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The following text is from VOXNYC:

some of history's infamous aircraft "accidents"
Posted by Jerry Fletcher @ 10/27/2002 09:00 PM EST


In light of the untimely crash of Senator Paul Wellstone's plane, I thought it would be pertinent to examine some of history's infamous aircraft "accidents."

Let's start with 1960.

America first learned about the U-2 in May 1960, when pilot Gary Powers was shot down over Sverdlovsk, Russia. By the time Mr. Powers went down in 1960, there had been almost two dozen incursions into Soviet airspace. The first pilot crossed over on the Fourth of July in 1956. "I knew they couldn't reach me," recalls Carmine Vito, the man in the cockpit that day. Mr. Vito's flight took him directly over downtown Moscow. "I could see them [Soviet fighter aircraft] scrambling, two of them collided," he remembers. "But Kelly [Johnson] said they couldn't get at us, and he was right."

An emergency landing Vito made in 1956 at California's Palm Springs airport illustrates the speed needed to keep the U-2 a secret. Within moments, a team of mechanics rolled up and had the plane totally disassembled in 23 minutes. They loaded it into a C-124 cargo plane that had landed while disassembly was in progress. Few even knew the plane had been there. Those who saw it had no idea what it was. The plane with the massive wing-span that "loves to fly" was conversely the plane that hated to land.

"We all had difficulty bringing it down," says Hervey Stockman, another of the original six pilots. Flight engineers used to chase the descending planes in a station wagon across a dry lake bed, telling the pilot how close his landing gear was to the ground.

"The first time they brought me to that room, just before they (the C.I.A.) started talking to me about this plane", tells U-2 pilot Bob Erikson, "they turned on the tap in the bathroom and the volume of the radio very loud, in case some spy might be hanging around." That is how you perceive the atmosphere of secrecy surrounding this plane.

Right from the end of World War Two, a heavy tension grew among the Allies. Little by little, from Berlin blockade to Korea war, the upsetting atmosphere of Cold War developed, and both Americans and Soviets came to suspect each other of attempting mutual annihilation.

In 1954, when a Myasischev M-4 strategic bomber popped up above the traditional May 1st celebrations, which were a shop-window for the Soviet military force, the American political and military establishment got scared. Since 1952, Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower was the President of the USA. Stalin died two months after his nomination, which gave "Ike" good hope to open a policy of dialogue with Moscow. As he intended to put an end to the Cold War, he had to confront with a violently anticommunist Republican opposition and the military who demanded more resources. CIA diarist Donald Welzenbach explains: "The US Air Force claimed that the Soviets were manufacturing many more bombers than we were and demanded more funds to massively increase their own bomber fleet."

It was in this atmosphere of quasi-paranoia that one of the most secret programs in the history of aviation, the Lockheed U-2 "spy-plane", was developed. That way, instead of conducting American politics according to hearsay, Ike would have reliable intelligence at his disposal.

On July 4th, 1957, U-2 pilot Hervey Stockman flew over Minsk on the occasion of an initial assignment over USSR. After having been identified by some Soviet radar, he was chased and attacked by MiG fighters unable to fly above a 50,000-ft ceiling, and they could not reach him. That was followed by a long series of observation flights that led the U-2 spy-planes to fly regularly over Soviet Union.

Dino Brugioni, an expert from the CIA in the interpretation of air photographs, says: " After a few months, we could affirm that the threat of bombardment did not exist. We had eradicated President Eisenhower's main source of concern. This enabled Eisenhower, for at least some time, to get rid of his war-crazed opponents and to some extent nurture some kind of dialogue with Nikita Khruschev, with whom he was building up a bilateral disarmament and atmospheric nuclear test termination process.

The "bleeps" broadcast by Sputnik 1 on October 4th 1957 shook the Pentagon like a thunderstorm. If the Soviets were able to put a small radio transmitter in orbit, they could then fire nuclear missiles over the USA! Therefore, Ike reluctantly authorized further flights over USSR. As he acknowledged later, "I would have considered such a violation of our air space by the Soviets as an act of war."

