This is the first televised interview with Nelson Mandela,recorded in 1961 while the labor union lawyer was in hiding from the South African Government's secret police. Less than a year later a US CIA agent within the ANC assisted in coordinating Mandella's arrest. In the 1980's Mandela was placed on a terrorist watch list by the US government. Writing for AFP, Jo Biddle notes that "[s]ome observers maintain that the story of Mandela's redemption and the undeniable justness of his cause hold unique lessons for Washington as it grapples with other flagrant abuses of human rights by repressive regimes around the world."
Mandela's history as an alumni of the US terrorism watch list should also hold unique lessons for Washington as it grapples with its own flagrant abuses of human rights in the name of fighting terrorism. President Obama, speaking on Thursday in a live televised address from the White House, described Nelson Mandela as "a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice." Obama - who once gave a speech at the UN condemning nations who use child soldiers in the same week that he signed blanket child soldier sanction waivers for US 'anti-terror' allies - is far too shallow to recognize the irony of Nelson Mandela having been placed on a US terrorist watch list when such a designation today could have subjected Mandela to indefinite detention under the Patriot Act if he hadn't already been dealth with by being placed on the CIA's extra-judicial drone strike kill list.