Rob Griffiths made some interesting remarks about Soviet support for South Africa's liberation struggle (M Star October 26), mentioning Vladimir Shubin's excellent book The Hot "Cold War" - the USSR in Southern Africa.
Another great book by Shubin is ANC - A View from Moscow.
It provides ample, detailed evidence of the support, in many forms, given to the ANC by the Soviet government.
Both books are important contributions to the history of southern Africa and of the USSR, written by an insider.
After reading Rob's article, I took down my copy of the latter book and re-read some of it.
I particularly noticed chapter 8, entitled "Operation 'J' and other attempts to come home."
On October 18 I took part in a wonderful public meeting at Toxteth public library sponsored by Riverside Housing, Liverpool City Council Library Service and Riverside Ward Councillors, as part of Black History Month.
It was to promote my book London Recruits: the secret war against apartheid, but the focus was on just one episode, the very same "Operation 'J'" (also called "The Mother Project)."
A number of seamen were recruited in Merseyside to crew a yacht, the Avventura, to ship ANC fighters from Somalia to South Africa in 1972.
Present at the emotionally charged meeting were friends and relatives of the seamen involved and British people who had been waiting on the South African coast to land the ANC fighters.
Although the project had to be aborted, it is part of the great story of international solidarity with the ANC.
Shubin's account throws further light on it and shows that the Soviet government was deeply involved and had been discussing the project with the ANC since 1967.