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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fw: TheList 4434

The List 4434

To All,
These are a couple of articles thanks to Hal that are related to the cold war. It was not so cold. Lots of history here that is not found in many places or put together like this.
This article is from Chuck and is related to the cold war
Aircraft Downed During the Cold War and Thereafter
Thanks to Hal
The Cold War, what was it, when was it, and what was it all about ?
              Harold K. Strunk, Captain, US Navy, Retired
Officially, it began in 1946.  But it actually began long before.  The players were the Soviet Union, Communist East Germany and Communist China, arrayed against the free world; the United States, Great Britain, France, and the several countries of Western Europe. In a speech, Great Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill had said, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended."  Every country behind that curtain was controlled by the Soviet Union.
It was a time of Mutually Assured Destruction, Spy and Counter-spy, defectors and double agents, of heroes and traitors, of ferreting missions, and of aircrews lost. They kept ours and we kept theirs. It was a war of stealth under the sea, of trailing enemy submarines prepared to kill them if the order came through. Every enemy submarine that left its port was tailed by an attack submarine until it returned home.
It was a time of red phones, posturing and bluff.  The prospect of a mistake touching off a nuclear war was real.  Everyone who had seen the movie, "On the Beach" knew that.  There was the DEW Line, the Distant Early Warning line of radar installations across the Arctic Circle that would give a few minutes warning of incoming Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and of US Air Force silos deep underground in North Dakota that would fire our ICBMs in retaliation.  Many people built bomb shelters in their back yard.  But what would be the point if you emerged weeks later to find everything dead and the land radioactive.
There was always a military aide outside the president's door with the 'football', the briefcase that could start a nuclear war.  The Strategic Air Command kept B-52s aloft twenty-four hours a day, armed with nuclear bombs, and with pre-assigned targets. Our B-47s did ferreting missions along the coastlines of the Soviet Union to find gaps in their radar coverage that our heavy bombers could use to reach targets deep inside the Soviet Union.  Some were shot down and the crews were never returned. And we had "Boomers" that were submarines loaded with ICBMs that prowled under the oceans, ready to launch dozens of nuclear missiles. The Russians had them, and so did we.
To understand how it began requires a look at US and Soviet relations during World War II.  The Russians were in the war with Germany long before we entered the war. Adolph Hitler in his goal of invading and occupying all of Western Europe needed the Soviet Union to be neutral for a while.  So he and Josef Stalin co-signed a neutrality pact.  Hitler did not want to fight a war on two fronts, so he waited until the German Army had defeated and occupied every country west of the Soviet Union.  Then, he initiated Operation Barbarossa and invaded the Soviet Union. It would become a disaster. No punishment for a German Army officer was worse than being sent to fight the Russians on the Eastern Front.
Then with the attack upon Pearl Harbor, we entered the war and became the Soviet Union's ally. They were never ours. Through the route of Great Falls, Montana to Fairbanks, Alaska and then across to Siberia, we supplied the Russians with planes, trucks, tanks, and all that they needed to fight Germany.  With our entry into the war, Germany had what they did not want…war on two fronts. 
By 1945 the Red Army was fighting door to door in Berlin and both sides were taking heavy casualties.  And then it was over.  Our troops were soon being moved to prepare for the coming invasion of Japan.  Estimates of casualties ran into the millions.  It was only because of President Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan that the war with Japan ended and countless lives were saved.
But in the closing days of World War II it became known that as the Red Army 'liberated' the Stalags, the German POW camps in the East, they were loading American and British POWs on trains bound for the Gulags of the Soviet Union. In all, they took more than twenty-five thousand Americans to the labor camps, never to be returned.  They already had as many as a million German POWs who would be worked until they died cutting timber, and mining coal and uranium in Siberia. 
General George Patton was among the first Cold Warriors.  He hated the Russians and they were wary of him. He wanted to attack the Soviet Union, knowing they had taken our POWs.  But President Truman said no.  He raised so much hell over it that Generals Eisenhower and Marshall decided to have him killed.  Squeaky wheel gets removed.  The order was given to General 'Wild Bill' Donovan, the head of the OSS.  In a meeting some years ago of the Association For Intelligence Officers, Douglas Bazata, formerly of the OSS, told of having been given the assignment.  The general was to die in a staged wreck when an Army truck crashed into his sedan.  He wasn't killed, but had a broken neck.  He was taken to the hospital in Heidelberg, Germany.  But Bazata said that he never went to the hospital and seemed sure that the Russians had gotten in and given him the needle.
It was about that time that our President Truman closed down the Office of Strategic Services, which would have better been called the Office of Spies and Saboteurs.  They had done their job in both Europe and Asia working against our enemies.  But from those veterans, he formed the Central Intelligence Agency to carry on.  Britain had their Special Operations Executive and so their duties were transferred to MI-5 which was internal, much like our FBI, and to MI-6, which was for external operations and more like our CIA.  In the meantime, the president of the USSR formed the KGB from the NKVD. The NKVD was the Soviet secret police. The KGB would report directly to the Russian president.  Translated, the Komitet Gosudarsyvennoy Bezopasnosti was the Committee for State Security. They had no geographical boundaries.
It is from their ranks that the current president of Russia came.  Vladimir Putin was a KGB colonel. But then, in all fairness, our 41st president, George H. W. Bush had been the Director of the CIA.
So it was in this setting that the CIA and the KGB operated in opposition to each other.  Each wanted to know what the other one knew.  Here in the United States we had a very active Communist Party USA.  Their members dated back to the 1930s and included many stellar personalities. In fact, long after our President Roosevelt had died, it became known that the three men who were closest to him were Soviet agents. They were Harry Hopkins, Harry Dexter White, and Alger Hiss. Then a US Congressman, Richard Nixon, exposed Alger Hiss in front of Congress and Hiss was sent to prison for espionage. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were spies and were apprehended by the FBI and President Eisenhower had them electrocuted.
The 'Skunk Works' at Lockheed Aircraft built the two best spy planes for us; the
U-2 and the SR-71. Both could fly in the stratosphere, high above the range of interceptors.  Then there was the embarrassing incident of the Russians being able to down one of our U-2s.  The pilot, Francis Gary Powers was an Air Force officer
"sheepdipped" to the CIA and was captured when his plane crashed.  Soviet president Nikita Kruschev now had the evidence to confront President Eisenhower at the United Nations.  Powers was sentenced to fifteen years in prison but after twenty-two months was swapped for the KGB Colonel, Rudolph Abel, who ran a string of Soviet spies out of his bookstore in Brooklyn.  The exchange was dramatic, as each started at opposite ends of a bridge in Germany, passed each other, and continued on to the other side. Powers wrote a book about it, "Mayday".
This period of silent conflict gave rise to some great authors of spy thrillers.  There was Ian Fleming's James Bond 007. Graham Greene, John le Carre', Frederick Forsythe, Joseph Conrad, and Len Deighton. Many of their best novels became movies. It seems that people have long been fascinated by spy stories. But in the real world of espionage no quarter is asked and none given.  Your first mistake would likely be your last.
