The Dockrat family has hit back at a Daily Maverick report claiming that it is operating a terrorist camp in South Africa with links to Al Qaeda, describing it as “self evidently mischievous”. Finally breaking the family’s silence on Tuesday, Farhad Ahmed Dockrat, in a written statement, said the article “smacks of inherently improbable and farfetched assertions.”
Farhad stated that the article, written by De Wet Potgieter and entitled Al-Qaeda: Alive and well in South Africa, was “a regrettable sacrifice of journalistic integrity for an ulterior purpose”. “Potgieter has in a misleading and dishonest article, sought to undermine the integrity, credibility and independence of the South African government, expressing the view that they are unable to take steps to maintain law and order in this country,” said Farhad.
An imam at a mosque in Laudium outside Pretoria, Farhad and his cousin, Dr Junaid Dockrat, are accused of running a military training camp at two farms outside Pretoria and in the Klein Karoo, in which Al Qaeda operative were allegedly being groomed. In the expose written by De Wet Potgieter, it is reported that the police’s specialised unit, Crimes Against the State (CATS) and the State Security Agency (SSA) have been closely watching the activity on these alleged training facilities for a number of years, without any conclusive action. The article has been met with a fair amount of scepticism and slammed by commentators for being speculative.
“It is aimed at unjustifiably embarrassing the South African government as being an incompetent state. It is also aimed at garnering US support to further a racist objective. It is truly a masterpiece in deception,” stated Farhad. The Dockrat family has unequivocally denied any “military style” obstacle course on their properties. According to the statement, Farhad put into place obstacle courses, including rope climbing, tree climbing, crawling through drums and other fitness obstacle courses. These were “installed openly and not covertly”, the statement read.
“The Zoo Lake in Johannesburg has a jungle gym with similar obstacle courses. How does that become illegal and how is that linked to Al-Qaeda? Surely, if a person has a farm, he is free to build a jungle gym with a tree house and an obstacle for fitness purposes. It is private property and there is no legal impediment to such obstacle courses.”
The cousins were placed on the US terrorism watch list, for allegedly providing financial aid to the organisation. The US treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, stated that Farhad in 2001 provided more than R400,000 to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan to be forwarded to Al-Akhtar Trust, an Afghanistan-based entity that the treasury previously designated as an al-Qaeda fund-raising arm.
Potgieter’s report questioned why intelligence authorities had stopped an investigation into the alleged training camps at the two farms, despite this knowledge. The covert operation called Operation Kanu went as far back as 2001, and was apparently launched after the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11.
At the same time, the national intelligence agency also initiated Operation Waco, aimed at uncovering far-right wing activity in South Africa. “Operation Waco resulted in the marathon Boeremag trial. The right-wingers were dubbed Al-Cadac by a police wit, as the Afrikaners’ plot was often discussed over a braai. Yet Operation Kanu resulted in no action from intelligence agencies, and no arrests of the alleged trainees or the masterminds.
“All spying activities in connection with Operation Kanu were abruptly halted at the beginning of 2010 under yet unexplained circumstances. The teams of intelligence operatives were recalled from the operation sites, all visual material seized and laptops with the surveillance data and situation reports of deep-cover agents taken away from them. The men were told by their superiors that the orders for the cessation of the surveillance operation had come ‘from the top’. No other explanations were given and they were re-deployed to other assignments,” Potgieter wrote.
In response, Farhad said the State has “no doubt done its homework” and was fully aware of the facts to hand. He said Potgieter’s “pro-rightwing Afrikaans bias” was evident by his failure to distinguish that there was credible and overwhelming evidence of the Boeremag terrorist plot, but not any evidence of illegal activity by any South African Muslim on South African soil.
“It can hardly be said to be uninterested in its own politics if it hears of a threat on its doorstep. There is not a threat. The only threat being the Boeremag terrorist organisation was swiftly and competently neutralised. Obviously a sore spot for Potgieter…” He believed the issue was now being politicised by the Democratic Alliance (DA) who has called for a probe into why the investigation was stopped.
His view was that authorities were justified in any such decision and he commended the South African government for “upholding its promise of the constitutional democracy”. “It is a shining example from which so-called advanced states such as the United States and Britain should take lesson,” he added. The cleric stressed that he had made himself available to the South African government for investigation.
“[I will] continue to do so to satisfy them that there is nothing untoward or illegal about my conduct in South Africa.” He concluded by saying that he did not wish to get embroiled in a media war and “will not resort to a tit for tat on every ill-founded accusation”. See the full statement below. VOC (Tasneem Adams)
EFFORT TO UNDERMINE AUTONOMY OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT
1. The article by Potgieter in the Daily Maverick entitled “Al-Qaeda: Alive and well in South Africa” is a regrettable sacrifice of journalistic integrity for an ulterior purpose. Potgieter has, in a misleading and dishonest article, sought to undermine the integrity, credibility and independence of the South African government, expressing the view that they are unable to take steps to maintain law and order in this country. On Radio 702 at about 10 pm on 13 May he expressly stated that improper “influence” was directed to scupper investigations against Farhad Dockrat. The allegation is that the government acted in an unfair manner, by prosecuting Boeremag terrorists who had a hidden agenda to destabilise the country whilst not prosecuting so-called Al-Qaeda operatives in the country.
