Thursday 7 March 2019

Stuart Christie on Neo-Nazis and white Rhodesia

This is an extract from Drinking With Ghosts (BestRed, 2014):

The final phases of the battle to save white Rhodesia
attracted an eclectic assortment of soldiers of fortune, white
supremacist ideologues, military specialists, desperadoes
and opportunists. The main recruiter was Major Nicholas
Lamprecht of the Rhodesian Light Infantry, who, according
to Stuart Christie’s probing study of neo-fascist networks,
Stefano delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist, ‘recruited and
trained’ the ‘Rhodesian mercenaries … (39 in June, 21 in July
and 34 in September 1976)’ – drawing many from the ranks
of the 1 500-strong Frankfurt-based neo-Nazi organisation
the Kampfbund Deutscher Soldaten (German Soldiers’
Combat League), co-founded by Dr Eberhardt Taubert.
Taubert, who died in 1976, was a shadowy figure who
had joined the Nazi Party in 1931, rising to the rank of SS
Sturmführer under Josef Goebbels in Berlin, and later
becoming chief of Nazi anti-communist propaganda in the
occupied territories. Taubert found refuge South Africa
and Iran after the Second World War, before returning to
Germany in 1950 when he was recruited into the ex-Nazi
anti-communist Gehlen Organisation, worked for CIA front
companies, and advised NATO on psychological warfare.
Christie writes: ‘For over twenty years Taubert was the main
source of finance to the neo-Nazi and extreme right groups
in Europe, acting as a conduit for money from businesses
and foundations …’
Christie also notes links between the South African
military and the neo-Nazi networks: ‘In 1972 the Bolivian
businessman and security adviser Klaus Altmann, otherwise
known as Klaus Barbie, named Otto Skorzeny [the SS
special forces colonel who had rescued Mussolini, another
Taubert associate] as the chief of the Die Spinne [The Spider]
network which Barbie claimed commanded the loyalty of
100 000 fascist sympathisers in 22 countries and which was
funded by Nazi investments controlled by Skorzeny … Also
in 1972, Otto Skorzeny met various South African generals.
One of his close friends and colleagues in South Africa was
Lieutenant-General Friedrich Wilhelm von Mellenthin,
ex-Chief of Staff of 4 Panzer Army, a director of Trek
Airways, an airline which specialises in police and security
charter operations in South Africa.’ In 1973, according to
Christie, the Washington Post identified Skorzeny ‘as being a
major arms broker for Portugal and an agent of the massive
Interarms company based in Virginia. Skorzeny, the paper
alleged, had been trafficking in arms for many years to many
sub-Saharan African countries. On 6 July 1975 Skorzeny died
in Madrid to be followed on 21 November by Franco.’