There are stories that will never be told, but there are some that are just fascinating.
Take for example how divers from our submarine, USS Halibut, clamped a recording device on the cable that crossed under the Sea of Okhotsk from the Soviet mainland to secret bases on the Kamchatka Peninsula.  Navy divers would come back later and retrieve it thus allowing us to listen to every call made. 
Then one of the strangest incidents happened just three hundred and fifty miles north of our Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The Soviet submarine, K-129 had just returned from a long patrol as it entered the Rybachiy sub base in Avachinskaya Bay. The crew was looking forward to shore leave. 
It was January, 1968. Captain First Rank Vladimir Ivanovich Kobsar dismissed the enlisted sailors to go see their families. The crew numbered eighty-three.  They were family.  He and his Executive Officer, Captain Second Rank Alexander Zhuravin, and the zampolit, or Political Officer Captain Third Rank Fedor Lobas all lived on the base.  They were friends, and realized that each had an important job to do. The submarine fleet was the elite of the Soviet Navy. 
But two weeks into their anticipated six-months of shore duty they received orders which were upsetting.  They were to re-provision, cobble together a crew from other boats in port, and return to sea. Then on the last day before shoving off, eleven strangers in quartermaster-issued sailor suits presented their orders to come aboard. No explanation was given.  It was noticed that they kept to themselves and talked to no one.
What is known is that K-129 did not go to its normal patrol area, but instead headed to a point just north of Pearl Harbor.  They also had not reported in as scheduled for position reports by coded microbursts.  The Admirals of the Soviet Navy began to panic.  It was feared that K-129 was lost.  But it was at that time that the Soviet Union and the Red Chinese were at each other's throats.  From what has been pieced together since, the secret mission was to fire a nuclear missile at Pearl Harbor and mimic the behavior of a Chinese Golf-class submarine, in the hopes that we would retaliate with nuclear missiles to China.
Quite by chance, one of our satellites was overhead when K-129 surfaced. It was in the middle of the night, black as pitch.  The satellite recorded and transmitted a huge flash on the surface below as something went wrong.  Instead of a missile leaving its tube, it exploded and sank the submarine in three miles of water.
We knew something had happened and we knew it was a Soviet submarine.  Our SOSUS line heard the explosion and triangulated the location.  They could hear the sounds of the dying sub as it passed below the crush depth.  But the Russian Navy didn't know what had happened, or where.  It was a rogue operation unknown to those who needed to know.
The Soviet Navy put to sea, looking for the missing sub, but looking several hundred miles from where it went down. We knew, but weren't telling. In time the Soviet Navy called off the search knowing something had happened to the sub and its crew.
A little time passed and our Admirals went to see Howard Hughes.  He was always a friend of our military.  We needed his help to recover a Soviet submarine that was three miles deep.  A seemingly impossible task.  One of our spy submarines, the USS Halibut had tethered robots that could go that deep and they found K-129.  The robot cameras took a thousand photos.
To recover that sub would yield a treasure trove of intelligence.  The code books, the cipher machine, the nuclear missiles and torpedoes would answer a lot of questions.  There had to be a way to grapple for that hull and bring it up.  One of Howard Hughes companies was Global Marine.  One of his ships was the GloMar Explorer.  Long story short, he and the Navy and the CIA devised a way to lower three miles of pipe through a huge hole cut in the hull and bring up the three sections to a platform slung below the ship.  What they found solved the mystery.  K-129's crew had been locked into the forward torpedo room and the eleven mystery men had screwed up and sunk the sub.  For posterity, and just in case the Russians ever found out, the cover story went like this; "Yes, we tried but only could raise one section of the aft torpedo room.  There were six sailors and we re-buried them at sea with full military honors.  There were prayers and the Soviet National Anthem was played. We videotaped the service for you. Here is your videotape."
With that cover story, the Russians would realize we got nothing of value. 
Some years later I met Charles Johnson at the Hunters Point Naval Repair Facility, who was the Senior Project Engineer on what was known as Project Azorian. We had a good conversation about how the GloMar Explorer's cover was its ability to harvest manganese nodules from the ocean floor. Sounds good to me.
It would be in 1992 at a meeting between CIA Director Robert Gates and Soviet Premier Boris Yeltsin that the videotape was presented to Yeltsin. The following year, an American delegation headed by Ambassador Malcolm Toon met with the Russian delegation headed by General Dmitrii Volkogonov.  To that day, the Russians surmised that their lost submarine was sunk by one of ours. Ambassador Toon made it clear that at his request US Naval Intelligence had searched all the logs of our submarines active at that time and concluded that none of our subs were within three hundred miles of your sub when it sank.  Unwittingly the ambassador had just revealed what the CIA had kept secret all these years.  For anyone who was thinking, he just told where the sub had sunk, three hundred miles from our sub base at Pearl Harbor. 
And then the ambassador revealed even more.  He said to General Volkogonov that he had brought the K-129's bell to present to him.  But because the General was Army, he missed the significance of the bell.  He said to the ambassador that he was sure that they could find a place for it in some museum.  The sub's bell, minus the clapper, was bolted behind the conning tower.  And that is where all the secrets were.
What we did not know at the time of K-129s sinking, John Walker, a former submarine sailor was passing top secret cryptological information to the Soviets.
For money.  Because of this, the Soviets told the North Koreans to capture the USS Pueblo, an intelligence gathering ship off the coast of North Korea.
They wanted the crypto machine, and they got it.  With that, they began cracking hundreds of thousands of stored messages and worse still, could decode intercepted messages real time.  The Russians didn't know, but they suspected that one of our submarines had sunk the K-129.
Eleven weeks after the K-129 vanished, they likely decoded a top secret message sent to the submarine USS Scorpion which had passed Gibraltar headed home to Norfolk.  The message was ordering the Scorpion to change course and head south  toward the Canary Islands and observe an exercise at sea being conducted by the Soviet Navy.  Scorpion arrived in the exercise area five days later. She was detected and the Russians sank her.  The sounds of Scorpion's sinking was recorded by a research hydrophone in the Canary Islands.  When Scorpion didn't check in with Naval headquarters, a fleet of our ships went looking. The USNS Mizar and the USS Compass Island found the wreckage.  Because the Russians told us where to look.
Some years later I was assigned to the Office of Science and Technology at the Naval Research Laboratory and I was able to talk to Dr. John Craven, who was the head of the Navy's Deep Submergence Systems Project.  He was the first to receive and review the tapes from the hydrophone.  He said the first sound was an explosion and then minutes of the sub sinking through the crush depth.  That would have been a depth charge.  To the Russians, it was revenge. But we were innocent.
The Russian spy master that ran the Walker spy ring was KGB General Oleg Kalugin.  He got crossways with then Communist Party Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev, defected and came here.  He was given a teaching position at Catholic University in Washington, DC.  He became a US Citizen in 2003 and is now the Director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. He is a member of AFIO, the Association For Intelligence Officers and often speaks to groups.
John Walker, Arthur Walker and Jerry Whitworth were sentenced to life terms in the SuperMax prison in Florence, Colorado. John died August, 2014, a month after Arthur died.
