As South Africa prepares to hold a state funeral for Nelson Mandela, we look at how the CIA helped the South African government track down and capture Mandela in 1962. In 1990, the Cox News Service quoted a former U.S. official saying that within hours after Mandela’s arrest a senior CIA operative named Paul Eckel admitted the agency’s involvement. Eckel was reported as having told the official, “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.” Several news outlets have reported the actual source of the tip that led to the arrest of Mandela was a CIA official named Donald Rickard. On Thursday, Democracy Now! attempted to reach Rickard at his home in Colorado. On two occasions, a man who picked up the phone hung up when we asked to speak with Donald Rickard. The activist group RootsAction has launched a campaign to urge the CIA to open its files on Mandela and South Africa and the media watchdog group Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting has questioned why corporate media outlets have largely ignored the story.
The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela
CIA Agent’s Deathbed Confession on Mandela’s Arrest
A deathbed confession by a former CIA agent revealed that Nelson Mandela was captured and arrested in 1962 with help of a CIA spy. According to Donald Rickard, Mandela “could have incited a war in South Africa, the United States would have to get involved, grudgingly, and things could have gone to hell.” Rickards stated that it was his tip about Mandela’s movement that eventually lead to Mandela’s arrest. Rickards was speaking with film director John Irvin when he shared his claims and died two weeks later. Many are viewing this new information as further proof of the roles the CIA plays in collaborating with individuals for regime change. Elliot Hill and Melvin Robert take a closer look at Donald Rickard’s death bed confession on the Lip News.