W I T H O U T P R E J U D I C E – A L L R I G H T S R E S E R V E D –
Published: 05 March 2012.
Dear Mr. Geldenhuys,
Today, I write an open letter to you, online, since you chose to publish blatant lies about me on social media this past week.
In short, you are an OUTRIGHT LIAR and your statement was GROSSLY DEFAMATORY !!
In this very lengthy and detailed reply, I will provide a compelling, factual, “burden of proof” to substantiate my position.
This is not a conventional situation in our country – given the burgeoning weight on seemingly ‘free speech’ rights claimed online, without reciprocal accountability – and there is clearly a need for an extra-ordinary response from me to your malicious and grossly defamatory public statement.
The fact that you have chosen to remove this hurtful, offensive and inflammatory statement from your wall on Facebook, after several days of public access, does not in any way absolve you of your onerous liability for any outright defamation and “crimen injuria” claims, which can result from your vulgar, baseless lies, and your patent duplicity.
Accordingly, I reserve ALL my rights in this matter.
PROTECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS:
I will revert to this image later … and which I call “Claude 01″ for future reference …
(This is an image and NOT a video clip link. I’ll provide the correct URL later in this blog.
It’s an image of the “founder” of the International Animal Rescue Foundation – IARF – in Europe.)
Mr. Geldenhuys, you cannot stand up in public – both locally and internationally – online and in real life – AND at the Union Buildings (in front of national media) – and claim to be a champion of environmental rights, by virtue of your status as a director of a newly founded NGO centred on Section 24 of our precious Constitution, but then utterly violate my own human rights – with severe collateral damage to others – by spitting on our collective, enshrined fundamental rights of equality, dignity and mutual respect for all humans and our fellow South African citizens, such as myself.
In short, your Section 24 Rights Coalition can NOT claim to “monitor” Section 24 of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution without your qualitative “monitoring” of ALL other inter-related RIGHTS – be they human and/or environmental – as contained in this vital constitutional document that stands at the epicentre of our nation’s existence, as well as global treaties.
In claiming to defend certain enshrined constitutional rights – that comprise both human and environmental – one cannot claim superiority of one right over another.
What you have done, via your defamatory statement online, is bulldoze MY human rights into the ground in order to promote your distorted claims to environmental rights’ protection, by claiming justification via our national Bill of Rights.
NONE of these rights are mutually exclusive and fighting for the protection of 2 of the 3 rights (human, environmental and the Bill itself) actually causes a violation of the excluded third right.
Glaringly, this is mega-wrong !
In the end, should you try to defend environmental rights whilst trampling on human rights, you actually infringe BOTH animal AND human rights, as well as the Bill of Rights you seek to provide protection through.
So, when you publish degrading and false information about me (and others) that are utter lies – by way of your own recent, public statement about me (and others) – you, as a statutory, public officer (i.e. as a director) of the so-called NGO, Section 24 Rights Coalition, create a legal “conduct” on your part that totally “invalidates” your claimed protective environmental actions 101%. Such action breaches your fiduciary obligations as a director of an NGO that may also raise funds from the public.
Hence, you fail your cause – utterly and completely – by prejudicing both animals and humans…exactly as my blog headline here states !
I can think of little more that is socially inviolate, or even bankrupt, in terms of vision or ideology, in the space of “social justice activism”, for a struggle to supposedly protect all natural and environmental rights, but yet which fails people themselves, who, too, form a vital (from the Latin word ‘vita’, meaning ‘life’) part of ALL living!
Until you understand this basic premise, you will clearly continue to engage in human rights abuses, such as your lies to, and defamation of, me, and others.
(See a South South African Constitution screenshot below.)
Extract from SA’s Constitution …
This nation’s tragic history of centuries of gross human rights violations – that a great many believe are intertwined with grave crimes against humanity – demands of each of us, in this precious land, that we each speak and act in all our social and environmental interactions with the utmost mutual respect and dignity, as clearly spelled out in the founding provisions of constitution.
Your brutal character assassination of me was crafted in such a manner that, for any casual or interested reader, a prima facie argument was presented and its ‘first blush’ seemed quite compelling.
I’ve been deeply hurt by the ongoing malicious victimization that I’ve withstood over many weeks since standing up for the values I believe in – and hold most dear – and which online conflict has led to unwarranted personal attacks that seem driven by a reckless impunity of my own rights to restorative justice.
TODAY – HERE AND NOW - I AM FIGHTING BACK TO RE-CLAIM MY OWN PERSONAL INTEGRITY, HUMAN DIGNITY AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FROM ATTACKERS, SUCH AS YOU ! .
Here is your statement of 25 February 2012 that you posted on Rhino Alliance’s wall – that you and others users then copied and posted on other Facebook pages – in both text and original screenshot (image) format:
Geldenhuys.FB.statement.copy (NB – not preset to open in new window)
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 1:
Your published statement’s opening line refers to moving from the “laughably ridiculous to criminal”.
The penultimate paragraph refers to “the migration from “laughable” to “criminal”…”
DELIBERATE INNUENDO – NUMBER 1:
You state that ” he has spent much of his waking hours stalking us (the promoters of Rhino Ultimatum)” and then refer to 3 charges being laid with the South African Police Services (SAPS), thus indirectly implying that you are a party to the laying of such charges by your use of the word “us”.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 1:
A person from Gauteng laid certain complaints against me that are based on the potential 3 charges you to which you refer. This was at the Sandton police station on Monday, 20 February 2012.
A senior police officer handling this case has confirmed to me telephonically – on more than one occasion – that these ‘alleged charges’ (my words) were made solely in the complainant’s personal capacity and that NO other party is involved in the matter whatsoever.
For the record, as of today, the matter has NOT been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority, which body is the ultimate arbiter in the decision as to whether or not to formally prosecute me.
Additionally, I wish to record here that I informed this officer of my intention to defend such unfounded allegations vigorously, should prosecution proceed, and that I would take the matter “to the highest court in the land, if need be”.
Furthermore, I can confirm that I received a letter from a large, prestigious legal practice electronically on 31 January 2012 that I described in my letter of 14 February to the partnership’s national divisional manager and a director of the practice as “threatening me with criminal and/or civil action for ‘crimen injuria’ and/or defamation”.
This same letter sent to me was also addressed to 2 other persons. I can NOT and do NOT speak here in respect of them.
In my letter of 14 February 2012 to the lawyers, I followed my words quoted above with the statement that I believed that “this matter…is without foundation and somewhat vexatious”.
Accordingly, I am informing you here and now, together with any and all interested and/or related parties to such allegations, that anyone, anywhere who makes a claim that I am a “criminal” or my actions are “criminal” as a result of the current investigation underway by the SAPS will be strongly countered with legal action.
