Janusz Walus: Jeremy Cronin's cock-and-bull story

Arthur Kemp says the SACP's conspiracy theories are just a mask for revenge

Comrade Cronin’s Crankery Designed to Mask Revenge Lust against Walus

The increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories being propagated by the SACP’s Jeremy Cronin about the Chris Hani assassination are a deliberate subterfuge designed only to mask his lust for revenge against Janus Walus—who legitimately deserves parole after serving his full time in prison.

In Cronin’s latest piece (“Chris Hani’s assassination had wider context and consequences,” Politicsweb; Umsebenzi, Sunday Independent, 14/15 April 2019), the conspiracy theory crankery has reached new heights, and deserves a full answer.

Cronin in essence claims that there is a huge conspiracy stretching back to some obscure organisation called the “South African Institute of Maritime Research” (SAIMR) involving the death of the United Nations' Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in 1961.

Hammarskjold was killed in an aircraft accident in the then Northern Rhodesia while trying to negotiate a peace agreement between the Congo and the breakaway province of Katanga.

This of course makes it utterly bizarre to claim that the South African “intelligence services” were somehow involved in this event, as Cronin tries to claim.

It is even more bizarre for Cronin to claim that Walus was somehow linked with the SAIMR—especially given the fact that Walus would have been 11 years old at the time of Hammarskjold’s death.

Cronin’s conspiracy centerpiece argument is his claim that there has not been a “full disclosure” by either Walus or the now-deceased Clive Derby-Lewis, and that this is the main reason why Walus should be denied parole.

In making this claim of “non-disclosure,” Cronin is slyly—and likely maliciously—creating the impression that Walus (and Derby-Lewis) were denied amnesty because they “refused to tell all about the conspiracy” and that there was therefore information about a broader network which they were deliberately withholding.

This claim is a bare-faced lie and a complete distortion of the facts. Anyone can look up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s decision to deny amnesty and see for themselves exactly what their reasons were (“Why the TRC turned down Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus's amnesty application,” Politicsweb).

A reading of the TRC’s ruling makes it clear that amnesty was denied to the two men because:

1. They had not received direct instructions from any political leader to carry out the assassination required in terms of sections 20(2)(a), (d), and (f) of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 (“Issues, Requirements Of Section 20(2)(a); Requirements Of Section 20(2)(d); Requirements Of Section 20 (2)(f),” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172;.

2. The only “non-disclosures” which the TRC said that Walus and Derby-Lewis had made related directly to:

2.1 The purpose for which the two acquired the list of names found in their possession.

During their hearing, Derby-Lewis claimed that, amongst other things, he obtained the list to contact these people and interview them.

The TRC found this explanation untrue, saying that “Their evidence that the list was to assist them to communicate confidentially [with the people on the list], is wholly unconvincing. We accordingly find that Applicants' version is untrue in this regard” (“Full Disclosure; 1. Purpose of the List of Names,” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172; /documents/why-the-trc-turned-down-clive-derbylewis-and-janus).

2.2 The purpose of the numbering of the names on the list, and the claim that the two men had denied that they planned to assassinate anyone else.

“All of these explanations for the numbering were in line with Applicants' strenuous denial that there was a plan to assassinate more persons than just Mr Hani. In our view the Applicants' explanation in this regard is false. The false explanation in this regard, reinforces the above finding that the list was compiled as a hit list with the intended victims prioritised as indicated on the list” (“Full Disclosure; 2. Prioritising Names on the List,” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172; /documents/why-the-trc-turned-down-clive-derbylewis-and-janus).

2.3 The purpose of obtaining the gun and the silencer.

During the hearing, Derby-Lewis claimed that he had obtained the gun and had a silencer fitted to it for the original purpose of self-protection. The TRC found this explanation to be untrue.

“We have no hesitation in rejecting Derby-Lewis's evidence in this regard. His explanation for fitting a silencer to the unlicensed firearm is inherently improbable and his explanation of the reason for obtaining the firearm is clearly false. The Z88 pistol was clearly obtained for the express purpose of assassinating Mr Hani” (“Full Disclosure; 3. Purpose For Obtaining The Pistol And Silencer,” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172).

2.4 If Walus acted on order from Derby-Lewis or not. During the hearing, the two men claimed that Walus had acted on orders from Derby-Lewis.

The TRC rejected this explanation: “It is abundantly clear from the record that Walus was not acting as a mere functionary. In the circumstances we are satisfied that Walus was a co-conspirator and that he was not merely acting on orders from Derby-Lewis. We accordingly reject the argument raised in this regard on behalf of Walus and the attempts in the latter's testimony to make out such a case” (“Full Disclosure; 4. Did Walus Act On Orders From Derby-Lewis?” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172; /documents/why-the-trc-turned-down-clive-derbylewis-and-janus).

Finally, the TRC specifically refused to take any position on the alleged involvement of Gaye Derby-Lewis, saying that “In view of the decision we have come to in regard to this application, we do not regard it as strictly necessary to finally decide the issue concerning the role of Mrs Derby-Lewis, and accordingly decline to do so” (“Full Disclosure; 5. The Role of Mrs Derby-Lewis” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172.

