TRUE OR FALSE WARNING?
The United Nations and Threats to Namibia’s Independence,1989

A. Walter Dorn, Robert Pauk, and Emily Cope Burton

Published in International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 507–529 (2013). (pdf)


The success of the Namibian independence plan in 1989–1990 is a high point in the history of the United Nations. The enormous challenge of Namibia even predated the organization, going back seven decades on the international agenda. South West Africa (Namibia) became a mandate under the League of Nations in 1920 after Germany lost that colonial territory to the then Union of South Africa during World War I. After World War II, the mandate continued as a UN trusteeship under South Africa, but Pretoria refused to accept the required international supervision. It governed Namibia as a colony, complete with the brutal racist institution of apartheid. In 1963, its trusteeship was officially terminated by the UN Security Council and, in 1966, the UN General Assembly declared that South Africa's continued control of Namibia was illegal. Then, in 1978, in a push for Namibian independence, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 435 (1978), which outlined an implementation strategy for free elections. But another ten years elapsed before the United Nations and the United States gained South Africa's cooperation.
 
Eventually, South Africa's leaders realized that its border war against the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) had become a heavy burden, a harmful political liability, an anachronism in the Soviet Union's Gorbachev era, and, perhaps most importantly, an unwinnable contest. Moreover, international pressure and UN-sponsored sanctions impelled South Africa to finally bargain seriously. A series of peace agreements, including the Geneva Protocol of 8 August 1988, also involved a commitment from Fidel Castro's Cuba to withdraw its troops from neighboring Angola, where Cuba had been backing a Communist government fighting an insurgency. A UN peacekeeping operation, the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), was organized to launch formally on 1 April 1989 to facilitate elections in Namibia seven months later.

The United Nations’ mission to facilitate Namibian self-rule was strewn with many obstacles. Indeed, the whole process at times seemed headed for failure; had it not been for UNTAG's ability to quickly recover from its initial weaknesses there would have been little hope for success. Two major crises during the Namibian independence process showed how vital it is for the mission and the UN Secretariat, which oversees the daily operation of peacekeeping missions, to have current information on developments in the field and how vulnerable it can be without an independent stream of intelligence. These two events also show how improvements were made over time in the field mission, thus enabling UNTAG to better react to unexpected events.

NO FOOLING ON 1 APRIL

After years of negotiations, SWAPO and South Africa finally agreed to institute self-rule in Namibia through democratic elections. The role of the United Nations and the international community became crucial and went through many phases. When the Security Council initially began to formulate the plan for UNTAG in the late 1970s, the common belief was that about 25,000 peacekeepers would be needed to monitor and mediate the peace in Namibia. But, as the situation along the border improved over the next few years, the number was reduced to 7,500 troops plus police and election personnel.1 Then, just prior to the implementation phase, the United Nations found itself under severe financial constraints due to heavy pressure from the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, led by the United States.2In response, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuéllar had to cut costs by further reducing the force to 4,650 troops without changing the force's mission to keep the peace and monitor the elections. Sadly, the long arguments in New York among UN members over the size and cost of the mission ultimately led to a significant delay in its reduced deployment, which had tragic consequences. In fact, by 7 April 1989, one week after the start of the cease-fire, only 937 members of the force had been deployed and UNTAG did not reach its full strength until over a month after the cease-fire was to have begun.3 
 
In spite of bickering over force size and the resulting delays in deploying UNTAG, both SWAPO and South Africa wrote to Perez de Cuéllar in March 1989 to assure him of their dedication to the formal cease-fire, which was to begin at 4 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on 1 April 1989.4 During the early hours before and after, however, armed SWAPO guerrillas entered Namibia from neighboring Angola where they were supposed to have been confined to bases according to the independence plan. They were dressed in camouflage and carried weaponry but, by all accounts, did not fire the first shots.5 According to the South African Administrator General, 143 guerrillas had crossed the border and, in the course of the fighting, fifteen guerrillas were killed and one was captured, while eight South West African Police were wounded.6 
On the morning of 1 April, Pérez de Cuéllar sought an urgent update from the UNTAG head, Finland's Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Namibia, who could provide only very few details since the UN force had just begun to deploy. Some 300 monitors from 14 countries had arrived in Namibia, the bulk of them around 25 March, and they had been quickly positioned in their respective sectors by 28 March.7 However, none of UNTAG's infantry battalions had yet arrived. Moreover, the SWAPO infiltration had taken place almost entirely in the North-West Sector, where UNTAG had only 61 monitors8 who were also responsible for monitoring the confinement of South African forces to bases, in accordance with the 1988 Geneva Protocol. In a subsequent briefing to the Security Council on 3 April, Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar reported: “While 280 of the 300 military monitors were in place throughout the territory on 1 April, their effectiveness, also, was seriously hampered by their limited mobility and restricted access to communications.”9 
In view of these limitations, Ahtisaari was unable to assess the situation with any accuracy. The UN officials knew only South Africa's version of events, which included allegations that a full-scale SWAPO invasion was expected, with 4,000 to 6,000 guerrillas poised to cross the border from Angola. South Africa may have received information about SWAPO movements from its informants within SWAPO10 or from its ally, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), a rebel group fighting the Angolan government which frequently engaged in skirmishes with SWAPO inside Angola. Also, elements within the South African government may have fabricated evidence to exaggerate the extent of the incursion.
 
At noon on 1 April, the Secretary-General received a tense phone call from Roelof F. (Pik) Botha, South Africa's Foreign Minister. Botha began with a veiled threat, saying that unless the “Secretary-General made his position clear,” he would have no choice but to ask for UNTAG's withdrawal. He then said the South African Defence Forces (SADF) should be allowed to leave their bases and that he was authorizing them to “take guard on the border.”11 Faced with such an adamant position, combined with a significant lack of independent evidence of the alleged SWAPO armed flow across the border, the UN leader felt he had little choice but to give reluctant approval for a limited release of the SADF. Six battalions of South African soldiers were allowed to leave their bases in Namibia to actively engage in “protecting” the border.
 