2. Potgieter’s pro-rightwing Afrikaans bias is evident by his failure to distinguish that there was credible and overwhelming evidence of the Boeremag terrorist plot (with possession of explosives etc) but not an iota of evidence of any illegal activity by any South African Muslim on South African soil, which has/had the potential of threatening either the South African state, or any other foreign state for that matter.
3. Potgieter’s sympathy with a pro-rightwing Afrikaans group that wants to maintain dominance in the particular Cape enclave of Langkloof, which is notorious for its hard line rightwing Afrikaans communities, is self-evident. Potgieter has throughout aligned himself with the rightwing Afrikaner group who have resisted Blacks, such as Farhad Dockrat moving onto the Greylock farm on racial grounds. He has assisted them with a media campaign against Blacks by any means possible, including dishonest publications.
4. Now Potgieter is aligning himself to Pearson, who represents a white minority trying to prevent black families from occupying the Tsitsikamma Golf Estate.
5. Potgieter is recorded on 702 to have said that he took one year to write the article. Potgieter’s approach (which took probably more than a year to craft) is on the face of it an ingenious one: To get rid of the Black Muslims (especially the Malawians whom he rants about) from the white enclave on behalf of his white principals through a tsunami media campaign by wrapping them up in the Al-Qaeda flag. You see under ordinary circumstances, the ANC led South African government will never allow actualy motivated victimisation and eviction of the sort plotted by Potgieter and his broederbond principals to go unheeded. Potgieter calculated that the Al-Qaeda flavour will dissuade the South African government from doing the right thing because his press frenzy will force the US and British intelligence agencies to put pressure on the South African government not to aid “terrorists”. He foresaw that the racially motivated evictions would take place as if the Group Areas Act was in force. Brilliant, wouldn’t you say?
6. What Potgieter miscalculated in the year long plot is that the South African government was born from the pains of freedom fighters that all too well understands neo-colonial and rightwing thinking and cannot be easily duped.
7. It is most curious that Potgieter’s article surfaces on a front page creating a media frenzy and hype all over South Africa on news which is 11 years old. Why now?
8. Pearson is now using this write-up to justify that his community does not want the Black Dockrat family in the Tsitsikamma area because it will result in the US listing of the area as a terrorist hotspot. Surely he cannot be insulting the intelligence of the US and UN to that extent? Truthfully, he wants the Tsitsikamma area to be reserved to the white minority who has for decades enjoyed it to the exclusion of the majority in this country.
THE PRINCIPAL ALLEGATION AGAINST FARHAD DOCKRAT
9. The CIA has, as is apparent from De Wet’s article, made the allegation that in 2001 Farhad Dockrat handed an amount of some R400,000 to the Al-Akhtar Trust. This is not a new allegation. This “news” has been recycled at least a hundred times. Equally this allegation has been repeatedly denied by Farhad and none of the American authorities or CIA have been able to prove the allegation or give any evidence, let alone credible evidence, in support of the allegation. If the allegation was true, surely there could have been some evidence that could be brought forward. Why has it not been brought forward?
10. In any event the Karachi-based Al-Akhtar Trust was only listed on 14 October 2003 by the US Treasury Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224 for its alleged involvement in financing and supporting a network of so called “international Islamist terrorist groups, including the Al Qaeda”. Prior to that it ostensibly operated as a charitable organisation and orphanage. It was permissible to donate funds to it.
11. The United States, in a historic retrospective application of sanction, decided to propose a listing of Farhad and Junaid Dockrat as international terrorists on the United Nation’s listing for an alleged donation two years before Al Akhtar was listed.
12. Can it surprise anyone that our government did not support the listing purely on a rule of law basis – even if it was proved that the money was handed over?
13. The proposed listings were thwarted because it was based on fanciful allegations without any proof. There are two Reuter articles on the 21st and 29th January 2007 which provide good insight on the issue.
14. The first article dated 21 January 2007, is entitled “Terror Accusations Meritless”. The second article dated 29 January 2007 is entitled “Rare Defeat for US in South African Al-Qaeda case by Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent”. An examination of the first article will clearly illustrate that both Junaid and Farhad Dockrat denied any allegations against them as “being patently false and devoid of merit”. The first article also stated that Prof Adam Habib, who himself was denied entry into the United States and deported back to South Africa while on a business trip in 2006, explained how the US had misled the United National Security Council in the past. He was quoted to have said: “On a number of occasions they have identified people who are not terrorists, how do we know this is not one of those times … if the security council is to recognise America’s position … they (the US) must provide proof for the UN and the South African government to interrogate.”
