• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The CIA and the 1962 Arrest of Nelson Mandela

This past week the Sunday Times in South Africa, and various other news agencies, reported on interviews with a dying CIA operative, Donald Rickard, who acknowledged the agency’s involvement in the arrest of Nelson Mandela that facilitated South Africa’s first democratically elected president’s 28 years of incarceration. So what’s the surprise?

West Africans and southern Africans alike always assumed both CIA and KGB presence in colonial Africa. There was a common joke saying that if you dropped in at hotel happy hour in Luanda, Lusaka, or Maputo you could identify both the Americans and Russians. People even had memories of KGB and CIA operatives sharing tables.

While I can’t corroborate the last assertion, I can affirm that the hundreds of South African struggle veterans that I have interviewed believed that both South Africa’s Special Branch and the United States’ CIA were ever present. In fact, some of the individuals I interviewed, in spite of the assurances of leaders in the struggle, believed that I had to have Central Intelligence Agency ties because I had come to South Africa on a Fulbright in 1999.

But back to the CIA and Nelson Mandela. Throughout my research for Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War against Apartheid I never came across the name Donald Rickard. In 1958, Ruth and Joe hosted a party that celebrated acquittals in the infamous Treason Trial. Many of the individuals who the state had charged attended and like all of the First/Slovo parties, it was a multiracial affair. Mandela did not come to the party as his presence was deemed as dangerous.

In fact, according to Mandela’s biographer, Anthony Sampson, the CIA agent who four years later tipped off the South African Special Branch leading to Mandela’s arrest, Millard Shirley, was at the party. Shirley presumably died in an automobile crash in Switzerland in 1990. Newsweek reported on his CIA work in South Africa in the 1980s and even the Truth and Reconciliation Commission probed his part in Mandela’s arrest.

This isn’t a new story. Like the fuzziness surrounding the intricacies of Shirley’s involvement, the Rickard interview is no less obtuse. It is hard to get a definitive portrayal of CIA-Special Branch collaboration in Madiba’s arrest. But of course we shouldn’t be surprised. The record of CIA intrusions throughout the world is well documented and not in question. The ANC underground always assumed CIA presence.

Obviously, Donald Rickard is no Snowden and present ANC calls for CIA transparency regarding Mandela’s arrest will fall on deaf ears. However, if nothing else, we have another example of Amerika’s political/corporate continuing insidious covert attempts to rule the world.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 24, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
Melvin Goodman
The Dangerous Demise of Disarmament
Jeffrey St. Clair
“The Army Ain’t No Place for a Black Man:” How the Wolf Got Caged
Richard Moser
War is War on Mother Earth
Andrew Levine
The (Small-d) Democrat’s Dilemma
Russell Mokhiber
The Boeing Way: Blaming Dead Pilots
Rev. William Alberts
Gaslighters of God
Phyllis Bennis
The Amputation Crisis in Gaza: a US-Funded Atrocity
David Rosen
21st Century Conglomerate Trusts 
Jonathan Latham
As a GMO Stunt, Professor Tasted a Pesticide and Gave It to Students
Binoy Kampmark
The Espionage Act and Julian Assange
Kathy Deacon
Liberals Fall Into Line: a Recurring Phenomenon
Jill Richardson
The Disparity Behind Anti-Abortion Laws
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Chelsea Manning is Showing Us What Real Resistance Looks Like
Zhivko Illeieff
Russiagate and the Dry Rot in American Journalism
Norman Solomon
Will Biden’s Dog Whistles for Racism Catch Up with Him?
Yanis Varoufakis
The Left Refuses to Get Its Act Together in the Face of Neofascism
Lawrence Davidson
Senator Schumer’s Divine Mission
Thomas Knapp
War Crimes Pardons: A Terrible Memorial Day Idea
Renee Parsons
Dump Bolton before He Starts the Next War
Yves Engler
Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela
Katie Singer
Controlling 5G: A Course in Obstacles
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Beauty of Trees
Jesse Jackson
Extremist Laws, Like Alabama’s, Will Hit Poor Women the Hardest
Andrew Bacevich
The “Forever Wars” Enshrined
Ron Jacobs
Another One Moves On: Roz Payne, Presente!
Christopher Brauchli
The Offal Office
Daniel Falcone
Where the ‘Democratic Left’ Goes to Die: Staten Island NYC and the Forgotten Primaries   
Julia Paley
Life After Deportation
Sarah Anderson
America Needs a Long-Term Care Program for Seniors
Seiji Yamada – John Witeck
Stop U.S. Funding for Human Rights Abuses in the Philippines
Shane Doyle, A.J. Not Afraid and Adrian Bird, Jr.
The Crazy Mountains Deserve Preservation
Charlie Nash
Will Generation Z Introduce a Wizard Renaissance?
Ron Ridenour
Denmark Peace-Justice Conference Based on Activism in Many Countries
Douglas Bevington
Why California’s Costly (and Destructive) Logging Plan for Wildfires Will Fail
Gary Leupp
“Escalating Tensions” with Iran
Jonathan Power
Making the World More Equal
Cesar Chelala
The Social Burden of Depression in Japan
Stephen Cooper
Imbibe Culture and Consciousness with Cocoa Tea (The Interview)
Stacy Bannerman
End This Hidden Threat to Military Families
Kevin Basl
Time to Rethink That POW/MIA Flag
Nicky Reid
Pledging Allegiance to the Divided States of America
Louis Proyect
A Second Look at Neflix
Martin Billheimer
Closed Shave: T. O. Bobe, the Girl and Curl
May 23, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Belligerence of Empire
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail