Thursday, February 24, 2022

Freedom (5) Clash

If we participate in society, most of what we do will affect others and often limit their freedom. Here is another example. In the UK a significant percentage of the people hospitalised with Covid were unvaccinated, despite the unvaccinated being a significantly smaller proportion of the population.

If a person who is not vaccinated gets infected with Covid, Tuberculosis, Smallpox, etc. becomes seriously ill and needs hospital care, they will expect nurses and doctors to risk their own health while taking care of them during their sickness. The nurses (who will be doing most of the care) and the doctors who support them don’t get a choice. Most nurses hate having to wear PPE all day because it is massively unpleasant and hard to wear safely, but they don’t get a choice. The freedom of the person who chooses not to get vaccinated comes at the cost of the freedom of those who have to care for them.

Not everyone who chooses not to be vaccinated will get seriously ill, so they can choose to run the risk, but a percentage of the group will end up needing hospital care. The risk for each individual is small, but the risk of the group as a whole is certain. At the time when they make their decision, the individuals don’t know if they will become seriously ill or not, but they hope not. The nurses have to deal with the risk that comes from the entire group, which is serious because it is certain that some of the group will get seriously ill.

This is a situation where a whole lot of low-risk, self-interested decisions by individual people create a significant risk for the nurses who have to care for those in the group whose choice proves to be wrong. And the more people that choose the self-interested option, the greater the risks for nurses become. This is not a trivial risk, because numerous nurses have died of Covid contracted while caring for others.

If the illness gets really serious and the person spends a couple of weeks in an Intensive Care Unit, several people who were booked for surgery will have it cancelled, because the ICU beds necessary to diminish the risk of complications from the surgery are not available for the couple of days when they might need.

The free actions of people in a group can often reduce the freedom of others. The choice of one person might not make much difference, but the choices of the group as a whole do. That raises the question of how committed people are to putting their own benefit and needs ahead of the good of society ahead.

In these situations, where there is a conflict between freedoms, I notice that the people who are actively pursuing their personal freedom, the self-interested usually come out ahead of those who are committed to serving the needs of others. This tells us something about the state of our culture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Freedom (4) and Government

In the modern world, everyone wants their nation to be governed by a government (I don’t, but that is another story). Expectations of governments have vastly increased and people now expect their government to resolve all the big problems that hinder their living. Modern governments see themselves as responsible for solving all problems that may arise in their society. And most people seem to be happy with this. Even farmers, who were once ruggedly independent, now call on the government to help when they face labour shortages, droughts or flood damage.

The corollary is that modern governments have demanded more and more power to deal with their increasing responsibilities. And most people seem to be happy with that too.

However, we need to understand that when we submit to our government by voting in an election, we are giving up considerable freedom. We are giving the government authority significant power to interfere in our lives to limit what we can do, and to force us to do things that we don’t want to do. A human government can decide how much of our income they will take in taxes. They can take land and use it for public purposes. They can conscript young people and force them to fight in wars that they don’t support.

The distinguishing feature of every government is that it has a monopoly to use force and coercion to get its will done. Government is the only agency in society that has this power. That is why people like it; because they hope it will force people whom they think are bad to do the right thing.

This problem is not new. Back in the time when Samuel was a prophet to Israel (1 Sam 8), the people said,

We want a government, like the other nations.
Samuel warned them what will happen,
You will lose your freedom.
This was a serious loss. When God gave the Torah through Moses, he gave Israel a legal system that would allow the people to live in close proximity and interreact with each other within society with minimum loss of freedom. Unfortunately, the children of Israel rejected God’s system, and chose to be ruled by a government like the heathen nations around them.

People in the modern world have made the same choice. They have rejected the Government of God, and chosen to be ruled by a human government. However, the cost is a loss of freedom.

In New Zealand, the parliament has absolute sovereignty. (This is different from the United States where the constitution places a few limits on what Congress can do). The elected government can pass any law for which it can get a majority of votes. There are no limits on what it can do, except that if people hate its actions too much, it might be voted out in the next election. However, if both main parties are in agreement, the parliament can pass unpopular laws and enforce related regulations. Our bill of rights is relatively weak, because the specified rights can be proscribed by any “law that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

People are currently protesting against their loss of freedom due to vaccine mandates. The reality is that freedom disappeared long ago when people decided to put their trust in governments to resolve the problems of life. The governments that are enforcing vaccine mandates are just doing what governments everywhere are doing and have always done. In every situation, they decide what should be done and people have to go along.

