The following is part of the text of my thoughts about the comments posted at my YouTube Channel in regard to a newsreel I uploaded over four months ago which was a 1977 report on the training and activities of the Rhodesian Army Special Forces unit known as the Selous Scouts.
. The Content of the Newsreel
The original source gives very little details except to name the news reporter, identify Major Ronald Reid-Daly and provide short descriptions of what is happening in the reel. The title of upload and the brief elaborations within the text are my creation.
I will go into details later about the allegations of Selous Scouts involvement in False Flag operations. Needless to say, some comments here which have dismissed this as anti-Rhodesian “BBC Marxist Death Cult Propaganda” are wide of the mark. The ITN report gives a sympathetic portrayal of the Selous Scouts. Any rational person can hear the allegations regarding the massacre of the missionaries to Major Reid-Daly and his denial. I uploaded a short interview with Reid-Daly conducted by another news agency and the same question was put to him, and the same denial was issued. There was good reason for him to be asked based on circumstantial evidence. What is more the subsequent failure of a Selous Scout operation involving the bombing of churches in Salisbury in 1980 and to which I alluded to in the description box vindicates that line of questioning.
If anyone simply sees this newsreel as merely “anti-Rhodesian” then it speaks of an inflexible and ineradicable mindset of indoctrination -the very mindset which such people accuse both their real and perceived opponents of having.
. Rhodesia: A Colonial Settler Project Against Which Rebellion Was a Perfectly Natural Reaction
Rhodesia was a colonial settler project. This involved subjugation, land expropriation and the imposition of a caste system within which the subjugated Black Africans were exploited by Whites of mainly British descent. The social and economic system may have appeared a benign one to the Rhodesians who favourably compared it (and still do so) to the Apartheid system in neighbouring South Africa, but it was nonetheless a system based on the Whites monopolising access to the country’s natural resources and keeping the Africans whose lands they acquired by force in their place.
Judging by many comments made by supporters of the late Rhodesia on this upload, it may come as a shock to more than a few, but human history is replete with societies who have rebelled against such a state of affairs. This was the case with Algeria, Palestine, the Slavic lands of Eastern Europe, and Kenya. And where the native populations who were looked upon variously as “Untermensch” or “uncivilised” (the White Nationalist term today would be “low I.Q.” peoples), avoided extermination, they fought back to reclaim their native lands.
The Black Africans of what came to be the territory of Rhodesia were no different from Catholic Irish resisting British colonisation; the Muslim Algerians resisting French domination, the Black African Kenyans resisting the British or the Palestinians resisting the militias of the Jewish Agency in Palestine and the State of Israel once it was established.
This allusion to Marxist-thinking as the root of the evil which stimulated Black Africans to fight against the Rhodesian “paradise” is as absurd as it is lazy in its construct. The fact that the Soviet Union and China gave aid and support to liberation movements in Africa and Asia, and to some extent in Latin America, was more an accident of history. Resistance against any colonial settler entity such as Rhodesia, is an ineluctable facet of the human psyche.
The Poles and other Slavs who were referred to as subhuman by the Nazis were not concerned about Hitler’s assertion that Germany’s Slavic neighbours owed all the achievements in culture to the German race. The Irish who were lampooned as ape-like, rowdy, and prone to fecundity did not care too much about British-English civilisation which under Cromwell had massacred them. It was under British rule after all that the devastating famine took place. Today, this mentality persists in Irish Republican communities who perceive Israel as an unjust and oppressive colonial settler state and support the Palestinian cause, while the Unionists take the opposite view.
The Kenyans correctly wanted their land back, as did the Algerians and as do the Palestinians. Why do Old Rhodesians resent the idea that the Blacks would want their land back? As with the aforementioned peoples, the Black African resented the paternalistic and oppressive system, and resisted.
Cecil Rhodes, the man who gave the country its name, was at the heart of the system through which Black African workers were brutally exploited. If such a statement strikes any one as being somehow “Marxist”, it proves the point of the distorted lens through which some Old Rhodesians choose to view the world. The massacres of Ndebele people prior to and after the Rudd Agreement using maxim guns was a deliberate cruelty which went further than the prosecution of war. It was genocide.
