Because of its inherently clandestine nature, people love to speculate and hype the influence the CIA has on world politics.
Are they actually running a Bourne-style assassination program? Could their own operatives have inspired the Arab Spring? Did they put fluoride in tap water? What do they actually do behind those closed doors in Langley, Virginia.
Well, score one today for the “The CIA’s tentacles are long and malevolent” crowd, for one of their own admitted to being behind the arrest of Nelson Mandela.
From The Telegraph:
[CIA agent] Donald Rickard said he and his handlers believed Mr Mandela was “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union” and he had no qualms about tipping the authorities off about his whereabouts in 1962, the height of the Cold War.
Mandela’s detention at a police roadblock in Howick, KwaZulu Natal was the catalyst for a series of trials, culminating in the Rivonia Treason Trial that would see him spend 27 years in prison. The CIA’s involvement in his detention after 17 years on the run has long been suspected but has never been confirmed until now.
Mr Rickard, the then US vice-consul in Durban, suggested that [African National Congress] informants told him Mandela was visiting the seaside city and said he told South African police when he learned the activist was due to return to Johannesburg.
Mandela, Rickard believed, was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union, a toy of the communists”, and was about “to incite” the Indian population of Natal into a communist-led mass rebellion against the apartheid government which could open the door to Russian intervention.
Mandela’s grandson, who is still active in South African politics, called on the U.S. to apologize for its actions.
“Whilst we were always aware of the West’s role in overt and covert support for the Apartheid state (this) disclosure has put an end to decades of denial revealing the fact that the USA put its imperial interests above the struggle for liberation of millions of people,” said [Mandla] Mandela, the former statesman’s eldest grandson who is also an ANC MP and traditional chief in the family clan.
“We call on freedom loving people of the world to come out in condemnation of this betrayal of our nation, the peoples of Southern Africa and all who suffered as a consequence of the USA’s support for the brutal apartheid state.”
Rickard left the CIA in 1978. He only recently admitted his involvement in the arrest while being interviewed for a film about Mandela.
Rickard passed away after the interview. The American government has not yet spoken out about the allegations.
[Via The Sunday Times]