Basically Ayers believes the biggest problem in American is education. So the answer to that problem was to round up 100 million people and ship them by train to the Southwest and re-educate them in Marxist ideology.
Out of that 100 million they were ready to kill 25% off the top they estimated could not be re-educated. This is the mentality of Stalin killing hundreds of millions of peasants because it would take too much time and effort to re-educate them to Marxist thought. If given the chance these people would turn the US into the Cambodian killing fields.
The latest call to action from some criminal-justice activists: “Abolish the police.”
From the streets of Chicago to the city council of Seattle, and in the pages of academic journals ranging from the Cardozo Law Review to the Harvard Law Review and of mainstream publications from the Boston Review to Rolling Stone, advocates and activists are building a case not just to reform policing — viewed as an oppressive, violent and racist institution — but to do away with it altogether. When I first heard this slogan, I assumed that it was a figure of speech, used to legitimize more expansive criminal-justice reform. But after reading the academic and activist literature, I realized that “abolish the police” is a concrete policy goal. The abolitionists want to dismantle municipal police departments and see “police officers disappearing from the streets.”
One might dismiss such proclamations as part of a fringe movement, but advocates of these radical views are gaining political momentum in numerous cities. In Seattle, socialist city council candidate Shaun Scott, who ran on a “police abolition” platform, came within 1,386 votes of winning elected office. During his campaign, he argued that the city must “[disinvest] from the police state” and “build towards a world where nobody is criminalized for being poor.” At a debate hosted by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Scott blasted “so-called officers” for their “deep and entrenched institutional ties to racism” that produced an “apparatus of overaggressive and racist policing that has emerged to steer many black and brown bodies back into, in essence, a form of slavery.” Another Seattle police abolitionist, Kirsten Harris-Talley, served briefly as an appointed city councilwoman. Both Scott and Harris-Talley enjoy broad support from the city’s progressive establishment.
What would abolishing police mean as a practical policy matter? Nothing very practical. In The Nation, Mychal Denzel Smith argues that police should be replaced by “full social, economic, and political equality.” Harris-Talley, meantime, has traced policing’s origins back to slavery. “How do you reform an institution that from its inception was made to control, maim, condemn and kill people?” she asks. “Reform it back to what?” If cities can eliminate poverty through affordable housing and “investing in community,” she believes, the police will become unnecessary. Others argue that cities must simply “help people resolve conflicts through peace circles and restorative justice programs.”
Police abolitionists believe that they stand at the vanguard of a new idea, but this strain of thought dates to the 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that stripping away the corruptions of civilization would liberate the goodness of man. What police abolitionists fail to acknowledge is the problem of evil. No matter how many “restorative” programs it administers, even a benevolent centralized state cannot extinguish the risks of illness, violence and disorder. Contrary to the utopian vision of Rousseau and his intellectual descendants, chaos is not freedom; order is not slavery. In the modern world, civilization cannot be rolled back without dire consequences.
If anything like police abolition ever occurred, it’s easy to predict what would happen next. In the subsequent vacuum of physical power, wealthy neighborhoods would deploy private police forces, and poor neighborhoods would organize around criminal gangs — deepening structural inequalities and harming the very people that the police abolitionists say they want to help. Even Scott, when pressed by a local journalist about how he would respond to a shooting in his district, conceded that “we live in a world where it’s not possible to turn anywhere for help on big questions like this but to the police force.”
Reform the police? Sure. Abolish them? Never.
Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal, documentary filmmaker, and research fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He’s directed four films for PBS, including his new film, “America Lost,” which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.” This piece originally appeared in City Journal.
A slow-motion war is under way in Africa’s most populous country. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. And the world has hardly noticed.
A Nigerian Pentecostal Christian, director of a nongovernmental organization that works for mutual understanding between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims, alerted me to it. “Have you heard of the Fulani?” he asked at our first meeting, in Paris, speaking the flawless, melodious English of the Nigerian elite. The Fulani are an ethnic group, generally described as shepherds from mostly Muslim Northern Nigeria, forced by climate change to move with their herds toward the more temperate Christian South. They number 14 million to 15 million in a nation of 191 million.
Among them is a violent element. “They are Islamic extremists of a new stripe,” the NGO director said, “more or less linked with Boko Haram,” the sect that became infamous for the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Christian girls in the state of Borno. “I beg you,” he said, “come and see for yourself.” Knowing of Boko Haram but nothing of the Fulani, I accept.
The 2019 Global Terrorism Index estimates that Fulani extremists have become deadlier than Boko Haram and accounted for the majority of the country’s 2,040 documented terrorist fatalities in 2018. To learn more about them, I travel to Godogodo, in the center of the country, where I meet a beautiful woman named Jumai Victor, 28. On July 15, she says, Fulani extremists stormed into her village on long-saddle motorcycles, three to a bike, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” They torched houses and killed her four children before her eyes.
When her turn came and they noticed she was pregnant, a discussion ensued. Some didn’t want to see her belly slit, so they compromised by cutting up and amputating her left arm with a machete. She speaks quickly and emotionlessly, staring into space as if she lost her face along with her arm. The village chief, translating for her, chokes up. Tears stream down his cheeks when she finishes her account.
I venture north to Adnan, where Lyndia David, 34, tells her story of survival. On the morning of March 15, rumors reached her village that Fulani raiders were nearby. She was dressing for church as her husband prepared to join a group of men who’d stand watch. He urged her to take refuge at her sister’s home in another village.
Her first night there, sentinels woke her with a whistle. She left the house to find flames spreading around her. Fulani surrounded her. Then she heard a voice: “Come this way, you can get through!” She did, and her putative savior leapt out of the underbrush, cut three fingers off her right hand, carved the nape of her neck with his machete, shot her, doused her body with gasoline, and lit it. She somehow survived. A few weeks later she returned to her village and learned that the raiders had leveled it the same night. Her husband was among the 72 they murdered.
The Christian Middle Belt is a land of blooming prairies that once delighted English colonizers. On the outskirts of Jos, capital of Plateau state, I visit the ruins of a burned-down church. I spot another, intact. A man emerges to yell at me in English that I don’t belong there. Stalling, I learn that he is Turkish, a member of a “religious mutual assistance group” that is opening madrassas for the daughters of Fulani.
That day I crisscross the Middle Belt. Roads are crumbled, bridges collapsed; destroyed houses cast broken shadows over tree stumps and trails of black ash and blood. Maize rots in the abandoned fields. The local Christians have been killed or are too terrorized to come out and harvest it. In the distance are clusters of white smudges—the Fulani herds grazing on the lush grass. When we approach, the armed shepherds wave us off.
The Anglican bishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, has had his livestock stolen three times. During the third raid he was dragged into his room, a gun to his head. He dropped to his knees and prayed at the top of his voice until the thrumming of a helicopter drove his assailants off.
