Conspiracy theorist Sizwe Dlamini is at it again

NO SOONER had ‘investigative reporter’ Sizwe Dlamini, of the Independent Group’s self-styled ‘falcons’ investigation team, erroneously claimed that he had exposed Branko Birkic’s Daily Maverick, for being, (wait for it), a ‘newspaper with subscribers’, the conspiracy theorist was railing against the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) for its backing of online site, Daily Friend.

Dlamini’s latest exercise in yellow journalism proceeds at the outset to laud IRR for being ‘guardians of liberal values in South Africa” before embarking on what could also be termed an ‘agit prop conspiracy piece’ attempting to discredit the conservative thinktank for being a ‘neo-liberal’ organisation funded by the US State Department.

You can read his earlier missive here.

Neither the common dreams article referred to by Dlamini nor another piece by the same key author Roscoe Palm mention IRR and the Daily Friend. Rather these pieces pillory the National Endowment for Democracy (NED and Open Society Foundation (OSF) and their alleged support of 24 news organizations within the country, including Mail and Guardian and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

It should be noted that the authors Palm and former Congress of the People, (Cope) organizer, Philip Dexter, are co-founders of the Pan African Institute for Socialism and cannot claim to be objective reporters.

amaBhungane have issued strong denials of any support from USAid and its Micah Reddy has taken “issue with a number of claims and suggestions made by the authors” calling the article a “demonstrable lie.”

Sam Sole of amaBhungane responds: “Although the article purports to be an analysis of a real phenomenon, it is actually an attempt to manufacture a moral panic without disclosing the origins of the debate or the involvement of one of the authors, Roscoe Palm.” You can read his full response here.

Journo Chris Roper is also outed as an alleged CIA funded-agent by Palm (any comment’s appreciated).

It would seem patronising to suggest as Palm and Philip Dexter do, that other organisations such as News24, which are amply funded due to their connections with former Nationalist Party oligarchs, and which have long since been exposed here for involvement in government kickbacks like the notorious MNet pay-tv deal, require any foreign aid, if at all. In fact the obvious failure to tackle my own revelations, and case, lead one to conclude there to be an obvious agenda flowing from the obfuscation and removal of the primary context of apartheid.

The links to the American State Department presented are tenuous at best and seem drafted to coincide with the recent visit by Secretary of State Athony Blinken amidst a fracus over Taiwan and Ukraine.

The NED association with Ronald Reagan’s purported covert operations against Nicaragua in the 1980s and thus by implication, the work of US intelligence agencies such as the CIA, are used by Palm and Dexter as broad brush strokes, harking back to the Cold War, and thus a convenient bogeyman with which to smear progressive and conservative media alike.

It is clear that both Dexter and Dlamini view anyone vaguely to the centre of the far-left as compromised. Critics of ultra-left factions trumpeting ‘Radical Economic Transformation’ and ‘Expropriation without Compensation’, are thus according to these self-appointed spokesmen for Socialism, nothing more than dangerous counter-Marxists. Committed capitalists, who if parties like the EFF were to attain power, might need to attend compulsory political re-education camps, or face involuntary psychiatric confinement, as do Cuba’s own dissidents.

One should again note the weird contradiction in logic displayed by Dlamini, for at once praising liberalism before engaging in a critique of neoliberalism, which in many respects could also be a criticism of government regulation and Keynesian economics, if only it weren’t a tired scholastic segue, one tediously proposing a fundamental reorganisation of society along Marxist-Leninist principles.

Independent Media is the daily news outlet which continues to stand by a thoroughly discredited multi-baby story, (babygate) and which has found itself in a battle to maintain its banking facilities, this after various banks deemed Executive Chairman Iqbal Surve, a ‘reputational risk’. Clearly a company out to get other media outlets with which it disagrees, and then calling foul when placed on the receiving end of serious criticism whose outcome is of no small consequence?

Next up: South Africans have unwittingly been watching American movies for decades. Better alert the press.

SEE: Manufactured dissent: Authoritarian left and right join hands against South Africa’s independent media

SEE: Harber responds — Mainstream media need to think twice when following the ‘facts

IOL-Brkic ‘forensic report” nothing more than a list of scurrilous multi-baby questions?

THE EDITOR of an ‘elite investigative unit’ , housed deep inside Independent Media, the so-named Falcons claims to have uncovered evidence linking the Daily Maverick to Jackie Selebi and the underworld. A report emanating from Paul O’Sullivan’s ‘Forensics for Justice’ (FFJ) used to back the piece, claims to have publisher Branko Brkic under investigation. It appears to be nothing more than a scurrilous piece on a website posing strange questions.