The TRC’s finding was, “For the reasons set out above, we find that Applicants have failed to make a full disclosure in respect of any of the relevant and material issues set out above...” (“6. Finding” as contained in the TRC’s decision AC/99/0172).

From this is it is clear that there was never any mention of “non-disclosure of a conspiracy” as Cronin infers.

To repeat: the only “non-disclosure” issues alleged were all clearly relatively minor practical issues, and nothing at all to do with “withholding evidence of a conspiracy.”

In fact, the TRC specifically rejected any notions of grand conspiracy, saying in its “Conclusions about the Chris Hani Assassination” final report that it was “unable to find evidence that the two murderers convicted of the killing of Chris Hani took orders from international groups, security forces or from higher up in the right-wing echelons” (Conclusions about the Chris Hani Assassination, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, Vol 2, Chapter 7, October 1998).

Given these facts, I find it astonishing that Cronin dares to claim that “non-disclosure of a conspiracy” is a reason why Walus should be denied parole.

Or, then again, perhaps I am not, because then Cronin moves on to his well-known and decades-long obsession with me personally.

In the first instance, Cronin claims that I was “almost certainly an apartheid security branch operative.”

Once again, the facts of this matter are a public record. As noted in the TRC’s own records, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) had set up a front company to spy on journalists, paying them for articles and then reworking them into reports on those journalists for the state intelligence services (“Truth And Reconciliation Commission, Amnesty Hearing, Date: 1 December 1997, Name: Mr Clive Derby-Lewis, Day 4).

As quite clearly stated in the TRC record, none of the journalists being spied upon in this manner were aware of the NIS nature of that company, nor were they “registered agent[s] of the NIS.” (“Truth And Reconciliation Commission, Amnesty Hearing, Date: 1 December 1997, Name: Mr Clive Derby-Lewis, Day 4),

In other words, I was the one being spied upon, yet Cronin now tries to make out that I was the spy. Incredible.

Cronin goes on to claim that I acquired “detailed descriptions of the security features around the homes of ANC and SACP leaders” with the “active assistance of an effective intelligence capacity.”

Once again, this is an outright lie. The addresses and descriptions of the two residences in question were taken directly from articles in The Star newspaper, as was accurately reported by all national media at the time after being demonstrated in court during the trial. Hani’s address was in fact in the East Rand telephone book.

Perhaps in Cronin’s world, he needs an “effective intelligence capacity” to read The Star, but in most people’s worlds, all it requires is an ability to read English and buy a newspaper.

Cronin then goes on to claim that I was “inexplicably released” and “disappeared out of the country.” This is, just like everything else in Cronin’s article, a bare-faced lie.

I was not “inexplicably released,” but rather released after the investigation showed that I had played no role in the assassination, and was then subpoenaed to appear as a witness for the state to explain how I had compiled the list which ended up in the hands of Derby-Lewis and Walus.

Despite Cronin’s obsession with me, I was actually a very minor witness as well, testifying absolutely nothing at all about the Hani murder.

There were in fact 60 people who gave evidence at the trial.

The key witnesses were of course the two eye-witnesses to the shooting, who identified the shooter; the man who supplied the firearm used in the assassination after stealing it from the Air Force armory in 1990; the man who transported the firearm to Clive Derby-Lewis; and the man who made and attached the silencer to the weapon.

Compared to that lot, my minor evidence about a list given to Gaye Derby-Lewis three months earlier was paltry and in no way implicated Clive Derby-Lewis or Janus Walusz in any way whatsoever.

As is obvious from the above, I was not even a material witness, and Cronin’s claims that I am somehow pivotal to a “conspiracy” are utterly delusional, and even pitiful.

Finally, Cronin claims that I “resurfaced in the UK as a key ideologue in the neo-fascist National Front but was suspected there of working for British intelligence”—but this is also another parade of outright lies and stupendous inventions.

Firstly, I was not then, and never have been, a member of the “National Front.” I was a member of the British National Party, something quite different, but such factual errors are, as detailed above, standard fuel for Cronin’s fantasies.

Of course, the claim that I work for “British intelligence” is a laughable lie, and pure fantasy.

(I am, by the way, not too concerned at being called a “fascist” by Cronin: I see that his SACP recently called the Democratic Alliance “right wing” (!) and the EFF “proto-fascist” (!) (“SACP denounces attacks and lies peddled by proto-fascist and right-wing opposition parties in Parliament,” 14 February 2019). It is clear that Cronin and the SACP suffer from a clear disconnect in political reality.

Given the above-mentioned facts, we are left to contemplate why Cronin would make up such an astonishing array of lies and slander.

There can be only two reasons: either Cronin is mad, or it is being done deliberately.

I suspect the latter reason: namely that all this weird conspiracy nonsense is being created in order to hide the real reason why the SACP opposes parole for Janus Walus: and that reason is a lust for revenge, and nothing else.

Cronin and his comrades would have more credibility by just being honest in their desire for revenge, rather than inventing these ludicrous—and laughably easily-disproved—conspiracy theories.