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The Media, Regime Change, South Africa and the Myth of a South African Powerhouse - a reality check

By Udo W. Froese
Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declared, if you have to use a lie to propagate your course, you would have to repeat it more often than possible and use the established mainstream media to turn it into a publicly acceptable truth.

A key CIA informer, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, admitted he lied about his allegations that Iraq had “weapons-of-mass-destruction”.

He proudly announced that he would lie again to “bring democracy to the people of Iraq”. When the international West unleashed its war against the people of Iraq, this deliberately unscrupulous and intentional lie for “democracy” cost over a million innocent human lives. “Weapons-of-massdestruction (WMD)” was the popular media propaganda to motivate that Holocaust.

In Shakespeare’s English it is said, “all is fair in love and war”. You could add, the first victim in every war is the truth. Today’s global media often refers to “sweet, sweet lies and the ugly truth”. Life’s experience taught this columnist that the victim of the propagated lie, always cunningly packaged as truth, becomes its most ferocious defender and would die defending it.

A Savage War For” Peace” assisted by a Global Propaganda War.

The obvious destabilisation of North African countries and the Mid East, including Libya, was clearly explained in the international Western media networks. CNN, BBCW, SKY NEWS, EUROPE NEWS, AL JAZEERA, South Africa’s electronic media with the support of the print media, sang in unison from ‘the same hymnbook and from the same page’, as guided by former US president George W. Bush Jr. and France’s head-of-state, Nicolas Sarkozy, at a Breton Woods summit in 2008.

The global mainstream media describe the uprisings in North Africa and the Mid East as the “Arab Spring”, lauding the “people’s peaceful drive for democracy”, throwing their weight behind rebels that were described as “pro-democracy change agents” and condemning the heads-of-state and their governments as “corrupt dictators” at the same time.

Today, these countries and their people suffer the consequences. They find themselves in a daily struggle for survival, not being able to eat “democracy”, or to feed themselves.

Yet, the same media refuses to report on the nationwide unrests in Israel, where over 350 000 Israelis protest against Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government. Israel rebels against huge prize hikes and an exorbitantly high cost of living.

The courageous former South African journalist, Paula Slier, reports on those uprisings daily for over three weeks. Slier is now based in Israel.

The international West’s media analysts and geo-political commentators openly admitted that their intelligence forces had prepared those “regime changes”, in some cases for over a period of twenty years, immediately after the “Cold War”. The foreign intelligence services issued the “peaceloving, pro-democracy protestors” with arms and ammunition, uniforms, ration packs and military hardware and guidance. In the case of Libya, they created a new, national bank overnight. Libya’s oil is a major motivator.

The organisation of the “prodemocracy change agents” was made possible through the media and modern-day high technology telecoms, which include social networking sites such as “Twitter”, “FaceBook” and “MySpace”. The “Blackberry’s” sophisticated technology is of assistance too. So is money, lots of it.

Above-mentioned are the same technological mechanisms and tactics used to enforce US/UK/ EU/Israel/Canadian/Australian/ New Zealand led “globalisation”. A seriously funded “civil society” uses the above-mentioned for their agenda of “regime change” and creating parallel government structures to governments in Third World- and African countries. The UN Security Council, which includes South Africa, gave NATO the green light to invade Libya’s airspace. They bombed Libya to pieces. It seems, South Africa’s decision to go with the international West’s decision against Libya – a fellow African country and member of the AU - will haunt president Zuma and the ANC-led government for time to come.

Is it not the case that an irrevocably bankrupt international West without any vision has declared a covert war against China, Russia and Iran? It is this reason for hitting on those small countries to clear North Africa and the Mid East in order to keep the feared forces out of the Mediterranean area. At the same time, countries that have economic and business relations with China, Russia and Iran are destabilised whilst their political leadership would be taken to the neo-colonial International Crimes Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europe.

Syria, for example, is said to suffer at the hands of foreign interests, because of its relationship with Iran. Powerful international Western countries mentioned to undermine Syria are the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia and possibly latecomer, Turkey.

South Africa’s media shows its undemocratic, neo-liberal one-sidedness too.

