I knew before my book’s publication that apartheid nostalgics and Dr Verwoerd worshipers would question my findings, despite the plethora of unquestionable evidence that supports them (and this was one of the reasons I gave the evidence and the report to the five jurists and the Minister of Justice). Unfortunately, there are some people in this world, like Holocaust deniers and apartheid nostalgics, who, no matter how much evidence you present, will still insist that the Holocaust did not happen, and that apartheid was something good and not a crime against humanity. Now, once again, I have to prove that I am not an elephant to someone whose superficial and inadequate research has led him to write some irresponsible and slanderous “remarks”. Thus, I feel that I must respond to these comments to expose this gentleman’s feeble remarks, as I do not want anyone who reads them to believe that he is correct (not that this matters much, as my conclusions and evidence have been accepted by the vast majority of people).
Mr Brand seems to consider himself to be more intelligent or more qualified, so as to spot mistakes in the book that he believes the “average reader might be unaware of”. Let’s examine now these “mistakes”, or whatever does not seem right to him.
Mr Brand is attempting to challenge my book by questioning my research methods, and he supports his argument by pointing to some mistakes he claims he spotted on trivial things, like the way General Kreipe was transported after his abduction. His criticism of my methods is unfounded, and the mistakes he spotted are non-existent; he is mistaken with the evidence that he produces, which is the result of his limited and inadequate research. However, what is astonishing in his remarks, is the fact that he does not attack the main point of the book – which is Tsafendas’s motive, his political ideology and his committed political activism – or the archival evidence, which are the core of the book, but attempts to question my methods, by pointing to three entirely peripheral, trivial areas. What is even more astonishing is that he even gets these facts wrong! It is like Mr Brand attempting to kill a man, but instead of shooting him or stabbing him in the head or the heart, he attempts to remove a single hair from his head, believing that in this way he would kill his victim; and, the most laughable thing here is that he cannot even remove this single hair!
Mr Brand, like his predecessor in the criticism of my book, completely avoids any discussion about Tsafendas’s motive, ideology and political activism. All this is supported in the book by overwhelming and unquestionable evidence from the South African and Portuguese National Archives, but both Mr Brand and his predecessive critic deliberately did not mention any of this. They did not, because in the book, there is a picture of a portion of Tsafendas’s statement to the police, where he tells his interrogators that he killed Verwoerd because he hoped that “a change of policy would take place”. There is also a picture of a top-secret document from PIDE in Lisbon, sent two day after the assassination, to PIDE in Mozambique, asking them to conceal from the apartheid authorities any information indicating Tsafendas as a partisan of the independence of Mozambique. There are also large extracts from Tsafendas’s interrogation by the apartheid police and from PIDE, as well as other evidence collected by the apartheid police at the time. Obviously Mr Brand cannot dispute this evidence so he turned his attention to trivial things.
Now, let’s examine what Mr Brand has written. First of all, he focuses his criticism on the way I conducted my interviews, although he is unaware of the method I used to conduct them. What is more absurd is the fact that the interviews play a secondary role in the book, as its core is the archival evidence. The fact that Tsafendas killed Verwoerd for political reasons, that he had a long history of political activism and that the apartheid authorities misportrayed him and all the important information, is evident from the archival documents, not from interviews. The main conclusion of the book and of my research is proven by archival documents, not by interviews, and it would have been exactly the same without them; to make it simpler, even if I had not had a single interview, the outcome would have been exactly the same. The interviews offer really nothing to the main conclusion; they only help to learn details about Tsafendas’s life that have not been recorded before. The only really important information from interviews, which the book and the research could very easily survive without, comes from Father Michalis Constandinou and Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis, to whom Tsafendas confided about the killing of Verwoerd; however, what Tsafendas told them is what he had also told the police, so it is really nothing more than confirmation of what I already had from the archival documents.
Let’s now examine the actual interviews; Mr Brand goes to extreme lengths to challenge the way I conducted them, without even knowing what method I used. His hypothesis is built entirely on an assumption on his part that I used a specific method, although nowhere in the book have I mentioned such a method, and there is no indication that I did this. Nevertheless, still he hypothesised about it, and went to great lengths to explain the method’s shortcomings. I have read several historical biographies, and I have never come across one where the author had to explain his methodology and the method of interviews he used; I did this for my PhD, but this is not a PhD, this is a historical biography. The same also applies to the “theory” that he refers to. I have never come across a biography where the author has applied some theoretical discussion in his subject or findings, in order to explain or support his arguments. Again, this is something that one would do in a PhD (which I have obtained from the sixth-best university in the UK, and 74th in the world, and not from a Mickey Mouse university), not in a biography. I am very well aware where I need to apply theory and where I do not. This is a historical biography; I do not need to talk about a theory, Mr Brand, or apply it, in order to support my arguments. The same applies to my report to the Minister.
