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Old 05-16-2010, 07:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

May 15, 2010

The reputation of Francis Gary Powers has suffered for a half-century by association with one of the most enduring mysteries of the Cold War.

Fifty years ago today, in a full-body pressure suit and helmet, Powers was slammed forward against the canopy of his U-2 spy plane 70,000 feet above central Russia by a Soviet surface-to-air missile exploding close behind him. The blast wave dismembered the plane, tearing off its tail section and then its wings, but leaving its pilot miraculously unhurt.

In an outer pocket of his suit Powers carried a suicide pin that he chose not to use. He hit the ground in shock but with hardly a scratch. By that evening he was at KGB headquarters in Moscow.

MYSTERY: Wreckage of the U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers (inset) is displayed at a museum in Russia.

What was not known until the recent declassification of CIA documents, was that top US officials never believed Powers’ account of his fateful flight because it appeared to be directly contradicted by a report from the National Security Agency.

According to a summary presented this week by Matthew Aid, the world’s leading authority on the NSA, the agency’s report described Soviet military air-traffic controllers as after an aircraft that — far from breaking up at close to 70,000 feet, as Powers later claimed — descended slowly from 65,000 to 34,000 feet, changed course and disappeared from their radar screens.

If true, this would have meant that Powers was at best a liar and conceivably a traitor. According to one rumor, he descended to a safe height, bailed out and spent his first night as a defector in a Sverdlovsk nightclub.

Powers took off from Peshawar in northern Pakistan. His mission was to fly for nine hours, directly over a half-dozen of the Soviet Union’s most sensitive nuclear sites, photographing them and landing hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle on the Norwegian coast.

Within minutes the entire Soviet air defense system was being mobilized on an order from Premier Nikita Khrushchev to bring him down at any cost. A single rocket was launched and minutes later a screen appeared to indicate a direct hit.

In the absence of hard evidence about what happened to Powers’ U-2, conspiracy theories have sprouted like weeds. According to one, crucial information on his flight was passed in advance to Soviet intelligence by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former junior radar operator at a U-2 base in Japan. In another, Powers, who died in 1977, was either a pawn or an accomplice in a US plot to derail detente. New York Post

U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

How was Gary Powers U-2 shot down?

Posted on May 1, 2010

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It was the height of the Cold War. Pakistan was an American ally, and the US had a base in what is now called the Khyber-Paktunkhwa province of Pakistan. It was a small base called Badabare near the centuries old city of Peshawar. Gary Power’s U-2 flights would take off from Badabare and fly over the USSR with total impunity. The USSR was unable to detect of shoot down the over-flights. When they finally know about the planes they did not have the technology to shoot them down.

After Soviet leader Khrushchev found out about the flights from Pakistan soil–he was furious. He sent a threatening message to Pakistani President Ayub Khan which told him that Badabare was now a targeted city in case of a hot war between the US and the USSR. Undeterred the Pakistanis stood by their American allies and kept the bast open. Little did they know that a few years later the US would let them down in a big way and not reciprocate the grand gesture of standing by their allies.

The U2 Flight Path

MOSCOW — Fifty years ago Saturday, U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down while flying a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union, a dramatic episode of the Cold War that pushed the rival superpowers closer to confrontation.

Now his son has come to Moscow on a mission of his own: By telling his late father’s story, he hopes to help preserve Cold War history and prevent future generations of Russians and Americans from ever again facing the threat of nuclear war.

On May 1, 1960, Powers was in the cockpit of the world’s highest-flying plane, concentrated on keeping his course steady to film Soviet military bases far below, when he saw an orange flash all around him. His plane had been hit by a Soviet surface-to-air missile. He parachuted to safety but was quickly captured.

In the months before Powers’ plane was downed, Moscow and Washington had been moving cautiously toward a thaw. The U-2 incident shattered these efforts.

It also humiliated U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had to admit that an initial claim by his administration that the plane was on a weather mission was a lie.

“In order to understand the world today you must understand how we got here and we got here through the Cold War,” the pilot’s 44-year-old son, Francis Gary Powers Jr., said Friday.

“And then we have to understand how this period of time developed and expanded and how close we came to nuclear war, but through diplomacy and some luck we were able to avert it during the Cuban Missile Crisis” of 1962.

The younger Powers joined Russian military historians in speaking to soldiers and cadets at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow, where the charred wreckage of his father’s U-2 spy plane is on display. He had traveled to Russia twice in the 1990s, but this was his first time speaking publicly.

His visit comes as Washington and Moscow try to push the reset button to improve ties, recently signing a deal on reducing their nuclear arsenals.