Two seasoned columnists expressed their opinions in one of South Africa’s newspapers. They were published and fired. One humorously described the behaviour of the people of mixed race (called Coloureds in SA). The other writer criticised an editor of a Sunday newspaper, at the same time defending the leader of the African National Congress’s Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema. Both writers are black-African South Africans.

On the one hand, the ruling ANC’s tripartite partner, COSATU, and South Africa’s “civil society” viciously attack the governments of neighbouring Swaziland and Zimbabwe, more particularly King Mswati III and President Robert G. Mugabe. Zealously committed opposition political parties-, the international Western- and their media support are tirelessly at work to report negatively on Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, when the ANCYL and Malema vocalise their support of a “regime change” in neighbouring Botswana, the same ANC and “civil society” expect the ANC leadership to fire the youth league leader. One would expect, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Following could be contributing reasons for ANCYL call for a “regime change” in Botswana.

Already some nine years ago media- and political analysts described Botswana as the ‘Trojan Horse’ in the SADC region, because of its US American airbase, a US satellite command and monitoring station and regular joint military manoeuvres with the US army in Botswana. Even Israeli forces were mentioned to be present in Botswana, a country ruled by president Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Commanding Officer of the Botswana Armed Forces and Minister of Defence, all in one.

Khama hosted Zimbabwe’s MDC-T president, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleague, Tendai Biti, today Minister of Finance, when they claimed that they feared for their lives. Khama spoke publicly against neighbouring Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF.

Bankrupt propaganda mechanism protecting same old status quo.

In South Africa too the media ‘sings from the same hymnbook and from the same page’ – a happy collusion between the owners and shareholders of the publishing companies, the advertising industry and the “captains of industry”.

This small elite has often been described as an “incestuous family of oligarchs”, interested in profits only by furthering structured poverty among the majority of the country’s and the regions’ population. From the onset, those few oligarchs paid for and benefited from colonial-apartheid. They never had to answer to anyone for their unscrupulous vice-grip on people’s lives and their future. On the contrary, they benefited hugely from an ANC-led government in a “new” South Africa. This is described as “free market economy”, based on international Western neo-liberal capitalism.

Two media houses have embarked on a national campaign of “Lead SA”. That campaign focuses on fixing of potholes, driving with lights-on during the day, anti-crime and pro-police support, a positive input into the daily lives of South Africans etc. for now, to establish itself in the public domain. It is to popularise their nation- wide drive for “Lead SA”.

The same media company’s talk-radios employ hosts and research teams that openly promote “regime change” through “peaceful, pro-democracy, protests” in Zimbabwe and Swaziland, calling on their listeners to “assist” their neighbours with efforts for a “regime change”.

This columnist called in to inform the host, her team and the station that such propaganda-fordestabilisation in souvereign, neighbouring countries is illegitimate, possibly illegal and unconstitutional. The producer demanded, what statement would have to be made on air. However, when told this would not be the case, the producer insisted that the caller should promote same prodemocratic call for interference in souvereign neighbours and members of the SADC. This writer stood his ground. The producer hung up.

The media’s “Lead SA” campaign seems quite similar to the “pro-democracy” forces in northern Africa and the Mid East, being used to ferment civil unrest in souvereign neighbouring countries to assist with “regime change”. Besides the modern technology of mobile phones and computers, could such media not also be used for a similar “regime change” in South Africa under president Jacob Zuma and the ruling ANC?

Both media companies are foreign owned and controlled. One knighted British subject and media baron, former rugby player, Sir Tony O’Reilly, and the other, the Kirsch family together with a local trade union fund, to give it local credibility. It is seriously alleged that the latter deploys a former member of SA’s colonial-apartheid tri-cameral parliament under the late P. W. Botha for the minority Indian population group, Yussuf Ambramjee to head “Lead SA”.

Democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of association seem seriously limited in South Africa. In fact, those democratic developments are now under threat.

South Africa’s media ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, seems just too happy with the state of affairs of such bigotry and repeated contradictions.

So seems the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF). So seem the media barons and their minions. So seems the general public, who have access to that media, which happens to make out hardly five percent of the total population of South Africa. It is that small minority only that can afford the media and the high costs of modern technology.

