Terror accused 'driven by Zim situation'

2011-02-14 14:31

Johannesburg - A South African businessman accused of threatening to unleash biological weapons on Britain and the United States may have been driven by concern over the plight of white farmers in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a spokesperson for the prosecution said on Monday.

The suspect, Brian Roach, did not have the means to carry out his threats to spread foot-and-mouth disease, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

Roach, 64, who owns an engineering firm outside Johannesburg, appeared in court on Monday after his arrest on terror charges on Saturday. The case was postponed until Friday for a bail hearing.

Roach threatened in letters and e-mails sent to the British government to spread the disease in Britain and the United States unless he was given $4m.

Plight of white Zimbabwean farmers

"We have the expertise and resources to do this very effectively and will be able to devastate the industry in the UK which will cost billions to the economy," Roach wrote in an e-mail to the British government. "We will devastate your farms and then we will then take the problem to your co-conspirator the USA."

Roach appeared to believe the US and Britain should do more to help white Zimbabwean farmers, Mhaga said.

About 4 000 white farmers have been forced from their farms since 2000 in what Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe calls a campaign to put more land in the hands of impoverished blacks. Many of the beneficiaries, though, have been top politicians who are close to Mugabe.

Roach said he wanted compensation for losses incurred by Zimbabweans because of the US, which he said influenced the situation in Zimbabwe with only its "own interest at heart".

On October 6, Roach wrote in an e-mail: "We are not habitual criminals but have been victim of a situation which was entirely out of our control and attributed to corrupt and incompetent politicians."

Violence in Zimbabwe has surged since January, when Mugabe called for elections later this year to bring Zimbabwe's troubled coalition to an end. The power-sharing government - a joint coalition of Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the formal opposition leader - took office February 11, 2009 after disputed elections plagued by violence and allegations of vote rigging in 2008.

Police said a six-month terror investigation by South African, British and US officials culminated with Roach's arrest. US and British officials confirmed they had worked closely with the South Africans.

'Very serious threat'

"This biological agent, if deployed, would have caused the destruction of property and resulted in major economic loss," a police statement said. "This was therefore regarded as a very serious threat."

Police charged Roach with terrorist activity and money laundering. The grey-haired man, married with four grown children, appeared briefly in court on Monday, wearing glasses and a black fleece jacket.

Police said Roach made the threats repeatedly in letters and e-mails sent from internet cafes.

Police searched Roach's home and other sites, but found no evidence he would have been capable of carrying out his threats.

  • Paul - 2011-02-14 14:36

    I retract my last statement . Die Man is my nuwe held !!!!

      jouplesier - 2011-02-14 18:15

      ek stem saam; hierdi man se ballas is so groot dit sleep agter hom! :)

      Great White - 2011-02-15 10:25

      Agreed, he's got balls.

  • jakkals - 2011-02-14 14:42

    the reason behind the madness... Mmm, kudos for trying, hey. Yet Britain and America will still not give a damn about what happens down here in Africa. And in other news...

  • marcus.kittel - 2011-02-14 14:46

    Well done to the guy for actually pointing the finger. While I don't condone terrorism or these kinds of threats I do think the US and especially the UK could have done more about the Zim situation, but there's no oil there so why bother!!!

      john - 2011-02-15 12:36

      What exactly do you want them to do? They are already applying sanctions and diplomatic pressure. It is illegal to invade a country to change its government. The country must pose a threat to other countries to merit invasion. Does Zim have nukes or WMD? Is it suspected of having nukes or WMD? Does it have a history of using nukes or WMD against other nations? Is it massing its troops on its borders in anticipation of a military invasion of its neighbours? Is its military a threat to its neighbours? If the answer to these questions is "No", then no action (other than the existing sanctions and diplomatic pressure) is allowed under international law. In Iraq, there was historical proof that they'd invaded other countries and used WMD, and at least grounds for suspicion that they still had WMD. In Zim, there is no history of these things, no proof and no grounds for suspicion. So there is no legal basis for anything other than the measures they're already taking.

  • Alfred - 2011-02-14 14:49

    Well thats one way to send a message. Maybe if he bombs Magoo's they'll make him the chief of Metro police. Hell, bomb Church street and maybe they'll make you president.

      Ryno Rousseau - 2011-02-14 15:37

      Sounds like a plan!

  • kznsc - 2011-02-14 14:58

    Relax Roach, mugabe and zuma is bringing in the chinese to take over the farms.......wait some more and hear the sqeels start when the bread basket of africa exports to china and starts charging africans for the food they need to live.

      Johann - 2011-02-14 15:18

      the chinese are here for more than just rino horns !

  • Gorilla - 2011-02-14 15:05

    Britain certainly sold the rhodesians down the river.

      Great White - 2011-02-15 10:32

      And don't discount South Africa's cowardly involvement either. Politicians really suck.

  • Sancho - 2011-02-14 15:06

    The devil made me do it

  • Sancho - 2011-02-14 15:06

    The devil made me do it

      squeegeepilot - 2011-02-14 15:21

      What, repeat yourself?