Forcing the minority to go along with majority wishes is what democratic governments do. During the second world war, young men were sent off to war whether they wanted to fight or not. Many of those who refused to fight were imprisoned and treated brutally. I recently read about a farmer of German extraction living in the rural district where I grew up. The rumour circulated among his Christian neighbours that he would climb up into the hills at night and flash signals to a German U-boat out in the Pacific Ocean. Although he was more than thirty kilometres from the sea and there was no military activity in the area to report, he was interred for the rest of the war and lost his farm.

During the 1951 waterside lockout in Auckland, emergency regulations were introduced to allow people could be imprisoned for supplying food to the workers who were locked out from their work. During the decade when I was growing up, children of Maori parents were forced to stop speaking their native language. Homosexual men were harassed and put in prison. This was at a time when there were more Christians in Parliament than there are now.

Governments have always forced minorities to do things In the United States and Australia, indigenous people were herded onto reservations against their will. In numerous American states, blacks were forced to go to different schools from whites, and sit on different parts of the bus. Many of these actions seem shocking today, but they were all done with the support of the majority. And usually, they were usually supported by Christians because they were part of the majority.

Christians have tended to support government power because, until recently, it has mostly been on their side. However, many minority groups have suffered terribly at times under government power, so now that Christians have become a minority, their complaints are a bit lame.

If you give people power, they will always try to use coercion and force to make the world better, even if they are good people. Therefore, human governments will always force minorities to do things they don’t want to do. If you believe in government power, when you are in the majority, it is a bit hypocritical to complain about losing some freedom when you become the minority.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Freedom (3) True Freedom

Jesus spoke about the nature of true freedom.

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free...
Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin...
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:31-36).
He explains that there is a paradoxical side to freedom.

Jesus explains that most people are not truly free. They may believe that they are free, but if they choose to sin, they are actually partly controlled by the spiritual powers of evil. Most people believe they are free, but Jesus reminds them that they are actually slaves to sin, even if they don’t know it. The spiritual powers of evil have more influence on what they do than they realise.

Jesus promised that he will set free those who trust in him. He gives a very strong promise. Those who he sets free will be truly free. However, there is irony in this promise, because to obtain the freedom that Jesus promised, we need to submit to his teaching and do his will. In other words, to get the freedom that Jesus promised, we need to give up our freedom, and submit to his authority and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

We can’t obtain true freedom by exerting our right to do whatever we please. That just opens the door to control by the spiritual powers of evil. In contrast, if we give up our desire for freedom, and choose to obey Jesus, he makes us truly free.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Freedom (2) Participation in Society

When a person chooses to participate in a community/society, they have to give up some of their freedom to accommodate the needs and actions of other free people that they encounter. The irony is that when we give up some of our freedom to share our lives with others in this way, it opens up a whole range of freedoms that a person living in isolation does not have.

When a man and woman decide to get married, they have to give up some of their freedom to meet the needs of their spouse. Because they love each other they will often put their spouses needs first, instead of just doing everything that they would normally choose for themselves. However, this loss of freedom opens up the possibility of doing things together that they could not do on their own. They get the freedom to have a family and create a family heritage. This brings joy and freedom that living in isolation cannot deliver.

When we join a club, social organisation or church, the same applies. We have to give up some freedom to comply with its rules and requirements, but we gain the freedom to participate in its activities. For example, a person living in isolation can kick their football wherever they chose, without any restriction. However, when a person joins a football club, they have to submit to the rules of the game. and obey the instructions of the referee. They are no longer free to do what they choose, but have to submit to the instructions of their coach and the captain of their team. They don’t always get a choice about who they will play alongside.

The person joining a football club gives up some freedom, but they gain the freedom to enjoy the beautiful game. If a midfielder sends a perfectly-weighted pass, that puts them into space behind the defence, they get the freedom to score a goal.

When we take up paid employment, we have to give up our freedom for eight hours a day and submit to the will of our employer. An employer can decide what our tasks will be, who we will work with, and who will be the manager that we report to. The employer can specify requirements for the way that we will work and how we will dress. If an employee cannot meet the needs of the employer, they can end the employment relationship.

