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Killers for Pay

D.K. Palit

By Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck
Penguin Books, New Delhi, India, 1977, 240, 0.75

VOLUME II NUMBER 3 May-June 1977

In the spring and early summer of last year, British newspapers and tele­vision repeatedly covered the subject of the recruitment of mercenaries in the United Kingdom; but even if you were a regular reader or viewer, you could not always be certain of just what slant was being given to the subject. The reporting adopted a titillating, invasion­ of-privacy approach that attracts an audience; it failed entirely, or perhaps did not even try, to expose the sinister implications of a new, undercover system of 'interventionism' being organized by western Intelligence Agencies to support racist or rightist forces in Africa and elsewhere, even while their governments were professing sympathy for the demo­cratic aspirations of the people. As for the Luanda trial, held by the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of Angola and attended by the world's press and an eminent Inter­national Commission of Inquiry on Mercenaries, the legality, solemnity and dignity of the court and the scrupulous fairness of the proceedings were nowhere highlighted. Even the heinousness of the crimes committed by psychopaths such as Callan—against both Africans and his own people—seemed to have been overshadowed by the dramatic appeals for mercy sent out by the Prime Minister, the Queen and others when the criminals were eventually sentenced by the court. It is for this reason that the present book, an investigative expose of the sordid roles played by the American and British establishments in master-minding and organizing the pipeline for mercen­aries, acquires importance as a political document. The authors have tried to break through a conspiracy of silence and to alert the world on how the export of mercenaries is being organized by western governments, without the know­ledge of their electorates, to carry out military operations in support of their interest in the Third World. What 'Mad Mike' Hoare began as a private enterprise in Katanga fifteen years ago has today been taken on by the United States, the United Kingdom and other western countries as official, clandestine policy to further their real aims in countries such as Namibia, Rhodesia, the Lebanon and the Gulf Emirates. Burchett is a veteran war corres­pondent from Australia, who fell foul of his government because of his views on the wars in Korea and Vietnam. He now lives in Paris and has written a number of books on the Asian scene. Because of the ...

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