15. Habib was further recorded to have stated that: “If terror links are proven action should be taken.”
16. The first article records that the then Minster of Foreign Affairs and the South African Intelligence Agencies had been in contact with the United States State Department regarding the two men for almost a year, requesting evidence. No evidence was ever adduced.
17. Following the failure to give evidence, the South African government quite correctly and in accordance with its constitutional obligation refused to support the listing of Farhad and Junaid Dockrat at the United National Security Council of Terrorists. The listing endeavour failed.
18. One would have thought that if there was any evidence at that stage, i.e. 2006 when the United States wanted to list both Junaid and Farhad Dockrat at the United Nation Security Council as terrorists, that it could, even on a classified basis, and between states, have furnished the South African government and intelligence agencies with at least some proof of the alleged terrorist activities, which, in turn, would have resulted in the two being listed. The listing did not go ahead because there was no evidence. There was no evidence because there is no wrongdoing.
19. It is to be remembered that when the allegations were made at the time, against both Farhad and Junaid Dockrat, they immediately went on record, through their legal representatives and tendered full and proper interviews, and were prepared to answer all questions at any interview from any authority. At the time the tenders were not accepted because there was no evidence.
20. The matter then slipped into silence from a media perspective. The sensationalism dissipated.
21. Since the evidence was not forthcoming from abroad, Farhad has been under constant surveillance by the government. His privacy has been breached on South African soil in the most unjustifiable manner and unheard of in our constitutional democracy. The manner of invasion of privacy has been a source of misery in Farhad’s life.
22. As is confirmed by Porgieter’s article, Farhad’s telephones were bugged. In fact Farhad often had people following him. Hidden surveillance cameras were placed outside his work place, home and business. There was no privacy in his telephone conversations, and to date there is no privacy for him. It is a fundamental breach of the right to privacy at any level and most offensive to our constitutional democracy.
23. Yet, in spite of these human rights infringements and the extent to which alien intelligence agencies have broken South African law, they have not been able to find any unlawful activity on the part of Farhad. Is that not enough?
24. Is it so surprising then that at that point the spying activities from the South African National Intelligence Agencies ceased. If the investigations ceased prior to the 2010 World Cup as contended for by Potgieter, either the investigators must have been very confident that Farhad was not a threat to the World Cup or they must have been engagingly naive about an Al Qaeda threat. Hindsight proves the former. No bombs went off. So much for the South African Government’s alleged incompetence.
25. To the extent that Potgieter’s article suggests that “all spying activities in connection with operation Kanu were abruptly halted at the beginning of 2010 under yet unexplained circumstance”, he was required to simply apply his mind analytically to the facts and deduce that the witch hunt was futile.
26. Farhad believes that Potgieter must have applied his mind at least once to the issue in the year long period. He must have realised that there is no Al Qaeda threat. His article is therefore a willful misleading for an agenda he is pushing for.
MILITARY STYLE OBSTACLE COURSE
27. There was no “military style” obstacle course. Farhad put into place obstacle courses, including rope climbing, tree climbing, crawling through drums and other fitness obstacle courses. These were installed openly and not covertly. The Zoo Lake in Johannesburg has a jungle gym with similar obstacle courses. . How does that become illegal and how is that linked to Al-Qaeda? Surely, if a person has a farm, he is free to build a jungle gym with a tree house and an obstacle for fitness purposes. It is private property and there is no legal impediment to such obstacle courses.
SURVEILLANCE AND INTELLIGENCE ON GREYLOCK FARM
28. It is noted that Potgieter alleges that a series of sophisticated surveillance cameras were mounted on the neighbours’ farms to monitor every vehicle that enters and leaves the farm as well as activity on the farm. Is it not surprising that since 2007, despite being under 24-hour surveillance, there has not been a single incident of any illegal activity recorded on Greylock farm? There has not been a single reported event of any Al-Qaeda related activity caught by the camera.
29. It is also noted that undercover agents successfully planted homing devices on Farhad’s vehicles in order to monitor his movements. This too yielded in nothing.
30. That must surely mean, at a very elementary level – even to Potgieter – or even to somebody with a compromised IQ for that matter, that no illegal activities are being conducted. Potgieter is reputed to be possessed of a very well endowed IQ which reinforces that notion he knowingly crafted the article with its core of lies.
