The Heart of Whiteness
Anthony LoBaido's WorldNetDaily articles on South Africa lament the demise of apartheid and, er, whitewash the violent history of the pro-apartheid mercenaries he hung out with.
By Eric Goodwin
As an avid follower of American politics, and especially American views on South Africa, I happened upon WorldNetDaily. After trawling the WND archives, I came across a voluminous number of reports on South Africa by WND "international correspondent," Anthony LoBaido.
According to LoBaido's background, published in an August 2001 WND article, he received an undergraduate degree in political science from Arizona State University and a masters degree in international journalism from Baylor University. While at Baylor, he allegedly received the "Best Columnist Award" from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Many of his articles on South Africa revolve around the activities of certain far right wing organizations, most notably the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement or AWB) and a number of right-wing fanatics, such as Willem Ratte and Eugene Terreblanche, the leader of the now-defunct AWB, who has recently been released from prison after serving time for the assault on and attempted murder of two black men. It is clear that LoBaido greatly admires these racist demagogues.
LoBaido claimed in an April 2001 article to be "the first and only journalist in the world to gain entrance into the elite, mercenary-run training camps of South Africa's Afrikaner Resistance Movement." According to LoBaido, "[t]hese investigations produced ground-breaking journalism." This is a somewhat dubious claim -- the AWB was formed in 1973 as a conservative backlash to then-Prime Minister B.J. Vorster's policy of détente with other African countries. Since this time, the AWB has been extensively reported upon. LoBaido only arrived in South Africa in 1991.
A large and diverse grouping of right wing organizations were active at this time, ranging from the Blanke Bevrydings Beweging (White Liberation Movement or BBB) which advocated a type of ultra-apartheid based upon 'refined Nazism' and had links to the Ku Klux Klan, through to the AWB under the buffoonish but violent Eugene Terreblanche. The AWB had, since 1973, been advocating the formation of a white homeland, based upon the 19th century Boer republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. Prior to February 1990, most of the actions of the AWB were in the form of isolated attacks with a strong racist character. After this date, right wing actions took on a more orchestrated character. Racist attacks were replaced by mass demonstrations and bombing campaigns, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission documented.
One of the most dramatic of these incidents took place in June 1993 when 3,000 AWB members broke through a police cordon around the venue where negotiations were taking place between the ANC, the De Klerk Government and a range of other political formations -- the Kempton Park World Trade Centre -- and smashed through the plate glass doors with an armored vehicle. AWB members occupied the venue for more than two hours, urinating on furniture and documents, before handing over a demand for a white homeland.
In March 1994, AWB leader Terreblanche led a force of 600 right-wingers into the Bophuthatswana bantustan to assist bantustan leader Lucas Mangope in suppressing civil actions calling for political reforms. They entered Mafikeng and proceeded to randomly attack local residents. Forty five people were killed, including three AWB members.
During the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it was revealed that the AWB had ties to right-wing groups and individuals in the United States. Robert Mahler, an American citizen, appeared before the Commission requesting amnesty regarding the smuggling of arms caches into South Africa for use by the AWB. Mahler also claimed to be the U.S. fund-raising representative of the AWB. In July 2002, a South African newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, reported that Steven Hatfill, the Maryland scientist investigated in connection with the post-9/11 anthrax attacks in the U.S., had strong links to the AWB, having trained members of the AWB's paramilitary wing at the Milnerton shooting range in Cape Town.
From the 1980s onward, the AWB was involved in a number of assaults and murders of black civilians, armed robbery, illegal possession of arms and explosives and bombings (including a number of schools in the early 1990s). By the time LoBaido made contact with the AWB, they had a long and established record of criminality and violence.
It is significant that while most other journalists who attempted to cover the activities of the AWB were beaten up and subjected to death threats, LoBaido enjoyed privileged access to the leaders of the organization and paid visits to their paramilitary training camps. In an April 2001 WND article, LoBaido claimed that "[u]sing my Afrikaans language ability as a gateway, I was able to get inside the Afrikaner mentality in a way that few other foreign/Western journalists had ever been able to." This is a rather implausible explanation -- a number of Afrikaans-speaking journalists had been beaten up by AWB thugs because of their perceived "liberal" bias. Being able to speak Afrikaans, by itself, certainly did not grant one privileged access to the AWB.
LoBaido was able to get access to the AWB not because of his Afrikaans language ability but, rather, because of his identification with the aims and objectives of the organization.