Over the years of the Cold War, we and the Russians fought what we might call proxy wars.  They and the Communist Chinese backed North Korea while we fought for the South Koreans, which resulted in a stalemate and a divide at the 38th Parallel.  South Korea has a booming economy today and 38,000 of our troops remain there to keep the North Koreans in the north.  North Korea is a disaster and its people are starving to death.  To them, grass is a vegetable.
Then the Russians and the Chinese backed the North Vietnamese.  Tet was disaster for them and with President Johnson ordering the bombing of Ha Noi and the Haiphong harbor, they were ready to come to the negotiating table. 
The war was essentially won. Secretary Henry Kissinger promised them $3.9 Billion in rebuilding aid and they agreed to repatriate all of the Americans they were holding as POWs.
But the anti-war crowd had made their way to Congress and they refused to honor the agreement.  So on the day that the prisoners were to be released, only 591 of 1265 known to be held on that day were released.  They kept the rest and they were not returned.  However, the Russians kept supplying the North Vietnamese with rice and bullets and our Congress left the South Vietnamese to fend for themselves.  And then the North Vietnamese won and hundreds of thousands of men and women died. So it wasn't our troops that lost the Vietnam War.  It was our elected representatives in Congress.
We would get even in Afghanistan.  I'm not sure why the Russians wanted Afghanistan, but I have a theory.  But it is based on a study, a report by the Vice President of UnoCal about the need to lay a pipeline from the oil producing wells of Azerbaijan down through Afghanistan and to the Indian Ocean where oil could be loaded onto tankers and taken to refineries.
To accomplish this, the Russians installed Babrak Karmal, an Afghan who had attended Princeton University.  The KGB had later trained him, but he was unpopular with the Afghan people and was replaced by Dr. Najibullah.  We had an ambassador there then.  Adolph Dubs.  A former Navy officer and a Russian speaker.  It was during Carter's presidency.  On February 14, 1979, and in broad daylight, he was kidnapped and held hostage in a hotel in Kabul, and tied to a chair.  He was to be exchanged for Badruddin Bahes and two others.  But the KGB advisor on scene, Sergei Batrukhin,  ordered the Afghan Police to attack and our ambassador was killed in the exchange of gunfire.  However, upon autopsy, it was found that he had been shot four times in the head with small caliber .22s at close range. Our ambassador had been executed.
Then the Russian Army invaded Afghanistan in December, 1979.  For nearly ten years the Russian Air Force mauled the Afghan fighters, the mujahedeen. It was then that Congressman Charlie Wilson found a way to arm the fighters with Stinger shoulder-fired missiles. Another war was going on in the region, and that between Iraq and Iran.  I was at that time across the Persian Gulf in Saudi Arabia where I lived for five years. I used to see USAF C-5s land at Dhahran Air Base and unload tons of palletized war weapons in support of the Afghans and Saddam Hussein as well.  Pallets would be loaded upon Royal Pakistani C-130s and flown over to Peshawar to be carried over the border to the mujahedeen. The other pallets were loaded onto truck convoys and driven to Iraq.
In no time at all, they cleared the sky of attack helicopters and the tide turned.  The Russian Army left Afghanistan and the last soldier out was in February, 1989.       
Then the Russians got even.  They knew that the Stinger missiles were coming in through Pakistan with the permission of President Muhammad Zia al Haq. 
General Zia had arrested President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was corrupt and he immediately declared martial law.  He put Bhutto in prison and then one day decided it would be a good day to hang him. So he did. Bhutto's daughter, Benazir, at the time was at Wellesley College.  Years later she became the prime minister of Pakistan and served two terms. Now she was campaigning for reelection and the threat level was high.  She had asked to be able to employ Blackwater for her personal bodyguards, but the Pakistani government would not issue visas for them.  Soon after, she was assassinated at a rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007
How Zia was killed was almost the perfect crime.  President Zia, our Ambassador Arnie Rafel, some American generals, and several Pakistani officers and VIPs were on an inspection tour of Pakistani military bases.  They were flying on a Royal Pakistani Air Force C-130.  On their last stop, they all had to deplane while a maintenance crew came aboard to repair a damaged hatch.  They then re-boarded, took off, gained altitude, and suddenly the plane went into a dive and crashed, killing all aboard.  At first it was thought to be some mechanical failure, but on closer inspection they found that the pilot and co-pilot's headsets and hand controls had been painted with 3-Methyl-Fentanyl, a drug a thousand times more powerful than heroin.  It is absorbed through the skin.  So the pilots became disoriented and lost control of the plane.  Only the Russians could have done that.
Looking back at the early days of the unseen war between Communist China and our CIA, likely the first casualty was Douglas Mackiernan. He had been posted to the consulate in remote Sinkiang province, China's westernmost state. His cover was that of Vice-Consul of the State Department.  The Soviet Union was funneling material to the most populous land on the planet.  This province was rich in uranium, gold and petroleum and the Russians owned fifty percent of its mineral and oil rights.  It was thought that the Russians wanted to add it to their borders. 
He was to report on all activities.
His background was interesting.  Before he was thirty, he was the head of the Army's Air Corps Cryptoanalysis Section headquarters in Washington, DC.  He put in for an assignment in China with the 10th Weather Squadron monitoring weather patterns that would soon pass over the Pacific, providing valuable data that helped our war planners target their B-29 runs over Japanese-held territories.
He was fairly fluent in both Russian and Chinese which led to his posting in Western China. Then on July 29, 1949 a cable came directly from Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. The Communists under Mao Zedong were sweeping across China, having driven the Nationalists under General Chaing Kai-shek to the island of Formosa, and now turning west. 
The order was clear; destroy all classified documents, get everyone out, and close the Consulate.  He was the last to leave and with all normal avenues of escape closed, he headed for the border of Tibet.  Weeks later as he was about to cross the border, Tibetan guards shot and killed him. He is likely the first star on the Wall of Honor at CIA's headquarters in Langley.
Then in 1952, a CIA mission went awry.  An unmarked C-47 flying over Manchuria on a top-secret mission was shot down.  The pilots, both employees of Civil Air Transport, a CIA proprietary, were killed in the crash.  There were seven Chinese Nationalist paratroopers who were to set up a communications post and they were executed on the spot.  The two Americans, both Agency officers, were captured. One was a Yale graduate, John Downey, a nephew of the singer Morton Downey. The other was Richard Fecteau.   After two years in chains, they were tried and sentenced to life in prison for espionage.  The Chinese said that they could be immediately released if only our government would admit that they were spies.  But no, that would not happen. Not until twenty years later when President Nixon met with Premier Chou En-lai and Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.  Downey and Fecteau walked across the Lowu Bridge to Hong Kong and freedom. After needlessly spending twenty years in a Chinese prison.