AGAIN – I must remind you of a fundamental constitutional tenet – a person in South Africa is innocent until proven guilty and I deny any wrongdoing whatsoever.
CLARIFICATION – NUMBER 1:
You state that “First, an ex-‘chairman’ of an ‘umbrella’ Facebook group for other, like-minded Facebook groups…”
Whilst this statement does not mention me by name anywhere, it is common knowledge to whom you make reference – namely me!
Your deliberately crafted phrase “ex-chairman’…” has led to several people asking of me 3 broad-based questions:
(a) Was I “booted” ?
(b) Was I “forced to resign” ? or
(c) Did I resign of my own volition ?
The answer is that I tendered my resignation to the executive on 14 February 2012 once it became clear to me that I might face some kind of legal threat for criminal and/or civil matters.
I felt very strongly, on an ethical basis – especially as the Chairman – that I could not allow a new and exciting organization to in any way be tarnished by any hint of possible reputational damage.
To end any spurious allegations that I am aware of and which have been made by certain parties, here are the actual FACTS:
(a) For many months, I have tried to promote a united voice for all rhino-security activists on social media and in the real world in South Africa (and beyond) and dozens of credible parties – from Facebook group leaders, to public figures as well as to senior officers in corporate and civil society groups and NGO’s – will confirm my actions, postings, online and telephonic conversations and meetings;
(b) In early November 2011, I set up a closed Facebook group (which I made secret to ensure privacy of communication) under the banner of the United Rhino Network (URN) to achieve precisely this aim and invited a few people to engage;
(c) I posted on that group’s wall a statement in early December that I had made some significant progress in discussions with certain key role-players in SA’s civil society after delays caused by SA’s hosting of COP 17 in Durban and the focus of that global conference. I further stated that I would make a statement in that group in the next few days;
(d) Various people clicked “Like” to that comment, including one person (with whom I’d had a telephonic conversation about a fortnight previously) over my various plans for URN and related NGO work in environmental affairs;
(e) Within 48 hours of that posting, this person sent me (and others) a PM (private message on Facebook) inviting me and certain URN parties to a Skype teleconference to discuss securing an international animal rights group to help drive a campaign to fight for the protection of our rhinos;
(e) Certain key URN role-players chose to explore this option and I declined to support it, on the basis of my beliefs and my public profile position – which is well-articulated on my Facebook profile image and this blog – in respect of finding local solutions to local issues first, before securing international partners – https://vivaafrika.wordpress.com/about/
(f) In the second week of January, as the recent surge in rhino-poaching was gathering momentum, and the issue of an upcoming parliamentary committee meeting was being discussed quite extensively on Facebook, I again engaged a few major, local Facebook activists to try again to see if building a national coalition of voices could happen. My primary thinking was to build a strong, local lobby group that could actively engage government and all role-players in the crisis, in person, and not only via electronic pressure. Quite frankly, I paid scant attention to the Rhino Ultimatum, at that time, as I felt it did not meet my own criteria of mobilizing South Africans, first and foremost, before securing international support. The fact that a new “umbrella group” took root, and has since then blossomed, under this kind of shared vision between all the founding stakeholders is – to my mind – highly encouraging.
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 2 :
Your statement that the “ex-‘chairman’…started complaining widely on Facebook” is an outright lie.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 2 :
After the Rhino Ultimatum was launched on 19 December 2011, I made a singular post on my Facebook wall, a day later, that I could not support the petition. A heated exchange followed that night and I fielded some very abusive comments, many of which have since been deleted. After a few more posts were made on 21 December, the subject effectively closed and I moved on.
*** FOR THE RECORD –
A party with whom I have not discussed this entire Rhino Ultimatum for many weeks, has just in-boxed me privately, via Facebook – an hour before I publish this blog – and stated the following:
” I recall a previous wall thread of yours from December pertaining to the Rhino Ultimatum petition (see link below) where Joseph Dimetri was getting aggressive and culturally insensitive. Upon returning to that thread I see he has deleted his posts, but I was fortunate to have had them copied from earlier. I’m not sure if you already have a record of his comments, but I will attach the screen-caps for your reference in case you did not manage to capture them before he deleted them.”
I will advise the person (after “live” publication here) that I am most grateful for such records and ask whether or not I might call on this person to stand up – to our law enforcement agencies and the courts – as a material witness in my claims of “intimidation” by on 20 December 2011, by Claude Joseph Marcel a.k.a. Joseph Dimteri – for what he considers “aggressive” commentary that is “culturally insensitive”.
Here is my wall post then and the URL –
URL link on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/brian.sandberg1/posts/214357918643134
In a closed exchange between myself and yourself, with several others, on 19 January 2012 – FOUR weeks later – I categorically told you that, until that specific day, I had not raised the issue of this petition in an open forum, on Facebook, since my original wall post weeks before.
Over a period of about 8 weeks, links to the petition site were posted on my wall and on my group’s wall that deals with opposition to trade in ivory and rhino horn. From what I recall, I did not delete one of them, nor did I pass any comments thereon.
Surely if I was “widely complaining” and lobbying that it be “denounced”, I would have actively deleted any posts about it under my control?
For the record, I commented on it online with a dozen or so people, mainly friends, in various closed forums, from time to time, mainly in passing, when the petition issue arose in conversations.
It cannot be ignored that, whilst I was Chairman of the “umbrella body”, I initiated a specific, closed conversation online with other committee members, since you – as a member of the executive committee – were permitting it to be raised and supported on our public Facebook page, in contravention of the group’s policy NOT to endorse ANY rhino-related petition whatsoever.
Therefore your utterly false statement of “complaining widely on Facebook” must be rigorously condemned by myself as it goes to the heart of your impairing my integrity and damaging my reputation.
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 3 :
You state that my “complaining widely” was at such a level that you decided to “create this group (i.e. Rhino Alliance) and invite them all…”.
Yet again, Mr. Geldenhuys, this is a vile and blatant lie on your part.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 3 :
(a) The so-called “umbrella group” was formed in the SECOND WEEK of JANUARY 2012;
(b) RHINO ALLIANCE was created on 29 DECEMBER 2011 and had a few hundred members by the time this “umbrella group formation” was even discussed by its founding parties; and
(c) Not ONE SINGLE group of the vast majority of the coalition of founding groups that I have canvassed since you made this outrageous statement has any recollection whatsoever of being “INVITED” and each of them are prepared to state this under oath.