Under CIA pressure (as they needed information about a Soviet missile base) Ike authorized an ultimate assignment over Soviet territory, the longest overflight ever. On May, 1st 1960, Gary Powers, the most experienced U-2 pilot, took off from Peshawar base in Pakistan, to Bod in Norway, a 3,800 mile flight, of which 2,900 miles were over Soviet ground.

    Contrast the author's assertion that Ike authorized the 1 May 1960 U-2 flight over Russia with Fletcher Prouty's 1978 article, The Sabotaging of the American Presidency wherein the case is made that Eisenhower did not authorize this operation since it destroyed the prospects for his upcoming Crusade for Peace May 16th Paris meeting with Krushchev followed by a tour of Russia. --ratitor]

At first the flight unfolded normally, with a huge number of photographs being taken, but as he was turning over Sverdlovsk, Powers noticed a trail of condensation following the same course as his: a fighter was trying to intercept him, but he was far too low anyway to constitute a real threat. Suddenly, there was a terrible noise at the rear, and the airplane entered into an inverted spin, with its nose up. Instead of using his ejector seat, Powers waited until he reached the 33,000 ft level to drop his canopy and jumped out at 15,000 ft. only because of oxygen connection problems. His parachute unfolded normally and he was captured right from the moment he touched ground. You can read the 18 page now-declassified statement the CIA's Allen Dulles gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, published on May 30, 1960 at the FOIA website at:

As Col. Prouty has said, even though Dulles gave this statement and it was released publicly in 1975, the mainstream press has continued to ignore that Powers' U2 was not shot down. The only possible explanation was that Powers' U2 was sabatoged prior to his Soviet mission.

The late Col. L. Fletcher Prouty expands on this scenario.

End of Secret Team excerpt.

In his other book or articles Col. Prouty details that this specific U-2 had it's top secret camera removed and was carrying a WW2 bomber camera. Someone knew very well far ahead of time that this particular U-2 was NOT coming home! While it might be easy for some to dismiss Col. Prouty's work as a "JFK Conspiracy Theorist" (whatever that means.) In light of the other sources and sworn testimony presented by even the Director Of the CIA at the time, it gets a little harder to claim this U-2 was shot-down or compromised by Oswald's "defections." Somebody was disloyal if not defective. So the answer to the question posed "Who shot down Gary Power's U-2?" has to be no one or at the least no one before it was disabled.

Let's move forward to 1972

Hale Boggs

He sat on the Warren Commission, which concluded that President Kennedy was slain by a lone assassin. Congressman Hale Boggs was the only dissenting member of the Warren Commission who refused to sign the Warren Report until just before it was submitted. Later, in 1971 and '72, Boggs began making public statements that J.Edgar Hoovers FBI was wire-tapping Congress and blackmailing public officials. Boggs had misgivings at the "lone assassin" finding of the Warren Commission panel of which he had been a part in 1964 and had said, "I had strong doubts about it." He named Warren Commission staff member Arlen Specter as a major cover-up artist. In a speech in 1971, Boggs accused the FBI of tapping his phone and publicly denounced the Bureaus "gestapo tactics".

Boggs was reportedly prepared to make public statements that Richard M. Nixon was complicit in the JFK murder. Nixon was there all day, that bloody time in Dallas, although falsely stating he left that morning by plane. [Sherman Skolnick was on a Dallas radio show with a former Director of Pepsico Bottlers, whose counsel in 1963 was Nixon. He said Nixon did not leave that morning and when the murder was announced, Nixon, unlike the others gathered for a business convention, wanted to continue conducting business as usual as if nothing had happened.]

Congressman Boggs plane disappeared on a flight in Alaska from Anchorage to Juneau on Oct 16, 1972, less than 30 days before Nixon was re-elected President in 1972. U.S. Military Intelligence, jointly with other U.S. espionage agencies reportedly located the Congressmans airplane but have concealed that and the story has always stood that the aircraft was never found.

Twenty years later, in 1992, a Freedom of Information Act Request by Roll Call Magazine unearthed an FBI telex indicating that the plane was located and never retrieved. Information obtained by a government verified source described the location of the plane and stated that there were two survivors shortly after the plane disappeared. The information indicated an undisclosed "firm" involved in testing advanced surveillance equipment had located the crash. The informant had a military background, according to the FBI document obtained by Roll Call.

