The U.S. government has harbored an increasingly embarrassing secret: A CIA tip to South African intelligence agents led to the arrest that put fallen Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela in prison for most of his adult life.
A former U.S. official revealed after Mandela’s release that he knew of the CIA role since Mandela was seized by agents of the South African police special branch on Aug. 5, 1962.
The former official, said that within hours after Mandela`s arrest Paul Eckel, then a senior CIA operative, walked into his office and said approximately these words:
“We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups.”
The unnamed official described the act as “One of the most shameful, utterly horrid byproducts of the Cold War struggle between Moscow and Washington for influence in the Third World”
Reports that American intelligence tipped off the South African officials who arrested Mandela have circulated for years.
In addition, the US government did not remove the name of the former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela from its terrorism watch list until 2008.
Mandela passed away Thursday evening at the age of 95 and eulogies from world leaders began to appear soon after his death.
The apartheid regime designated the ANC as a terrorist organization because it fought against the regime’s apartheid system which legalized racial discrimination from 1948 to 1994.
The US State Department under the presidency of Ronald Reagan also deemed Mandela’s ANC a terrorist organization and Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 passed by US Congress. Reagan’s veto was later overridden by Congress.
In 1987, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organization.”
Mandela who was released from prison in 1990 will be laid to rest on the 15 December 2013.
Adapted From The Chicago Tribune And Agencies