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Rip Robertson in the Congo


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#1 James Richards

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:23 AM

In another thread, mention was made of Rip Robertson and a team of Cubans working within Operation Low Beam in the Congo.

For anyone who is interested in more detail on this action and who the participants were, this web site offers some details.

FWIW.

http://www-cgsc.army...i/odom/odom.asp

James

#2 Lee Forman

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 01:28 AM

Hi James!

Very interesting. Almost makes you speculate as to a motive. How many thousands of miles is the Congo from Dallas again? :plane

I found a humorous article the other day, which I wanted to share - but can't locate it at the moment.

Essentially it was from 1964 and had to do with 2 Soviets officials, in the Congo, locking themselves in their car, as a Congolese mob rocked it to and fro, pounding on it. The 2 men were furiously engaged in shredding sensitive documents and eating them as fast as they were able. Apparently they didn't eat enough, as the result was information concerning covert plans to drop poison in certain key Congo Cabinet members drinks, etc., to turn the tide back in favor of the Soviets, was exposed. The article ended with the last Soviet official being forced out of the Country on an airplane in his shorts and socks.

I'll keep looking for it - makes you wonder how the Congolese were tipped off. As per D'Lynn Waldron, stuff like that would make news, while other material didn't.

From D'Lynn Waldron.PhD

http://www.dlynnwald...om/Lumumba.html

- In the spring of 1960, I was the only foreign correspondent covering Patrice Lumumba in Stanleyville just before Independence, and as such and an American, I became Lumumba's confidant and the one he entrusted to mediate between himself and the Belgian administration and to get the word to Eisenhower and the American people that he was absolutely not a Communist, that he feared Russia, that he admired America, and that he wanted President Eisenhower to have his people come to America for a crash course in administration before Independence.

- It was well known in the Congo before Independence that Belgium and the banking and mining interests were arranging for the coming Independence to disintegrate into chaos so they could take back Katanga with its gold, uranium and copper, and the Kasai with its industrial diamonds, while dumping the unprofitable remainder of the Congo.

- The "White Congolese" of Belgian descent were even more aware of this and more angered by the betrayal of a trust, than almost any "Black African", except Patrice Lumumba. It was these disaffected White Congolese, and especially the colonial governor of Kasai, who told me exactly what the plans of the banking and mining interests were. I even have their hand-drawn maps showing the parts of the country that would be reclaimed from the chaos. The governor of Kasai was so disgusted with the Belgian government that he took down from his wall his prized historical maps of the Congo and handed them to me (I still have them).

- Before I went up the Congo River to Stanleyville, which was Lumumba's political headquarters, I had read newspaper stories and been told by some people in the Belgian Colonial Administration that Lumumba was a madman and a Communist puppet of Russia. What I found was a thoughtful, dignified, dedicated man who naively believed that if his idol Eisenhower were told the truth, Eisenhower would no longer listen to the Belgian lie that he, Lumumba, was a Communist.

- My cabled newspaper stories had things added and removed by Scripps-Howard, and all references to Lumumba's admiration for America and his requests to President Eisenhower for training for his people were cut out.

- Lumumba rightly believed that the Russians didn't like him any more than the Belgians did, because he was not a Communist and because he would never do the bidding of any foreign power. Lumumba only wanted what was best for the Congo and that was his death warrant. The Russians would have killed Lumumba, if the Western powers hadn't done it first.

- I was with Lumumba in his living room in Stanleyville when Lumumba got the telegram which said that instead of Gizenga's staying in Accra for training with Nkruma’s people, Gizenga had been taken straight from the airport in an Aeroflot plane to Moscow. Lumumba was terrified by this and said to me, “The Russians will use Gizenga as my Judas.” However, Gizenga's subsequent life indicates that the Russians would have found him as dedicated to the Congo and as difficult to dictate to as Lumumba. (See the e-mail about their family's travails written to me by Dorothee Gizenga in July 30, 2003.)

- (The Russians had thought they would be able to wrap Gizenga in Lumumba's mantel and take control of the Congo. Gizenga did establish himself as Lumumba's heir in the Eastern Congo, but, like the rest of the Congo, the area descended into tribal war, plus Maoist inspired massacres aimed at the 'elite', which included anyone who could read, or even wore eyeglasses.)

- Lumumba looked to America as his dream of what the Congo could be, and ironically it was Eisenhower who ordered his assassination.

- Before Independence, I know from personal knowledge, that Lumumba asked Eisenhower to provide training in government administration for Congolese, who the Belgians had deliberately kept from learning the most basic skills necessary to run a country. Eisenhower replied that would be interfering in Belgium's internal affairs, a position which was later repeated to me by the State Department.

- After Independence, when the Congo needed international assistance to restore order, Prime Minister Lumumba asked Eisenhower to send American troops. However, Eisenhower continued to falsely label Lumumba a Communist and handed Lumumba's unwanted request over to Dag Hammarskjold. Hammarskjold, along with Conor Cruise-O'Brien, was part of the cabal that used the UN to destroy the Congo's Independence, in order to take back Katanga on behalf of Western mining interests.

- To try to force Eisenhower to send American troops to restore order in the Congo, Lumumba threatened to bring in Russians troops. This was highly publicized by the American government, and no mention was made of the fact that this was only a threat and Lumumba was appealing to Eisenhower to send American troops. (see the book Congo Cables with the actual cables to an from Washington regarding the Congo and Lumumba, as assembled by Madeline Kalb)

Right up to his being turned over to Katanga to be assassinated, Lumumba pinned his hopes on America and his travelling companion and confidant was Frank Carlucci, who it has since been revealed in Congressional investigations was an American intelligence officer and presumably part of Operation Zaire Rifle, the American plot of assassinate Lumumba.