Bishop Kwashi describes the Fulani extremists’ pattern: They usually arrive at night. They are barefoot, so you can’t hear them coming unless they’re on motorcycle. Sometimes a dog sounds the alert, sometimes a sentinel. Then a terrifying stampede, whirling clouds of dust, cries of encouragement from the invaders. Before villagers can take shelter or flee, the invaders are upon them in their houses, swinging machetes, burning, pillaging, raping. They don’t kill everyone. At some point they stop, recite a verse from the Quran, round up the livestock and retreat. They need survivors to spread fear from village to village, to bear witness that the Fulani raiders fear nothing but Allah and are capable of anything.
The heads of 17 Christian communities have come to the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, to meet me in a nondescript compound. Some have traveled for days in packed buses or minivans. Each arrives accompanied by a victim or two.
Here they are, an exhausted yet earnestly hopeful group of some 40 women and men, keenly aware of the moment’s gravity. One carries a USB key, another a handwritten account, a third a folder full of photos, captioned and dated. I accept these records, overwhelmed by the weight of the bearers’ hope that the world will recognize the horrors they experienced.
Taking the floor in turn, the survivors confirm the modus operandi Bishop Kwashi described, each adding an awful detail. The mutilated cadavers of women. A mute man commanded to deny his faith, then cut up with a machete until he screams. A girl strangled with the chain of her crucifix.
Westerners here depict the Fulani extremists as an extended, rampant Boko Haram. An American humanitarian says the Fulani recruit volunteers to serve internships in Borno State, where Boko Haram is active. Another says Boko Haram “instructors” have been spotted in Bauchi, another northeastern state, where they are teaching elite Fulani militants to handle more-sophisticated weapons that will replace their machetes. Yet whereas Boko Haram are confined to perhaps 5% of Nigerian territory, the Fulani terrorists operate across the country.
Villagers west of Jos show the weapons they use to defend themselves: bows, slings, daggers, sticks, leather whips, spears. Even these meager arms have to be concealed. When the army comes through after the attacks, soldiers tell the villagers their paltry weapons are illegal and confiscate them.
Several times I note the proximity of a military base that might have been expected to protect civilians. But the soldiers didn’t come; or, if they did, it was only after the battle; or they claimed not to have received the texted SOS calls in time, or not to have had orders to respond, or to have been delayed on an impassable road.
“What do you expect?” our driver asks as we take off in a convoy for his burned-down church. “The army is in league with the Fulani. They go hand in hand.” After one attack, “we even found a dog tag and a uniform.”
“It’s hardly surprising,” says Dalyop Salomon Mwantiri, one of the few lawyers in the region who dare to represent victims. “The general staff of the Nigerian army is a Fulani. The whole bureaucracy is Fulani.”
So is President Muhammadu Buhari. In April 2016 Mr. Buhari ordered security forces to “secure all communities under attack by herdsmen.” In July 2019 a spokesman for the president said in a statement: “No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether North, South, East or West.”
Most Christians I meet express disgust at the vague language suggesting culpability on both sides. Their stories tend to validate claims of the government’s complicity. In Riyom district, three displaced Nigerians and a soldier were gunned down this June as they attempted to return home. The villagers know the assailants. Police identified them. Everyone knows they took refuge in a nearby village. But there they are under the protection of the ardos, a local emir. No arrests occurred.
Village chief Sunday Abdu recounts another example, a 2017 attack on Nkiedonwhro. This time the military came to warn villagers of a threat. They ordered the women and children to take shelter in a school. But after the civilians complied, a soldier fired a shot in the air. A second shot sounded in the distance, seemingly in response. Minutes later, after the soldiers had departed, the assailants appeared, went directly to the classroom, and fired into the cowering group, killing 27.
I also meet some Fulani—the first time by chance. Traveling by road near a river bed, we come on a checkpoint consisting of a rope stretched across the road, a hut and two armed men. “No passage,” says one, wearing a jacket on which are sewn badges in Arabic and Turkish. “This is Fulani land, the holy land of Usman dan Fodio, our king—and you whites can’t come in.” The conquests of dan Fodio (1754-1817) led to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate over the Fula and Hausa lands.
The second encounter is on the outskirts of Abuja. Driving toward the countryside, we reach a village unlike the others we’ve seen in the Christian zone. There’s a ditch, and behind it a hedge of bushes and pilings. The place seems closed off from the world. From huts emerge a swarm of children and their mothers, the women covered from head to foot.
It’s a village of Fulani nomads who carried out a tiny, localized Fulanization after the Christians cleared out. “What are you doing here?” demands an adolescent boy wearing a T-shirt adorned with a swastika. “Are you taking advantage of the fact that it’s Friday, and we’re in the mosque, to come spy on our women? The Quran forbids that!” When I ask if wearing a swastika isn’t also contrary to the Quran, he looks puzzled, then launches into a feverish tirade. He says he knows he’s wearing “a German insignia,” but he believes that “all men are brothers,” except for the “bad souls” who “hate Muslims.”
Later I encounter Fulani near Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, which is in the south on the Gulf of Guinea. North of the city is an open-air market where Fulani sell their livestock. I am with three young Christians, survivors of a Middle Belt massacre who live in a camp for displaced persons. They pretend to be cousins buying an animal for a family feast. As they negotiate over a white-horned pygmy goat, I look for Fulani willing to talk.
Most have come from Jigawa state, on the border with Niger, crossing the country south in trucks to bring their stock here. Although I learn little about their trip, they eagerly express their joy in being here, on the border of this contemptible promised land, where they expect to “dip the Quran in the sea.”
There are “too many Christians in Lagos,” says Abadallah, who looks to be in his 40s. “The Christians are dogs and children of dogs. You say Christians. To us they are traitors. They adopted the religion of the whites. There is no place here for friends of the whites, who are impure.” A postcard vendor joins the group and offers me portraits of Osama bin Laden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He agrees the Christians will eventually leave and Nigeria will be “free.”
Some professional disinformers will try to reduce the violence here to one of the “interethnic wars” that inflame Africa. They’ll likely find, here and there, acts of reprisal against the Fula and Hausa. But as my trip concludes, I have the terrible feeling of being carried back to Rwanda in the 1990s, to Darfur and South Sudan in the 2000s.
Will the West let history repeat itself in Nigeria? Will we wait, as usual, until the disaster is done before taking notice? Will we stand by as international Islamic extremism opens a new front across this vast land, where the children of Abraham have coexisted for so long?
Mr. Lévy is author of “The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World” (Henry Holt, 2019). This article was translated from French by Steven B. Kennedy.
It’s official. The once deep-red Commonwealth of Virginia is now a blue state. As a result of the Nov. 5 election, Democrats now hold all three of the statewide constitutional offices, both U.S. Senate seats, the majority of its Congress members, and both chambers of the State House.
Virginia went blue because a handful of well-organized pro-Chinese communists made it happen.
The group in question, New Virginia Majority (NVM), has exploited Virginia’s changing population and “liberal bleed out” from the Washington area to flip not just Northern Virginia but also districts across the state. Based in Alexandria and Richmond, NVM has sent hundreds of paid workers and volunteers out across the commonwealth to register and send to the polls hundreds of thousands of new voters.
