Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Flight 224 (part 2)

Flight 224.

At the time this was exciting news, PP was my friend, we had an inside track as to what was going on.

However and this has come back to me many times over the years. I saw him every day and what for all of us was just another adventure story, for him and his family, must have been a living hell.

 PP never showed any emotion, I actually don’t think any of us ever did, deep down inside we had grown cold. Emotion was a sign of weakness and any weakness was instantly taken advantage of.

PP`s dad had stayed behind, to fight a rearguard action, so his team could escape on the Air India jet. The stuff of legends, you truely could not make this up. He was captured and sentenced to death.

I saw PP every day at school for 2 years while his dad was on death row. We went surfing, life went on. I have thought about that a lot. I could not imagine my children having to deal with that, I honestly tremble at the thought of my children having to deal with that.

In a way he is a hero, an example. A lot later in life, when I needed inspiration to get through tough times I have thought of PP and how hard that must have been.

Even though I had no idea at the time I was learning a lesson, no matter how bad things seem, keep the faith.

His dad eventually came home in 1983.

-The Seychelles Govt arrested the seven (6 men and 1 woman) who remained on the Seychelles and tried the men (June-July 1982). The charges against the woman were dropped.Four of the six were sentenced to death (Brooks, Carey, England and Puren), Dolinchek was sentenced to 20years imprisonment and Sims to 10. After negotiations, all were eventually returned to SA in mid-1983.

-In January 1982 an International Commission, appointed by the UN Security Council, made an inquiry of this mercenary aggression.
-Hoare and his mercenaries (45 in total??) were tried on their return to South Africa, but not for having attempted to organize a coup in a foreign country. The accused were charged before court with specific offenses under the Civil Aviation Offenses Act of 1972. The judge concluded that the SA Govt. was not involved in the Seychelles affair. Hoare got 10 years, Peter Duffy (??), Mike Webb, Tullio Moneta and Pieter Doorewaard (probably the most senior of the Recce Commando reservists) were sentenced to 5 years, Ken Dalgliesh to 1 year, and Charles Goatley to 2 1/2 years; The other mercs (39?) were freed.
-Pretoria Govt, embarrassed, opened negotiations for the return of the 6 arrested men. SA govt. paid President René a ransom of $ 3 million (of which his cabinet was not informed) and came to a broader understanding wit Pres. René personally
-Beset by attention of foreign secret services and by plots of within, Pres. René asked his friend, the Italian businessman Mario Ricci to help improve his security service . He realized that he needed to adjust his foreign policy to accommodate SA interests, at least in some measure.
-In the aftermath of the 1981 coup attempt SA secret services came fully to appreciate Ricci's significance as a potential intermediary with President René. SA "super-spy' Craig Williamson developed in the mid-1980's a close relationship with Ricci.

1. Seychelles was of considerable strategic interest to the USA, USSR, France, South Africa and
others, all of which sought to exercise influence in this islands.
After 1979 (when SA's main supply of oil was threatened) Seychelles had a minor but distinct role to play in the new strategy of the 'total onslaught'. The islands offered a) potential military facilities and
b) could possible be used as a base for clandestine trading purposes in the face of economic
sanctions (after the Iranian revolution of 1979 especially oil). SA was unhappy with the rule of
President René, far to the left of his predecessor. So, a coup was planned with the
objective, to bring down the government of President René and install Mr. Mancham (the former
President): the long term aim in overthrowing the Seychelles Government was to have a
base from which the Tanzanian Government could be destabilized, Mr. Dolinchek said. Other
reasons included landingrights for SAA aircraft and a strategic base on the important Cape sea

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