Furthermore, in my report to the Minister of Justice, I have included in the text some of the questions that I asked in my interviews; again, I did not think that this was something necessary to do in a biography, and again, I have never come across a biography where the author has listed the questions he asked in his interviews. If Mr Brand knows one, he can please let me know.
Mr Brand also questions my ability to collect and evaluate data, as well as conduct interviews. I interviewed about 40 people for my PhD and about 70 for other projects; with the Tsafendas interviews, I interviewed about 250 people. I think this is a quite big enough number for someone to be considered an experienced interviewer. I have also, in my life, interviewed some very prominent people, and some of them have complimented me for the way I conducted my interviews; for example: Mike Dukakis (who, by the way, was the one who suggested to me to give the evidence on the Tsafendas case to prominent jurists, and then to the SA authorities, as he had done something quite similar with the Sacco and Vanzetti case), professor at UCLA, former governor of Massachusetts and the Democratic nominee in the 1988 USA presidential election; Stuart E Eizenstat, the USA ambassador to the EU, USA deputy secretary of the treasury, Jimmy Carter’s chief policy adviser and executive director of the White House domestic policy staff; and Peter Bourne, Jimmy Carter’s special assistant on health issues. For my PhD, I also consulted more than 5 000 pages of documents found in various archives in the USA; none of my examiners questioned my methods of collecting and evaluating my evidence. For my PhD, I also received training in interview methods, data collection and analysis practices; again, no one spotted any shortcomings in my PhD. In addition, I have a postgraduate certificate in academic practice from Durham University, specialising in supervising PhD students.
As for the interviews being 106 and not 137, I clarify in the preface that, in total, I interviewed 137 people, and 69 of them knew Tsafendas; the rest were either involved in the case somehow, or are experts in their field, like jurists, psychologists and psychiatrists. In the report to the Minister, I have included all 137 names; however, in the book, I only included the names of those whom I quoted or who contributed something to the book. For example, I consulted two professors of history, James Ward and Timothy Brown, who are experts on M-Apparat – it would be a long story to explain here what the M-Apparat was, but there was a conspiracy theory that involved Tsafendas with this organisation, so I contacted these two scientists to enquire about this organisation, and to find out more about it; however, this organisation is not mentioned in the book, and neither are their comments, so they are not mentioned, although they are, of course, mentioned in my report to the Minister.
Now, if I seriously wanted to challenge someone’s interviews, I would go and talk to those who were interviewed to check whether what has been attributed to them is correct. This way, I could easily expose any “shortcomings” in the interviews. However, Mr Brand did not do this, although it would have been very easy for him to do so, since most of the witnesses I interviewed are in South Africa. Instead, Mr Brand hypothesised about my methods, and he questioned them, when he knows nothing about them and has absolutely no evidence at all to support his claims, which is really pathetic, petty, slanderous and irresponsible. I would be happy to get him in touch with anyone he wishes, and then he can report his findings and publicly apologise for what he wrote. He can start with Bishop Ioannis, who is the most important witness. It is also really pathetic and petty for someone to present a one-sided review of a book, where he only sees “shortcomings”, without acknowledging anything that needs to be applauded, while it is even more pathetic when someone diverts the conversation from the main subject to petty things, which I am going to examine now.
The first of my “mistakes”, according to Mr Brand, is that the Medical Association of South Africa (MASA) was not expelled from the World Medical Association, as I wrote, and he also wrote that I have not provided a source for this information. Unfortunately for Mr Brand, my information seems to be correct, and this proves the limits of his “research” to challenge my sources. I got this information from Professor Lawrence Baxter’s article in the South African Journal of Human Rights. This is the full source:
Baxter, LC (1985). “Doctors on trial: Steve Biko, medical ethics and the courts.” South African Journal on Human Rights, 137–51 (1985), pp 137–8.
