I’m reminded by Hogarth, writing in today’s South African Sunday Times that in the 1970s, when the CIA wanted to spread propaganda, they’d plant a story in the foreign press. The U.S. media would then pick it up, et voila! News. It worked well with the (as far as we know, utterly baseless) story that Cuban soldiers were raping women in Angola, which was picked up by the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post.
Here’s some follow up to last week’s Fucker Stole My Camera post. It’s a sorry story, involving a lot of very frustrating telephone calls. Lucky for you, dear reader, I made notes on every one, and wrote a transcript of a long exchange at a police station. I was wondering how to present this, but the direct transcripts themselves do ample justice to this tale of constabulary absurdism.
Got the camera back today, at attempt #5. It’s hard to imagine a den of officiousdom than Sydenham police station. Lots of tubby men with moustaches sitting at desks, backed up with their little police martial arts statuettes and models of armoured personnel carriers. (Actually, it was worse under apartheid. One of the Cape Town police stations had in it the sign “If we wanted your opinion, we’d have beaten it out of you.”)
It was an ordinary mugging. The bastard had a gun, a swagger, a gang and didn’t seem to want to me to take his photo when he was roughing someone up. So he came up to me and told me to hand over the camera. Timid as I am, and not wanting much further trouble, I handed it over. There were witnesses.
I’ve been meaning to update the blogroll and overall layout of this page for a very long time. It’s going to have to wait just that little bit longer, unfortunately, but in the meantime, have a butchers at Dionysus Stoned’s fine blog. Ignore the fact that, for no good reason, many of the posts claim to be vacant. DS is on a photo-posting binge at the moment, and he has found some hum dingers.
The ANC is getting creative with democracy again. The Durban Municipality has developed a new tactic to prevent dissent, in this case, a protest against the ANC’s imposition of councillors. Those wanting to march against this rather unaccountable (in every sense) process, were refused a permit to march because “there’s no one to receive the memorandum”. Well, alright, the march is still going ahead, with a rally at a different venue, but this is a tactic to watch out for in the near future. And it’s also a tactic that’s bound to backfire. If groups aren’t allowed to deliver memoranda, they’ll end up delivering something far less pleasant. More here.