NVM endorsed and supported 23 Virginia candidates this cycle and won with 15 of them, including two state Senate races and nine Assembly victories.
NVM Co-Chair Tram Nguyen has already published an op-ed in The New York Times saying, “Democrats could learn a lot from what happened in Virginia.” The message? “Democrats, do what we did in Virginia—everywhere.” By going after the minority vote with mass voter registration drives, you can flip almost any state.
According to Nguyen:
“The national Democratic Party spent millions in Virginia this year, but the state wasn’t always such a priority. From its position in the South to its prominent role in America’s legacy of oppression, Virginia was long considered reliably conservative—unbreakable. As recently as six years ago, Republicans controlled the office of the governor and the General Assembly.
“Local organizations like mine understood the political potential of Virginia when we got started 12 years ago. We are winning because we recognize the power of an electorate that includes and reflects the diversity of our state. We don’t talk to voters only when campaign season rolls around. We try to reach voters of all colors, women, low-income workers and young people where they are, which has made it possible for us to develop a robust base of support along Virginia’s so-called Urban Crescent, from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads. Long before Election Day, we registered more than 300,000 voters, knocked on more than 2.5 million doors, and organized within communities of color to help win significant policy changes like Medicaid expansion, which covered nearly 400,000 people.”
Nguyen (who was part of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s transition team) also went on to explain the importance of the ex-convict vote.
“Virginia’s state constitution bars anyone with a felony conviction from voting until their rights have been restored by the governor. For more than nine years, we organized formerly incarcerated women and men to help them demand that their full civil rights be restored. The former governor, Terry McAuliffe, restored the voting rights of more than 173,000 Virginians during his term, more than any other governor in Virginia’s history. In 2016, of the nearly 20,000 men and women who registered to vote for the first time as a result of the restoration of their rights, a whopping 79 percent voted. They were a key voting bloc in Virginia, the only Southern state that Hillary Clinton won.”
NVM worked closely with McAuliffe to win ex-felon voting rights. The organization actually gave the governor an award at its annual dinner for his sterling work.
And the path to success lies in organizing and energizing minority voters who already lean left, but normally vote at very low rates:
“Changes in the shape of the electorate and rising enthusiasm among voters can only go so far, without campaign architecture that channels those changes into tangible political outcomes. …
“Engaging meaningfully with voters of color means talking to tens of thousands of voters to make sure they have the information they need to cast their ballots even after receiving racist Republican campaign communications. … We didn’t need to persuade voters to embrace our worldview—they were already there on the issues. They just needed to be convinced that their vote mattered. To give one example of how this works in practical terms, in precincts in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, turnout this year increased by 24 percent over 2017. …
“States don’t become battlegrounds overnight. Democrats and national progressive organizations have the resources to take their case to the people and win, but they have to start early and organize relentlessly. When they lose, they have to stay in place and keep fighting for every political inch they can get. No place is unwinnable forever.”
All this would be serious enough if NVM members were merely well-meaning “liberal Democrats,” which unfortunately isn’t the case.
NVM is a front for Liberation Road, known until April this year as Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the United States’ most influential Maoist organization.
NVM is led by longtime FRSO/Liberation Road cadre Jon Liss of Alexandria. Several FRSO cadres have served in NVM over the years, as have many activists from two NVM satellite groups, LeftRoots and the Virginia Student Power Network.
FRSO/Liberation Road comes out of the militantly pro-China American Maoist student movement of the 1970s. While it’s more discreet about its Chinese loyalties these days, several of its leading supporters maintain close ties to the People’s Republic.
Fred Engst is a longtime FRSO supporter. Born to U.S. communist parents and raised in China, Engst was educated in the United States, where he became immersed in Maoist politics. He returned to China in 2007 and is now teaching at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
Alex Tom, a leader of LeftRoots and the pro-Beijing San Francisco-based Chinese Progressive Association, in 2012 formed the China Education and Exposure Program to “build a deeper analysis of China for US progressives and leftists and to build relationships with the grassroots movement in China,” according to his 2013 LeftForum speaker’s bio.
John Marienthal, a San Jose-based FRSO member, has been a leader of the pro-Beijing U.S.–China Peoples Friendship Association for more than 40 years and has taught in several Chinese educational establishments since the 1980s.
Steve McClure is a former Washington resident who, in the 1970s, was active in the pro-Mao Revolutionary Student Brigade. He has close ties to FRSO and NVM. Since 2010, he has worked with the Geography Department of Wuhan University in China, and he is a research associate with the State Key Laboratory of Engineering Information in Surveying, Mapping, and Remote Sensing at the university.
McClure has used his skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to supply highly targeted voter identification information to NVM.
As far back as 2005, McClure was using GIS technology to identify low-income voters for Liss’s Tenant Workers Support Committee. McClure “plotted lower-income, high-rental housing areas to get a picture of where there was affordable housing in Northern Virginia,” according to the Mason Gazette. This information probably proved very useful when Liss established NVM two years later.
“I have been recently working with New Virginia Majority to make a series of maps to inform planning for precinct walks in Virginia State house districts. … The core data are lists of individual households by pan-ethnic census categories. … The results are subjective but do suggest … the ways that actual communities conform or diverge from the discrete territorial units which define an electoral terrain in a democracy.”
All this wasn’t theoretical. It was designed to help NVM flip districts across the state by micro-targeting potential Democratic voters in low-income and minority communities. In another post, he wrote:
“In the general elections of 2008, Virginia voted Democratic for the first time since 1964 with Obama carrying the state. Demographic shifts and increased voter participation rather than a shift in political allegiances account for this outcome. …
“Focusing on Prince William County, Virginia, I applied spatial interpolation techniques in a GIS to translate the 2008 election returns from the geography of precincts to year 2000 zoning classification areas for further quantitative analysis. The goal was to produce actionable intelligence for working class organizations building popular power at the base. …
“The results are presented as maps and diagrams which might illuminate challenges and opportunities for organizations engaging with electoral efforts.”
McClure is still actively engaged in giving advice to his U.S. comrades on winning elections for the Democrats.
“The far right, racism, militarism, inequality, and poverty are all centered in the South. The majority of African Americans, the main protagonist of progressive politics in this country, live in the South. And the South has more electoral votes, battleground state votes, population, and congresspersons than any other region.
“The South is changing rapidly, giving rise to more progressive demographic groups—especially Black and Latino migrations, LGBTQs and urbanites—and a growing Democratic vote. These trends can only be maximized if the importance of the South is understood as a strategic necessity and the chance to win state by state, is acknowledged and acted upon.
“Hard as the fight is and will be, downplaying the Southern struggle is a losing political strategy and forfeits the moral high ground on the biggest issues facing the country.”
