Monday, January 30, 2006

This Scum Was in Everything: Abramoff Tied to South African Apartheid-Era Assassin

Democracy Now

The scandal is also making news in South Africa. That's because in the mid-1980s Jack Abramoff helped launch the pro-aparthed International Freedom Foundation. According to the South African Mail & Guardian, the IFF was promoted as an independent think tank but it was actually part of an elaborate South African military intelligence operation set up to combat sanctions and undermine Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. While Abramoff headed the IFF in Washington, in South Africa it was run in part by Craig Williamson, a notorious military intelligence officer known for carrying out a series of bombings and assassinations.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted Williamson amnesty for his role in the 1982 bombing of the ANC's office in London and for ordering the assassination of at least two anti-apartheid campaigners. Abramoff first visited South Africa in 1983 at a time when he was head of the College Republicans National Committee.

Two years later Abramoff helped organize an international conference of right wing groups uniting the U.S.-backed Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, leaders of the Afghan mujahedin, Nicaraguan contras and Laotian guerrillas. As part of Abramoff's work with South Africa, he also made the film Red Scorpion that was filmed in occupied Namibia and reportedly funded by the South African military.

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