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After Nelson Mandela’s passing, most American leaders gushed with praise over the importance of the anti-apartheid icon, but a report by Al Jazeera reveals that the U.S. was still spying on Mandela as late as the 1990’s.
Even after Mandela was released from prison, the U.S. still designated Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) as a terrοrist organization.
An FBI memo obtained by Al Jazeera reveals that the FBI kept tabs on Mandela during his visit to the U.S. in 1990. Among other things, the files reveal that a member of Coretta Scott King’s staff arranged Mandela’s itinerary and Minister Louis Farrakhan was unable to get a meeting with Mandela during the visit.
But Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Ryan Shapiro, who obtained the documents from the FBI through a Freedom of Information suit, says much of the information relating to Mandela was withheld.
“What’s missing from these documents is often as illuminative as what’s disclosed,” Shapiro told Al Jazeera. “Not only did the FBI heavily redact and withhold documents, but there’s virtually no discussion of U.S. intelligence community involvement prior to Mandela’s 1990 release from prison.”
Many have long suspected that U.S. intelligence agencies worked alongside the apartheid government to secure Mandela’s arrest.
By the time Mandela visited the U.S., however, he was a hero who was expected to play a role in the South African government, so the FBI dedicated some attention to ensuring that he was not assαssinated during his visit.
“Remember John F. Kennedy in Dallas?? Bring this black mυrderer to Houston and we will give him a welcome the world will not forget!!!” read one handwritten deαth threat prior to Mandela’s visit.
The U.S. also speculated about the ANC’s fundraising and internal politics.