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Costas Georgiou (Greek : Κώστας Γιώργιου, also Anglicized as Kostas Giorgiou; alias "Colonel Callan") (1951 – 10 July 1976) was an ethnic Greek Cypriot, British mercenary executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.
Georgiou was born on Cyprus in 1951, when the island was still a British Crown colony. His family moved to London in the early 1960s.
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.
Crown colony, dependent territory or royal colony were dependent territories under the administration of United Kingdom overseas territories that were controlled by the British Government. As such they are examples of dependencies that are under colonial rule. Crown colonies were renamed "British Dependent Territories" in 1981, and since 2002, Crown colonies have been known officially as British Overseas Territories.
Georgiou joined the British Army and served, at first with distinction, in 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland. He was credited as being one of the best marksmen in the unit. He later became involved with other paratroopers in an armed robbery on a Post Office on 18 February 1972. Georgiou was eventually sentenced to five years in prison.
The 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, along with various other regiments and corps from across the British Armed Forces, forms the United Kingdom's Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).
Royal Mail is a postal service and courier company in the United Kingdom, originally established in 1516. The company's subsidiary, Royal Mail Group Limited, operates the brands Royal Mail (letters) and Parcelforce Worldwide (parcels). General Logistics Systems, an international logistics company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group.
Despite later claiming to have been a colonel, Georgiou's highest British Army rank attained was that of corporal, and he never received officer training. Others state Georgiou was a private soldier.[ citation needed ]
Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.
Corporal is a military rank in use in some form by many militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. Within NATO, each member nation's corresponding military rank of corporal is combined under the NATO-standard rank scale code OR-3 or OR-4. However, there are often differences in how each nation employs corporals. Some militaries don't have corporals, but may instead have a Junior Sergeant.
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.
In 1975, Portugal recognised the independence of its former colony of Angola, and acknowledged the Soviet-aligned People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) as the de jure government. The new government sought and received help in the form of Cuban military advisors, combat troops and material to fight against rival factions, which included the US-backed National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the South African-backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which received some US funding but no actual military aid. At the same time, British and American ex-military were recruited by FNLA through Private Military Companies (PMC; also known as PMIs, for Private Military Industry) in the United Kingdom and United States. Funding was provided by various NATO-member intelligence organisations, including the American CIA and the French SDECE.
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, for some years called the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party, is a political party that has ruled Angola since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975. The MPLA fought against the Portuguese army in the Angolan War of Independence of 1961–74, and defeated the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), two other anti-colonial movements, in the Angolan Civil War of 1975–2002.
In law and government, de jure describes practices that are legally recognised, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, de facto describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised. The terms are often used to contrast different scenarios: for a colloquial example, "I know that, de jure, this is supposed to be a parking lot, but now that the flood has left four feet of water here, it's a de facto swimming pool". To further explain, even if the signs around the flooded parking lot say "Parking Lot" it is "in fact" a swimming pool.
By this time, Georgiou was out of the army and working part-time in construction. He had few prospects for more stable and gainful employment, given his dishonorable discharge for his part in robbing a post office. He was dating a Greek Cypriot woman, Rona Angelo. Her cousin was 'Shotgun' Charlie Christodoulou, like Costas an ex-paratrooper of Greek Cypriot extraction, but honourably discharged. An acquaintance, Nick Hall, another dishonorably discharged airborne veteran, took the initiative of putting out an advertisement soliciting mercenary employment for four able-bodied young men. These would be Hall himself, Georgiou, Christodoulou and Costas's old comrade, Mick Wainhouse.
Charles 'Charlie' Christodoulou was a British soldier in the Parachute Regiment who later served as a foreign mercenary during the Angolan War of Independence of the 1970s. Known as 'Shotgun Charlie' as he was seldom without one in his hands in Angola, he was involved in the murder of 167 civilians during that conflict.
The men received a prompt reply from "Dr." Donald Belford, a former British Army medic who had volunteered for a humanitarian aid group in Africa some years before. While there, he had treated several Angolan fighters wounded in the struggle against the Portuguese, earning their friendship and trust. One of his friends was Holden Roberto, leader of the FNLA. After independence, Belford became Roberto's official emissary in the United Kingdom.
