A few months back we made some connections between terrorism and sports. In politics, terrorism and sports, we learned about Mohammed Abdul Khwaja, a purported terrorist in India. An Indian tabloid-style teevee program conducted a four part story which connected this Khwaja to ISI, and also noted:
- terrorism, politics and sports are interlinked, since athletes are the "ambassadors" of a country (part 3)
- the passions from a sports snub have taken on a life of their own (part 4)
It's NOT random. This is terrorism. Conditioning your mind. It's all in the papers. You only have to look. They want you to know this, very much, that there's nothing you can do. There's nothing even that THEY can do, because they tried. See? It's hopeless. You can do everything right, and the authorities can try to protect you, but the terrorists will still strike. You can put your children into sports and keep them away from drugs, and they can still be targeted. That's the message coming through loud and clear in all the important papers. Do you get it?And I bring it up again today because the FIFA World Cup begins in South Africa on Friday, just as we are mired and distracted with the BP oil mess and the flotilla madness with Israel.
South Africa has a population of over 47 million people, approximately 80% black African. Some people like to call South Africa the rainbow nation.
South Africa is a culturally diverse country, one nation made up of many peoples. With 11 different official languages, a multiplicity of traditions and skin tones ranging from ebony to sunburnt pink, we are, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu once put it, the rainbow nation of Africa.But there is a lot of violence in South Africa, over 18,000 murders a year, over 50 a day, and three times that number in rapes.
According to the horribly graphic video (please be advised) here:
- Farm attacks in South Africa are 700% higher than attacks on farms in any other country on Earth.
- The murder rate of South African commercial farmers is the highest for any specific group in the world 313 per 100 000.
- 3,664 farmers have been murdered in over 30 000 attacks.
In one prominent case recently, Eugene Terreblance, a right-wing leader, was murdered and mutilated.
Mr Terreblanche was found murdered and "unrecognisable" following a beating with a bar and machete, his trousers were also around his knees. South Africa is facing its worst race crisis since the end of apartheid 16 years ago just as it prepares to host the World Cup in 60 days' time.
A number of conspiracy theories have circulated in the media since the killing, including that it was a political assassination ordered by the ruling black party, the African National Congress. However, new accusations and revelations are beginning to emerge which depict Mr Terreblanche, a father of one adopted daughter, as a sexual predator, who did not discriminate between black and white victims.
The Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported that a teenage member of Mr Terreblanche's right-wing movement, the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) had to be taken to a safe house after alleging sexual abuse at the hands of the powerful leader.
Aangirfan reported on the history of extreme right-wing politicians and boys.
South Africa's situation is similar to Guatemala's, with out of control murder rates and mutilated bodies left in public place to incite terror.
The violence is not actually random. People who challenge the oligarchy come under attack.
Guatemalan authorities point to gangs and other organized-crime elements as the source of much of the violence in this country of roughly 13 million people, which recorded 6,475 homicides last year, an average of 18 murders per day. By comparison, 7,724 people were slain last year in neighboring Mexico, a nation of more than 100 million where rival drug cartels are waging war with each other and the security forces. All but 4 percent of Guatemalan murders go unpunished, the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala says.That post covers the difference between gang-related violence and state-sponsored violence. Social cleansing and state-sponsored violence has a few characteristics that we also see in South Africa, namely:
- bodies are often heavily mutilated and tortured, strangled, cut up, beaten, bound
- motives are exterminating a specific social group, creating and/or reinforcing a culture of terror
- social cleansing and state-sponsored violence does not get investigated
State-sponsored violence occurs when organized crime infiltrates, corrupts, and controls the government.
South Africa is an organized crime hub.
With the World Cup just four weeks away, many believe the organiser Fifa is now practically running the country in order to ensure that South Africa presents a clean, wholesome image to the rest of the world. Thousands of beggars and street children have been shipped out of Johannesburg and Cape Town and crammed into tin-hut settlements. [Or trafficked away? - ed.]
