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article, "Hoping the CIA doesn't read this"

Don Roberdeau

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Laughing Matters

Hoping the CIA doesn't read this

By Jack Neworth


Cold War Warrior: Francis Gary Powers next to a U-2

reconnaissance plane. photo by Cold War Museum.

February 10, 2012

Perhaps I'm a tad paranoid because today I'm writing about the 50th

anniversary of one of the most controversial moments in the Cold War.

And one that the CIA had its greasy tentacles all over. By the way,

some historians postulate that we didn't so much win the Cold War

against the Russians as we outspent them.

Some think those were better days. Sure there was the threat of

nuclear annihilation, but at least the country wasn't broke and planes

weren't flying into skyscrapers. (Not to mention those unbearable Bin

Laden basement tapes.)

In memory of that era I wrote a satirical screenplay, "The Last Straw,"

about rogue KGB and CIA agents longing to re-ignite the Cold War.

Instead of saving the world from communism, grumpy CIA operative

Rollie Southern curses that he's reduced to having to learn Arabic

from Berlitz tapes on a recorder made in China!

But, dear readers, that's the end of the comedy portion of today's

missive as I reflect back on May 1, 1960. Up to that point that was

clearly the most ominous day in the life of 30-year-old American pilot

Francis Gary Powers. The son of a Virginia coal miner and raised

during the depression, he was on a CIA spy mission when he and his U-2

reconnaissance plane were shot down and captured in Russia. (At the

subsequent trial Powers potentially faced the death penalty.)

When the truth came out the incident embarrassed America in the eyes

of the world. It also derailed President Eisenhower's highly

anticipated peace summit with the Soviets scheduled for only two weeks


The ultra-sleek U-2 was basically a glider equipped with a jet engine.

Precarious to fly, it could, however, cruise above 70,000 feet, out of

range of Soviet artillery. Or so we thought.

Powers, who had flown numerous and dangerous spy missions for years,

was now a powerless pawn in a Moscow show trial. He was sentenced to

10 years, three in a cold, foreboding prison and seven to be in a work


But, after 21 months in a Russian prison, we finally come to what took

place 50 years ago, today. On a foggy pre-dawn at the Glienicke Bridge

in Berlin, and in a scene right out of a spy movie, Gary Powers was

exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. But, while Abel was greeted in

Russia as a returning hero, Powers was not.

Powers was subjected to weeks of intense CIA debriefing and public

criticism. (And even death threats.) The left criticized him for his

part in the war machine and the right for his not having killed

himself and destroyed the U-2 when faced with capture. (Ignoring that

those were never his orders.)

There were much publicized Senate hearings that, if they went poorly

for Powers, there was talk that he might be charged with treason. But

after his Senate testimony, Powers received a standing ovation and a

commendation that he had "performed well under dangerous

circumstances." (A slight understatement considering Powers had been

shot down from 70,000 feet.)

As it happens, in my Dec. 16, 2011 column ("Drone, drone on the

range") I mentioned Powers and the U-2 incident. Gleaned from Internet

sites, I noted that Powers had suspected CIA sabotage of his flight to

destroy the upcoming summit with the Russians.

My column posted at 5 p.m. and seemingly at 5:05 I got an e-mail

emphatically denying that Powers believed the sabotage scenario. As

perhaps only I can, I assumed the CIA was reading my columns!

When I finally stopped hyperventilating, I noticed the e-mail was from

Gary Powers Jr. So, to set the record straight on the so-called

sabotage, I stand corrected. (Actually, I'm sitting.)

Powers Jr. did share something about his father and Lee Harvey Oswald,

whose military training included radar and had been stationed at a U-2

base. Powers Sr. thought it likely that Oswald divulged to the Soviets

the U-2's cruising altitude. (Which begs the eternal question, how did

Oswald get back into the U.S., but don't get me started.)

Francis Gary Powers was a Cold War warrior mistreated by his

government. But there is some justice. This past December, the Air

Force announced that in 2012 it will posthumously award Powers the

prestigious Silver Star.

"It is vindication of my father 50 years afterwards,' Powers Jr. said.

"Dad is one of our American heroes."

I second the motion.

Gary Powers Jr. founded The Cold War Museum to honor veterans and

preserve Cold War history. To learn more go to www.coldwar.org. Jack

can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.


Best Regards in Research,


Donald Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, plank walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

For your considerations....

Homepage : President KENNEDY "Men of Courage" speech, and Assassination Evidence,

Witnesses, Suspects + Outstanding Researchers Discoveries and Considerations.... http://droberdeau.bl...ination_09.html

Dealey Plaza Map : Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise locations, Witnesses, Films & Photos,

Evidence, Suspected bullet trajectories, Important information & Key Considerations, in One Convenient Resource.... http://img831.images...dated110110.gif

Visual Report : "The First Bullet Impact Into President Kennedy: while JFK was Still Hidden

Under the 'magic-limbed-ricochet-tree' ".... http://img504.images...k1102308ms8.gif

Visual Report : Reality versus C.A.D. : the Real World, versus, Garbage-In, Garbage-Out.... http://img248.images...ealityvscad.gif

Discovery : "Very Close JFK Assassination Witness ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film

Documented 2nd Headsnap:

West, Ultrafast, and Directly Towards the Grassy Knoll".... http://educationforu...?showtopic=2394

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

For the United States:



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Included among the letters to the editor about the above article is this one:

February 10, 2012 | 12:03 PM

Speaking as a Marine Corps veteran who himself did sensitive classified work during the 1980s, I will echo the sentiment of the previous comment. There is much about the history of the Cold War that has yet to be told. Indeed,, there are still vast quantities of documentation over a half century old thats still being kept from public view. The reason given of course, is for "National Security".

The real reason for this action is probably a lot more chlling.

The powers that be most likely feel that should certain awful truths ever be told, than popular support of this nation's political and economic institutions would vaporize like a nuclear fireball.

Regarding Francis Gary Powers and Lee Harvey Oswald, there is one other suspicious event to note here. In 1977, Gary Powers was earning his living as an aerial traffic reporter for KNBC TV in Los Angeles, under the moniker- "The Spy in the Sky". It is well known that Gary Powers was killed that year when his Hughes 500 helicopter allegedly ran out of fuel.

What is not well known was that the following week Powers was scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Assasinations concerning Oswald and the U2.


John F. Davies

Berkeley , CA

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