31. Moreover, he is seasoned in the art of politics beyond many of his colleagues. He gained much of his crafty training by twisted reporting in the old apartheid era for the brutal security forces at whose hands many Black freedom fighters were tortured and killed. He was a master of illusion whose silky pen aided the apartheid Government in its most awkward moments. Yes, he knows well of “Vlakplaas” and the innocent youth that were ravaged in its precinct. His biased and untruthful, but remarkable reporting skills, can have devastating effect as we have seen in the past. Farhad invites Pretorius to offer an unedited resume and collection of his works and articles.
RELOCATION FROM GREYLOCK AND THE WATER SAGA
32. The suggestion by Potgieter that Farhad Dockrat wants to relocate to the Tsitsikamma Golf Estate is mistaken. Farhad has no intention to relocate. He is settled in Greylock. There is no desire to create a “Muslim haven” in Tsitsikamma or Greylock. Solly Dockrat appointed Farhad Dockrat to attend to maintenance work on the farm.
33. Potgieter’s reporting of the water case on Greylock is incorrect. When Farhad Dockrat acquired Greylock, he purchased a farm with a stream in it. The next door neighbour, Mr Loocke, has three such streams independently from the mountain. However, when Dockrat purchased Greylock, Loocke, a staunch and racist Afrikaner, conspired with the other surrounding Afrikaner farmers. They hatched a plot, putting up a false agreement between all the Afrikaner neighbours, contending that they all had rights to the stream running through Greylock and that Greylock only had a right to draw from its own stream for two days out of fifteen days.
34. In a bid to negatively impact on the case for Farhad when the matter first came up in court, Potgieter strategically published the same recycled “news” which was repeated in the Rapport on 7 September 2008 under the title “Al Qaida en leiwater ‘terreur’.” There was also an article “Talibaan in Suid-Kaap”.
35. As a result of the two day water cycle which was unlawfully imposed by the Afrikaner farmers, 12,378 of Greylock’s pristine peach and other trees died. At a cost of R139.75 per tree, this resulted in a loss of R1,729,825.50 to Farhad for trees alone, excluding loss of income.
36. A preliminary point in the water case was argued on 25 October 2011 before the Cape High Court in which it was pointed out that the existence of the agreement was inherently improbable for various reasons and that the agreement was a plot hatched to starve Greylock of water on racial grounds.
37. A decisive judgment was granted in favour of Greylock by the honourable Justice Saba against the neighbours. Their racially motivated plot failed. The Afrikaner consortium then sought leave to appeal the judgment of the High Court and have ever since not pursued such a leave to appeal obviously because it has no merit. The matter has not come up in court since then.
38. It is thus a deliberate misrepresentation that “the Dockrats eventually lost the case in 2012”. In fact, Farhad won the application with costs. A court order proves that. A copy of the order is obtainable from the Cape High Court under case number 25325/2010.
39. The claim instituted by Farhad Dockrat against the Loocke family for unlawfully diverting water from Greylock farm which caused a substantial loss in the form of death of the fruit trees is under case number 21794/2011. The Loockes have requested a settlement and have asked the Dockrats not to pursue the case against them in the interest of “good neighbourliness” – whilst planting surveillance equipment against Farhad.
ALLEGATIONS ABOUT TSITSIKAMMA GOLF CLUB HOSTILE TAKE-OVER
40. There was no hostile takeover through false pretenses as alleged; there were no AK-47 rifles; there was no incident about threatening an elderly woman. This is outrageous and untruthful.
41. Why have charges for intimidation and threats not been laid by the “elderly woman”. This is a master piece of deceptive journalism by the ex Vlakplaas reporter.
42. In conclusion, it is respectfully submitted that the article by Potgieter is self evidently mischievous. On its own it smacks of inherently improbable and farfetched assertions.
43. It is aimed at achieving a political objective of keeping the Western Cape as white as possible, excluding the possibility of it becoming a rainbow nation. It is aimed at neutralising the South African government from taking steps in preventing racial segregation in this country. It is aimed at unjustifiably embarrassing the South African government as being an incompetent state. It is aimed at garnering US support to further a racist objective. It is truly a masterpiece in deception.
44. The State has no doubt done its homework and is no doubt fully aware of the facts to hand. It can hardly be said to be uninterested in its own politics if it hears of a threat on its doorstep. There is not a threat. The only threat being the Boeremag terrorist organisation was swiftly and competently neutralised. Obviously a sore spot for Pogieter.
45. There are comments from the DA who have jumped onto the bandwagon criticizing the ANC led Government on failing to curb an alleged Al Qaida threat.
46. Farhad commends the South African government for upholding its promise of the constitutional democracy that it promised to bring to this country and its citizens. It is a shining example from which so-called advanced states such as the United States and Britain should take lesson.
47. Farhad Dockrat has always made himself available to the South African government and will continue to do so to satisfy them that there is nothing untoward or illegal of his conduct in South Africa.
48. Farhad does not wish to get embroiled in a media war and will not resort to a tit for tat on every ill-founded accusation.