The next day, 2 April, several UN officials journeyed to Northern Namibia to interview two SWAPO members who had been captured by South African forces. As the Secretary-General later told the Security Council, the captured guerillas explained that they had been told to enter Namibia:
 
Each said that he had been instructed not to engage the security forces, even if he saw them, because a cease-fire was to be in effect and there was to be no more fighting …. One said that he had been told by his detachment commander that he would be instructed in Namibia, where he should go, so that the United Nations would supervise him and his colleagues. The other said that … their purpose was to come and establish bases inside Namibia … and that United Nations personnel would then come and take care of them. Each reiterated several times that they had been told that the war was about to be over, and that they were to enter Namibia and help to establish a base which would then be under the United Nations.12
 
Cedric Thornberry, the chief UN interviewing official, believed them. A new view then developed within the United Nations that the purpose of the infiltration had not been aggressive, as the South Africans insisted, but rather a misunderstanding, perhaps deliberate, of the settlement plan involving SWAPO bases. Certainly the numbers of infiltrators had been totally inadequate to comprise an invading force, and the behavior of the guerillas had not been aggressive.

THE MYSTERY OF SWAPO'S INCURSION

Many people wondered in disbelief how the SWAPO leader, Sam Nujoma, could expose his troops to such danger, even slaughter, while his organization was on the cusp of victory. Nujoma had probably miscalculated the South Africans' response in his zeal to make a blatant political show of his guerillas in Namibia and to prove to the people that the SWAPO fighters were their true liberators. Marrack Goulding, the then-Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, speculated in his 2002 memoirs that perhaps President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) had encouraged Nujoma to do this by telling him that the presence of his own robust ZANU-PF fighters inside Rhodesia had helped Mugabe win the 1980 elections and become Zimbabwe's leader. Mugabe and Nujoma had been together in Harare in March during a summit of the Front Line States (against South African apartheid), providing ample opportunity for such influence.13Some suggest that Nujoma and his colleagues felt covered by a statement made ten years earlier by then UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim that “any SWAPO armed forces in Namibia at the time of the cease-fire will likewise be restricted to base at designated locations inside Namibia ….14
 
As commonly understood during the formative years of Resolution 435, if SWAPO had soldiers in Namibia, they would be allowed to stay under UN supervision, but the Geneva Protocol had changed this by requiring all SWAPO forces to be confined to Angola instead. But SWAPO had not signed the Geneva Protocol15and argued ex post facto that the group's forces needed only to abide by Resolution 435 and that those who had infiltrated from Angola should be allowed to stay. Notwithstanding this, Nujoma was certainly aware that the current UN policy did not provide for the entry of SWAPO fighters and sending such forces would contravene the agreement. One SWAPO officer later argued that the armed entry into Namibia was the result of an accidental skirmish with South African police forces that quickly escalated as more fighters crossed to defend their embattled comrades.16In any case, the entire peace process stood in jeopardy on the first day of its implementation.
 
On 2 April, Nujoma issued a press release denying that his party had violated the cease-fire. He explained that the SWAPO soldiers had been in Namibia long before the cease-fire and were merely celebrating the beginning of the independence process when South African forces attacked them.17 Furthermore, he argued that if the South African forces had been following their part of the agreement, they would have been confined to their bases rather than searching for SWAPO infiltrators.18Meanwhile, Pérez de Cuéllar told South African Foreign Minister Botha over the telephone that UNTAG would send a team to investigate South Africa's findings. He also urged his Special Representative and Force Commander to keep him “fully and promptly informed of any developments.”19

 

UN SHORTCOMINGS AND OPPOSITION FABLES

The United Nations still had no infantry in Namibia to patrol or investigate in areas of deadly conflict, and thus remained torn between the two accounts. South Africa claimed intelligence sources that contradicted Nujoma's version of events. While the United Nations attempted to remain skeptical of South African claims, information clearly indicated that Nujoma had either lied or been mistaken when he argued that no cross-border movement had occurred. UN officials, accompanied by South African intelligence officers, had found convincing evidence, in the form of both eye-witness accounts and physical signs of movement, that at least 1,000 individuals had crossed into northern Namibia during the preceding days. Later estimates put the total number at about 1,600. It also became clear was that South Africa had exaggerated its reports of SWAPO plans for a full-scale armed invasion. In reality, the SADF had the situation well under control.20
 
Evidence mounted that South Africa was using the SWAPO incursion—which clearly lacked the numerical strength, means, or aggressiveness to be a military invasion or serious campaign—to kill as many People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN, SWAPO's army) guerrillas as possible. An outgoing UN Code Cable from the Secretary-General's Chief of Staff, Virendra Dayal, in New York to Ahtisaari in Windhoek (capital of Namibia) on 27 April referred to a television program South Africa Now that had aired in New York the previous evening and
 
showed footage of corpses of SWAPO fighters who, allegedly, had been shot through the head after being captured in Namibia. Expert witnesses stated that the wounds of those killed were not inflicted in battle but in captivity. According to the program, press articles on the subject of such ‘executions’ were first carried by the London Daily Telegraph from a correspondent in Namibia.21
 
Furthermore, a Guardian newspaper article of 25 April by Victoria Brittain, “Injuries Show SWAPO Dead ‘Must have been Executed,’ ” referred to the same television program in New York and stated the SWAPO injuries “could only have resulted from military-style execution after capture.”22

Another Guardian article stated that the Soviet Union was calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate what it termed “deliberate South African attempts to kill SWAPO guerillas rather than permit them to withdraw to Angola.”23 The truth about the SWAPO incursion was not really known until years later. In 1989, UN officials believed that no SWAPO fighters had initially been present inside Namibia and that they had all moved across the border to Angola, but evidence suggests that many of them were already in Namibia. A resident of Northern Namibia, Bishop Kleopas Dumeni later recalled: “Yes, they were there. You cannot see them because they were civilians. But their weapons were here. Maybe some crossed the border. But … some were already here.”24 Most likely, SWAPO fighters, both from Angola and within Namibia, had been openly gathering for political demonstrations with the expectation of eventually being supervised, demobilized, and protected by UNTAG, which was not yet fully deployed. Instead, they found themselves under attack by South West African Police and the anti-guerilla South African paramilitary force Koevoet (Afrikaans for crowbar). Koevoet members received a bounty for every SWAPO member killed.25 They used the situation to kill as many SWAPO fighters as possible under the pretext of resisting an invasion, while burying the bodies in mass graves. The exact number of SWAPO dead will never be known.26 

Without clear forewarning, the United Nations proved unable to prevent the tragedy. No UNTAG infantry had deployed at this point. Moreover, the risk of injury during the violence caused UNTAG observers to be confined to South African bases in Namibia.27 Without infantry support the unarmed monitors could not defend themselves and, in accordance with standard UN policy, they were withdrawn from areas of combat. Had UNTAG's infantry been in place, it could have provided first-hand witness of the conflict and even served as a deterrent to the South African slaughter.

