News you may have missed #788

U-2 surveillance aircraftBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►US spy planes violated Israeli airspace in 1950s. American U-2 espionage planes repeatedly entered Israeli airspace in the 1950s for a series of secret spy missions, according to new information to be published by the Israel Air Force magazine next week, bringing to an end a decades-long mystery. At the time, Israel’s defense establishment was baffled by the entrance of high-flying crafts. For years, officials in IAF command disagreed on the identity of the mystery crafts, with some claiming that they were British Vickers-Valiants, and others saying they were American Vought F-8 Crusader planes, that had been stationed on a US aircraft carrier. According to documents to be published next week, it was the USSR that aided Israeli officials to expose the identity of the mystery planes, after a US U-2 espionage plane was shot down over Soviet soil.
►►US guard pleads guilty to espionage. A civilian guard at a new US consulate in China pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempting to sell Chinese security officials photographs and access to the compound so they could plant listening devices. According to a court proffer, Bryan Underwood had lost a significant amount of money in the stock market and hoped to make between $3 million and $5 million by supplying classified photos and information to China’s Ministry of State Security. Underwood, 32, appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to communicate national defense information to a foreign government.
►►CIA torture probe ends without any charges. The US Department of Justice has ended its investigation into the CIA’s interrogation program for terror detainees, without bringing charges. Attorney General Eric Holder said there was not enough evidence to “sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt”. Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the investigation’s conclusions were a “nothing short of a scandal”. But CIA officials welcomed the decision. CIA Director David Petraeus thanked his staff for co-operating with the investigation. “As intelligence officers, our inclination is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past”, he said. No surprises here, surely.

3 Responses to News you may have missed #788

  1. Natasha says:

    I’m sure a minority of Israeli generals in the 1950s would have been baffled as to why US aircraft were flying across Israeli territory in the 1950s.

    Then again most generals and the many other Israelis with a need to know about Israel’s (ummm peaceful :) nuclear program near Dimona (which in turn is near Be’er Sheva) would not have been surprised at all.

    David Ben-Gurion (Prime Minister of Israel May 1948 – Jan 1954 and then Nov 1955 – June 1963) was understandably obsessed with Israel obtaining nuclear weapons, feeling that these weapons would counter much larger Arab military threats and also cause anxiety in Moscow. Moscow was of course politically and militarally sponsoring all “frontine” Arab states against Israel. “Never again…” was a pivotal national defense policy.

    Moscow’s anxiety would have been caused by Franch assistance to Isreal in developing the Jericho series of MRBMs-IRBMs. But also by French, UK and US assistance from 1949 in the construction of the Dimona reactor and co-located Plutonium reprocessing facility.

    Isreal’s backchannel discussions with “Moscow” along the lines “We (Israel) will eventually build thermonuclear weapons and perfect the IRBMs with a range to hit Moscow” caught the attention of Moscow in many lasting repects.


  2. intelNews says:

    @Natasha: I don’t think that bilateral relations between Israel and Russia were as adversary as you make them sound, certainly not in the 1950s. Looking into Soviet-era archives is quite a task, but there is no doubt that the United States viewed Israel extremely suspiciously in the 1950s, due to Tel Aviv’s perceived ideological attachment to Moscow. It wasn’t until the 1967 war that the United States began to view Israel as a possible ally –similarly to Iran. From the US point of view, there were several reasons to justify airborne reconnaissance over Israel, not least of course the Israeli nuclear program –which, incidentally, eventually spread to South Africa. [JF]

  3. Natasha says:

    Hi JF

    Yes there is the official account in the US in connection with the revelation of 1967.

    In contrast:

    – considering the 1,000s of American, French, British and Russian physicists, mathematicians, executives, factory managers, soldiers, computer specialists, chemical engineers, civil engineers and ex-Manhattan Project scientists/technologists/engineers/support workers (from US, UK, Western Europe) who emigrated to Israel shortly after WWII

    – and considering the standard ratio of around 1% intentionally or unintentionally reporting back to (non-Israeli) Western intel services

    – not to mention the larger percentage of those who talked (in the strictest confidence of course, by letter, phone and/or telegram) with their families and friends back in Western countries about how on Earth they (nuclear physicists) ended up living in and around Dimona from about 1951.

    – and considering the extensive fund raising program from the late 1940s for Israel’s unspecified defense needs – wherein 1,000s of donors were partially or fully aware that much/most of their donations were destined for a Top Secret Weapons Project somewhere in Israel. And that they were mindful of an equally Top Secret US Project which had recently produced the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombs.

    And considering long interviews (which could not be recorded for several reasons, including privacy) with many of the above.

    I cannot depart from what I wrote previously.


    Natasha Plantagenet

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