None of the supporting documents demonstrate any links. Nor do they support any of the claims being made.

The so-called FFJ ‘report’ conveniently follows a months-long spat between IOL and Daily Maverick. With editor Sizwe Dlamini utilising the list of questions provided by FFJ to create a rather fancy organogram — a diagram whose arrows appear to be absolutely meaningless.

If either FFJ or IOL has actual hard evidence or even a prima facie case, then surely the public would appreciate if they could publish this information in the public domain? Until then we can only suggest readers ignore the posting of salacious online claims posing as questions, questions whose answers would essentially require not only the discovery of information under oath, but a prima facie case, — surely an abuse of the justice system?

The resulting triumphant article fails to use qualifying words like ‘alleged’ nor does it provide any objective distance.

Its all facts, I tell you.

One may as well ask questions: Is Paul O’Sullivan an alien from Mars? If there is smoke there must be fire, what next, alien babies? An alien trafficking ring?

The bizarre allegations include strange claims that Daily Maverick is running an online subscription racket that provides membership access for R200 ‘without any tangible benefits’. Err, isn’t this usually called a ‘pay-wall’, as used by News24 and Mail and Guardian? Nope, that would be a paywall, what Daily Maverick have is a ‘supporting subscription’ model.

A cornerstone of the IOL claim is that Daily Maverick is passing itself off as an altruistic charity for public benefit when in fact the company is ‘in business for profit’. This is the first I have heard that Daily Maverick aren’t actually in business.

The specious claim of a scandal, seems to revolve around the failure of a subsidiary magazine company of Daily Maverick which appears to have been liquidated, resulting in write-off of a R4 million loan from the IDC. To give some context the size of the loan is an order of magnitude smaller than the double digit millions borrowed by Sekunjalo from PIC, to purchase IOL.

If anything the claim demonstrates why capitalism is more efficient at dealing with risk than statism, and why government support of media and other state-run companies creates a situation of ‘too big to fail’, with the resulting drain on treasury? Isn’t this why business exists in the first place, either to make a profit or to shutdown?

To spice up the piece, state capture and the Guptas are thrown into the mix. I suspect, next up will be an all-boys Choir performing underwater?

Medialternatives has reviewed all the legal-looking ‘supporting documentation’ currently available on the site, all of the affidavits appear to have no links to the actual story. The Falcons story further fails to demonstrate any links, and there are thus no details as to why the mysterious arrows may be leading us to Pyramids under the Sea?

Then again the farcical ‘incomplete investigation’ may just be click-bait for Iqbal Surve’s top-notch multi-baby unit, remember the unit run by Piet Rampedi? If so, IOL have certainly swallowed the bait.

IOL peddling ‘alternative facts’ as decuplets shortlisting axed

INDEPENDENT MEDIA has sought to reframe its fraudulent ‘decuplet scoop’, within a narrative of human trafficking. Not only is the health department pursuing charges, but the latest attempt to insert authority into the storyline by gaining a nomination for its own ‘miniseries’ on the subject, which is nothing more than a sad repackaging of events, appears to have fallen flat, after the organisers were alerted by SANEF.

“After the Inma awards competition shortlist was made public on March 8, certain concerns were brought to our attention regarding a social media campaign promoting a baby trade story in South Africa.

“Inma understands how important trust is to news media. The shortlist process can be, and in this instance has been, used to provide additional information which the judges had no access to at the time of judging. 

“Given the opportunity to review information from all parties related to the concerns raised, our international judges have reconsidered the entry, and it is no longer a finalist. We respect the jury’s decision.

That the owners of a nation-wide daily news outlet saw fit to ignore an internal review of the fictional story promoted as fact, by Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi must surely rate as an abuse of the public trust? Instead of coming clean, and apologising for the lack of editorial oversight, IOL doubled-down, calling the SANEF position, ‘vindictive’.

That they now seek to legitimise the baldfaced lies and outright falsehood by creating promotional works which are clearly in the realm of propaganda, and should hardly be considered publicity and public relations, must raise questions as to the role of the company in claiming to generate news. As the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not a sorry attempt to provide plausibility with what looks like a first-year video project produced by a journalism cadet.

Over the past weeks, Medialternatives has noticed the appearance of a plethora of paid propaganda pieces relating to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, stemming from questionable sources, such as Russian, Chinese and Iranian state media. It is clear that Independent believe they are able to promote the ravings of an autocrat and dictator in Moscow, whilst pushing for South African support of an emerging Anti-Democratic nexus surrounding the Eurasian despot.

