Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Demise of two Intelligence Systems

Say it with a sting.....

I have just completed reading a book titled “Really inside BOSS – A tale of South Africa’s late Intelligence Service (And something about the CIA)”. Self-published by Pieter Swanepoel, the book provides a brief history of the Bureau for State Security, (BFSS) or BOSS as it came to be known, and its successor, the National Intelligence (NI).

Although English is not Swanepoel’s first language, he has done a good job in describing, amongst others, the origins of the service, the Smit murders, the assassination of Dr Verwoerd and the role played by the CIA in destabilising the National Party government. He also covers some of the difficulties and frustrations an intelligence officer experiences in the course of his duties. He even relates particulars of a “dirty trick” perpetrated by himself in Namibia in the 1960’s.

The main purpose of the book was to discuss some of the allegations made by BOSS informer, Gordon Winter, after he fled South Africa and published a book called “Inside BOSS” in 1981. The acclaimed British historian, Dr. James Sanders, referred to a number of these allegations in his book about South Africa’s intelligence services, Apartheid’s Friends, and this apparently annoyed Swanepoel and led him to provide another view of these events. Although I have not read Winter’s book, I would be prone to accepting Swanepoel’s version as he cross-references to many documents to prove his writing. Additionally, he spent 32-years in that organisation so he knows what he is writing about. In a recent copy of the magazine, Molotov Cocktail, Dr. Sanders described Really Inside Boss as “a fascinating book” and promised to return to it in a later edition of that magazine.

Readers ought however to take note: the book does not cover intelligence tradecraft and can be heavy reading at times. It nevertheless remains an important account on the history of BOSS.

This book is not available at bookstores. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can order directly from the author at
posted by Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog at 8:47 AM on Dec 16, 2008

He of difficult days said...
There was another book "Gideons spies"

Is it worth anything to read that book?

December 16, 2008 8:31 PM

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...
“Gideon’s spies” is a very good book on some of the MOSSAD operations, HODD.

If anyone is interested in reading about intelligence/espionage matters, I will post something in the future on some good books I enjoyed on the subject.



December 17, 2008 6:22 AM

E Richard said...
Hey Eeben,
I heard a piece on NPR about an off shoot of the ANC, something peoples party. Is this a seriously developing alternative to the ANC in South Africa?
Many in our country feel like the only 2 parties that represent us are lost. Is that what's up with you guys?
Does the NI have an interest in this or do they let legitimate internal politics play themselves out?

December 17, 2008 7:01 AM

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...
A new political party was created in SA, ER. It is known as the “Congress of the People” – abbreviated COPE. It does appear to be a party that has potential to make inroads into the current political environment. Obviously, in any form of democracy it is not a good thing to have one party dominating the playing field – therefore a strong opposition is necessary. COPE may be an important development as it may break the dominating party’s stranglehold over politics.

Traditionally, intelligence services are supposed to allow the political parties to play the field – as long as the policies are not aimed at destabilising the government, ie, the ruling party. That said, I suspect that the current SA intelligence services will monitor what is happening. Will they interfere? I doubt there will be much interference. The battle between the parties will most likely be fought in the media.



December 17, 2008 8:19 AM

He of difficult days said...
Jan Lamprecht stated that no "Liberation movement" has ever conceded power peacefully anywhere in Africa. I agree. Do you?

The ANC will not allow itself to be the first "liberation movement" party to meekly submit and meekly surrender power at the polls.

I agree with the sentiment that if the ANC begins to lose power, war on the scale of what we saw in the early 1990s in the Natal region will be a common occurence.

I have reached the stage where I no longer regard the thoughts that SA is heading down the Zim path as mere opinions of Rhodesians but something that is best described as clear and present danger.

I cannot see how, barring a miracle, that the ANC will shakes hands and accept defeat at the polls. This isnt Sweden.

The larger the black middle class becomes, the better it is for whites. The ANC will battle to convince middle class blacks that they have been hard done by whites when they are driving SUVs to work in Sandton

my 2c

December 17, 2008 8:27 PM

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...
I believe, as most people do, that a strong opposition party is a very good thing, HODD. Furthermore, part of what we are witnessing in Africa is a realisation that times are changing and with that, people’s prospects change as well.

