Thatcher let Mandela rot in apartheid prison


This video is called Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) Official Trailer.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Thatcher left Mandela to rot in prison

Friday 3rd January 2013

PMs glossed over issue in controversial talks

Newly released cabinet papers put paid yesterday to longstanding Tory boasts that Margaret Thatcher used her controversial courting of South Africa’s apartheid-era government to help win the release of Nelson Mandela.

Government minutes from 1984, published under the 30-year rule, show that Thatcher made little or no effort to secure Mandela‘s freedom during her first official meeting with South African prime minister PW Botha.

The documents record a summit between Thatcher and Botha, supposedly to discuss the country’s policy towards its black population.

Yet the British PM did not mention Mandela once during the official discussion.

In a report sent by adviser John Coles to Roger Bone, then private secretary to Sir Geoffrey Howe, Number 10 suggested the issue was raised at a short “tete-a-tete.”

No note-takers were present during the discussion but Coles says the issue was raised by Thatcher, who was rebuffed by Botha who claimed he was unable to “interfere with the South African judicial process.”

In the officially minuted meeting that followed no further mention was made of the matter – apparently despite Foreign Office advice to do so.

Thatcher went on to infamously brand Mr Mandela and the ANC as “terrorists” in 1987, while the ultra right-wing Federation of Conservative Students notoriously wore “Hang Nelson Mandela” badges in the early 1980s.

In the wake of Mandela’s death Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior party figures have rushed to distance themselves from their previous stance.

But in a special parliamentary session former Labour cabinet minister Peter Hain claimed the Tories were attempting to “rewrite” the history books and attacked the Thatcher government for its “craven indulgence to apartheid rulers.”

“We all say in Britain we were against apartheid, and doubtless we were,” Mr Hain said.

“But some of us did things about it and others didn’t.

“But it really does stick in the craw, when Lord Tebbit, Charles Moore and others similar claim their complicity with apartheid, for that’s what I think it was, somehow bought its end.”

Film: Mandela- Long Walk to Freedom (12A): a critical review is here. Another one is here.

A new book on Joe Slovo and Ruth First pays due tribute to an inspirational couple in the struggle for liberation in South Africa, says JOHN HAYLETT: here.

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British secret police spying on anti-apartheid movement


This music video from Britain is The Specials with their song Free Nelson Mandela.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

The spooks in the anti-apartheid movement

Friday 28 June 2013

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis’s revelations in the Guardian that undercover officers spied on the Lawrence family at precisely the same time as they were failing to catch their son’s killer points to the rotten behaviour of secret cops.

They spend their time spying on legal protest movements while allowing terrible crimes to go unpunished.

This is a common feature of Special Branch spying. So, for example, Freedom of Information documents I obtained show the cops had agents in the anti-apartheid movement (AAM) when Margaret Thatcher invited South African president PW Botha to Britain in 1984.

Botha was running apartheid and imprisoning Nelson Mandela so Thatcher wanted to show him her “enormous reservoirs of goodwill.”

But she was worried about protesters.

According to the documents: “Special Branch have learned from their own sources inside the AAM that the AAM are to mount a protest occupation of the South African Airways office on Regent Street for the two days before and after the Botha visit.

“The police cannot do much about this without compromising their source but they will be ready to step in at once when requested by South African Airways.

The police are also considering whether and, if so, how they can warn South African Airways that this is likely to happen.”

While the spy cops were infiltrating anti-apartheid the South African government was allowed to get away with bigger crimes.

Home secretary Leon Brittan wanted Thatcher to raise with Botha “criminal activities” by “South African intelligence” in London.

Apartheid‘s spies were breaking into offices of the ANC and anti-apartheid movement.

They even exploded a bomb at the ANC offices in 1982 in a failed attempt to kill ANC leaders.

But Thatcher refused to complain to Botha about his agents’ criminal acts in London.

So, spy cops are immoral – but are they effective?

I was on the 1993 Unity demo organised by Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE) and the Anti Nazi League against the BNP HQ in Welling.

So were 50,000 other people – and so were the undercover cops, one of whose number, Peter Francis, was pretending to be a YRE activist.