We urge readers to be wary of where they gain their sources of information.

Apartheid-era bank bail-outs make headlines

FOR OVER two decades the truth about apartheid-era bank bail-outs, corporate slush-funds, financial life-boats, espionage and dirty tricks was suppressed by the mainstream press. The country’s state broadcaster, the venerable SABC even went so far as pulling the plug on a documentary by Silvia Vollenhoven, which linked Swiss bank accounts to various deals.

Project Spear relates the story of how various politically-connected individuals looted the treasury during the last days of the ancien regime.

Alternative press outlets such as Medialternatives are the loan voice in the wilderness when it comes to exposing ongoing apartheid corruption, and continues to carry the story behind the creation of a vast media cartel, responsible for state capture, and controlled by several Afrikaner businessmen.

Then suddenly in 2017, the Mail & Guardian decided to take off the gloves and publish several articles by Phillip de Wet, in the process rebooting a lapsed tradition started by its predecessor, the Weekly Mail, giving apartheid the finger.

This was soon followed by important new contributions to the subject by Hennie van Vuuren and Michael Marchant of the Daily Maverick, as the Independent Group was once again forced to follow the lead taken by smaller publishing houses.

The source of much of the information appears to be a report released by the Public Protector.

It is doubtful whether any new journalism of any major import gets generated at Newspaper House, whose mandarins appear happy to lead with stories about the antics of snake-oil pastors and facile Ford Kuga anecdotes. After the rather timid newsroom shake-up which occurred following the acquisition of the company by Dr Iqbal Surve, the group appears to have once again settled down to the dry mediocrity of its flagships, and the yellow-journalism introduced under Irish press baron Tony O’Reilly.

Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is “a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.”

A Death Sentence for Africa The Durban Climate Deal and Eight Corporate Media Unmentionables

The UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa, ended with one of those marathon all-night cliffhanger negotiations that the media love so much. The outcome was a commitment to talk about a legally-binding deal to cut carbon emissions – by both developed and developing countries – that would be agreed by 2015 and come into effect by 2020. It was about as tortuous and vague as that sounds.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/12/a-death-sentence-for-africa/

Apartheid Inc, the story of Naspers, Media24 and Channel Life

A NEW global multimedia megacorporation is determining the future of communications on Planet Earth. From cradle to grave, chances are your life is already affected and controlled by Channel Life.

If you attend Damelin College or City Varsity, buy tickets via Computicket or access broadband with MWeb, your life has been inextricably altered by Channel Life.

Whether you surf Facebook, play with Mixit (until recently 100% owned by Naspers) , read ZigZag or Saltwater Girl or any one of 60 magazine titles, or watch the plethora of Multichoice Television programmes on DSTV via a vast array of platforms owned ultimately by insurance giant Sanlam you may knowingly or unknowingly be a part of the Channel Life experience.

If Channel Life did not exist, then someone would have had a good cause to create the term to express the way humanity is increasingly becoming interconnected through communications technology. Problem though, Channel Life does exist and it describes a lot more than a shareholder stake in a complex holding structure behind today’s networked mega-corporation.

Will the SA Press Ombud clear up the lies?

Publish and be damned, as the old saying goes. For too long South Africa’s press have been allowed to print lies and get away with not telling the truth. The two rulings on “anonymous sources” by the Press Ombudsman may help to save the reputation of the mainstream media, but it does absolutely nothing to quell suspicion that print media lies and often gets away with it.

I can name the names of professional liars at Media24 and the Independent Group. In fact I have evidence which will not see the light of day, because the media insist the rules only apply to the rich. If you have wealth and money in South Africa, you can apply to the Press Ombud for a ruling. If you are poor and do not have the luxury of legal representation, then don’t bother making a submission.

This is the fate of those who raise the ire of the people in charge — the hoodlums who have forgotten why the press is what it is — who essentially make their money out of the politics of influence and affluence.

The corruption does not stop with diversification into the advertising and public relations industry, nor does it end with deals made with the petrochemical and property giants.

The rot at Independent and Media24, ironically two media houses to escape the wrath of the Ombud, is pretty serious.

Journalists are getting gagged by the very same people who proclaim to hold up the ideals of press freedom.

People are being frauded by the very same people who claim to expose fraud in high office.

South Africa’s press is corrupt and needs to clean its own house.

It can start by firing reporters who concoct and fabricate news. It can clean-up by demonopolising and removing coporate interests that present clear conflicts of interest.

If it cannot, then the Media deserves to be regulated, if only to save it from itself.

