The current President of the United States was accompanied by three former Presidents when he jetted to South Africa to memorialize Nelson Mandela. Mr Obama duly paid homage to the great man upon his passing. We wonder though if it might have been appropriate for the President to apologize as well. On behalf of the United States, its intelligence services and the Military-Industrial Complex that is served, Mr Obama could, perhaps should, have said “sorry”.
Although overlooked in the media coverage which referenced the arrest and imprisonment of Mandela by South African authorities, it should be noted that the United States was the one who caught Mandela and turned him over to the apartheid government for prosecution.
Here’s what was published in 1990 in the Chicago Tribune when Mandela visited the U.S.—
Reports that American intelligence tipped off the South African officials who arrested Mandela have circulated for years. Newsweek reported in February that the agency was believed to have been involved.
Mandela, now 71, arrives in the United States June 20 as part of an international tour to bolster the anti-apartheid movement. The deputy African National Congress president, widely regarded as the world`s pre-eminent political prisoner when he finally was released in February, is due to be honored by a ticker-tape Broadway parade and to address a joint session of Congress.
But in 1962 the CIA`s covert branch saw the African National Congress as a threat to the stability of a friendly South African government. At the time, that government not only had just signed a military cooperation agreement with the United States but also served as an important source of uranium.
The CIA knew of Mandela`s whereabouts because it had put an undercover agent into the inner circle of the African National Congress group in Durban, according to Gerard Ludi, a retired South African intelligence official.
Mandela was being sought as a fugitive for his anti-apartheid activities. The morning after a secret dinner party with other congress members in Durban, Mandela, dressed as a chauffeur, ran into a roadblock. He was immediately recognized and arrested.
At the time, a retired CIA official called the American act, “one of the most shameful, utterly horrid” acts in America’s neverending war on revolutionaries around the world during the Cold War.
SOURCE: CHICAGO TRIBUNE (June 10, 1990)