An army of 44,000 police officers – more than a quarter of South Africa’s entire force – is dedicated solely to ensuring the safety of World Cup spectators. Some 8,500 of these officers will be wearing full body armour shipped in from France. Meanwhile football fans are being blitzed with advice on how to stay safe, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warning of “a very high level of crime”.
...The most notorious of South Africa’s cities is Johannesburg, which is one of the hubs of organised crime. In the run-up to the World Cup, dealers are stockpiling huge quantities of cocaine and the amphetamine “tik”.
South Africa has a large human trafficking problem.
- Trafficking streams are both long and short distance. Longer routes bring victims, mostly women, into South Africa via airports from Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, India, China, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
- On the African continent, women, girls and boys are brought into South Africa via land borders from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia,Tanzania, and Uganda.
- The victims are used for prostitution, pornography, forced marriage, domestic servitude, forced labour, begging, drug smuggling, body parts (muti), and ritual sacrifice (religious rituals, satanic cults).
We dubbed him "The Russian" because the cops couldn't pronounce his name. It was the mid-90s and Cape Town was in turmoil. Businesses were deserting the city. Nightclubs, bars and restaurants were imploding in economic meltdown as patrons fled to the suburbs while underworld figures emerged from the shadows to seize control. Former Cape Times photographer Benny Gool and I were the only journalists to interview the Ukrainian immigrant who had left a path of violent destruction in his wake as he established his gangland empire. His name was Yuri "the Russian" Ulianitski, and even at 22 he was the most frightening man I had ever met.The mafia connects to the politicians and business people, just like everywhere else.
Yuri the Russian was assassinated in 2007.
- Police are set to question several Cape Town politicians in connection with the death of Yuri "The Russian" Ulianitski. The local politicians are on a long list of Ulianitski's alleged partners-in-crime, and also his known enemies, which police are investigating.
- Police sources say that before his death, he had allegedly threatened to make public the names of the politicians he had been dealing with.
- Ulianitski is said to have had close links with a General Dos Santos of Angola, who funded him to the tune of millions in return for "favours".
- Ulianitski later started a security company with controversial businessman Cyril Beeka in Cape Town.
And starting Friday, we're going to throw the World Cup into this volatile environment. What could possibly go wrong?
Just this past Monday a stampede took place during a warm-up match between North Korea and Nigeria.
The stampede occurred in the township of Tembisa -- mid-way between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the nation’s capital. The private company that organized the event handed out 10,000 free tickets, but thousands who didn't receive a free ticket still pushed to get inside the stadium. At least 14 people were injured, including a police officer.
World Cup organizers, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), offered condolences to those injured but quickly distanced themselves from the event, which was organized by the two participating teams and occurred at a stadium that will not be used in the World Cup, which begins on Friday.
Is South Africa prepared to provide security for an estimated 325,000 foreign tourists attending 64 games spanning over a month across the country?
South Africa itself does not seem to be a target, but the presence of such teams as the United States, England, the Netherlands, and other countries that have participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could attract militants. South Africa has improved information sharing between its intelligence agencies and police and the country has stepped up its cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies.
The National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure of the SAPS recently issued a firm denial to stories printed in the South African newspaper, the Times, which claimed that extremist cells had training camps in the mountainous neighboring country of Swaziland and in South Africa's Free State province.
“Although the NATJOINTS is not prepared to discuss intelligence matters for obvious reasons, we can categorically deny the existence of a ‘watch-list of 40 terror suspects’ or the arrest of any person directly targeting the World Cup,” the SAPS said in a statement. “We can also dispute the existence of ‘operational militant training camps in several provinces in South Africa.’”
But Burger says that South Africa’s government does take terrorist threats to the World Cup seriously. “South Africa is aware of the fact that especially matches involving the US and Britain might possibly have a higher risk than other matches, and this has been taken into account to try to reduce the risks and the opportunities for extremists,” says Burger.
“With an event this size, it just increases the chances for terrorist acts, because it is such an attractive target,” says Burger.