- I left the Congo overland just before Independence through the Ruanda and Urundi and the Mountains of the Moon to bring Lumumba's requests for help addressed to President Eisenhower to the American Consulate in Uganda, because mail and cables were being stopped by the Belgian postal authorities. The American consulate refused to accept anything from Lumumba. They said he would have to use the Belgian Post and Telegraph in the Congo for any messages he wanted to send to President Eisenhower.

- One this site, and indexed below, are newspaper stories I wrote from the Congo which were highly edited back in the States, and documents including Lumumba's own written responses to my questions on his future plans for the Congo, and in Lumumba's own handwriting with my notes using the same pen, the statement I carried to the Belgians in charge of Stanleyville at the height of the crisis.


http://www.canongate...tArmiesOfTheCIA

18 Secret Armies Of The CIA
1. UKRAINIAN PARTISANS

From 1945 to 1952, the CIA trained and aerially supplied Ukrainian partisan units which had originally been organised by the Germans to fight the Soviets during WWII. For seven years, the partisans, operating in the Carpathian Mountains, made sporadic attacks. Finally, in 1952, a massive Soviet military force wiped them out.

2. CHINESE BRIGADE IN BURMA

After the Communist victory in China, Nationalist Chinese soldiers fled into northern Burma. During the early 1950s, the CIA used these soldiers to create a 12,000-man brigade which made raids into Red China. However, the Nationalist soldiers found it more profitable to monopolise the local opium trade.

3. GUATEMALAN REBEL ARMY

After Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz legalised that country's Communist party and expropriated 400,000 acres of United Fruit banana plantations, the CIA decided to overthrow his government. Guatemalan rebels were trained in Honduras and backed up with a CIA air contingent of bombers and fighter planes. This army invaded Guatemala in 1954, promptly toppling Arbenz's regime.

4. SUMATRAN REBELS

In an attempt to overthrow Indonesian president Sukarno in 1958, the CIA sent paramilitary experts and radio operators to the island of Sumartra to organize a revolt. With CIA air support, the rebel army attacked but was quickly defeated. The American government denied involvement even after a CIA B-26 was shot down and its CIA pilot, Allen Pope, was captured.

5. KHAMBA HORSEMEN

After the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, the CIA began recruiting Khamba horsemen - fierce warriors who supported Tibet's religious leader, the Dalai Lama - as they escaped into India in 1959. These Khambas were trained in modern warfare at Camp Hale, high in the Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado. Transported back to Tibet by the CIA-operated Air America, the Khambas organized an army numbering at its peak some 14,000. By the mid-1960s the Khambas had been abandoned by the CIA but they fought on alone into 1970.

6. BAY OF PIGS INVASION FORCE

In 1960, CIA operatives recruited 1,500 Cuban refugees living in Miami and staged a surprise attack on Fidel Castro's Cuba. Trained at a base in Guatemala, this small army - complete with an air force consisting of B-26 bombers - landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961. The ill-conceived, poorly planned operation ended in disaster, since all but 150 men of the force were either killed or captured within three days.

7. L'ARMÉE CLANDESTINE

In 1962, CIA agents recruited Meo tribesmen living in the mountains of Laos to fight as guerrillas against Communist Pathet Lao forces. Called l'Armée Clandestine, this unit - paid, trained and supplied by the CIA - grew into a 30,000-man force. By 1975, the Meos - who had numbered a quarter million in 1962 - had been reduced to 10,000 refugees fleeing into Thailand.

8. NUNG MERCENARIES

A Chinese hill people living in Vietnam, the Nungs were hired and organised by the CIA as a mercenary force, during the Vietnam War. Fearsome and brutal fighters, the Nungs were employed throughout Vietnam and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Numgs proved costly since they refused to fight unless constantly supplied with beer and prostitutes.

9. PERUVIAN REGIMENT

Unable to quell guerrilla forces in its eastern Amazonian provinces, Peru called on the US for help in the mid-1960s. The CIA responded by establishing a fortified camp in the area and hiring local Peruvians who were trained by Green Beret personnel on loan from the US Army. After crushing the guerillas, the elite unit was disbanded because of fears it might stage a coup against the government.

10. CONGO MERCENARY FORCE

In 1964 during the Congolese Civil War, the CIA established an army in the Congo to back pro-Western leaders Cyril Adoula and Joseph Mobutu. The CIA imported European mercenaries and Cuban pilots - exiles from Cuba - to pilot the CIA air force, composed of transports and B-26 bombers.


11. THE CAMBODIAN COUP

For over 15 years, the CIA had tried various unsuccessful means of deposing Cambodia's left-leaning Prince Norodom Sihanouk, including assassination attempts. However, in March, 1970, a CIA-backed coup finally did the job. Funded by US tax dollars, armed with US weapons, and trained by American Green Berets, anti-Sihanouk forces called Kampuchea Khmer Krom (KKK) overran the capital of Phnom Penh and took control of the government. With the blessing of the CIA and the Nixon administration, control of Cambodia was placed in the hands of Lon Nol, who would later distinguish himself by dispatching soldiers to butcher tens of thousands of civilians.

12. KURD REBELS

During the early 1970s the CIA moved into eastern Iraq to organize and supply the Kurds of that area, who were rebelling against the pro-Soviet Iraqi government. The real purpose behind this action was to help the shah of Iran settle a border dispute with Iraq favourably. After an Iranian-Iraq settlement was reached, the CIA withdrew its support from the Kurds, who were then crushed by the Iraqi Army.