In exchange for this loss of freedom from submitting to an employer, we get a wage and or salary that opens up freedoms that we would not have without it. We can buy things that we would not have if we remained in isolation from society. Submitting to an employer is voluntary and most people choose an employer that does things that they like doing, but that is not always. For some people, employment is a hard grind, but they continue to submit to their employer requirements, because they value the freedom that their income brings.

In an employment relationship, the employer has most of the authority. However, the relationship is voluntary, so if the employer becomes too demanding the employee has the option of leaving the role and looking for a better employer.

Some people who participate in society will decide to start or buy their own business. They don’t have to surrender any of their freedom, but they are not totally free either. They cannot choose when they will work, but have to ensure that their business is open for business when customers are likely to need it. The business owner is not free to do what they like, but will have to submit to the requirements of their customers and meet their needs, or they will lose them, and their business will become unprofitable. The business owners will have authority over their employees, but they have to treat them well sufficiently well to retain them. If they are continually losing staff their business will suffer.

Full participation in society requires some loss of freedom, but it opens other freedoms, which are very rewarding.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Freedom (1)

We are free when no one can force us to do things that we don’t want to do. We are free when we can choose how to live without any person or group interfering to prevent us from doing things that we want to do, or forcing us to act against our will.

There is a lot of talk these days about freedom, but freedom is a funny thing. If we cling to it too tightly, we can lose it. And if we give up some freedom, we can often gain more.

A person living alone in a cave in the bush is totally free. He can choose when to go to sleep and when to get up. He can decide when to go hunting for food and how much of what he finds to eat or store. He can choose to wear whatever he likes.

However, he is not as free as he feels. If a snowstorm comes unexpectedly, he might not be able to go hunting for food on the day he had planned to. If a drought occurs, his water supply might run out, and he might have to travel several miles each day to get the water he needs.

But in a way, his freedom is limited. He is not free to go to the movies, because he has no money. He can’t choose to eat a restaurant meal, because he cannot afford it. So although he is totally free, his freedoms are quite limited.

The person living alone in the bush is almost totally free to live in a very limited way. However, a person who chooses to live in a society/community quickly finds that their freedom comes up against other people exercising their freedom. When two people want to do the same thing at the same place at the same time, there is often a clash of freedoms. People living in society find their freedom is limited by other people taking free actions that disrupt their planned activities.

  • If someone chooses to park their car across my driveway, I cannot drive my car out to buy a cup of coffee when I choose to.

  • If I go to a coffee shop at a time when it is very busy, I might not be able to sit at my favourite table, because someone has got their first and is seated at it drinking coffee.

  • I might decide to study at a prestigious university, but if I am rejected because my school grades were not good enough, I am not free to follow my chosen path.

These are just a couple of simple examples that show that we do not have absolute freedom. When we participate in society, we cannot always act according to our will. When we take a free action according to our own will, we will often end up limiting the freedom of other people. People living in society have developed various practices of handling these conflicts of freedom.
  • Patience, courtesy

  • First come, first served; wait your turn.

  • Respect for the property of other people.

  • Laws or regulations that deal with conflicts of interest.

These are just a few practices that commonly affect our freedom. If you ponder your freedom, you will think of others that limit your freedom. The following are examples of these practices enabling people to live freely without disrupting the lives of other people.
  • If I go to buy a cup of coffee at the same time as a number of other people, a queue will usually form and people will get their coffees in the order that they arrived. This is a peaceful and acceptable way to resolve the clash of freedoms.

  • If I am about to go out the door of the building on a stormy die, but pause to let a person who is outside come in first, I am showing patience. I was free to go first, but I decided not to exercise my freedom because I took into consideration the needs of the other person who was wet and cold.

  • I can go to bed at night when I choose without having to worry that I might find that another person has chosen to sleep in my bed because most people in society recognise my bed as my property. And I recognise that the beds of other people belong to them. I don’t consider myself free to get into the bed of someone else if it is more convenient.

  • If I choose to drive across a one-lane bridge from south to north at the same time as another person has chosen to drive over the bridge from north to south, disaster will result if we both claim the freedom to do our will. One person will have to exercise patience and let the other go first. In many situations like this, local customs or laws will dictate which person should give way. We accept this limitation on our freedom because it makes driving safer.

  • Laws forbidding theft and assault give us the freedom to participate in a society without fear that other people will feel free to steal our property or to assault us when we obstruct their free actions.