Africa became a scene of proxy wars as decolonization was taking place. One in particular was the Congo, formerly the Belgian Congo.  A region rich in minerals and a target of Russian and even Chinese adventurism.  A trained communist, Patrice Lumumba was now its president.  Our CIA Chief of Station was Larry Devlin. Washington had decided that Lumumba had to be killed.  They had called upon Dr. Stanley Gottlieb of the CIA's whiz kids in the Directorate of Science and Technology. He was known as Doctor Death.  He prepared a dose of brucella, a disease of cows and found in unpasteurized milk, to be administered by a professional assassin.  It was shipped in in a diplomatic pouch.  But before it could be used, Lumumba made the mistake of boarding a plane loaded with Belgian mercenaries who beat him to death.  The Russians named a university after him, but today its students are not studying communism, they are working on their MBAs.  It has been renamed Freedom University.
Then there was the civil war in Angola, a former Portugese colony, which neighbored the Congo.  The Russians poured billions of dollars to back the Marxist-Communist front, The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola.
They also imported about forty thousand Cuban soldiers.  The CIA moved in to back the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi.  They were the good guys, or as good as might be found in Africa. The war lasted for twenty seven years. In 2002 a Ceasefire was negotiated and both the MPLA and UNITA put forth candidates.  But in February Savimbi was ambushed and killed.
Jose Edwardo Dos Santos continues as president of a country that exports 1.85 million barrels of oil a day, which is 85% of their GNP.  The rest is diamonds and minerals. China is Angola's primary trading partner.
Forty percent of the population are below the poverty level and live on $2 a day.  Yet his daughter Isabel has now a personal worth of $3 Billion dollars.
In 1946 Russian schoolchildren met with our Ambassador Averill Harriman and presented him a beautiful wooden copy of the Great American Seal.  He hung it in his office, actually in his residence, Spaso House.  Then eight years later a technician swept his residence for bugs and found a most sophisticated one embedded in that great seal.  It required no batteries, no servicing.  It could be awakened by a signal sent from a van parked out of sight.  There was no telling what the Russians had learned over the years.
Beginning in the 'sixties, the Russians bombarded our embassy in Moscow with microwaves, probably to read the vibrations of the windows when someone was talking. Mostly they concentrated on the Ambassador's office windows.  Two of our ambassadors, Llewellyn Thompson and Charles "Chip" Bohlen died of cancer. Ambassador Walter Stoessel suffered severe headaches and bleeding from the eyes and later died of leukemia.
In 1969, President Nixon signed an agreement with the Russians that would give us a modern embassy in Moscow and the Russians would have one in Washington, DC.  Problem was, the embassy in Moscow would be built by Russian contractors. Concrete slabs were poured offsite and hauled to the construction site. When finished it was eight stories tall.  It wasn't long before it was discovered that hundreds of bugging devices had been installed and no area of the embassy was clean.  And there was no way to de-bug it.  So today it stands empty and unused.
If we look back to 1960 and 1961, we see Russia's hand in what would become the Cuban Revolution.  Fidel Castro and Che' Guevara and a small band of dedicated men came to Cuba and hid in the hills, striking and retreating for two years.  In time their revolution grew as many were ready to oust President Fulgencio Batista.
They set out to clean up the place, shall we say, and they closed the casinos in Havana which were actually owned by the Chicago mob.  President Dwight Eisenhower soon realized that both Castro and Guevara were Marxists and this was too close for comfort. After all, there was the Monroe Doctrine. So he called in the Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and the Deputy Director for Plans and Operations, Richard Bissell.   They were tasked with a plan to recruit the Cuban exiles, most of whom were living in Miami, and to plan for an invasion.   The plans that evolved were pretty elaborate.  The invasion would come ashore at Trinidad, near Havana, there would be air cover provided with painted over American planes with a mix of Cuban and American pilots.  And they recruited pilots of the Alabama
Air National Guard as they flew B-26s similar to those owned by Cuba and Guatemala. They would be painted with the insignia of the Guatemalan Air Force.  Then for some unknown reason, the invasion site was changed to the Bay of Pigs, far away from Havana.                                                     
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected in November of 1960 and would take office in January, 1961 as Eisenhower retired.  The invasion was scheduled for 17-19 April 1961, three months after Kennedy would take office. 
Some of you remember Jim Quesada, a retired Army Special Forces Major, for whom the AFIO chapter in San Francisco is named.  He trained Cuban exiles in Guatemala that was Brigade 2506. I recall him telling me about how psyched up the men were as they boarded the ships that would take them there.  Little did they know that something that John F. Kennedy did would doom them to failure.  It had to do with deniability, something presidents seem to need.  Kennedy felt that no one would be fooled for a minute as to who was really behind this. There was no way a bunch of Cuban exiles from Miami could plan this.  So the airplanes that were fueled, armed, manned, repainted and ready to take off from Homestead AFB in Florida were blue lined out of the invasion plan. Worse still, the landing would have no air cover to keep the Cuban Army at bay.  So it was a disaster.  118 Cuban exiles were killed, 1200 were captured and many were summarily executed. 
Kennedy blamed the failure on the CIA and vowed to break them into a thousand pieces scattered in the wind.  On that day he made a second most powerful enemy. 
The first was Sam Giancana and the Mob and Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters Union who, at Joe Kennedy's behest, made sure that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was   elected.  All would be suspect in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated.
It is an interesting historical note that in 1967, Che' Guevara, who was a physician who came from Argentina to join Fidel Castro as well as being a Marxist revolutionary went to Bolivia to stir up trouble. He was trying to get the Bolivian workers to do what he had done in Cuba. There is still a bit of mystery about this, but US Army Special Forces soldiers and the Bolivian Army chased him into the hills and never let him stop to get his breath. He was asthmatic with severe respiratory problems, which the army knew.  They ran him down and killed him.  His body was disappeared. Actually, he was taken to Vallegrande and buried under the end of the airstrip. In 1997, a Bolivian General who had been a member of the hunting party back then revealed where he was.  He was dug up, returned to Cuba and reburied with full military honors.
After this disaster at the Bay of Pigs, the Russians were emboldened and began to develop closer ties with Castro and Cuba.  They were willing to shore up Cuba's economy, buy their sugar, rum and cigars, in return for installing missiles that could easily hit targets in the United States.  Our U-2s were photographing every
ship that came to Cuba, preferably at times when the sun was low so that the shadows would be pronounced.  There was a breed of analysts called 'Crateologists" that could pretty much tell you what was inside a crate by measuring its shadows.
What they discovered was that the Russians were bringing in missiles and installing them.  It became known in history as The Cuban Missile Crisis.  -
The story line goes like this….President Kennedy faced down Premier Nikita Kruschev and forced him to remove all the missiles.
But what the public was not told was that, tit-for-tat, Kennedy ordered the removal of our ICBMs that were in Turkey, pointing toward the Soviet Union.
It was right about this time that something strange was going on inside the CIA.  A   high-level KGB officer, Anatoliy Golitsyn walked into the American Embassy in Helsinki and defected.  With him was his wife and daughter which was unusual.  Brought to the United States, he was debriefed by James Jesus Angleton, Deputy Director for Counter-Intelligence at CIA.  It would seem they bonded.  Many suspected that he might be a plant, a double agent, but what he revealed shook up the Agency.  He said that you have a deep-cover mole here, but he didn't know his name.  Only that his last name started with a 'K', his parents were German, and he is fluent in German and French.  There was only one man who fit that, my friend Serge Peter Karlow.  A decorated Naval and OSS officer who had been with the CIA for twenty years. He had lost the lower part of his leg when the Italian PT boat he was on in WWII hit a mine.  He had been personally decorated by General "Wild Bill" Donovan, the boss of the OSS. At Donovan's request, he had compiled the history of the OSS.
