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William "Rip" Robertson (August 3, 1920 – December 1, 1970) was a Central Intelligence Agency Case Officer in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.
Robertson was born in Manard, Muskogee County, Oklahoma on August 3, 1920and attended Vanderbilt University before and after the war. During World War II he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater as a captain and served during the Korean War. He later entered the CIA in 1947 and served as a paramilitary operations officer in their famed Special Activities Division.
Muskogee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 70,990. The county seat is Muskogee. The county and city were named for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The official spelling of the name was changed to Muskogee by the post office in 1900.
Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of New York shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1-million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
In 1954 he was one of a handful of Paramilitary Case Officers assigned to the CIA Task Force charged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower with destabilizing the democratically elected government of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. This covert action operation was accomplished in a surprisingly easy manner through psychological warfare measures designed and managed by CIA propaganda and psy-ops experts David Phillips and Howard Hunt. From a secret radio transmitter located on Swan Island off the Honduran coast, Phillips and Hunt scripted and broadcast a steady and increasingly bellicose stream of false news reports from a so-called "insurgent radio station" that was supposedly located in the mountains of Guatemala. Meanwhile, Robertson and his colleagues brought a relatively small unit of armed and trained guerrillas into the countryside outside of Guatemala City to make loud but non-lethal demonstrations of force. The combination of alarmist false radio broadcasts and loud explosions detonated by Robertson in the countryside succeeded splendidly in convincing Arbenz and his troops that a large well-armed insurgent "army" was poised outside the capital preparing to attack at any moment. These efforts, punctuated by the fly-over of the capital by a couple of CIA-controlled fighter-bombers with Nicaraguan Air Force markings and dropping a couple of bombs, convinced Arbenz that his own pilots had defected to the anti-government insurgency and that his capital was about to fall. Arbenz hurriedly fled the country, thus accomplishing President Eisenhower's order with virtually no bloodshed.
In a subsequent Central American operation, a team of guerrillas led by Robertson mis-identified a British cargo ship for a Russian freighter at anchor in a Nicaraguan harbor that was thought to be en route to Cuba with arms and ordnance for Castro. Robertson's guerrillas mined the vessel, sinking it in the harbor and killing some British seamen, resulting in an international uproar and a diplomatic demarche' from London. Robertson accepted responsibility for the operation and although he was dismissed from the agency by the chief of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, Colonel J.C. King—reportedly on Eisenhower's orders—Robertson was never considered to be an outcast by his CIA colleagues.
Robertson remained in Nicaragua, where he acquired large tracts of farmland near Puerto Cabezas on the Caribbean coast and went into the coffee business. He was thus well positioned to provide covert assistance to CIA when it began the search for remote sites to train Cuban exiles. Robertson offered such a site which became the principal training camp for what was to become Brigade 2506, which subsequently landed at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. At this time, Robertson was re-employed by the agency on a contract (vice staff) basis to help lead the 2506 Brigade during the 1961 invasion of Cuba. During the battle he commanded the ship Barbara J while Grayston Lynch commanded the ship Blagar. Robertson and Lynch both went ashore to supervise the brigade from the beach. Both Robertson and Lynch were under fire for several hours until they were ordered by Washington off the beach—an order which they reluctantly obeyed.
Grayston L. Lynch was an American soldier and CIA paramilitary officer in Special Activities Division. Paramilitary Operations Officers come from the Special Operations Group (SOG) within SAD. They are recruited primarily from USSOCOM. They are a majority of the recipients of the rare CIA valor awards of the Distinguished Intelligence Cross and the Intelligence Star. He was one of the two CIA officers who commanded the faction of the army that went to war in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The other agent was William "Rip" Robertson.
Robertson subsequently led a unit of Cuban exiles in the Congo Crisis.
The Congo Crisis was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.
Robertson left Laos in 1970 on an emergency evacuation. He died in Dallas, Texas, on December 1, 1970.Death was due to the effects of malaria.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.
CIA cryptonyms are code names or code words used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to refer to projects, operations, persons, agencies, etc.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored rebel group Brigade 2506 on 17 April 1961. A counter-revolutionary military group, trained and funded by the CIA, Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro. Launched from Guatemala and Nicaragua, the invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, under the direct command of Castro.
Carlos Castillo Armas was a Guatemalan military officer and politician who was the 28th president of Guatemala, serving from 1954 to 1957 after taking power in a coup d'état. A member of the right-wing National Liberation Movement (MLN) party, his authoritarian government was closely allied with the United States.
The 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, code-named Operation PBSUCCESS, was a covert operation carried out by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that deposed the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz and ended the Guatemalan Revolution of 1944–1954. It installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas, the first in a series of U.S.-backed authoritarian rulers in Guatemala.
Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutia is a former Central Intelligence Agency Paramilitary Operations Officer in the famed Special Activities Division, known for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the execution of communist revolutionary Che Guevara as well as his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran–Contra affair. He is a Cuban American.
The Special Activities Center (SAC) is a division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency responsible for covert operations. The unit was named Special Activities Division prior to 2016. Within SAC there are two separate groups: SAC/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAC/PAG for covert political action.
