Document:Afterword to "Who Really Killed Chris Hani?"

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All leading UK publishers turned it down[1]
Courts have decided that freedom of expression trumps all other rights as without it nobody, including the courts, would ever hear of breaches of other rights. So those who have attempted to suppress this book have prevented the world from discovering and prosecuting the criminals, who perpetrated the foul murders. In law we would describe them as accessories after the fact of these killings.

Disclaimer (#3)Document.png Book  by Christopher Nicholson dated 29 February 2024
Subjects: Steve Biko, Bernt Carlsson, Ruth First, Dag Hammarskjöld, Chris Hani, Anton Lubowski, Samora Machel, Olof Palme, Dulcie September, The Cradock Four, David Webster, Patrick Haseldine, Carroll Quigley, Guy Rose, Mads Brügger
Source: Chris Nicholson (Link)

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Afterword to "Who Really Killed Chris Hani?"

"And not in vain has God appointed me to write my humble record.
"In days to come another studious friar will find my work, my careful, nameless story; and he will light, like me, his lamp at midnight and after wiping the dust from off the scroll will piously transcribe what I have written, that future generations of the faithful may thus be told the history of their past.
"It seems that I relive these bygone times; those former years of turmoil pass before me, tempestuous as the sea in times of storm."
Friar Pimen’s opening account in Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov.

The great German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche said he only liked books that were written with blood, because blood was spirit. The telling of this tale was difficult and the facts were not easily found. Somehow, something told me, they had to be revealed. Silence did not seem to be an option. After all Charles Pequy, a poet and essayist, whose life straddled the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries provided the answer. ‘He who does not bellow the truth, when he knows the truth, makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.’ No doubt there will be consequences for me for as Oscar Wilde cynically observed ‘If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.’

Initially I sent the manuscript of the book to two well-known publishers in South Africa, Wits Press and Pan Macmillan. I have successfully worked with Veronica Klipp of Wits Press for many years and she published my first two books, "Permanent Removal – Who killed the Cradock Four?" and "Papwa Sewgolum – From Pariah to Legend".

So, I was very surprised when I received a reply from Roshan Cader of Wits Press who wrote and said ‘We have looked at some of the chapters and our decision is that we are unable to accept this for publication. Our publishing list is oriented more towards the scholarly/academic market. This book is pure trade, narrative non-fiction and you would be better served by finding a trade publisher to publish this. We don’t have good access into this market through the retail space.’ He goes on to say ‘I am sure you know people in the industry, but my recommendations would be Jacana Media or Jonathan Ball or Tafelberg.’

I might mention that this book is far more academic than both the "Goniwe" and "Papwa" accounts. Both of those books were nominated for the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction. Veronica Klipp told me that the publication of those two books laid the foundation for the reputation of Wits Press. So why has it now forsaken the paths of truth and justice for the deserts of cowardice and clandestine obscurity?

I sent the manuscript to Pan Macmillan who said via Andrea Nattrass ‘Our internal team has had a chance to read through the material. We found it interesting and your style is authoritative and accessible. The approach of covering the five other murders as a 'backdrop' and thread running through Hani's assassination is a unique take, though there has been some discussion in terms of what exactly it might add to the book, with people suggesting that there might be limited interest in the other murders.’

Nattrass went on to say ‘None of us is in a position to comment authoritatively overall in terms of the content, and so in order to take this process of considering the project forward, we would like to suggest that a formal, external review is needed on the full manuscript. This is something that would be a matter of course at a university press, so it is a process you are used to, but I wanted to check if you are amenable to this suggestion.’

I sent the full manuscript and then received the following response: ‘Before I commissioned an external review, I needed to discuss the project in principle with the sales director, and unfortunately, she has come back with a negative assessment of the commercial potential of the project, along with the suggestion that the book would be better placed at a more academic publisher. Under these circumstances, which include the broader context of Pan Macmillan focusing our non-fiction publishing line-up in a more commercial direction, I don't think we should embark on an external review process when the outcome is likely to be that, worthy as it might be, this is not a project that Pan Macmillan will be able to publish. In my mind, the project has strong publishing potential, even if some editing or reworking is needed, and so I suggest that you approach Jonathan Ball or Jacana Media or UKZN Press or Wits Press as I think the book is likely to find a suitable home at one of these publishers.’