And, to make it easier for Mr Brand, who limits his research to the first two sources that come up in Google, or for anyone else who wishes to check this, this is the link for the source:
To make it even easier, this is what this article says:
Biko’s death continues to have serious consequences for the medical profession. The conduct of the doctors who attended the victim when he was in extremis was called into question as a result of the evidence at the inquest, and the absence of any disciplinary actions by their peers led to the expulsion of the Medical Association of South Africa from the World Medical Association.
He is correct, though, that I have not included the source in the book (this is the only thing that he gets right in his entire piece); I added this part quite late in the production of the book, and, because the footnotes are added manually by the publisher, it was not easy to add it, so they omitted it. However, I find it absolutely unbelievable that a psychologist in South Africa, with so many years of experience, is unaware of MASA’s expulsion, especially taking into account that he was a practising psychologist at the time when it happened! It is even more shocking that Mr Brand, who criticises my research, conducted his own research on the topic and failed to find this information! This is what usually happens when one just reads the first two articles that come up in Google.
Now for my absolute favourite part in Mr Brand’s criticism: Mr Brand questions Costas Kargakis’s participation in the kidnapping of Nazi General Kreipe in Crete during WWII, and he wrote that his name does not appear in the two sources that he checked and provided in his piece. First of all, I have also mentioned in my book that Tsafendas met with Tyrakis, who also participated in Kreipe’s kidnapping, and that he got in touch with him from Kargakis; Tyrakis’s name and participation in the operation appears in both Mr Brand’s sources, but, very conveniently, he has not mentioned this. Now, going back to Kargakis. His full name was Constandinos Kargakis (Costas is a shortened version of Constandinos; anyone can easily check on the internet that it is common practice in Greece for the name Constandinos to be shortened to Costas), but, as a partisan, he was known as Psarokostas (because of his distinctive white beard; psaros in Crete means “white”), as I have mentioned in my book. Kargakis is a famed partisan in Crete, and participated not only in the kidnapping of Kreipe, but in several other missions and battles, including the Battle of Crete, and was a member of the famed partisan team of Georgios Petrakis (also known in the mountains as Captain Petrakogiorgis). Tsafendas told two priests, Father Minas Constandinou and Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis, that, while he was in Crete, he met and stayed at the house of Costas Kargakis, who had been a member of the Greek Resistance during WWII, and who had participated in the kidnapping of Kreipe; he also said that this gave him the idea of kidnapping Verwoerd and exchanging him with political prisoners, and that he was introduced by Kargakis to other partisans, who trained him in bomb-making. One of them was Kargakis’s brother, Giorgos Kargakis (also known as Psarogiorgas). Three of Kargakis’s relatives, as well as Tsafendas’s distant relatives, confirmed to me in interviews that Costas Kargakis and his brother Giorgos had participated in the kidnapping, and that they had trained Tsafendas in bomb-making. I could have used several published sources confirming that Kargakis had participated in the kidnapping, but I never thought that anyone would ever doubt such information! I also did not find it necessary to include in the book the names of all the partisans who met with Tsafendas and trained him in bomb-making.
Now, if you look at the links below (you can translate them with Google translator, as, unfortunately, they are in Greek), you will see that all of them contain several names of partisans who participated in the kidnapping, and they are not mentioned in Mr Brand’s two sources. More than 50 partisans, in total, participated in the Kreipe operation in various roles. Several names are not included in Mr Brand’s sources, but they are in several others, if one searches a little more than Mr Brand did: for example, Raftopoulos, Aggelakis, Zabetakis, Kimonas Zografakis, Katsias, Boutzalis, Paradisianos, Kriovrisaki, Xilouris, Petrakis (Petrakogiorgis) and the Kargakis brothers. The reason why these partisans are not always mentioned is because they did not carry out the kidnapping themselves; but, they did participate in the operation in several of its stages. The ones who are mentioned in Mr Brand’s sources are the ones who carried out the actual kidnapping. I did not write that Kargakis participated in the actual kidnapping; I wrote: “Kargakis was one of the band that marched the general over the mountains”. I never wrote that he participated in the actual kidnapping; he only participated in the transportation of the general, and this should have been clear to anyone reading the book, but apparently it was not to Mr Brand. As you will see in the first link below, it says that the team who had carried out the kidnapping was met in the mountains by the team of Petrakis (Petrakogiorgis), and this team helped them reach their destination; the names of the people who comprised his team are not mentioned in this link, but they are mentioned in the other links I have included further down. Let’s establish, first, that Petrakogiorgis did participate in the Kreipe operation, by looking at the links below:
This link contains a picture of Petrakogiorgis, taken during the operation; this is what it says in the caption. It is a widely publicised picture of Petrakogiorgis, and can also be found in Crete’s Historical Museum:
One can find several pieces of information confirming Petrakogiorgis’s team’s participation in the kidnapping and in other operations, in the several links below, and several more if one conducts proper research, not like that carried out by Mr Brand.