NEGOTIATING A CEASE-FIRE AT MT. ETJO

SWAPO was desperate to stop the massacre. On 3 April, at a meeting between an UNTAG liaison officer and a joint Angolan/SWAPO delegation, Hidipo Hamutenya, SWAPO's secretary for information and publicity, proposed that “UNTAG, in the name of the Secretary-General, issue an immediate order for a cease-fire between SWAPO and South African security forces.”28 He stated that SWAPO was prepared to dispatch commanders to the troubled areas to stop the fighting and “to go on Angolan radio to give instructions concerning the cease-fire and to send emissaries to Windhoek to pass on the word.”29
 
On 5 April, the Secretary-General's proposal included the restoration of the cease-fire, establishment of temporary assembly points under UNTAG for SWAPO fighters in Namibia, and the return of the SADF to its base. Yet, the next day, South Africa released even more troops from their bases, claiming the SWAPO infiltration was actually increasing. Then, on 7 April, Nujoma finally announced at a news conference in Zimbabwe that SWAPO would cooperate with the UN plan to get Resolution 435 back on track. He said: “SWAPO and the Namibian people have nothing to gain by further loss of lives and the collapse of the UN independence plan for our country … we have come to this decision because we are aware of the historic responsibility that we have to our people and to humanity as a whole.”30 Nujoma announced that SWAPO would move all its soldiers out of Namibia within 72 hours once a procedure was agreed upon. They would later be permitted to return in an orderly fashion prior to the November election.
 
On 9 April, a joint commission consisting of Angolan, Cuban, and South African representatives formulated the withdrawal procedure known as the Mt. Etjo Declaration, named after the town 200 kilometers north of Windhoek where it was negotiated. It called for a total withdrawal within six days of enactment and a major role for the United Nations in the whole process, set to begin on 15 April. Nine assembly points were to be set up at various locations in northern Namibia, all manned by UN forces. SWAPO fighters could return to these check points and then be escorted by UN personnel to SWAPO bases at least 90 miles inside Angola. Also, a large number of churches were designated as safe havens where guerrillas could be assured a safe escort back to Angola. Although most SWAPO soldiers crossed the border on their own, some did take advantage of UN assistance and, by mid-May, most, if not all, of the fighters had found their way back to Angola.
 
The speed with which the Mt. Etjo Declaration was suddenly achieved has been attributed to the external leverage exerted on both sides to compromise. Specifically, Angola, Cuba, and Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union pressed Nujoma. Similarly, the United States—with its capacity to strengthen sanctions in the Security Council—pressed South Africa.31Nujoma's reversal was abrupt, going from consistent demands for an end to the fighting, but with his guerillas remaining in Namibia, to suddenly agreeing to withdraw them all to Angola. Similarly, South Africa seemed suddenly willing to stop its on-sight slaughter of SWAPO guerillas. Another element might have been present in South Africa's decision to stop inflicting as many SWAPO casualties as possible. On 6 April, South Africa had been releasing more troops from its bases, claiming that the SWAPO infiltration was increasing. Then, suddenly, the South Africans were ready to stop the violence and negotiate at Mt. Etjo. While much attention has been given to Nujoma's sudden compromise, not much has been given to the suddenness of South Africa's reversal immediately after 6 April.

The Cuba Factor

UNTAG documents suggest that another factor in this reversal was a major change in South Africa's assessment of the military situation. The UNTAG Situation Report for 7 April describes the sighting of “Cuban infantry supported by tanks located in area Namacu[n]de near common border in Angola.”32 The subsequent weekly situation report elaborated: “SWAPO infiltration into Namibia were reported by SADF to be between 1,800–1,900 pers. Follow up by SADF/SWAPOL resulted in numerous clashes during period 03–08 April 89. Situation led to movement of Cuban infantry supported by tanks toward south of Angola.33
 
Clearly, the advance of Cuban troops and tanks to within 15 minutes of the Namibian border comprised a major military enhancement of SWAPO forces, one beyond the ability of South Africa to repel. South Africa was certainly aware of this threat. On 6 April, a South African delegation told UNTAG's Ahtisaari and UNTAG Force Commander General Dewan Prem Chand that “now being prepared for re-entry to Namibia [are] three mixed SWAPO/Cuban battalions just north of the Namibian border. They had some armour.”34Then South Africa's Administrator General of Namibia reported on 7 April: “The mixed PLAN/Cuban Battalion supported by tanks in Namacunde/Oshikango area have an offensive capability and poses a direct threat to the Central Owambo.”35

The lethal South African response to SWAPO's initial incursion evidently triggered this Cuban advance towards the Angolan border with Namibia. The PLAN guerillas had probably sought not military but political gain through public demonstrations in uniform within Namibia. But, after the ruthless slaughter, even mass executions of SWAPO guerillas, the Cubans advanced their infantry and tanks to allow for a possible retaliation.

The Cuban advance is not given importance in the literature on Namibian independence possibly because it was generally believed that the Cubans were in the process of withdrawing from Angola in accordance with the Brazzaville agreement, and their presence was viewed as a solved problem. Their withdrawal, however, was gradual, beginning 1 November 1988 at a rate of 3,000 troops a month. Under this plan, all Cuban troops were to depart Angola by 31 October 1990.36Thus, in early April 1989, some 50,000 Cuban troops were still in Angola and elements of the Cuban army were advancing with tanks to Namibia. Their location, Namacunde, was a mere 15-minute drive from the Namibian border. This Cuban advance was likely a significant factor in South Africa's decision to desist from the slaughter and negotiate. Ironically, the Cuban military threat likely provided a major boost to the peace process.
 
The April “incursion” entailed a significant loss of life. An UNTAG Assessment Report for April 1989 estimated the total killed through April was 312 SWAPO and 30 security forces,37though some say that figure is an underestimate. The casualties were asymmetrical probably because South Africa's elite and experienced troops and Koevoet members were possibly aided by the SA Air Force. A few days later, by 4 May, the full complement of 4,540 UN peacekeepers had arrived in Namibia and, by 13 May, the South African forces had returned to their bases.

On 15 May, the UN's final verification reassured South Africa as a prelude to the election phase that all the guerrillas were gone. This verification was not an exacting or scientific undertaking since relatively little data was available to work with. The SWAPO/PLAN fighters had come across the border at a time when no UN troops had been in place, so no one really knew how many had already been inside the nascent country. Less than two weeks later, they were instructed to return to Angola, with UNTAG offering safe meeting points for them. Had the guerrillas actually reported there, the United Nations could then have at least counted the number returning to Angola, but South African forces were also present at each of these nine stations and most SWAPO fighters felt threatened by the SADF presence. Most snuck back over the border into Angola rather than report to the UNTAG meeting points. Despite this lack of information, all parties agreed after 15 May that most of the SWAPO contingent was now in Angola and that moving ahead with the elections could be done safely.

FALSE WARNING ON 1 NOVEMBER

Exactly seven months after the first crisis, on 1 November, a few days prior to the elections, South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha called a hasty press conference and dramatically announced that “the same sources” that had given him information about the 1 April events had informed him that several hundred SWAPO fighters were again about to cross the border into Namibia. As evidence, he produced copies of alleged UN radio messages intercepted by South Africa. He assured the media that he had “no doubt about the authenticity of the transmissions” and that “the information was consistent with information received from other sources.”38 
 
Approximately one hour earlier, Botha had called the UN's Martti Ahtisaari but, unable to reach him, he then unsuccessfully attempted to contact Secretary-General Perez de Cuéllar, and left a message for him. Technically, then, the United Nations had been informed prior to the media, although not until after the press conference did Botha speak personally with both Ahtisaari, who replied with disbelief, and Perez de Cuéllar, who had a similar response. The radio messages in question were supposedly transmitted on UN wavelengths between monitors at the border. Botha had concluded from them that the United Nations knew of the planned incursion and had made no attempt to stop it. According to his sources, UNTAG felt intimidated by SWAPO and was therefore unwilling to intervene.39 
 
United Nations officials and others soon dismissed the messages as a hoax. UNTAG leaders had their communications specialists examine copies of the radio messages and they determined that the messages had neither the form, content, nor style of UN communications and were therefore fraudulent. But this was not the only indication of falsehood. Botha himself had a credibility problem because of similar though smaller scares earlier, none of which had turned out to be true.40 After several times “crying wolf” about SWAPO aggression, when little danger was apparent, his claims no longer commanded credibility.
 
SWAPO officials, understandably furious about the November allegations, argued that Botha was attempting to influence or disrupt the upcoming elections with false accusations. Further, according to SWAPO's Hamutenya, fewer than 600 SWAPO fighters were left in Angola. Recently, nearly all had legally returned to Namibia since, under Resolution 435 (and new understandings), they were entitled to participate in Namibia's elections if they had either resided in the country longer than four years or if their parents had been born in Namibia. Quite simply, had a plan for infiltration existed, no one was left to carry it out.41 Monitors searched the border for signs of a build-up but failed to uncover any evidence. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard described the situation on the border as “extremely peaceful.” On 4 November, even Botha had to concede that the messages had been a hoax, although from where they had originated was not ascertained.42 Most likely, they had been the work of spoilers within the South African government opposed to Namibian independence.

MISSING OPPORTUNITY FOR EARLY WARNING

The United Nations acted quickly on the 1 November charges, saving the election, but its response on 1 April needs further examination and comparison. Given that the 1 April incursion resulted in over 300 deaths, asking whether the United Nations could have foreseen the tragedy becomes important. Some signs of potential conflict were clear prior in retrospect. On 23 March, Under-Secretary-General Goulding met with SWAPO president Sam Nujoma. According to Perez de Cuéllar's memoir, during that meeting:
 
Nujoma referred immediately to a working paper that had been drafted earlier in the month for talks among the parties on implementation of Resolution 435 on the monitoring by Angola of the confinement to their bases in Angola of the SWAPO fighters. He insisted forcefully that this was wrong. … Goulding then said that he was compelled to make absolutely clear that the plan approved by the Security Council did not allow for either SWAPO bases or gathering centers for SWAPO guerrillas inside Namibia. Nujoma again insisted that the 1982 plan was unacceptable to SWAPO.43 
 
This meeting took place in Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe likely told Nujoma that his fighters had helped him win the first Zimbabwean election in 1980. As mentioned, this could well have convinced Nujoma to make a similar display with SWAPO guerrillas in Namibia. Secretary General Pérez de Cuéllar admitted that these factors “should have warned us of a possible intent to infiltrate fighters into Namibia.”44 But a delay of five days occurred before the report reached the Secretary-General in New York, and Goulding has been blamed for not passing on the information quickly. In his own memoirs, Goulding countered that he was well aware of the need to pass this information to New York, but because he had no secure communications in Harare, he immediately sent Colonel Michael Moriarity, UNTAG's Chief Liaison Officer, to Windhoek with a letter to UNTAG Force Commander Lt.-Gen. Prem Chand, asking him to fax the details of the meeting to Ahtisaari in New York. Prem Chand did indeed fax the information on 25 March, but because it was the Saturday before Easter the information did not reach the Secretary-General until Tuesday, 28 March,45which was by then, according to Pérez de Cuéllar, too late to do much about it.46 
 
Other fragments of evidence for early warning escaped the UN's notice, or at least were not acted upon. For example, according to informal remarks made by Pérez de Cuéllar to the Security Council during the week of 5 April, Botha told Martti Ahtisaari on 31 March 1989 that 150 armed SWAPO members had entered into Namibia in the past week-and-a-half and that possibly more were coming.47
 
Pérez de Cuéllar stated that he was not informed until at least six hours after the 1 April fighting began that something was seriously wrong with the Namibian peace process. Conversely, by several accounts, his Special Representative had received reports from Pretoria about a potential for violence along the border, and that South African intelligence officials had known of a build-up of SWAPO guerrillas in Angola weeks in advance.
 
In addition, a potential early warning appeared in a New York Times opinion article by Sam Nujoma himself that was widely read at the United Nations. In the 31 March op-ed, he stated:

We will reserve the full celebration until the outcome of free and fair election in November certified under United Nations Security Council Resolution 435. … The path will be strewn with obstacles. … We expect violence. [emphasis added]

Whether this reflected Nujoma's actual intentions or merely his extreme apprehension over the tactics of South Africa and his firmly-held belief that Pretoria was unwilling to engage in fair play cannot be ascertained. Nevertheless, Goulding's remarks are illuminating: “I had been on the receiving end of many Nujoma tantrums during my time in Luanda, with the result that I took this latest diatribe less seriously than I should have done.”48That the UN officials simply could not believe that almost a year into the “unofficial” cease-fire Nujoma would embark on such a reckless undertaking is understandable. Hindsight now points to a pattern of clues, but at the time the only discernible pattern was Nujoma's outbursts.

