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No, US law doesn’t mean Marines are coming to ‘stop genocide in South Africa’

US President Donald Trump “has just signed a law that basically says if the US recognises a genocide is happening they will send in the military to stop it, regardless of its geographic location”.

So says a post on the Facebook page of the website South Africa Today.

The law it refers to is the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018.

South Africa Today describes itself as giving a “hard dosage of reality” while other sites “pamper” you with “good” and “politically correct” news.

‘Law guarantees US will intercede’

A video posted on the site suggests the law means the US is ready to send its Marines to South Africa. The video is narrated by Scott Balson, an author and historian.

“We now have an American law that guarantees America will intercede if they see genocide taking place,” Balson says in the video.

He claims some 70,000 to 100,000 white people have been killed in South Africa. He describes this as genocide.

“South Africa is right in the headlights of this one,” he says of the law.

Balson’s video is hosted on the Loving Life YouTube channel, which has nearly 24,000 followers.

The channel’s stated reasons for existence include helping minority South Africans emigrate out, and getting the world to “understand what is actually going on” in the country.

By 25 February 2019 Balson’s video had 150,000 views and more than 2,800 comments.

‘Trump is the best president’

Many of the video’s comments welcomed the US law.

“Thank you America and your good president. Trump is the best president the USA ever had,” said one.

Another said: “All votes to Donald Trump... Thank you for helping the white population in South Africa. Pres. Donald Trump we need your help urgently.”

What does the law really say?

The US law was enacted in January 2019.

Its purpose is “to help prevent acts of genocide and other atrocity crimes, which threaten national and international security, by enhancing United States Government capacities to prevent, mitigate, and respond to such crises”.

But it ends with the note: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorising the use of military force.”

The US embassy in South Africa confirmed this was the case.

“As the text of the legislation clearly states: ‘Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorising the use of military force’,” spokesperson Robert Mearkle told Africa Check.

So, no. The US isn’t about to send Marines to South Africa. - Africa Check (26/02/19)


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