Cii News | 05 Jumadal Ula 1436/25 February 2015
A community that has remained largely unscathed by the effects of the global ‘War on Terror’ (sometimes dubbed a ‘War on Islam’), is for the first time facing unprecedented scrutiny of its community structures, largely in the wake of sensational content sourced from leaked intelligence cables published by the Al Jazeera network this week, as well as additional terrorism-related reporting in the local media.
The more than a dozen ‘Spy Cables’ already released by the Doha-based broadcaster since Monday offer insight into, amongst other subjects, the sinister activities of Israeli intelligence agents in South Africa, assessments on Iranian interests in Africa and threats to South African diplomats.
However, in their reporting of the leaks, segments of the South African media appear to have become overly preoccupied with a few questionable paragraphs within the greater mass of the documentation that allege South African Muslim participation in paramilitary training activities in preparation for a possible Jihad against the West.
Based on its interpretation of the leaks, the Johannesburg based newspaper, The Star, this morning led with a sensational headline claiming the existence of a ‘Jihad Camp’ in Johannesburg.
The report came hot on the heels of a similarly alarmist headline that appeared in The Times newspaper last week that alleged that Al Qaeda was “at the gates” of South Africa.
Reactions from Muslims in South Africa, who feel aggrieved by such allegations and their resulting insinuations, have been swift.
Many have scoffed at the shoddy quality of intelligence in some of the reports being leaked. Others have questioned the motivations of those authoring them.
There has also been a call from Darul Uloom Zakariyya, an institute of higher Islamic learning, which the authors of one intelligence assessment evidently seek to implicate, for Al Jazeera to apologise for its publishing of the document, and further afford it an opportunity to clarify.
Amidst this chaotic climate, Zahid Asmal, a veteran community journalist and activist, is urging Muslims in South Africa to remain calm.
“My humble urge is for everybody to remain calm in face of this gale force that is hitting us now,” Asmal toldSabahul Khair Wednesday morning.
The journalist said he too has wondered, in the wake of the revelations, whether Muslims have only been enjoying a “facade of freeness” in South Africa, whilst being pursued relentlessly by local intelligence agencies, working in cahoots with international ones, behind their backs.
“There is nothing wrong with government having spy agencies, that is the norm globally. But when we find global espionage dictating decisions for government, running governments, asking them to have surveillance on individuals they do not like, (that is problematic)”.
At the same time, Asmal argued that Muslims in South Africa could not remain denialists forever.
“Amongst us there are people who harbour different intentions and feelings and want to show their displeasure at different things differently to what the majority will show. You will have a miniscule amount of people intent on joining groups like ISIS and going out to join what they would perceive to be good, honourable Muslim causes.”
According to Asmal however, this phenomenon has largely been contained by Muslim community leaders and Ulama who have spoken out and warned against the trend.
“We have a frontline who can deal with such issues responsibly on behalf of South African Muslims. There are honourable people, who are very intelligent that can talk about it on behalf of Muslim community,” the media practitioner added, asserting that rank and file members of the community should not take it upon themselves to become spokespeople to the media on the subject.
“There are (established) groups who are already talking on behalf of the South African Muslim community. It would not help us if we have a thousand Muslims individually making comments to newspapers, radio stations etc. It would make things much more difficult and complicate things more than ever”.
Despite the existence of some questionable assessments in the leaks, Asmal said he believed the South African government continued to value the contribution of South African Muslims to society and recognised that the majority of South African Muslims were law abiding citizens.
The trouble, he said, was being fomented by members of the ‘old South Africa’ security apparatus who had managed to maintain a post-democracy presence within South Africa’s intelligence structures.
“They are responsible for much of what we see against Islam and Muslims in the country. Apartheid era spooks appear to be working for other intelligence agencies and may be the ones doing the spying on Muslim organisations and individuals,” he alleged.
“It is indeed worrying if individuals within the Muslim community are specifically being spied upon for their political views”.
Asmal said he had detected a worrying shift in focus on the Muslim community in recent days, and urged members to remain vigilant.
He was especially critical of segments of the South African mainstream media for the role they have been playing in cultivating suspicion.