Georgiou was now using the nom de guerre "Colonel Tony Cullen" – the surname of a former army friend and not, as mistakenly alleged by some journalists,[ citation needed ] inspired by the TV espionage series Callan. He went to Angola to work as an unpaid medical orderly, in advance of his three colleagues. It was while he was working in this position that he took part in the decisive action that brought him to the notice of the FNLA leadership. When FNLA soldiers fled the advance of a MPLA force, which threatened to capture the hospital to which he was assigned, Georgious led a handful of Portuguese FNLA soldiers in an offensive defence, stopping the MPLA force in its tracks. The general trend of the war for the FNLA at that time was one of a steady string of defeats, ensuring that the defeat of the MPLA column attracted immediate attention from Holden Roberto who, to Georgiou's surprise, appointed him head of the FNLA army, with the rank of Colonel (still unpaid). His three friends arrived from Britain shortly afterwards.
Thanks to continuing recruitment in England, a somewhat larger mercenary contingent was formed, but a full battalion was never realised. The enlarged force was still rather small relative to MPLA/Cuban forces, and many of the men were civilians with no military experience, and often refusing to submit to military discipline. This, combined with the foreign, Mediterranean origin of most of the core leadership, (Georgiou, Christodoulou and the Portuguese), created a deep gulf between the officers and the British other ranks – to say nothing of the native Angolans recruited as infantry and support troops. Most of these had no military experience and many knew no English, or even Portuguese (then still the language of government and the native elite.)
The first contingent of mercenaries was mostly made up of professional soldiers, selected by a British PMC, Security Advisory Services (SAS), run by John Banks, Chris Dempster, and Dave Tomkins. Georgiou resented SAS's own leadership structure within the group, and perceived John Banks, who remained based in Britain, as a personal threat to his own position when Banks did visit Angola. Georgiou became increasingly paranoid and belligerent toward his own men, murdering African soldiers and creating a climate of fear even among the British mercenaries, none of which aided the morale of the FNLA forces or their ability to wage war successfully against the MPLA.
The second contingent of mercenaries sent from Britain, unlike the first, was made up mostly of working class men with no military experience. These undisciplined men quickly realised the perilous situation into which they had been placed, and the instability of their leadership. A group of them consequently seized vehicles and attempted to flee the country, firing on other FNLA forces in the process, including Chris Dempster. The deserters were quickly rounded up by Georgiou's men, and fourteen were summarily executed by firing squad.
A third contingent of similarly inept mercenaries was recruited in the US by an American PMC.[ citation needed ]
The "battalion" fought several more dramatic engagements, including successful ambushes of minor MPLA detachments. However, given his limited resources and the fact that many of his men – European and native alike – were untrained, increasingly demoralised amateurs, Georgiou's campaign was ultimately a failure. According to mercenary David Tomkins, the group spent most of its time foraging for food, usable weapons, and ammunition. Much of this foraging consisted of "raids" on villages, where the men would casually walk into town brandishing their weapons, searching for anything of use. Anyone who offered physical resistance would be shot.
Lack of proper equipment was one of the key factors in the failure of foreign mercenary units in Angola generally, and in Georgiou's case in particular. The MPLA had Soviet tanks, artillery and crack Cuban troops. The other two factions had mostly light infantry, not always the best trained and disciplined either. Another factor was leadership inexperience: Georgiou had absolutely no training or experience as a commissioned officer, nor did most of his counterparts in other units.
Georgiou was tried under the jurisdiction of the Angolan MPLA government in the Luanda Trial during June and July 1976. He was charged with illegally entering Angola as a mercenary, along with twelve other defendants. In addition he was charged with involvement in the massacre of fourteen fellow mercenaries at Maquela do Zombo in northern Angola, as well as with the murder and torture of enemy soldiers and civilians in the town of São Salvador.The killings at Maquela occurred after some mercenary recruits had mistakenly opened fire on their colleagues and, fearing retribution by Georgiou and the MPLA, had subsequently fled towards Zaire, taking all the unit’s supplies.
Georgiou was convicted and sentenced to death.He was executed on 10 July 1976.
