Nongqai Special Edition Dieter Gerhardt preview cover image

ABSTRACT: Nongqai Special Edition Dieter Gerhardt preview.  The high treason case against then South African Navy commodore Dieter Gerhardt for spying over a substantial number of years for Soviet military intelligence, the GRU, will be the subject of a Special Edition of Nongqai e-Magazine in April 2024. Given the political circumstances at the time, this remains a subject with distinct angles to it, depending on one’s viewpoint. Which make the objective facts that much more important. The upcomimmg Special Edition is meticulously researched, benefiting from Admiral Gerhardt’s own input and review by him.

KEYWORDS: South African Defence Force; South African Navy; GRU; Soviet Military Intelligence; South African Police Security Branch; Major General Frans Steenkamp; Admiral Dieter Gerhardt; Henning van Aswegen; Walter Volker.

Author (of this preview): Dr Willem Steenkamp

NONGQAI SPECIAL EDITION DIETER GERHARDT PREVIEW

I had seldom seen my late father, Frans Steenkamp, as infuriated and deeply perturbed as that day. He was then the national commander of the the South African Police Security Branch.

The day upon which the South African Police had been alerted by their American counterparts, the FBI, that they were escorting a Soviet spy back to Johannesburg by plane. The Americans had caught him in the USA, for spying for the USSR’s military intelligence, the GRU.

That spy was a very senior officer in the SA Navy, then holding the rank of commodore.

Dieter Felix Gerhardt.

John Morgan Blog Ad

CLICK ON THE AD IMAGE FOR MORE DETAIL

At that time the military occupied a dominant position in the South African political firmament. They  were the darlings of the then prime Minister, P.W. Botha. The revalation that there had been a traitor operating in their midst, for so many years and of such high rank, clearly would be seriously damaging.

What had perturbed and and angered my father so deeply, was that there were individuals who were trying to apply pressure for the “Gerhardt problem” to be made to quickly disappear, without the niceties of a trial – thus avoiding any damaging disclosures. This my dad found totally morally abhorrent and obviously quite illegal. He strenuously opposed such a “solution”, insisting that the man may indeed be a traitor,  but that legally he was still entitled to his day in court.

Because criminal investigation and detention of suspects jurisdictionally resorted under the police, the matter was furthermore a police concern, and not for the military to “resolve”. My father accordingly sent a team of very senior SAP-SB officers to the airport to personally take custody of Gerhardt, right there aboard the plane itself, and to escort him to a detention facility that would be inviolably secure.

It is a matter of record that Rear Admiral Gerhardt was indeed found guilty of high treason, after the police under the talented and dedicated lead investigator, Herman Stadler (later Major General) had presented a watertight case based on the evidence they had diligently amassed. However, after the political transition in South Africa, Dieter Gerhardt was released from prison and promoted to his current rank.

This upcoming special edition of Nongqai is based on exhaustive research by the well-known author on intelligence matters, Henning van Aswegen, in cooperation with Walter Volker. It is aimed at recording for posterity, in objective and even-handed manner, the essential facts surrounding what clearly was a complex case. One capable of being viewed quite differently, depending on one’s political angle of approach. The authors strove resolutely to not be one-sided, in that their project has benefited from extensive inputs and review by the principal actor, Admiral Dieter Gerhardt himself.

I am sure that you will find it spellbinding reading, easy on the eye (as said, Henning is an acclaimed novelist). It is also enlightening – so, please be on the look-out for its publication later in April. It is based on important original source material, not hitherto published.

To whet your appetite, below we’re reproducing the first two pages of an internal SAP-SB memo written by the investigative team to keep my father and the police commissioner appraised of progress. I recently found it among documents that my late father had left me. It gives a succinct overview of the case,  which I hope will leave you keenly anticipating the detail that Henning and Walter (having i.a. benefited from the admiral’s active involvement) will reveal in the upcoming special edition.

DIE STAAT TEEN D F GERHARDT EN EGGENOTE

1.    Die Staat teen Dieter GERHARDT berus hoofsaaklik op:

 1.1          Die omvattende en duidelik identifiseerbare spioenasie/kommunikasie materiaal wat aan sy persoon en by sy woning gevind is. Hierdie materiaal bestaan o.a. uit die volgende:

  • Sogenaamde “one time pads”
  • Skedules
  • Behandelde skryfmateriaal (geheime skrif)
  • ‘n Verskeidenheid van houers met vals bodems bevattende mikro-kameras en films
  • Spesiale tipes films en kameras
  • Morsekode boodskappe
  • Vals paspoorte.

1.2 ‘n Enkele film van die VSA ontvang bevattende geklassifiseerde militêre inligting, asook ‘n 11 bladsye verslag waarin ‘n uiteensetting verstrek word van die betrokke film materiaal, ‘n samevatting van die politieke situasie in die RSA en die algemene situasie m.b.t. probleme ondervind met GERHARDT se spioenasiebedrywighede.

