Photo: AP

According to The Sunday Times, former CIA operative Donald Rickard admitted to American involvement in the arrest of Nelson Mandela, who would spend 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Just two weeks before his death earlier this year, Rickard reportedly told British filmmaker John Irvin he led South African authorities to Mandela in 1962, calling Mandela “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union” at the time. From The Telegraph:

Mandela, Rickard believed, was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union, a toy of the communists”, and was about “to incite” the Indian population of Natal into a communist-led mass rebellion against the apartheid government which could open the door to Russian intervention.

“Natal was a cauldron at the time,” Mr Rickard said “and Mandela would have welcomed a war. If the Soviets had come in force, the United States would have had to get involved, and things could have gone to hell”.

“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.”

As recently as 2012, Rickard denied that already widely rumored version of events, telling The Wall Street Journal, “It’s untrue. There’s no substance to it.”

Sunday evening, Mandela’s oldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, called on President Obama to fully disclose the events leading up to his grandfather’s arrest.

“Whilst we were always aware of the West’s role in overt and covert support for the Apartheid state (this) disclosure has put an end to decades of denial revealing the fact that the USA put its imperial interests above the struggle for liberation of millions of people,” Mandla Mandela told The Telegraph. “We call on freedom loving people of the world to come out in condemnation of this betrayal of our nation, the peoples of Southern Africa and all who suffered as a consequence of the USA’s support for the brutal apartheid state.”