SOUTH AFRICA’S media have been reporting on the surprise verdict by the country’s health professions council.
The HPCSA ruled last week after a six-year hearing into the affairs of Dr Wouter Basson, the head of the apartheid regime’s Project Coast.
The secret biological weapons programme which flooded townships with methamphetamine, mandrax and MDMA has come under increasing scrutiny as the head of the programme, Dr Wouter Basson was found guilty of unethical conduct.
This is after an earlier criminal case brought by the state was thrown out due to “lack of evidence” in 2002.
Basson has admitted to producing a number of biological and chemical weapons used in the assassination of anti-apartheid activists and the murder of members of the liberation movement, however the full extant of the secret dirty tricks programme code-named Project Coast has only now become clear.
According to media reports, the project was ‘involved in the large-scale production of Mandrax, cocaine and teargas, of weaponising teargas, and of supplying it to Angola’s Unita leader Jonas Savimbi.’
The project’s research, interrogation and brainwashing methods may have inadvertently been revealed during the course of cross-examination.
Basson is said to have acted unethically by ‘providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings, and by making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.’
“In the light of all the circumstances, the breaches amount to unprofessional conduct… the respondent is guilty of unprofessional conduct,” HPCSA professional conduct committee chairman Prof Jannie Hugo said in Pretoria.
According to the Sowetan, ‘Basson had presented nine arguments at an inquiry into his conduct in which he claimed he acted as a soldier and not a doctor, and that he was not aware of the ethics.’
Hugo said Basson contravened international protocols and conventions. These were the Geneva Declaration of 1948 and the UN convention on the prohibition of and stockpiling of dangerous weapons.
“The respondent confused ethics of a doctor with that of a soldier while discharging his duties. A doctor cannot rely on military orders to escape the consequences of his duties.”
Hugo said if a doctor decided to use his medical knowledge and skills and consequently contravene medical ethics, he should deregister as a medical practitioner.
The six-year-long inquiry related to Basson’s involvement in South Africa’s own MK Ultra, The dirty tricks programme which mirrored other such programmes under the Nixon administration. Project Coast was operational between the 1980s and early 1990s.
THE ongoing revision of apartheid history by South Africa’s media has ratcheted up another notch with the publication of a hagiography of Wouter Basson in the conservative Mail and Guardian. The piece praising the man nicknamed Dr Death, and responsible for the apartheid regime’s bioweapons programme, comes as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is investigating Basson for professional malpractice and ethics violations.
On Friday 22 November, journalist Mia Malan attempted to recast Basson, the man responsible for the apartheid-era dirty tricks programme known as Project Coast, which included illegal experimentation on live subjects and the murder of anti-apartheid activists, as an ‘exceptional and talented cardiologist’.
The piece appears to be in response to a publicity drive by Basson who was also responsible for producing psychiatric drugs such as MDMA and Methamphetamine which flooded the townships during the closing stages of the civil conflict and who also worked on a race-virus targeting South Africa black population, amongst other dirty tricks. Now, a counter-suite against Basson’s detractors, pending the outcome of the medical hearing, is not out of the question as apartheid revisionism renders South African history nothing more than a fiction.
The piece purports to carry comments from Basson’s patients praising his skills as a doctor, as well as comment from members of the medical profession, in particular the South African Heart Association.
“The South African Heart Association, which represents the professional interests of cardiologists in the country, considers his skills to be “exceptional”.
“According to the organisation’s president, Adriaan Snyders, who has known him for 20 years, there is “no doubt” that Basson is “one of the top cardiologists in South Africa, – and his scientific knowledge is outstanding”.
Basson has been able to hit back at his critics, armed with a judgement from a failed Post-TRC prosecution. In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the [Gauteng North] High Court in Pretoria of criminal charges arising from his conduct during the civil conflict.
Reasons for the lack of a conviction appear to be related to the manner in which evidence was presented by the prosecution and the state’s inability to provide a moral and ethical framework for such prosecutions.
Although the activities of South Africa’s own MK Ultra programme known as Project Coast are well-documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the problem of holding officials accountable for their actions under the present government continues to be a problem. The resulting apartheid denial and revision of history as the legal system, followed by the media, enters the world of fable, is plain to see.
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