Once a person agrees to participate in society, the need to accommodate the actions of other people places limits on our freedom. Hopefully, most of these limits will be voluntary, but a few will be enforced by the community or the government.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

White Malice (6) Nelson Mandela

These days Nelson Mandela is a hero in the United States, but at the time the CIA worked to undermine his activities and support the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Susan Williams records that the CIA helped with his arrest.

The life of Nelson Mandela was influenced by the CIA. Mandela was a target of the agency’s surveillance and covert operations directly to his arrest in 1962, after CIA agent Donald Rickard gave the apartheid government information about Mandela’s whereabouts and his disguise (White Malice p.474).
Susan Williams’s book is worth reading. I had already read about CIA nefarious activities in Central and South America, but I had not realised the extent of the harm it did in Africa.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

White Malice (5) Dag Hammarskjold

I was in my last years at primary school when Dag Hammarskjold the Secretary-General of the United Nations died in 1961. The news was shocking because he was a good man, committed to doing the right thing, even if it upset people with economic and imperial power. At a time when they were gaining independence from the old colonial powers, many African saw him as a defender of their rights.

The official verdict was that he died accidentally in a plane crash. Susan Williams does not discuss this much in this book (because she has a separate book that led to the cause of his death being reinvestigated) but she explains that the CIA was involved in the organization of his death.

CIA director Allen Dulles had promised full cooperation with ‘Operation Celeste’, a plot to kill Hammarskjold.

Hammarskjold’s DC-6 crashed while preparing to land at Ndola. This is significant due to the absence of any serious hills nearby (White Malice p.415).

Local witnesses who had seen a second plane above the DC-6 and shooting at it. I think one of the mercenary aircraft, operating around Ndola on that night fired a tracer bullet into the fuel tanks of the plane, causing the left wing to catch on fire. The plots had no choice but to put die plane on the ground (White Malice p.418).

In 2013, a Hammarskjöld Commission made up of four distinguished international judges conducted a rigorous examination of the available evidence and interviews in Ndola with witnesses who were still alive. They concluded,
There is persuasive evidence that the aircraft was subjected to some form of attack or threat as it circled to land at Ndola … (and) was in fact forced into its descent by some form of hostile action.
This was another ugly incident by people who wanted to retain economic and political power.

Monday, February 14, 2022

White Malice (4) Congo

The Belgium Congo had one of the worst colonial experiences in Africa. The cruelty of the Belgium rulers has been well documented. Although the Congo was rich in minerals, all mining was controlled by US and Belgium companies.

The Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga the southern province of the Congo produced uranium that was far richer than any other uranium in the world: it assayed as high as 75 per cent uranium oxide, with an average of 65 percent. South African goldmines had a uranium oxide content on the order of 0.03 per cent. (Uranium from the Shinkolobwe mine was essential for the Manhattan Project).

Shinkolobwe uranium underpinned the value of the Congo to the US through the 1950s. The American government financed two major capital investment programmes at Shinkolobwe in the 1950s, in order to expand the mine and develop the plant (White Malice p.30).

Patrice Lumumba was one of the key leaders of the Congolese people prior to independence. He had a vision of the liberation and unity of the African continent. He praised the practice of Gandhi, who had led the campaign of peaceful civil disobedience in India. He had a strong focus on non-violent struggle. His party won the first election in Congo.

Patrice Lumumba threatened to end the contracts of Union Miniere, the Belgium mining company when independence was achieved. This was perfectly reasonable given that the new government representing the Congolese people was not a party to their signing.

America wished to maintain absolute control over the uniquely rich uranium at the Shinkolobwe mine in the Congo, so the CIA planned to have him poisoned. The plan was approved by President Eisenhower but the CIA failed to get it implemented. Lumumba was eventually shot by Congolese rebels. A CIA operative said,