You won't read any criticism of the AWB's goals from LoBaido; he does, however, advance the view that it failed because it was infiltrated by government agents. In a September 2002 interview with "four top South African anti-communists who had high-ranking positions in South Africa's former anti-communist government," LoBaido obliquely alluded to the AWB's violence as "invasion of the homelands," then quoted one of the officials as pushing the view that the AWB was "a government setup from the start ... the most brutal and destructive mechanism to destroy the Afrikaner resistance ever devised in the history of the Afrikaner people." Another played into that theory, dismissing the AWB as "riddled with agents, informers and agents provocateur." A third piled on: "The question should rather be asked where the money came from to enable a relatively poor official of the former Secret Police to set up a paramilitary apparatus such as the AWB" and hinted at "the government's secret project to discredit right-wing politics in SA." The fourth said of the AWB: "Unfortunately, they were not taken seriously by most whites in South Africa." Terrebonne, he said, "was an excellent orator but lacked dynamic leadership," and was serving jail time because "he has the wrong color skin."
When reading LoBaido's articles, one gets a strong impression of a mind unhinged. While grudgingly admitting the "egregious flaws of apartheid" he maintains that "South Africa was a maverick, Christian, anti-communist, pro-west nation and the brightest outpost of Christian, European civilization in all of Africa." This is a remarkable statement for someone who claims to hold a degree in political science. It is clear that LoBaido regrets the demise of apartheid in South Africa and the puritanical society it fostered:
The Afrikaners were against abortion, which was illegal in their nation from the 1600s until the ANC took over in 1994. Television was kept out of South Africa until the mid 1970s. Pornographic magazines were also illegal until the late 1980s. Shops in South Africa closed on Saturday afternoon to prepare for the Sunday Sabbath.
As someone who grew up under this system, I remember all too well the oppressive atmosphere of the cultural and political black hole that was apartheid South Africa.
LoBaido is unperturbed by the fact that the successive apartheid governments in South Africa murdered political opponents, carried out assassinations in foreign countries, wantonly gunned down civilians, incarcerated tens of thousands without trial, regularly tortured detainees, executed people for political offences, forcibly removed more than 3 million of its black citizens, imprisoned people for interracial sex, and generally endorsed murder and mayhem. He dismisses these "flaws" as "represent[ing] one tenth of one percent of the Afrikaner nation" and apparently justified because they were "committed in the suppression of a Marxist terrorist war, launched by the Soviet-trained African National Congress."
For LoBaido, the real enemy is all too clear:
Considering Nelson and Winny [sic] Mandela's blood-stained track record -- their support of abortion, pornography, Marxism, communism, the homosexual agenda, world government, necklacing, free sex, murder, terrorism, sanctions and propaganda -- they stand as a prototype of the Antichrist who is to come.
This kind of deranged ranting is characteristic of LoBaido's journalism. I would like to say that he jettisoned all journalistic ethics a long time ago, but it appears that he probably never had any to begin with.
LoBaido even wrote a May 2002 article on Nicolaas van Rensburg, a white South African who lived a century ago who is considered a Nostradamus-like prophet to some Afrikaners for predicting that, according to one follower whom LoBaido sympathetically portrays, "one day the Afrikaner will take back his land and freedom." Another van Rensburg prophecy is the apparent basis for a February 2004 WND article claiming that blacks in South Africa will conduct a massacre of whites after Mandela's death, as ConWebWatch has detailed.
LoBaido also believes that he is being persecuted. Between 1992 and 1994 he wrote a book titled "The Third Boer War," an eschatological text featuring "American journalist Trooper Grace" who is "recruited into the shadowy Boer Republican Army, South Africa's extreme right-wing paramilitary organization, to assassinate the RSA's newest president -- the man they claim to be the "Antichrist" -- who will soon rise to the position of global Fuhrer with the blessing of the United Nations."
Poor LoBaido seems to have suffered considerably while completing this task, as he described in that April 2001 WND article:
It took 2000 hours of research and writing to do so. That is 40 hours per week for 50 weeks. I spent my life savings writing that book. I dropped out of my Ph.D. program at Texas A&M to do so. I lived like an animal with Vietnamese immigrants at one point. I sold my plasma and even took experimental pharmaceuticals in clinical tests for money to buy food. I ruined my back while hunched over the computer all those hours, but I don't regret one minute of it.
Once he had completed the book, a number of dark forces were ranged against the beleaguered LoBaido, placing all manner of obstacles in the way of the book's publication:
It seems that a novel that was Christian, anti-communist, pro-European, anti-abortion, spoke of the end times, the Antichrist, angels, the UFO delusion and the Mandela myth was against the entire agenda for the liberal transnational elite who have taken almost complete hold of Western Civilization and hence, the world. Since political power cannot be fully achieved until cultural power is seized, "The Third Boer War" was shut out.
LoBaido eventually overcame the forces of darkness by publishing the book himself. And we have a good idea of the point of view he takes: In his article discussing the book, he describes Terreblanche as merely one of the "colorful characters" he met along the way.
Whilst WND whines incessantly about the 'bias' of the 'liberal media', it seems that they are exempt from their own standards. Their reporting on South Africa seems to be informed by their organic hostility towards the democratic project in South Africa on the one hand, and biblical eschatology on the other. Facts are hammered into shape until they fit into this narrow framework.
But what else can you expect when WND hires people like Anthony LoBaido as writers?