ONE of the most efficient and effective strategies of dictatorships that has been used since time immemorial to suppress any form of opposition, has been the employment of “false flag” operations, which they use to blame their opponents in order to justify their widespread persecution and suppression.
Guest column:Taurai J Pachena
A “false flag” is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.
One of the most popular and typical “false flag” operation was The Reichstag Fire, that most of us studied in history at school.
This was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on February 27 1933. The fire started in the Session Chamber, and, by the time the police and firemen arrived, the main room was engulfed in flames.
The fire was used as evidence by the Nazis that the Communists were beginning a plot against the German government, subsequently leading to the arrest of Communist leaders.
Adolf Hitler, who was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany four weeks before, on January 30, urged President Paul von Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the “ruthless confrontation of the Communist Party of Germany”.
With civil liberties suspended, the government instituted mass arrests of Communists, including parliamentary delegates. With their bitter rival, the Communists, gone and their seats empty, the National Socialist German Workers Party went from being a plurality party to the majority; subsequent elections confirmed that position and thus allowed Hitler to consolidate his power.
There have been numerous other false flag operations throughout history, but the modus operandi has been the same.
A government conducts an attack on itself and makes the attack to appear to be by enemy nations, terrorists, or opposition parties – giving the nation that was supposedly attacked a pretext for domestic repression or foreign military aggression.
In fact, one of the most controversial recent alleged false flag operations – which had global repurcussions – were the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, USA – which were blamed on Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group – which resulted in the so-called “war on terror” attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.
An increasing number of scholars and investigators, both in the US and globally, believe they have evidence that the 9/11 attacks were planned by the USA on itself to justify the subsequent wars. This brings us back to Zimbabwe. Who really has been behind the recent violent protests that have resulted in a brutal crackdown on the opposition MDC
Alliance – the most gruesome being the January 14 to 16 destruction of property in the country’s major cities?
On August 1, 2018, two days after an otherwise peaceful election, the country was rocked by violent protests in Harare, allegedly perpetrated by the MDC Alliance – as they were not happy with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec) apparent delay in releasing presidential election results – leading to the fatal shooting of at least six unarmed people by security forces using live ammunition. According to reports, none of those killed were part of the violent protestors. Why?
Are Zimbabwe security forces not good enough to aim at their targets, such that they missed any of the violent protestors, but shot bystanders?
From the testimonies presented to the subsequently established Monthlante commission of inquiry, most of those arrested for the protests actually did not take part, but were arrested while going about their duties at the MDC Alliance head offices.
The more violent protests of January 2019 had the same hallmarks, except that this time they were more widespread – covering some major cities.
However, as before, the violence was blamed on the opposition MDC Alliance – despite the fact that this was supposed to be a stayaway, and called for by the labour movement.
People were urged to simply stay at home – and, no one was ever urged to demonstrate, no matter how peacefully – let alone go on a violent rampage.
Nonetheless, there was widespread looting and vandalism of business properties, and the country’s security forces did not seem to do anything to stop these so-called hooligans.
Only later did the forces start shooting people with live ammunition, leading to the killing of at least 20 people and the injury due to gunshot wounds of hundreds.
According to local and international human rights organisations, most of those arrested en-masse for the violence were rounded up at their residential areas, not at the scene during the protests. Additionally, these suspects were denied even the most basic constitutional rights, such as adequate access to their legal counsel.
Their subsequent trials were also a sham after they were largely denied bail and rushly sentenced to outrageous years in jail.
Meanwhile, security forces continued to carry out wanton brutality against innocent people going about their business in their residential areas with reports of rapes and beating ups.
The Internet was, of course, conveniently shutdown, so as to cover up these atrocities under the guise of maintaining State security.
In all this, those in authority repeatedly blamed the MDC Alliance, who they said were acting in cahoots with civil society organisations and Western governments for the violence to unconstitutionally unseat a democratically elected government.
If that were the case, if these violent protests were not false flag operations, and the MDC Alliance had indeed planned everything in order to unconstitutionally topple the government of Zimbabwe, why are top leaders like Nelson Chamisa walking about freely?