13. ANGOLA MERCENARY FORCE

In 1975, after years of bloody fighting and civil unrest in Angola, Portugal resolved to relinquish its hold on the last of its African colonies. The transition was to take place on November 11, with control of the country going to whichever political faction controlled the capital city of Luanda on that date. In the months preceding the change, three groups vied for power: the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By July 1975, the Marxist MPLA had ousted the moderate FNLA and UNITA from Luanda, so the CIA decided to intervene covertly. Over $30 million was spent on the Angolan operation, the bulk of the money going to buy arms and pay French and South African mercenaries, who aided the FNLA and UNITA in their fight. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, US officials categorically denied any involvement in the Angolan conflict. In the end, it was a fruitless military adventure, for the MPLA assumed power and controls Angola to this day.

14. AFGHAN MUJAHEEDIN

Covert support for the groups fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, and was stepped up during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The operation succeeded in its initial goal, as the Soviets were forced to begin withdrawing their forces in 1987. Unfortunately, once the Soviets left, the US essentially ignored Afghanistan as it collapsed into a five-year civil war followed by the rise of the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban. The Taliban provided a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

15. SALVADORAN DEATH SQUADS

As far back as 1964, the CIA helped form ORDEN and ANSESAL, two paramilitary intelligence networks that developed into the Salvadoran death squads. The CIA trained ORDEN leaders in the use of automatic weapons and surveillance techniques, and placed several leaders on the CIA payroll. The CIA also provided detailed intelligence on Salvadoran individuals later murdered by the death squads. During the civil war in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992, the death squads were responsible for 40,000 killings. Even after a public outcry forced President Reagan to denounce the death squads in 1984, CIA support continued.

16. NICARAGUAN CONTRAS

On November 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a top secret National Security Directive authorising the CIA to spend $19 million to recruit and support the Contras, opponents of Nicaragua's Sandinista government. In supporting the Contras, the CIA carried out several acts of sabotage without the Congressional intelligence committees giving consent - or even being informed beforehand. In response, Congress passed the Boland Amendment, prohibiting the CIA from providing aid to the Contras. Attempts to find alternate sources of funds led to the Iran-Contra scandal. It may also have led the CIA and the Contras to become actively involved in drug smuggling. In 1988, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations concluded that individuals in the Contra movement engaged in drug trafficking; that known drug traffickers provided assistance to the Contras; and that 'there are some serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua'.

17. HAITIAN COUPS

In 1988, the CIA attempted to intervene in Haiti's elections with a 'covert action program' to undermine the campaign of the eventual winner, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Three years later, Aristide was overthrown in a bloody coup that killed more than 4,000 civilians. Many of the leaders of the coup had been on the CIA payroll since the mid-1980s. For example, Emmanuel 'Toto' Constant, the head of FRAPH, a brutal gang of thugs known for murder, torture, and beatings, admitted to being a paid agent of the CIA. Similarly, the CIA-created Haitian National Intelligence Service (NIS), supposedly created to combat drugs, functioned during the coup as a 'political intimidation and assassination squad.' In 1994, an American force of 20,000 was sent to Haiti to allow Aristide to return. Ironically, even after this, the CIA continued working with FRAPH and the NIS. In 2004, Aristide was overthrown once again, with Aristide claiming that US forces had kidnapped him.

18. VENEZUELAN COUP ATTEMPT

On April 11, 2002, Venezuelan military leaders attempted to overthrow the country's democratically-elected left-wing president, Hugo Chavez. The coup collapsed after two days as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and as units of the military joined with the protestors. The administration of George W. Bush was the only democracy in the Western Hemisphere not to condemn the coup attempt. According to intelligence analyst Wayne Madsen, the CIA had actively organised the coup: 'The CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel, headed by a lieutenant colonel on loan from the US Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to help organise the coup against Chavez.



#3 Lee Forman

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 05:45 AM

the reply was captured, but didn't register.

#4 James Richards

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 05:58 AM

Thanks for that, Lee. Very interesting indeed. :plane

James

#5 Zach Robertson

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:08 AM

Dragon Operations Hostage Rescues in the Congo, 1964-1965

Posted Image
Cuban-exile pilots in the Congo

excerpt:

Back in September, when General Adams tasked Colonel Mayer to plan for a covert rescue in Stanleyville, Mayer had planned for a military show with some CIA backing. With the shelving of Operation Golden Hawk, the Low Beam option, under the auspices of the CIA, took on new life. According to Thomas Powers, in The Man Who Kept the Secrets, the CIA was very concerned over their people in Stanleyville, and a meeting consisting of Director John McCone; Richard Helms, deputy director for plans; Ray Cline, deputy director for intelligence; and two junior officers convened at the CIA headquarters in late October or early November. Cline reportedly supported direct action to extract the American officials, but Powers states that Helms' cautious counsel successfully persuaded McCone that such an operation was impracticable. In fact, Helms' effort was only partially successful. Low Beam was resurrected in official traffic soon afterward…

…Stanleyville was now the focus of the Congo crisis. While Washington and Brussels had anguished over the necessity of Dragon Rouge, Colonel Frédéric J. L. A. Vandewalle (Former security chief in Belgian Congo) was pushing toward the city. On 21 November, The L'Ommengang force was joined by the Low Beam force, led by CIA agent William "Rip" Robertson, which consisted of eighteen Cuban exiles armed with sixty-eight different weapons. Robertson's team, along with Rattan and Weisel, made up the American contingent of L'Ommengang.

Robertson introduced himself to Larson as "Carlos" and led the group along the route specified by the missionary. Larson was impressed by the swarthy band, who were careful to describe themselves as "not Castro Cubans." The tiny force sped through the town in a jeep and a pickup truck, passed by Camp Prince Leopold II, and punched through two roadblocks to reach the mission. For one of the missionaries, they were three hours too late.

