I am not wholly comfortable with your “enthusiastic support” for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange (nose153) but I am comforted that you “reaffirm that it does matter whether one does right or wrong”.
Aye, there’s the rub!
The sort of activity which Assange calls “fun” is just a breath away from wickedness. If he sought only to expose corruption and unlawfulness, maladministration or misconduct wherever they may be found, it would be right.
But the disclosure of the lawful private affairs or the human weaknesses of people, or the revelation of their private thoughts or sayings (such as in the US or other diplomatic cables) is not just “fun”, it is downright nastiness, and is the exercise of a power that is itself no less corrupting than that excercised by governments and other authorities.
Woe betide us if Assange gets to have so much “fun”’ with the world order that he is corrupted absolutely.
Let’s hope this is the beginning of a discussion that will draw in more and more of our readers, just as it is drawing in thoughtful young people the world over. The “fun” Assange speaks of, is what drove him – and other “hackers” like him – in their teen years. The establishment of WikiLeaks was, by all accounts, based on extremely serious, considered objectives.
To my knowledge, “the disclosure of private affairs or human weaknesses of people” have not featured in WikiLeaks. “Private thoughts or sayings” of diplomats in official cables surely fall into a different category: they are government officials on government business. What diplomats say for public consumption is not always what they know and believe.
Governments and the likes of the Bank of America may as well accept that in the age of the internet it’s much more risky to cheat and lie. Fact. That’s what’s new about this extraordinary revolution, for better or for worse. So far it’s been for the better. – Ed.
♦ Absolutely phenomenal article on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Wow! It’s inspiring to know that there are people out there fighting for our freedom – freedom of speech and freedom from political and financial slavery.
I have listened to the Bruce Whitfield interviews with Independent Newspapers’ Cape Editor Chris Whitfield and Noseweek editor Martin Welz. Whitfield is unjustifiably indignant when he says, “Noseweek could have sorted this out very quickly by phoning myself, Moegsien Williams, Tony Howard – the people whose integrity they’ve questioned. They clearly decided not to”.
Might Noseweek’s “decision” not to do so have been due to the secrecy agreed to in Independent’s Settlement Agreement with Auction Alliance? (See clauses 8,9 and 10.) Had all happened as they had agreed, no-one would ever have heard of Rael Levitt’s claim that Independent had itself taken a “kick-back” from him.
Thanks to Noseweek, we’ve heard about it – and had their explanation published in all Independent’s newspapers.
For an update on this story see "The history of the great Kickback Saga Row" in this issue. And to listen to the interviews by Bruce Whitfield, go to: http://bit.ly/N2Vj2k – Ed.
Taking a pique
You have just celebrated your 20th anniversary – a commendable milestone. Your many loyal subscribers have believed all that has appeared in the pages of Noseweek for all that time and have had no reason not to; until now. The recent attacks by Sunday Times journalists regarding your take on the Cato Manor police fiasco, followed by the latest outrage expressed by Independent Newspapers’ CEO and their alleged “secret deals” with Auction Alliance has, for the first time, cast some nagging doubt about the veracity of your information.
I won’t cancel my subscription or do anything else a spurned teenager might be tempted to do in a fit of pique. Your credibility built up over the past 20 years suggests to me that there has to be “more” to both these allegations, but I urge you to spell it out to all of us.
Noseweek’s story on Independent Newspapers and Auction Alliance invited their public rather than private response. The main point of our story was that they needed to explain the non-disclosure terms of their settlement agreement to their readers, not privately to us. Their outraged protestation of innocence is reassuring – but see page 19. As for the Sunday Times, our next instalment is on page 14. Even so, I suggest you reserve judgement while observing events as they unfold. I believe they will show we were more right than wrong. – Ed.
From right to wrong
The introductory quote from the Appeal Court judgment in your article on dishonest lawyers (Law of the jungle, nose153) is what most of us were led to believe during our formative years. But from my own experiences with a number of attorneys – particularly over the past four years – just the opposite is the reality.
I have lost over R50,000 through the inability of different attorneys to negotiate properly in my interests in various matters.
Lawyers, estate agents, auctioneers, liquidators – all these so-called professions – need to be properly investigated in an effort to stop their slide into corruption.
Your articles are an indication of what is actually going on out there, particularly in the financial and business sectors, but on a much wider scale than we could have ever imagined or believed possible.
In Noseweek’s pursuit of truth with regard to the extermination of predators (The Big Kill, nose153), why are the farmers never approached for their point of view? As an ex-small-stock farmer in the Western Cape, I found the co-operative approach that Cape Nature had with the stock farmer towards predator control extremely helpful.
I have twice attended meetings where Bool Smuts gave his presentation (exactly the same one twice). I find his approach sensationalist and not applicable to the main role-players. It is all very well having test cases on small stock farms where it is much easier to monitor and handle stock.
We also battled with predator control. However much the lethal traps etc are slated, what is not mentioned ever is how few wild animals actually get caught in these traps. We kraaled our stock at night, and the rooikat jumped into the kraal, and started hunting in the day when our stock were out.
The collars which are advocated are big steel structures which I am sure are cruel to the stock, besides which the wool grows through the gaps and they become difficult to remove. They do not deter the predator who then attacks from the rear.
Guard dogs can work, with proper supervision, but there are instances of the dogs attacking neighbours’ stock and wild animals. To have a shepherd watch over the stock is too expensive. Who will stand all day in all weather and without any means of chasing off the predators?
What is never brought into the equation is how easy it is for predators to catch stock compared to wild animals, and how more prolifically the predators breed, given a ready supply of food. All farmers have problems with predators – there are vast tracts of nature reserve that were previously farm land. There is the question of food security as well.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding Bool Smuts and if Noseweek is interested in truth, perhaps they should investigate his background?
When Noseweek called them, no-one at Agri Weskaap was willing to comment. They directed our reporter to the chairman of the Predator Management Forum. His PA assured her he would call back, but he didn’t. We are happy to publish your contribution to the debate. Noseweek is unaware of any “dirt” in Bool Smuts’s background. Perhaps you could enlighten us? – Ed.
Compliments to Hans Muhlberg on his witty and delightfully written travel piece in the June issue. It certainly made me lus – as we say in Edenvale – to visit those places.
Unfortunately I doubt if my bank account shared the same feelings! Visions of Khulubuse Zuma squeezing into “possibly the smallest lift in the world” had me in stitches.
Thank you for a great publication.
Transport of delight
I saw the car, pictured to the left, standing at the entrance of the Pavilion at Kelvin Grove, and I thought that if all our politicians could use this kind of conveyance, a lot of our tax money would be saved.
No “bluelight brigade”, no cavalcade, just a driver. Cape Town’s Mayor Patricia de Lille was having a working breakfast at the Pavilion. I thought it was worth recording.
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