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Cryptonym: DTROBALO

Definition:
Fort Clayton, Panama, used by CIA as a secret interrogation center.
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
A memo on November 24, 1952, talked about an "explosive situation" that occurred at DTROBALO on October 14, 1952. A Mr. Tharp was praised for his "thorough investigation" and "outstanding performance." As a result of the incident both the Commanding and Deputy Commanding officers of DTROBALO were relieved of their positions (the Deputy returned to Washington to be released to the Air Force), the post psychoanalyst was reprimanded and warned, a junior staff officer returned to Washington for release, and "essential security measures (were) taken to prevent escape of two sour agents and their intermingling with straight defectors who are being prepared for final settlement in South America."
Sources:

104-10404-10094: BLUEBIRD/ARTICHOKE SOFT FILE REVIEW - "KELLY" - DIMITROV, D. A

10/7/77 memo from A. R. Cinquegrana, Office of General Counsel to Anthony A. Lapham: 1950-1954: "D.A. Dimitrov, designated 'Kelly', is a Bulgarian expatriate who appears to have been imprisoned in Greece sometime in 1950 and 1951 on false pretenses because the Agency feared he would accept an offer from French intelligence. After six months in custody, he was flown to Panama where he was misrepresented as a psychopath and confined in a U.S. military hospital for several months...he was then removed from the hospital and held by the Agency at Fort Clayton in Panama for three years. He was then returned to Greece and ultimately allowed to enter the US as a refugee. It appears from the attached copy of a 7 February 1952 memorandum that 'the Artichoke approach', i.e. the use of drugs to reverse his hostility towards the US and US intelligence agencies, was never consummated."

104-10435-10071: [RESTRICTED]

"In April 1951 it came to OPC's attention that (Dico Dimitrov) intended to sell his knowledge of CIA's activities to the French Intelligence Service. This fact was used as the primary reason for his removal from active participation in Bulgarian operations. Because of operational security considerations...it was decided that he should be transferred to a CIA holding facility in Fort Clayton, Panama...arriving on 4 September 1951. He remained there until January 1954. A CIA case officer was dispatched from headquarters in May 1953 to Fort Clayton where he interrogated (Dimitrov). It was determined at that time that whatever operational knowledge (Dimitrov) had of CIA, its methods, personnel and operations was obsolete...(at page 105), 3/27/53: "They reviewed his "hard-core" case in 1953 and the recommendation was to continue confinement for some time." (at page 97), 5/26/53: "Upon arrival at DTROBALO (Fort Clayton) I discussed the case with (Dimitrov's) case officer, Philip Toomey...(same memo, page 103): "(Dimitrov's) knowledge of current operations is so minute that the security risks to our current operations would be very little, if any, if he were resettled. Therefore, my recommendation is to process him for resettlement."

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/fort-clayton.htm

"Fort Clayton is located near the Pacific opening of the Panama Canal in Central America. The USARSO's Commanding General commands, controls and supports Army forces throughout the theater to include plans and programs in support of the Commander in Chief's South Regional security strategy. Also, as Commander of Joint Task Force-Panama, he protects and defends US lives, property, the Panama Canal and promotes the development of democratic institutions by supporting security assistance and counterdrug requirements. This area of operation is roughly 22 percent of the earth's land surface and includes 19 sovereign nations...This US Army Base has been the headquarters of Army South of the Southern Command since the Second World War. Clayton, located on 2,180 acres on the east bank of the Canal in the Pacific Sector, is near Miraflores Locks and is just 30 minutes from Panama City."

Jeffrey Kaye and HP Albarelli Jr., The Real Roots of the CIA’s Rendition and Black Sites Program (Truthout, 2010) https://truthout.org/articles/the-real-roots-of-the-cias-rendition-and-black-sites-program/

