How pathetic that the "master of spin", Tim Bell, who was elevated in 1998 by Tony Blair to be Baron Bell of Belgravia, now tries to distance himself from the Bell Pottinger he established (Tim Bell sounds the death knell for Bell Pottinger, September 7).
Not only did Bell teach Margaret Thatcher how to speak and how to style her hair, he also specialised in "black ops" on behalf of the CIA, MI6 and BAE in third-world countries, for which his company was paid more than $500m.
Thatcher, Blair and Bell were without doubt the three most diabolical figures of British history between 1980 and 2010. The deliberate wars-without-end in the Middle East — instigated by the "Five Eyes Alliance", comprising the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — are their legacies.
In respect of SA, and long before the UN arms embargo was lifted in 1994, the British were already lobbying to re-equip the South African navy and air force. BAE was teetering on bankruptcy with the end of the Cold War, and the British saw SA as an interim market to keep their war business afloat until new enemies in the Middle East could be invented.
The late Joe Modise was already in the British pocket, having been an informer for MI6 while in exile and running numerous racketeering businesses — hence his promotion of BAE and his "visionary approach" of a noncosted option when BAE repeatedly failed the arms deal tendering criteria. A bribe/donation of £500,000 from BAE to Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) now regurgitates with MK playing a leading role in the Bell Pottinger/Gupta saga.
BAE paid a further £115m in bribes to secure its arms deal contracts. The two prime beneficiaries of those bribes were none other than Fana Hlongwane (Modise’s "adviser") and John Bredenkamp, a Rhodesian well versed in "third-world procedures" and also identified as a member of MI6.
I was excoriated by Business Day as a "conspiracy theorist" when I raised these issues at the Seriti commission of inquiry and demanded investigation by the commission. The Save SA campaign and DA are now demanding full disclosure of Bell Pottinger’s activities with the Zuma and Gupta families. Such disclosures need to start, however, with the assassination of Chris Hani in 1993.
Terry Crawford-BrowneVia e-mail