Assistant editor’s note: This first appeared on Gumshoe on April 15, 2015 as “1960s Assassinations.” Now the author adds more about the patsy, Dimitri Tsafendas
by Dee McLachlan
After the 1960s and a spate of assassinations, leaders (with a few exceptions) have never really been able to lead again. And it seems it all started with Patrice Lumumba – the first legally elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He was assassinated on 17 January, 1961, and, said the Guardian,
“This heinous crime was a culmination of two interrelated assassination plots by American and Belgian governments, which used Congolese accomplices and a Belgian execution squad to carry out the deed”.
The West is in the belief that it holds the lantern of democracy – but they blew out the flame a long time ago.
A short extract from Lumumba’s Independence speech:
“…Together we shall establish social justice and ensure for every man a fair remuneration for his labour… We shall see to it that the lands of our native country truly benefit its children. We shall revise all the old laws and make them into new ones that will be just and noble.
We shall stop the persecution of free thought. We shall see to it that all citizens enjoy to the fullest extent
the basic freedoms provided for by the Declaration of Human Rights…”
He spoke of the struggle against the colonizers – and today we could just replace “colonizers” with “global multinationals.” He was not good for business, and thus his arrest was “orchestrated”. He was assassinated in 1961.
Just as Americans remember what they were doing the day JFK was shot in 1963, I can recall the day at school (in Pretoria) when we were informed that Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Verwoerd had been assassinated.
Verwoerd – known as the “Architect of Apartheid” – was killed after entering the House of Assembly on 6 September 1966. A uniformed parliamentary messenger, Dimitri Tsafendas, stabbed Verwoerd in the neck and chest four times before being subdued by other members of the Assembly. He had no plan for escape.
The ‘Loner’ Narrative
Even though a medical doctor in the House who attended to Verwoerd said “The assassin must have received training in the art of wielding a knife”, the “lone wolf ” scenario (like Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan) was quickly rolled out.
On the 7th of September, one day after the assassination, “The Star” (Johannesburg) had a headline: “No sign of assassination plot. This was the work of a lone killer, says Vorster”.
John Vorster was appointed as successor to Verwoerd. He quickly appointed his own commission of enquiry – consisting of ONE MAN – who found that there was “no ground for the rumour that the wounds had been inflicted by an expert”.
At the time I was a kid, and my parents (who were very anti-apartheid) never questioned the story.
The Assassin. Dimitri Tsafendas was of Greek descent and joined the Communist Party in the 1930s. He then became a seaman and spent 20 years travelling. He began to experience psychotic episodes that resulted in short periods of institutionalization in various countries, including 6-month detention on Ellis Island (!) where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Although classified ‘white,’ Tsafendas was shunned in white circles because of his dark skin. He had applied to have his classification changed to ‘coloured’ but was turned down.
In 1966, the press reported that the Security Police had a file on Tsafendas – but political reporter Michael Smith claims the Security Police had no fewer than FOUR files. It’s improbable that a coloured-skin person with several secret files would have been “allowed” near the prime minister – in a government paranoid about the swart gevaar (“the black threat”).
The Hoek Report.
Like JFK who spoke out against secret societies and signed Executive Order 11110, to issue interest free loans, Dr Verwoerd was putting the screws on big business and big banking.
He had launched an inquiry into “Die Georganiseerde Geldmag” (The Organized Money Power)! He asked Professor Piet Hoek to investigate the stranglehold that economic monopolies such as Anglo American (the Oppenheimers, mining), Rembrandt (liquor and cigarettes), Trust Bank (Jan Marais), and Sanlam (Wasenaar, insurance), were holding.
This Hoek Report was finished after Verwoerd’s death; Vorster refused to publish it. In the 1987 book, South Africa Inc., by Pallister, Stewart, and Lepper, it is alleged that Oppenheimer lobbied the Rothschilds to overthrow Verwoerd.
Photo credit: backstage.playscripts.com