In late January 1952, Morse Allen, a CIA Security Office official, was summoned to the office of his superior, security deputy chief Robert L. Bannerman...(for a discussion on) “the Kelly case.” Wrote Allen...(an) official “explained...: “Kelly, (whose real name is Dimitrov), is a 29-year-old Bulgarian and was the head of a small political party based in Greece and ostentively [sic] working for Bulgarian independence.” The official described Dimitrov [whose first name was Dimitre] to Allen as “being young, ambitious, bright … a sort of a ‘man-on-a-horse’ type but a typical Balkan politician.”...CIA field operatives discovered that Dimitrov was seriously considering becoming a double agent for the French Intelligence Service. “Accordingly,...a plot was rigged in which [Dimitrov] was told he was going to be assassinated and as a protective he was placed in custody of the Greek Police.” Successfully duped, Dimitrov was then thrown into prison...the Greek authorities...told the CIA “to take him back.” Because the agency was unable to dispose of Dimitrov in Greece, the memo states, the CIA flew him to a secret interrogation center at Fort Clayton in Panama. In the 1950’s, Fort Clayton, along with nearby sister installations Forts Amador and Gulick, the initial homes of the Army’s notorious School of the Americas, served as a secret prison and interrogation centers for double agents and others kidnapped and spirited out of Europe and other locations. Beginning in 1951, Fort Amador, and reportedly Fort Gulick, were extensively used by the Army and the CIA as a secret experimental site for developing behavior modification techniques and a wide range of drugs, including “truth drugs,” mescaline, LSD and heroin. Former CIA officials have also long claimed that Forts Clayton and Amador in the 1950’s hosted a number of secret Army assassination teams that operated throughout North and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000915028.pdf

07/28/52: Memorandum for the record: Subject: Outline of events for initial hardware shipment DTROBALO - FTZ NY - Puerto Cabezas: "1. Berry and (REDACTION) visit (REDACTION) to make preliminary arrangements for documentation on EYES ONLY basis. 2. (REDACTION) notifies (REDACTION). 3. Hq directs station to prepare hardware for shipment via (REDACTION). Grenade boxes to be banded four together. Hardware to be consigned from (REDACTION) FTZ, New York. Number cases 1 to ? and prepare shipping lists of contents. Stencil cases. Shipment will be collect. 4. Hq arrange for pickup by (REDACTION). 5. ROBALO forward all shipping papers (lists, bills of lading, manifests, invoices) to (REDACTION) to (REDACTION) Washington 7, D.C. 6. ROBALO notify Hq. when shipment leaves. 7. RUFUS approach (REDACTION). Tell him shipment coming in from Europe. Request that he pick up by Nicaraguan Line, FTZ NY on or about X date. 8. RUFUS advise Hq name of consignee and address to which shipping documents should be sent in Nicaragua. Provide Nicaraguan cable address. 9. (REDACTION) meet shipment in N.Y. Arrange all entry, holding and exit permits with customs based on date of Nicaraguan line pickup. Observe loading on Nicaraguan Line. Forward documents to designated consignee, Nicaragua. 10. SEEKFORD to be on hand in Nicaragua to supervise unloading, storage and planning for utilization."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000924042.pdf

11/24/52: Memorandum from Withheld, J. C. King, CWH to Director: Subject: Visit of Chief, Western Hemisphere Division to (REDACTION): ..."3. At DTROBALO an explosive situation was brought to light by an incident occurring 14 October of which Mr. Tharp had completed a thorough investigation the night before my arrival. A further questioning of key personnel at DTROBALO on 25, 26 and 27 October fully confirmed Mr. Tharp's findings and recommendations. Following action was taken: a. Commanding officer of DTROBALO relieved and returned to Washington for reassignment. b. Deputy Commanding Officer of DTROBALO relieved and returned to Washington for release to Air Force. c. Post psychoanalyst reprimanded and warned. d. A junior staff officer returned to Washington for release. e. Essential security measures taken to prevent escape of two sour agents and their intermingling with straight defectors who are being prepared for final settlement in South America. f. Temporary appointment of (REDACTION) Division Inspector, as Commanding Officer, DTROBALO. He arrived (REDACTION) and assumed command 2 November 1952. His permanent assignment as Commanding Officer is under consideration. g. Appointment of (REDACTION) as Deputy CO. He is scheduled to report for duty 7 December 1952. h. Detailed report of 29 October by CWH to DD/P now under review. 4. On my return (REDACTION) 15 November, it was found that (REDACTION) had acted with such promptness, efficiency and ability at DTROBALO that morale and discipline had been completely restored and the danger of incidents reduced to a minimum. Calls were made on 17 November on the following high officials in order to sense the status of our relationships: (LARGE REDACTION)...Much credit was given to Mr. Tharp for an outstanding performance. There was no indication that the difficulties at DTROBALO had reached outside ears."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000924041.pdf