It was turned over to the FBI to investigate and they were like a dog on a bone.  Long story short, Peter was forced out of the CIA.  Twenty years later he would be exonerated and restored and he pretty much told them to shove it.
But let me tell you about Angleton.  Graduate of Yale, Skull and Bones, Harvard Law, and commissioned a Lieutenant in the OSS and worked in Europe in post-war Germany.  He became a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the membership of that Order is the Who's Who of Powerful Men.  Reinhard Gehlen, a Nazi who was Intelligence Chief for the SS and the Gestapo was a Knight and became an associate of Angleton's in getting Nazis to safety.  They, Bishop Hudal of the Vatican, and the International Red Cross ran a ratline that rescued thousands of SS officers and Gestapo agents.  And their stolen treasures. They sent Franz Stangl who was the Commandant of Treblinka to Brazil.  Gustav Wagner, Commandant of Sobibor was also sent to Brazil. Dr. Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's Angel of Death made it to Buenos Aires in 1949 and to Paraguay and then to Brazil. He was never captured and in 1979 drowned in the surf swimming in Brazil.  This was Operation
Amadeus. They sent thousands of war criminals to South America.  President Juan Peron of Argentina was so impressed with Adolph Hitler that he had patterned his army after Germany's. He sent trunks of blank Argentine passports to help the Nazis escape. In fact, Adolph Eichmann used one. He became Ricardo Klement.
Even though he was the exterminator of millions of Jews and Christians and undesirables, he was living in plain sight in post-war Germany.  Not until 1956, eleven years after the war, was there even a warrant for his arrest.  With the help of the Catholic Church, he made his way to Genoa and to Buenos Aires.  It was there that the Israelis found him, kidnapped him, and brought him to Israel to stand trial.
He was found guilty and hung in 1961. That capture is the subject of the book and the movie, "The House on Garabaldi Street." If you happen to visit Buenos Aires, visit the cemetery behind the Lutheran Church.  Many are there.
If you are wondering why the Vatican and the Catholic Church made it possible for so many Nazis to escape, it might be found in this line…"The Vatican aimed to help eradicate a Communist ideology that despised Christianity."
In the last days of the war, there was a competition between us and the Soviets to get Germany's scientists.  This was Operation Paperclip. We got Werner von Braun who should have been hung as a war criminal for launching V-2 rockets at London, killing thousands of civilians.  Instead, he was brought to Redstone Arsenal and ultimately made the director.  Our top rocket scientist, Dr. Goddard had just died, so it was timely. Another was Dr. Erich von Traube who was Hitler's head of biological warfare at Insel Reims in the Baltic.  He bought his tick collection with him to Plum Island on the flyway and now we have Lyme disease as a result.
In 1973, William E. Colby was named DCI, Director of Central Intelligence.  He also was a former OSS agent who was parachuted twice into France to lead the Resistance against the Germans.  Those of you that remember Bill Corrin might know that his squadron, called the Carpetbaggers, dropped all of the agents.  All of their names were 'Joe'.  They flew at night in black B-24s.  Colby was the leader of Team Bruce.  Other notables they dropped were Stuart Alsop who later wrote for the Herald Tribune; Bill Bradley of the Washington Post; and Joseph Singlaub who would become a four-star general.  Working in London at the OSS Station was Julia Child. 
Colby was an early-day Cold Warrior. He remained with the CIA after Truman created it out of the OSS and during the war in Vietnam headed the Phoenix Program.  The program was to pacify the country by assassinating North Vietnam's leaders. In all, they killed about 21,000 real, or imagined enemies.  Later it would be said that he had no friends, but lots of enemies.  And that is what brought about his murder.  I say murder because there is no other explanation.
While he was Director of Central Intelligence, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided that Chile's duly-elected president, Salvador Allende was a Marxist and should be replaced with Chile's top general, Augusto Pinochet.                                                       
So in a military coup brought about by the CIA, it was said that Allende shot and killed himself.  Shot himself in the head.  Only problem was that there were two bullets of different calibers in his head.  When that news came out, all hell broke loose in Congress and Colby was grilled about it.  So, he decided that maybe it was time to come clean and write up all of the sinister plots of the past that had CIA's fingerprints all over them. 
The report, or perhaps a confession, was 693 pages, single spaced.  Then all hell broke loose inside the Agency.  Colby was supposed to keep the secrets secret as DCI, but he had exposed all of the skeletons in the closet.
One of the perhaps good things that he did while Director was to fire James Jesus Angleton.  Then Gerald Ford became our president and in 1976, fired Colby.
He spent the next twenty years with his law firm and doing things he liked.  But the Agency's memory is long and they do get even.  If you Google Colby's death, it will say he drowned, but that's not what happened.  Consider this:  it was Saturday, April 27, 1996.  Colby's second wife, Sally Shelton, was away in Texas.  He was alone that day.  He had stopped by a clam shack and planned to steam some clams and corn for his dinner.  He lived in a two-room cottage with a kitchen and a sun room.  There were no locks on the doors.  It was set on a spit of land near Rock Point, Maryland, across from Cobb Island which was on Neale Sound. The neighbor's houses were not close and they didn't know who he was, anyway.  But a man who lived across the water was out in a boat Sunday with his wife and kids and found a green canoe on the beach filled with sand.  More sand than a tide would wash in.  More like enough sand had been shoveled in so that it stayed there.  They knew it was Colby's.  Then they saw the aluminum ladder at his dock that Colby used to board his canoe.  He often paddled around after sunset.  It was too strange, so they went to his cottage and found the radio and TV were on, and there was a half-eaten bowl of clams on the table, plus an uncorked bottle of wine. Also on the table was his wallet, nearly three hundred dollars, car keys and his driver's license.  So they called the police who came and investigated.  The police also did not know who he was, or had been.
They assumed he had fallen out of his canoe, perhaps from a heart attack as he was 76, and drowned.  But no one could find his body. Divers came, searched, and gave up.  Sooner or later a decomposing body would float to the surface.  They would wait.  Then nine days later they found Colby's body, forty yards from where his canoe was found.  An area that had been thoroughly searched. Now everyone knew who the missing man was.
Problem was that even after nine days, supposedly in the water, he wasn't decomposed. It would seem that he had been stored in a cooler and brought back to the scene to be found.  No water was in his lungs although the Medical Examiner's report assumed that because he had atherosclerosis he had had a stroke or a heart attack.  He ruled the manner of death as accidental.
The killers had made only one notable mistake.  When the canoe was found, it had a tow rope.  No one leaves a tow rope on a canoe. But it didn't seem to matter.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President, with George H.W. Bush as his VP.  If you recall, Jimmy Carter was running for re-election and getting the hostages that were being held in Tehran for a year and a half was a top priority. 