Did he uncover any secrets?

Lois Austin, who headed YRE at the time, says: “There was no purpose to infiltrating YRE. Far from being secretive, we publicly advertised our events – the police could have read our leaflets and newspapers, or attended our public meetings, to find out what was going on.”

The problem we had on the demo was not undercover cops but riot police who launched a medieval-style attack on protesters, charging with horses, shields and truncheons.

Protest movements are mostly about organising large groups, not small secretive events, so undercover spies are of limited effectiveness.

Where they can hurt, though, is through causing disruption and intimidation inside protest movements.

Which is why the most intrusive, sleazy and sinister behaviour of the undercover copssleeping with women activists – has caused so much disgust.

Britain: Spying network exposed targeting organisations critical of police: here.

Britain’s secret police have a long history of trying to undermine ‘subversives’, writes Simon Basketter: here.

British Thatcher fans mistake satirical song for tribute


After the death of British Conservative ex-Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, a rapid rise up the British charts of the 74-years-old song “Ding Dong! The witch is dead”, from the musical The wizard of Oz, was one of the signs that many people in Britain strongly disliked the late Lady Thatcher and her policies.

Conservative British politicians wanted to counter this musical dislike by putting a song in praise of their heroine high into the music charts.

Well.. err … WAS the song which they chose for this really in praise of Margaret Thatcher?

It is this song.

It says about itself:

NOTSENSIBLES – I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher b/w Little Boxes, Garry Bushell‘s Band of the week.

Classic two-fingered salute to Margaret Thatcher courtesy of Burnley’s NOTSENSIBLES. Lots of scarce Notsensibles pictures.

Metro daily in Britain writes:

The irony of the campaign is that the original song – despite its seemingly praiseworthy lyrics – is actually believed to be a sarcastic dig at the former prime minister by the punk band from Burnley, Lancashire.

According to Wikipedia:

band member Steven Hartley commented that it had been written as a satirical swipe at her. … singer Michael “Haggis” Hargreaves …said: “I find it hilarious that Tories have adopted it.”

Maybe Thatcher fans have adopted a punk rock satire as a song of praise because no-one able to write music has ever written a real pro-Thatcher song.

The Conservative politicians failed in their aim to get I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher higher up the charts than Ding Dong! The witch is dead. Maybe because there are fewer Thatcher supporters than Thatcher opponents in Britain. And maybe because Conservatives, even if unable to distinguish between satire and tribute, hate punk rock, or any music which is not a military march, so much that they will not buy it, even with supposedly Thatcherite lyrics.

This is not the first time that British Tories don’t understand the meaning of a song.

Meaning this song.

It says about itself:

Strawbs – Part of the union 1973

Now I’m a union man
Amazed at what I am
I say what I think
That the company stinks
Yes I’m a union man.

When we meet in the local hall
I’ll be voting with them all
With a hell of a shout
It’s out brothers out
And the rise of the factory’s fall.

Oh you don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
Till the day I die, till the day I die.

As a union man I’m wise
To the lies of the company spies
And I don’t get fooled
By the factory rules
‘Cause I always read between the lines.

And I always get my way
If I strike for higher pay
When I show my card
To the Scotland Yard
This what I say.

Oh you don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
Till the day I die, till the day I die.

Before the union did appear
My life was half as clear
Now I’ve got the power
To the working hour
And every other day of the year.

So though I’m a working man
I can ruin the government’s plan
Though I’m not too hard
The sight of my card
Makes me some kind of superman.

Oh you don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
You don’t get me I’m part of the union
Till the day I die, till the day I die.

Wikipedia writes:

The song was unofficially adopted by the trade union movement, and it is widely considered to be a proud folk anthem for the working man.

The Free Online Library writes:

The rousing sing-along “Part Of The Union” was embraced by unions but was vilified by the Conservative Party, which assembled Parliament to vote for banning the song. In spite of, or because of, the controversy, the song rose to #2.

However, other Tories thought the song was a satire of trade unionism; no matter how often Strawbs band members denied that.

Apartheid’s victims will shed no tears about Thatcher: here.