Robert Emmett Johnson

Robert Emmett Johnson

Robert Emmett Johnson joined the merchant marines in the early 1940s. In 1948 he served with the Sixth Marines in Tsingtao, China. During the Korean War he was USMC Press Attache on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After leaving the United States Navy Johnson worked for President Anastasio Somoza in Guatemala. This was followed by employment with Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.

In 1961 Johnson was employed by Colonel Ulius Amoss under the commercial cover of the International Services of Information (INFORM) with offices in Baltimore. According to a CIA document: "At this time he (Johnson) was already in close touch with the various independent Cuban Exile anti-Communist groups in Miami and elsewhere."

It is believed that Johnson was involved in bringing in the weapons for the Central Intelligence Agency that was used to assassinate Trujillo on 30th May 1961.

A recently declassified document goes on to say that in 1962, Johnson was also a member of Interpen. Later that year Johnson invited Robert K. Brown (USAR/CounterIntelligence Corps) to a meeting in Miami. Brown was the publisher of Alberto Bayo's 100 Questions for a Guerrilla. This book included an article written by Ulius Amoss called Leaderless Resistance which "referred to the proper strategy for conducting resistance operations against Castro and inside/outside of Cuba". The document also goes onto say: "Also included were numerous fotos of the G/W instructor cadre of InterPen which were taken by Brown at the Everglades training camp."

It is rumored that Johnson was the lover of journalist Dickey Chapelle, who became the first American journalist to die in Vietnam when she stepped on a landmine on 4th January, 1965.

Robert Emmett Johnson moved to Canada where he worked for the International Services of Information, which was a CIA front. According to Gerry P. Hemming, Johnson was involved in the assassination of the Martin Luther King.

During the 1970s it is believed that Johnson's was employed by the British intelligence services to hunt down and kill members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It has also been claimed that Johnson was involved in the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero on 24th March, 1980. The assassination had been ordered by Roberto D'Aubuisson, the founder of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

Johnson used the aliases Robert Jones and Robert Roman and wrote several article for Soldier of Fortune and True Magazine. He also ghost wrote Trujillo: The Last Cesar for Arturo R. Espaillat, former head of Trujillo’s Military Intelligence Service, and Manual For The Mercenary Soldier under the alias Paul Balor.

Robert Emmett Johnson died of throat cancer in 1992.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Gerry P. Hemming, Education Forum (24th September, 2005)

I identified Bernie de Torres even after both Gene Propper & Gaeton Fonzi [held to NDAs they signed] used code-words when referring to him. [see "Labyrinth" ("TB") & "Carlos" (The Last Investigation) for reference] One of our guys was dispatched to Dealey Plaza that week by Colonel Arturo Espaillat, who was then based in Montreal. A month later, he recounted said "mission" to me after too many beers, and was furious at having been used once again by Robert Emmett Johnson, the "Raul" of the MLK, Jr. matter.

(2) Gerry P. Hemming, International Education Forum (27th August, 2005)

Edwin Anderson Collins was murdered by Castro "fellow-travelers" upon their discovery of his identity, and just a few weeks after he was tasked to penetrate their "protest march" from Canada, down the east coast, and on to Havana, and GITMO. Steve Wilson and I identified his body at the Medical Examiner's morgue, and when I questioned an assistant there as to the severe lacerations, cuts and bruises on Eddy's face and scalp - he responded that: "This was most likely due to crabs and other critters munching on the corpse post-mortem!!"

Upon my questioning exactly how a corpse (in salt water) might continue to bleed, acquire bruises, and suffer contusions and edema after only 8 hours + in Biscayne Bay (400 yards off the docks of Dinner Key & City Hall) - police detectives Tony Fontana and Bill Cloy charged into the room demanding to know our purposes.

Eddy Collins was one of our best swimmers, as evidenced when he was blown overboard (sans UDT the same life jacket he is pictured wearing in the No Name Key pix) - along with Dickey Chappelle, Hargraves, and Felipe Vidal on a Cuba run during early 1964.

Wilson and I tracked down the now hiding boat crew a few days later, and with less than Abu-Ghraib measures, thoroughly "interviewed" them.

Their "official" story to the police was that Eddy was drunk and that he had dived overboard to recover a dinghy which had cast adrift that night. Despite witnesses ashore reporting screams beforehand - they had insisted that had he uttered one sound they could have turned the boat around, located and recovered him. (They admitted to the police that they had motored to the dock, and "immediately" called the police??) The live-aboard boaters and shrimpers who already knew Eddy over the years, wondered about the great discrepancies in timing, especially the police report (initial call) showing that this was made some 45 minutes after the boaters heard the screams and turned on their searchlights (evidenced in their official log books). They had asked the "hippies" what was going on only 5 minutes after the screams, and just after the "protestor" boat was being tied to the dock.

Eddy Collins had been recruited by FBI agents (MIA/FO), and John Evans of the "Johns Committee" (Red-Squad) in Tallahassee - to assist in monitoring the "peace marchers". The "Mounties" (R.C.M.P.) had inserted two assets into the group in Canada, and one of these had operated together with one of our guys, who, the year previous, had worked a joint CSS/RCMP/FBI operation involving Nicaraguans, Cubans, and other foreign nationals embarking on a mission to attend training camps inside Cuba.