McClure and Wing (another “former” Maoist associated with FRSO) argue that to destroy the Republican Party in the South, black communities must be targeted and mobilized to vote:
“(1) A critical mass of Southern states can and must be won if we are to block or defeat the right in presidential elections. Three of the five or so critical battleground states are in the South: Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Southern blue and battleground states plus Washington D.C. hold 38 percent of the electoral votes needed to win.
“(2) Winning an anti-rightwing congressional majority depends on winning in the South, as the South has a bigger congressional delegation than any other region and Southern congresspersons also hold key leadership posts within the Republican Party’s congressional hierarchies.
“(3) There are tremendous opportunities to build progressive political power and governance at the local level in the South as 105 counties have a Black majority. …
“While some might dismiss the South, focusing strategically on the Northeast and Pacific Coast as central to a progressive program and the Midwest as the main political battleground, the South’s dynamic growth, historical legacy of Black struggle and powerful political weight make it a critical battlefield.
“The nuance is that the South cannot be won as a bloc, but only state by state and county by county. In fact, winning the South in large part means understanding that it is not a monolithic entity and winning it piece by piece: i.e. politically deconstructing the South.”
President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 shocked the left and, according to McClure and Wing, has made their goal of flipping the South even more urgent:
“This essay was prepared in March 2015, prior to the 2016 election season that eventually resulted in Donald Trump’s victory. However, the far rightwing’s capture of the presidency makes this essay’s main arguments even more important. …
“The South is the key center of the far right and the Republican Party; neither can be defeated without battling for the South.”
Liberation Road has a large presence in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina (Durham for All), and Florida (the New Florida Majority). Now that Virginia is safely in the Democrat column, look to see an upsurge of Maoist electoral activity in North Carolina and Florida to turn those states blue in 2020; Tennessee and Georgia will be next. Then, Texas.
Trump has been tougher on Beijing than has any other president in living memory. It’s no secret that China doesn’t like Trump and would love to see him defeated in 2020.
Rather than risk war, or suffer huge economic setbacks, wouldn’t it be much cheaper and easier to use China’s American assets, such as Liberation Road, to ensure Trump’s defeat by “democratic” means?
It’s inconceivable that the Chinese government didn’t know what McClure was up to. After all, they presumably pay his salary or living costs while he is in China.
It’s clear that Liberation Road is tied to China. It’s also clear that their front-group NVM is heavily involved in U.S. electoral politics and played a decisive role in turning Virginia blue. It’s also obvious that Liberation Road’s goal is to destroy President Trump and the Republican Party to pave the way for a socialist America.
Is there Chinese “collusion” here? Do we need investigations and executive action against these subversive groups before they’re able to fully realize their goals? With less than a year until the 2020 election, there’s not much time left to do so.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Last week, the NYPD published its hate-crimes report for the third quarter, and the results are troubling.
Start with the anti-Semitism. Over the last 12 months, there were 246 anti-Semitic crimes in the Big Apple, up from 144 over the previous 12 months. The number of anti-Semitic assaults jumped to 33 in 2018, up from 17 in 2017, and is on pace to rise again this year, with 19 in just the first half of the year. These attacks brutally target Orthodox Jews, often in broad daylight in Brooklyn neighborhoods that are home to the community.
Then there’s the anti-LGBT violence. The most recent quarterly report tallies 20 incidents, bringing the total number of attacks over the past 12 months to 63, up from 48 in the previous 12 months.
Finally, there’s the anti-Muslim violence, most of which goes unreported (and isn’t well-captured in the report as a result). Yet it is possible to track trends by paying attention to local news and other city agencies. Many of the attacks on this community take place in the Bronx.
Regardless of the victims’ identity, perpetrators too often escape justice. The attackers in the January anti-Muslim case were only caught because the mother of one of them turned in her 14-year-old son. The Muslim woman beaten up this spring, meanwhile, had to track down street-camera footage on her own before police would pursue the case, having initially dropped it after she failed to make an identification.
Yet there is little pressure on the NYPD from activists who are normally quick to denounce hate crimes and bigotry. What explains this silence? The perpetrators have been disproportionately black.
As the investigative reporter Armin Rosen pointed out in Tablet, “many of the [anti-Jewish] attacks are being carried out by people of color with no ties to the politics of white supremacy.” As he noted, even in cases where no one is caught, video footage overwhelmingly shows minority attackers. Blacks comprised seven of the nine anti-Jewish hate-crime perpetrators arrested during the third quarter.
In the most recent report, blacks comprised 24 of the 34 (71 percent) perpetrators arrested for all hate crimes. After reaching a high of 61 percent in the second quarter of 2018, the black share consistently declined to 14 percent in the second quarter of 2019 but has now shot back up. The NYPD doesn’t account for this odd oscillation, though one wonders if there is a political component to this, as well.
Black perpetrators are especially prominent in anti-LGBT crimes, comprising 10 of the 12 arrested for those crimes in the latest quarterly report. Overall, since the beginning of 2017, blacks comprised 56 percent — 61 of 108 — of those arrested for anti-LGBT hate crimes.
But in many urban areas, the problem is complicated by the fact that many of the perpetrators themselves are minorities. Just because facts make us uncomfortable, however, doesn’t mean we should ignore them.
The social-justice community must take hate-crime stats seriously — even when the crimes aren’t committed by white supremacists. We must find the courage to look at the warts in the black community before bigoted violence escalates even further.
Robert Cherry is a professor emeritus of economics at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
Dianna Muller lost count of how many times she responded to chillingly desperate calls for help during her 22 years as a police officer in Tulsa, Okla. The crime scenes she worked taught her that people need their right to bear arms. “I don’t wish for anyone to be defenseless,” Muller told the A1F. “I would like for everyone to be prepared to be their own first responder.”
This is a message she’s been bringing to the nation’s capital.
Since retirement, Muller has brought to life “The DC Project,” a nonpartisan group that draws women from all states and all walks of life to Washington, D.C., in an endeavor to share with lawmakers why they own and carry firearms. For some, it is because they were the victim of a rape.
For others, it is because they are single mothers with young children they need to protect. Whatever their story, they are all people who refuse to be unarmed victims. By meeting with lawmakers, they are bringing their human stories to this issue—the type of thing the mainstream media just won’t report.
She explains that police officers can’t be everywhere all the time. In the minutes it takes officers to get to a call for help, anything can happen. After two decades of investigating crimes and helping victims of criminals, she argues that gun rights are also women’s rights.
Muller, along with several other women, have recently had high-profile confrontations with politicians.
“I will not comply with the assault-weapons ban,” said Muller, as she testified to members of the House Judiciary Committee in September. She was referring to the desire of some Democrats to ban and confiscate AR-15-type rifles from the public. Her “I will not comply” declaration went viral as a rallying cry for freedom.