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 4 :
Your statement of outright untruths then goes on to record that “then suddenly the ‘ex-chairman’ intimidated every member of the ‘umbrella body’ into denouncing the Rhino Ultimatum”.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 4 :
(a) Each of the committee members that were party to the closed, online conversation that I referred to earlier, and in which you participated actively, are prepared to make a statement, under oath, that your accusation of their being “intimidated” is patently untrue;
(b) I believe we had established a committee of ethical persons – each an independent-thinker – and each treating the other with respect and integrity. Not only am I incensed that you could make such a malicious, untruthful statement as this, but that you actually trample again on the human rights and dignity of these fighters for a just cause by speaking such ill of them that you imply they are incapable of making their own informed decisions. I find that thought grossly distasteful; and
(c) For the record, the closed discussion referred to earlier was not about “denouncing the Rhino Ultimatum” publicly as might be inferred from your statement. A large part of this conversation where you were present and active centred around distancing the “umbrella group” from rejecting or endorsing either this petition (or any other petition) and ensuring member groups that took certain positions, such as pro- or anti- commercial trade in rhino horn, did so within their own spheres of influence and activity and ensured the umbrella group reputation was not associated with, or even impaired in any way, by linkages to other projects, campaigns and parties.
– In clarifying what I believe is a poorly worded phrase on your part, I believe it is important to note that the general consensus was that the “umbrella body” and its active execs gave the Rhino Ultimatum a “wide berth” (my phrase) since:
(i) there was fairly strong consensus amongst the leader group that the IARF-profile and association had “tainted” (my words) the petition,
(ii) that the anonymity and semi-obscured profiles of those seen as being the primary promoters clearly raised questions amongst many and so it was found difficult to ascertain who among them appeared to carry the overall influence and accountability for all related actions, and
(iii) that changes made to the petition during its first 4 weeks of a two-month campaign had brought into question its overall legitimacy, given that public signatories were not being consulted over changes made AFTER they had signed it.
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 5 :
The “promoters of the Rhino Ultimatum”, as I understand the statement wording, “ignored” the ex-chairman’s denunciation, “save for a written request to him to desist from doing so.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 5 :
I received a firm, lawyer’s letter threatening me with civil and criminal action if I did not “cease defamatory actions” immediately.
Here is a copy of the body of the letter:
The FACT of the matter is simple – I did NOT regard myself as taking any actions whatsoever that in any way amounted to “defamatory action” and my immediate response upon receipt was that I, in fact, felt highly intimidated by the fact that such serious allegations were being handled by one of SA’s most prestigious legal practices.
DELIBERATE LIE – NUMBER 6 :
You state that “Out of the blue, he wrote to a professional legal firm that we were hoping to engage professionally, intimidating that legal firm not to take on “certain clients” (being us). It is clear from his letter that he has spent much of his waking hours stalking us (the promoters of Rhino Ultimatum)”.
ACTUAL FACTS – NUMBER 6 :
(a) Upon receipt of my threatening legal letter on 31 January, it took time to secure quality opinion in respect of my rights and the allegations against me;
(b) Within a few days of the letter’s receipt, I had resolved to write to the firm privately – and not through my own attorneys – to present certain facts about their client which I believed they might not have known;
(c) Additionally – after securing legal advice from various practitioners, since personal injury claims (such as defamation) are a fairly specialized field, I then needed to review many previous weeks of my interactions with a number of Facebook friends and users, to make sure of my strong belief that I had done nothing to warrant claims of defamatory action whatsoever. I also needed time, in between heavy work commitments, to construct my reply to the practice head and obtain further legal advice on certain matters in this regard;
(d) Between the receipt of the letter and my reply, two weeks elapsed and my time spent on meetings, telephone conversations, correspondence and research probably amounted to between 15 and 20 hours, equating to an average of less than an hour and a half daily – and NOT “much of my waking hours”. Given the severity of the claims against me, the standing of the legal practice and the personal hurt and indignity that this letter had caused, a properly researched, formal letter does NOT amount to “stalking“.
That is a malicious and bloody-minded lie on your part that I regard as both inflammatory and highly defamatory.
Furthermore, I take huge umbrage at the banal and defaming allegation that I “intimidated” the lawyers by way of my letter.
I am but one person, responding to a deeply offensive and troubling allegation by a client of one of South Africa’s largest practices – that employs hundreds legal practitioners and other personnel – and yet I can pose some kind of threat to them, by way of “intimidation”?
Come now, Mr. Geldenhuys?
Essentially, I wrote to cover 4 key areas that I had resolved to brief a practice director on :
(i) Firstly, the original petition stated that if the government failed to respond to the Ultimatum’s demands after 60 days from the date of presentation to government, international boycotts in tourism and agricultural products would be considered – i.e. from after 22 April 2012. I explained that I had been one of the original lobbyists for a Buy South African campaign in the mid-1990’s. (See my letter from former Executive Deputy President FW de Klerk on the ‘about’ page here to authenticate this.) I stated I had lobbied to build the consumption of local goods and services over many years and that I would campaign strongly to oppose such action as I felt it was in conflict with my fundamental beliefs. It is important to note that I highlighted that calls for immediate boycotts had already commenced via the Rhino Ultimatum organizers, which materially altered the original terms of the petition and for which no signatories had been communicated with for their respective approvals;
(ii) Secondly, I pointed out to the director that many of the goods and services being promoted for boycott from late January might well have been those on offer by large corporate clients of theirs. As I believed he was, in all likelihood, completely unaware of this, I raised the point that their taking instructions from their client in this matter of mine could well place them in conflict with other existing clients of theirs. Additionally, I stated that I felt the business of many South African enterprises might be severely prejudiced by boycott action – let alone the precious need to protect employment – and that I felt a need to make a public statement about this and to contact senior executives at potentially affected organizations, so they could strategize as to how to counter such threats;
(iii) Thirdly, as the International Animal Rescue Foundation (IARF) had made various online statements about their ties with the Europa (or sometimes also called Eastern) Animal Liberation Front (EALF) and that the IARF were the primary international promoters of the petition, he needed to be aware that it is well-recorded that ALF’s often resort to actions that might be considered unlawful. I provided several web links and a YouTube link to a hooded extremist of the EALF confirming my claim of illegal tactics. Again, as I felt the practice needed to be aware of ties to an organization that many regarded as extremist or radical, I believe my letter enabled them to be better informed about their client and the relevant linkages; and
(iv) Finally, I pointed out that their client had made a statement online that they were about to start raising funds from the public through the auspices of the legal practice. For my part, I made it clear that I would call for detailed information about fund-raising should their firm be a “repository” party.
If the tone of my letter was firm, then that was important as I needed to be very clear that I would take strong action to defend my passionate belief in growing all trade and investment in South Africa.
Here are screenshots of some key sections of my letter that will verify the construct and tone of it:
What is of great import in this issue that you raise about the “legal firm” you were “hoping to engage professionally” is that I noticed all of the links I had sent to the director in my e-mail were still fully operative a couple of days after his reply to me.