The failed attempt by our Delta Force was a black eye and only this would save his presidency.  George H.W. Bush had been our Ambassador to China and the Director of the CIA. 
He and retired Marine LtCol 'Bud' McFarlane flew from Andrews AFB to meet with representatives of Iran. The election was near.  So they struck a deal, and Iran agreed to hold the hostages until the votes were counted.  The Reagan-Bush ticket won, and then the hostages were freed.  Now if you research this event, called 'the October Surprise', you will come up dry. As in, it never happened.  But Gunther Russbacher was one of the pilots and his wife, Rayelan is a friend of mine. Gunther was a shadowy character and vanished in 1996.  As there was no trace of him anywhere, Rayelan was given a divorce.  She met and married a great guy, a retired Marine LtColonel Dave Kooker.  My wife Nancy and I were at their wedding in Aptos.  A few years later Dave died.  Rayelan is a radio personality.
Reagan was an outspoken critic of Communism and when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as the Party's Secretary, there seemed to be hope for detante. Gorbachev wanted to create a different climate in Russia, one that would promote openness and re-structuring.  In Russian, it was glasnost and perestroika .
Long ago at the end of World War II, the Russians had built a wall dividing the American sector from East Berlin.  They had even cut off supplies and the Berlin Airlift defied the Russians as we flew in thousands of loads of food and even coal.  But the Berlin Wall stood, and the Soviet world was fenced, mined, and guarded. Anyone trying to escape was shot. And it remained an economic disaster until Gorbachev. 
Ronald Reagan saw an opportunity and on June 12, 1987, he stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and made that famous speech, "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall." And he did.
The Stalinist Hardliners did not like Gorbachev and in 1991 they attempted a coup' while he was away at his dascha.  I was in Germany that week and it was all over German television.  In German, of course, so much of the dialog was lost on me, but I could see the TV coverage.
But cooler heads prevailed and he stayed in office until 1991 when he was replaced by Boris Yeltsin.  Yeltsin then was replaced by Vladimir Putin and as of now, he seems to want to restore the old Soviet Union to the old boundaries. Time will tell.
Still, after all, the spying goes on.  In June, 2010, the FBI rolled up ten Russian deep cover agents in New York City, which included the lovely and now famous Anna Kushchyenko, AKA Anna Chapman.  She had married the Brit, Alex Chapman and divorced him four years later. Probably to become a UK citizen and gain a UK passport.
They were all taken to Vienna and swapped for a few people we wanted that the Russians were holding.                                                                
In the old days of the Soviet Union, the ten would likely have been shot, but who could shoot the beautiful Anna ?  I don't know the fate of the other nine, but Anna has become a television personality and cover girl.  
You can Google her name and photos and see why she has become so popular.  And to think, she was the girl next door.  And in a Walter Mitty World, the Spy who loved me.
                                                           -  End -
Thanks to HAL
Few Americans know of the men, and women, the Russians have taken to the Soviet Union and who were never returned.
In WWI, they took some sailors from the USS Olympia, in World War II, they took 25,600 Americans Prisoners of  War that the Germans were holding in the stalags nearest the border with the USSR .  In the Korean War we had 8,100 men Missing in Action and we know some of them were taken to Russia and never returned.  In the war in Vietnam, we got 591men back at Operation Homecoming, but more than a thousand were kept, never to be returned.  We know that CDR "Red" McDaniels' BN, LCDR Kelly Patterson was taken to the Red Army Defense Complex in Sary Sagan, Kazakhistan because of what he know about the Navy's A-6 Attack bomber. CDR McDaniels was repatriated.

So, what happened to these men? 
I wrote this story some years ago and published it on under Harold Strunk.  I want you to have it.  It is truth wrapped in fiction. It is about something I know, and people I know about. This happened.
Just click on the attachment above to read it, or print it.
The Children Called Him Uncle Vanya
By Harold K. Strunk
They buried him out behind the little house where he had lived for more than twenty years. He loved the children in his small village, and they loved him. He liked to make toys and wind-up things that amused them. And he could fix just about anything. Villagers would bring him broken motors, and he worked on their tractors. Sometimes the people who lived near him would invite him to dinner, but it was hard for him to ask them to his house. He wasn't a very good cook and besides, it just didn't feel right. But now he was gone and the children dug a grave and gently laid him in it.
They covered his face with his jacket and covered him with dirt. The children had placed him next to his wife's grave where the flowers were growing. A woman they had never known. In the evenings he would often sit on a little bench he had built among the flowers and smoke his pipe. He would talk to her and ask all the questions he had never gotten around to asking before. Now the children stood around his grave and told him goodbye. They found a little wooden plank and made a marker for him. It was in Russian, but it said "Uncle Vanya, American sergeant".
His real name was John Paul Thompson and he was captured by the Chinese when they invaded Korea. He had never heard of Korea before and had grown up in Gary, Indiana. He had graduated from high school in 1946 and had worked in the factories and became a fair mechanic. But he was restless and longed for something more. He had had a girlfriend, but she found someone who seemed more promising than John and had moved on.
One day he ran into one of his buddies from high school that had joined the army as soon as he was eighteen and he liked the army life. He was already a corporal and figured on going for twenty. So John thought he would give the army a try and so he enlisted for four years. He was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for infantry basic training and he toughened up. From there he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky and to armored school. His future would be in tanks. But he didn't mind. He figured it was better than walking. And besides, the war was over and there weren't going to be any more wars.
He liked to work out at the post gym when he had free time, and he took an interest in the boxing team. The guys on the team took a liking to him and so the coach took him on. He was strong, he was fast, and he learned quickly. Pretty soon he was boxing as a light-heavyweight and was winning a few, and losing a few. But he learned something from each fight and pretty soon he was winning all of his fights.
Then one day an officer from some outfit called Special Services came to talk to the team and to recruit two or three boxers to join the army's boxing team in Japan. All he had to do was box a couple of days a month and keep in touch with his Captain. No KP, no guard duty, no formations for roll call before the sun came up, no extra duty. They'd even bump him up a stripe. He couldn't say 'yes' fast enough.
Life in Japan was better than good. The Japanese girls liked to come around and watch the guys box. One in particular seemed to take an interest in him and soon they were seeing much more of each other. A whole lot more. In fact, they were living together. For a poor kid from Gary, it seemed that life couldn't get any better than this.
Special Services provided entertainment for the troops, and all the captain expected from his team was to show up a couple of days before any scheduled fight, to train for those two days, and then get out there and give them some blood and leather. Other than that, your time was your own.
Then on the 21st of June, 1950, the hammer fell. A war of some sort was happening in Korea and for some reason John couldn't understand, America was going to get in the middle of it. John's commanding officer, the captain, called in all of his men and told them they were going to this fracas in Korea. He called it a 'police action'. Take a duffel bag with some changes of uniforms, Class A with web belts and helmet liners and turn everything else in to the Supply Room. It will be there for you when you get back in a couple of weeks.