Lumumba was killed, not by our poisons, but beaten to death, apparently by men who were loyal to men who had received—agency salaries (White Malice p.383).
In White Malice, Susan Williams explains that this was a huge loss for the new nation.
Congo’s tragedy illustrates Africa's problem with the Western world, whereby the Congo “is still not stable and able to relieve the poverty of its people. Lumumba, writes Duodu sadly “lost power; lost his country, in the end, his very life”. The ‘amazing thing, he adds, ‘is that he had done absolutely nothing against the combination of forces that wanted him dead! They just saw him as a threat to their interests, interests narrowly defined to mean, “His country has got resources. we want them. He might not give them to us. So let us get him”. All this was done”, Duodu observes, “to achieve the selfish end of continuing to control the Congo’s rich mineral resources” (White Malice p.517).
The destruction of the Congo’s hard-won democracy was pitiless, despite powerful popular resistance. The expulsion of Lumumbists from government, despite their electoral victory, led to the ‘second independence movement—a major event in the struggle for democracy in the Congo. The uprisings were met with brutal repression, fuelled American interference. It has been estimated that the conflict in the Congo between 1961 and 1965 led to the deaths of one million people.

In November 1965, Joseph-Desire Mobutu overthrew civilian rule in a coup backed by the CIA. For the next thirty-one years, the Congo was ruled with an iron fist by Mobutu-a dictator chosen by the US government and installed by the CIA. (White Malice p.518).

Saturday, February 12, 2022

White Malice (3) Angola

Another ugly story told by Susan Williams is about CIA involvement in the civil war in Angola. Two separate independence groups began a struggle against their Portuguese colonists.

The MPLA, which described itself as anti-imperialist, received funding from the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc; consequently, it was perceived as an enemy to America. The MPLA actively favoured a union with other Angolan freedom lighters, a stance that the US firmly resisted ((White Malice p.455).
The US opposed the MPLA and supported an alternative group called the the UPA. In February and March 1961, the UPA led a violent revolt in Luanda, the capital of Angola, and also in the northern region of the Portuguese colony. Attacks were made on farms, government outposts and trading centres, leading to the deaths of an estimated two hundred white people. The Portuguese responded with a veritable blood bath, Fleeing villages were strafed and napalmed. Between twenty thousand and thirty thousand people were killed. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled Angola, walking long distances to reach the Congo.

A range of new strategies was developed by the Portuguese in order to suppress the Angolan freedom struggle. One was an industrialisation policy for the colony, which included plans to greatly increase and support white immigration. Another was to send a massive number of troops to Angola.

Angola was of central significance to the US by reason of its geographical position, its mineral resources and the discovery of oil there in the mid-1950s. Was on the route by which Uranium was exported from Congo to the United States (White Malice p.456).

As often happened in these independent struggles the US chose the wrong side to protect its economic interests.
The MPLA continued to petition for a union of all Angolan liberation movements, a position that was firmly opposed by the UPA (which was funded by the CIA). The UPA, which became the FNLA in 1961, was unable to appeal as widely to Angolans as the MPLA. The CIA decided to sideline the UPA; instead, it backed Jonas Savimbi, who had left the FNLA in to form the pro-Western Unita movement. In November 1975, the Portuguese finally withdrew, the MPLA was recognized as the legitimate government of Angola.

The CIA had singled out the MPLA as an enemy even though the MPLA wanted relations with the US and had not committed a single act of aggression against the country. (White Malice p.460).

The division stirred up by the CIA resulted in an ugly civil war.
A bitter civil war between the MPLA and Savimbi’s Unita ensued, lasting twenty-seven years and killing more than five hundred thousand people. South Africa and Mobutu’s Congo intervened on the side of Unita, backed by the US. Cuba sent fifteen thousand combat troops to support the MPLA, which finally prevailed (White Malice p.460).

In Stockwell’s analysis, the US led the way at every step of the escalation of the fighting: We said it was the Soviets and the Cubans that were doing it. It was the U.S. that was escalating the fighting. There would have been no war if we hadn’t gone in first. We put arms in, they put arms in.

We put advisors in, they answered with advisors. We put in Zairian para-commando battalions, they put in Cuban troops. We brought in the South African army, they brought in the Cuban army. And they pushed us away.

They blew us away because we were lying, we were covering ourselves with lies, and they were telling the truth. And it was not a war that we could fight. We didn’t have interests there that should have been defended that way (White Malice p.461).

This war was a terrible waste of lives harmed the economy, but the US failed to achieve its goals.

Friday, February 11, 2022

White Malice (2) Kwame Nkrumah

Ghana was one of the first colonies in Africa to gain independence. Kwame Nkrumah was the first Prime Minister of the newly independent nation, but he became of target for the CIA. Susan Williams explains what happened in White Malice.