11/25/52: Memorandum from J. C. King, CWH to Director: Subject: PBFORTUNE: "In order to give more rapid support to a possible PBFORTUNE operation it is recommended that: 1. A pier 80 by 16 feet be constructed at DTROBALO. Cost: $30,000. Time of construction: 4 weeks. This will permit ships up to 150 feet in length and 15 feet draft. No facilities except for small boats exist at present. Movement of supplies by water now would require use of Navy facilities and consequent 'cutting in' of outside people. 2. A small ship with a minimum cargo capacity of 100 tons be rented. Estimated cost: $4,000 per month. It would be rented by RUFUS, staffed with his own crew, and would work up and down the Atlantic Coast carrying produce. In this manner a pattern of activity would be established and the crew familiarized with coast parts, including port of disembarkation. When material is shipped from DTROBALO, following procedure would be observed: RUFUS crew turns over ship to our own crew at an intermediate point. Our crew loads vessel at DTROBALO, sails it to intermediate point where it is turned back to RUFUS crew. This gives increased security and speed and eliminates need for harbor and dock facilities at intermediate point. A greater range of suitable intermediate points is automatically made available. We now have a small boat at DTROBALO with ample facilities for transport of our crew to intermediate point. Sufficient number of experienced agency personnel are (REDACTION) to serve as crew..."

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914941.pdf

03/29/53: Cable from Sr. Rep. DTROBALO to Director: EYES ONLY ASCHAM, WHITING, GALBOND: Slugline PBFORTUNE: "1. WH Covert Calligeris reported 28 Mar 'phase one to be initiated 2 April. Equipment list now includes fighter aircraft. Plans going very well.' 2. (REDACTION) has instructed his ambassador Panama to give full support WH Covert Calligeris organization. 3. Said ambassador has issued passports to members organization where necessary, made available embassy communication facilities, and will move critical equipment by pouch. 4. WH Covert Calligeris will visit WH Covert Seekford 2 April Panama enroute Nicaragua. 5. Request permission initiate phase three April 3." (Note: Handwritten "?" pointing at this line).

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914550.pdf

01/05/54: Cable from Lincoln to Withheld: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: "1. Alert Seekford on Jan 6 contact Irving Cadick (true IDEN follows) to be in (REDACTION) Jan 8, 9, 10, for Seekford-Cadick night meeting. Will be registered true name (REDACTION) in that order. 2. Seekford to cable (REDACTION) who will contact and inform Cadick at hotel if necessary to securely effect this meeting. (REDACTION) will be informed any chances by Cadick. 3. During daylight Cadick to be located DTROBALO intermittently. 4. Have Seekford verify receipt this cable." - - - 01/12/54: Cable from Lincoln to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: "Cadick arriving HQs morning 12 Jan to discuss final flight arrangements with Amb and carrying summary of Panama meeting with Seekford." https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000914256.pdf

1993.08.13.07:06:36:150014: BLUE MEMORANDUM FOR: RE DUTCH JOURNALIST ALTMANS WHO APPEARED ON GOOD

10/11/77 memo from SDB (Scott D. Breckenridge) to JHW: "On 8 Sept a Dutch journalist (Willem Oltmens) appeared on Good Morning America, at which time he claimed to have a source who can expose the conspiracy behind the JFK murder. He says the man is General Donald Donaldson, originally Deko Demetrov (note: aka Dico Dimitrov, Dimitri Dimitrov). CI Staff wrote the FBI asking for verification that Donaldson is Dimitrov (of whom we know quite a bit)...now we have to ascertain to what extent Dimitrov was, in fact, given the ARTICHOKE treatment. In any event, the past drug thing seems pretty old, unless Dimitrov was injured in some way (which we don't yet know), and the assassination lead is a bit slim at the moment...It seems to me that we should also view this person's theory on the JFK assassination - just so we will be able to rebut it with assassination committee, if possible."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich • Hank Albarelli

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