Massive New Spy Leak: An Overview

Leaks Out of South Africa Cover Spy Operations Worldwide

In what is being called the “largest intelligence leak since Snowden,” media outlets al-Jazeera and The Guardian have obtained hundreds of confidential spy cables leaked out of the South African SSA.

The cables detail SSA correspondence with the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, and other nations. The following are the stories that have been released out of the leaks so far.

Mossad Concludes Netanyahu Wrong About Iran’s Nuclear Program
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

In 2012, Netanyahu declared Iran was a year away from nuclear weapons. Remember the iconic photo of Netanyahu at the UN with the ridiculous cartoon bomb? Weeks later Mossad shared information with the South African government that contradicted the claim, said Iran wasn’t even attempting to produce nuclear arms, and had never tried to enrich any uranium to anywhere near weapons grade.

Of course we knew all that long before Netanyahu made the claim. It seems like Mossad knew it too, but Netanyahu wasn’t going to let facts get in the way of a good speech.

Israel Stole South African Missile Technology
Story: al-Jazeera

In 2010, documents reveal, Israel acquired stolen South African anti-tank missile plans. South African intelligence helped to cover up the theft, and kept prosecutors from releasing information about Israeli involvement when charging the thieves.

South African officials told reporters at the time that Israel had been approached but “was not interested.” The leak shows that not only was Israel interested, it bought the blueprints and Mossad got ahold of them. Mossad agreed to return the plans after they were caught, but only on the condition that Israeli middlemen involved would not be charged.

Abbas Tries to Kill the Goldstone Report
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

After the 2008-09 Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, Judge Richard Goldstone was charged with investigating and reporting on the war crimes therein. You may remember this, as Israeli officials threatened the UN over the report and accused Goldstone, a South African Jew, of being an anti-semite.

South African cables report that even though Abbas did not, and indeed could not, publicly take a stand, he was privately lobbying against the Goldstone Report, fearing Israel would use it as an excuse to kill the peace process, and also fearing that pointing out war crimes committed against Hamas territory would strengthen Hamas’ bargaining position.

Iran Is No Threat to South Africa, But US Still Forced Them to Monitor Iranian Dealings
Stories: al-Jazeera, The Guardian

Even though South African intelligence openly confirmed Iran posed no “discernible threat” to South African interests, Heavy US pressure forced them to follow through on dubious sanctions, and to dedicate huge amounts of resources to spying on every Iranian diplomat in the nation, as well as a large number of ethnic Persians.

Years of investigations turned up very little, and ended with the conclusion that Iran must not consider Africa a high priority.

CIA Tries to Get Access to Hamas
Story: The Guardian

Even though the US government had banned all contact with Hamas, the CIA sought South African help in establishing contact with Hamas, asking the South African SSA to assist them in gaining access.

MI6 Blocked a South African Company’s Deal With an Iranian Petrochemical Company
Story: The Guardian

South African company Electric Resistance Furnaces (ERFCO) was blocked from a contract with an Iranian petrochemical company by British MI6, which claimed the company was trying to buy equipment for rocket production. ERFCO was never given evidence that the company was doing anything illegal, but was heavily pressured by British intelligence to stop the deals, which they did.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.