In October 1965, Nkrumah Published Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of imperialism. The book launched a powerful attack on the workings of American capitalism in Africa, supported by a mass of factual detail. “Africa’s possession of industrial raw materials”, argued Nkrumah “could if used for her own development, place her among the most modernised continents of the world without recourse to outside sources”. Instead, this was prevented by the greed and dishonesty of US capitalism. American interest in the Congo, he insisted, was motivated by very substantia! investments, which were frequently hidden by “engaging leading personalities in United States political affairs”.
Nkrumah was correct claim was correct about US hypocrisy. For example,
Adlai Stevenson “representing his government at the UN” Nkrumah wrote, “presided over the firm of Tempelsman & Son, specialists in exploiting Congo diamonds”.

The US government was incensed by the book. A stiff note was sent by the State Department to Nkrumah, and American aid to Ghana was instantly cancelled (White Malice p.493).

In the early morning of Thursday 24 February 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown in a military coup dubbed ‘Operation Cold Chop’ by its instigators. While the Ghanaian president was in Beijing, on his way to Hanoi with proposals for ending the war in Vietnam, the military and the police toppled Ghana’s civilian government. Major General Charles V Barwah who was in command of Ghana’s army, was woken frorn his sleep by the arrival at his house. He was asked to join the coup, and when he refused he was shot dead in front of his wife and children (White Malice p.494).

State corporations were privatised, and many state-run projects were abandoned. Foreign multinationals, which had been held firmly at arms length by Nkrumah, swiftly took control of much of the production sector (White Malice p.496).

John Stockwell put the CIA firmly at the centre of Nkrumah’s ouster in an extensive footnote in his memoir. The Accra station, he noted, was given a generous budget, and maintained intimate contact with the plotters as a coup was hatched (White Malice p.497).

The CIA got rid of one of the best leaders that emerged in Africa, because he would not go along with US control of African economies.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

White Malice (1)

I have just finished reading a book called White Malice: The CIA and the Neo Colonisation of Africa by Susan Williams, who is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. Her research of recently released documents about the activities of the CIA has produced a very disturbing book.

This shows my age, but I remember many of the nations of Africa gaining their independence in the 1960s and 70s. In many of these countries, the original democratic government that gained independence from the colonial powers was quickly overthrown and replaced by a military dictatorship.

At the time, we were led to believe that African democracy was fragile, because Africans were not sufficiently developed to handle it. That did not ring true at the time, but now I understand why. Susan Williams shows that much of this fragility was the work of the CIA, which worked to protect US businesses, while the US government was claiming to support the move towards democracy. Two of the worst cases are Ghana and the Republic of Congo. Patrice Lumamba and Nkrumah were two of the best leaders that Africa has produced, but they were undermined and squeezed from power by people funded and organised by the CIA.

Susan Williams explains,

The reputations of both Nkrumah and Lumumba were deliberately traduced by the officials of Western governments, both locally in their own territories and globally. Nkrumah was portrayed as paranoid—a portrayal that persists. But he would have been a fool not to take precautions against the evident threats on his life and the lives of his family. He was also accused of unrealistic and excessive ambition for Ghana, based, for example, on his plans to rapidly increase educational and health facilities. But the accusers lived in countries that always had these services, which were acutely needed in Ghana following colonial rule.

The accusers were content to keep African nations out of the modern world Patrice Lumumba was presented as fiery, emotional and volatile—the kind of person who might have become one of Africa’s stereotyped “Big Men”. But, if anything, Lumumba’s tragic flaw was being too trusting; far from being a ruthless, cunning operator, he found it difficult and distressing to accept that people might behave without decency. This flaw led him to trust Mobutu, even against the warnings of his advisors. Lumumba’s personal integrity shone like a light in the darkness of the prevailing corruption. Rajeshwah Dayal regarded Lumumba’s bravery as exceptional: a man who could stand up to his gaolers at Thysville and refuse to compromise to save his life was possessed of no ordinary degree of courage.

The vilification of Nkrumah and Lumumba, as well as other leaders, has contributed powerfully to the distorted and negative views of Africa that prevail today (White Malice p. 514).

Covert action of any sort was nothing more than a semantic disguise for murder; coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies, whatever is deemed useful to bending other countries to our will (White Malice p. 475)

I will describe some of the worst incidents in my next few posts.