As the size of the middle-class increases, so to do its expectations – and its desire to keep what it worked for. With that also comes a need to be protected from issues such as crime, mindless violence and so forth. When these corner-stones of societal need are not there, people will make their voices heard.

Whereas we are witnessing a change in politics, only time will tell where it will lead to. However, I am hopeful that this once-great country will pull itself together and that it will be soon. I am still convinced that only Africans (of all colours) can solve Africa’s problems. I hope I am right.



December 18, 2008 6:16 AM

Censorbugbear said...
Excellent article on Canadian website:

"Ruling party is plunging South Africa into civil war with its greed, malice...'

December 18, 2008 12:53 PM

Sonny Cox said...
Hi Eben
At the end of the day the ANC will stay in power.
Let's break their 2/3 hold of the political arena.
The DA and COPE can drive the wedge through the middle of their belly.

Thanks for informing the 'uninformed' on the BOSS book.

When will we see someone come out into the clearing with a "SB Book?"

BOSS was formed from their midst...

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At January 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Sonny Cox said...

Profile of a Terrorist

Post, J. M. (1990). Terrorist psycho-logic: Terrorist behavior as a product of psychological forces. In W. Reich (Ed.) Origins of terrorism: Psychologies, ideologies, states of mind. New York: Cambridge University Press, 25-40.
1. The principal argument of psycho-logic
a. Individuals are drawn to the path of terrorism in order to commit acts of violence.
b. J. M. Post takes issue with the argument that terrorists resort to violence as a willful choice.
c. Post takes issue with the argument that terrorist acts are an intentional choice selected from a range of perceived alternatives.
d. Political terrorists are driven to commit acts of violence as a consequence of psychological forces.
e. Political terrorists "construct" a special psycho-logic to rationalize acts that they are psychologically compelled to commit.
f. Their special logic becomes the justification for their violent acts.
2. The rhetoric of terrorists
a. The rhetoric of terrorists is uniformly polarizing and absolutist.
b. "Us" versus "Them."
c. This is a striking consistency considering the diversity of causes that terrorists are attracted to.
d. Without nuance, without shades of gray.
e. "They," the establishment, are the source of all evil.
f. "We," the freedom fighters, are consumed by righteous rage.
g. If "they" are the source of our problems, it follows ineluctably, in the special psycho-logic of the terrorist, that "they" must be destroyed.
h. . . . "It is the just and moral thing to do."
3. Personalities of terrorists
a. Post's own comparative research on the psychology of terrorists does not reveal any major psychopathology.
b. . . . "The outstanding characteristic of terrorists is their normality."
1. FLN in Algeria in the 1950s--Crenshaw's studies of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria in the 1950s found the members to be normal.
2. IRA--Heskin's (1984) review of the Irish Republican Army failed to show that members of the IRA were emotionally disturbed.
3. McCauley and Segal (1987) conclude that "the best documented generalization is negative; terrorists do not show any striking psychopathology.
c. But some personality characteristics are common. The evidence was derived from memoirs, court records, and rare interviews.
d. People with particular personality traits are drawn to terrorist groups.
1. action oriented
2. aggressive
3. stimulus hungry
4. seek excitement.
e. Theoretical interpretation about "splitting."
1. Not all, but many terrorists rely on the psychological defense mechanism of "externalization and splitting."
2. Splitting--according to the theoretical interpretation the personality is split into "me" and "not me."
3. According to this theory, these are individuals who have not integrated the good and bad parts of the self.
4. Idealizes one's grandiose self.
5. Splits out and projects onto others all hated and devalued weakness within the self.
6. According to this defense mechanisms, these individuals need to have an outside enemy to blame. Such blaming protects the self from self-criticism.
7. According to this interpretation, Hitler was an example of externalization and splitting. "He projected the devalued part of himself onto others and scapegoated the enemy.
8. According to Post, such people find the polarizing of absolutist rhetoric of terrorism extremely attractive.
9. The "Its not us; it's them" explanation particularly satisfying.
10. The Red Brigade terrorists in Italy were found to be lacking in gross psychopathology, but similar in personality characteristics.
4. The lives of people drawn to the path of terrorism.
a. There are few studies, but the ones that have been conducted are convincing.
b. A great deal has gone wrong in the lives of people drawn to the path of terrorism.
c. A study of West German terrorists.
1. A study sponsored by the West German Ministry of Interior.
2. Examined the life course of 250 West German terrorists.
3. 237 were left wing (Red Army Faction) and 23 were right wing (2 June Movement).