That morning, the Simbas had arrived to arrest the remaining missionaries at Kilometer 8. Panicked by the news of Dragon Rouge, the Simbas shot two missionaries and two boys. One missionary, Hector McMillan, died shortly afterward, but the others survived. Larson and Robertson found the survivors shaken. The CIA agent wasted no time: his troops emptied their vehicles of everything that did not shoot and crammed the refugees in them. Robertson left McMillan's body behind, along with the refugees' baggage, and the overloaded vehicles roared back into Stanleyville without incident. Again, Robertson's men were at pains to clarify their political affiliations. One of the men, after taking a snapshot of a pig along the road, smiled and said, "Castro . . . someday we do that!"

Operation Low Beam

Version a. U.S. military special warfare mission to conduct covert American rescue-rehearsed as Golden Hawk

Version b. CIA covert mission attached to Vandewalle's column.

Zach

#6 Steve Rosen

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 10:31 PM

Years ago in another thread on the JFK Ed Forum, James Richards stated that he had information to the effect that Rip Robertson told mercenaries in the Congo that he was in Dealey Plaza when JFK was killed. No further information has emerged.

James, can you update and provide more specific details?

#7 Zach Robertson

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:42 AM

Years ago in another thread on the JFK Ed Forum, James Richards stated that he had information to the effect that Rip Robertson told mercenaries in the Congo that he was in Dealey Plaza when JFK was killed. No further information has emerged.

James, can you update and provide more specific details?


Steve,

James no longer participates on the forum or makes any posts, but I have communicated with him and he wanted to pass along the following information:

"It is correct that Robertson did mention to African mercenaries in the employ of Mad Mike Hoare that he was indeed in Dallas [during the JFK assassination]. I heard this in the early 1980's while in the Seychelles." -- James Richards


******

Also of note, I found a quote from Mad Mike Hoare about Rip:

Later many of these Cuban-American BOP vets itched to get back into the fight. The CIA obliged and sent them with ex-marine Rip Robertson to the Congo in 65 . There they linked up with the legendary mercenary "Mad Mike" Hoare, and his "Wild Geese."

Here's Mike Hoare's opinion, after watching them in battle: "These Cuban-CIA men were as tough, dedicated and impetuous a group of soldiers as I've ever had the honor of commanding. Their leader (Rip Robertson) was the most extraordinary and dedicated soldier I've ever met. Those Cuban airmen put on an aerial show to compete with any. They'd swoop down, strafing and bombing, with an aggressive spirit that was contagious to the ground troops who then advanced in full spirit of close-quarter combat."


Zach

#8 Zach Robertson

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:33 AM

Here are a couple excellent articles that my friend Mike Hogan found in the Miami Herald and sent me. They belong here under this topic.

History of Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo in the early 1960s being preserved
Posted on Wednesday, 11.23.11

By LUISA YANEZ
lyanez@MiamiHerald.com

Next month in Miami, a handful of Cuban exile veterans of an undeclared war 50 years ago — in all places the former Belgian Congo — will gather to remember and piece together the fantastic history of their second most important secret mission.

The first had been the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, a CIA-sponsored effort to overthrown Fidel Castro.

But the spotlight now is on the little-known campaign by 100 Cuban exile pilots recruited by the CIA, including veterans of the invasion, to enter the Congo and stop leftist Simba warriors being reinforced by Castro troops, the Soviet Union and the Chinese.

Castro had even sent Ernesto “Che” Guevara to help the rebels.

This time, the Cuban exiles defeated the communist threat, but with little fanfare or reward. Dubbed the Makasi unit, they became pioneers in the Congo wars that raged from 1962 to 1965. Makasi means powerful and strong in Swahili.

“What these men did was incredible and their history has never been told,” said Janet Ray of Miami-Dade, whose pilot father, Thomas “Pete” Ray, was shot down during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Ray has dedicated her life to preserving he history of the men who took part in the invasion and now she is focusing on the Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo.

The recruited men numbered about 120 to 100 pilots to fly missions over the jungle, a ground crew and naval force.

If the Bay of Pigs invasion failed 50 year ago this year due to lack of U.S. air support, in the Congo the Cuban exile pilots stymied the rebel forces and even forced Guevara out. He headed instead for the Bolivian jungles, where he was captured and killed.

During their three-year stint, the pilots carried out hundreds of missions. Two died when their planes were shot down; lore has it they were eaten by cannibals.

“Many Cuban exiles have absolutely no idea that this took place,” writer Frank Villafana, author of Cold War in the Congo, recently told WTVJ-NBC 6 reporter Hank Tester, who has launched a multi-part project on the pilots. It is well known that Cuban forces were sent to the Congo by Castro, but not that Cuban exiles were also sent clandestinely by the United States.

Ray wants to bring to light the history of the Makasi unit. She has personally tracked down the names of many of the men who served and located some of their children on Facebook. In many cases, she has told them for the first time details of their fathers’ mission, which they had been told to keep secret.

Ray has also created a private Facebook page dedicated to the: “The Makasi Legacy Cuban Exile Veterans of the Congo,” where she has culled new photographs and 8mm film of the men in action. The page has received hundreds of hits.

And she had tracked down those rescued in one of the unit’s greatest mission: the daring rescue in the jungle of 14 missionaries taken hostage by rebels.

Ray, along with the Cuban Pilots Association, is planning a Makasi reunion Dec. 3 in the hopes of finding more pilots or their children.

“Our goal now is to preserve the history of what these men did,’’ Ray said.

For details of the time and place for the reunion, call Ray at 305-255-5994 or email her at WingsValor@aol.com.

Read more: http://www.miamihera...l#ixzz1fWNElP00


Posted Image
A mid-1960s photo of the Cuban exile pilots and their ground crew while on their mission in the Congo.

Bittersweet memory of rescue mission
Posted on Sunday, 11.27.11

On Thanksgiving I shared a story of the 47th anniversary of the rescue of 24 missionaries by a CIA team of Cuban exiles in the Congo.

The rebels, who were known as the Simbas, were holding more than 1,000 Europeans and Americans hostages for 111 days in Stanleyville. Within the group of hostages were American missionaries and diplomats including undercover CIA agents.