1.3 Hoewel lg. verslag met die GERHARDTS se tikmasjien verbind is, kan die filmmateriaal, ooreenkomstig ‘n onderneming aan die Amerikaners, slegs as getuienis gebruik word op grond van materiaal van ‘n ongeidentifiseerde bron in die buiteland ontvang sonder om die VSA te kompromitteer. Dit het dus slegs beperkte getuieniswaarde.

2.  By ‘n ontleding van alle beskikbare getuienis, met klem op dit wat ontdek is by die behandeling van die bewysstukke en gekoppel aan die bekentenis wat GERHARDT voor ‘n landdros afgelê het, bestaan daar ‘n sterk prima facie saak teen hom. ‘n Skuldigbevinding op ‘n aanklag van Hoogverraad skyn dus op hierdie stadium nie problematies te wees nie.

2.1 Dit moet egter in gedagte gehou word dat GERHARDT sedert 1964 tot en met sy arrestasie in Januarie 1981 vir die Sowjet-Unie gespioeneer het. Gedurende hierdie tydperk het hy militêre inligting van hoogs geheime aard aan sy meesters beskibaar gestel. A.g.v. samewerking met ander moondhede het hy gevolglik nie slegs die Weermag onberekenbare skade berokken nie maar ook die Westerse alliansie en NATO gekompromitteer. Hoewel die Sowjet-Unie agente oor die hele wêreld  aanwend moet GERHARDT beslis as ’n uiters belangrike skakel in die netwerk beskou word. Hierdie saak is dus eie aan sy soort en ten einde die hele Westerse belange te beskerm is dit belangrik dat ‘n  gepaste vonnis opgelê word.

2.2 Uit die beskikbare getuienis is die bewyse dat hy materiaal uitgestuur het beperk, en vir die totale omvang van sy bedrywighede moet daar hoofsaaklik op afleidings gesteun word. Ten einde die hof uiteindelik te kan vra om ‘n positiewe afleiding te maak moet die Staat dus elke greintjie inligting tot sy beskikking voorlê.

eDELE Afrikaans ad Spanish classes

KLIEK op advertensie vir meer inligting

3. Voorgaande in ag genome, is die Switserse materiaal dus van essensiële belang vir die regverdige beregtiging van die saak.

3.1 Hierdie materiaal bestaan uit die volgende:

  • Agt films bevattende militêre inligting (ongeveer 3 500 bladsye) wat oor agt-en-negentig geklassifiseerde onderwerpe handel. Dit sluit in projekte, kodes en handboeke.
  • Materiaal wat in besit van die Sowjet agent “Bob” gevind is vir oorhandiging aan GERHARDT, soortgelyk aan die wat plaaslik in lg. se besit gevind is.

3.2 Bob was vir die afgelope aantal jare GERHARDT se hanteerder. Ontmoetings het op voorafbepaalde datums en plekke in die buiteland plaasgevind. By hierdie geleenthede is GERHARDT van kommunikasie­ materiaal voorsien en het hy ook sy spioenasie-inligting oorhandig. ‘n Derglike ontmoeting sou op 83-01-25 in Zurich, Switserland, plaasvind waartydens GERHARDT die Amerikaanse sowel as die Switserse filmmateriaal sou oorhandig. Eersgenoemde materiaal was tydens GERHARDT se arrestasie in die VSA in sy besit gevind terwyl lg. reeds in Switserland aanwesig was, waar dit deur sy vrou in haar moeder se woonstel in Basel gelaat is. A.g.v. die inligting deur Dieter aan die CIA in Amerika verstrek was Bob op 83-01-25 deur die Switserse polisie by die rendezvous in Switserland gearresteer. Hulle het ook beslag gelê op die materiaal in Basel.

To be expanded upon in the upcoming Nongqai Special Edition on the Dieter Gerhardt case – watch out for this cover (see below), and the important contribution it will hold to the recording of our national security history.

Follow Henning’s series on the development of an own South African Intelligence Science in this blog, or in our regular monthly editions, with these links:

BLOG: https://nongqai.org/nongqai-series-the-development-of-intelligence-science-in-south-africa-no-7/

Monthly Edition: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y3ttVV1VM9Wxc42LZVVtcDkD_SVJsk-w/view?usp=sharing

WHILE YOU ARE WAITING FOR OUR NONGQAI SPECIAL EDITION ON THE DIETER GERHARDT CASE, if you want to check out the WIKIPEDIA article about it in the meantime, CLICK HERE

Nongqai Special Edition Dieter Gerhardt preview of upcoming cover

COMING SOON!

Nongqai Blog donations button PayPal

Donations managed for us by our publishers, Grupo Excellentia