Manuel Francisco Artime Buesa, M.D. was a Cuban-American who at one time was a member of the rebel army of Fidel Castro but later was the political leader of Brigade 2506 land forces in the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961.
Operation PBFORTUNE, also known as Operation FORTUNE, was the name of a covert United States operation to overthrow the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz in 1952. The operation was authorized by US President Harry Truman and planned by the Central Intelligence Agency. The United Fruit Company had lobbied intensively for the overthrow because land reform initiated by Árbenz threatened its economic interests. The coup attempt was also motivated by US fears that the government of Árbenz was being influenced by communists. It was planned with the knowledge and support of the United Fruit Company, and of Anastasio Somoza García, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and Marcos Pérez Jiménez, the US-backed right-wing dictators of Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela respectively, who felt threatened by the democratic Guatemalan Revolution, and had sought to undermine it. The plan for the operation involved providing weapons to the exiled Guatemalan military officer Carlos Castillo Armas, who was to lead an invasion from Nicaragua. However, the US State Department discovered that details of the plan had become too widely known. US Secretary of State Dean Acheson became concerned that the coup attempt would damage the image of the US, which had committed to a policy of non-intervention, and so terminated the operation. Operation PBFORTUNE was followed two years later by Operation PBSUCCESS, another covert operation in which Castillo Armas played a prominent role, and which toppled Árbenz and ended the Guatemalan Revolution.
The Guatemalan Civil War ran from 1960 to 1996. It was fought between the government of Guatemala and various leftist rebel groups supported chiefly by ethnic Maya indigenous people and Ladino peasants, who together make up the rural poor. The government forces of Guatemala have been condemned for committing genocide against the Maya population of Guatemala during the civil war and for widespread human rights violations against civilians.
The Intelligence Star is an award given by the Central Intelligence Agency to its officers for "voluntary acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk". The award citation is from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and specifically cites actions of "extraordinary heroism". It is the third-highest award given by the Central Intelligence Agency, behind the Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Distinguished Intelligence Medal, and is analogous to the Silver Star, the US military award for extraordinary heroism in combat. Only a few dozen people have received this award, making it one of the rarest valor awards awarded by the US government.
Richard Mervin Bissell Jr. was a Central Intelligence Agency officer responsible for major projects such as the U-2 spy plane and the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Operation 40 was the code name for a Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored counterintelligence group composed of Cuban exiles. The group was formed to seize control of the Cuban government after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Operation 40 continued to operate unofficially until disbanded in 1970 due to allegations that an aircraft that was carrying cocaine and heroin in support of the group crashed in California.
Operation WASHTUB was a covert operation organized by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to plant a phony Soviet arms cache in Nicaragua. It was a part of the CIA's effort to portray the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz as having ties to the Soviet Union, prior to the CIA sponsored 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état which overthrew Árbenz later the same year. On 19 February, 1954, the CIA, working through the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua, planted a cache of Soviet-made arms on the Nicaraguan coast near the fishing village of Masachapa to be "discovered" weeks later by Rafael Lola, a lieutenant in the Nicaraguan army, and fishermen in the pay of Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza García. The CIA also wished to dispose of the weapons, which were to have been used by Carlos Castillo Armas, and were therefore incriminating to the CIA. On May 7, 1954, President Somoza told reporters at a press conference that a Soviet submarine had been photographed, but that no prints or negatives were available. The story presented to the press was embroidered with the involvement of Guatemalan assassination squads. Somoza was supposed to convince the public that the arms had been intended for Guatemala. The press and the public were skeptical and the story did not get much press. However, the story became part of the Nicaragua local legends until the 1979 revolution.
Operation PBHistory was a covert operation carried out in Guatemala by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It followed Operation PBSuccess, which led to the overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz in June 1954 and ended the Guatemalan Revolution. PBHistory attempted to use documents left behind by Árbenz's government and by organizations related to the communist Guatemalan Party of Labour to demonstrate that the Guatemalan government had been under the influence of the Soviet Union, and to use those documents to obtain further intelligence that would be useful to US intelligence agencies. It was an effort to justify the overthrow of the elected Guatemalan government in response to the negative international reactions to PBSuccess. The CIA also hoped to improve its intelligence resources about communist parties in Latin America, a subject on which it had little information.
Carl Elmer Jenkins is a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a rich history of intervention over many decades in Guatemala, a country in Central America that the US government has generally viewed as "its backyard." Guatemala is bordered by the North Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Honduras. The four bordering countries are Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize. Due to the proximity of Guatemala to the United States the fear of the Soviets creating a beachhead in Guatemala created panic in the United States government during the Cold War. The panic was later avoided after operation PBSUCCESS which was completed in 1954 as a means to overthrow democratically-elected Árbenz. With what has been released by the CIA we know that due to the United States 1954 coup and the installation of militarized leadership more than 100,000 Guatemalan citizens have been killed. The U.S. utilized forms of physical and psychological torture to break down Guatemalans into submission.
Gerard "Gerry" Droller was a German CIA officer involved in the covert 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état and the recruitment of Cuban exiles in the preparation of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961.
The United States has at various times in recent history provided support to terrorist and paramilitary organizations around the world. It has also provided assistance to numerous authoritarian regimes that have used state terrorism as a tool of repression.
Spartacus Educational - William Robertson