In The News
Today in Johannesburg political and religious leaders from around the world are gathering to pay their final respects to Nelson Mandela, a man who was elevated to virtual sainthood during the last 25 years. Some of those leaders will be hypocrites such as the British Prime Minister David Cameron, who as a young Tory activist was perfectly happy to take a free holiday to South Africa paid for by a propaganda outfit of Mandela’s enemies in the old South African government. Others will be naive but sincere liberals, who believe the “anti-apartheid” movement to have been the great moral cause of their lifetime.
In fact there are only two political/historical subjects that have been taken out of normal debate and given a quasi-religious status, so that it is regarded as grossly offensive or even criminal to express a different view: the Holocaust and Nelson Mandela.
This is all the more peculiar when one realises that Mandela was a Marxist terrorist, allied to the IRA. In fact the movement he led – the African National Congress – was the most communistic of all African ‘liberation’ movements, and Mandela was personally in charge of its shift towards a more pro-Moscow and violent approach.
As has recently been documented by the British historian Dr Calder Walton in his book Empire of Secrets, many African leaders linked themselves with White Marxists as well as liberals as part of their advance to power, while in fact having no real ideology other than personal advancement. Once they had become rulers of their ‘independent’ post-imperial states, they almost always decided that a secret relationship with British intelligence would be more profitable than fellow travelling with Moscow.
A slightly earlier book – External Mission: The ANC in Exile, by Prof. Stephen Ellis, published in 2011 – proved that Mandela and the ANC were an exception, developing especially close ties to Moscow. During his trial in 1963 – after which he was jailed for life, convicted of leading a terrorist conspiracy – Mandela denied being a Communist Party member.
Yet Prof. Ellis established that he was not only a member, but a leading activist on the central committee of the South African Communist Party, and that even before he became leader of the ANC he was in charge of the pro-Communist faction within the movement, seeking arms and finance from both Moscow and Beijing. (Eventually the ANC became pro-Soviet, though with a small pro-China faction.)
The ANC’s terrorist wing which Mandela commanded – known as Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) – began a campaign of bombings in December 1961. Mandela and nine of his closest comrades were arrested after a successful operation by South African anti-terrorist police, who arrested them in July 1963 at a farm owned by the Jewish communist Arthur Goldreich. In 1948 Goldreich had served in the elite Palmach wing of the Zionist terrorist group Haganah.
The property and other ANC assets had been purchased via Goldreich and a fellow Jewish communist, lawyer Harold Wolpe.
Even with Mandela in prison, his movement continued its terror campaign and built close ties with two of the 20th century’s most infamous organisations: the East German secret police, the Stasi, who trained ANC members in torture and other methods to be used against opponents in their own ranks; and the IRA, whose experts tutored Mandela’s men in the fine arts of bomb making, so that they could be more efficient in killing South African women and children in a series of terrorist outrages.
One IRA style bombing among many was on Church Street in the centre of Pretoria in 1983, killing 19 and injuring 217. Many more bombs targetted Wimpy bars and supermarkets, such as a shop in Amanzimtoti, Natal, in 1985 killing five civilians and injuring 40.
By this time Western leaders had ceased caring about White civilians in South Africa. With the Soviet bloc collapsing at the end of the 1980s, London and Washington helped broker a deal between the South African business elite and the ANC, by which Mandela was released from prison and installed in “democratic” power.
Many years earlier Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6 had intervened to prevent Mandela being killed during a planned prison escape. British agent Sir Robert Birley, former headmaster of Eton, foiled the plot and became an important MI6 link to Mandela and the ANC leadership, whose Marxist ideals did not prevent such opportunistic alliances.
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