The main problem for real-time warning on 1 April was the inadequate number of UN officers positioned to observe SWAPO's recklessly sending its fighters from Angola into Namibia. Had the United Nations force been fully deployed it might have detected the warning signs in the field. Still, the fault did not lie with UNTAG, whose headquarters staff and 280 observers without troops (infantry) were quite helpless as the conflict grew into a week-long raging fire. Rather, the main fault lay with the nations serving on the Security Council who dithered over UNTAG's size, delaying its full deployment until well after 1 April, the date the cease-fire was to officially commence.
 

UNTAG'S LIMITATIONS

Under pressure to reduce costs, the United Nations significantly downsized the envisioned UNTAG from 25,000 to 4,650 plus some election personnel.49 But its task remained the same: to keep the peace and monitor the elections. UNTAG did not reach full strength until over a month later.50 
 
Besides the delayed deployment and inadequate strength on 1 April, another limitation imposed on UNTAG was Angola's long-standing refusal to allow UNTAG monitors into the country to ensure that SWAPO fighters were confined to their bases there. The pro-Communist Angolan government, aligned with SWAPO, insisted that it alone be responsible for monitoring SWAPO bases in Angola, adamantly refusing all UN entry until the last day of the Mt. Etjo summit. And even then it agreed to only 28 UNTAG observers to “monitor the [Angolan] monitors.”51This was a point of dispute for Pik Botha and other South African officials who knew that the Angolan government forces were lax in their duties and partial to SWAPO. Had UNTAG gained access to the bases in Angola in April while Botha was claiming a build-up of SWAPO forces along the border, the United Nations might have had important counter-information on the number of guerrillas in Angola and their motivations. A well-orchestrated UN monitoring presence in Angola might even have prevented the tragic SWAPO acts on 1 April or at least exposed the false South African pretext, but the Angolans had refused UN entry.
 
The United Nations was wiser the second time. By November, the whole environment surrounding the peace process had changed, mainly because the fully-deployed UNTAG was now confident of its own information rather than reliant upon Pretoria. South African forces had been confined to base since mid-May and UNTAG was effectively monitoring the border. Part of the reason the United Nations was so quick to dismiss Botha's November accusations was because it could now be more certain that no legitimate warning signs had appeared. There had been no build-up on the Angolan border, no sign of recent crossings, no skirmishes or sightings; in fact, all reports indicated the situation on the border was “extremely peaceful.”52Even Louis Pienaar, Namibia's South African Administrator-General, had to admit that “the over-all situation is calm … there is no reason for alarm.”53Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar then issued a report to the Security Council stating that the situation in Namibia was calm.54 
 
Because UNTAG now had a better sense of SWAPO's numbers, it could be certain that South Africa's nightmarish claims of “thousands of SWAPO guerrillas, supported by 14 tanks” within five miles of the border were completely unsound.55With the full UNTAG force in place, the United Nations considered its own assessment of the situation to be more accurate than that of South African intelligence, whose motives were in any case suspect.

 

OTHER ALLEGATIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS

At various other times before the elections, UN Headquarters ordered on-the-spot investigations to foster transparency and to eliminate unwarranted suspicions from both sides. Observers who were sent to trouble spots around Namibia could sense the prevailing conditions, especially by speaking with locals.56The United Nations also accepted information indirectly through allegations and complaints from Namibian residents, as well as affidavits, statements, and depositions compiled by third parties such as the Council of Churches. Forensic reports obtained from police forces also provided considerable insight into the security and electoral situation.
 
The UN's response to Botha's 1 November allegations provides another example of the intelligence (information analysis) techniques the United Nations employed in Namibia. The organization's technical specialists first reviewed the United Nations intercepted messages with South African communication experts and then sent a verification team into the field consisting of United Nations, South African, and Angolan representatives. Their task was to search the border for signs, such as footprints, fires, or food that might indicate a build-up of guerrilla forces or their recent crossings. UNTAG officials felt it important to involve the parties themselves in investigations whenever possible so that South Africa, SWAPO, and Angola could all be sure that UNTAG was remaining impartial.
 
Also, UNTAG pioneered the use of UN civilian police (CIVPOL). This component eventually consisted of 1,500 police monitors, involved in tasks ranging from monitoring political gatherings to guarding ballot boxes during the elections. They were hampered in their ground patrols, however, by the late arrival of their mine-resistant vehicles and by problems in maintaining the vehicles. The UN police officers frequently had to rely on hitching rides with the South West African Police to get a sense of activities in the field.57The CIVPOL also had the difficult task of observing and identifying the activities of the Koevoet, the dreaded South African paramilitary “police” unit in pre-independence Namibia, which carried out many of its activities covertly. Nevertheless, the CIVPOL served as an important reminder to local residents of the UN's impartial presence in Namibia as the eyes and ears of the international community.

 

FROM INFORMATION TO INTELLIGENCE

One troubling aspect of the UN peacekeeping mission in Namibia was the lack of analyzed information. Not only were few UN personnel available to gather data early on, but even after full deployment, very few people were tasked to analyze the gathered information. The United Nations seemed to have forgotten that UNTAG's largest predecessor in peacekeeping, the UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC, 1960–1964), had developed a large Military Information Branch (MIB) to warn and inform of threats to the mission. The MIB gathered information from an impressive array of sources, including radio intercepts, aerial reconnaissance, and human sources such as UN personnel, locals and informers. Its analysts corroborated information, built scenarios, and passed the resulting “intelligence” (i.e., analyzed information relating to security) to the Force Commander.58But in Namibia no analysis section was created at mission headquarters to do such work. Regular military sections were set up (J1 for personnel, J3 for operations, and J4 for logistics) but none for J2 (intelligence). In fact, only one “information officer” was stationed at force headquarters and he had no personnel or other assets in the field which he could direct. Only later in the mission did national battalions include “intelligence cells” to overcome the operational deficiency.59
 
In the 1990s and particularly in the 2000s, the United Nations began to incorporate dedicated intelligence bodies into its missions. In 2006, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations adopted a policy to incorporate a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) and Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC) into all its field missions.60The JOCs dealt with operational information and the JMACs were mandated to prepare longer-term analyses. As the United Nations came to realize through the travails of its multidimensional peacekeeping operations from 1989 onwards, information gathering must be complemented with information analysis in order to develop hard, actionable intelligence. In 1989, a substantial amount of detailed information was provided in the letters from the South African Foreign Minister, but the information strongly reflected South Africa's biases and was at times factually flawed in its favor. The United Nations had the responsibility of processing and analyzing what it was given by the South African government and assessing its value in light of other information. While the data was useful, a detailed knowledge was needed of leaders’ personality traits and a history of behavior, a sense of context and influences (both positive and negative), and other subtleties before a real appraisal of the data's worth could be made. This was not carried out systematically.
 