The European nations and the United States were developing the plans for the largest hostage rescue in history using U.S. Air Force C-130s and more than 500 Belgian and 45 American paratroopers. Cuban-exile pilots would make the first flights over Stanleyville to take out the aerial guns. The ground assault would be led by a Belgian officer and a force made up mainly of mercenaries.

Hidden within this force was the CIA’s special Low Beam team whose mission was the liberation of the five American diplomats. The CIA had asked Rip Robertson, one of their top covert officers, to form a team from the Cuban exiles he had worked within covert operations against Castro’s dictatorship.

Team members knew when they flew from the United States that they would be serving the interests of their new country and fighting a Communist-supported situation.

As Stanleyville was being liberated, the Low Beam team made it to the airport after days of fighting. At the same time, a group of liberated American missionaries desperately pleaded for help in rescuing the missionaries who were being held at the KM 8 mission. This team of Cuban exiles put their lives on the line to save 14 children, nine women and one man. The team fought its way to the mission ,and in the fight back to the safety of the airport, their vehicles were so crowded one of the team held a 4-year-old girl in his lap as he fired his machine gun.

Forty-seven years later, the surviving missionaries would learn their rescuers weren’t mercenaries, but a special CIA team. Forty-seven years later some of the survivors and the team would be united for a few hours at Miami International Airport.

As the daughter of an American pilot who gave his life during the Bay of Pigs invasion, it continues to be bittersweet. I consider the Cuban-American community to be my family and want the world to know of their noble qualities.

Janet Ray, Miami

Read more: http://www.miamihera...d#ixzz1fWMoWBvy


Zach

#9 William Kelly

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:51 AM

In another thread, mention was made of Rip Robertson and a team of Cubans working within Operation Low Beam in the Congo.

For anyone who is interested in more detail on this action and who the participants were, this web site offers some details.

FWIW.

http://www-cgsc.army...i/odom/odom.asp

James


This link no longer works for me.

That's why I always try to repost the entire article of anything important because most links no longer work after a few months, sometimes weeks.

So its always good to archive an article that's considered important.

Did anybody copy this web site article or can anyone refer to where it can be read today?

Thanks,

BK

#10 Thomas Graves

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:51 AM

Here are a couple excellent articles that my friend Mike Hogan found in the Miami Herald and sent me. They belong here under this topic.

History of Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo in the early 1960s being preserved
Posted on Wednesday, 11.23.11

By LUISA YANEZ
lyanez@MiamiHerald.com

Next month in Miami, a handful of Cuban exile veterans of an undeclared war 50 years ago — in all places the former Belgian Congo — will gather to remember and piece together the fantastic history of their second most important secret mission.

The first had been the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, a CIA-sponsored effort to overthrown Fidel Castro.

But the spotlight now is on the little-known campaign by 100 Cuban exile pilots recruited by the CIA, including veterans of the invasion, to enter the Congo and stop leftist Simba warriors being reinforced by Castro troops, the Soviet Union and the Chinese.

Castro had even sent Ernesto “Che” Guevara to help the rebels.

This time, the Cuban exiles defeated the communist threat, but with little fanfare or reward. Dubbed the Makasi unit, they became pioneers in the Congo wars that raged from 1962 to 1965. Makasi means powerful and strong in Swahili.

“What these men did was incredible and their history has never been told,” said Janet Ray of Miami-Dade, whose pilot father, Thomas “Pete” Ray, was shot down during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Ray has dedicated her life to preserving he history of the men who took part in the invasion and now she is focusing on the Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo.

The recruited men numbered about 120 to 100 pilots to fly missions over the jungle, a ground crew and naval force.

If the Bay of Pigs invasion failed 50 year ago this year due to lack of U.S. air support, in the Congo the Cuban exile pilots stymied the rebel forces and even forced Guevara out. He headed instead for the Bolivian jungles, where he was captured and killed.

During their three-year stint, the pilots carried out hundreds of missions. Two died when their planes were shot down; lore has it they were eaten by cannibals.

“Many Cuban exiles have absolutely no idea that this took place,” writer Frank Villafana, author of Cold War in the Congo, recently told WTVJ-NBC 6 reporter Hank Tester, who has launched a multi-part project on the pilots. It is well known that Cuban forces were sent to the Congo by Castro, but not that Cuban exiles were also sent clandestinely by the United States.

Ray wants to bring to light the history of the Makasi unit. She has personally tracked down the names of many of the men who served and located some of their children on Facebook. In many cases, she has told them for the first time details of their fathers’ mission, which they had been told to keep secret.

Ray has also created a private Facebook page dedicated to the: “The Makasi Legacy Cuban Exile Veterans of the Congo,” where she has culled new photographs and 8mm film of the men in action. The page has received hundreds of hits.

And she had tracked down those rescued in one of the unit’s greatest mission: the daring rescue in the jungle of 14 missionaries taken hostage by rebels.

Ray, along with the Cuban Pilots Association, is planning a Makasi reunion Dec. 3 in the hopes of finding more pilots or their children.

“Our goal now is to preserve the history of what these men did,’’ Ray said.

For details of the time and place for the reunion, call Ray at 305-255-5994 or email her at WingsValor@aol.com.

Read more: http://www.miamihera...l#ixzz1fWNElP00


Posted Image
A mid-1960s photo of the Cuban exile pilots and their ground crew while on their mission in the Congo.

Bittersweet memory of rescue mission
Posted on Sunday, 11.27.11

On Thanksgiving I shared a story of the 47th anniversary of the rescue of 24 missionaries by a CIA team of Cuban exiles in the Congo.

The rebels, who were known as the Simbas, were holding more than 1,000 Europeans and Americans hostages for 111 days in Stanleyville. Within the group of hostages were American missionaries and diplomats including undercover CIA agents.