Powers Jr. has dedicated his professional life to preserving Cold War history. His own museum, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and essentially a traveling exhibit since he founded it in 1996, has just found its first permanent home on a former Army communications base outside Washington. He also runs spy tours of the U.S. capital.

His father’s fateful mission was the 24th overflight of the Soviet Union in a highly secretive CIA program that was considered vital for national security at a time before spy satellites.

Among many other Soviet secrets, the previous flights had revealed that Soviet long-range bomber and intercontinental nuclear missile programs were not as advanced as feared, allowing the U.S. to avoid an immediate costly buildup of its own forces.

After nearly four years of unsuccessful Soviet attempts to intercept the U-2s flying at about 70,000 feet (over 21,000 meters), the CIA grew confident of the plane’s immunity to Soviet defenses. But the Soviets worked desperately to develop higher-flying fighter jets and a powerful new air defense missile.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev received reports about another U.S. spy plane intrusion as he was preparing to attend a Red Square parade on May Day, one of the main Soviet holidays. His son, Sergei, then a young missile designer, told the Associated Press that he discussed this with his father that morning.

“I asked him: Will they shoot it down this time?” the younger Khrushchev recalled. “And he said: What kind of question is that? They will if they don’t let the chance slip by.”

Khrushchev was standing on Lenin’s mausoleum with other Soviet officials watching the parade when the Soviet air defense chief, Marshal Sergei Biryuzov, walked purposefully along the stands, climbed up the stairs and whispered the news about downing the plane into his ear.

When Powers’ plane went missing over the Soviet Union and no statements came immediately from the Kremlin, the CIA assumed that neither the pilot nor the spying equipment had survived. On May 3, the U.S. claimed that a high-altitude weather plane had gone missing on a flight over Turkey.

Khrushchev kept a poker face, announcing first that a U.S. spy plane had been downed without saying a word about its pilot. The U.S. stubbornly stuck to its cover story until the Soviet leader announced May 7 that the pilot had been caught and had confessed to spying.

“The Americans, the U.S., for the first time were caught red-handed in espionage activities,” Powers Jr. said.

For Khrushchev, the incident provided a long-sought opportunity to punish the United States.

“My father perceived the U-2 flights as not only damaging national security, but even more important as a sign of condescension, a demonstration by the Americans that they could do whatever they want and fly where they liked without consequences,” Sergei Khrushchev said in a recent telephone interview. “He decided to take revenge and said: Let’s wait a bit and see what the Americans will do.”

The scandal led to the collapse of a peace summit in Paris scheduled for mid-May and also ruined hopes for a quick agreement on a nuclear test ban.

“The hawks won, and tensions heightened,” said Sergei Khrushchev, now a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.

After months of KGB interrogation, Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August 1960. But he was exchanged for KGB spy Col. Rudolph Abel on Feb. 10, 1962.

Back from Soviet captivity, Powers went through debriefings by CIA officers unwilling to believe that his plane had been shot down by a Soviet missile. Some thought Powers had inadvertently descended to a lower altitude, allowing the Soviets to intercept him.

“The American military, the American government just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that the Soviets were more advanced than they may have thought,” the younger Powers said.

Powers was eventually exonerated. He worked as a test pilot for Lockheed until 1970, then flew a light plane as a traffic reporter and later worked as a pilot for a Los Angeles television station. He died when his helicopter crashed on Aug. 1, 1977.

After the Soviet collapse, Soviet military veterans unveiled previously hidden details of the incident.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It became known that the Soviets accidentally shot down one of their own fighter planes that had been scrambled to intercept Powers’ aircraft. Its pilot was killed.

When Powers’ plane was still in the air, another Soviet fighter pilot was ordered to intercept the U-2 in a factory-fresh Su-9 fighter carrying no weapons. The pilot was told to ram the American plane at the cost of his own life, but he couldn’t locate Powers and landed safely.

Powers Jr. remembered bugging his father with questions on how high he was flying on May 1, 1960: “He got so tired of me asking this question that he finally looked at me one day and said: Gary, I wasn’t flying high enough.” Downed U-2 pilot’s son on own mission in Russia By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and LYNN BERRY (AP) –

The day after shooting the US drone in Pakistan


There are many legends about Badabare, the U-2 flights and Gary Powers. I was a teenager when I read the book written Gary Powers “The Gary Powers Story”. It was a fascinating tale by it had been redacted by the CIA to such an extent that the real story was hidden behind the CIA PR. In the book, Mr. Powers defended himself and tried to clear his name on why he was not able to destroy the black box or take the cyanide pill which was part of his training.

The reputation of Francis Gary Powers has suffered for a half-century by association with one of the most enduring mysteries of the Cold War.