“There are a lot of politicians that believe disarming American citizens will make the country safer. They don’t have much experience with firearms, and it’s easier for them to chalk all the violence up to the tool instead of the human,” Muller explained to the A1F. “It seems as though our country is not teaching our children history or what kind of power they have as citizens. They are all too eager to give up their rights, thinking that it will give them safety.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Suzanna Hupp, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives who, after surviving the 1991 “Luby’s shooting” in which a murderer killed both of her parents, has continued to speak out as a passionate advocate for the law-abiding citizen’s right to carry.
“Please consider the high cost of gun control,” she told the Joint Economic Committee hearing in September. “I reached for my gun, but my gun was 100 yards away, dutifully left in my vehicle. I can tell you that the cost of gun control was my parents and 23 innocent lives.”
Lauren Boebert was yet another woman who made her mark in September. She challenged aspiring Democratic presidential nominee Beto O’Rourke’s gun-confiscation scheme at a town hall event. A video of the incident made waves across social media.
“I am here to say: Hell, no, you’re not,” she told O’Rourke, countering his “hell yes” that he’d ban and confiscate so-called “assault weapons” from the American citizenry.
These three bold women are just a few examples of millions more who don’t want to lose their right to personal defense.
Muller put it this way: “Women are likely to be smaller and less suited for a physical confrontation than an attacker. A firearm is the great equalizer. It doesn’t guarantee my security, but it does give me a chance. If I’m in that Walmart in El Paso, I want to be armed. If I hear a bump in the night, I want to be armed. Defending yourself is the most basic human right.”
A 24-year-old man who authorities say was among masked Antifa supporters attacking conservatives at a June demonstration in Portland, Ore., was sentenced Friday to nearly six years in prison in connection with a brutal baton assault.
Gage Halupowski pleaded guilty to second-degree assault after authorities accused him of using a weapon against a conservative demonstrator who suffered blows to the head that the victim claims left him with a concussion and cuts that required 25 staples to close.
After the assault, police saw Halupowski collapse his metal baton and conceal it in his pants, FOX 12 Oregon reported.
The attack outside a Portland hotel on June 29 was “completely unexplainable, completely avoidable and didn’t need to happen,” Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero said, according to OregonLive.com.
Gage Halupowski, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in connection with a baton attack in June, authorities say. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)
Authorities say Halupowski attacked Adam Kelly as Kelly was attempting to help another man who’d been assaulted, the news outlet reported.
Halupowski’s defense attorney, Edward Kroll, called his client’s prison term “one of the harshest sentences I’ve seen for someone with no criminal background and young age,” but acknowledged that having the attack caught on video left Halupowski with few legal options other than accepting a plea deal.
Marrero disagreed, calling the sentence appropriate for Halupowski’s crimes, according to OregonLive.com.
Charges dropped under Halupowski’s plea agreement included unlawful use of a weapon, attempted assault of a public safety officer and interfering with a peace officer, the outlet reported.
The attack against Kelly occurred the same day that a group of assailants attacked conservative writer Andy Ngo, dousing him with liquids and pelting him with objects, with those attacks also caught on video.
Ngo claims he was later hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage and says no suspects have yet been charged in connection with the assaults against him.
Violent clashes between Antifa supporters and members of conservative groups have been a vexing problem for the city of Portland, whose mayor, Ted Wheeler, has faced harsh criticism for the city’s response to such events. President Trump and some Republicans in Congress have called for Antifa to be declared a domestic terror organization.
Last month, 12-year-old Amari Allen appeared on television to share how she had been brutalized by racist white boys at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia. The sixth-grader, who is black, wept as she recalled how she was pinned down during recess, had her arms pulled behind her back and had a hand placed over her mouth so she couldn’t scream.
She said the boys cut off her dreadlocks, calling it “nappy.” By Monday, it was revealed that, following an investigation by Fairfax County Police, the girl admitted she had made it all up.
When the story first broke, left-wing politicians and activists raged. Rep. Rashida Tlaib published a personalized message on Twitter to the girl: “You see, Amari, you may not feel it now but you have a power that threatens their core. I can’t wait to watch you use it and thrive.” On Twitter, some even found a way to blame the Trump administration, noting ominously that Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, teaches art part-time at the school.
As with Jussie Smollett’s original accusations, Allen’s yarn had all the elements of a rage-bait story. Fervid media interest turned a regional non-incident into a national crisis, featured prominently and uncritically on televised reports from NBC, MSNBC, CNN and CBS, in addition to numerous print and online outlets.
Left-wing activists and the mainstream media refuse to learn lessons about hate-crime hoaxes. Sensational claims deserve additional scrutiny. Was Allen or her family asked why no known students had come forward to corroborate her claims? She said it happened during recess — around dozens of other students presumably.
The accused boys were also never sought for comment. On the contrary, the NAACP demanded “immediate disciplinary action” against the minor suspects.
It’s hard to blame the public and media consumers for their naive credulity. The real problem is that highly publicized fake hate crimes like this one usually receive little public coverage after it is revealed that the original accusation was a hoax.
Then, too, few Americans are aware that in just the past few years, several children have been caught fabricating hate-crime allegations.
In January 2017, police in Gambrills, Maryland, identified a “14-year-old black female” as the suspect responsible for sending out a violent racist threat against her high school using a Twitter account pretending to be part of the Ku Klux Klan.
The following month, students at Plano West Senior High in Texas discovered their school vandalized with racist, anti-black graffiti all over its buildings and school vans. After several months, police arrested and charged Alexandria Monet Butler and Elizabeth Joy Police, two black female minors, for the incident. They were caught on camera vandalizing the school.
Then last year, a 5-year-old black child in Grand Rapids, Michigan, launched a frenzied police search after she told her family that a white man in the neighborhood had urinated on her and called her a racist slur. A 60-year-old man was arrested. The child made up the story with her friends.
Nor are incidents like these confined to the United States. In early 2018, Khawlah Noman, an 11-year-old Muslim girl in Toronto, claimed that a man had attacked her by cutting her hijab. The story reverberated across the country, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately issuing comments condemning Islamophobia in Canada. Local police invested huge resources into catching the at-large suspect. Noman had fabricated the incident. She was never charged.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf is as old as time immemorial, to be sure. What’s different today is the mind-boggling credulity of mainstream media and politicians, who jump to ideological conclusions and dial the outrage to 11 before the facts have played out.
It’s no surprise that children lie, but when they are rewarded by an all-too-willing media and audience, we should expect more incidents like what happened in Virginia. The final result: Americans are bound to become ever more cynical and skeptical of hate-crime allegations — even when they’re true.
Andy Ngo is a journalist in Portland, Oregon. Twitter: @MrAndyNgo
The 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China was “one of Hong Kong’s most violent and chaotic days”, the city’s police chief has said.
An 18-year-old protester was shot in the chest with a live bullet – one of six live rounds fired by police.
Protesters – some armed with poles, petrol bombs and other projectiles – fought pitched battles with police in several parts of Hong Kong.
In all police made 269 arrests, more than on any day since protests began.
Those detained ranged in age from 12 to 71. More than 100 people were taken to hospital and 30 police were injured.