“The media in South Africa is largely owned by a minority that is hellbent on animosity to Islam and favors the illegitimate global war on terror. There are many journalists hellbent on being negative about Islam, we know who they are, we monitor them constantly, yet they still continue being offered a free space to disseminate their ideas. We cannot have people sitting at their offices at night deciding on how the headline for the next day’s paper will demonise Muslims. We need an accountable media. A media that is free but responsible”.
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 06 Jumadal Ula 1436/26 February 2015
For a stable and progressive country like SA, whose self-declared agenda is human rights for all and opposition to any form of imperialism or subjugation, the picture has become so unbelievably muddied. Can it get murkier? Reports from local and foreign intelligence, which have miraculously made it to the public domain, are alarming. Is the financial services sector facing cyber attack by a group of former Mossad spies in Israel? And, is SA spying on Russia, Greenpeace, an NGO, targeted by zealots, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma facing assassination by the Israeli?
Documents intercepted by Al-Jazeera, suggest there are entities who seek to coerce SA – and its ruling party – to give up its steadfast support for Palestine. South Africa’s solidarity is a source of discomfort for Zionist and other conservatives. At the forefront of the solidarity movement, from this country’s angle, is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS). Zionists want SA to stop this civil society movement from gaining a further foothold in society and influencing official government policy.
“They have always failed in their tactics to stop the BDS movement,” an unfazed Muhammed Desai of BDS SA told Global Dynamics. “From the (leaked documents) we see what [has turned out to be a] complete failure on the part of the Israeli spy system and the Israeli government. They tried to use the threats of cyber terrorism or cyber attacks to attack our financial and banking system. I think what we should be saluting also, and commending in a way, is the South African and the ANC’s steadfast position on Palestine.”
Desai also noted that the government and the ruling party have, especially in the past few years, forged closer working ties with the Palestinian movement. To refer to Al-Jama’ah, it’s also worth noting that a South African opposition party, which claims liberalism, allegedly accepts blood money or proceeds linked to oppression of Palestinians. Why would any party that claims to be opposed to apartheid in SA support the continued terror and “collective punishment” of the people of Palestine or any other ethnic group? This is an example of anything but liberalism and progressiveness.
Turning to the Zionists and apartheid state lobbies, Desai told Cii that the kinds of demands and the way they were made – including the weakening or erosion of BDS (which they want discontinued in 30 days) and removal of individuals linked to this movement – is “absurd” and sheer “bullying tactics.” The arrogance, underscored by the ultimatum, seems to suggest that Binyamin Netanyahu’s government is harking back to the John Vorster era when Tel Aviv and Pretoria were buddies. Birds of a feather flock together. The reality that Netanyahu’s is failing, or refusing to grasp, is that SA, unlike Israel, ceased to be an apartheid and pariah state in 1994. Desai’s assertion is telling.
“In some ways it seems as if the Israeli spy or the Israeli intelligence system is lacking in much intelligence,” he said stressing that post-1994 Pretoria was neither a weak government nor opposed to Palestine’s liberation struggle that would give in to the apartheid state’s demands and pressures. Another more likely, and worrisome, explanation exists. “On the other hand, it could mean a growing support in South Africa that then pushes and forces our own government to (give in).” Claims, albeit untested, by Al-Jama’ah that Zionist elements donated R1bn to the opposition to fight the ANC come to mind.
Citing leaked intelligence reports, Al-Jazeera reported that a group claiming to be former agents of Mossad, of Israel, threatened devastating cyber terror on SA unless Pretoria cracked down on the growing campaign to boycott that the Netanyahu-led apartheid state – that continues to slaughter or “cleanse” fellow Semites of Palestine.
The TV station said the reports show that then-Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan received a note from “unknown sources” in June 2012, threatening a cyber attack against the country’s financial sector. The letter gave Pretoria a 30 day ultimatum to discontinue the BDS campaign and “the removal and prosecution of some unidentified individuals linked to BDS”. Pro-Palestinian ANC leaders and government top brass Jessie Duarte, Ebrahim Ebrahim and Nkoana Maite-Mashabane have since suffered what Desai terms “isolation” and “character assassination” orchestrated by the Zionist lobby.