Fifty years ago today, in a full-body pressure suit and helmet, Powers was slammed forward against the canopy of his U-2 spy plane 70,000 feet above central Russia by a Soviet surface-to-air missile exploding close behind him. The blast wave dismembered the plane, tearing off its tail section and then its wings, but leaving its pilot miraculously unhurt.

In an outer pocket of his suit Powers carried a suicide pin that he chose not to use. He hit the ground in shock but with hardly a scratch. By that evening he was at KGB headquarters in Moscow.

MYSTERY: Wreckage of the U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers is displayed at a museum in Russia.

What was not known until the recent declassification of CIA documents, was that top US officials never believed Powers’ account of his fateful flight because it appeared to be directly contradicted by a report from the National Security Agency.

According to a summary presented this week by Matthew Aid, the world’s leading authority on the NSA, the agency’s report described Soviet military air-traffic controllers as after an aircraft that — far from breaking up at close to 70,000 feet, as Powers later claimed — descended slowly from 65,000 to 34,000 feet, changed course and disappeared from their radar screens.

If true, this would have meant that Powers was at best a liar and conceivably a traitor. According to one rumor, he descended to a safe height, bailed out and spent his first night as a defector in a Sverdlovsk nightclub.

Powers took off from Peshawar in northern Pakistan. His mission was to fly for nine hours, directly over a half-dozen of the Soviet Union’s most sensitive nuclear sites, photographing them and landing hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle on the Norwegian coast.

Within minutes the entire Soviet air defense system was being mobilized on an order from Premier Nikita Khrushchev to bring him down at any cost. A single rocket was launched and minutes later a screen appeared to indicate a direct hit.

In the absence of hard evidence about what happened to Powers’ U-2, conspiracy theories have sprouted like weeds. According to one, crucial information on his flight was passed in advance to Soviet intelligence by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former junior radar operator at a U-2 base in Japan. In another, Powers, who died in 1977, was either a pawn or an accomplice in a US plot to derail detente. New York Post

One of the legends was that the Soviets found out about the U2s and came up with a grand scheme to shoot it down. The Soviets know their own capabilities and figured out that their missiles could not reach the high altitude attained by the U2s. Their spies in Turkey had seen the plane land. They then retraced and tracked back the plane to Pakistan and figured out the point of origin of the flight. So the Soviets discovered the existence of the plane. A diabolical scheme was then hatched with the help of a deep mole who had been hired by the Americans at the base. The Badabare Airbase was US territory and no Pakistani was allowed on the base–except for contractors that the US Air Force hired directly. They thus infiltrated the Badabare Air Force with a lowly mechanic. Under the blanket of night, the spy took pictures of the planes and sent them back to the USSR. The mechanic was then told to mess with the altimeter of the U-2. Gary Powers when he took off didn’t know his altitude because the of a faulty or doctored altimeter. Gary Powers thought he was flying at 20,000 feet and taking pictures of the USSR’s sensitive military bases. In fact he was flying much lower.

A recent story by the son of Gary Powers caught our eye. the story still struggles with the question ‘how high was Gary Powers flying”. That question was never answered. It is now obvious that the legend that we had heard growing up as a boy must have had a grain of truth in it.

Of course the US lost interest in Pakistan. After it imposed sanction on Pakistan in 1965, there was tremendous pressure in Pakistan to shut down the Badabare Air Force base. Zulfaqar Ali Bhutto was a minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. He was a great fan of Chou En Lai (old spelling). He wanted Islamabad to shut down the base. There was popular support for eliminating the US presence. President Johnson was furios with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and wanted him fired from the Pakistani government. Things came to a head and Bhutto quit Ayub Khan’s government. Many had thought the Bhutto was Ayub’s chosen successor. Ayub Khan also became very disgruntled with the Americans. He wrote a book called “Friends Not Masters”. He shut down the Air Force base. Pakistan had to bear sanctions, and an arms embargo from 1965-1980 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The so called tilt in 1970 was just a lot of words, and did not materialize into any any real change.

After the Soviets left, Pakistan again faced embargoes, ’till 2001 when the US threatened Islamabad again. Richard Armitage said “we will bomb you to the stone age”. Now that US defeat is imminent in Afghanistan, the Washington is once again courting Pakistan. While the drone bombings continue there is much talk of a strategic dialogue. What kind of a strategic dialogue continues the illegal drone bombing on Pakistani soil.

How was Gary Powers U-2 shot down?
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

Remembering Gary Powers’ U2 flight from Peshawar in 1960

By George Singleton

UNITED STATES: I recently became acquainted with Gary Powers, Jr – son of the world famous American U2 pilot – who took off from a Pakistan Air Force base in Peshawar on May 1, 1960 and was, later that day, shot down over the former USSR. Pilot Gary Powers’ destination was a landing field in coastal Norway.

