arcana imperii is an evil perpetuated by evil governments

Governments all over the world tell their citizens that arcana imperii or state secrets, is imperative for the proper functioning of the state.

While democratic governments normally consult and make arguments that seem convincing before implementing legislation dealing with state secrets, despotic governments tend to enforce made-up laws as they see fit. However, the South African government seems to be in between at the moment with its intention to steamroll a particularly nasty piece of legislation known as the Protection of Information Bill (POIB).

Before we examine POIB any further, it’s prudent to ask what are state secrets and why governments think that they are so necessary?

Herfried Münkler, Professor of Political Theory in the Faculty of Social Sciences  at the Humboldt University of Berlin has this to say about state secrets:

The disclosure of state secrets means a loss of strategic capability, which is undoubtedly bound up with the ability to maintain secrecy.

A state that has lost the ability to maintain secrecy has lost its ability for political struggle.

From what Professor Münkler is saying, it seems that state secrets allow governments to double-deal and perpetuate political strife. This allows politicians and politics to proliferate. And so we come closer to the truth about state secrets – it’s all about politicians and their deceitful shenanigans.

People don’t make enemies with people in other country’s. Country’s don’t make enemies with other country’s. Politicians do!

Is it then illogical to conclude that state secrets are there to protect the politicians rather than the citizens? If the politicians had nothing to hide, what is the need for state secrets? What could possibly be of such strategic importance, that it needs to be kept secret? Certainly not science and technology – these need to be shared with the citizens of the world. Unless the politicians don’t want to share technology because of its potential to create weapons for war?

And so citizens become the pawns of the politicians when they are forced to bear these weapons of destruction – so that they can defend more state secrets. A vicious circle tailor-made for the politicians.

Coming back to South Africa. The ANC government are hell-bent on pushing POIB through into law, despite fierce opposition from the Media, many organizations both here and abroad and even from within their own party. Consensus of opinion seems to indicate that it is being done mainly to muzzle the free press and curtail the constant embarrassment that the ANC has to deal with, considering the almost hourly revelations of their dirty, thieving, deceitful and shameless behaviour with respect to the treasury, the ideals of democracy and the constitution.

The ANC government seems to not realise that although the majority of the population, steeped in ignorance, ensures that they stay propped in power, things will not always be this way. Ignorance is curable and it won’t be long before their deceit is understood and realised by that same majority.

Is the Media in opposition to the government?

Times Live, April 19, 2011

Within the space of a week, ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe and Juvenile Youth League leader, Julius “Kill the Boer” Malema have stated quite strongly that the [printed, mostly] Media are the ANC’s foremost opposition in South Africa.

Not only is that a blatant insult to the Democratic Alliance who are the official opposition party in South African politics, it is also a patent misrepresentation of the truth. Off course, the truth is something the ANC under Jacob Zuma’s leadership, treats with utter disdain, so it’s perhaps no real surprise.

With the ANC still clinging to militaristic sounding titles such as that of Mantashe, it’s clear that they have still not quite made the transition yet from militant, revolutionary freedom fighters, to full political party status in a Democratic dispensation, and therefore still view anyone criticizing them as the enemy. Indeed, they don’t lose an opportunity to remind their detractors that they are still Revolutionaries.

One striking thing about the ANC is that they still have a stranglehold on the vast majority of the population, who no doubt still believe the bullshit being fed to them. The other striking thing about the ANC is that even they are starting to believe their own bullshit – as is evident by the conviction in which they make the utterly mind-boggling utterances such as the one by Malema and Mantashe, on a daily…sometimes hourly basis.

I wonder if the ANC realise who their real opposition truly is? Do you?

It’s those who still have an ounce of decency, morals, ethics and values left in them. Perhaps you’re one of them…

Six things I’ll miss the most when I die

While driving to a technology, computer and gaming exposition [RAGE 2010] today, I got to thinking about what I would miss the most about life, when I finally expire. Note that I do not say if I die, because death is inevitable (currently), and I also do not say after I die because there’s no evidence for an afterlife that will allow you to feel, let alone miss anything.

Without further ado, here is my list, in descending order of importance:

  1. Music
  2. The natural world (stars including our sun, the sky whether cloudy or clear, trees, plants, animals, rivers and waterfalls etc.)
  3. Media, written and visual (books, movies, National Geographic, the Internet)
  4. Scientific discoveries
  5. Pork ribs
  6. Other human beings

If you too have a list, let’s have it…

South Africa, third world? Hell, no!

I attended a briefing session yesterday at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Stadium just outside Rustenburg , in preparation for the FIFA Confederations Cup that is due to kick off on Sunday, 14 June 2009. After the briefing session we walked around the stadium precinct to all the various areas (zones) which will be frequented and used by the Press and Broadcast Media, photographers, players, officials etc.

Now, even though I was intimately involved as a Project Manager in  installing the IT & T and Broadcast WAN and LAN networks in this, and other stadiums which will be used during the Confederations Cup, I was still amazed as we viewed our handiwork,  by the complexity and sheer brilliance of all those involved in conceptualizing and designing this futuristic network. The billions spent to put all this together is dedicated to one thing only; ensuring that billions of soccer fans around the world can receive all the action from the stadium, through either a television or radio channel, the Internet, or a multitude of print media, and give their audiovisual senses a treat.

The organizers of the tournament, FIFA have left very little to chance, if anything at all. As you observe the cutting edge technologies and facilities deployed around the stadium, you realize that they have thought of everything. I have been personally involved with the planning, deployment and commissioning of the entire IT & T and Broadcast solution for just over a year already, but FIFA personnel have been busy for much longer. And we have only just begun, because the Confederations Cup is only the opening act for the main event – the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, which will be held in exactly one year from today.

Imagine full high definition video of the matches being transmitted to every continent in the world almost instantaneously, and being watched by billions of people at the same time. Imagine photographers on the soccer pitch whose cameras are “plugged into the network”, taking high quality photographs practically every second, and having them transmitted to all corners of the globe immediately for editing and publishing. Imagine journalists interviewing different soccer players speaking a multitude of languages, at media conferences and having their responses translated immediately into a language of their choice, through headsets they are provided with. Imagine hundreds of journalists and commentators from a host of different countries having a dedicated Media area in the stadium grandstand from where to write, commentate, even photograph. Imagine a journalist based in one stadium, being able to “connect to” and cover a match taking place at another stadium entirely. The technology and facilities for all this, and much more will be available for the Confederations Cup.

And the most amazing thing is that it is all happening here on the southern tip of the African continent – a place which many people from overseas, still visualize as having wild animals running around in the streets. But maybe they’re not far off the mark; soccer stadiums featured in previous FIFA and UEFA tournaments are usually located in densely populated cities, but the Royal Bafokeng Stadium is situated in a semi-rural area, minutes away from Nature Reserves teeming with wild animals. What a treat for visitors coming to attend the soccer matches?

I feel privileged to be a part of such a huge undertaking, perhaps the biggest in the history of this country. In terms of the technology, skills, facilities and attractions, South Africa is up there with the best in the world, even surpassing world best in some areas.

Now, if only our politicians adopted some “first world” habits, we would really be laughing…