Tuesday’s unrest saw police fire 900 rubber bullets and 1,400 rounds of tear gas. That compares with 1,000 tear gas canisters fired in the first two months of protests.
In the days leading up to the anniversary, tensions were high in Hong Kong, which always sees protests on National Day.
This year, however, Hong Kong has seen four months of protests sparked by proposed changes to an extradition bill. Though the changes have been abandoned, the unrest has continued, expanding into demands for greater democracy.
The shooting of Tsang Chi-kin, who was attacking an officer with a pole, was captured on video and shared online.
“My chest is hurting, I need to go to hospital,” said the 18-year-old, who was arrested after being shot. The government said he was now in a stable condition.
Although people have been shot with rubber bullets in previous protests, this was the first injury from a live round.
Police chief Stephen Lo said firing the bullet was “lawful and reasonable” as the officer thought his and colleagues’ lives were under threat.
Asked why the bullet was fired at close range, Mr Lo said: “He [the officer] did not decide the distance between him and the assailant.”
Hundreds of people staged a peaceful sit-in outside the teenager’s school on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 96 people, mostly students, who had been arrested on Sunday appeared in court charged with rioting.
Repairs to shops, businesses and public facilities – including the mass transit system – are under way following Tuesday’s violence. All metro stations are now open.
What made Tuesday different?
In Beijing, the anniversary of Communist Party rule saw a parade of Chinese military might: 15,000 troops, 580 vehicles and missiles, and 160 aircraft.
In Hong Kong, some 1,200 miles away, protesters marked the day very differently.
Peaceful marches soon exploded into violence. BBC reporter Tessa Wong, who was on the streets, said protesters fought “pitched battles” with officers.
Shortly before Tsang Chi-kin was shot, men wearing helmets and gas masks attacked an officer on the ground with a pole.
An officer responded by firing his gun at close range.
Elsewhere, protesters threw petrol bombs, started fires, and ran at officers. Police responded with water cannon, tear gas, and – in total – six live rounds.
The day saw the highest number of arrests since this year’s protests began, and the highest number of live rounds fired.
What explains the anger?
The protests were sparked earlier this year by a proposed law, which would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.
NOTE: In the late 1980s I did business in sub Saharan Africa including work with Mugabe’s cousin in Zimbabwe. At the time the economy there was remarkable.
I too believed that he was a good man with good intentions but soon realized that he was evil, and I don’t use that word lightly. The good people of Zimbabwe suffered unspeakable crimes by this man. Dale Yeager
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a man who divided global public opinion like few others. To some, he was an evil dictator who should have ended his days in jail for crimes against humanity.
To others, he was a revolutionary hero, who fought racial oppression and stood up to Western imperialism and neo-colonialism.
On his own terms, he was an undoubted success.
First, he delivered independence for Zimbabwe after decades of white-minority rule.
He then remained in power for 37 years – outlasting his greatest enemies and rivals such as Tony Blair, George W Bush, Joshua Nkomo, Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Mandela.
And he destroyed the economic power of Zimbabwe’s white community, which was based on their hold over the country’s most fertile land.
However, his compatriots – except for a small, well-connected elite – paid the price, with the destruction of what had once been one of Africa’s most diversified economies.
In the end, this came back to haunt him.
The outpouring of joy on the streets of Harare which greeted his forced resignation in November 2017 echoed the jubilation in the same city 37 years earlier when it was announced he was the new leader of independent Zimbabwe.
Although he was allowed to see out his days in peace in his Harare mansion, it was not the end he wanted, having famously boasted: “Only God, who appointed me, will remove me.”
Many Zimbabweans trace the reversal of his – and their – fortunes to his 1996 wedding to his secretary Grace Marufu, 41 years his junior, following the death of his widely respected first wife, Sally, in 1992.
“He changed the moment Sally died, when he married a young gold-digger,” according to Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean newspaper, who used to be close personal friends with Mr Mugabe.
That sentiment was common long before anyone dreamed she might one day harbour presidential ambitions, which were the trigger for his close allies in the military and the ruling Zanu-PF party to oust Mr Mugabe from power.
Mugabe the man
While he was sometimes portrayed as a madman, this was far from the truth. He was extremely intelligent and those who underestimated him usually discovered this to their cost.
Stephen Chan, a professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, noted Mr Mugabe had repeatedly embarrassed the West with his “adroit diplomacy”.
Mugabe in his own words:
“Cricket civilises people and creates good gentlemen. I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen” – undated
“Let the MDC and its leadership be warned that those who play with fire will not only be burnt, but consumed by that fire” – 2003 election rally
“We are not hungry… Why foist this food upon us? We don’t want to be choked. We have enough” – interview with Sky TV in 2004, amid widespread food shortages
“Only God, who appointed me, will remove me – not the MDC, not the British. Only God will remove me.” Robert Mugabe During election rally, 2008
“Don’t drink at all, don’t smoke, you must exercise and eat vegetables and fruit” – interview on his 88th birthday in 2012
“[Nelson] Mandela [South Africa’s first black president] has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of [blacks]… That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint” – 2013 state TV interview
As a former political rival of Mr Mugabe, who went on to serve as his home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa witnessed the different sides of Zimbabwe’s founding father.
“Under normal circumstances, he would be very charming but when he got angry, he was something else – if you crossed him, he could certainly be ruthless,” he told the BBC before his death in May 2019.
Mr Dabengwa said the president would often let him win an argument over policy during the decade they worked together, or they would agree to compromise – not the behaviour of a dictator.
But something, he added, changed after 2000 and Mr Mugabe resorted to threats to ensure he got his way.
“He held compromising material over several of his colleagues and they knew they would face criminal charges if they opposed him.”
This is not a picture recognised by Chen Chimutengwende, who worked alongside Mr Mugabe in both the Zanu-PF party and government for 30 years.
“In all the time I have worked with him, I have never seen him be vindictive or ill-treat anyone,” he said.
Wilf Mbanga, editor, The Zimbabwean:
“He went from trying to convince you with his arguments to a man who would send his thugs to beat you up if you disagreed with him”
Mr Chimutengwende felt Zimbabwe’s leader had been unfairly demonised in the Western media because of his policy of seizing land from white farmers whom he suspects of having influential supporters, especially in the UK, where many trace their roots.
Mugabe the teacher
The year 2000 marked a watershed both in the history of Zimbabwe and the career of Mr Mugabe.
Until then, he was generally feted for reaching out towards the white community following independence, while Zimbabwe’s economy was still faring pretty well.
After coming to power in 1980, Mr Mugabe greatly expanded education and healthcare for black Zimbabweans and the country enjoyed living standards far higher than its neighbours.
In 1995, a World Bank report praised Zimbabwe’s rapid progress in the fields of health and literacy. Run by a former teacher, the country had the highest literacy rates in Africa.
In her book, Dinner With Mugabe, Heidi Hollande said Mr Mugabe used to personally coach illiterate State House workers to help them pass exams.
Mr Mbanga recalls listening to the songs of US country singer Jim Reeves together.