Also in New York, the UN Secretariat had trouble sorting through the conflicting information and myriad voices in 1989. The UN's membership was deeply divided about the truth of the SWAPO incursion in early April. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which represented the majority of the UN membership, felt that the United Nations had made an unforgivable blunder. Its members expressed their “shock and dismay at the brutal and genocidal campaign of the illegal occupation regime of South Africa” and their disappointment in the United Nations for its “irresponsibility,” “naivety,” and “poor judgment.”61In the Namibian Council, South Africa lied about the size of the incursion and then used the falsity to massacre SWAPO prisoners.
 
Given these tensions and the varied information sources (SWAPO, South Africa, and the NAM), the United Nations had a difficult time processing information in such a charged political climate. While the best solution to this dilemma would have been an independent source of information, the next best option would have been to analyze the raw information, remove the biases and political motivations, and refine it into something that could be of use to an impartial UN peacekeeping force. In November, this was less important because the crisis proved to be a false alarm with little chance of escalation, and because UNTAG was fully deployed in the North. When Foreign Minister Botha sounded his alarm, the United Nations had communications specialists, as well as officials on the border, who could examine the intercepted messages and declare them fraudulent.

FAVORABLE RESULTS

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Namibia ended as a great success. The democratic elections, won by SWAPO, were widely regarded as free and fair. The turnout in the five-day election period, 7–11 November 1989, was a remarkable 97 percent of registered voters, 57 percent of whom voted for SWAPO.62 While the victory was not decisive enough to grant SWAPO a two-thirds majority, the outcome was probably for the best because SWAPO was then forced to engage with other parties in drafting a new constitution. UNTAG's involvement contributed to the high election turnout by ensuring that the voting would be free and secure, and therefore worthwhile for the people of Namibia. The United Nations had the responsibility of registering voters, namely people over the age of 18 who had lived in Namibia for four years or who had a parent born there. This made registration difficult, as it included many people in South Africa, plus nearly all the SWAPO fighters in Angola. The second step was to regulate campaigning practices, which UNTAG accomplished by negotiating a code of conduct for all parties. UNTAG also organized voting procedures to ensure the utmost secrecy and impartiality. After the successful elections of November 1989 Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar inaugurated the new President, Sam Nujoma, on 21 March 1990.
 
The independence ceremony itself was one of the high points of Pérez de Cuéllar's career. He recalled:
 
In the joy of the occasion the bitter struggle of the past appeared forgotten. Pride and hope had replaced hatred and violence … UNTAG truly served as midwife for the birth of this new country. It had arrived poorly equipped for the job at hand with near-disastrous results. Its recovery was, under the circumstances, remarkably swift. … UNTAG's job was to monitor, to be the impartial chaperone and to ensure that the police respected the human rights of the population, the election and procedures were fair, and that the cease-fire was properly observed.63
 
Indeed, the United Nations deserves much of the credit for the successful independence process in Namibia, despite its rocky start.

LESSONS LEARNED AND NOT

The Namibian experience provides valuable lessons for UN peacekeeping. The crisis of 1 April 1989 resulted in a tragic loss of life, the near collapse of the peace process, and substantial UN embarrassment as it was caught unaware of the true situation on the ground. Had UNTAG been fully deployed at the beginning of the cease-fire on 1 April, as the original UN plan had envisaged, much of this might have been avoided. The presence of UNTAG's mobilized infantry battalions would have enabled the UN to rapidly investigate South Africa's allegations and contain its brutal units that perpetrated the slaughter. The delay in UNTAG's deployment until after the commencement of the cease-fire, resulting from the Security Council's bickering over the expense and size of UNTAG, was the principal cause of the April disaster. But UN headquarters did not offset this shortcoming through adequate information collection and analysis.
 
In contrast, UNTAG's response in November was rapid, facilitated both by the force's full deployment and the experience the mission had gained. Among crucial improvements to UNTAG during the summer and fall of 1989 was the fostering of independent information sources. An important lesson clearly drawn from the April fiasco was the realization that the United Nations was decidedly handicapped in decisionmaking by its reliance on South African intelligence sources. Both in the field and at UN Headquarters it was (and remains) essential to corroborate, synthesize, and summarize information from a variety of sources.64The use of a Military Information Branch, a JMAC, or similar body with trained “intelligence” personnel on the ground, can help to secure the proper intelligence/information on UN peacekeeping missions.
 
Another valuable lesson that was reflected in changes between April and November 1989 was the need, not just for information, but for its context. Raw data has its uses, but peacekeeping involves an intensely human element that is unpredictable. Pik Botha, like Sam Nujoma, was given to emotional alarm and overstatement. Thus, when Botha announced another impending incursion just before the elections, the UN officials had something beyond counter-evidence to disprove his theory. They had his history of such behavior, a sense of South African biases, and an awareness of the tension surrounding the pending elections, all of which comprised motivations for intentional deception and a false alarm by South Africa. UNTAG had graduated from information-gathering to intelligence.
 
Beyond these lessons are others that still need to be learned and adopted by the United Nations over two decades later to help achieve efficient and effective peace missions. First, a system for early warning must be developed, especially since most conflicts are easier to stop before they start than when they have begun to rage. Rarely does a crisis arise without some kind of warning signals, so the United Nations must be more vigilant in its efforts to recognize signs of impending conflict. Part of the solution is to disseminate information more quickly and efficiently. Under-Secretary-General Goulding's report, with its tell-tale early warning signals for 1 April, did not reach decisionmakers in a timely fashion, thus hampering chances to anticipate the April infiltration. New and improved technologies, such as more rapid and convenient means of communications (e.g., satellite phones, secure e-mail, video teleconferencing), are helping facilitate the exchange information with the field.
 