The European nations and the United States were developing the plans for the largest hostage rescue in history using U.S. Air Force C-130s and more than 500 Belgian and 45 American paratroopers. Cuban-exile pilots would make the first flights over Stanleyville to take out the aerial guns. The ground assault would be led by a Belgian officer and a force made up mainly of mercenaries.

Hidden within this force was the CIA’s special Low Beam team whose mission was the liberation of the five American diplomats. The CIA had asked Rip Robertson, one of their top covert officers, to form a team from the Cuban exiles he had worked within covert operations against Castro’s dictatorship.

Team members knew when they flew from the United States that they would be serving the interests of their new country and fighting a Communist-supported situation.

As Stanleyville was being liberated, the Low Beam team made it to the airport after days of fighting. At the same time, a group of liberated American missionaries desperately pleaded for help in rescuing the missionaries who were being held at the KM 8 mission. This team of Cuban exiles put their lives on the line to save 14 children, nine women and one man. The team fought its way to the mission ,and in the fight back to the safety of the airport, their vehicles were so crowded one of the team held a 4-year-old girl in his lap as he fired his machine gun.

Forty-seven years later, the surviving missionaries would learn their rescuers weren’t mercenaries, but a special CIA team. Forty-seven years later some of the survivors and the team would be united for a few hours at Miami International Airport.

As the daughter of an American pilot who gave his life during the Bay of Pigs invasion, it continues to be bittersweet. I consider the Cuban-American community to be my family and want the world to know of their noble qualities.

Janet Ray, Miami

Read more: http://www.miamihera...d#ixzz1fWMoWBvy


Zach


Two observations from the photo: There's Louie Witt's umbrella on the left, and hey!, I think I recognize some of these guys from the Robert Hughes parking lot film!

--Tommy :ph34r:

#11 William Kelly

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:54 AM

In another thread, mention was made of Rip Robertson and a team of Cubans working within Operation Low Beam in the Congo.

For anyone who is interested in more detail on this action and who the participants were, this web site offers some details.

FWIW.

http://www-cgsc.army...i/odom/odom.asp

James


This link no longer works for me.

That's why I always try to repost the entire article of anything important because most links no longer work after a few months, sometimes weeks.

So its always good to archive an article that's considered important.

Did anybody copy this web site article or can anyone refer to where it can be read today?

Thanks,

BK

#12 Zach Robertson

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:02 AM

This link no longer works for me.

That's why I always try to repost the entire article of anything important because most links no longer work after a few months, sometimes weeks.

So its always good to archive an article that's considered important.

Did anybody copy this web site article or can anyone refer to where it can be read today?

Thanks,

BK


Hi Bill,

I included the updated link in my above post along with the relevant excerpt. Here is the link again:

Dragon Operations Hostage Rescues in the Congo, 1964-1965


Tommy,

I was hoping we could escape the Smut from the Umbrella Man nonsense albeit briefly. ;)

Seriously though, the Cuban Exiles involved in the Low Beam operation were likely on-the-books assets from JMWAVE that Rip Robertson worked closely with during the Bay of Pigs era. These guys in the photo would be accounted for and documented as this was a high profile operation for the Agency. Therefore, I really doubt that any of these guys would be Dallas players.

Zach

#13 William Kelly

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:50 AM


Here are a couple excellent articles that my friend Mike Hogan found in the Miami Herald and sent me. They belong here under this topic.

History of Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo in the early 1960s being preserved
Posted on Wednesday, 11.23.11

By LUISA YANEZ
lyanez@MiamiHerald.com

Next month in Miami, a handful of Cuban exile veterans of an undeclared war 50 years ago — in all places the former Belgian Congo — will gather to remember and piece together the fantastic history of their second most important secret mission.

The first had been the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, a CIA-sponsored effort to overthrown Fidel Castro.

But the spotlight now is on the little-known campaign by 100 Cuban exile pilots recruited by the CIA, including veterans of the invasion, to enter the Congo and stop leftist Simba warriors being reinforced by Castro troops, the Soviet Union and the Chinese.

Castro had even sent Ernesto "Che" Guevara to help the rebels.

This time, the Cuban exiles defeated the communist threat, but with little fanfare or reward. Dubbed the Makasi unit, they became pioneers in the Congo wars that raged from 1962 to 1965. Makasi means powerful and strong in Swahili.

"What these men did was incredible and their history has never been told," said Janet Ray of Miami-Dade, whose pilot father, Thomas "Pete" Ray, was shot down during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Ray has dedicated her life to preserving he history of the men who took part in the invasion and now she is focusing on the Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo.

The recruited men numbered about 120 to 100 pilots to fly missions over the jungle, a ground crew and naval force.

If the Bay of Pigs invasion failed 50 year ago this year due to lack of U.S. air support, in the Congo the Cuban exile pilots stymied the rebel forces and even forced Guevara out. He headed instead for the Bolivian jungles, where he was captured and killed.

During their three-year stint, the pilots carried out hundreds of missions. Two died when their planes were shot down; lore has it they were eaten by cannibals.

"Many Cuban exiles have absolutely no idea that this took place," writer Frank Villafana, author of Cold War in the Congo, recently told WTVJ-NBC 6 reporter Hank Tester, who has launched a multi-part project on the pilots. It is well known that Cuban forces were sent to the Congo by Castro, but not that Cuban exiles were also sent clandestinely by the United States.

Ray wants to bring to light the history of the Makasi unit. She has personally tracked down the names of many of the men who served and located some of their children on Facebook. In many cases, she has told them for the first time details of their fathers' mission, which they had been told to keep secret.

Ray has also created a private Facebook page dedicated to the: "The Makasi Legacy Cuban Exile Veterans of the Congo," where she has culled new photographs and 8mm film of the men in action. The page has received hundreds of hits.

And she had tracked down those rescued in one of the unit's greatest mission: the daring rescue in the jungle of 14 missionaries taken hostage by rebels.

Ray, along with the Cuban Pilots Association, is planning a Makasi reunion Dec. 3 in the hopes of finding more pilots or their children.

"Our goal now is to preserve the history of what these men did,'' Ray said.

For details of the time and place for the reunion, call Ray at 305-255-5994 or email her at WingsValor@aol.com.

Read more: http://www.miamihera...l#ixzz1fWNElP00


Posted Image
A mid-1960s photo of the Cuban exile pilots and their ground crew while on their mission in the Congo.

Bittersweet memory of rescue mission
Posted on Sunday, 11.27.11

On Thanksgiving I shared a story of the 47th anniversary of the rescue of 24 missionaries by a CIA team of Cuban exiles in the Congo.

The rebels, who were known as the Simbas, were holding more than 1,000 Europeans and Americans hostages for 111 days in Stanleyville. Within the group of hostages were American missionaries and diplomats including undercover CIA agents.

The European nations and the United States were developing the plans for the largest hostage rescue in history using U.S. Air Force C-130s and more than 500 Belgian and 45 American paratroopers. Cuban-exile pilots would make the first flights over Stanleyville to take out the aerial guns. The ground assault would be led by a Belgian officer and a force made up mainly of mercenaries.

Hidden within this force was the CIA's special Low Beam team whose mission was the liberation of the five American diplomats. The CIA had asked Rip Robertson, one of their top covert officers, to form a team from the Cuban exiles he had worked within covert operations against Castro's dictatorship.

Team members knew when they flew from the United States that they would be serving the interests of their new country and fighting a Communist-supported situation.

As Stanleyville was being liberated, the Low Beam team made it to the airport after days of fighting. At the same time, a group of liberated American missionaries desperately pleaded for help in rescuing the missionaries who were being held at the KM 8 mission. This team of Cuban exiles put their lives on the line to save 14 children, nine women and one man. The team fought its way to the mission ,and in the fight back to the safety of the airport, their vehicles were so crowded one of the team held a 4-year-old girl in his lap as he fired his machine gun.

Forty-seven years later, the surviving missionaries would learn their rescuers weren't mercenaries, but a special CIA team. Forty-seven years later some of the survivors and the team would be united for a few hours at Miami International Airport.

As the daughter of an American pilot who gave his life during the Bay of Pigs invasion, it continues to be bittersweet. I consider the Cuban-American community to be my family and want the world to know of their noble qualities.

Janet Ray, Miami

Read more: http://www.miamihera...d#ixzz1fWMoWBvy


Zach


Two observations from the photo: There's Louie Witt's umbrella on the left, and hey!, I think I recognize some of these guys from the Robert Hughes parking lot film!

--Tommy :ph34r:


Yes, I think it might be the Dealey Plaza team - complete with umbrella - (I'm counting the spokes), and Rip Robertson's Low Beam Team - this whole story is pretty fascinating. I think everybody knew that Che and the pro-Castro Cubans were in the Congo - along with Juan Almeida - the guy who Tom Waldron said was pulling off a coup in Cuba that resulted in the Kennedy assassination; - but I didn't know the pro-Castro Cubans were there with Rip Robertson, and beat the Commies, and probably used the same B-26s and Bay of Pigs vets, and well-trained, hopped up and ready to fight - so they gave them a fight.

It's also relevant in regards to the deaths of Dag Hammarskjold and Patrice Lumumba and D'Lynn Waldron's inside version that Eisenhower wouldn't deal with those he believed were commies. It's also especially revealing that the Scrips Howard News Service severely edited DLW's texts so that the real back room dealings didn't get out - and there was a false portrait drawn of what was happening there. Firmly establishing the news network as a firm arm of Mockingbird - the SHNS also comes up in other similar cases - Seith Kantor and Hal Hendrix, the reports that Castro was behind Dealey Plaza and now this. That's three strike in my book.

SHNS also has something to do with the Miller Center in Virginia, where they mistranslated the JFK tapes.

BK

Edited by William Kelly, 04 December 2011 - 03:18 AM.


#14 David Andrews

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:59 AM

The name "Rip Robertson" makes me miss my old Doc Savage paperbacks.

Edited by David Andrews, 04 December 2011 - 06:21 AM.


#15 Thomas Graves

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 06:40 AM



Here are a couple excellent articles that my friend Mike Hogan found in the Miami Herald and sent me. They belong here under this topic.

History of Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo in the early 1960s being preserved
Posted on Wednesday, 11.23.11

By LUISA YANEZ
lyanez@MiamiHerald.com

Next month in Miami, a handful of Cuban exile veterans of an undeclared war 50 years ago — in all places the former Belgian Congo — will gather to remember and piece together the fantastic history of their second most important secret mission.

The first had been the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, a CIA-sponsored effort to overthrown Fidel Castro.

But the spotlight now is on the little-known campaign by 100 Cuban exile pilots recruited by the CIA, including veterans of the invasion, to enter the Congo and stop leftist Simba warriors being reinforced by Castro troops, the Soviet Union and the Chinese.

Castro had even sent Ernesto "Che" Guevara to help the rebels.

This time, the Cuban exiles defeated the communist threat, but with little fanfare or reward. Dubbed the Makasi unit, they became pioneers in the Congo wars that raged from 1962 to 1965. Makasi means powerful and strong in Swahili.

"What these men did was incredible and their history has never been told," said Janet Ray of Miami-Dade, whose pilot father, Thomas "Pete" Ray, was shot down during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Ray has dedicated her life to preserving he history of the men who took part in the invasion and now she is focusing on the Cuban exile pilots who served in the Congo.