  • EG - 2011-02-14 15:06

    This gives new meaning to "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". If what he threatened to do, having the implications of the possible action described in the article ("This biological agent, if deployed, would have caused the destruction of property and resulted in major economic loss," a police statement said. "This was therefore regarded as a very serious threat." ) is labeled as terrorism and he is prosecuted FOR THE THREAT, NOT THE ACTION, why take no action against Mugabe?! They just proved his point very well.

      Goose - 2011-02-14 16:10

      Precisely EG The facts are there for the world to see yet even SA, the US and the entire world sits back and watches while ordinary zimbos are beaten and murdered. I do not condone what this man has done, but if you look at it, what will it take to wake the world up to the fact of what is happening up there?

      john - 2011-02-15 15:12

      How many white Zimbabweans have been murdered? If the US had to invade every country in which an equivalent number of members of some group were murdered, they'd have invaded almost every developing country in the world. They'd have had sufficient motive to invade SA just for the numbers of people killed in faction fighting in the Natal Midlands alone. Besides, what good would invading do? Whatever leader the US replaced Mugabe with, the world would view him as a "US puppet" and Zimbabweans would reject and resist the new leader, the death toll would skyrocket - and white farmers wouldn't be any less at risk than they are now.

  • Sancho - 2011-02-14 15:06

    The devil made me do it

  • mike881 - 2011-02-14 15:12

    This threat of "deploying a biological agent" - was it not just the perp threatening to "Fart" after consuming a good old Durbs bunny chow? After the Bush fiasco over "Weapons of Mass Destruction" I will not belive anything till I have seen the "true" account on Wikileaks! ;)

  • squeegeepilot - 2011-02-14 15:22

    Greed. He wanted $4mil. There is no excuse for what he did.

      DeonL - 2011-02-14 15:28

      I agree it was only about money. - 2011-02-14 16:12

      For the Zim farmers - 2011-02-14 20:45

      Are you retarded? He wanted $4m for compensation to the farmers, read before you judge.

  • SirMarkth - 2011-02-14 15:40

    "How to get em to support white farmers??? mmmm....I KNOW! I'll release biological attacks on em! they'll LOVE that" LOL! Logic fail of the century! I imagine the USA and Britain are feeling real sorry for them farmers right about now. You lot calling him a hero don't have the foggiest clue what this would have done if he pulled it off. Sounds like its all hot air from his side though...

  • D.C - 2011-02-14 15:40

    No to terrorism anywhere. Zim should rather follow suit on Egypt and get that f.nut out of office.

  • DANE - 2011-02-14 15:50

    They should warn the white people to leave zim then they can release the biological attack on the rest of them,job done !

  • Witseun - 2011-02-14 15:53

    Every bodies hero, but how stupid can you be. Eisch man.

  • Rob - 2011-02-14 16:02

    There is no excuse for terrorism or threats of terrorism of any sort, by any religion, colour or creed. His threat implicated thousands of innocents. Sure it was merely a threat, but put out enough threats and complacency is born, and that could have horrific consequences. - 2011-02-14 16:31

      Agreed Rob. I'm sure we all feel for this guy and his cause but not the right way to go about it. On the other hand how does one try make a point in the world today? You gather millions support signatures on documents, give it to the relavant people and it gets ignored and dumped.

  • Mativha - 2011-02-14 16:27

    Not the brightest move made so far. The Farmers in Zim have shown incredible restraint in the face of diversity. It looks as though this was a chancer and he won't get much sympathy.

  • Mativha - 2011-02-14 16:29

    adversity. ( sory but english is not my mother tounge)

      Chibuli - 2011-02-14 17:44

      I agree with you on both points - he is a chancer, and English isn't your mother tongue

  • Assegaai - 2011-02-14 17:41

    Something fishy about this whole thing.

  • Hugh - 2011-02-14 18:07

    How sad that some ignorant’s here do not know their history except that the ANC has managed to indoctrinate. Voster sold Rhodesia down the river. He withheld arms, spare parts and petrol to appease the African countries he had made "friends". Britain capitulated to every demand made by ZANU and ZAPU at the various conferences. When Magabe literally wipe out opposition in Matabelieland nothing was said. Britain made a vague promise to pay the new Zim for the land owned by whites. That promise was never followed through by Mugabe until 25 years later when he needed an excuse to strip whites of farms.

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-02-14 18:54

      But who does not know that Hugh?

  • Zakhele - 2011-02-14 20:11

    Obama please arrest this piece of trash. Whoever is dragging the ANC name into this is an asshole. - 2011-02-14 20:53

      yes and then come and take Zakhele's house from him and his job and give him NO compensation, just because his black and that automaticly makes him a racist that stole it from someone.

  • - 2011-02-14 20:55

    This guy is my new hero

  • marcanthonytaylor - 2011-02-15 03:36

    Of course the economic powers that be only have their own interests at heart. To think otherwise is dangerously naive. That said, sending threat that can be traced back so easily is stupid to say the very least.

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