This operation was assisted by Col. Arturo Espaillat, Robert Emmett Johnson, and leaders of the right-wing "R'assemblent Nationale" (FRN); who were battling with the Marxist FLQ in Montreal (Front D'Liberation Quebeqous).

However, our guy had suffered blown cover via a Johnson screw up, wasn't interested in the Op, and recommended Eddy in his stead.

(3) Norman Gall, How the Agency Killed Trujillo, The N ew Republic (13th April, 1963)

The assassination of the Dominican Republic’s Rafael L. Trujillo was carried out with assistance from the US Central Intelligence Agency. Arms for the May 30, 1961. slaying of the 69-year-old dictator on a lonely stretch of highway near his capital were smuggled by the CIA into the country at the request of the assassins, according to highly qualified sources I interviewed in Santo Domingo shortly after the collapse of the Trujillo rule.

The arms had to come from the outside, I was told, because of the close scrutiny imposed by Trujillo on the removal of guns from military bases. These controls kept the conspirators from obtaining their own weapons without awakening suspicion, despite the involvement in the plot of the Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, Gen. Jose Rene Roman Fernandez, and other leading military officers.

The CIA began shipping arms to the Dominican Republic in late 1960, following a series of talks between US Consul Henry Dearborn, Chief Political Officer John Barfield of the US Consulate, and Luis Amiama Tio, who had extensive banana and cattle holdings and had been mayor of Santo Domingo. Also involved in the plot was Antonio Imbert who had been Governor of Puerto Plata province. Both Amiama and Imbert are tough guys and ambitious. Both were made four-star generals by the provisional council that took over after Trujillo’s death. However, when leading army officers balked at their elevation to the highest military rank, Amiama and Imbert said the honor bestowed upon them was too great and modestly demoted themselves to brigadier generals.

1960 was a bad year for the Dominican Republic. The economy was in the dumps. The country was in disgrace internationally as a result of Trujillo’s backing of a plot against the life of Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt. In June, a car full of explosives blew up alongside Betancourt’s automobile during a Caracas Armed Forces Day procession, wounding the President and killing two others. A Venezuelan naval officer later admitted that the elaborate bomb was prepared in the Dominican Republic, presumably as an act of retaliation against Venezuela for having asked the OAS in February 1960, to censure Trujillo for "flagrant violations of human rights."

In August that same year, the Organization of American States did censure the Dominican Republic, and the US and several Latin American nations thereupon suspended diplomatic relations with the Trujillo regime, though Washington kept a consulate in Ciudad Trujillo to protect its commercial interests.

This was one of the stormiest periods of Trujillo’s 31-year rule. On June 14, 1959, the Dominican Republic’s southern coast had been invaded by Cuba-based Dominican exiles. They were wiped out, but then Trujillo uncovered a plot to kill him, only 24 hours before it was to be carried out on January 21, 1960. Mass purges, arrests and some killings followed. Tensions within the regime mounted rapidly, as did its Byzantine-style ruler’s greed. Assuming the presidency of the Dominican Central Bank, the dictator forced exporters, as part of an "austerity" program, to deposit with the bank half of their dollar earnings, which soon found their way into Trujillo accounts abroad.

During this time, Trujillo was completing an intensive drive, begun in the mid-1950s with the purchase of the Haina complex of sugar mills and lands in the southern part of the Republic, to expand sugar production and appropriate more and more of it to himself. He went so far as to deprive thousands of peasant families of their squatters’ settlements, forcing them to sell their cattle and work as sugar peons. It had been hoped, of course, that the Dominican Republic would get a generous share of the US sugar quota previously allotted to Cuba. An intensive Washington lobbying campaign was carried on to this end, largely through the Dominican Consul-General in Washington, Marco A. Pena. In the late summer of 1960, Congress did raise the Dominican allotment from 27,000 to 250,000 tons, but President Eisenhower slapped a punitive excise tax on it in September, after the OAS ministerial conference voted economic sanctions against the Trujillo regime and a break of diplomatic relations.

As Trujillo’s political and financial problems deepened, talks continued between Dearborn, Barfield and leaders of the anti-Trujillo conspiracy. Toward the end of 1960, contact was established between Amiama and a CIA agent who, according to Arturo R. Espaillat, former head of Trujillo’s Military Intelligence Service, was named Plato Cox. Espaillat made this statement in a press conference in Ottawa in 1962; his word alone cannot, of course, be accepted as conclusive proof. But whatever the name of the agent, the smuggling of firearms into the Republic for the assassination began.

The key link between the assassins and the CIA in the arms shipments was a long-time American civilian resident of Ciudad Trujillo, Lorenzo Perry, otherwise known as "Wimpy," who operated a supermarket in a fashionable neighborhood where Trujillo also lived. "Wimpy" was put under brief arrest after the killing but was later allowed to leave the country.

The weapons were imported in small parts, to be assembled later by the plotters, among the routine grocery shipments for the supermarket arriving regularly in the capital’s port. The gun-parts entered the Republic in specially marked food cans, which were later turned over to the conspirators.