I was a bit confused as to how a book can be too academic in one breath and not academic in another. And, being too academic, Andrea Nattrass suggested some commercial publishers. Andrea was the principal editor of my first two books on "Matthew Goniwe" and "Papwa" and I remember with particular fondness our collaboration.

I recall that others refused to publish the "Papwa" book and how Russell Martin said he loved the "Papwa" book, but that I had to cut out Gary Player, as he was a national icon. Player was revealed as an Apartheid apologist, who worshipped Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. I very cheekily said to him, on that hypothesis, we must cut out Lady Macbeth and Iago from Shakespeare’s plays. Although they were rascals that did not mean they should be defamed. So worried did they get about my response and what the public might think that they phoned me while overseas at the Wagner festival in Bayreuth!

I have dined out on that story whenever I speak about the book and the audience has always been very shocked, but also vastly amused, at that timidity. I have made sure to praise both Veronica and Andrea for their courage in publishing "Goniwe" and "Papwa". It is with some pride that I learned that the "Papwa" book will soon be a movie with Dev Patel possibly in the title role. Few could forget his roles in "Slum Dog Millionaire" and other famous movies. That their courage has deserted them at this crucial time in our country’s history is cause for great concern.

The calls of Nelson Mandela and others for the full truth about Hani’s murder have been mentioned. In the world there is intense agitation for the truth to be told about the other heroes I have written about in my book. I have attempted to answer those fundamental questions. I am hoping that once the facts are known from my book, the police will take action against those implicated. I believe the book has strong public and international interest and it would be a pity if it were suppressed. That might be perceived as the criminal offence of defeating the ends of justice.

Looking at bookshops one cannot but fail to notice they are crammed with books detailing the corruption of ex-President Zuma and the Guptas, the account of Andre de Ruyter of his three years at Eskom, and those by Greg Mills. Pan Macmillan regularly publishes books by Mills including "Why States Recover" and "How South Africa Works".

Mills heads the Brenthurst Foundation in Johannesburg established by South African oligarchs, the Oppenheimer family, and writes articles for the Daily Maverick and Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), where he serves on the advisory board. RUSI describes itself as ‘the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank’. Mills is closely associated with the US / UK military and intelligence complex.

The board of the Brenthurst Foundation includes: Nick Carter, former Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military, and Rory Stewart, a British diplomat with a murky background in British intelligence circles. Stewart served as Deputy Governor in Maysan and Dhi Qar for the Coalition Provisional Authority following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There is much talk that Stewart was an employee of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) during his time as a British Representative to Montenegro. In a letter of credentials from Daily Maverick editor and founder Branko Brkic dated January 2022, Greg Mills is described as ‘Daily Maverick editor-at-large’ and a ‘senior member of our writing team’.

While writing the book I have been in contact with some very important personalities. Mads Brügger who made the internationally recognised and award-winning documentary on Dag Hammarskjöld, has read my book. He said on receiving the manuscript that it was a ‘a fantastic, well written and very comprehensive piece of work. Bravo!’

The famous and courageous writer and political commentator Patrick Haseldine has championed the cause of the deceased on the Lockerbie flight for many years. He wrote for his website:

"In January 2023, Christopher Nicholson completed his seventh book, a magnum opus comprising 58 thoroughly researched and well-written chapters on assassinations that took place during the apartheid era in South Africa. Each chapter marshals the facts, providing fascinating new insights and much-needed context of many of those murders, including that of Patrice Lumumba, Bernt Carlsson, Dag Hammarskjöld, Chris Hani, Anton Lubowski and Olof Palme."

