Here are some quotes from The Life of Secret Agent turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman Gefen Books 2011. They concern the attempt to erase criticism of apartheid from the world media between 1977 and 1979.
“If there was one key financial facilitator in South Africa’s covert global propaganda campaign to improve the image of South Africa, it was Milchan. “I acted at the request of my own country,” Milchan told us. Eschel Rhoodie directed a steady flow of funds from the Department of Information’s front company Thor Communicators, through European accounts controlled by Milchan, who created multiple front companies to purchase key media outlets critical of South Africa.
He and South African operatives David Abramson and Stuart Pegg focused at first on African media such as West Africa, an important magazine published by Afrimedia International Ltd. He purchased administrative control over African Development, a quarterly magazine. He was involved in the purchase of EurAfrique, a monthly magazine read in all of the French-speaking African states. He then spearheaded an effort to gain control of the British publishing giant Morgan-Grampian, which was to be the crown jewel of the operation.
Through Morgan-Grampian, the plan was to take control over several prominent newspapers and magazines in the West, including the Observer in England, L‘Expresse in France, and the Washington Star in the United States. “What better vehicle than Morgan-Grampian to be in charge of such takeovers?” Eschel Rhoodie wrote in his 1983 book The Real Information Scandal.
In November 1977, Rhoodie released $1.8 million for the purchase of enough shares to assume control of the Investors Chronicle in the UK, a deal that failed to materialize. Essentially, Rhoodie and Milchan, acting as partners, coordinated all of these activities using the secret funds. It would explode in their faces.”
“The South African Information Scandal was a worldwide sensation that detailed a campaign involving dozens of projects to cow the opposition press at home and buy friendly coverage abroad. (In 1978) Rhoodie took the brunt of the blame in the scandal while the key financial figure, Arnon Milchan, dodged the bullet. …..
Shortly before the fall of apartheid, South Africa transferred almost all of its nuclear material to Israel, including the tritium and its six existing bombs. The South African government then reported to international agencies that it had “dismantled” all of its nuclear weapons.
While ambivalent toward apartheid at first, Arnon gradually grew to oppose it in an active way.”
And today one wonders whether a similar operation has not led to the takeover of the BBC, the Guardian, countless other media outlets and, of course, Hollywood itself (consider the white helmets), in order to erase criticism of Israel’s policy towards Palestinians and its neighbours since Netanyahu came into power, if not before – and has this operation extended into the British and US secret services – or did that begin long long before?
For more about conflict in the Middle East see Consciousness (with Mutilation) – my recent non-fiction novel