“He could be very affectionate, he was an intellectual. He liked explaining things, like a teacher,” said Mr Mbanga, but then saw a huge change in his former friend.
“He went from trying to convince you with his arguments to a man who would send his thugs to beat you up if you disagreed with him.”
In fact, the warning signs were already there – the massacre of thousands of ethnic Ndebeles seen as supporters of Mr Mugabe’s rival, Joshua Nkomo, in the 1980s and the start of the economic decline – but these were usually overlooked.
“Some say he had us all fooled, I am convinced he himself changed,” Mr Mbanga said.
The journalist says that in his early years as president, Mr Mugabe genuinely believed in trying to improve the lives of his people, and introduced a “leadership code” which barred ministers from owning too much property.
“Look at him today, he is fabulously wealthy. He is not the person I knew,” Mr Mbanga said in May 2014.
In February 2000, the government lost a referendum on a draft constitution.
With parliamentary elections looming four months later and a newly formed opposition party with close links to the “No” campaign posing a serious threat, Mr Mugabe unleashed his personal militia.
Some were genuine veterans of the 1970s war of independence but others were far younger.
TV footage of white farmers queuing up to make donations to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) meant Mr Mugabe was able to portray the opposition as stooges of the white community, and by extension the UK.
The invasion of white-owned farms achieved several goals for Mr Mugabe and his allies:
Punish the white community for their “betrayal”
Remove a source of funding from the opposition
Allow the “war veterans” to intimidate the many thousands of black farmworkers, largely seen as opposition supporters
Ensure that the opposition could not campaign in rural areas
Re-energise his supporters, some of whom had been losing faith in his ability to redistribute land – one of the grievances behind the 1970s war of independence
Attract new supporters with the promise of land handouts.
There was certainly a strong moral argument that land reform was needed in Zimbabwe but the way it was carried out was undoubtedly with political motivations uppermost.
Despite the widespread violence, intimidation and electoral fraud, the MDC gained almost as many elected seats as Zanu-PF in 2000.
Had it not been for the intimidation in rural areas, Zanu-PF may well have lost its majority.
Lovemore Madhuku, one of the leaders of the “No” campaign in 2000, described Mr Mugabe as an “an excellent political calculator”, who adapted his tactics to the situation.
“There are moments when he chooses to be ruthless, others when he chooses to be magnanimous… He considers what is best – for him – in every situation and reacts accordingly,” Mr Madhuku told the BBC.
He said Mr Mugabe might not have realised the damage the seizure of white-owned land would do to Zimbabwe’s economy but in any case, he would not have cared, as long as he remained president.
Mr Chan agreed that, “in terms of Mr Mugabe’s value-set, the ownership of the land is more important than the smooth running of the economy”.
And the economy continued to decline until 2008.
After 28 years of Mr Mugabe’s rule, the resourceful, largely self-sufficient country lay in ruins. The inflation rate had reached an unfathomable 231 million per cent and young Zimbabweans were voting with their feet, fleeing the country he had fought to liberate.
And yet, from this low point, he once more managed to outmanoeuvre his rivals and remain in power for another nine years.
‘Mummy’s Boy’ to African liberator
The key to understanding Robert Mugabe is the fight against white-minority rule.
In the Rhodesia where he grew up, power was reserved for some 270,000 white people at the expense of about six millions Africans.
A host of other laws discriminated against the black majority, largely subsistence farmers.
They were forced to leave their ancestral land and pushed into the country’s peripheral regions, with dry soil and low rainfall, while the most fertile areas were reserved for white farmers.
Reclaiming the land was one of the main drivers behind the 1970s war which brought Mr Mugabe to power.
The son of a carpenter who abandoned his family, as a child Mr Mugabe was said to have been a loner, who spent much of his time reading.
Ms Hollande wrote that after his elder brother died of poisoning when Mr Mugabe was just 10, his mother became depressed and the young Mugabe would do everything he could for her, to the extent he was teased as a “mummy’s boy” at school.
He eventually qualified as a teacher and in 1958 went to work in Ghana, which had just become the first African country south of the Sahara to end colonial rule.
Encouraged by his Ghanaian wife, Sally, and the pan-Africanist speeches of Ghana’s leader Kwame Nkrumah, Mr Mugabe became determined to achieve the same back home.
On his return in 1960, he started to campaign for an end to discrimination and was jailed for a decade after being convicted of sedition.
While in prison, his supporters wrested control of Zanu, the biggest party fighting white rule, and installed him as leader.
On his release, he was supposed to remain in the country but with the help of a white nun, he was smuggled over the border into Mozambique and the Zanu guerrilla camps.
‘He loves power’
After Mr Mugabe won the 1980 elections which led to independence, he pursued a policy of reconciliation with the white community despite the bitterness built up during the war.
In a national address after becoming prime minister, he declared: “If you were my enemy, you are now my friend. If you hated me, you cannot avoid the love that binds me to you and you to me.”
Four faces of Mugabe:
“He was a very nice guy. At that stage, he was not too sure of himself. There were very strong people in Zanu who were not afraid to oppose him. He would never take a decision on his own” – Dumiso Dabengwa
“He did everything he could to improve the lives of his people. He wanted education for all. He wanted health for all. He introduced a leadership code limiting Zanu-PF cadres to 50 acres of land” – Wilf Mbanga
“I worked very harmoniously with him and discussed issues. He would let me have my way or we would reach a compromise” – Dumiso Dabengwa
2000 – 2017:
“After 2000, he started flexing his muscles. He brought in people who he could influence. Several people were compromised – he held something over them” – Dumiso Dabengwa.
“He has become fabulously wealthy. He is not the person I knew. He changed the moment Sally died [in 1992], when he married a young gold-digger [Grace Mugabe]” – Wilf Mbanga
He allowed Ian Smith, the Rhodesian prime minister who had once declared that black people would not rule the country for 1,000 years and who reportedly personally refused to let Mr Mugabe leave prison for the funeral of his then only son, to remain both an MP and on his farm.
At this point, according to Mr Madhuku, Mr Mugabe’s hold on power was relatively weak, so he realised he had to reach out to his former enemies.
Former home affairs minister Mr Dabengwa said Mr Mugabe was even less self-confident earlier on in his political career.
“When I first met him in the 1960s, he was not sure of himself, of his position in Zanu,” Mr Dabengwa recalled.
“There were very strong people in Zanu who were not afraid to oppose him. He would never take a decision on his own but would always check with them first.”
But slowly, he consolidated control – first over the party which led the war against white-minority rule and later the country as a whole – until the point where his was the only voice that counted.
“He loves power, it’s in his DNA,” said Mr Madhuku.
Bonds forged in war
Throughout his time as president, his closest allies were always those with whom he had endured the hardships of life during the guerrilla war of independence.
When they felt their grip on power, and its trappings, were threatened, they reverted wholeheartedly to the conflict mentality.
“We are in a war to defend our rights and the interests of our people. The British have decided to take us on through the MDC,” he told a 2002 election rally.