Should he not as a “terrorist leader” have been the first one to be arrested?
So why is he a free man, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa even inviting him for talks at State House?
In fact, if this was not a mere false flag operation, why has the MDC Alliance not been banned? Let us not forget that these allegations being made recklessly by the government are very serious, and, if genuine, would naturally lead to the banning of the MDC Alliance and the arrest of its entire leadership. Yes, there has been some arrests of some MDC
Alliance members, including Members of Parliament, but the very top leaderships is free.
Remember what happened in Egypt in 2013/14 when then democratically-elected President Morsi was toppled, his organisation, the Moslem Brotherhood, was declared a terrorist entity, resulting in him and thousands of members being arrested.
But, the lack of such a response in Zimbabwe in the wake of the violent protests described as subversive, terrorist and an attempt to unconstitutionally remove the government clearly shows that the government is playing games with the people of Zimbabwe and the international community in an effort to persecute and by extension, repress the nation and
soil the name of the MDC Alliance, by branding them terrorists, who are destroying people’s lives.
Even in Rhodesia, liberation movements that were swiftly labelled terrorist organisations, were immediately banned – with their leaders arrested.
However, since the formation of the opposition MDC in 1999, some very serious accusations have been made by the Zanu PF government against the party.
The MDC has been accused of being agents of foreign Western governments to unconditionally remove a democratically-elected government. They have been accused of calling for economic sanctions, which have led to the complete destruction of the country’s economy and the untold suffering of ordinary people.
And now, they are being accused of possessing weapons of war, and having a military wing – the Vanguard and democratic resistance committees – which, the regime blamed for the fatal shooting of at least six people on August 1 2018. Yet, over the past 20 years of the MDC’s existence, no criminal charges have ever been brought against the party – in spite of what, in any normal country, would be the most serious crimes against the State – ranging from treason to terrorism.
The reason is very obvious to all those who care to open their eyes – the MDC is innocent, and all these allegations by the Zanu PF regime are false and merely meant to subjugate and oppress the opposition party – as well as any other voice of dissent.
Zanu PF has no shred of evidence regarding their 20-year long accusations and allegations against the MDC Alliance!
As we have already seen, some of MDC Alliance MPs are routinely being arrested, even after being granted bail by the courts.
It is all about persecution and defaming of the MDC Alliance without any concrete proof of any wrong doing.
For instance, the alleged involvement of the party in the January violent protests is flimsy and premised on one video in which a party official urges members to heed the labour union’s call for a stayaway!
That is all the regime considers enough proof that the MDC Alliance was behind the violence that rocked the nation!
Let us not forget that this is not the first time that the Zanu PF regime stands accused of being involved in false flag operations.
In the 1980s, the Zanu PF regime was accused of deploying the Fifth Brigade military unit to the Midlands and Matebeleland provinces, which committed genocidal atrocities in
which over 20 000 innocent and unarmed men, women and children were gruesomely massacred under the pretext of fighting a “dissident” insurgency.
How many “dissidents” were these?
According to some expert figures, not more than 20 men!
One then wonders whether such a brazen murder of over 20 000 people just to eliminate 20 “dissidents” made any sense.
Besides, if expert analysis is to be believed, of those 20 “dissidents” only three or so were ever killed by the military!
So, what was really going on?
A cross section of both local and international analysts are convinced that these so-called dissidents were actually Zanu PF operatives, who were moved from one place to another
also committing a fair amount of killings on these same targets as the military.
As far as false flag operations are concerned, in my view, Zanu PF are masters, and the recent violent protests – which resulted in the brutal crackdown on both the opposition
MDC Alliance and innocent citizens – can never be disputed.
Why did the security forces fail to control the violent protests, despite their superior firepower?
Why did they have to wait and only arrest the “hooligans” at their homes, yet not arrest them on the scene of the crime?
Why were all those arrested denied access to their legal counsel?
Why were their trials haphazardly and rushly conducted, as if to cover up any real testimonies from the accused?
If Zimbabweans, and the world, fail to see this blatant Zimbabwe version of the Reichstag Fire, then we are all, either blind or merely refusing to see it!