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Memorial plaque honours Tibetan 'freedom fighters' at CIA camp

September 14, 2010

Zee News
September 11, 2010

Washington (PTI) -- The US Forest Service has
unveiled a plaque to commemorate the training
given to Tibetan "freedom fighters" by the CIA at
Camp Hale in the mountainous Colorado from 1958 to 1964.

The event, presided over by Senator Mark Udall,
included former CIA agents and Tibetans involved
in the operation, family members and
representatives of the US Forest Service and the
Tibetan-American community in Colorado, a media release said.

"What (the plaque) represents is a shared worthy
endeavour of the American and Tibetan people, a
lasting memorial to the brave freedom fighters
and their dedicated CIA instructors," said Udall.

As part of a programme to aid Tibetan resistance,
CIA had trained Tibetan soldiers in guerrilla
warfare in Camp Hale, Colorado. This site was
chosen because of its physical similarities to
eastern Tibet where the trainees would later be airdropped.

Camp Hale had served as a training base for the
10th Mountain Division in World War II.

Those living in the surrounding community were
unaware of the operation, and had been purposely
misled by government officials who claimed that it was an atomic testing site.

Like many CIA operations, the US involvement with
Tibetan guerrillas, including the training
programme at Camp Hale, had not officially been
acknowledged by the US government previously.

The history of this era is increasingly being
written about by academics, journalists and those
who participated in it, both Tibetans and Americans.

"From 1958 to 1964, Camp Hale played an important
role as a training site for Tibetan Freedom
Fighters. Trained by the CIA, many of these brave
men lost their lives in the struggle for freedom."

"'They were the best and bravest of their
generation, and we wept together when they were
killed fighting alongside their countrymen'
(Orphans of the Cold War, by John Kenneth Knaus).
This plaque is dedicated to their memory," the plaque read.
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