The following is a report by Petrakogiorgis regarding the members and casualties of his team:
You can see Costas Kargakis’s name as this: Κ Καργάκης ή Ψαρόκωστας (C Kargakis or Psarokostas).
In the following link, you can see the full team of Petrakogiorgis. Kargakis is given with his code name Ψαρόκωστας (Psarokostas). Compare the person second from the left at the bottom, with the picture of Kargakis in my book. It is easy to recognise him because of his distinctive white beard.
And, in order to make sure that Mr Brand spotted the correct person, I have pointed him out, too:
To make it easier to compare, this is Kargakis’s picture in my book:
The following links contain a picture and a list of Petrakogiorgis’s team; Costas Kargakis is mentioned as Κωντσταντίνος Καργάκης (Ψαρόκωστας) από τα Βορίζα (Constandinos Kargakis (Psarokostas) from Voriza). Costas Kargakis is second from the right, standing up:
The same picture can be seen here again, where it is stated that this is Petrakogiorgis’s team:
To make sure, I have marked Kargakis again:
The following links contain information about Petrakogiorgis’s team, as well as lists with its members; of course, Costas Kargakis’s name is included:
These two links have a picture of Petrakogiorgis with Giorgos Kargakis and some other partisans.
And here, you can read a witness’s account about Giorgos Kargakis:
I hope that this is enough to convince anyone that Mr Brand’s limited research is again exposed, but if anyone wishes to see further evidence of Kargakis’s participation in the kidnapping, I am happy to provide them with published sources and Costas Kargakis’s medal that was given to him by the Greek government in recognition of his participation in the Greek Resistance, including his participation in the Kreipe operation.
Mr Brand also says that I am wrong and that Kreipe was not transported to Egypt by submarine, as I wrote, but by the British Special Boat Service. He cited two sources for his information, although neither of them mentions anything about the general being transported by such a boat to Egypt.
The limits of Mr Brand’s “research” are proven once again by looking at the four reputable sources below: the BBC, the Financial Times, the New Statesman and the Daily Beast. The four accounts all have the same source – Sir Patrick (Paddy) Leigh Fermor's book about Kreipe’s kidnapping, “Abducting a General”; three being book reviews, one being a reference to the book contained in an obituary of Sir Leigh Fermor, the man who designed and carried out the kidnapping and transportation of Kreipe in Egypt. All these four accounts refer to a submarine:
The BBC talks of "a journey to a rendezvous with a British submarine".
The Financial Times says "He was taken into the mountains and hidden there until such times as it was safe to bring him back down to the road and escort him via submarine to Egypt".
The New Statesman says “In Paddy’s own account of the abduction of Kreipe, the climax comes not as the general’s staff car is stopped at 9.30pm by a British SOE party dressed in the stolen uniforms of German military police, nor as they drive coolly through no fewer than 22 German checkpoints in the city of Heraklion with the general lying gagged at their feet, nor as the Cretan partisans help smuggle Kreipe into the Cretan highlands and thence to a waiting British submarine – but instead as “a brilliant dawn was breaking over the crest of Mount Ida.”
The Daily Beast said almost exactly what the New Statesman said, same phraseology.
And, here are two other sources with references to Sir Fermor’s account regarding the kidnapping, in the New Statesman and the Financial Times:
And, his obituary:
And, a Greek article in English:
Thus, unless Fermor, BBC and the other sources got it wrong, Mr Brand is wrong again, and I am right. However, from all the information I have included in the book, the piece about the submarine is by far the least researched, and, even more, the least important; I did not even need to include it! I only looked at some of the above sources, and I thought that the BBC, the Financial Times and Sir Fermor himself are reliable enough sources for such a completely unimportant piece of information in my book; if I knew that someone would ever question whether Kreipe was transported by submarine or not, I would have cited these sources. I am really astonished, and find it unbelievable and petty that someone would even bother questioning such trivial information; if Mr Brand wanted to challenge my book’s main theme, he should have dared to challenge the main theme, and not this.
