Many SA media quoted Hussein Solomon, who has admitted to not having any “factual underpinnings” to his claims, says Iqbal Jassat.
Cape Town - Revelations by City Press newspaper at the end of last month placed Israel’s notorious Mossad at the centre of alarmist reports about the so-called “White Widow”.
The exposé by Jacques Pauw claims that Samantha Lewthwaite – dubbed the “White Widow” – was seen in Pretoria as recently as this year conducting “surveillance” on foreign embassies there.
Startling details further reveal that a Jewish Community Security Organisation (CSO) was warned by Israel’s Mossad that Lewthwaite was “here” and posed a threat to “their” community.
City Press describes the CSO as a “controversial and clandestine” security organisation that “protects” Jewish South Africans against crime, terrorism and anti-semitism.
The exposé goes on to claim that the CSO is closely aligned to the country’s “largest private law enforcement agency”, SSG (Specialised Services Group), which operates across Africa.
“The company has close links to several intelligence agencies, including Mossad and the police’s crime intelligence unit.”
An intriguing part of the report reveals how these two groups feed off each other and also that their intimate ties to a foreign intelligence outfit, Mossad, enables them to peddle unverified allegations about Lewthwaite.
SSG executives who spoke to City Press while admitting that their intelligence was “not yet verified”, go on to add another shocking detail. They are reported as saying that the information emanated from an intelligence agency that received it from an embassy.
A summarised version of this narrative will read as follows: An “embassy” leaks info to Mossad who warns CSO who in turn reports it to SSG. Though the identity of the “embassy” is not disclosed, speculation that it in all likelihood is Israel, will not be far-fetched.
If we reflect back to a week or longer when the Westgate siege in Kenya dominated news, many South African media quoted self-styled “terror expert” Hussein Solomon as their source on allegations related to the “White Widow”.
When challenged by Reuters to back up his claims with evidence, Solomon was unable to do so. In fact he admitted on the record to not having any “factual underpinnings” to these claims.
What is clear though is that, notwithstanding a complete absence of any evidence, Solomon has at regular intervals been raising alarming warnings about so-called terror threats from “Islamists” he further denigrates as “Islamo-fascists” in typical Israeli-terms.
What role has he played by advancing a typical neocon agenda in South Africa? The answer to this question will best be formulated once his position on the Israeli terror chess board is explored.
His latest diatribe, carrying the provocative title Jihad – A South African Perspective, identifies Solomon as a senior research associate with an Israeli-based right-wing group known as “Research for the Study of Islam and Muslims in Africa” (Rima).
Hence, in the context of the shocking revelations in City Press and that Solomon was paraded as an “expert” and “source” related to allegations on the “White Widow”, it’s entirely probable that he had been fed by Mossad with unsubstantiated information.
Singing from the same hymn-page is quite an extraordinary coincidence for the group of five: Israeli embassy, Mossad, CSO, SSG and Solomon.
The thread running through this group extends to a few journalists known for their sympathetic views on Israel.
Now that the dust has settled in Kenya and the full horror of the Westgate tragedy becomes clearer, it remains to be seen whether media in Africa and South Africa in particular, will rise above the prejudice inherent in the operations of Mossad and its point-men.
* Iqbal Jassat is on the executive of the Media Review Network.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.