Georgiou's sister was allowed to visit him during his captivity in Angola. In a BBC interview, she said they spoke mainly about their family and the trial proceedings, conversing in Greek. Georgiou's body was repatriated to England, and he was buried according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Angola is a country in southwestern Africa. The country's name derives from the Kimbundu word for king. It was first settled by San hunter-gatherer societies before the northern domains came under the rule of Bantu states such as Kongo and Ndongo. From the 15th century, Portuguese colonists began trading, and a settlement was established at Luanda during the 16th century. Portugal annexed territories in the region which were ruled as a colony from 1655, and Angola was incorporated as an overseas province of Portugal in 1951. After the Angolan War of Independence, which ended with an army mutiny and leftist coup in Lisbon, Angola's independence was achieved on November 11, 1975 through the Alvor Agreement. After independence, Angola later entered a period of civil war that lasted up until 2002.
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola is a political party and former militant organisation that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence, under the leadership of Holden Roberto.
The Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974) began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and it became a multi-faction struggle for the control of Portugal's overseas province of Angola among three nationalist movements and a separatist movement. The war ended when a leftist military coup in Lisbon in April 1974 overthrew Portugal's Estado Novo regime, and the new regime immediately stopped all military action in the African colonies, declaring its intention to grant them independence without delay.
The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda, Angola, in June 1976 during the Angolan Civil War. Thirteen Western mercenaries were sentenced to either long prison terms or execution by firing squad.
Holden Álvaro Roberto founded and led the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) from 1962 to 1999. His memoirs are unfinished.
The Angolan Civil War was a civil conflict in Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. The war was a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The war was used as a surrogate battleground for the Cold War by rival states such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States.
Operation Savannah was the South African Defence Force's 1975–1976 covert intervention in the Angolan War of Independence, and the subsequent Angolan Civil War.
The Alvor Agreement, signed on 15 January 1975, granted Angola independence from Portugal on 11 November, ending the war for independence while marking the transition to the Angolan Civil War.
Daniel Chipenda fought in the Angolan War of Independence, serving as the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola's (MPLA) field commander in the Eastern Front before founding and leading the Eastern Revolt, a faction of the MPLA. He later joined the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), but left, rejoined the MPLA, and left again in July 1992. He was an Ovimbundu.
The Armed Forces of the Liberation of Angola or FALA was the armed wing of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), a prominent political faction during the Angolan Civil War.
The 1970s in Angola, a time of political and military turbulence, saw the end of Angola's War of Independence (1961–1975) and the outbreak of civil war (1975–2002). Agostinho Neto, the leader of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), declared the independence of the People's Republic of Angola on November 11, 1975, in accordance with the Alvor Accords. UNITA and the FNLA also declared Angolan independence as the Social Democratic Republic of Angola based in Huambo and the Democratic Republic of Angola based in Ambriz. FLEC, armed and backed by the French government, declared the independence of the Republic of Cabinda from Paris. The National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) forged an alliance on November 23, proclaiming their own coalition government based in Huambo with Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi as co-presidents and José Ndelé and Johnny Pinnock Eduardo as co-Prime Ministers.
In November 1975, on the eve of Angola's independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against United States-backed interventions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two right-wing independence movements competing for power in the country, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By the end of 1975 the Cuban military in Angola numbered more than 25,000 troops. Following the withdrawal of Zaire and South Africa, Cuban forces remained in Angola to support the MPLA government against UNITA in the continuing Angolan Civil War.
Angola-Cuba diplomatic relations refers to the historical and current bilateral relationship between Angola and Cuba. During Angola's civil war, Cuban forces fought alongside the Marxist–Leninist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) government; against the Western-backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) guerrillas who were aided by the South-African army. The present day outcome of the war resulted in the MPLA changing from a Marxist–Leninist party to a multi-party democratic system based on Neoliberal principles. From an economic stand point, Cuba has lost its preferred status among Angolans and South Africa has become the biggest single investor and trading partner with Angola.
In the Angola–Cuba Declaration of 1984, signed 19 March 1984 in Havana by president José Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola and Fidel Castro, premier of Cuba, the two countries agreed to the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola after the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and Namibia, and after UN-Security Council resolution 435 on Namibian independence was strictly applied.
The Battle of Quifangondo occurred on 10 November 1975, the day before the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) declared Angola's independence from Portugal. It can be considered the first battle in the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002).
George Washington Bacon III was an American soldier. He served as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army, Paramilitary Officer in Special Activities Division for the Central Intelligence Agency, and finally as a mercenary soldier.