John would never forget those promises. He had been in Korea about a month and new orders put him into an advanced recon outfit. Their orders were simple enough—get behind the enemy and grab some officers for interrogation. Now hop to it. He still was wearing the uniforms he had brought with him, and was scrounging for some field gear. Like boots and jackets and sleeping bags and ponchos. Things he had left in the Supply Room back in Japan.
Each time they went out as a team, someone got shot. Now and then they managed to grab someone with insignia on their collar, and usually that by night. He couldn't help but wonder when he'd stop a bullet with his name on it. But his luck was holding. It was really getting cold and it was November. One day his three-man team was about two miles into enemy territory when a horde of screaming Chinese came like a wave. They were blowing bugles, and running south. The team hid behind some rocks and bushes and the wave passed over them, and then it was quiet. They heard gunfire in the distance and then the Chinese came back. They spotted the three of them and started shooting. John and the other two men fired back and hit a few. Then John was the only man alive and he was out of ammo. The Chinese jumped him, clubbed him with gun butts, and tied him up.
Along with other American soldiers, they were moved at night. By day they holed up and didn't move. Any movement brought F-51s down on you thinking you were the enemy. Already some of the men had been killed in the strafing. After about a month there were fewer men and they arrived at a place called Camp 5, in Pyongyang. Life there was worse than brutal. There was never enough food and flies were everywhere. So, give them credit for clever, but the guards told the prisoners that before they got any food, they had to show up with fifty dead flies. It wasn't long before you couldn't find fifty flies.
Then one day some Russians showed up at the camp and started interrogating the prisoners, one by one. John had no idea what they were looking for, and he certainly didn't have anything secret he could tell them. He was amazed that they spoke such good English. There were people in Gary that couldn't speak that well. It didn't take long for John to figure that just giving the Russians his name, rank and serial number wasn't going to do it. They wanted to know what he could do. He figured that was harmless enough so he told them he had worked as a mechanic in the factories and that he liked to work on engines. When he looked back years later, he didn't know if that had saved his life, or condemned it.
Several days later the Russians came back with a list of names. The men were rounded up and loaded onto trucks and were driven away under heavy guard. There would be no chance of escape.
Before long they were far enough North that they could travel by day and they crossed the Yalu River and came to a town in China called Dandong. There they were loaded onto boxcars and other Americans were pushed and shoved into other boxcars. The prisoners were given some food and water there and then the train headed north to Harbin, in Manchuria. They changed engines there and the train headed northwest, destination; the Soviet Union.
It was freezing cold and each prisoner had been given one blanket. There was a stove, but there was nothing to burn. Days and nights soon lost any meaning and everyone was hungry all the time. After what seemed an eternity, they came to a city called Chelyabinsk that was on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains. The prisoners were offloaded from the train and moved to a prison camp next to a tractor factory where nearly a thousand prisoners worked under harsh conditions. John would discover that many of the men were Germans who had been there since the end of World War II. As the weeks passed by he came to realize that he would never be released, that he would work as a slave until he died.
He fought it, but despair and a sense of hopelessness set in. There was no way to escape. He had no passport, no papers, no money and even if he could escape from the prison, where could he go? He wasn't allowed to write a letter, and no one could write one to him. No one back home even knew if he was still alive. The Army carried him as Missing in Action. In two years that would be changed to PFOD, a Presumptive Finding Of Death and then Killed in Action, Body not Recovered. He ceased to exist.
Suicides were not uncommon in the prison camp. Men would even smash their hands to get out of the factory, but they soon disappeared only to be taken to a much worse prison camp where prisoners cut timber or mined uranium. No one survived to old age in those camps.
One morning the guards found John unconscious and bleeding. He had cut the veins in his wrists wanting to die. He had given up all hope.
In a week he was brought back to the prison camp and was taken to see the camp commander. The commander laid it on the line for John, in the simplest of terms. One, we can just shoot you and be done with you, or Two, if you continue to work hard and give us no more trouble, we will make you a Soviet citizen and parole you. We can even give you a wife. But you will never leave this country. Never. Do you understand? Do I make myself clear? Yes? Then get back to work.
It would be ten years more of labor in the factory and then one day John was called into the commander's office. He was to be paroled and made a supervisor. And he would be allowed to live outside on his own. A small house, one needing repairs, was made available to him. It was about a mile from the tractor plant, but it was a nice walk. At least in good weather. And now for the best news… he was now a Soviet citizen and his new name would be Vanya Tatuzov, And he would be given a wife.
Her name was Svetlana Wilson. No combination could be stranger. But there is a story here worth telling. Her father was Harry Wilson and her mother's name was Helen. Harry worked at the Ford factory in Detroit and Helen kept the house neat and tidy. Times were hard and it was 1931 and America was in an economic depression. A man was lucky to even have a job. The Reuther brothers, Walter and Victor had just returned from the Soviet Union extolling the virtues of a Socialist society, a worker's paradise as they described it. And they were recruiting men to go to the big Ford plant that had been built in Gor'kii. Good money and a good life were promised to all who would sign on the dotted line. It sounded great to Harry and when he came home to tell Helen that they were moving to Russia, she burst into tears. It didn't sound like anything she ever wanted to do. But Harry said it would only be three years, and it would be like a vacation, a chance to see some of the world, so she
said "OK, Harry, but only three years'.
There were about two hundred other men who signed on. Most had wives, and a few had children. They couldn't take much, only what they could carry and several busses took them to the port at New York City. There they boarded the biggest ship anyone had ever seen. All in all, they traveled by ship, by train and trucks and arrived nearly a month later.
They were assigned quarters and depression struck Helen. She couldn't believe that after all they were promised, what they got was nothing more than a hovel. Harry, on the other hand, was exuberant. The country was beautiful, there were other American families to socialize with, and the work at the Ford plant was just fine.
When the first winter came, Helen discovered that she was pregnant. Through no fault of her own, she would think. The last thing Helen wanted was to bring a child into this miserable existence. But the child came, and she was a beautiful, blue-eyed girl. Helen wanted to name her Marianne, but Harry wanted a Russian name. After all, she was born in Russia and what could be more appropriate. So Harry won out, and they named their daughter Svetlana. Svetlana Wilson.
Work at the plant went on and production quotas were being met, but the atmosphere was changing in ways Harry could not explain, and really tried not to see. He had seen policemen come on two occasions and talk to the supervisors. Then a workman would be called in and later led outside with the policemen. They never came back, and no one could discover their fate. It was upsetting to Harry, but he tried to keep his head down and do his work.
He came to work one day to find the plant had a new name. It was now the Molotov Auto Works. Any traces of Ford soon disappeared. The production line was reworked to produce the Molotova trucks for the army.
Not much in the way of news was ever available in the Soviet Union. Rumors abounded. Josef Stalin ruled the country with an iron fist and there were informers everywhere. It was said that he was purging the army of disloyal officers. You never knew if someone you trusted might tell one of the policemen a pack of lies about you. So you soon learned to trust no one.
The three-year contract that Harry had signed was coming to a close, and Helen's depression seemed to lift. They would be going home to America soon and she couldn't wait. She was counting the days!