The following evening when I was showing friend, certain key links had been disabled and certain editing had been done on web pages.
Gone were the Rhino Ultimatum Boycott pages on Facebook and related links. Here is a screenshot extract to show a few of the high profile brands that had been targeted, whilst other links had images showing airlines such as SAA, Kulula, Comair and Kenya Airways, certain restaurants and accommodation venues, as well as logos and page links for retailers of South African produce in the UK and USA:
ALSO deleted were posts about fund-raising, the “masked EALF activist” on YouTube and several posts on IARF’s website and their Facebook pages.
(1) On 28 February 2012, I conducted a thorough search on Facebook and online generally and could find ZERO record anywhere of your allegations regarding “false statements” by the Wilderness Education Association Accreditation Council (WEAAC);
(2) I knew that Worldwide Events to End Animal Cruelty (WEEAC) had become a participating organization in the “umbrella Facebook group”, so I checked that group’s public document records, in case an error had been made by this group, given the close similarity in acronyms for the two bodies. I found that their public, online records were indeed accurate and so I took a screenshot that day to confirm this fact.
Given that certain parties might accuse me of editing, or giving cause to edit, these records retrospectively to justify my position that this statement of yours is an outright lie, I took a screenshot of the documents page of the “umbrella” group on Saturday, 03 March 2012.
As my initial screenshot was taken on TUESDAY 28 February 2012, and if I had edited WEEAC’s data that day to counter your false claim, then the above Facebook electronic records would have shown an edit on Tuesday, as it does for the post above the Participating Groups document record.
Given that this Facebook record states this document was “last edited about a week ago”, I have included another extract from a screenshot taken on Tuesday, 28 February, 2012 that proves the last edit of the participating group records was made on FRIDAY 24 February 2012 – i.e. the day BEFORE you published your defamatory statement.
Again, Mr. Geldenhuys, I must re-iterate my serious concerns about your potential dereliction of duty as a director of an NGO and which appointment requires certain statutory and fiduciary standards of corporate governance compliance – especially given that your Section 24 Rights Coalition organization is centred on the legal protection of environmental rights, as enshrined in our Constitution, coupled with the fact that this new legal entity of yours, as an NGO, will be raising funds from the public.
It is not in our national interest that a director of one of our NGO’s – and a very newly founded one at that – makes such a reckless (at best) statement about two well-established NGO’s in the USA that both do some sensational work in their respective fields, since such a statement by yourself (and published worldwide) indirectly impairs the integrity of countless NGO’s and their directors in South Africa that act in accordance with our world-class legislation and standards of corporate governance.
Given the fact that rhino-poachers and illegal traders act with utter impunity when it comes to our national laws, our NGO directors need to work harder to show respect for our legislation, particularly in spheres where they focus on the protection of rights!
(3) It is, furthermore, a fact that Ms. Groth has been harried (since long before the Rhino Ultimatum was ever conceived) by the founder of the International Animal Rights Foundation (IARF), one “Joseph Dimetri” and there is a website that details many of the issues of conflict between each of them, and others:
– SPECIAL NOTE : This link below includes 3 video clips made by the “masked, camouflaged” person in my earlier image here – “Claude 1″ – addressing Ms. Groth directly:
(4) It is a FACT that Mr. Marc Stiglingh spoke to a certain “Claude Joseph Marcel” (the “founder” of IARF) in Europe, via a Skype conference call, together with 3 other South Africans, in early December 2011. After listening to the first clip in this trio, Mr. Stiglingh confirmed to me, in writing, and subsequently by telephone, that the voice of “Claude 1″ was identical to the voice he clearly remembered from that Skype call. (Mr. Stiglingh has also stated to me that, given my current legal threats, he is prepared to lodge a statement with the police in this regard and to provide testimony in court, under oath, if need be.)
(5) It is a FACT that I have, in my secure, electronic possession, an e-mail from Facebook that confirms the user profile names “Claude Joseph Marcel” and “Joseph Dimetri” as being one (single), registered Facebook user. (This record of mine irrefutably proves Ms. Groth’s assertion on this web link in an exchange between WEEAC United States and Claude Joseph Marcel that the latter is the same person as Joseph Dimetri, despite his claims that Dimetri is “in SA you dumb ass”.)
(6) Additionally, it is yet another FACT that I have electronic proof of also having been harried by messages and posts sent to me under both profile names mentioned in (5) above.
(7) This web link above also provides evidence of the FACT that Ms. Groth questioned the integrity of petition signatories in one of “Claude’s” international petitions regarding wolves in December where there are clearly two fake signatories added to the list of supporters – Mr. Dancer Ranedeer of Antarctica and Mr. Prancer Ranedeer also of Antarctica both of which were not subsequently deleted by “Claude” after she had drawn attention to this. (Personally, I find it incredibly interesting to see on this web link that “Claude” – i.e. Joseph Dimetri, the IARF founder – encourages Mr. Westerman, online, to “lie” on an electronic petition by using a false address, especially given that the International Animal Rescue Foundation was the high-profile, international group promoting the so-called Rhino Ultimatum petition, as stated online and in numerous SA and international media reports.)
Before I conclude, I must raise the issue of your duplicity.
In the week leading up to the 19/20 January “fall-out” between yourself and other exec members of the “umbrella group”, you gave an enormous injection of valued input for the coalition.
Conflict between ourselves arose because of your defence of promoting the Ultimatum – or at least the 9 “demands” contained in it. None of us wanted to “attack it” in any way but you kept harping on how you felt we should secure those “14 000″ or more signatories as supporters. None of us were very keen, either, in starting a new petition, because of our founding principle point of consensus that we would neither endorse nor reject ANY petition whatsoever.
When you asked me, in a closed management forum, why I did not support the Ultimatum, I presented you a lengthy answer. I believe your post below – which was a reply to that post/statement of mine – showed some consensus between you and I:
When we took that conversation out of the forum of 15 or so members, to only the execs later that day, you made the following point:
In respect of IARF’s involvement with the petition, you made the following comment, from Rhino Alliance’s perspective:
When you were asked by someone else to propose a solution to your plans for a petition, or the Rhino Ultimatum petition, you posted:
When you were asked about being a party to SOARS (the early SA coalition of petition organizers), you stated:
However – and here is why is raise this very serious issue of your duplicity –
Given the SOARS post you made on 19 January 2012, I find it quite bizarre that you could say that, when I felt we were all engaging each other frankly with the intention of resolving certain tensions between us and yourself over wishing to promote the “9 demands” BUT YET you have drafted and mailed out a Rhino Ultimatum press release on 30 December 2011 – i.e. 3 weeks before.
