Spy cables: Mossad worked with SA

A montage of screengrabs from Al Jazeera viedo, to go with state security leaks. 240215

A montage of screengrabs from Al Jazeera viedo, to go with state security leaks. 240215

Published Feb 25, 2015


Johannesburg - South African intelligence services played an important role in helping arrest Iranian officials in Kenya with explosives, according to a leaked secret report from the SA State Security Agency.

The SSA report of a meeting with senior agents of the Israeli secret service Mossad in Pretoria on October 22, 2012, is one of the hundreds of secret documents from several international intelligence agencies leaked to the news network Al Jazeera.

It began publishing them on Monday, causing a furore in South Africa’s intelligence community.

The Liaison Information Report by the SSA on the meeting with Mossad describes how senior SSA officials reprimanded the Mossad Africa section chief for bypassing correct procedures when he contacted the SSA director-general directly without properly declaring his status as an intelligence operative. The senior SSA official present demanded that Mossad should in future “show respect for the host country” by handing over his credentials to the South African government.

The SSA official said South Africa needed to co-operate with Mossad on counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation, and “if the liaison relationship stays within the rules of the game, good co-operation could be expected from the SSA”.

The Mossad agent excused his unprocedural conduct by saying that when relations between the two countries broke down, most of the organisational memory was lost in the process. “A lot of changes in both organisations have since taken place.”

He said Mossad had limited resources in Africa and so needed to work “where co-operation is best”. He described how, during May 2012, Mossad discovered that an imminent attack was planned in Africa, spearheaded by Hezbollah with Iran’s backing.

“This information was collaborated by Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Botswana,” the SSA report said, apparently quoting the Mossad official.

“The attack was planned against either or the USA, Israel, UK and Saudi Arabia. The individual did proceed to Zambia and on to Mozambique and was supposed to enter South Africa from there, while travelling on the name of aka - (name deleted).

“He was then apparently warned that his position was known and entered South Africa illegally or on another name. He apparently left South Africa with a new name, and the question is who supported him in South Africa with his planned operation.

“It could be of use to check if an individual with the name - came into the country or left sometime between mid to end May 2012.

“His real name has now been established as - and if it could be established that a person by that name departed from South Africa during the above-mentioned timeline. To further establish any contacts in South Africa as well as passport stamps in his passport, all of the above could be of great assistance and support.

“As a result of this operation, where South Africa also played a very important role, Iranian officials were arrested in Kenya with explosives. Many African countries feel betrayed by Iran in using their countries to build and execute terror attacks against foreign tourists and embassies.”

The Mossad official said it was clear that Israel’s challenge in Africa was Iran and the proliferation of weapons, the use of Hezbollah in Africa to Iran’s advantage, as well as Hamas and the channelling of weapons via Sudan to the Gaza Strip, especially missiles and AK47s.

Mossad’s other priorities in Africa were the Rwandan rebel group M23, the Somali Islamist militant group Al Shabaab and Global Jihad.

The Mossad agent also highlighted the Muslim Brotherhood “with their agenda in the whole of Africa and especially in the North and Horn of Africa as well as Togo, Ivory Coast, Mali from Libya and the Darfur and Eritrea region”.

The report said the senior SSA agent present had replied “that the SSA was ready to work together on these issues” but would be motivated by “more comprehensive information from the start”.

But the report did not specify what sort of collaboration South Africa would offer.

Former “Mossad spies” also threatened a cyber attack on South Africa demanding an end to the Boycott Israel campaign, Al Jazeera reported.

According to leaked documents posted on its website this week a group claiming to be former agents of Israel's Mossad threatened the country unless its government cracked down on the campaign.

On June 28, 2012, then-finance minister Pravin Gordhan reportedly received a hand-delivered note from unknown sources threatening a cyber attack “against South Africa's banking and financial sectors”.

It gave government 30 days to achieve the “discontinuation of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and the removal and prosecution of some unidentified individuals linked to BDS”.

The State Security Agency investigated, finding no evidence that the threatened attack occurred or that the government yielded to the demands, Al Jazeera reported.

Independent Foreign Press and Sapa

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