The South African Information Scandal

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.”

P 117-8

“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.”

P 126

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.

See also Mint Press Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein Bill Clinton relationship.


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Grey Suit’s new books have arrived

Our new books

These have just arrived from the printer. Click on the link above to discover the blog for Grey Suit Editions. There’s a home page and a page for posts which will get updated as we publish more.


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Dental Poems


My bridgework becomes me, everyone says, but will it ever
Become me? Fitted betwixt the last of
What was once an upper row. It has been brought
Into existence so recently! My gums making whatever
Impression they could muster in the dental clay
Pressed into that queer metal horseshoe; whereas
I assumed my being ages ago, though it does seem only
Yesterday that I was obliged, whatever I might want,
To wear a brace designed to rescue me from a buck-toothed
Rabbit slant, while at the same time pushing out the jaw.
Once installed, it sagely scuppered speech.
“Put it in!” would shut me up effectively. Only
Wore the thing at night, and here I am, a little left me,
Fitting my “look” in by day. Not quite the share
That cleaves the turf, turning over the rich clod, that it was,
My bite. I hesitate to go ploughing through a lunch.
Not only that, a gap in the clouds prompts us all
To set off on a walk. We cross the park, stroll along the canal
And then enjoy the marshes where willow merges with willow
On a humid afternoon, and it turns out I can’t pronounce Corot.


The kiss is a bygone reality, though most of me
May still be here. At the foreground of intimacy
I have become a cyborg. Earlier on, there was my thumb;
That at least was mine, unlike these travesties.
I recall the unconscionable betrayal of the dark

Dug that began it all; how I saw it exiled
On her breast as I grew estranged out of my toddle.
When our lips connect, all I want is you in there:
You in my mouth as I am in yours
When you offer me the agreement of your tongue.

There is something prophylactic about a denture, I’m afraid,
Very much afraid of what’s next in an abstract way.
The little beast comes loaded with intimations, which
It intimates from its glass; first thing it does in the morning.
Last thing it does at night, when I unhook myself.


Drugged up to the nines,
From the bridge he occupies
He should be staring out at space,
But mouthless green aliens
Have his station covered.

They use a language of numbers
And block his view of the stars,
Yet it’s as if he didn’t care,
Can only do as they expect
As they clamp a hatch apart below.

Weightless, he’s been tilted
Almost upside-down
For jointed things to work on him.
He senses he’s being
Altered – made correct.

Will he be an alien,
Once finally transformed?
Their drills rotate and grind
As he leaves his sad, old
And toothless world behind.


And today it’s a ball that I am
In the hands of Islam.
Caring hands, they fuss
Around the dorsal carapace.
This artist does his thing
As I lose my Leonardo look.
Admittedly it didn’t work.
This is not the Renaissance,
As I can tell by a glance
Into the mirror’s mirror now.
Perhaps a little bit more.
Off at the back? I think so, yes.
Giving him my new smile,
I doff my nape. He does precisely
What I suggest, shows me
Again. I nod this time.
He removes my gown
And tissue collar and I rise
To go, at the rate for an O.A P.,
Out onto Tottenham High Street,
Admiring what I see of me
In Peacocks’ window, quick
To pull my stomach in,
Look as if I were truly slim
And ten years younger than I am,
Curling a disdainful lip
At the doleful crew I overtake
With a certain bounce to my step.

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Concert in Lignano 2017

Lignano per…La Musica

XXII Rassegna Internazionale
di Musica da Camera
Lignano Sabbiadoro, Sala darsena
VIII Concerto
Alessandro Cortello, tenore
Riccardo Pes, violoncello
Michele Bravin, pianoforte
Anthony Howell, voce recitante
Musiche di Field, Schumann, German, Vaughan Williams,
Nyman, Pradal
Lunedì 22 luglio 2019 – ore 21.00
Sala DARSENA – Viale Italia
33054 Lignano Sabbiadoro – Via Rossini 10/A

Poems and translation



Link to video will follow here.

“Very happy to have participated in this concert in Lignano on 22nd July, 2019. The concert hall was situated on the via Rossini – at the edge of a marina, and as I walked up the quay to view the sunset, just before the concert began, I felt I was in a film by Fellini. Notable were Edward German’s settings of Rudyard Kipling – and, as an encore, Alessandro sang me a tango – El dia que me quieras.”

John Field (1782-1837)
Notturno per pianoforte in si bemolle maggiore
Notturno per pianoforte in do maggiore

Michael Nyman (1944)
2 Poems by Anthony Howell, per tenore e pianoforte

Battista Pradal (1964)
3 Poems by Anthony Howell, per tenore e violoncello
The Forbidden Rose
Rising from the Pines
From a Wilderness

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
5 Stücke im Volkston op. 102, per violoncello e pianoforte
Mit Humor – “Vanitas Vanitatum”
Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen
Nicht zu Rasch
Stark und markirt

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
da Songs of Travel:
The Vagabond
Let Beauty Awake
Youth and Love
Wither Must I Wander

Edward German (1862-1936)
da Just So Song Book (trascr. per voce, violoncello e piano di R. Pes):
The Camel’s Hump
I Keep Six Honest Serving Men
Rolling Down to Rio

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Shadow of a Campanile


They have broken up the mosaics
Of the last century, together with those
Of the previous century, and of the centuries before.
This is the way with foundations, when you
Build your bell a tower towering above
The tallest cypresses; a tower as white
As cypresses are dark; a tower
As straight as knots are inextricable:
Knots that graced mosaics that you chose to break,
Striking apart all the mosaic’s bits.
And now the tower dreams. The tower
Dreams of knots. These dreams are inextricable
Now the hour is struck. The bell tolls
In the tower for all those broken bits.
It tolls through the centuries – tolls
For Saint Peter, tolls for Attila as well.
The bell is the dream that towers above
The cypresses: a dark dream, drinking
The blood of martyrs; martyrs with
The power to break all your mosaics up.



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Empyrean Suite – a homage to my friend Fawzi Karim.

Here is a link to my homage to my friend Fawzi Karim – Empyrean Suite – together with an obituary to this great poet and noble man. All in the Fortnightly Review.

Also, here is a link to the obituary in The Guardian

And for more information about Fawzi’s poetry click on Incomprehensible Lesson


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A New Throne



I have grown heated under my rind;

At rest behind my eyelids,

While the figs ripen, one at a time.

On the edge of being over-ripe,

I’ve cut out drink and drugs

And you could say I’m rationing my cum.


I get up, engage with my work-out

(Health is my new high)

And then soak in the D

From heaven’s oriflamb

By basking at a balmy angle.

What a great big fruit I am!


But shouldn’t I bask

In the moon as well,

Soaking in whatever she releases

Before I fall to pieces?

Might not her more subtle light

Work on the inner sprite


And set off fermentation

So essence might become

L’eau propre de ma vie?

Make of me an alcohol, oh moon,

That bright young figs take swigs from

When immersed in me.


First published in The Spectator.  Now in Songs of Realisation

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