The established right-wing South African daily newspaper, ‘The Citizen”, remains in national circulation, despite it having been funded with stolen tax funds from the public during the colonialapartheid regime. This newspaper was funded and launched by colonial- apartheid’s dr. rugby, dr. Louis Luyt and the notorious Department of Information under Minister dr. Connie Mulder and his director, dr. Eschel Rhoodie.

The editor of South Africa’s Sunday publication, “City Press”, is of Indian background. She edited the elitist ‘investigative’ weekly journal, “Mail & Guardian” before. “City Press” is geared for the elite black-African market. During one of the local radio talk shows, a caller from Soweto complained on air, that to make a person from a different, un-indigenous minority group editor of a publication, that markets itself as a “black- African newspaper” for a miniscule middle-class black-African readership is historically, culturally and traditionally off the mark, as such editor would simply not be able to understand its clientele at all.

The reputation of the Sunday publication “City Press” seems to be that of a provocateur and chief whip to streamline national thinking behind the same old status quo and agenda, discussed only behind closed doors. Meanwhile, the same powerful individuals, who own Nasionale Pers, Media 24, MNETMultiChoice, seem to collude with and be behind the AVUSA Publishing Group and E-tv.

On the other hand, PrimeMedia and Independent Newspaper Group add their weight to the same cause, having created their “prodemocracy Lead SA” programme.

That leaves the public broadcaster, the SABC, and the new daily newspaper, New Age, as the only two media organs not yet part of the national media strategies.

This writer’s column was published in the weekly “City Press” where he also wrote in defence of souvereignity, independence, democracy, tolerance and respect, understanding real African leaders such as Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma, Winnie Mandela, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Ahmed Ben Bella and many unsung heroes of the Pan-African struggle and their cause.

The former editor then had the decency to call the writer, informing him that the Group CEO of Nasionale Pers/Media 24, who owns and publishes “City Press”, Koos Bekker, had told him telephonically to drop this columnist immediately, because of his analysis. But, no official reasons were given. That was in 2003, well into the “new, democratic” South Africa and Bishop Tutu’s “rainbow nation”.

Shortly thereafter this writer was published in the “Sowetan Sunday World”. This too was short lived. The analytical exposure of the geostrategic position and the role of Botswana in the SADC and the former senior member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patricia de Lille, today Democratic Alliance (DA) mayor of Cape Town and other such exposures were just too much for the editor and his publisher.

Saving Democracy in Southand Southern Africa.

The owners of the Fourth Estate should be identified for the public and held responsible to lead by example, respecting democracy, souvereignity, media freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association. At the same time they should be stopped to collude as transpired for example, when the enemies of president Jacob Zuma together with certain editors built a case against the incumbent president. Particularly the media should be transparent, working with government and the public. The media’s meddling in power politics, continuous attempts in character assassination, misrepresentation of facts, contradictions, using the law in its favour to achieve its goals and its overall bigotry are all equal to the evil ‘blood libel’ of well paid agentsof- confusion.

As in neighbouring SADC member countries, South Africa’s ruling ANC would be well advised to set up its own national daily newspaper and become part of the regional initiative of establishing a regional weekend newspaper and add a weekly ANC party newspaper to compete with the private media. Such effort would be able to balance the media industry of South Africa and the SADC region. This form of responsible leadership would not tolerate fear or favour.

“Continental Powerhouse” – Fact or Propaganda?

In conclusion, former South African president Thabo Mbeki defined the country realistically. He described it as two societies located in the south of the African continent: (i) one majority black-African, represented by the ruling ANC, but with no access to the economy, to banks and land, to proper education – thus, historically exposed to structured poverty and (ii) the other well-to-do minority Caucasian, Eurocentric owners of the economy, most of who already had shifted their head offices and capital to the City of London under the banner of “globalisation”.

As soon as black-African South Africans show a serious interest at becoming part of the mining-, banking-, agricultural- and land sectors, its current owners and shareholders threaten a full-scale economic war, claiming as always foreign investment would stop immediately and jobs would be lost, as if black-African South Africans ever had any benefits from foreign capital. They would have to be content with a neo-liberal democracy.

For all the above-mentioned reasons, it would not make sense to perceive South Africa as a “power house of Africa”. It is however good propaganda, which suits the real owners of the status quo.





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