Here is the footer extract from that mail:
For me, I am enormously enriched by the wonderful people that have helped build and develop that “umbrella group” because in all our affairs – and it has been several months for many of us – we’ve always spoken honestly and respectfully to each other.
I have yet to find any shred of evidence from any of the group’s management, executive or ordinary members that have shown the duplicity that you chose to show – to not only me, but to all these former ‘colleagues’ of mine, and others – in these few screenshot extracts above.
Mr. Geldenhuys, I am deeply saddened that your recent actions have only served to drive deeper wedges between rhinophiles and animal rights activists, both here in SA and beyond our shores.
In our group message exchanges of 19 & 20 January, the records will show most clearly that my efforts were primarily focused on uniting factions and bridge-building. I cannot begin to understand why you have chosen such a destructive path recently.
On Monday, 12 March, I will decide what further steps to take to restore my abused rights.
In the meantime, I need to resolve the matter of your malicious attack on me in respect of some obscure linkage to WEAAC, WEEAC and Ms. Dawn Groth. As I feel very obligated, by virtue of unknown or indirect association with these parties – noting that I only recently connected on Facebook with Ms. Groth personally – I will formally be writing to them to apologise, on behalf of our myself and our wider communities, for the fact that a fellow South African launched such a vicious attack on their organizations. In so doing, I will offer to assist in the event that any of them need legal and/or law enforcement assistance in South Africa.
To conclude, Mr. Geldenhuys, and with immediate effect, please be advised that I will not hesitate to take urgent criminal or civil action against you personally for any untoward actions whatsoever on your part, whether directly or indirectly, that cause, or give cause, to any form of personal injury of myself.
APPEAL TO READERS :
Clearly anyone reading my statement above should be left in no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Geldenhuys, for whatever reason, committed a very serious offence of, inter alia, defaming of me very publicly, with, what I can reasonably assume, was a clear intent on his part to impair my dignity and reputation, given the fact that he must reasonably have known that certain of his statements in the offending publication were untrue and certain were obviously structured to be injurious.
It is public knowledge that Mr. Geldenhuys presented the so-called Rhino Ultimatum to President Zuma’s representative at Union Buildings in Pretoria on 22 February 2012.
My understanding, by reading certain media reports and online statements is that this new NGO – of which he is a director – Section 24 Rights Coalition – is a leading party to the organization and promotion of this petition campaign.
It is therefore not unreasonable, given his blatant untruths about me in his statement that I have attacked above, to assume that the threat I received from the attorneys on 31 January, the complaints laid against me for criminal investigations by our law enforcement agencies on 20 February and this malicious, defamatory publication of 25 February – all coupled with the harassment and intimidation over the past 2 months that I have suffered by “the masked ALF extremist” (“Claude 1″ a.k.a. Joseph Dimetri a.k.a. Claude Joseph Marcel) are all patently linked to the Rhino Ultimatum and my public criticism of it on 20 December 2011.
In building my legal defence to possible criminal charges against me, the onus is on me to prove that comments I have made in public are, in fairly simple terms, objective and fair such that a court of law would consider whether or not a “reasonable person” would take “reasonable offence” at them, given the context of the words used and a range of other related factors.
Let the public record show that in a lengthy “closed” online message exchange with about half a dozen others, I referred to the complainant as a “loose cannon”. Mr. Geldenhuys was party to that exchange and neither he, nor any of the other parties, chose to object to my use of that phrase.
I cannot assume that either he, or anyone else present, “agreed” with me, but the fact that not one objection, of any form, was raised gives me comfort that this comment was not unreasonably offensive.
In my research of many hundreds of exchanges with a diverse spectrum of people and issues online in trying to build my defence, I have yet to find any other comments I have made that might give rise to “defamatory action”.
So – my first appeal for information here is that I would ask any reader who feels I have made a “defamatory” statement about them, or any other party, to please provide me with evidence, especially if it is related to any comments I have made about the Rhino Ultimatum.
RHINO ULTIMATUM CAMPAIGN – RUC :
Now – the next issue for appeal centres around the actual Ultimatum and its supporting promotional campaign. This also relates to its founders, organizers and managing promoters, as a collective, past and current.
For ease of reference and unless otherwise stated, I will refer to all the elements involved in this matter – i.e. people, organizations, promotions, publications and petition – under one generic term – Rhino Ultimatum Campaign and I will abbreviate this to RUC.
CLAIMS AND ALLEGATIONS :
For the record, I have defended myself from the false accusation of my “denouncing the Rhino Ultimatum” in the second half of January as claimed by Mr. Geldenhuys.
HOWEVER – clearly my letter to the lawyers of 14 February is a firm act on my part to be highly critical of this petition and the promoters of it.
I believe this is quite justifiable given the facts I will present shortly.
In terms of local and international statutes, I am entitled to hold strong opinions and to articulate them, in public, CONDITIONAL UPON my being FAIR and causing NO PERSONAL HARM to anyone. (I say this in the broadest sense and for brevity here.)
When the senior case officer from the police first called me, she said that a serious part of the investigation would centre on the fact that my actions and statements gave rise in this case to the fact that the complainant felt his/her “life was under threat”. Needless to say, this allegation caused great stress to me.
In one of my discussions with my lawyer and various legal and law enforcement parties when I raised this very stressful point, I stated that it has never, ever been my intention, in this public critique of mine, or in any other causes, to say things whereby anyone felt so threatened, let alone myself being the cause of great personal anxiety and distress to them personally.
It was pointed out to me that I had clear proof that I had stated to the complainant and other key petition promoters, on or before 20 December 2011, that not only did I find the original wording and thrust of the petition offensive to me (and, I believed, many of our population) but that I felt the supposed partnership and international leadership of the IARF was “ill-considered”.
On more than one occasion I stated that I believed the whole project was poorly constructed, or words to that effect. None of these statements can in any way be considered offensive in terms of “crimen injuria” and/or defamation. They are fair and reasonable criticisms on my part, given that I explained my reasoning behind them.
Thus, as was further pointed out to me, given my clearly stated opposition to the petition at its launch, the promoters should have reasonably expected me to be vocal and critical of it on social media, given my long history in that space.
However, I remained publicly silent on this matter in open forums until 19 January 2012 – in other words for four whole weeks, which was the critical period for the aggregation of the majority of the signatories to it. (From 19 December to 19 January, it gathered approximately 14000 signatories and between 19 January and its submission to government on 22 February it gathered about another 8000 supporters.)
In my discussions preparing my defence to the complaint, I was asked if I had NOT CRITICIZED the petition or the ‘non-African NGO’ promoters and had actually supported the entire endeavour, plus very actively campaigned for it, “what difference could I have made to their collection of signatures, given that the target was 250,000″ (roughly verbatim)?
