Newly released US intelligence documents showed that the FBI continued to investigate South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela as a potential “communist menace” even after his release from prison in 1990, a Washington-based group which sued to obtain the papers said.

Property of the People, which released the papers to mark 100 years since Mandela’s birth, said:

“The documents reveal that, just as it did in the 1950s and 60s with Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement, the FBI aggressively investigated the US and South African anti-apartheid movements as communist plots imperiling American security.

“Worse still, the documents demonstrate the FBI continued its wrong-headed communist menace investigations of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement even after US imposition of trade sanctions against apartheid South Africa, after Mandela’s globally celebrated release from prison, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, and advocated reconciliation with white people who had for decades enforced the racist system of apartheid in the country.

Property of the People said on their Twitter handle @PropOTP: “We just published thousands of pages #FOIA lawsuit-obtained FBI, CIA, DIA, & NSA documents re #NelsonMandela, including many docs on US agency efforts to surveil & subvert Mandela and his anti-apartheid struggle.”

They also said on their website <>: “Today (July 18), on the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, Property of the People is making all documents about Mandela obtained through it’s FOIA litigation from the FBI, CIA, DIA, and NSA available to the public.  Spanning thousands of pages, the vast majority of these documents have never before been seen by the public.”


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