Land expropriation, labour exploitation, and genocide: that was the foundation of Rhodesia.
. The Insurgency in Rhodesia: False Flags, Black Propaganda and Psychological Warfare
I note comments relating to the news reporter’s reference to the murder of European Roman Catholic Missionaries in 1977 as having possibly been an operation carried out by the Selous Scouts have been met by disbelief and recourse to the tired mantra of the “biased Marxist media”. As I wrote in the description box, the Scouts specialised in irregular warfare with its methods including “infiltration, assassination, abduction, torture, sabotage and blackmail”.
For those who are ignorant of the concept of the “False Flag” operation i.e. the carrying out of a mission designed to discredit the opposition, I would simply ask you to find out about “Operation Susannah”, an operation conducted by Israeli Military Intelligence in 1954. Known as “The Lavon Affair”, it was a botched attempt by the Israelis to disrupt closer relations between Nasser of Egypt and the Americans and the British. The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was part and parcel of this sort of playbook. You are also invited to find out about “Operation Northwoods”, a diabolical plan approved by the Pentagon which sought to stage terror attacks on American soil to blame on Cuban Communists in order to present an opportunity to invade and overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Again, read up on the Anni diPiombo (or “Years of Lead”) in Italy from the late 1960s to the middle 1980s when NATO’s Gladio network enabled Fascist-sympathising militias to murder innocent civilians in order to blame Marxist and Anarchist groups. The bombs in Piazza Fontana (1969) and Peteano (1972) provide examples of this diabolical “Strategy of Tension” (“La Strategia della Tensione”). The Bologna bomb in 1980 was also an example although there was no question from the outset that it was the responsibility of a neo-Fascist group.
Now interestingly, Major Reid-Daly served in Malaya where Frank Kitson, the exponent-in-chief of the counter-insurgency doctrine of the British Army, was developing (after his experience in Kenya) his methods which encompassed the aforementioned specialisms of the Selous Scouts, added to which was the use of “Black Propaganda”. Kitson used his colonial experiences in Northern Ireland against the Irish Republican Army. Feel free to search for information on the activities of the Military Reaction Force (MRF) which apart from assassinating suspected Republican guerrillas, murdered innocent civilians in order to blame the IRA.
Anyone who researches the murder of the missionaries will find out that it was not an open and shut case for affixing responsibility to any of the parties. As in all wars, a propaganda war was being fought, and Rhodesia was no exception. Using the dark arts of false flag operations was evidently part of this. In fact, as I mention in the description box, two Black African members of the Scouts who were involved in planting explosives in churches in Salisbury in February 1980, were themselves accidentally blown up by one of their bombs. The aim of this Selous Scouts operation was to make it seem that operatives working for the military wing of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF organisation had planted the bombs (ZANU literature was left at the various locations) because as a Marxist, Mugabe (the Jesuit Marxist) was “against” Christianity. This was an attempt to discredit Mugabe’s political party in the run up to the elections in what was to become Zimbabwe.
Therefore, it is not inconceivable that Black members of the Selous Scouts disguised as African guerrillas were used to conduct the massacres of the missionaries in order to present the African militias as anti-clerical.
At least one comment refers to the “savageness” of the guerrillas when dealing with “uncooperative” African villagers. I do not know the ins and outs of every single facet of the Bush War in Rhodesia, but that commentator and others reading this should be aware of cruelties practised by the Rhodesian side. There is a film I have yet to upload about a British mercenary hired to combat poaching. This man was allowed to shoot at Black Africans at once a 6PM curfew came without considering whether his target was a poacher or late getting home. And to claim his bounty, he did not have to produce a dead body, only the right ear from it.