I laughed out loud and explained that I could think of 3 petitions off-hand that I had very actively championed via social media over the past year or so. One was a major international petition about corrective rape in South Africa. I think my very, very active promotion of it – because I passionately believed in fighting the scourge – probably helped add a maximum of a couple of hundred signatories out of the eventual 200,000 plus received. The other two were very local issues over our recent Info-Secrecy Bill and Corruption in SA. In both these cases, I probably helped add a few dozen supporters to them.
I also pointed out that I was aware that most of the people I would have actively canvased to support the petition, if I endorsed it actively, had actually signed it and/or were actively promoting it themselves.
On this basis, the consensus was that I had an excellent point of defence that, based on past history of my online activism, whether or not I endorsed the petition, stayed silent or even spoke out strongly against it, my own resulting spheres of influence on the success or failure of the Ultimatum was of almost “miniscule consequence“, given that many of the people I know actually signed the petition, in spite of my opposition to its construct.
DEFAMATION – INTEGRITY, REPUTATION, WORK and GOALS :
As was pointed out to me, a critical part of my defence – in relation to my initial criticism of the petition project – would hinge on the fact that the lawyer’s letter of 31 January stated that the defamation would target, aside from damage to their client’s integrity and reputation, their client’s undertaking to perform certain work and the goals which their client sought to achieve. (My paraphrasing here – the actual wording is shown elsewhere above.)
So in defending the spurious allegations against me, one needs to break these down into bite-size issues:
(a) Client’s “integrity” – I have no reason whatsoever to doubt that that their client is a good person and is a solid member of the community with strong passions to right certain social injustices.
For the record, their client told me in an e-mail at the end of December that I accused her of being dishonest over a certain “non-disclosure” in a previous closed exchanges with 3 other parties in early December. This is not true.
Here is my exact post on that matter which can be fully authenticated via electronic records of all concerned:
” I was completely unaware of this.
I think being invited to join a “confidential” conversation should have included full disclosure of such issues up front.
It really concerns me that some lack of upfront transparency and an offer of engagement “after-the-event” is not constructive in efforts aimed at uniting local rhino activists…
Thank you for now updating me.”
(b) Client’s “reputation” – this always poses a range issues to be considered. My understanding from the legal-eagles is that all lawyers, prosecutors and courts generally look at two very important areas – general reputation and reputation that is specific to the matters at hand.
Given that the complainant had mentioned to me, either in writing or in conversation with me in November 2011, a lack of experience and knowledge in rhino-related matters, in media and in campaign management and lobbying, and given my own experience, particular in media and campaigns, over many years, I honestly felt my opinions, even if critical of the RUC, should certainly not be taken as my being defamatory in any way whatsoever. Any comments I made were never intended to be hurtful and, indeed, I believe were reasonable – i.e. able to be well reasoned.
(c) Client’s “work” – here I must agree with those who’ve advised me. An individual has the freedom of choice as to work to be undertaken, unless there is duress. In the absence of such coercion, it would not be unreasonable, given the high-profile of the rhino-crisis in South Africa and the exceptionally emotive voices engaged in various spaces surrounding it, to assume driving any form of campaign in this environment will evoke a diverse spectrum of criticism…as I have found out by personal attacks I’ve experienced by Joseph Dimetri, for example. As my lawyer says – and not verbatim – “it is a free world and if you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen then you should leave”. The advice I received has given me comfort that if I give fairly objective and reasoned criticisms of a campaign’s strategy, a campaign manager would be hard pressed to prove that such actions are defamatory; and
(d) Client’s “goals” – this target of defamatory action is an interesting one. The legal consensus that I have revolves around not only the goal, but the route to the goal. A simple example was given to me to understand the issues that needed to be considered in this specific target area claim for possible defamatory action.
It is a well-established business practice and in fact, is mostly highly desirable, for one enterprise to have a goal to gain market share from a competitor. However, if the achievement of that goal relies on the marketer seemingly ‘defaming’ the opposition in order to achieve their objective, then the courts will be obliged to rule on the strategy to achieve the goal and not focus on the goal itself.
Again my legal advice was very clear. Mr. Joseph Dimetri, the founder of the IARF, has certain goals related to certain projects that he is involved in. However, there is more than sufficient evidence, both within RUC and other campaigns (such as in the Ms. Dawn Groth video clips) that he relies on certain actions, some of which might be considered as being unlawful (e.g. intimidation, harassment, defamation, “crimen injuria”, etc.), to achieve his goals and those of the IARF. (I myself am a victim of his continued harassment against which I am protected by law, but given his anonymous activity, and unknown location in another country, it is an onerous matter for me to pursue, although my claims are watertight.)
Therefore his actions alone, given his very high profile role in the whole RUC matter, provide the complainant (and other parties to RUC outside of IARF) with a number of difficult hurdles to cross, especially in any case of bringing an action over defamation in relation to the target claim of achievement of goals.
VALIDITY OF THE PETITION :
Sometime during January 2012, I developed a strong, personal and private view that the entire petition was severely compromised once I realized certain material changes to it had been effected.
It was only at the time of my online, closed exchange with Messrs. Geldenhuys and Stiglingh (and others) on 19 January, that I paid any real attention to its detailed wording again after my original wall post on 20 December.
1. REFERENCE TO I.A.R.F.
In that discussion, I learned that Mr. Stiglingh had been responsible for drafting the primary elements of it but that there had been a number of changes to it which he felt not only invalidated it, but also amounted to fraud and I then read a post he’d made public that stated such.
During that online exchange, discussions centred around the role of IARF and Claude/Dimetri. It was generally accepted that the IARF was not only the “public-face” (my words) of the petition, but Mr. Geldenhuys pointed out that “they did add about 6000 of their own followers to it…” of the roughly 14000 signatories at that time.
Furthermore, since the discussion included several parties who ran Facebook groups centred on rhino-matters and whose groups generally included supporters numbering between 1000 and 5000, there was an implied consensus that Claude/Dimetri played a dominant and influential role in RUC.
I recorded there, after re-looking at the actual wording of the petition for the first time in 4 weeks, that it’s introduction stated:
“THE RHINO ULTIMATUM is addressed to the South African government, and is given and directed by the Global Signatories hereto, and the International Animal Rescue Foundation.”
In trying to establish whether or not the petition was being driven by an organization or group out of South Africa or out of Europe – i.e. IARF’s “deemed” primary “domicile” – I drew specific attention to the fact that the petition clearly stated “given and directed by” and then, aside from the individual signatories, one single organization, namely Claude/Dimetri’s IARF.
