans) into storage at a police station for safe- keeping. When he went to get his guns in 2008, he was told that the Zimbabwean Government had seized all the firearms at the police stations and sent them to a central area. That’s where I inspected them . . . he had heard that I had been in Zimbabwe and followed up and found the gun has been sold on Holts sale in 2008.”

While correspondence in the possession of this paper shows that Montgomery and his local contacts have been misleading Lieutenant-Colonel Miller into believing that “as far as the farmers weapons are concerned, they are stolen property the purchase of which is a crime”, Susan Puren of Carte Blanche has had problems with that claim prompting her to write to one of Montgomery’s contacts last week pointing out that: “I’ve got legal opinion that says Zimbabwe gun licenses are valid for one year, so if guns were handed in to police for safekeeping and the owner does not renew (his) licence after year then he is no longer the legitimate owner so it’s not stolen. While it’s morally wrong it may be all above board.”

In one of her e-mails, Susan went on to admit that she would have wanted to do the story “but the facts on the ground do not add up”.

Asked to comment on these developments last week, an African diplomat based in Windhoek, Namibia, where he observed a historic summit of the region’s liberation movements from South Africa’s ANC, Namibia’s Swapo, Mozambique’s Frelimo, Angola’s MPLA, Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF said that “nobody should be surprised to hear that the American and British embassies in Harare are working with former white farmers and gun merchants to cause confusion in Zimbabwe by seeking to destabilise the security system”.

The diplomat added: “But if anyone really believes that they (Americans and the British governments) can still get away with their usual lies about Zimbabwe after what we have seen in Ivory Coast, Libya and Malawi against the background of the hypocrisy displayed in the handling of the violent demonstrations in Britain last week, then they should have been here in Windhoek.

“The African message to the Western world from Windhoek is very clear and very loud and it is that enough games have been played over Zimbabwe. The time has come for the nonsense to stop.”

-The Sunday Mail.

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