The Oppenheimers’ Regime Change Conference

We must recognise the agenda of proxies of apartheid capital, US, and Nato interests, and their political and media collaborators, and reject their interference in African affairs, says the writer.

We must recognise the agenda of proxies of apartheid capital, US, and Nato interests, and their political and media collaborators, and reject their interference in African affairs, says the writer.

Published Apr 10, 2024


In June 2023, against the historic backdrop of Gdańsk, Poland, a seemingly innocuous conference convened, purportedly aimed at "Rolling Back Authoritarianism" across the globe.

The conference was hosted by the Brenthurst Foundation, the plaything of apartheid mining capital oligarchs, the Oppenheimer family.

The 21-point declaration that was agreed to by the end of this conference paints a portrait of democratic struggle across Africa, with impassioned calls for solidarity and unity.

But scratch the surface, and the Gdańsk Declaration resembles a Pan-African program of regime change, overtly sanctioned by Western powers.

Now that we are in the thick of the elections period in South Africa, it is valuable to reflect on the outcomes of this conference, and see how this corresponds with what is happening in our political landscape at this moment.


The Oppenheimer family, in concert with Western powers, is engaged in the reconstitution of Cold War and apartheid alliances. Invitees included delegates from RENAMO, the US-backed Mozambican group, and one of the agitants in the Mozambican civil war that claimed over one million lives through violence and famine, and displaced five million more.

UNITA were also present, another movement that merrily danced on the marionette strings of the United States and the Apartheid government in their brutal proxy war against Angolan and Cuban liberation forces.

Also in attendance, Kate Almquist Knopf, former director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, an organization housed within the US Department of Defense, and current senior advisor to WestExec Advisors. This advisory firm is staffed by “senior national security professionals with the most recent experience at the highest levels of the US government”, including a former CIA director and a collection of former high ranking officials from the US national security and intelligence structures. The Brenthurst crowd are no strangers to US and Nato military intelligence types, who they frequently collaborate with.

The delegates, all in all 58 of them, represent a coming together of neo-colonial interests intent on subjugating African interests. The Oppenheimers’ grand strategy is to remake a continent where US-backed groups ascend to power by any means necessary. Desperate for relevance, these groups, like the Democratic Alliance in South Africa, currently wallow in opposition benches having contested and lost in free and fair democratic contests.


The attendance of Democratic Alliance (DA) leaders once again confirms the proximity of the Oppenheimers’ Brenthurst Foundation to the programmes and personnel of the Democratic Alliance. John Steenhuisen and Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis were present. So was Velenkosini Hlabisa, President of the IFP and moonshot pact partner of the DA.

Their presence is telling, at a conference that was ostensibly to “roll back authoritarianism”. If South Africa were a truly authoritarian state, the DA would not have access to the instruments of a constitutional democracy to hold power to account. The DA has on countless occasions won against the South African government in courts. So what were they there for, if not to roll back democratic progress?

So what were the DA there for, if not to roll back democratic progress?

Greg Mills is a man of many hats, chief among those that of a vainglorious, self-styled “'adventurer-academic' and 'soldier-analyst',” just one fedora and a bullwhip shy of being a living breathing Indiana Jones.

His day job is the Director of the Brenthurst Foundation. He also serves as Senior Associate Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Royal United Services Institute, which bills itself as “the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank”.

As a military advisor, Mills advised British Commander General David Richards during the illegal war of aggression in Afghanistan. He even wrote a book about his experience of actively partaking in an illegal war of aggression that contains “lessons which translates across borders and continents to Africa”.

Greg Mills is telling us with his chest out that he is a specialist in regime change who works for the Oppenheimers, the US, and Nato.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them.


Every halfway decent regime change operation needs a media and propaganda arm. Enter Branko Brkic, Editor of the Daily Maverick, who was also at the conference.

The Daily Maverick has been an uncritical cheerleader for Nato and US interests at almost any cost. Although there is nothing wrong with a publication taking an editorial line, the lengths to which the Daily Maverick / Brenthurst publication would go to push a regime change agenda in South Africa is shocking.

Brkic’s ideological orientation, and that of his publication is forged in the fires of his formative trauma - the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. This ideological orientation is reinforced by a coterie of fellow red scare sycophants.

The aforementioned international man of mystery, Dr Greg Mills, was also the Editor-at-large of the Daily Maverick. Copy from the Brenthurst Foundation ends up with regularity in the Daily Maverick, who by sleight of hand mask the true influence of the Oppenheimers’ Brenthurst Foundation. Mills’ and Ray Hartley’s pieces come with the disclosure that they are “with” the Brenthurst Foundation, but the implications thereof, that it’s an Oppenheimer front, Mills’ career as a military advisor, and Brenthurst’s entanglement with foreign military entities are not acknowledged.

Joining them to push pro-West narratives are old cold warriors like Peter Fabricius, as well as former US diplomat J. Brooks Spector.

