[Marxism] The company `anti-imperialist' Mugabe keeps

glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Fri Jul 4 18:24:13 MDT 2008

Two items that shed some light on the reality of Mugabe's ``land 
reforms'' and the true extent of ``sanctions'' on his authoritarian 
capitalist regime ...


 From News24 (SA), 2 July

SA expat in bid for Zim land

Julian Rademeyer, Beeld

Johannesburg - A South African expatriate has paid millions of dollars 
to a former Israeli gun-runner with links to Robert Mugabe in a bid to 
secure 99-year leases on farmland seized by the Zimbabwean government as 
part of its land-reform programme. Paul Calder le Roux, 35, hired Ari 
Ben-Menashe, a self-proclaimed former Mossad spy who famously tried to 
discredit Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by implicating 
him in a plot to assassinate Mugabe, to facilitate the land deal. 
According to documents filed with the United States Justice Department, 
Le Roux - who now lives in the Philippines - transferred at least $12m 
(nearly R94m) to Ben-Menashe's Canadian consultancy, Dickens & Madson, 
between March 2007 and February this year. Beeld managed to track Le 
Roux to Manila and contacted him by phone and e-mail. "Thank you for 
your e-mail. However, I have no comment," was all he would say.

In an interview with Colin Freeze of the Globe and Mail, Ben-Menashe 
said: "Those deals are just land in Zimbabwe, that's all ...This is not 
money that has come into our (Dickens & Madson's) pockets." He added 
that his relationship with the Mugabe regime had been "helpful" in 
facilitating the deals. "Now, the government is willing to lease all 
kinds of land to all kinds of people. Things are cheap there... The 
owners and masters of the land are the black government." He refused to 
comment on his dealings with Le Roux. "It's private... I don't want to 
get into details." But Le Roux's involvement with Ben-Menashe - the 
self-described "man of infamy" who set up Tsvangirai - raises serious 
questions. In February 2002, Tsvangirai was charged with treason in 
Harare after Ben-Menashe leaked grainy videotapes of talks with the MDC 
leader in Montreal in which he appeared to be asking for Dickens & 
Madson's help in "eliminating" Mugabe. Tsvangirai denied the allegation. 
He admitted attending the meeting with what he thought were political 
consultants, and said he left the room when those present began talking 
about killing Mugabe.

Ben-Menashe was the Zimbabwean government's star witness, but the judge 
eventually threw out the case, describing Ben-Menashe as a "rude, 
unreliable and contemptuous" witness. He found that "nowhere" in the 
tape was there a "direct request made by the accused... to assassinate 
the president". Ben-Menashe later went on to do public relations work 
for his "old friend, Bob" Mugabe. Beeld has seen a copy of an agreement 
between Le Roux and Ben-Menashe, which was signed on April 2 2007 in 
Montreal. The vaguely-worded document makes no mention of Zimbabwe and 
states that Le Roux has retained Ben-Menashe's firm to "lobby the 
executive and/or legislative branches of the government of the United 
States of America and of any other mutually agreed upon country" on his 
behalf. It states that Dickens & Madson will "provide other confidential 
services to assist Mr Le Roux in achieving his goals". According to the 
document, Le Roux had to pay $1.2m for Ben-Menashe's "services" on 
signing the contract.

Submissions made to the US Justice Department by Ben-Menashe in terms of 
the US Foreign Agents Registration Act stated that Le Roux "intends to 
become involved in the leasing of real estate for farming and other 
purposes in Zimbabwe". A document dated April 6 last year goes further, 
stating that Dickens and Madson Canada Inc "will attempt to arrange 
meetings with representatives of the executive and legislative branches 
of the US government in order to attempt to generate policies favourable 
to the business activities of (Le Roux), in particular, but without 
limitation, (his) efforts to lease farmland from the government of 
Zimbabwe". Le Roux is described as a businessman who "deals in internet 
commerce and in the installation of call centres in southeast Asia, 
Costa Rica and Israel". By his own account, he was born in what was then 
Rhodesia and wants to "set down roots" in Zimbabwe. He remains something 
of an enigma. He lived in Krugersdorp. In 2002, he registered a company 
called Planetsolar. Then he emigrated. He lives in Manila in the 
Philippines in an exclusive, high-security suburb, Dasmari'as Village, 
which is home to politicians, businessmen and more than a dozen foreign 



Anglo American Defiant On Zimbabwe
Lionel Laurent, 06.25.08, 9:50 AM ET

LONDON - Zimbabwe may not be top of anyone's list for best places to invest, given the tense political climate and despotic rule of president Robert Mugabe, but Anglo-South African miner Anglo American is defending its controversial plans to develop a platinum mine in the country.

"The responsible development of the Unki mine will create a long-term viable business which will be important to the economic future of Zimbabwe for years to come," Anglo American (nasdaq: AAUK - news - people ) said in a press release on Wednesday ...

Although Anglo American said it was monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe "very closely," and that it was reviewing "all options" surrounding the project, the firm made it clear that withdrawing from Zimbabwe would jeopardize the livelihood of its 650 employees and contractors.

The British mining firm was responding to press reports citing widespread condemnation of Anglo American's decision to invest in Zimbabwe, at a time when most other firms are freezing or scaling back operations. The London Times cited Rio Tinto, Barclays (nyse: BCS - news - people ) and British American Tobacco (nyse: BTI - news - people ) as firms that had refused to expand operations until Mugabe had left power.

A spokesman for Anglo American was unavailable for comment.


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