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Walter Volker

On South Africa's Secret Service - Labuschagne, Riaan

On South Africa's Secret Service - Labuschagne, Riaan

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On South Africa's Secret Service reveals for the first time sensational details of South Africa's ruthless secret intelligence war as conducted by the National Intelligence Service. It is told by Riaan Labuschagne, a man in the maelstrom of events during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1981, while still a university student, he was persuaded to take diving parties to the Seychelles during vacations to collect 'routine low grade intelligence on the islands to build up the Service's information bank'. He wasn't told that the intelligence was required in connection with a pending coup attempt by mercenaries that NIS was supporting. While he was there the coup attempt exploded into action and he was fortunate to escape. After the conclusion of his university studies and two year's national service as a naval officer, he was accepted into the Service's Counter-Intelligence Division as an undercover field operative. The Personnel records showed him as Riaan Lesage, which allowed him to work openly under his real name. He found he had entered a world of lies and half truths, secrecy and stealth, evasion and denials, deceits and manipulations. It had little to do with the Calvinistic ethics of Christian nationalism that had provided the guidelines for his upbringing as a young Afrikaner. He recruited the Soviet Military Attache in Gaborone, Botswana, and gained valuable intelligence that allowed the SADF to pre-empt and defeat a major Soviet-supported attack on UNITA in Angola. He subverted the Libyan Military Attache in Gaborone - a married man with an eye for the girls. The Libyan was corrupted and turned by using a 'honey trap' in the form of a well-known South African television actress. While Assistant Trade Representative (the cover used by intelligence agents) at South Africa's Trade Mission in Harare, he recruited a top MK officer as an agent. The regular flow of information gained ensured that most MK groups who attempted to infiltrate South Africa were intercepted and shot. Information from a top agent in Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation foiled a MK plan to launch attacks against the Swartkops and Waterkloof Air Force bases in Pretoria and resulted in the arrest of the culprits. He explains how in the early 1990s, in the guise of an Afrikaner liberal, he infiltrated the top structures of the ANC in Durban and made friendships with men who later became cabinet ministers. The ANC's offices were not safe either, and his NIS teams equipped with portable copiers covertly broke into them almost weekly and duplicated every document they could lay their hands on. He reveals, also for the first time, the existence of the sinister and deep cover Directorate K (for covert), formed by the NIS in much the same way as the SADF formed the notorious CCB. While the NIS did not possess 'executive powers' (a euphemism for a license to kill) Directorate K probably did. He tells how Directorate K, acting as an agent provocateur, supplied explosives to AZAPO's military wing, AZANLA, to blow up civilian targets in Port Elizabeth. The reason was to arouse the ire of white Afrikaner right wingers to provoke them into attacking black civilians. It would have provided an excuse to crush them and prevent a much feared attempt by the Afrikaner right wing to seize control of South Africa to stop a ANC takeover in the April 1994 elections.

Galago Publishing, Alberton, 2002, 1-919854-08-8, Hb

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