Ex-Agent Says CIA Tip-off Led To Nelson Mandela's 1962 Arrest
May 15, 2016 12:13 PM   Subscribe

BBC: "The revelations, made in the [UK] Sunday Times newspaper, are based on an interview with ex-CIA agent Donald Rickard shortly before he died. Mr Mandela served 27 years in jail for resisting white minority rule before being released in 1990. He was subsequently elected as South Africa's first black president."
posted by marienbad (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The only surprising thing about this is that it wasn't MI6.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:17 PM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm fairly sure that for any terrible historic event you can name could be found to have CIA somewhere in the midst of it at the very least quietly pulling strings.
posted by nevercalm at 12:41 PM on May 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Considering most politicians on the right at that time nodded when St. Maggie called him and the ANC terrorists, this is hardly surprising. The leach who was our prime minister at the time voted against two anti-apartheid UN resolutions, aligned with Ronnie and Maggie. When Mandela died, that scumbag (now as President) had the nerve to send condolences calling him a great unifier of people. Shameless.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, except for the ones that happened before the CIA existed, or even the US...
posted by bardophile at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


It should be noted that Macmillan was British Prime Minister in 1962 when Mandela was arrested. It was Macmillan together with US President John Kennedy who rebuilt the ``Special Relationshipยดยด after the Suez Crisis.
posted by adamvasco at 1:00 PM on May 15, 2016


Yeah, but it was Macmillan who also delivered a pretty scathing (for the time) speech about African freedom. I don't know his particular position on Mandela, but he was clear that South Africa needed to change its policies.
posted by Emma May Smith at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2016


Well, except for the ones that happened before the CIA existed, or even the US...


I don't know- Langley still hasn't released their files on the Defenestration of Prague.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


C.I.A. TIE REPORTED IN MANDELA ARREST - NYT, June 10, 1990
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


From the 1990 NYTimes article:
The news-service report said that at the time of Mr. Mandela's arrest in August 1962, the C.I.A. devoted more resources to penetrating the activities of nationalist groups like the African National Congress than did South Africa's then-fledgling security service.
...
The retired official said that because of concern over the propriety of the C.I.A.'s actions in the Mandela case, ''higher authorities'' required that the State Department approve any similar operations in the future. The report said the State Department refused on at least three occasions to allow the agency to provide South African officials with information about other dissidents.
posted by el io at 1:38 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


If the purpose of the tip was to get Mandela off of the world stage, then given his later stature, this has to be considered a failure. Not for the world at large, but as the result of an action with a conscious intent.

This kind of lines up with my recent thinking about corporate governance. If leadership and decisionmaking at the very highest levels is a skill, honeable to master status and deserving of the elite pay that CEOs typically get, then you should be able to generally correlate CEO pay with positive outcomes for the organization. But it seems to me that that is not true; very large companies with very well-compensated leadership misstep about as often as very small companies, perhaps more, they're just better able to absorb the consequences of those missteps.

In the same way, if the CIA's effectiveness at achieving its goals was commensurate with its budget, then one would expect better-than-chance outcomes overall. Is that in fact the case?
posted by Mrs. Davros at 2:42 PM on May 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


if the CIA's effectiveness at achieving its goals was commensurate with its budget, then one would expect better-than-chance outcomes overall. Is that in fact the case?

It obviously depends what you think the desired "outcomes" are. If, for instance, you think they include torturing, imprisoning, and murdering left activists, then it has a clear and very long record of being way more effective than mere chance.
posted by RogerB at 2:53 PM on May 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


It obviously depends what you think the desired "outcomes" are.

Yep. Elsewhere yesterday or Friday I saw a comment, "if only the intelligence agencies restricted themselves to things that only made the world better," and I was all, "what would their purpose be then?"
posted by rhizome at 3:52 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


It obviously depends what you think the desired "outcomes" are. If, for instance, you think they include torturing, imprisoning, and murdering left activists, then it has a clear and very long record of being way more effective than mere chance.

Those are not outcomes. Those are methods. The outcome is foreign instability and the CIA has proven remarkably effective at it. Almost British level excellence.
posted by srboisvert at 3:53 PM on May 15, 2016


I crept to my bed and wrote what I had seen and heard, then wrote the ending backward. Stared at the words in my notebook, my captive poem: Redrum sekil oh weki ekil ew.

By morning it had lost the power to shock.
— Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:06 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]






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