The recruited men numbered about 120 to 100 pilots to fly missions over the jungle, a ground crew and naval force.

If the Bay of Pigs invasion failed 50 year ago this year due to lack of U.S. air support, in the Congo the Cuban exile pilots stymied the rebel forces and even forced Guevara out. He headed instead for the Bolivian jungles, where he was captured and killed.

During their three-year stint, the pilots carried out hundreds of missions. Two died when their planes were shot down; lore has it they were eaten by cannibals.

"Many Cuban exiles have absolutely no idea that this took place," writer Frank Villafana, author of Cold War in the Congo, recently told WTVJ-NBC 6 reporter Hank Tester, who has launched a multi-part project on the pilots. It is well known that Cuban forces were sent to the Congo by Castro, but not that Cuban exiles were also sent clandestinely by the United States.

Ray wants to bring to light the history of the Makasi unit. She has personally tracked down the names of many of the men who served and located some of their children on Facebook. In many cases, she has told them for the first time details of their fathers' mission, which they had been told to keep secret.

Ray has also created a private Facebook page dedicated to the: "The Makasi Legacy Cuban Exile Veterans of the Congo," where she has culled new photographs and 8mm film of the men in action. The page has received hundreds of hits.

And she had tracked down those rescued in one of the unit's greatest mission: the daring rescue in the jungle of 14 missionaries taken hostage by rebels.

Ray, along with the Cuban Pilots Association, is planning a Makasi reunion Dec. 3 in the hopes of finding more pilots or their children.

"Our goal now is to preserve the history of what these men did,'' Ray said.

For details of the time and place for the reunion, call Ray at 305-255-5994 or email her at WingsValor@aol.com.

Read more: http://www.miamihera...l#ixzz1fWNElP00


Posted Image
A mid-1960s photo of the Cuban exile pilots and their ground crew while on their mission in the Congo.

Bittersweet memory of rescue mission
Posted on Sunday, 11.27.11

On Thanksgiving I shared a story of the 47th anniversary of the rescue of 24 missionaries by a CIA team of Cuban exiles in the Congo.

The rebels, who were known as the Simbas, were holding more than 1,000 Europeans and Americans hostages for 111 days in Stanleyville. Within the group of hostages were American missionaries and diplomats including undercover CIA agents.

The European nations and the United States were developing the plans for the largest hostage rescue in history using U.S. Air Force C-130s and more than 500 Belgian and 45 American paratroopers. Cuban-exile pilots would make the first flights over Stanleyville to take out the aerial guns. The ground assault would be led by a Belgian officer and a force made up mainly of mercenaries.

Hidden within this force was the CIA's special Low Beam team whose mission was the liberation of the five American diplomats. The CIA had asked Rip Robertson, one of their top covert officers, to form a team from the Cuban exiles he had worked within covert operations against Castro's dictatorship.

Team members knew when they flew from the United States that they would be serving the interests of their new country and fighting a Communist-supported situation.

As Stanleyville was being liberated, the Low Beam team made it to the airport after days of fighting. At the same time, a group of liberated American missionaries desperately pleaded for help in rescuing the missionaries who were being held at the KM 8 mission. This team of Cuban exiles put their lives on the line to save 14 children, nine women and one man. The team fought its way to the mission ,and in the fight back to the safety of the airport, their vehicles were so crowded one of the team held a 4-year-old girl in his lap as he fired his machine gun.

Forty-seven years later, the surviving missionaries would learn their rescuers weren't mercenaries, but a special CIA team. Forty-seven years later some of the survivors and the team would be united for a few hours at Miami International Airport.

As the daughter of an American pilot who gave his life during the Bay of Pigs invasion, it continues to be bittersweet. I consider the Cuban-American community to be my family and want the world to know of their noble qualities.

Janet Ray, Miami

Read more: http://www.miamihera...d#ixzz1fWMoWBvy


Zach


Two observations from the photo: There's Louie Witt's umbrella on the left, and hey!, I think I recognize some of these guys from the Robert Hughes parking lot film!

--Tommy :ph34r:


Yes, I think it might be the Dealey Plaza team - complete with umbrella - (I'm counting the spokes), and Rip Robertson's Low Beam Team - this whole story is pretty fascinating. I think everybody knew that Che and the pro-Castro Cubans were in the Congo - along with Juan Almeida - the guy who Tom Waldron said was pulling off a coup in Cuba that resulted in the Kennedy assassination; - but I didn't know the pro-Castro Cubans were there with Rip Robertson, and beat the Commies, and probably used the same B-26s and Bay of Pigs vets, and well-trained, hopped up and ready to fight - so they gave them a fight.

It's also relevant in regards to the deaths of Dag Hammarskjold and Patrice Lumumba and D'Lynn Waldron's inside version that Eisenhower wouldn't deal with those he believed were commies. It's also especially revealing that the Scrips Howard News Service severely edited DLW's texts so that the real back room dealings didn't get out - and there was a false portrait drawn of what was happening there. Firmly establishing the news network as a firm arm of Mockingbird - the SHNS also comes up in other similar cases - Seith Kantor and Hal Hendrix, the reports that Castro was behind Dealey Plaza and now this. That's three strike in my book.

SHNS also has something to do with the Miller Center in Virginia, where they mistranslated the JFK tapes.

BK


According to Douglas Valentine, the CIA station chief who submitted a list of ten CIA-acceptable QJ/WIN candidates, including Charlie Siragusa of the FBN, to ZR/RIFLE's Bill Harvey in 1960 for him to choose from, asked Harvey to ask Siragusa if he knew any black guys from the West Indies who would be good to use in "the upcoming operation" (assassinating Lumumba?). Some experts think that Siragusa was chosen by Harvey to be QJ/WIN. If so, I wonder if any of these West Indians were used in Dallas...

--Tommy :ph34r:




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