My literary agent in London Guy Rose said after receiving the manuscript ‘Even knowing how subjective and cantankerous some publishers can be, it seems obvious that the right ones should be interested in this captivating work.’ The initial response was very positive and Rose wrote ‘I’m sure we’ll be able to offer to represent this book. Highly commercial theme and some brilliant pre-reviews already (so soon!).’

Rose sent it to all the leading publishers in England: One World, HarperCollins, Orion, Biteback, Michael O’Mara, Ad Lib, Verso, Head of Zeus, Bonnier, Pan Macmillan, Bloomsbury, Bedford Square, Canongate, Michael Joseph and Simon & Schuster.

Alan Samson at Michael Joseph said ‘I have been absorbed in Judge Nicholson’s linkage of six high-profile deaths over three decades, in a way that I have not thought about before. I am old enough to remember most of these tragedies, and the impact each made at the time. Chris Nicholson handles the dramatic material well, and he writes compelling prose and has an eye for the telling detail. However, my remit is to acquire books that will (or rather, may!) sell 20,000 copies. In truth I do not believe I can convince my new colleagues that this book, will attain that level, despite its commercial potential. I say this with regret, though. He writes well, and it is a good subject, and I sent my email to you with a heavy heart!’

Jamie Hodder-Williams of Bedford Square said ‘Thank you for giving us the chance to publish Judge Chris Nicholson’s book. He is clearly a remarkable man with many good stories to tell, who has been at the heart of many big legal cases, at an incredibly important time in his country. However, sadly we just don’t think we’d reach a wide enough market to warrant publication, so we’re going to pass.’

After expressing great excitement and confidence that the book would be published, all these distinguished publishers suddenly shied away, refusing to be associated with such an account. Although they all profess that it will not sell they are not even prepared to present it as an ebook. That would have minimal expense and any doubts about the marketing would be resolved with time.

We have to explore whether they are being truthful in refusing to publish or that pressures are being put on them to decline. This book is posited on the fact that the great corporations really rule the world and that governments and people have little say in world affairs. What a sad irony it would be that the final irrefutable proof of that proposition is in the treatment of this book by the publishers.

Mention should also be made of the threats to author Evelien Groenink and publisher Jacana when she was in the process of publishing her account of the Hani killing.

There are some other very relevant examples of pressure on publishers.

When Janine Roberts wrote her brilliant book "Glitter and Greed" she obtained from Transworld, later a division of German media giant Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, one of the world’s largest publishers, an international contract for a book on the diamond trade. She says ‘They were so impressed with the first draft of my book and said that my exposure of the diamond cartel is sensational, well documented and very controversial. The allegations and claims within it make it an important book, but also a marketable book… It could be a hot property correctly handled.’ They even lent her free of charge an apartment, with a servant on the slopes of Table Mountain, in which to stay while she researched the diamond industry in southern Africa for this book. When the time for publication drew near, Transworld gave the book a rave write-up in their Forthcoming Titles catalogue. They told her two major newspapers were competing for serialisation rights. She then goes on to explain what happened. ‘Perhaps someone from Anglo American noticed it in the catalogue. They would have seen it, for they were investors in Transworld in South Africa, as the publishers told me. Within three months of when my book was due to appear under the renowned Doubleday imprint, it was cancelled. Transworld said “notable and powerful businessmen and politicians” would not want the book to appear, and although it might win any legal action, it still feared the legal cost. I was shocked, to say the least, to have the plug pulled at the very last minute, and again wondered if outside pressure has been exerted.’

Roberts persisted trying publisher after publisher. ‘For the next few years after this, the major publishers I approached would not touch the book. The rejection seemed to have tainted it. Little Brown, part of AOL Time Warner, wrote when they first saw my manuscript saying clearly it would make a “superb” book, then wrote again saying that they hoped that I would find a publisher that was “less cowardly”’. An attempt was made on her life, while she was living in a house boat on the Thames in London, by a gang of masked villains. No attempt was made to rob her and her face was wrecked, including the eyesight in one eye. She only managed to save her life by pressing an alarm. Why are we surprised that the police were not interested in pursuing the wrongdoers?

