Former operative says Americans believed the leader was ‘completely under the control of the Soviet Union’, report reveals.
A tip from a CIA spy to authorities in apartheid-era South Africa led to Nelson Mandela’s arrest, beginning the leader’s 27 years behind bars, a report said on Sunday.
Donald Rickard, a former US vice-consul in Durban and CIA operative, told British film director John Irvin that he had been involved in Mandela’s arrest in 1962, which was seen as necessary because the Americans believed he was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union”, according to a report in the Sunday Times newspaper.
“He could have incited a war in South Africa, the United States would have to get involved, grudgingly, and things could have gone to hell,” Rickard said.
“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.”
Irvin’s new film Mandela’s Gun, about the months before the anti-apartheid leader’s arrest, is due to be screened at the Cannes film festival this week.
Source: The Guardian