As for the Wechsler Bellevue Test Profile, what I have written is what happened in the trial; I suggest Mr Brand look at the trial transcript and compare it, and then start questioning what I have written. All the IQ results that were given in the trial have been included in my book; no other is mentioned in the trial transcript. Van Zyl told the court: “His full IQ tests at 113,5. His verbal IQ tests at 125,00.”
Mr Brand has also taken out of context what I said at Woordfees, and about the priests and the purpose of the book, and he also suggests that the Minister of Justice and his advisers are incapable of properly evaluating my evidence and my interviews. I suppose, though, that Mr Brand’s ideal Ministers of Justice to deal with the matter would have been Vorster and Kruger. I could continue providing more evidence proving Mr Brand’s comments to be laughable, unfounded and irresponsible, but I am getting tired doing this, and I find it pointless; I think anyone who has read my book can distinguish between the quality and extent of my research and my work, and this gentleman’s remarks.
The main question is Tsafendas’s motive, and the fact that, for more than 50 years, people believed that Tsafendas killed Verwoerd because of a tapeworm, and that he was an apolitical idiot. The book presents unquestionable evidence, such as Tsafendas’s statements to the police; the fact that PIDE had a huge file on him; that he had a long history of political activism; that the apartheid police were aware that Tsafendas had faked mental illness in the past while in custody, but failed to mention this to those who examined him; and, not to repeat myself again, everything I told Mr Pienaar. Instead of trying to challenge this important information, which is the core of the book, Mr Brand challenges the information regarding the submarine that transported Kreipe, an incident that plays no role at all in the story. Of course, Mr Brand says that if I got this wrong, I might have made other mistakes, too; however, instead of attempting to challenge the important information, like any respectable person would do, he cowardly challenges this unimportant information, where, even if I had got it wrong (just for the sake of argument, as I have not!), again, this would hardly question the rest of the findings. It is like someone saying that he has evidence that Jeremy Corbyn and the whole Labour Party in Britain are corrupt, and then the evidence that they produce is the fact that, 20 years ago, the ex-wife of the ex-husband of a security guard in the Labour Party’s office in London attempted to bribe a policeman!
Mr Brand attempts to divert the conversation from Tsafendas’s motive and his political activism, by saying nothing at all about this evidence, and instead, he is wasting my time with really petty things. Whether one likes it or not, Tsafendas killed Verwoerd because he hoped that “a change of policy would take place”, as he told the police, not because of a tapeworm, which was non-existent in his questioning by the police. The book consists of information and statements from more than 100 people who were questioned by the police at the time; they are the core of the book, not the interviews. However, Mr Brand does not mention this, and he focuses on the interviews and the other petty things. I think one should research one’s subject more before one starts making accusations or raising doubts and wasting someone’s time, which could also lead one to court for slander.
To conclude, Mr Brand’s criticism is completely unfounded and 100 percent wrong. My conclusions about Tsafendas and the evidence that supports them are “unquestionable” and “overwhelming”, as advocate George Bizos said about the matter. I also find it really petty to question absolutely minor things, such as whether a submarine or a boat transported from Crete, when the main argument of the book is Tsafendas’s motive, and when the book has produced an absolutely massive amount of archival evidence that cannot be disputed. Instead, Mr Brand says nothing at all about the archival evidence and the main issue of the book, but questions petty things like the ones mentioned above – where, even on these, he is again 100 percent wrong.
I believe that all the above shortcomings in Mr Brand’s comments, and his limited research; as well as the fact that, although he was a practising psychologist at the time of MESA’s expulsion, he did not know about it; the fact that he deliberately focuses on trivial issues and ignores the main theme of the book; the fact that he ignores a plethora of archival evidence; that he questions the interviews and my methodology without knowing anything about them, and without having any evidence to support his claims, all raise the inevitable question of whether there might have been a continuous pattern of this nature of shortcomings in his work that, maybe, for whatever reason, no one has noticed yet. What is, however, more astonishing for me, and which raises other types of questions regarding Mr Brand, is his opinion about not waking sleeping dogs in a matter of historical inaccuracy. I suppose if Mr Brand ever comes up with evidence proving, for example, that Chief Luthuli was murdered, he will keep it to himself, because he does not want to wake up sleeping dogs.