There is another very important example of pressure. In the mid-1970s the eminent American Professor of History Carroll Quigley, who taught at Harvard and Princeton, was seriously distressed. During his long and distinguished career, he had always regarded himself as a conservative who had steadfastly defended the liberal tradition of the West. Although he was an early and fierce critic of the Vietnam War and the activities of the military-industrial complex, those factors could not have caused his anguish. His stature was recognised in most quarters and the praise was fulsome. In 1992 one of his former students and ardent admirers Bill Clinton became US President in 1992 and recognised his debt to the academic. When he accepted the Democratic Party nomination, he mentioned Quigley by name quoting him as saying that ‘America was the greatest Nation in history because our people had always believed in two things: that tomorrow can be better than today; and, that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.’

One distinctive feature of Quigley's historical writings was his assertion that secret societies had played a significant role in recent world history. He wrote a number of books, perhaps the most compelling of all, was his history of the world, during the previous hundred years, entitled "Tragedy and Hope". The original edition, published by Macmillan in 1966, sold about 8,800 copies and thereafter sales began accelerating in 1968 as every politician and library wanted the book. Potential buyers of the revelatory book told Quigley about their difficulties in obtaining copies. Whenever they asked bookshops for copies enquiries were made to the publisher who explained they ‘ran out of stock.’ To be ‘out of stock’ meant that Quigley could not get the book published elsewhere as the publisher would print more.

For six years Macmillan told him they would reprint the book when they received 2,000 orders. This could never take place as he explained in a letter. ‘They lied to me for six years, telling me that they would re-print when they got 2,000 orders, which could never happen because they told anyone who asked that it was ‘out of print’ and would not be reprinted. They denied this until I sent them xerox copies of such replies to libraries, at which they told me it was a clerk's error. In other words, they lied to me but prevented me from regaining the publication rights by doing so…’

Quigley became tired of all the duplicity and obfuscation and decided in 1974 to go after Macmillan with a lawyer. The truth was horrific: they told him that they had destroyed the plates in 1968. How did it come about that a major prestigious publisher went to such lengths to destroy a book that was making a big profit for them? In the letter just mentioned, Quigley gave the best answer he could find when he said ‘Powerful influences in this country want me, or at least my work, suppressed.’

Not one of these publishers has said that "Who Really killed Chris Hani?" is a bad book or is badly written. There is a hunger for the true facts about men who laid down their lives so that the lives of others might be better. We learn that South Africa and other countries of relevance, Congo and Namibia, were crammed full of resources strongly desired by the European captains of industry. The Gini coefficient, a measure of wealth and poverty, in these states, is the worst in the world in these. And yet there are those whose courage is so lacking that they are not even prepared to publish an account of the evil.

So, the most important question remains: are these publishers part of the problem or the solution? The level of cowardice is part of our modern world dominated by the big corporations. This situation has been forecast and described by a great German thinker, who compared these publishers to what he termed ‘the last man.’ The last man is a term used by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to describe the antithesis of his superman. The latter was the term used for the great innovators, inventers, scientists, artists and leaders of the world. Nietzsche included in his list of these, Beethoven, Raphael and other distinguished citizens whose labours advanced the progress of humanity. The last man is tired of life, takes no risks, and seeks only comfort and security. Nietzsche meant that man must strive to become something greater than himself and overcome his own mediocrity. Only by doing so can he hope to avoid the fate of 'the last man'.

Nietzsche’s solution to overcoming 'the last man' starts with developing an individual morality and striving for greatness. Individuals should strive to create their own values and pursue meaningful goals, rather than merely settling for the status quo. These values should be based on a personal code of ethics and should focus on striving for excellence and virtue, rather than merely seeking pleasure and comfort. Nietzsche also believed that individuals should strive for creativity. This could involve pursuing a passion or hobby, taking up a new skill or craft, or striving to make a positive impact on the world.

