When I started writing the GMJ Books I decided to be positive. I was tired of the constant criticism against the South African Military & Intelligence Service by many that ought to have known better. I explained my views in the voice clip SADF v SANDF on my website. Fairness is my motto, not politics, critique where needed but fairly and based on available evidence so that the reader can decide for himself.
In my youth I was subjected to the usual Afrikaner authors, they only wrote in the vein of “OMG we are victims from the English decades ago, the drought of 1933, also decades ago, the whatever…” yet in real life, we kicked ass wherever we went. We had no reason to be ashamed on that scale. I decided never to write such books which are classified as “literary classics." I write books where we win and we kick ass and so it is, reality, in other words. I was also tired of Hollywood’s “OMG we are facing overwhelming odds” to make the movie more dramatic than real life with the hero in panic mode most of the time or shooting millions of rounds without reloading. In real life, when an operation is well planned, well-rehearsed and highly trained operatives used, the end result is usually very undramatic in favor of the attacker. The other side dies and life goes on. Panic mode is not for us and we look down on such people.
Recently, much publication was given in local newspapers on the shenanigans of certain individuals in the South African Intelligence Community. And of course, everyone was contaminated with much glee, again, from people that ought to know better. And so my books, under the auspices of the old Secret Service (the name changed in 2012, exactly when my characters defected), were also contaminated by the reports. But, if those actually read my books they would know that I near constantly explain (I have no way of knowing which of the almost 50 books you read, each one is a standalone book/story) that there is a difference between the spy catchers, counter-espionage, and the spies themselves. I say that the two groups don’t mix well. There is a very definitive ranking system among spies. You have those with diplomatic cover and they face no danger whatsoever, if caught they must be released and expelled from the country if unlucky. Such people are not “spies” but exceptionally boring intelligence officers, specially chosen because they are the bottom of the barrel in availability. They have a role to play but nothing glamorous nor in any way respectable as spies, we rate them as Mickey Mouse. On the other hand, you have those spies that operate in foreign countries without any diplomatic cover, if caught, they are blessed to be killed quickly. These are the cream of the crop and the ones that are admired most and called “illegals.” The very real risk of torture and execution if captured, alone, makes them very well trained, very discreet and the best of the best in the intelligence community. The main character, Angelique, she is based upon a real woman, was one of those, operating illegally in many countries for close to 15 years. Contrast this to another fellow, nothing more than a glorified policeman operating in the safety of his own country or in another country but protected by diplomatic cover at all times. He is only facing danger from overeating and whores and not in the same class. And this describes the spy catchers very well worldwide. We don’t like the counter-espionage desk and think they are wankers of note unable to hack it on real cloak and dagger missions. The two groups just don’t mix. It is known that the bastards of Five, the UK spy catchers known as MI5, sincerely ask themselves every day if the bastards of Six, the James Bonds, are people they would like to be seen with in public, they are not all there and dangerous. The feeling, as said, is entirely mutual, it takes a totally different outlook and personality (the FBI would be classified as such too, spy catchers, we shoot such people at sight, Angelique). When we meet a former or current counter-espionage agent, FBI, MI5, we find it very hard not to smirk in ways designed to annoy. They are Mickey Mouse operators in our view and I have yet to meet one that made me think differently.
As a brief history, also in most books, in 1995, the National Intelligence Service (NI or NIS), the Apartheid spy/counter-espionage agency got disbanded. Rightly so, they were never any good and got most of their domestic intelligence via Police Special Branch, the official spies merely claimed the glory for it. Many senior Special Branch policemen, sitting at the highest levels of intelligence meetings, told me the above and they had no reason to lie after all these years. We rated NI very low the few times we worked with them and so did others, the Seychelle Affair of Mike Hoare fame is but one example of them being out of their depth (see Code Name Wrangler where it is discussed). Thus, we were glad when NI split into two, forming two new spy services - the South African Secret Service (called SASS - working off-shore or supposed to, like the CIA) and NIA (National Intelligence Agency, working domestically, like MI5). SASS immediately rebuilt new networks and in my books turning towards the Egg Breakers to take theirs over (see Code Name VFO565). They became well respected and they still are highly rated right across Africa (see my Intelligence Briefing where I explain more). Behind them are good analysts and computer support.
The new domestic spies, called the National Disgrace (from National Intelligence Agency) by us, really was hopeless. They are the ones who are now exposed in the newspapers. Their rapid demise was an epic story of what happens when politics invades a government agency tasked with catching spies. Combine that with low-class operatives, political appointees and an utter delusion of self-grandeur and you get half the picture. They depleted their secret funds, hundreds of millions of dollars, within two years of getting access. All spent on whores, cars and “safe houses” not needed except for whoring. They loyally spied on local party dignitaries (an oxymoron if ever, the dignitaries are all turds – they float in what they talk and are slimy – the standard GMJ definition for ALL politicians). NIA totally lost their main objective to safeguard the country against foreign spies. They caught not a single spy ever (on their own that is – see Code Name Alphabet 32 where they lied in court) and just made fools of themselves when trying. They bugged the US Embassy in Pretoria among others on behalf of the Chinese (an operation betrayed before it started). They scratched around in the garbage dumps (that is not a bad tactic but I am sure they felt at home there) and in general, were rated low in efficiency. So low that in the end they were disbanded in disgrace (from where the name, National Disgrace) and re-incorporated into the super-efficient South African Secret Service which was only supposed to work overseas. The Service then had to deal with internal and external problems and it was a massive step backward for them to this very day. So yes, I hope that justice will be served but let us not confuse them with the elite inside the elite. My books have nothing to do with NIA except in a way where they are treated as the enemy and a national disgrace.