Quick to condemn Russia, but very slow on the uptake when it comes to the just cause of Palestinians against the apartheid state of Israel, the Daily Maverick still frames this genocide as a “Israel-Palestine war” despite the asymmetrical nature of the atrocities still perpetrated against mainly women and children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Daily Maverick is a publication that is not above publishing outright lies. “Defend Truth”, squeaks its American bald eagle banner. Whose truth, is the real question.

The so-called Eskom dirty dossier, an evanescent and fantastical spook story from the fever dreams of a discredited apartheid killer, proved to contain “no facts” according to News24. The story spun without reservation by Daily Maverick was that a mafia of politically connected elites were treating Eskom’s budget like a piggy bank. They spun a yarn of Russian collusion and ANC corruption, served up this disinformation as the red meat to its audience of white conservatives. It is still on the site as part one, with part two “coming soon”. “Our journalists are working on bringing you more information on this story.” Are they really?

It is telling that the refutation of the so-called dirty dossier came from News24, and in particular, a conservative journalist who shamelessly cheered as the Rand crashed on the back of the lies told by US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigedy. These are people who perpetrated the big lie that South Africa was selling weapons to Russia. Journalism be damned, the structures that ensure that our compliance with international law such as the NCACC be damned with it.

While the African National Congress faces justifiable criticism for its shortcomings, of which there are many, Western interference in South African politics is unacceptable. The Oppenheimers’ Brenthurst Foundation and others like it seek to destabilize our constitutional democracy, employing media manipulation and political alliances to further their agenda.


Organisations like the Brenthurst Foundation and the Daily Maverick are actively engaged in trying to draw South Africa into geopolitical conflict with the US and Nato. It is in their interest to see our constitutional democracy collapse, and have Uncle Sam ride into town to save us all from the Russians, the Chinese, the communists, the blacks, the other.

Again, to remind you, Greg Mills of the Daily Maverick even wrote a book about lessons learned from when he went on a four month invasion tour of Afghanistan.

And again, just to emphasise this point, the Brenthurst Foundation is a proxy of the Oppenheimer family.

The Brenthurst Foundation should be treated as the serious threat to constitutional democracy that they are. Some interventions are truly laughable, such as Greg Mills casting himself in the role of a white conservative Quincy Jones, to write and produce terrible “we are the world” songs, with Ugandan opposition leader and tone deaf vocalist Bobi Wine.

No really. That’s a real thing. If you love power rock crescendos, you may no longer if you find Greg Mills “Alone but together” music video on YouTube.

Perhaps, that’s why South African musician Robin Auld was also at the Gdańsk conference — to be the vocal coach of the counterrevolution.

Other interventions are more cynical, such as co-opting the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba to push a pro-Ukraine agenda. Having accompanied Mills twice to Ukraine, such a ploy seeks to imply that the cloth is still imbued with the essence of Desmond Tutu, and the moral rectitude of the cause surely beyond doubt.

Yes, Russia’s illegal war of aggression in Ukraine is ill-advised. But to frame it completely outside of the context of Nato expansion and US-backed colour revolutions right on its doorstep betrays a worldview that is completely out of step with history. An illegal war of aggression is what Russia does, not what Greg Mills partakes in. Genocide is what happened to white people. And a little bit in Africa in 1994. Not in Gaza. And we only make music videos for Ukraine. Not Haiti, Palestine or Assange.

The Gdańsk Declaration's emphasis on "common interests" and "shared values" seeks to foster alliances among opposition groups, presenting a united front against established governments. I think that what it truly advocates for is the destabilisation of sovereign nations, exploiting internal divisions for geopolitical gain.

The call for a "region-wide Alliance of Democrats" echoes previous US interventions, reminiscent of Cold War-era tactics of backing opposition movements to sow discord and install compliant regimes. By leveraging financial support and media manipulation, the United States aims to engineer political upheaval under the guise of promoting democracy.

The declaration's strategic mention of "election monitoring missions" and "exposing foreign funding" reeks of neo-colonial interference, casting doubt on the legitimacy of African electoral processes while conveniently ignoring similar irregularities in Western democracies.

Underlying the Gdańsk Declaration is a deeply entrenched narrative of Western exceptionalism, where the imposition of Western-style democracy is heralded as the panacea for all societal ills. This narrative conveniently overlooks the complex historical and socio-economic factors unique to each African nation, reducing them to mere pawns in a geopolitical chess game.

The declaration's emphasis on opposition alliances and joint strategies bears resemblance to Cold War-era tactics, where Western powers sought to counter socialist influence by backing reactionary right wing movements worldwide. This thinly veiled agenda, now cloaked in democratic language, continues to promote Western hegemony under the guise of fostering democracy.

We must recognise the agenda of proxies of apartheid capital, US, and Nato interests, and their political and media collaborators, and reject their interference in African affairs.

* Roscoe Palm is an investigative journalist, and independent commentator and analyst.

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.