The SAPS top-secret, deep-cover operation – Operation Kanu – was driven by crime intelligence, and was launched shortly after the 9-11 World Trade Center terror attacks to investigate extremist Muslim activities in the country. Operation Kanu began at the same time as the parallel investigation into far right-wing activities called Operation Waco.
Operation Waco resulted in the marathon Boeremag trial. The right-wingers were dubbed Al-Cadac by a police wit, as the Afrikaners’ plot was often discussed over a braai. Yet Operation Kanu resulted in no action from intelligence agencies, and no arrests of the alleged trainees or the masterminds.
All spying activities in connection with Operation Kanu were abruptly halted at the beginning of 2010 under yet-unexplained circumstances. The teams of intelligence operatives were recalled from the operation sites, all visual material seized and laptops with the surveillance data and situation reports of deep-cover agents taken away from them. The men were told by their superiors that the orders for the cessation of the surveillance operation had come “from the top”. No other explanations were given and they were re-deployed to other assignments.
Considering how corrupt South Africa is and how wealthy the players are, it’s not hard to imagine how that worked out.
At the centre of this alleged terrorist network are several members of the well-known and influential Dockrat family.
The family was catapulted into the world focus in 2007 when US terrorism financing trackers have noted suspicious financial transactions coming out of South Africa that appeared to benefit al-Qaeda.
Reuters journalist Michael Georgy published a story in January 2007, reporting that papers had been submitted by the United States to the UN Security Council alleging that both Junaid and Farhad had acted as al-Qaeda “financiers, recruiters and facilitators”.
According to the Reuters report, they had transferred funds to al-Qaeda and coordinated the travel of South Africans to Pakistan to train there with militant Islamic groups. Both men deny these charges.
US intelligence claimed that in 2004, Junaid Dockrat assisted al-Qaeda operations chief Hamza Rabi’a (now deceased) to coordinate the travel of South Africans to Pakistan in order for them to train with al-Qaeda. It further claimed he was also responsible for raising $120,000 that Rabi’a received in the spring of 2004.
The clan runs an armed compound that looks a whole lot like a terrorist training camp.
On Friday afternoons, after the midday prayers, South African intelligence agents monitored several people leave the mosque and go to a farm near the former police hit squad base known as Vlakplaas. The “military style” obstacle course and the shooting range are still visible on the farm, and agents say they saw people take part in military-style training.
But the South African government continues to ignore the issue, while pursuing those right wing extremists.
US and British intelligence have warned the South African authorities to stop “pussyfooting” with intelligence regarding international terrorists activities in South Africa. “The fact that no bombs have gone off to date in the country doesn’t mean that the threat doesn’t exist within South Africa’s borders,” they warned.
Despite overwhelming intelligence information gathered well before the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, no action had been taken to date.