4. 79% reported severe conflict, especially with parents (33%)
5. 25% of the leftist terrorists had lost one or both parents by the age of 14.
6. The loss of the father was especially disruptive.
7. They described the father, when present, in hostile terms.
8. 33% of the terrorists had been convicted in juvenile court
9. Generally, terrorists had a demonstrated pattern of failure both educationally and vocationally.
10. Terrorists were viewed as advancement oriented, but failure prone.
11. The terrorist career was a terminal point in a series of abortive adaptation attempts.
12. There was no control group, but the descriptions are consistent with clinical accounts of the Red Army Faction.
13. Supporting evidence from the ETA (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna or the Basque Fatherland and Liberty Movement).
5. Relationships to parents and the regime.
a. An analysis by Post (1986) of "anarchic-ideologues" such as the Red Army faction in West Germany and "national separatists" such as the ETA.
1. A typology of terrorist ideologies.
Parents attitude toward the regime
Loyal Disloyal
Loyal toward parents Did not become terrorists Became nationalist-separatists
Disloyal toward parents Became anarchic-ideologues
2. In both the anarchic-ideologues and the nationalist-separatists, the act of joining a terrorist group represents an attempt to deal with a fragmented psychological identity.
3. Comparable data is not available for Shi'ite and Palestinian terrorists, but specialists who closely follow Middle Eastern terrorist groups share the impression that they come from the margins of society
6. The Power of the group
a. Belonging to the terrorist group.
1. For many this may be the first time they truly "belonged."
2. For the first time they felt significant.
3. For the first time, they felt that what they did counted.
b. Pressures to conform.
1. "Group mind"--the tendency to submerge one's identity into the group.
2. The need to belong.
3. The strength of affiliative needs
4. An incomplete sense of individual identity.
5. External danger magnifies group cohesion.
6. Members of the Red Army Faction said that group solidarity was compelled by the illegal situation.
7. Extreme pressures to conform.
8. Doubts about the legitimacy of goals are intolerable to the group.
9. Doubts about the legitimacy of actions are intolerable to the group.
10. Withdrawal from the group was impossible "except by way of the graveyard."
11. The way to get rid of doubt is to get rid of doubters.
12. The first meeting of a new recruit to the Heidelberg cell of the Red Army Faction (described by Baeyer-Kaette). The group was discussing a plan to firebomb a major department store. Horrified, the new recruit blurted out, "But that will lead to loss of innocent lives!" A chill fell over the room, and the new recruit quickly realized to question the group consensus was to risk losing his membership in the gang.
13. Group ideology plays an important role in supporting this conformity-inducing environment. The leader of the cell patiently explained to the new recruit that anyone who would shop in such an opulent store was no innocent victim, but was indeed a capitalist consumer.
14. The group defines the moral code of its members.
15. Similar to charismatic religious cults, the more isolated and unaffiliated the new members, the more likely they were to hold firmly and unquestionably to their group membership--it was their sole support.
16. For example, the willingness of 1,410 members of the Unification Church to accept Reverend Moon's choice of a marital partner. . . assigned in a bizarre mass engagement ceremony in Madison Square Garden. Those who depended entirely on the cult for their sense of emotional well-being accepted Reverend Moon's selection without question.
7. Pressures to commit acts of violence.
a. What distinguishes terrorism from other forms of political violence is the differentiation of the target of violence (the innocent victim) from the target of influence
1. That differentiation, however, is not interpreted by Post to indicate that political violence is instrumental. According to Post's analysis, it is not a tactic to achieve the group's political goals.
b. Post's position is that political violence is driven by psychological forces. The cause is not the cause!
1. Terrorist acts are rationalized by the group's ideology, but the group ideology is not the cause.
c. The central argument is that individuals become terrorists in order to join terrorist groups and commit acts of terrorism.
1. Consider a youth seeking an external target to attack. Before joining the group, he was alone, not particularly successful. After joining a politically violent group, he is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the establishment. His picture is on the "most wanted" posters. He sees his leaders internationally prominent media personalities. Within certain circles, he/she is lionized as a hero. He/she travels first class. His family is provided for should his acts of heroism lead to his death as a martyr to the cause. This is heady stuff. Surely this is a "good life." A role and position not easily relinquished.
2. Zawodny (1978) studied underground resistance groups during World War II. He found that the primary determinant of underground group decision making is not the external reality, but the psychological climate in the group.
3. When a resistance group is forced to go underground, what emerges is unbearable tension. Forced inaction is extremely stressful to action-oriented people. What, after all, are freedom fighters for if they do not fight? A terrorist group needs to commit acts of terrorism in order to justify its existence. A wise leader, sensing tension, will plan an action so that the group's members can reaffirm their identity and discharge their aggressive energy.
4. The dynamics of a terrorist group presses for perpetuation of violence and ever-riskier decisions. A leader who advocates prudence and moderation is likely to lose his/her position quickly to a bolder person.
5. Post asserts that terrorist groups displays, in extreme degree, the characteristics of Groupthink, as described by Janis.
a. Illusion of invulnerability leading to excessive optimism and excessive risk taking.
b. Presumptions of the groups morality
c. One-dimensional perceptions of the enemy as evil
d. Intolerance of challenges by a group member to shared key beliefs.
6. Research by Semel and Minx (1979) with U. S. military officers as subjects found that groups regularly opted for riskier choices than those that would have been preferred by individuals.
7. Post was a member of the International Task for the Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism. The momentum toward ever-riskier choices has important implications for mass-casualty terrorism. Post sees internal constraints against the unthinkable prospect of nuclear terrorism weakening. The prospects for nuclear terrorism are increasing. A major contribution to that increase is the risk-increasing group dynamics of the terrorist group.
d. The threat of success.
1. If the cause were indeed the cause, should not its achievement lead to the dissolution of terrorist groups?
2. According to Post, on a number of occasions in the past Yasir Arafat could have placed major pressure on Israel and may well have achieved the beginnings of a partial solution to the Palestinian problem had he (a) divested himself of the radical left wing of the PLO and (b) accepted UN Resolution No. 242 acknowledging Israel's right to exist. But on each occasion, he opted to be leader of a unified Palestinian resistance movement, yielding to the radical left committed to winning their struggle through violence.
3. Similarly, on many occasions in Northern Ireland, on the threshold of a move to conciliation, another cycle of violence occurred.
4. For any organization, the highest priority is survival, especially true for a terrorist group. To succeed in achieving its espoused cause would threaten the goal of survival.
8. Policy implications. Terrorists whose only sense of significance comes from being terrorists cannot be forced to give up terrorism for to do so would be to lose their very reason for being.
a. Terrorist groups differ in their structure and dynamics. Policies should be tailored to the specific group and understood in historical, cultural, and political context.
b. As a general rule, the smaller and more autonomous the group, the more counterproductive is external force. Counterterrorist force will unite the group and reduce its divisions. Left alone, these inherently unstable groups may self-destruct.
c. For a terrorist organization for which violence is defined as the only legitimate tactic for achieving goals, counterterrorist retaliation cannot intimidate.
d. For complex organizations with both illegal terrorist wings and parallel legal wings, internal organizational pressures cannot operate to constrain the terrorist wing. Basque separatists are an example.
e. For state-supported and state-directed terrorist groups, the group is a paramilitary unit under government control. Terrorism is being used as an equalizing tactic in an undeclared war. The psychological factors just discussed are not particularly relevant.
f. There is no short-range solution to the problem of terrorism. Once an individual is in the pressure cooker of the terrorist group, it is extremely difficult to convince him/her. In the long run, the most effective antiterrorist policy is one that inhibits potential recruits from joining in the first place.
g. Until now, terrorists have had a virtual monopoly on the weapon of the television camera. They manipulate their audiences through the media and perpetuate their audiences by shaping perceptions of future generations of terrorists.
h. Proactive policy must be (a) information and public education, (b) to de-romanticize the terrorists, and (c) portraying them for what they are.
i. Amnesty programs to facilitate pathways out of terrorist groups. The Italian government has found his to be highly effective.
j. Reduce external support. Discourage and interdict supplies and money.

The Cubans belong in Cuba.

Cuba can erect a monument for them there or their remains should be left in Angola where they were defeated by the SA forces.

We do not share a common ground or interest with them!

The only true "Freedom Fighters" in modern history are the IRISH!

God bless their dead souls.


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