Technologies can also assist greatly with monitoring. But, over two decades after UNTAG, the United Nations remains highly deficient in the use of monitoring technologies, especially compared to modern military organizations like NATO.65Satellite and airborne imagery could have proven extremely useful in Namibia, including spotting the movement of Cuban tanks. Ground radars and night vision could have been key technologies to monitoring the movement of guerillas, South African forces, and Cuban troops. The advance of Cuban infantry and tanks within Angola to the Namibian border dramatically changed the strategic picture for South Africa, and likely affected its behavior. The United Nations needed to know about such movements in detail, even if it did not have personnel in Angola or on the border. Information about some movements was provided to UN headquarters but without detail.66
Another major lesson, yet to be learned and implemented, is for an intelligence capacity at UN Headquarters in New York. In 1989, a modest unit, the Office for Research and the Collection of Information, was supposed to provide early warnings but it was not functional in that regard, being overwhelmed with other tasks. In 1992, the UN did create a Situation Room for the transmission of reports in a timely manner, and attached to it a small intelligence unit composed of a half-dozen intelligence officers on secondment, but that effort could not be sustained beyond the decade.67
 
Despite the setbacks and deficiencies, the Namibia mission was nevertheless a great achievement for the United Nations. Though the independence process was nearly derailed, the efforts of the UN mission, combined with the fundamental willingness of the parties and the population to support the electoral process, gave rise to a remarkable accomplishment which was itself a stepping stone to what perhaps became an even greater achievement. The successful transition to an independent and democratic Namibia helped to secure the end of the apartheid regime and to establish interracial democracy in South Africa in 1994. The United Nations can look back at the challenges it met in Namibia and see them as stepping stones to not only a new nation but to a better region and world.


REFERENCES

1.^The Economist, “Namibia's Birthday Fiasco,” 8 April 1989, pp.  45–46.

2.^Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace: A Secretary General's Memoir (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997), pp. 306–308.

3.^ “Friday Highlights Press Release,” UN Doc. DH/386, 7 April 1989.

4.^ “Further Report of the Secretary-General Concerning the Implementation of Security Council Resolutions 435 (1978) and 439 (1978) Concerning the Question of Namibia,” Addendum to UN Doc. S/20412/Add.2, 30 March 1989.

5.^ “Monday Highlights Press Release,” UN Doc. DH/382, 3 April 1989. Also, S. C. Saxena, Namibia and the World: The Story of the Birth of a Nation (Delhi: Kalinga Publications), 1991.

6.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 310.

7.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0308–12-19 (Acc-93–141) Military Matters—Namibia/Observers 6/4/89–26/10/89, “Periodic Report,” (01 April–15 June, 89) p. 5 of 16, paragraph, 2.

8.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0308–12-19 (Acc-93–141) “Military Matters—Namibia/Observers 6/4/89–26/10/89,” “Periodic Report (01 April–15 June, 89),” pp. 5 and 12 of 16 (Initial Deployment of Monitors/Observers 01 April 1989). See top left portion of map entitled “NW Sector.” See also p. 2 of the report, paragraph 5b.

9.^ UN Archives, New York, S308–13-14 (Acc-93–141) Namibia (Marrack Goulding's “Keep” File, 2/2/89–27/4/89, “Remarks by the Secretary General at Informal Consultations in the Security Council Today (Namibia),” Monday, 3 April 1989, p. 4.

10.^ According to Marti Ahtisaari: “They [South Africa] may have had an advance notice of what was going to happen because they had infiltrated SWAPO—I'm sure they had … people were really vulnerable because people could be blackmailed through the South Africans … people were under detention.” As reported in the Yale—UN Oral History, Martti Ahtisaari, 23 April 1999, New York. Interviewed by James Sutterlin.

11.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 310.

12.^ UN Archives, New York, S308–13-14 (Acc-93–141) Namibia—Marrack Goulding's “Keep” File, 2/2/89–27/4/89, p. 6.

13.^ Marrack Goulding, Peacemonger (London: John Murray, 2002), pp. 158 and 150.

14.^ “Report of the Secretary-General Concerning the Implementation of Security Council Resolutions 435 (1978) and 439 (1978),” UN Doc. S/13120, 26 February 1979.

15.^ In 1988 Sam Nujoma wrote to the Secretary-General expressing SWAPO's willingness to remain committed to the “letter and spirit of Security Council resolutions 385 and 435” as well as to the “spirit” (but omitted the word “letter”) of the Geneva Protocols. “Letter dated 12 August 1988 from the President of the South West Africa People's Organization addressed to the Secretary-General,” Annex to UN Doc. S/20129, 17 August 1988.

16.^ Interview with Col. John N. Nakaambo, Namibian Defence Force, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Cornwallis, Canada, 26 November 1998. Col. Nakamambo served as chief of vehicle and equipment maintenance for SWAPO/PLAN forces in 1989.

17.^ UN Doc. DH/382, 3 April 1989.

18.^ S. C. Saxena, Namibia and the World, p. 278.

19.^ UN Doc. DH/382, 3 April 1989.

20.^ Lionel Cliffe, The Transition to Independence in Namibia (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1994), p. 88.

21.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0307–5-6 (Acc-93–126) Code Cables Outgoing from Marrack Goulding's Office, 19/4/89–28/4/89, “Outgoing Code Cable to Ahtisaari, Windhoek from Dayal, New York, dated 27 April 1989, Number: UNTAG 153.”

22.^ Victoria Brittain, “Injuries Show SWAPO Dead ‘Must Have Been Executed,’ ” The Guardian, 25 April 1989, p. 2.

23.^ Jonathan Steele, “Russians Want Red Cross Checks on Namibia Deaths,” The Guardian, 25 April 1989, p. 2.

24.^ Yale–UN Oral History Interview with Bishop Kleopas Dumeni, 17 March 1999, 15; as cited in: Jean Krasno, Bradd C. Hayes, and Donald C. F. Daniel, eds., Leveraging for Success in United Nations Peace Operations (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), p. 38.

25.^ Brian Harlech-Jones, A New Thing?: The Namibian Independence Process, 1989–1990 (Windhoek, Namibia: EIN Publishers, 1997), p. 40, as cited in: Jean Krasno, Bradd C. Hayes, and Donald C. F. Daniel, eds., Leveraging for Success in United Nations Peace Operations, pp. 38–39.

26.^ David Lush, Last Steps to Uhuru: An Eye-Witness Account of Namibia's Transition to Independence, (Windhoek, Namibia: New Namibian Books, 1993), pp. 147–148. Also see the photo insert of Lush's book “The bodies of PLAN combatants killed during the April 1989 incursion being dumped into a mass grave outside Oshakati,” as cited in: Jean Krasno, Bradd C. Hayes, and Donald C. F. Daniel, eds., Leveraging for Success in United Nations Peace Operations, p. 39.

27.^ UNTAG's Weekly Situation Summary No. 3 states: “situation in north western area between Ruacona, Oshakati, and Okongo still tense. SADF/SWATF [South West African Territorial Force] mobilized to the area. Our monitors instructed to carry out their duties within SADF bases but not accompany SADF/SWATF leaving bases for ops.” UN Archives, New York, S-0307–54 (Acc-93–126) Code Cables Incoming from Marrack Goulding's Office, 1/4/89–16/4/89, From HQ UNTAG to UN/New York, Subject Weekly Situation Summary No. 3 Covering 0500 Z March 25 to 0500 Z 3 April 89, paragraph 2.

