An impenitent former operative of the CIA for the first time revealed that he led South African security forces to Nelson Mandela on the day he was arrested back in 1962.
The Sunday Times gathered that Donald Rickard admitted to the involvement of the United States in the arrest of Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
The startling bombshell, which was unearthed on Saturday, led to a demand for the CIA to come clean about putting behind bars a figure who became one of the world’s most revered statesmen.
Just two weeks before his death earlier this year, Rickard, 88, who was officially working as U.S. vice consul in Durban at the time, said he provided the tip-off as part of a Cold War geopolitical power play because Mandela was ‘the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union’.
Rickard, who retired from the CIA in 1978 and spent the rest of his life living in Colorado, passed away just weeks after giving his tell-all account, on March 30.
During the tell-all account interview with filmmaker John Irvin, Rickard said he had no regrets about having Mandela jailed.
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.
“Natal was a cauldron at the time,” Mr Rickard said “and Mandela would have welcomed a war. If the Soviets had come in force, the United States would have had to get involved, and things could have gone to hell”.
“We were teetering on the brink here and it had to be stopped, which meant Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”
On Sunday evening, Mandela’s oldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, called on President Obama to fully disclose the events leading up to his grandfather’s arrest.
“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,” Mandla Mandela told The Telegraph. “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.”