What the spy cables leak could mean for SA

2015-02-25 10:44

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Spy cables show SA's dodgy deals with dodgy agencies - Right2Know

2015-02-24 14:06

We're joined in studio by the Right2Know campaign's Murray Hunter who talks us through the controversial spy cables in the possession of Al Jazeera news.WATCH

Cape Town - “The world of espionage and spying is always going to be a murky one, it’s always going to be one that’s not publicised as much as we’d like...”

So says counter-terrorism expert and Institute for Security Studies managing director Anton du Plessis.

“The world of espionage is always going to pique our interest because of popular literature... James Bond movies...”

South Africans have been given a rare glimpse into that world with the spy cables leak and some of the revelations are worrying, such as secrets left exposed at every possible government level or that Mossad tapped South African citizens’ phones.

Du Plessis says questions are now being asked about the legitimacy of South Africa’s security structures.

“There’s already a shaken trust in our security infrastructure so there’ll be heightened focus on [the spy cables].”

But Du Plessis says much of what’s come out simply proves that spy agencies are doing what they’re always suspected of – spying on people and organisations.

A key question surrounding the leak is who benefits from it?

“It could be argued that this is an individual who has some political motivations for releasing [this information] now,” says Du Plessis.

But what could be most worrying for civil society is that the leaks could be used as an example or excuse to clamp down on information.

“I hope this isn’t used as an excuse to push through on more draconian... treatment of the media,” says the security expert.

And possible clampdowns could affect more than just journalists. Just as there was after the global war on terror, Du Plessis says there could be “an undermining of the rule of law, of human rights in the name of protecting national security”.

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Read more on:    mossad  |  iss  |  ssa  |  security  |  spy cables

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