The FBI telex was sent to the Washington, D.C. FBI headquarters where it was presumably passed to the Acting Director, L. Patrick Gray. The previous director, J. Edgar Hoover, had been in a significant conflict with Boggs, who called for his resignation on the floor of the Congress. Boggs was one of the most powerful people in the country at a time when misuse of power was just beginning to be seen, culminating in the resignation of the President of the United States Richard Nixon.

To view the actual FBI telex (heavily censored but readable), see:

The uncovering of this FBI document clearly indicates Boggs' plane was located and there was evidence of survivors. What exactly happened then?

Apparently Boggs airplane had been sabotaged to silence him on statements he was about to make about Tricky Dick. The History Channel devoted an episode of it's "Histories Mysteries" to this incident entitled "Alaska's Bermuda Triangle". NOTE: one month AFTER Nixon was re-elected, 12 Watergate figures perished on a sabotaged plane crash in Chicago, including Mrs. E. Howard Hunt [Dorothy Hunt], wife of the Watergate burglar. She had onboard two million dollars in securities she and her husband reportedly blackmailed out of Nixon for silence on Nixons complicity in the JFK murder. According to Sherman Skolnick,

"the government attempt at cover-up of the Chicago crash as `pilot error' was wrecked when we `liberated' the entire government file, showing sabotage, and sued the fakers on the National Transportation Safety Board. Despite confronting NTSB with these documents at a re-opened public hearing, the NTSB continued the big lie. Rockefeller-owned United Air Lines, covering up the sabotage, arranged to stop in the printing cycle my book, The Secret History of Airplane Sabotage."

Alas, no copies are now available of this book but portions of the manuscript can be read on Mr. Skolnick's website at:

Some of the other interesting points surrounding the Alaska disappearance include the fact that Boggs was taken to the airport for the first leg of the trip by a young democrat named Bill Clinton who later, as President, appointed Congressman Boggs' wife Lindy to the position of US Ambassador to the Vatican after she served eighteen years in the Congress after her husband's disappearance.

The Official FAA Report on the "crash":

Plane Crash Information
DATE: 10/16/1972
TIME: c 09:00
LOCATION: Off the Alaska coast
AIRLINE: Private
AC TYPE: Cessna 310
DETAILS: The plane was on a flight from Anchorage to Juneau when it disappeared as it was approaching the Chugach Mountain range. Louisiana Congressman and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, Alaska Congressman Nick Begich and his aide Russ Brown, and pilot Don Jonz killed. Cause unknown.

I have been in touch with Nick Begich Jr., son of the lost Alaska politician and he is convinced there is more to the story of his father's disappearance than what is "officially" known.

See also: "The Murder of John F. Kennedy, Jr An Update" by Sherman H. Skolnick at: and "Air Crashes, Black Boxes, and Unsafety Boards -- EgyptAir Flight 990, More of the Same?" by Sherman H. Skolnick at:

Footnote: Since 1958,Mr. Skolnick has been a court reformer. Since 1963, founder/chairman, "Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts", disclosing instances of judicial and other bribery and political murders. Since 1991, a regular panel member and since 1995, moderator/producer of "Broadsides", a one hour weekly public access Cable TV Show cablecast in Chicago. For a heavy packet of our printed stories, send $5.00[U.S. funds] and a stamped, self-addressed business sized envelope [#10 size, 4-1/4 x 9-1/2] WITH THREE STAMPS ON IT, to Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, Sherman H. Skolnick,chairman, 9800 So. Oglesby Ave., Chicago IL 60617-4870. Office: 8 a.m. to midnight, 7 days- (773) 375-5741 [PLEASE no "Just Routine" calls]. Before sending FAX, call us.

With so many troubling issues revealed in past air "mishaps", it's only appropriate to demand a full, public investigation into the Wellstone crash--wherever it may lead.

Posted by Jerry Fletcher @ 10/27/2002 09:00 PM EST

Copyright © 2002
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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