Only very recently was I given the original wording of the introduction to the petition which stated:
“We the undersigned International Animal Rescue Foundation & South African Operation Action Rhino Survival the founders of The Rhino Petition Ultimatum are asking for your immediate help in our cause to help call a complete and immediate halt to the barbaric, and senseless killings of the Rhino in South Africa one of the big 5.”
I discovered that the SOARS partnership had broken up soon after New Year and hence the editing in early- to mid-January, as I understood matters.
When I received the lawyer’s letter on 31 January, I looked at the petition again.
Yet again, the introductory words had been changed:
“The RHINO ULTIMATUM, addressed to the South African government, is given by us, the Signatories, and international awareness groups influential in the eco-tourism industry, as well as wildlife organisations, including the International Animal Rescue Foundation (est 1970)”.
- I wish to record here that I have electronic proof where Claude/Dimetri states the IARF was actually founded in 2011 and that it was a Foundation based in France. I also have another record whereby he states a few weeks ago that he and several others involved in the IARF had not yet formed a legal entity and had decided to form a company.
I took a screenshot yesterday (04 March) of Dimetri’s post of the original petition on 27 December on a cause website:
This clearly shows Dimetri promoting himself as the “Founder” of the Rhino Ultimatum petition.
SO WHO IS CALLING THE “RUC” SHOTS ?
A fascinating blog published on 21 January 2012, and not widely publicized on social media, is entitled “Fanatical IARF Threatens Boycotts against SA”.
“The fanatical International Animal Rescue Foundation (AIRF) has reportedly drawn more than 11 500 signatures on social networks in the past few weeks.”
Even more fascinating is that Rian Geldenhuys, a founding director of the NGO, Section 24 Rights Coalition, posted a comment on this blog on 17 February that never bothered to raise the issue that this was not an IARF campaign alone, especially since Section 24 had already announced they would be presenting the petition at Union Buildings less than a week later.
Later that day, Joseph Dimetri made a lengthy post of his usual diatribe and polemics, threatening “coercion”. He, too, made no mention of there being South African parties (partners?) involved in the RUC.
For me – given my whole lengthy review of all these sordid matters here, I found it quite refreshing in this midst of my writing here about rights’ abuses, that Gerard Coreejes (whom I have no knowledge of) stated in response to Dimetri “…you cannot achieve ANY of your misguided objectives without aggressive coercion that is violating the legitimate rights of other people!” (HOORAY – a totally independent opinion for all my legal woes!)
2. DEMAND vs. EXPECT:
In my 20 December post that caused such an outcry, I strongly objected to the use of the word ‘DEMAND’ throughout the petition.
In the flurry of posts and mail exchanges I faced over the following 24 hours, many people (both South African and international) believed that the wording was well justified. By the same token, many felt I was right, but they would sign the petition anyway. A handful believed I was quite correct and they didn’t sign the petition.
On the 19 January, with over 14,000 signatures collected, the petition still stated “DEMAND”.
When I read it again on 31 January, ‘DEMAND’ had been replaced with ‘EXPECT’. Given that I had played no role whatsoever in any public commentary except my initial post, one can only assume that RUC had been heavily lobbied to effect the changes, which editing I was given to understand by a friend had actually been effected about a week earlier when the petitioners’ total stood at more than 16,000.
I then asked several random people, locally and internationally, who I knew had signed it if they had been consulted. Not one of them had.
Given that around 40% of all signatories by that point would have been secured via the IARF link (according to Geldenhuys’ statement of about 6000 on 19 January), and given that many of them would have been very strong Animal Liberation Front activists with very strong views, I would think that such a change to petition is of a very serious, material nature.
As I have found no evidence in limited research on the matter, safe to say, Dimetri was re-posting the petition almost daily on various pages in the last week of January, one must assume he approved this.
I would question whether he has the right to speak on behalf of his supporters who signed, either indirectly or directly.
Additionally, given that I regard such changes as being very material, given the high levels of emotional posts all over Facebook making very strong demands on SA’s government, coupled with the individual comments added to the petition itself, and given acceptable international standards, plus the rules of the petition hosts, the RUC has committed, at the least, a severe breach of ethical behaviour over their custodial, oversight obligations.
Furthermore – and VERY important –
If Section 24 Rights Coalition has promoted itself to government as the primary organizer and custodial body of all the signatories names (and therefore their voices in the matter) and given that these changes were made without any wide consultation with those that had signed before the material edits, then Section 24 Rights Coalition has misrepresented the facts to President Zuma and all the other addressees on the petition.
There can be no other word than “misrepresented” since, effectively, 16,000 people out of 22,000 people (roughly) – being more than two-thirds of the final total – signed the petition on the basis of ‘DEMANDING’ certain performance of the South African government and not ‘EXPECTING’ certain performance.
The two words have very different meanings and, from opinion I’ve received, few members of our judicial system in this country would dare to be bold enough to say that they are not material changes and therefore there can be no misrepresentation of the facts.
In my research over the past week, there are many voices who agree with Marc Stiglingh that there might be a legitimate complaint to be laid with the SA Police Services to investigate fraud. For those unfamiliar with our legislation, the first thing any lawyer or prosecutor does is look to see if there is any monetary or other benefit that is involved. (Other could mean “material” benefit and often a “gratification” in the widest sense can apply, such as – in a ridiculous scenario – a petition organizer agrees to give away the database in return for a lucrative business contract in an unrelated field.)
There is a school of thought that believes IARF may use their seemingly influential leverage of having more than 22,000 signatories from their lead-promoter position in RUC to raise public funds for rhino and/or other animal rights projects in Europe (and/or worldwide) and therefore Dimetri and his other associates in IARF might benefit therefrom. Should that happen, it would appear that European laws would mean he could be liable for such claims/charges. (I’ve been given electronic proof that at one point, a few weeks ago, he was one of the “key holders” to the petition database, so he has access or, at least, had access previously, to would could reasonably assumed as a “valuable, and potentially commercial” database of information about signatories.)
3. BOYCOTT OF S.A. TOURISM AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS:
The original petition launched on 19 December 2011 and for presentation to government on 22 February 2012 stated that, if the demands of the petitioners were not met on or by 22 April 2012, then the organizers would call for certain boycotts in the tourism and agricultural sector.
Around 19 January, I became aware of certain calls for immediate boycotts on IARF’s website but I paid little attention to such threats as I hadn’t noticed that being promoted on social media specifically.
In my research on the Rhino Ultimatum on 31 January, after receiving the lawyer’s letter, and over the following week, I was appalled to find widespread calls on Facebook to implement boycotts with immediate effect. Most of these had been “live” for – seemingly – the last week of January, at least.
RUC had even set up a dedicated BOYCOTT page on Facebook that had its links posted on well over a dozen other pages and the calls were receiving active attention from activists, worldwide.
