SA/Rhodie mercenary court case opens can of worms – Part 3 (Final)

SA/Rhodie mercenary court case opens can of worms – Part 3 (Final)

…Exposure of Gen Peter Walls

…Fresh details about ‘Operation Uric’

Review & Mail Writer

In August of 1978 and on order of Walls the Rhodesians attacked a ZANLA base with paratroopers.

Some of these paratroopers were airlifted in DC7 aircraft, a four engined aeroplane not used by the Rhodesian Air Force but on charter for what was codenamed as Operation Mascot.

The DC7 has a resemblance to a Viscount, and this led to a liberation army mistake that although tragic is understandable. The error lies in the conclusion that Viscounts had been used for the paratroop assault, and the fist Viscount downing (on 3 September 1978) was viewed by liberation fighters as legitimate retaliation for Mascot that took place shortly beforehand.

See also Part 1 & 2

No one disputes that the loss of the Viscount was a tragedy, but no one from the Smith regime has answered the question of why civilian aircraft that resemble Viscounts were chartered for military attack purpose to begin with. This brings us to the second Viscount that was shot down

On the evening of 12 February 1979 there were two Viscount flights from Kariba to Harare (then Salisbury). Liberation force intelligence had learned that Walls was scheduled to fly on the fist aeroplane to take off and despite what whites think, he was the target.

Shortly before boarding however, Walls was tipped off by his own intelligence sources who had learned of the liberation army plan to kill him. He then betook himself to the safety of the second flight, and true to the war criminal that he was, took no action to prevent the first flight and the deaths that followed. His motive, apart from saving his own skin, was to protect his intelligence source.

He might even have gotten away with his cowardly deed, but he made a mistake

One of his daughters, a sister to Pat Armstrong’s wife, was Second Lieutenant Valerie Walls of the Rhodesian Women Service.

Still resident in Harare, she then was stationed at a military barracks called KG6. Realizing that news of the Viscount downing was going to break, Walls phoned the barracks and ordered that his daughter be informed that no matter what she heard, that he was alive and safe.

Walls’ mistake was twofold. First was that his message passed through a relay of soldiers, some of whom since have spoken, and second was that he used an open and therefore insecure telephone line. Intelligence operatives from various international agencies tape recorded the message

“Whether one speaks of Rhodesia or Zimbabwe,” Carton-Barber carries on, “or of the Rhodesian War or Chimurenga, what stands out is that it utterly disproves the superiority of the white man over the black.

“There is this hidden record of mutiny in an elite unit, of anthrax and of shooting wounded men unable to defend themselves. There’s the Walls’ culpability for the shooting down of a Viscount. This is the true legacy of whites in Zimbabwe. I distance myself”

On question as to why he didn’t disclose what he knew sooner, he replies that he did. He spoke with journalists from two Johannesburg newspapers, The Star and Rapport. Both wouldn’t touch the story, describing it as too sensitive.

It appeared as if matters would lie there, but then a former RLI officer wrote a book called “The Search For Puma 164.” Lieutenant Rick van Malsen, later a captain the new Zimbabwe Army, was part of Operation Uric, an attack into Mozambique conducted by the most powerful force ever assembled in Rhodesian history.

This was in September of 1979, but by then uncomfortable reality had dawned on the Smith regime. It was losing the war despite all nefarious criminal effort.

The Lancaster House Conference was underway. Uric reflected yet another stillborn theory, in this case that a massive battle victory would strengthen the Muzorewa puppet hand in London.

What happened instead was that this mighty force limped back after being well and truly licked. Van Malsen, the book’s author who now lives in Botswana, exposed what Walls called “the official lie.”

It was that this mighty force had seen two helicopters shot down and seventeen white servicemen killed, but the “lie” was that the bodies had not been incinerated as claimed, but abandoned to rot.

This was of particular interest to Carton-Barber and was what enabled him to take Bate and Armstrong to court, but he mentions an official RLI response to the deaths of it’s own.

Armstrong was acting as the battalion commander, and although he made a regimental show at memorial services in places like Harare, he didn’t even bother to have a representative at Gweru and Kwekwe. Armstrong was one of those who made no proper effect to recover the Uric bodies, and was one of those who propagated “the official lie” about recovery being impossible

Nonetheless there was a Pretoria High Court link with the Operation Uric deaths and the earlier Operation Inhibit fiasco at Chicualacuala.

Two soldiers became separated from Carton-Barber’s column. This was due to thick bush, and although Carton-Barber initiated and participated in the successful return of the men, the mere fact of the separation resulted in accusation that he had betrayed a “sacred ethos” of not leaving men behind. He never took anyone to court in Rhodesia as he believed that this “sacred ethos” existed.

Then on reading the van Malsen truth behind “the official lie,” he realized that there really was no such ethos and never had been. Bate and Armstrong found themselves defending a court action for defamation and associated emotional distress

Both men were represented by Mr Ron Wheeldon, another former Rhodesian serviceman. The matter was heard by Mr Justice Avoukimedes on 24 October 2018.

He dismissed it on the purely technical ground of a South African court having no jurisdiction over anything that occurred beyond the country’s borders.

It appeared as if the war crimes that contextualized Carton-Barber’s treatment after Inhibit were about to slide forever into the dark depths of convenient forgetfulness . But then Bate made a huge slip

The case was a subject of some discussion amongst certain members of the “ex Rhodie” community, and Bate couldn’t resist to crow about the Avoukimedes judgement.

He made a public statement in which he accused Carton-Barber of perjury and ulterior motive. His false comments also were to the effect that Avoukimedes had ruled that Carton-Barber’s departure from the RLI was legitimate.

The statement was made in Johannesburg, and this time there is no question at all about a South African court’s jurisdiction.

Bate is one of those former Rhodesians living in the plush comfort of a Johannesburg suburb. He is one of that same ilk of men pretending to be war heroes despite a hiccup he is back in court.

Even though he stands there alone in the physical sense, he stands sharing in the overdue correction of misrepresented facts that shall help Zimbabweans better to gauge their tortured path to nationhood.

The war crimes that are part of Zimbabwe’s national heritage at long last are subject to the attentions of cold and clinical judicial scrutiny. The matter of Carton-Barber v Bate is much more than a defamation hearing in South Africa.

The Registrar of the Pretoria High Court is about to set a court date.

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