When you get to my age you may have the chance to look back upon your activism and realize that some of it was misguided or mistaken; you will also realize some moments that can be characterized as “I told you so” situations. One example was 1982 when I was defeated by Elizabeth Martinez then of the Democratic Workers Party for the Peace and Freedom Party nomination for governor of California. The main issue that divided the two of us was essentially that Martinez was an apologist for all things Soviet; I criticized the Soviet Union where criticism was due, especially when it came to its domestic nuclear power program. Martinez claimed that under so-called socialist control nuclear power was perfectly safe whereas under capitalism it was ostensibly not safe.
I have one word that later proved me correct about my analysis that economic systems do not make dangerous power sources safe or environmentally sound: Chernobyl. Only four years later, April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power disaster in what is now the Ukraine and which was then part of the Soviet Union proved me correct and Martinez hopelessly deluded.
Today another one of those ‘oh by the way I told you so’ moments has arrived in an article published in the Atlantic concerning Paul Manafort, presently under indictment in the ongoing investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller of corruption involving Pres. Trump. A portion of that article refers to the lobbying and propaganda efforts of Paul Manafort and his cohorts to whitewash the ostensibly Maoist regime of Jonas Savimbi who was backed by both United States and communist China against the Soviet forces of the MPLA in the Angola Civil War.
In the PFP the debate over to the back ultimately went to the MPLA; however there were two party leaders, who as ostensible Maoists, expressed support for Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement: perennial Atty. Gen. nominee Bob Evans and Milton Takei who had earlier defeated me by one vote on the third ballot for state chair of PFP. Following is what the Atlantic exposes about Manafort’s role in promoting Jonas Savimbi.
The Atlantic, The Plot Against America
Franklin Foer/Jan 28, 2018
The firm’s most successful right-wing makeover was of the Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, a Maoist turned anti-communist insurgent, whose army committed atrocities against children and conscripted women into sexual slavery. During the general’s 1986 trip to New York and Washington, Manafort and his associates created what one magazine called “Savimbi Chic.” Dressed in a Nehru suit, Savimbi was driven around in a stretch limousine and housed in the Waldorf-Astoria and the Grand Hotel, projecting an image of refinement. The firm had assiduously prepared him for the mission, sending him monthly reports on the political climate in Washington. According to The Washington Post, “He was meticulously coached on everything from how to answer his critics to how to compliment his patrons.” Savimbi emerged from his tour as a much-championed “freedom fighter.” When the neoconservative icon Jeane Kirkpatrick introduced Savimbi at the American Enterprise Institute, she declared that he was a “linguist, philosopher, poet, politician, warrior … one of the few authentic heroes of our time.”
This was a racket—Savimbi paid the firm $600,000 in 1985 alone—that Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly did its best to keep alive; the firm’s own business was tied to Savimbi’s continued rebellion against Angola’s leftist regime. As the country stood on the brink of peace talks in the late ’80s, after nearly 15 years of bloody civil war, the firm helped secure fresh batches of arms for its client, emboldening Savimbi to push forward with his military campaign. Former Senator Bill Bradley wrote in his memoir, “When Gorbachev pulled the plug on Soviet aid to the Angolan government, we had absolutely no reason to persist in aiding Savimbi. But by then he had hired an effective Washington lobbying firm.” The war continued for more than a decade, killing hundreds of thousands of Angolans.