Intelligence: September 27, 2000


FINAL SECRETS OF THE FALKLANDS WAR; A lot was going on behind the scenes during the 1982 Falklands War, some of which is only now coming into view. 

@ Argentine special forces were sent to Europe to blow up a British destroyer in Gibraltar harbor. The idea was to bring the war home to the British; the Argentines thought they had a better chance of success if operating from Spanish territory rather than in Britain itself. The four commandoes were sent to Spain only days after the sinking of the Argentine cruiser Belgrano. They were armed with four limpet mines smuggled into Spain through diplomatic channels. By the time the men had completed their reconnaissance of the harbor, the original target ship had left and another ship, HMS Ariadne, had arrive. The Argentine unit's radio communications were picked up by French intelligence, which warned the British. Spanish police arrested the men on 31 May 1982; their car contained a rubber boat, four limpet mines, and oxyacetylene equipment. Some suspect that the French revealed the plot during July as a means of complaining about the US and British Echelon eavesdropping system, which was designed for use against spies, terrorists, and criminals but is now thought to be used for industrial espionage. 

@ French intelligence determined that a shipment of Exocet missiles sold to Peru was going to be sent onward to Argentina. Francois Mitterand then blocked the sale.

@ French and British intelligence sold Argentina black market Exocet missiles which turned out to be fakes.

@ French intelligence tracked an Argentine ship which was wandering around Europe hoping to pick up Exocets or other weapons which were to be purchased secretly by Argentine agents. --Stephen V Cole


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