But it was not to be. Harry was called in to the plant's office and told that his work and performance were excellent and that he was to stay on and a promotion was offered. Nothing to sign was offered. There was no indication of when he might be allowed to return to America. He was stunned. Never had he even been asked if he would like to stay on and continue working in the Soviet Union. He felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He realized he was a captive and no longer was in charge of his life. Then it hit him that he was going to have to tell Helen about this. He didn't know if he could do it. Maybe there was some way that his bosses would let Helen and the baby return to America. Sure, that should work. He'd have to ask before he would tell her.
So he screwed up his courage and headed for the office. He rehearsed how he would ask so that they couldn't say no. It was reasonable enough, it should be easy. So, in he went.
Their answer took away any hope that Harry had left. They were polite, but said that a man needed his family with him, Men get unhappy if they can't be with their family and that long separations are hard on a marriage. Just be patient. We'll talk about this again sometime. Just keep up your good work and we will find ways to reward you.
Harry went home that night unsure of how to break this news to Helen. He'd rather take a beating than have to tell her. So he tried to present it in a positive way that the plant managers appreciated his work and needed him to stay on and furthermore, there would be more money and a few other benefits for the family. Helen could only stare at him in disbelief. She saw right through his story and began to sob. She couldn't stop crying. Nothing Harry could do would console her. She spent most of the night staring out the window. In the morning she couldn't get breakfast together. She just didn't seem to even care whether Harry ate. He could see that Helen was depressed and totally unresponsive. She was still staring out the window when he had to leave for work.
The months went by and she didn't improve. Her moods would swing between quiet depression and anger. Harry tried to get some medical help for her, but there was none to be had.
Winter was coming again, and the temperatures were dropping dramatically. There had already been some snow and freezing rain and the house was often cold. Helen didn't seem to care and didn't tend the stove that heated the house. Harry worried even more about Svetlana.
Then one morning at dawn an army truck stopped in front of Harry's house and two soldiers banged on the door. When Harry answered he was told to get his overcoat and come with them. Helen came to the door to see what was going on and she looked outside to see several men from their neighborhood in the truck and more soldiers. Without any explanation Harry was shoved up into the truck and they drove away. He hadn't even been given the time to say goodbye or ask why he was being taken. He didn't know it but he was going to be a soldier in the Red Army. No matter that he was an American. No one cared.
Helen went to the plant and demanded to know why Harry had been taken away by soldiers. They said they didn't know. They really didn't. But it seemed from what Helen said that the army had taken him, and they would see what they could find out. Harry was a good and loyal worker and they needed him at the plant.
For the next month some of the neighbor women came in and helped Helen with Svetlana, and to cook some meals for them. She was becoming less and less able to do anything or to care for the baby.
Then one day a man brought a letter to her door. It was from Harry. He was a soldier and he was trying to straighten this matter out and return to the plant where he belonged and to his family. He told Helen not to worry; that this is only a misunderstanding and he would get it worked out and be back home as soon as he could. He also said that without his permission they had made him a citizen of the Soviet Union. She looked at his new name and couldn't even pronounce it. Some stupid Russian name.
Helen was never to hear from Harry again. Germany had broken the non-aggression pact that Hitler and Stalin had signed and Germany had invaded Russia. Stalin ordered every soldier and his entire army to the west to stop the Germans. NKVD officers stayed behind the front with orders to kill any man who was trying to desert.
It wasn't long until Helen collapsed and went mad. She was taken to the local hospital, but there was nothing they could do for her. So she was transferred to Stolbovaya outside Moscow. It was a psychiatric hospital, but in reality, it was a psychiatric prison. Svetlana was taken with her, but they were not equipped to care for children and the alternative was that Svetlana was taken to a State orphanage. She would never see her mother again, nor learn of her fate.
Svetlana remained at the orphanage until she was sixteen. She was reasonably well-treated, and most of the women who worked there liked Svetlana. She had chores assigned to her, most of which consisted of cleaning and scrubbing and working in the laundry. There had been some classes and she had about eight years of instruction. She was a good student and especially liked science. But the rules say when you turn sixteen you must be assigned to work at a State job.
The place the authorities selected for Svetlana was a prison camp hospital in Yuryuzan, near the city of Chelyabinsk. Patients there were prisoners from any of several prisons in the region. The prisoner's "crimes' ranged from speaking out against the Soviet Union, being a member of a religious sect, Article 58 crimes against the State which constituted espionage, being a close relative of anyone who had fallen out of favor, and trying to escape the Soviet Union which was the case for many Jews. The sickest prisoners were those brought in from Kyshtym's uranium mines. They never went back. They were always picked up by armed guards and taken somewhere else, probably to die, she suspected. The hospital was a depressing place, all run down and not very well equipped for anything beyond first-aid.
Svetlana was treated well at the hospital. After all, she wasn't a political prisoner, so she was free to move around the city. She was an ordinary Soviet citizen and like anyone else, had to follow some strict rules. She lived on her own in a small third-floor apartment that the government had built. It was drab and hard to heat in winter and the neighbors were not friendly, but she made the best of it. The years had come and gone and she was now thirty-five years old and never married.
Spring had come early that year. It was 1967. She liked this time of the year best and flowers were beginning to bloom. She had some in pots on her window sill, but they never got enough sun. She was on the north side of the apartment complex and sun never came into her little apartment. That was disappointing. She had tried to get permission to move into the next available apartment on the southern side, but those seemed to be saved for more important people.
Then one day one of the managers of the tractor factory in Chelyabinsk came to visit a nephew who worked at the hospital. Svetlana happened to be near the front door when he came in and asked for his nephew. She asked him to wait while she went to find him. She brought him back and the two of them sat down to visit. He asked his nephew about Svetlana and was surprised to find that she was not married. That struck him as odd as she certainly was a very attractive woman.
Then he remembered something he had told John many years ago, that we can give you a wife. If anyone deserved something good to happen in his life, it would be for the American who had been brought to the Soviet Union against his will, never to have any contact with his family in America, to be thought to be dead all these years and with no hope of ever having a normal live. Maybe it was time to do something good for someone who deserved it.
When he returned to the factory, he made some calls and then called the hospital, cleared it with the administrator, and asked that he instruct Svetlana that she would be picked up at the end of the day. When she was given those instructions, she could only wonder what she had done to be taken away. She knew that her work had been good, but in the Soviet Union that didn't count for much. She expected that she was going to be taken to the slave labor camps never to return. Even suicide crossed her mind.
That evening two men in a black sedan came for Svetlana. They could see fear in her eyes. She sat with one of the men in the backseat and he said nothing. They drove across town and came to a little house that looked different from those nearby. It was painted and there was a little picket fence around the front yard. Obviously whoever lived there took some pride in keeping the house pretty. There was a light inside and as they stopped in front of the house, they could see a man inside reading by a table lamp.
Svetlana was told to get out of the car, and with a man holding each elbow, she was walked up to the door. The first man, the one who seemed to be in charge, knocked loudly on the door. A tall man who appeared to be about fifty answered the door. He immediately recognized the camp commander. The camp commander said, "This woman will be living with you! Vanya Tatusov, this is Svetlana Wilson."