The Selous Scouts acted with savagery, killing innocent civilians in neighbouring countries -not by mistake i.e. the euphemistic “collateral damage”, but as a means of psychological warfare. A good example of this was in the Scouts raid on a ZANLA camp, situated at Nyadzonya-Pungwe, Mozambique in August 1976. They got to the camp by disguising their armoured vehicles in the colours of the Mozambique Army (a classic False Flag tactic) and, according to Major Reid-Daly, massacred up to a thousand.
It was seemingly an impressive tally, except that the Selous Scouts had shot many guerrillas who were unarmed as they stood in formation for a parade. The camp was formally registered as a refugee camp with the United Nations. Guerrillas were present, but the Scouts raiding party saw fit to set fire to the camp hospital following which all the patients were burned alive.
The thinly veiled racism among some of these comments seek to promote the idea of savagery being the preserve of Africans while forgetting European-originated depravity. It is interesting how the brutalities inflicted on Africans by European colonial powers prefigured those visited on their fellow Europeans including Jews during the period leading up to World War 2 and of course during the war itself: the genocide against the Namaqua and Herrero by Kaiser-era German colonisers, and the use of bodily parts in experiments are just two. The Boer has not forgotten the British concentration camps and neither have the Ethiopians who endured Italian camps in Somaliland and who were massacred by Black Shirts in Addis Ababa in 1937.
In the case of Rhodesia, how can the facts of the brutal counter-insurgency campaign employed in the 1970s be ignored? Bulldozers and flamethrowers were used to defoliate 54,000 square miles of countryside. The “Free Fire Zones” set up by the Rhodesian Army meant that any Black African found within them would be shot on sight. There were curfews imposed on the Black population (effectively martial law) and there was internment and forced resettlement.
There was a campaign of terror which did not stop with killing Black African guerrillas - many of whom were not killed in action but tortured prior to being murdered- it also extended to Black African civilians.
. The Insurgency in Rhodesia: A Lost Cause
Some of the commentators on this page are Black. They have objectively stated that the Selous Scouts were a formidable fighting force. I have acknowledged this fact in the description box. But they were fighting a lost cause. The frequent references to being “betrayed” by the British (and the Americans) has a hollow ring to it. It is redolent of the “stab in the back” rationale popularised by German Nationalists in the aftermath of World War 1.
The war in Rhodesia, as was the case with the wars in Angola and Mozambique, came at the tail end of the decolonisation of Africa. The Selous Scouts doubtlessly had many victories, but so did the French military in Algeria, the British in Kenya and Aden and the Portuguese in southern Africa.
Rhodesia would have collapsed without the support of the British whose kith and kin policy essentially held sway right to the end. They did not invade Rhodesia after UDI. The British bypassed sanctions by supplying Rhodesia with oil through Mozambique until the Portuguese withdrew.
. Modern Day Racial Warfare & Identity Politics
It seems to me that those who yearn for old Rhodesia have fused their ideological raison d’etre with the present-day manifestations of identity politics. They are White Nationalists or in the parlance of many on the mainstream political left, “White Supremacists”. The use of the term White Supremacist is in many ways an objective one. White Rhodesians after all enjoyed a great amount of privilege; real, tangible privilege. Not the asinine expressions utilised in today’s “Culture wars” where terms such as “White Privilege”, “Black Privilege'', “Jewish Privilege” and so on are frequently used. They enjoyed a standard of living which owed a great deal to the subjugation and exploitation of the indigenous Black African population. The linkage with White Supremacy comes from the use of the old Rhodesian Flag as a source of militant White identity as was the case with the mass murderer Dylann Roof. There was also the case of the Alberta-based Canadian soldiers who were discovered to be selling White Nationalist-Supremacist flags, badges, and literature.
The truth is that Rhodesia was no beacon of democracy which offered its Black African population a vision for the future. Rhodesia collapsed under the weight of its contradictions. Some such as quite a number of commentators on this post can gloat about the failings of the political leaders of Zimbabwe, but the truth is that they are living in denial about the nature of the system and the fact that that system was doomed to failure. And as was the case with the French-Algerian Pieds-Noir and the Boer, they must face up to this.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2020).
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.