Nietzsche also believed in the importance of human connection and relationships. Humans need meaningful relationships in order to find purpose and meaning in life. This means seeking out meaningful relationships with friends, family, and even strangers, and engaging in activities that bring people together. By surrounding ourselves with people who share our values and beliefs, we can create a sense of community and mutual support.

There is a strong case that the British intelligence services were involved in some of these killings. So, did James Bond shoot Chris Hani? The sales of the books by Ian Fleming go into the millions. And they all portray a man who beds many women, kills lots of rogues and fights off the bad guys. Mostly the plots involve a fight against the sinister powers of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But is this the true picture of British intelligence? This book shows just how far they would go when British financial interests are threatened. The only reasonable conclusion one can draw from the refusal of mainstream publishers to take this book on board, is that they are captured - if you portray a different side you are suppressed. So, for those who have refused to publish this book let me say to them they are no better than the kept mistresses of the rich and powerful. Maybe this book is one which the timid should stay away from if they cannot handle the truth about important players in life.

We have to finally examine whether the ability of large corporations to thwart the spreading of ideas that expose and threaten their stranglehold on the plunder of the world, is not a serious erosion of our fundamental human rights. The values of freedom of speech and of the press are so well established in Britain, and, indeed, the civilised world, that they do not need any emphasis in this day and age. To extend the dubious metaphor in the preceding paragraphs, one could say, without fear of contradiction, that these values have entered every civilised babe with his or her mother’s milk. Equally axiomatic would be the revulsion we would all share for any encroachment on this fundamental constitutional right.

Apart from freedom of expression most constitutions include other rights such as freedom of movement, religion etc. If these ever conflict the courts have decided that freedom of expression trumps all the others as without it nobody, including the courts, would ever hear of breaches of any other rights. So those who have attempted to suppress this book have prevented the world from discovering and prosecuting the criminals, who perpetrated the foul murders. In law we would describe them as accessories after the fact of these killings.

I never set out deliberately trying to discover the horrific details enumerated in this book. I just followed the leads and clues while trying to find out who really killed Chris Hani. The attitude of major publishers has turned me into a literary leper, a writer whose book is too powerful to produce. So, I am like a victim of testimonial injustice, which Miranda Fricker claims happens to someone, who has knowledge of a crime, but no one wants to believe, and no one wants to know about.

I am indebted to a number of people who have participated in the production of this book. Peter Davis undertook an initial editing job on the first draft and injected some much-needed punch to the account. Deborah Ewing took up the manuscript and helped with smoothing over the drafting infelicities of the writing. Finally, Mariette Greyling helped in trimming down the length and in adding punch to the writing.

Finally, I have to thank my family for their support over the many years of the writing of this book. My wife, Jillian, has endured with good patience my unceasing recitation of the sordid details of the rogues involved. And my daughters, Jessica and Juliette, have commented shrewdly, from time to time, on the values of solid scholarship and the dangers of conspiracy theories.

Otherwise, I dedicate this book to the heroes whose lives I have attempted so inadequately, to portray. They did not shrink from boldly and courageously, exercising their duties to fight for the rights of the oppressed. One final word about the methods of their destruction. Not for them a fair fight, with a chance to match weapons with their adversaries, but gutless and sinister bombs and assassinations. Their lives stand in stark contrast to the cowardly perpetrators of their deaths and the legions of others, publishers and their handlers, who have tried to prevent the world discovering the secrets of their tragic demise. No doubt the great Italian poet Dante would have devised his deepest circle of retribution in his Inferno for these craven rogues.

If no one responds to your call, go forward alone.
If no one talks to you, oh luckless one,
If everyone turns away from you in fear,
Reveal your thoughts and express your ideas to yourself.
If everyone leaves you while you are travelling a dangerous road,
If no one wants to look after you,
Walk on alone, on the road strewn with thorns, trampling on them with bleeding feet.
If no one shows a light, if in the dark stormy night everyone shuts their doors,
Use your rib as a torch, lit from the fire of thunder.
Rabindranath Tagore, "The Fire of Thunder"