Censorship of antiwar posting draws flack


THE Mail & Guardian, hosts of this blog, have presumably reinstated it after pieces deemed to be offensive were deleted. The online censorship occured after a military and defence analyst who cannot be named, made a formal complaint. The person, whose name is not publishable, after a ruling by the hosts of this blog, (and threats made against the blog editor), remains anonymous, after, complaining to the editor of the Online edition of the M&G about being ‘labeled a special agent.” In a letter published by the M&G online, he says: “Lewis recently referred to me, without proof, as a Boss agent and NIA spy’ in an entry, which is untrue and grossly defamatory.”

However the person who is now being censored, counters: “whether or not this person-who-cannot-be-named, was a Boss agent or NIA spy, is beside the point — the man was an agent for the apartheid state, and has a long history of involvement with the state security apparatus. The fact is a matter of public record. It would seem however, we no longer have the right to respond to the intrusion of military intelligence in public life.”

“Halting the debate about embedded journalism and especially those journalists who were employed by the former SADF, and who drew salaries in order to promote the apartheid state, does journalism a disservice,” opined the censored one…

The suppression of an online posting about embedded journalism, really sets a bad precedent for other internet bloggers and online journalists, most of whom, for obvious reasons, are unwilling to give out their names and hide behind anonymity. After years of secrecy and espionage, we finally have an open society.

Being the censored one, I don’t see the point of hiding behind a code-name, and I am sure the person who cannot be named, will agree with me. Since I have been censored on numerous occasions and enjoy a “dishonerable discharge” from the SADF for failing to report for duty and for being a member of a “banned organisation”, I am sure people can sympathise with my predicament.

The person-who-cannot-be-named is best known for a nefarious book on South Africa’s Border War 1966-1989. Apart from being a pseudo journalist, a supposed “jack of all trades”, this covert person has, amongst his many attributes: professional soldier, defence and military analyst and producer of “military tattoos” — these are not the commonly known tattoos one would find on an arm, but huge spectacles conducted in full military regalia.

The person-who-cannot-be-named has also had his work published by a major newspaper chain, where he is a regular contributer. Many of its staffers have military records in the apartheid government. Some have even been decorated for violent adventures in South Africa’s townships and the country’s neighbouring states, by the way, all considered illegal under international laws and United Nations conventions.

In 1982, the unnamable one was awarded the “Settlers” prize for “enterprising journalism. A decorated clansman, he also has the “Pro Patria” medal for bravery and various service awards and achievements in the apartheid forces that actually drove into Angola, butchered and maimed children in the process, and consigned an entire generation of Namibians to the scourge of war.

As an “observer” on three external operations, from 1979-1985, mostly illegal and aimed at forces of Swapo and MK, the person has definitely seen action. But now claims to have been just a “major, serving in the Cape Town Highlanders, mechanised infantry division”.

He is still listed as a “reservist” by the military.
The person-who-cannot-be-named, however, admits he was indeed approached by Boss agents: “Like most 1980s journalists I was certainly approached by both BOSS and the security branch, but turned them both down — to the serious detriment of my bank account, as they were offering more than my monthly salary.”
The editor of the Online Mail and Guardian has disputed these facts, denies there was any complaint to begin with, and now maintains: “this is a dispute over which most of our readers are no longer interested.”

Few people will ever know the truth despite the fact the person who now has no name, was handsomely rewarded for his military achievements and later ended up being “contracted” by the Ministry of Defence to work on South Africa’s Defence Review, “specifically as vice-chairman of the Western Cape Working Group”. He continues to brief various political parties on security issues.

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: South Africa’s hypocritical free press | Medialternatives
  2. Pingback: Shame, poor apartheid-era Troopies | Medialternatives

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