The Sloths, The Snails and the Primates of the U.S. State Department...
...Mandela Removed at long last from US 'terrorism watch list'!
The news got splashed on July 2nd that the names of Nelson Mandela
and his colleagues of African National Congress (ANC) have been removed from the
notorious ‘terrorism watch list’ maintained by the U.S. State Department.
Mandela was released from the South African prison on February 11, 1990, after
27 years. Then, he was inaugurated as President of South Africa on May 10, 1994.
Five years later on June 14, 1999, he retired from active politics. Now, 9 years
later, the Primates of the U.S. State Department got into action, to felicitate
Mandela’s forthcoming 90th birthday by removing his name from its
‘terrorism watch list’.
The ultra-slowness of this bureaucratic action could make even the sloths and
snails wince! The ingenuity of American rocket scientists may have landed men in
the moon way back in 1969, but the work performance of the primates manning the
U.S. State Department in the terrestrial sphere would make even the proverbial
pace of sloths and snails as speedy as rabbits.
Relating to the removal of Mandela’s name from the terrorism watch list, Mr. Tom
Casey, the U.S. State Department spokesman, had asserted “What it will do is
make sure that there aren’t any extra hoops for either a distinguished
individual, like former President Mandela, or other members of the African
National Congress to get a U.S. visa.” [ CNN.com news, July 2, 2008].
I noted two points which were glaringly missing. First, a non-acknowledgement
that the originally biased decision that made Mandela a terrorist was largely
based on ethnic type casting. In 1960s, institutionalized racism in the
Washington corridors of power was a given. Simply put, while Mandela and his
agitators were black, the rulers of South Africa were whites and capitalist
interests of Uncle Sam dictated that ruling whites were the preferred partners
as opposed to ANC and Mandela.
It need not be stressed that the 1997 decision of the U.S. State Department to
tag LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization was also based on the ANC-Mandela
example of ethnic type casting.
Secondly, a diligent omission that the CIA operatives had goofed (as is their
habitual wont!) in distinguishing a liberation movement leader from that of a
CIA Involvement in Mandela’s Arrest
In his autobiography,
Long Walk to Freedom (Little Brown & Co, Boston,
1994), a time-mellowed Mandela has been unduly diplomatic and gentlemanly in
being courteous to the CIA on the issue of how he got arrested in 1962 by the
South African apartheid police. To quote him,
“The most oft-cited story was that
an American consular official with connections to the CIA had tipped off the
authorities. This story has never been confirmed and I have never seen any
reliable evidence as to the truth of it. Although the CIA has been responsible
for many contemptible activities in its support of American imperialism, I
cannot lay my capture at their door. In truth, I had been imprudent about
maintaining the secrecy of my movements.” (pp. 319-320)
Mandela may have had his own reasons for being uncritical about CIA’s
involvement in South African politics. I’d state that Mandela was prudent and
pragmatic, for at least two reasons. First, his autobiography was released by a
Boston publisher. Thus, he may have been advised by his American editors that
softening his criticism to American institutions like CIA is good for sales in
the American market. Secondly, in 1994, as the newly elected president of South
Africa, he was in need of economic aid package from Uncle Sam.
However, more details on CIA involvement in Mandela’s arrest appeared in British
Martin Meredith’s work, Nelson Mandela – A Biography
Books, 1997). To quote four relevant paragraphs of Meredith,
“There were persistent rumours that the United States Central Intelligence
Agency was involved. Mandela’s links with communists had made him a target
for US officials embroiled with the Soviet Union in a murky struggle for
influence in a number of newly independent African states and obsessed with
the need to contain communist encroachment in Africa. The CIA was active
throughout southern Africa, keeping track of the activities of liberation
movements there, determined to prevent what it saw as communist-supported
armed intervention ‘under the guise of African liberation’. It found an ally
in the South African government, which was only too willing to collaborate.
Intelligence information was exchanged on a regular basis.
“The CIA covert-operations section in Johannesburg had expended considerable
energy penetrating the ANC. Its chief undercover agent, Millard Shirley, the
son of American missionaries who had been born in South Africa, had
cultivated contacts at all levels of the organization. A stocky, balding
figure, with a reputation as a heavy drinker and a womanizer, he passed
himself off as a reporter for an American television news network, readily
gaining access dissident groups. He was known by South African intelligence
to possess a high-ranking ‘deep throat’ – a Durban-based Indian in the ranks
of the Communist Party there.