28.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0307–55 (Acc-93–126) Code Cables (Outgoing from Marrack Goulding's Office) 3/4/89–18/4/89, “Outgoing Fax Number 157, dated 3 April 1989, to FC UNTAG from CLO UNTAG (A), Attention Goulding UN, NY,” p. 1.

29.^Ibid., p. 2.

30.^ Christopher S. Wren, “Terms Fixed for Pullout of Guerrillas from Namibia,” The New York Times, 10 April 1989, p. A3.

31.^ Jean Krasno, Bradd C. Hayes, and Donald C. F. Daniel, eds., Leveraging for Success in United Nations Peace Operations, p. 41.

32.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0307–18-21 (Acc-93–126) SITREPS 10/3/89–31/5/89, “From HQ UNTAG to UN New York, Situation Report No. 026, Time from 07 April 0500 Z to 08 April 0500 Z,” p. 2, paragraph 5 Alpha.

33.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0307–18-21 (Acc-93–126) SITREPS 10/3/89–31/5/89, “From HQ UNTAG to UN New York, Weekly Situation Report no. 4 covering the period from 030500 Z to 170500 Z April 89,” p. 2, paragraph 5 Alpha. [Emphasis added.] SWAPOL is the acronym for South West African Police.

34.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0308–18-2 (Acc 93/141) Secretary General/Security Council—Secretary General's Statements 4/3/89–21/7/89, “Background Points for an Oral Report by the Secretary General to the Security Council, 7 April, 1989,” paragraph 2, pp. 1–2.

35.^ UN Archives, New York, S-0308–18-2 (Acc 93/141) Secretary General/Security Council—Secretary General's Statements 4/3/89–21/7/89, “Annex given to Mr. Ahtisaari by the Administrator General,” 1400 hours, 7 April, 1989, paragraph 4b, p. 2.

36.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 306.

37.^ UN Archives, New York, S-1030–91 (Acc-1990–0226) UNTAG Intelligence & Information Summaries, 27 March 89–31 January 90, “SMIO April 1989 Assessment Report General Political Situation in Namibia,” p. 6.

38.^ “Letter Dated 89/11/04 from the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Addressed to the Secretary-General,” UN Doc. S/20947, 3 November 1989.

39.^ Allister Sparks, “Rebels Said to Cross Border from Angola,” The Washington Post, 2 November 1989, p. A47.

40.^ Oakland Ross, “SWAPO Trades War-Scare Charges with South Africa,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), 19 July 1989, Section A, p. 3.

41.^ Allister Sparks, “UN Force Says Messages Are Phony,” The Washington Post, 3 November 1989, Section 1, p. A35.

42.^ Heidi Von Egidy, “South African Official Now Says No Military Threat in Namibia,” Associated Press, 4 November 1989; British Broadcasting Company, “Namibia: Pik Botha in Windhoek, Admits Allegations of SWAPO Activity were False,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 6 November 1989.

43.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 309.

44.^ Ibid., p. 310.

45.^ Marrack Goulding, Peacemonger, pp. 151–152.

46.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 310.

47.^ Bill Schiller, “UN Alerted Night Before Namibia War,” The Toronto Star, 5 April 1989.

48.^ Marrack Goulding, Peacemonger, p. 152.

49.^The Economist, “Namibia's Birthday Fiasco.”

50.^ UN Doc. DH/386, 7 April 1989.

51.^ Marrack Goulding, Peacemonger, p. 161.

52.^ Christopher S. Wren, “Pretoria Playing Down Namibia ‘Infiltration,’ ” The New York Times, 3 November 1989, p. 5.

53.^ Okland Ross, “Botha's Namibian Invasion Charges Refuted,” The Globe and Mail, 3 November 1989, p. A9.

54.^ “Daily Highlights Press Release,” UN Doc. DH/525, 6 November 1989.

55.^ Allister Sparks, “UN Force Says Messages Are Phony.”

56.^ “Tuesday Highlights Press Release,” UN Doc. DH/388, 11 April 1989.

57.^ Private communication from Douglas Anglin, Ottawa, 24 October 1999.

58.^ A. Walter Dorn and J. H. Bell, “Intelligence and Peacekeeping: The UN Operation in the Congo, 1960–1964,” International Peacekeeping, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995, pp. 11–33.

59.^ Interview on 10 June 2000 with Lt. Col. Lucas Tumbo, who served as Deputy Personnel Officer in UNTAG.

60.^ United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), “DPKO Policy Directive: Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres,” Ref. POL/2006/3000/4, 1 July 2006 (New York: United Nations 2006).

61.^ “Communique Issued on 6 April 1989 by the Co-ordinating Bureau of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries,” Annex of UN Doc. S/20595, 17 April 1989.

62.^ “Further Report of the Secretary-General Concerning the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 435 (1978) Concerning the Question of Namibia,” UN Doc. S/20976, 14 November 1989.

63.^ Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pilgrimage for Peace, p. 317.

64.^ In the twenty-first century, the United Nations has taken a more sophisticated approach to information-gathering in the field. For example, it employed paid informants in its mission in Haiti. See A. Walter Dorn, “Intelligence-Led Peacekeeping: The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH),” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 24, No. 6, December 2009, pp. 805–835.

65.^ A. Walter Dorn, Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2011).

66.^ “Situation Regarding The SWAPO (Plan) Infiltration: 0708008 April 1989,” Given to Mr. Ahtisaari by the Administrator-General 1400, 7 April 1989, found in “Code Cable From Ahtisaari/Prem Chand, Windhoek, ‘Background Points for an Oral Report by the Secretary-General to the Security Council,’ ” UN Archives, New York, S-0308–18-2, “Secretary General/Security Council/-SecGeneral's Statements.”

67.^ A. Walter Dorn, “Intelligence at UN headquarters? The Information and Research Unit and the Intervention in Eastern Zaire 1996,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2005, pp. 440–465.

 

Contents

NO FOOLING ON 1 APRIL
THE MYSTERY OF SWAPO'S INCURSION
UN SHORTCOMINGS AND OPPOSITION FABLES
NEGOTIATING A CEASE-FIRE AT MT. ETJO
FALSE WARNING ON 1 NOVEMBER
MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR EARLY WARNING
UNTAG'S LIMITATIONS
OTHER ALLEGATIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS
FROM INFORMATION TO INTELLIGENCE
FAVORABLE RESULTS
LESSONS LEARNED AND NOT