Given my very strong, personal opposition to any idea of a boycott – unless every single avenue of action had been fully explored and exhausted – I resolved to write to a senior partner of the legal practice that had written to me on 31 January, to highlight this serious issue.
Aside from the fact that I opposed such a future step, I felt that RUC were so morally bankrupt that they could have secured over 15,000 signatory supporters to endorse a boycott, subject to certain terms and conditions not being met by the government of SA, but yet the end-step threat had been implemented PRIOR to government even receiving formal notification of the entire contents of the petition.
To say that I was outraged would be an understatement.
Please think about this logically and in terms of our collective, overall constitutional rights.
1. One wants government to act in a particular way;
2. One decides that they are formally going to write to the State President and various government and international leaders to demand certain action;
3. One decides that this will take the form of a global petition that will take time to gather support for;
4. One then puts certain time frames in places, including a period for government to take the remedial action demanded;
5. As part of the strategy, the ultimate goal is that if the demands are not met by a formal deadline, certain resultant actions will take place;
6. Thousands of people then endorse this campaign by adding their signatures;
7. However, the campaign management, for whatever reason, and without consulting with these constituent supporters in any way, unilaterally decide to implement “the punishment” BEFORE “the charges” have been formally presented to the “accused” and before the universally agreed deadline for “redress of wrongs” has even begun;
8. What an abuse of a multitude of rights? This is like RUC promoting a “wildcat” strike in our country, which is illegal in our country !
Here is the reasoning behind my statement here:
(a) The constitutional rights of the office of our State President is such that it be accorded dignity and respect by all – for starters – especially since, formally, he has not been notified of exactly what is being demanded of his government by the public, nor the time allowed to take corrective action, nor the consequences of his failure to deliver on the demands;
(b) The constitutional rights of ALL South Africans, whose economy and the well-being and employment of many of its citizens, could suffer as a result of “wildcat” boycott action internationally; and – equally importantly –
(c) Fundamental human rights recognition requires that – indirectly, as a result of “freedom of choice” and related matters – each and every signatory needs to be consulted, because, directly, as the signatories called for the boycott, under certain terms and conditions and they might or could each then be held directly personally accountable for any causal and resultant damages to our collective nation’s economic prosperity.
In a very similar analogy, I want to ask readers here how they would feel if they were in my shoes facing possible criminal charges.
Imagine me being advised by the police (and the media) that I face certain charges and certain things are demanded of me, failing which I could end up in jail.
In being advised by the police, I am told the investigation is underway (i.e. the gathering of signatories) and I will be presented with charges on a certain day.
Before that day arrives, the police arrive with an arrest warrant and court order and I am locked away for 5 years.
How would you feel, in terms of YOUR human rights ?
Now – answer the question … how do you think I feel … even if it is somewhat rhetorical ?
The fact that the boycott pages and the general Facebook promotion of boycotts stopped shortly after my letter to the lawyers was sent and replied to does not alter the fact this “wildcat” action was yet another material breach of the petition.
I, personally, will be writing to the State President to explain why I believe petition’s bona fides have been severely compromised and my letter will focus strongly on this boycott action point. I will further urge him to declare the petition null and void, and will lobby for other voices to support such a decision.
I will publish my letter once I have sent it.
Whether I agree with the petition or not, I would strongly oppose any action or claim by our government to discount it or regard is as voided if every step of the way had been taken by the organizing management, as per the original document, or amendments made with proper consultation with all stakeholders. One cannot have one set of values for one issue, but a separate set for another.
4. “FAKE” SIGNATORIES:
There is good cause to believe that the petition contains “fake” signatures.
Aside from Joseph Dimetri’s nefarious tactics that have been well documented – in part here – it is very pertinent that the website referred to earlier that hosts the images of screenshot extracts regarding fake signatures and posts by Claude Joseph Marcel.
Short-cut link (repeat of URL – for ease of access) :
Given that I have irrefutable proof from Facebook that Claude Joseph Marcel and Joseph Dimetri are the same user, and given the extensive online proof that Joseph Dimetri is the founder of IARF, it is highly disconcerting that the “masked” person in Ms. Groth’s video is a person who proposes, publicly, that one should lie on a petition.
I’ve been advised that an international activist has written to President Zuma to advise him of potential “fake” signatures and to review the lists of signatories very carefully.
I believe this question over whether or not Dimetri and other IARF members generated “fake” signatories should also be added to all the questions raised about material changes to the petition.
Both the lawyers and accountants I have discussed this matter with all believe that RUC has caused the petition to become “invalid”.
So do I.
And I feel sorry for the multitude of people who have literally gives many hours of voluntary work in the firm belief they could make a difference in the future security of rhinos.
RUC failed their biggest fans and, in turn, have clearly destroyed any reasonable credibility of any and all organizing promoters related to RUC, directly and indirectly, as at 22 February 2012 !
– TO END OFF, finally…
1. Surely there should be integrity amongst ALL rights’ activists in SA if we’re ALL – as a nation – to truly fight for the protection of our rhino ?
2. Surely one cannot fight for human rights without fighting equally for environmental rights AND vice versa ?
3. Who will actually put their hands up and say, publicly, I am ultimately responsible to the world for the Rhino Ultimatum petition and campaign, without hiding behind anonymity?
4. Who will actually put their hands up and say, publicly, that Dimetri and IARF and related parties should be shut down in SA, given this very lengthy record presented here ?
5. Who will stand up to help re-build many bridges between many activists and rights groups that have been affected by the polemics resulting from IARF’s entry into the rhino, wildlife and animal protection projects that thousands of good, wholesome South Africans support on a daily basis, often under the most trying of circumstances ?
Comments are more than welcome, but please read what follows below, together with the statements on my ABOUT page here – see navigation bar link.
AND – thank you for reading this far.
Most sincerely. I never, ever envisioned that our nation – already so divided – could be torn apart by the actions of others who clearly promote “ill-considered” rights’ abuses as a means to fight other rights’ abuses.
IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THAT ANY CONTENT ABOVE REQUIRES EDITING, for any reason whatsoever, I will record the changes made below, together with my reasons, as well as the date and time of such amendments.
For the record, I erroneously clicked the publish tab instead of the edit tab at about 05h00 on Saturday 03 March 2012. This meant that my rough draft of this blog went “live” on my Facebook wall, without final editing. I am aware that it was seen by 2 of my FB friends and once they responded – unexpectedly – I realized the mistake. I immediately added a password protection feature to ensure that only the headline and opening few words could be read. I apologized on my FB wall post. I will record here the time I lift the password protection feature and that will mean it is formally been published in the public domain.
Official publication: At about 15h30 (Central African Time – CAT) on Monday, 05 March 2012.