“Two pieces of evidence subsequently came to light linking the CIA to
Mandela’s arrest. The first concerned the local CIA agent in Durban at the
time, Don Rickard, a consular officer who, at the end of his tour in South
Africa, was heard boasting at a diplomatic party of the role that he had
played in Mandela’s arrest. The second concerned Paul Eckel, the CIA station
chief based at the US Embassy in Pretoria. Eckel, who died in 1986, confided
what had happened to another US official and in 1990 that official, then
retired, told an American journalist, Joseph Albright, what Eckel had said:
‘We 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 picked him up. It was one of our greatest coups.’
“Given Mandela’s amateurish conduct in the days before his arrest, it was
equally possible that the South African police already knew of his
whereabouts from their own efforts. Mandela had been carried away by
romantic notions of his role as ‘Commander-in-Chief’, the showman of the law
courts now wanting to become the showman of the battlefield, wearing army
fatigues and khaki, carrying a gun, though never intending to use it,
flaunting his presence at gatherings of the faithful. These were dangerous
pretensions at such a time. In all, Mandela survived in the field in South
Africa as head of Umkhonto since its launching in December 1961 for no more
than five weeks. And in that time, as a result of keeping notebooks, he came
close to incriminating a considerable number of other people.”
In the subsequent paragraph, Meredith also notes,
“When asked in later years about the evidence of the CIA’s involvement in
his arrest, his response was, ‘Let bygones be bygones. Let’s forget about
that, where it is true or not.’ ”
Two Humor Columns of Art Buchwald
It is a pity that satirist Art Buchwald is not with us now, to comment on the
sloth and stinginess of spirit of U.S. State Department officials. But he had
opined on the two issues which I have noted were missing in the proclamation of
the primates of U.S. State Department: (1) institutionalized racism of American
agencies, and (2) hanky-panky deals of CIA.
To savor, I reproduce below two
humor columns of Art Buchwald, that appear in his anthology book,
Reagan Slept (1983). The column with the title, ‘The Gates’ Syndrome’
(pp.183-185) indeed makes passing reference to the then South African apartheid
leader P.W. Botha. The second column with the title, ‘No Business Like CIA
Business’ (pp.114-116) lampoons the nosy trans-border business practices
indulged by the CIA, that are then tagged mercilessly onto the heads of American
The Gates’ Syndrome by Art Buchwald
It seems that Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates has been under fire
because so many blacks have been dying from a vicious ‘chokehold’ the police
use to cut off the supply of blood to the brain.
Gates said in defense of the LA force that he had a ‘hunch’ that blacks are
more susceptible to neck injuries because more blacks are harmed with this
hold than whites. ‘We may be finding that in some blacks when it [the
chokehold] is applied, the veins or arteries do not open as fast as they do
on normal people,’ he told the Los Angeles Times. ‘There may be
something arresting the ability of the blood to flow again [after the hold].
We’re going to look at that very carefully’.
What Gates doesn’t know is that a lot of work has been done in the field of
black mortality by Professor Ku at the University of Kluxclan. Ku is the one
who discovered that more young black than white suspects were killed by
police bullets, and thus arrived at the conclusion that there is something
in blacks that will not fight lead poisoning. In another study, he
postulated that more black suspects in handcuffs were injured in police cars
on the way to station houses than white, which he attributes to a metabolic
defect in blacks who lose their balance when being roughed up in the
backseats of automobiles.
In his most recent paper titled ‘Racial Weaknesses as Applied to the Gates’
Syndrome’, just published in the Police Gazette, Professor Ku writes:
“With regard to chokeholds in the United States, three times as many blacks
as whites suffer severe injuries to themselves before being booked at the
police station. For reasons that cannot yet be medically explained, blacks
require twice as much oxygen when being choked as whites. This phenomenon,
known as ‘Gates’ Syndrome’, has doctors perplexed, particularly because a
black’s arteries cannot deliver sufficient blood to the brain.
“A normal white person can withstand being choked for at least three minutes
without passing out. In tests at several Los Angeles police stations, black
volunteers passed out in less than two minutes. One theory expounded by
visiting Professor Bother of the University of South Africa is that, when
arrested, a black’s fear of the police causes his veins to contract at the
moment he is being choked. When the hold is released the trauma remains and
it is impossible for the blood to go to the head.
“Professor Lembeck, of the National Police Institute of Houston, disagrees
with Bother on his trauma theory and maintains that the ‘Gates’ Syndrome’
can be attributed to a vitamin deficiency caused by a black person’s diet.
