Wednesday, June 19, 2024

US helped Apartheid South Africa to spy on Botswana

The United States government helped Apartheid South Africa to spy on Botswana, a WikiLeaks report has revealed.

According to the report, the United stated maintained a SIGINT exchange relationship with the Republic of South Africa’s Directorate of Military Intelligence. The arrangement began in the 1960s and initially concerned Soviet shipping and submarine movements in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.82 Since that time the scope of the arrangement has changed with changing political and military events. During the Reagan Administration, cooperation included information on the activities of the African National Congress (ANC), including information obtained from the interception of communications between ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, its guerrilla training camps in Angola, and its offices in Africa and Western Europe.

Such cooperation was presaged by a 1980 conference at Cheltenham between GCHQ, NSA, and South African Directorate of Military Intelligence representatives. The South African representatives requested  political, military, and diplomatic intelligence about Angola, Botswana  Mozambique  Tanzania and Zambia intelligence about the ANC’s Oliver Tambo and ten members of his ANC high-command staff;

   ÔÇó     information on any flights Tambo took abroad on Soviet and Cuban airlines; and

   ÔÇó     special attention by the NSA (and the GCHQ) to the ANC communications.84

To make fulfilment of their first request easier, South Africa provided the GCHQ with information about the radio frequencies used by the various nations. In return, the NSA (and the GCHQ) asked South Africa for

   ÔÇó     continued monitoring of Soviet and Cuban activities in Angola and Mozambique;

   ÔÇó     weekly reports on Soviet submarines and shipping activity around the Cape of Good Hope; and

   ÔÇó     reports on Soviet commercial and economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa with special emphasis on support for rebel activity.85

In the early 1980s, the information that the United States received from South Africa was apparently passed through the GCHQ without specific indication as to its South African origin.


By the early 1970s, NSA personnel were stationed at the South African Silvermine facility and reports on Soviet shipping routinely flowed from South Africa to the NSA. South Africa’s intelligence installations were vastly expanded in the mid-1970s, as the Soviet Union and Cuba became directly involved in Angola along with the CIA and South Africa. Vast quantities of electronic equipment, including antennas and sophisticated interception receivers, were secretly shipped from Britain and West Germany to South Africa to enable South Africa to build more listening posts. American-made computer chips and other electronic components were involved in the shipments, although under Presidential directive, they could have been banned. In the Carter Administration, Richard M. Moose, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, ordered an end to all collaboration on COMINT between the United States and South Africa. The liaison was continued by the Navy anyway, and South Africa continued to report on Soviet submarine and shipping activity.


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