This meant opposition supporters were denounced as traitors – a label which could mean an immediate death sentence.
Mr Chimutengwende argued that the scale of the violence was exaggerated and in any case sought to distance it from Mr Mugabe: “It is not the leader who throws a stone, or asks his followers to throw a stone.”
But Mr Dabengwa, the minister in charge of the police in 2000, said Mr Mugabe’s Zanu party had been using such methods since the 1980 election.
He said that fighters from Zanu’s armed wing had been sent out into rural areas to ensure villagers voted the “right” way, partly through all-night indoctrination sessions, known as “pungwes”.
“People were told there were magic binoculars which could tell which way they voted and there were no-go areas for other parties,” said Mr Dabengwa, whose Zapu party came a distant second in 1980.
“But the British declared those elections free and fair and so Zanu learnt that that was how to win an election.”
Although he won those elections in 1980, and formed a coalition government with Zapu, the underlying tensions burst into open violence just two years later.
Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo was accused of plotting a coup and the army’s North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade was sent to his home region of Matabeleland.
More than 20,000 people were killed in Operation Gukurahundi, which means “the early rain which washes away the chaff”.
At the time, South African double-agent Kevin Woods was making daily reports in person to then Prime Minister Mugabe for the internal security force, the Central Intelligence Organisation.
“He obviously wanted to know exactly what Fifth Brigade was doing,” he wrote in his autobiography.
In the end, a subdued Mr Nkomo once more agreed to share power with his enemy in order to end the violence in his home region – a forerunner of what later happened to the MDC.
21 February 1924: Born
1964: Jailed after being convicted of sedition
1973: Becomes Zanu leader
1980: Becomes prime minister of Zimbabwe
1987: Becomes president under new constitution agreed under deal to end Matabeleland massacres
1992: Wife Sally dies
1996: Marries Grace Marufu
2000: Loses referendum, land invasions begin
2002: Wins presidential election amid widespread violence and fraud allegations
2005: Launches Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Rubbish), which forces 700,000 urban residents from their homes – seen as punishment for opposition supporters
2008: Comes second in election, violence leads his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from run-off
2009: Forms coalition government
2013: Resoundingly re-elected, Tsvangirai returns to opposition
2017: Forced to resign after army seizes power
6 September 2019: Dies in Singapore, which he visits for hospital treatment
Before he was finally ousted, his political low point was in 2008, when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat him in a presidential election, although not by enough for outright victory, according to the official results.
There were numerous reports Mr Mugabe was on the verge of resigning, although Mr Madhuku said he did not believe them, as the president subsequently demonstrated his determination to remain in power.
Again, a setback led to a sustained campaign of violence against his “enemies”.
The army and Zanu-PF militias attacked MDC supporters around the country, killing more than 100 and forcing thousands from their homes.
It became obvious that Zanu-PF would not relinquish its grip on power and Mr Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round, saying it was the only way to save lives.
Zimbabwe’s economy continued its freefall, reaching its nadir when people were dying from cholera in Harare because the country did not have the foreign currency to import the necessary chemicals to treat the water.
Under intense pressure, Mr Mugabe agreed to a coalition government with his long-time rival and, under MDC stewardship, the economy recovered.
But Prime Minister Tsvangirai was severely tarnished by working with Mr Mugabe – the president always managed to keep real power for himself and his allies.
By the time of the 2013 election, Mr Mugabe did not need to resort to extreme violence to win easily. He had once more demonstrated his remarkable skills of political survival and he remained in power until he was forced out in 2017.
Love-hate relationship with the UK
Mr Mugabe justified the 2000 land invasions by saying the UK’s Labour government, in power since 1997, had reneged on a British promise to fund peaceful land reform.
While it might be expected that an avowedly Marxist liberation fighter would have more in common with the Labour Party than the Conservatives, the opposite turned out to be true.
“Mrs Thatcher, you could trust her. But of course what happened later was a different story with the Labour Party and Blair, who you could never trust”
Under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the UK accepted that as the former colonial power, it had the moral duty to help finance the process of buying white-owned land and redistributing it to black farmers.
But after a report found the process had been tainted by cronyism, British funding was put on hold.
The new Labour government took matters further and declared: “We do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe.”
In 2013, Mr Mugabe observed: “Mrs Thatcher, you could trust her. But of course what happened later was a different story with the Labour Party and [former Prime Minister Tony] Blair, who you could never trust.
“Who can ever believe what Mr Blair says? Here we call him Bliar.”
Despite the vitriol directed at the UK from 2000 onwards, Mr Mugabe was in some ways the epitome of an English gentleman.
He was usually turned out in immaculate, dark, three-piece suits and ties – until he was given a makeover in 2000 and advised to campaign in brightly coloured cloth emblazoned with his own face, like many other African leaders.
Visitors to State House were always offered tea to drink and he was a huge fan of cricket.
“Cricket civilises people and creates good gentlemen. I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen,” he once said.
He was educated by Jesuits in the Katuma mission near his birthplace in Zvimba, north-west of Salisbury (now Harare), where he was taken under the wing of an Irish priest, Jerome O’Hea.
This is presumably where he developed his abstemious nature – he did not drink alcohol or coffee and was largely vegetarian.
“If he had died after 10 years in power, he would have been my hero forever”
His second wife Grace said he used to wake up at 05:00 for his exercises, including yoga.
This healthy lifestyle was no doubt one reason why he lived until the age of 95.
For many years, his health was a constant source of speculation.
This prognosis turned out to be false, and on his 88th birthday Mr Mugabe joked he had “beaten Christ” because he had died and been resurrected so many times.
While he was vilified in the West, his anti-colonial rhetoric did strike a chord across Africa, even among many who condemned his human rights record.
At the 2013 memorial service in Soweto for Nelson Mandela – who replaced Mr Mugabe as Africa’s most admired anti-colonial fighter – Zimbabwe’s president was wildly cheered by the young South African crowd, even as they booed their own then leader, Jacob Zuma.
“A lot of people think that pan-Africanism is a thing of the past but that is not true,” said Mr Mugabe’s staunch ally, Chen Chimutengwende.
“While imperialism and racism exist, pan-Africanism is still needed,” he told the BBC.
But Zimbabwean journalist Wilf Mbanga said that in his latter years, Mr Mugabe had far more support outside his home country than within.
“Those young South Africans who praise him do not have to live under his rule,” he said, pointing out that many Ghanaians had less than fond memories of life under pan-African hero Kwame Nkrumah, who had inspired Mr Mugabe.
So how will Mr Mugabe be remembered?
Mr Chan said that until 2000, Mr Mugabe had a “good report card”, although the verdict later turned to “disastrous”.
“If he had died after 10 years in power, he would have been my hero forever,” said Mr Mbanga.
“But look at the schools and hospitals now.
“He has spoilt his legacy. Now, people will remember him for driving people out of Harare, Gukurahundi, election violence and everything else.”