Some old timers – like me – may recall that in the early 1960s the PAF and the US also flew some intelligence missions in RB-57s from Lahore, in addition to those flown from Peshawar.

The May issue of The Cold War Times magazine’s online version features the first of my 12 articles about my 18-month tour of duty between 1963-65 as commander, Detachment 2, 6,937th Communications Group, the subordinate Karachi unit at our US embassy, then in Karachi, for my higher headquarters – the 6937th Communications Group (sometimes referred to as the Peshawar air station) – at Badabur, near Peshawar. Due at least in part to Gary Powers’ shoot down in the U2 on May 1, 1960, all US military personnel associated with the US base at Badabur were required to only wear civilian clothing off-base in Karachi, Lahore and across the country.

After the Soviet shoot-down, then US president Eisenhower suspended U2 flights from and through Pakistan. However, the Cold War was still in full force and a replacement intelligence gathering reconnaissance aircraft was needed. For a time, RB-57D models were flown along the air borders of both the USSR and Communist China by the PAF. But these aircraft lacked the wing size to attain really high altitude. So, redesigning some RB-57Ds, which included a much-larger wing structure, produced the RB-57F, two of which were loaned to the PAF for free by the US in June 1964.

After the U2 program in Pakistan was suspended by president Eisenhower, the USAF adopted the RB-57 Canberra and, over time through US private contractors, improved and amended it’s designed purposes to include aerial intelligence gathering. The PAF had aircrews, well trained by both the UK and US in both British and US versions of the RB-57. Two RB-57Fs, loaned to the PAF, had a published upper altitude capability of 82,000 feet. Along with training a few PAF pilots to fly the aircraft, the US plane contractor brought to Texas two RAF pilots trained to fly this aircraft wearing pressure suits, to augment the PAF pilots. All this happened during increasing tension when then foreign minister Mr Bhutto was beating the drum with the Pakistani army chief towards the eventual 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Mr Bhutto tried hard to get the RB-57Fs flown over Kashmir and India to gather intelligence. But the professional and honorable air chief marshal Ashgar Khan refused Bhutto’s bullying and did his job with the US to stay focused on our joint mission of intelligence gathering of and from the USSR and China. One thing I knew of first hand was that foreign minister Bhutto also tried, again unsuccessfully, to pressure the UK air adviser to the British High Commissioner in Pakistan, the US air attaché, and my boss to fly intelligence gathering missions, which Bhutto wanted over Kashmir and India. Again, Mr Bhutto met absolute rebuffs and turndowns. Kashmir and India were not the mission of our Cold War-focused intelligence programme.



This history recitation is in honour and recognition of the 50th anniversary of pilot Gary Powers’ (Sr) U2 flight from the Pakistan air field at Peshawar. George L Singleton is a retired colonel of the United States Armed Forces.

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

Here is his article in Cold War Times magazine.

WEST PAKISTAN, 1963-1965, U-2 DUTY
By George L. Singleton, Colonel, USAF, Ret.
During my College of A&S days at the University of Alabama I worked the summer of 1960 as a Student Intern, Bureau of Northwest African Affairs, US Department of State, Washington, to help pay my way through college.
After graduating from Alabama in 1962 with my BA in History and Political Science in I returned to the State Department as a Personnel Officer Trainee. Fall, 1962 I received one day a post card offering me a slot in the USAF Officer Training Program. The next day I got my Draft Notice from my growing up hometown Draft Board in Nashville, Tennessee.

Read the rest here:

Page number 34.

http://www.coldwar.org/text_files/Co...mesMay2010.pdf
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

Hi,

Asghar Khan was and is a traitor to pakistan----replace asghar khan with an israeliair chief---and replace pakistan with israel----now consider this that there is aggression between egypt and israel---will the israeli chief allow the flight over egypt---.

You got the answer---I don't how this traitor ASGHAR kHAN HAS SURVIVED FOR SO LONG.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

The so called 'Cold War' was a phony war - it was actually a
misnomer for 'No War'.

A concise term derived to say "we are scared to death - we shall
not fight you and you should not fight us but we shall not cease
to be enemies".
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: U2 flights from Peshawar: CIA’s Gary Powers legends

Quote:
Hi,

Asghar Khan was and is a traitor to pakistan----replace asghar khan with an Israeli air chief---and replace pakistan with israel----now consider this that there is aggression between egypt and israel---will the israeli chief allow the flight over egypt---.

You got the answer---I don't how this traitor ASGHAR kHAN HAS SURVIVED FOR SO LONG.
Yes, it could have also saved the lives of many commandos who went to attack the airbases with poor ground intel and old maps.
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