Lembeck says, ‘Cutting off a normal victim’s windpipe for a reasonable
amount of time should not cause undue damage, unless the victim is lacking
Vitamin F, which is essential for breathing. Therefore it is recommended
that the arresting officer use a chokehold only after he has been given
training in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.’
“There is not enough data available at this time to accept either Bother’s
or Lembeck’s theory. The racial connection has been established as a cause
of ‘Gates’ Syndrome’ but the ‘why’ is still a question mark.
“Unfortunately, Civil Rights organizations in Los Angeles are trying to cut
off research work in this important area by demanding the chokehold be
abolished before the medical cure for ‘Gates’ Syndrome’ can be found.
“I submit that this would be a great mistake for black people everywhere.
The circulatory system of blacks has tremendous scientific importance for
the justice system of the country. Until we find out why they can’t tolerate
choking as easily as normal white people, the mystery of black fatalities in
Los Angeles will never be solved.”
Business like CIA Business by Art Buchwald
One of the things the CIA does is run secret businesses known as
proprietaries, to provide covers for agents to ‘wash’ money for covert
operations and for other clandestine operations.
Up until recently, these businesses have been very successful but lately
many of them have been losing money. So ‘the Company’ decided to call
everyone back to Langley, Virginia, to see what was going wrong.
The director of covert business operations was in a foul temper. He
addressed the CIA agents who were charged with running the business covers.
‘This is the worst year we’ve ever had,’ he said. ‘Our gross sales are down
by twenty percent, and the CIA can no longer eat your losses. Now what the
hell is going on?’
The agent, whose cover was president of the ‘Deutschland Music Box Company,’
said, ‘It’s the fault of the Hong Kong station. They stole our designs and
they’re flooding the United States market with cheap imitations. I make the
best music boxes in the world, but I can’t compete on price.’
‘Isn’t that tough?’ the agent from Hong Kong, whose cover was chairman of
the ‘Kowloon Toy Company,’ said. ‘If you can’t compete, then get out of the
music box business. I’m not making a dime on my boxes ever since the ‘Taiwan
CIA Company’ started to undercut us.’
The director said, ‘Why does everyone have to make music boxes? Can’t you
come up with a new product like the Barbie doll?’
The agent running the ‘South Korean Novelty Company’ said, ‘We put out a
Nancy and Ronnie doll for Christmas and it laid an egg.’
The director looked over his computer printouts. ‘What happened to you,
Danfield? It says your ‘New Delhi Exporting Company’ dropped two million
dollars in the last quarter?’
‘That wasn’t my fault. I sent one million madras welcome mats through
Donnegger’s shipping company in Bombay, and his stupid people unloaded them
in Pakistan. Anyone here ever try to sell a ‘Made in India’ welcome mat in
Donnegger said, ‘Your company got the invoices all screwed up. You had the
yak butter going to the United States and the welcome mats going to
Pakistan. We’re not mind readers.’
‘Oh, shut up,’ the director said. ‘Let’s get to you, Brinkley. How do you
explain the fact that you still have two hundred thousand Lapland ski boots
in your warehouse in Helsinki?’
‘I had an order from Harrod’s in London for the whole lot, when the KGB’s
‘Finlandia Sporting Goods Company’ got wind of it and made Harrod’s an offer
they couldn’t refuse. I’ve asked covert operations to burn down the
Finlandia factory three times, but they keep ignoring my request. How can I
run a clandestine business if our people won’t get tough with the
The director said, ‘I’ll talk to the arson people later. Now we get to
Biberman. I have a report that you used CIA covert funds to cover up your
losses from the ‘Mediterranean Fruit Fly Company’.
‘I’m suing Jerry Brown and the State of California. As soon as I win the
case, I’ll replace the money. I can prove every fruit fly we sent them was
The director said, ‘Biberman, you wouldn’t know a sterile fruit fly from a
gypsy moth. I see from this printout the only one who made a profit this
year for ‘the Company’ was Tablestone. Let him tell the rest of you
dunderheads how he did it.’
‘He isn’t here, sir. He resigned last month and went into business for
‘What kind of business?’
‘Selling submachine guns, bombs and poison gas canisters to the Libyans. He
said that as far as business was concerned, the CIA didn’t offer him a
future, and he’d rather strike out on his own.’
‘Where is he getting all his stuff?’
‘The same people we get it from sir.’
‘Do you mean to say he is telling people he is still working for the CIA?’
‘No, just the opposite. He keeps telling them he isn’t. But the more he
insists he has nothing to do with us, the more our suppliers believe he
The director said, ‘You have to hand it to Tablestone. He always had a
talent for making a buck. I wish I had a hundred more like him.’