We know nothing – SA Media

SOUTH AFRICA’S news media knows absolutely nothing about the bribery and corruption scandal involving Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schrieber. The shenanigans of the Independent News and Media director has dominated overseas headlines and has been part of a three year investigation on Fifth Estate, Canada’s version of Third Degree – but local news media, many of whom are employed by Mulroney, can’t be bothered to familiarise themselves with the facts, and see the subject as taboo.

“I can’t comment, I’m uncomfortable with this, there are some things I don’t want to know” said Franz Anton Kruger of the Wits School of Journalism.

Patrick Conroy of eTV news express complete cluelessness: “I don’t know!” When asked if he didn’t know because he was not party to the facts or didn’t know because he didn’t want to know the truth, he was even more vague, “No comment”, he blurted before putting down the phone. Several print media journos, all expressed utter ignorance of the case and it would appear local media is in the process of denying the inevitable – an INM head has been caught red-handed taking kickbacks from business and the arms industry.

Mulroney is the disgraced former progressive conservative party Canadian PM, now the subject of a public inquiry held before Canada’s privy council. The Oliphant Commission was appointed late last year and is about to embark on a series of public hearings that look set to rock international media, even though its current terms of reference are also the subject of serious debate. According to the Canadian Press, the price tag for the inquiry will set Canadian taxpayers back by $ 14 Million.

Mulroney is a non-executive director of Independent PLC the parent company of Independent News and Media PTY LTD which prints such titles as Cape Times, Star and Argus and owns some 137 newspapers worldwide. He also sits on the local international advisory board which sets newsroom policy for the media group and recently attended a function of the World Association of Newspapers at Cape Town castle where he could be seen hobknobbing with industry bigwigs and corporate tycoons who have literally bought the local press, lock stock and barrel, turning SA media into unaccountable, personal fiefdoms in the process.

I asked Kruger, the author of a book on Media Ethics, whether or not he knew of any colleagues taking bribes, or if he had received any cash in exchange for favours from people like Karl-Heinz Schrieber?

“I really don’t know, I can’t comment” said Kruger

When will South Africa’s media know anything? Probably never, judging by the lack of concern for what is surely the hottest corruption scandal involving print media this century.

Commission of Inquiry into Certain Allegations Respecting Business and Financial Dealings Between Karlheinz Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney\

Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry to cost $14M: report

Mulroney the Unauthorized Chapter

Sunday Saloon: Hypocrisy as usual as whites barred

WHILE the outrage expressed by certain journalists of a paler complexion, at Friday’s re-launch of the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) is understandable (some white journalists were denied access while others were barred entry) – this blogger can only shake his head and remark at the hypocrisy of all concerned.

SANEF launched into a full scale uproar at Friday’s event, with a reaction which some called “rather stage-managed”, and yet the corporate editors forum continues to turn a blind eye to similar situations involving journalists in the lower ranks employed by its own affiliates.

SANEF have yet to comment on several allegations of discrimination against Media24 — a labour case has been lodged before the Labour Court in which it is alleged the company maintained and continues to maintain a system of racial profiling and racial segregation, particularly in one of its newspaper divisions, amongst other things.

As a struggle journalist who experienced the system of racial segregation first-hand, and having fought against racial prejudice, one would have thought the SANEF at least possessed the temerity to issue a letter of support. Not even a statement from the Freedom of Expression Institute has managed to galvanise these corporate sycophants into action.

Yes, the FBJ are being hypocritical in railing against the legacy of the apartheid system while at the same time, denying others the same right. No less than a show of solidarity amongst brothers will dispel this concern — If the FBJ is a product of the system, then surely it should not be prolonging the system any longer than is absolutely necessary?

Any structure based upon race is an obvious anomaly in the new South Africa, but is such a thing as the FBJ an incongruency out of step with the times? As many still argue, such structures are needed to address unique issues and special concerns raised by black journalists. To argue otherwise is to ignore the conditions under which black journalists have had to work, so the FBJ has my support.

SANEF on the other hand, are clearly nothing more than a gang of reactionary nincompoops driving around in expensive limo’s and as Polokwane has shown, increasingly out of step with the masses. SANEF has also been quick to criticize structures such as the FBJ — those which it perceives as a threat to the colonial legacy of baaskap under the current neo-conservative agenda while dragging heals on others.

What is good for the goose is surely good for the gander? Unfortunately SANEF does only what is necessary when it is convenient to do so and when its actions are unlikely to eat into the profits of its affiliates. Sheer hypocrisy of the highest order, amongst those who should know better.