On August 11, 1984, Jane's Defence Weekly, a new magazine printed by the authoritative Jane's Fighting Ships, published high quality photographs of the Nikolaiev 444 shipyard in the Crimea's Sevastopol, one on the weekly's cover and three more on the inside, showing the Soviet aircraft carrier Lenoid Brezhnev under construction. Then many newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, reprinted them. When US Navy Captain Captain T. Fritz of its Naval Intelligence Support Center (NISC) noticed them while reading his paper over breakfast, he immediately called the FBI to report that they were ones missing from its facility at Suitland, Maryland.
The photographs had been taken by the National Reconnaisance Office's new KH (Keyhole) -11 satellite, the first to suppy digital imaging of targets, and developed by the National Security Agency's Program 1010 aka Kennan. KH-11 used systems developed by the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the previous Keyhole project, and were later the basis of the Hubble Space Telescope. In keeping with the National Security Decision Directive 84 - what the Willard Group, appointed by President Carter, had proposed to stop leaks resulting from Watergate, and in the assassination of CIA covert operatives, and President Reagan had adopted - the FBI was contacted so that if no criminal laws were broken in the leak, at least the leaker could be weeded out of the government.
When the Bureau's agents contacted Jane's editors about the leak, they simply handed over the photographs which had had secret classifications snipped from their tops and bottoms.
Once a fingerprint was identified as that of Samuel Loring Morison, son of the famous Harvard historian who had written, with Henry Steele Commanger the standard survey of American history, and who was working at the NISC, "Morison was arrested as he was about to board a plane on his way to vacation in England," Angus Mackenzie has written in Secrets: The CIA's War at Home. "He was charged with theft and espionage." (p. 136)
When Morison's trial finally occurred in October 1985, it was most baffling, as Mackenzie has recounted. The charge of espionage seemed most unjustified since a real spy, William Kampiles, had already been convicted of selling the operating manuels for KH-11, so it could be assumed that the photo in Jane's Defence Weekly had told Moscow nothing new about the photo reconnaissance obiter, but the prosecution begged to differ, contending that knowing nothing new about a highly covert program was in itself potentially harmful to the United States. Then the defense finally found an expert who would testify on behalf of Morison, Professor Jeffrey T. Richelson, but his testimony about how easy it was for even the average person to spot a KH-11 in the sky was quashed by the trial judge.
Once one of the defense witnesses, CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology Richard Hineman admitted that Morison's disclosure did inform Moscow that the satellite was still working, as all satellites have a limited life span, the jury found that he had potentially damaged America's security, especially since he had done so for money, and he was sentenced to two years in prison, though he ended up only spending eight months incarcerated.
While Mackinzie was understandably upset about the verdict, he never got round to explaining why Morison ended up spending so little time in jail. The reason seems to be that the Reagan administration decided to make Morison's disclosure a positive bit of disinformation as the planned showdown with Moscow by the US Navy was finally taking shape - what an Anglo-American conspiracy hoped to trigger with the assassination of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme, sink the Soviet nuclear submarines while they went on station in response to the surprise, and then clear out all the naval facilities on the Kola Peninsula by American and NATO air and army operations. Where Morison, either deliberately or ignorantly, fitted into all this is determined by just considering what Moscow had learned from all its spies at the time.
Since Kampiles had given the Soviets all the capabilities of the KH-11, they could at least take all the necessary countermeasures while it was passing overhead, if not even arrange to blow it up. Then the John A. Walker Jr. spy ring had resulted in Soviet attack submarines being almost as difficult to spot as American ones - what enraged Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr. so much that he called publicly for Walker to be drawn and quartered instead of given a life sentence, with eligibility for parole after merely 10 years in prison. Then Ronald W. Pelton, another NISC employee, had told the Soviets about the tapping of their land lines in Sea of Okhotsk to their naval base at Petropavlovsk (Operation Ivy Bells). (For more about this, Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man's Bluff: The Story of American Submarine Espionage, p. 351ff.)
For good measure, the Reagan administration allowed failed Agency agent Edward Lee Howard to escape to the USSR - hoping that Moscow would think that he was another Kim Philby - and Jonathan Pollard, another NISC employee, was sentenced to life in prison for supplying Shamir's anti-American government in Israel with satellite and signal intelligence
regarding the structure of US deterrent forces in case there was some kind of Cold War showdown - what Tel Aviv exchanged with Moscow for the release of more Soviets Jews who wanted to immigrate to the Holy Land.
Of course, this information would hardly help Moscow for what Washington and London had planned, as it was a question of the Soviets spotting Lehman's attack submarines as they sought out the Soviet boomers and their own attack subs, stopping communications to the West by double agents and from bugging other communication lines, and stemming the planned attack over the Finnmark region of Norway with some kind of defense in depth. Defector Vitaly Yurchenko was even programmed by Moscow into the whole deception operation by telling tales on various agents, especially Pelton and Howard, when he came over, and then being allowed to escape back to Moscow by the CIA with the most important double agent, Valeri Martynov, in his entourage. It was the most important, complicated deception operation in the history of the Cold War, and who would ultimately triumph was not known until the very end.
While we now know that the spying for the Soviets by the CIA's Rick Ames and the Bureau's Robert Hanssen saved everyone's skin, as I have described in many articles in the Trowbridge Archive, the role of Morison in the process has not been told. His conviction was to reassure Moscow that any KH-11satellite which showed up over the Black Sea naval base was just another photo reconnaissance one - what the Soviets would neutralize one way or another.
Little did they realize that it was airborne with a laser accelerator, feigning to be a Magnum satellite - what could cause massive earthquakes in the unstable area if necessary. As it circled over the area 15 times a day, it could make a devastating earthquake there in little time at all.
As with so many conspiracies - what results in so many cock-ups - the best laid plans were destroyed by a foul-up. When the space shuttle took the laser accelerator aloft on August 28, 1985 (No. 7 in the Kennan program), it failed to be launched because of a premature engine shutdown. NASA did a rush job to prepare another space shuttle, Challenger, for a replacement mission on January 28, 1986 but, as we all know, it ended in tragedy with the space craft separating from the booster rockets almost immediately, and plunging into the Atlantic, off the Kennedy Space Center. While the Reagan administration made much of the loss of life, especially woman astronaut and school teacher Christine McAuliffe, Washington was more concerned about the lost satellite.
Instead of the White House scrubbing the operation, it pushed ahead with reckless abandaon despite the fact that it had lost its most crucial element in any surprise showdown with the Soviets. The CIA's Rod Carlson recruited Stig Bergling in the hope that he would be the fall guy for Palme's assassin by fleeing to the USSR while on prison release to get married, the Agency's resident in the Stockholm Embassy Jennone Walker got the Swedish security service Säpo to bug the Soviet Embassy telephones and KGB residence in the hope that Bergling would call to arrange his escape - what would confirm Moscow's being behind the assassination - and Britain's SOD George Younger was on hand when NATO's Anchor Express Exercise commenced in Norway, so that he could direct it against the Kola Peninsula when America's carrier battle fleet, Operation Eagle, arrived off Narvik.
Fortunately, the whole conspiracy went a cropper when Bergling declined to flee, Operation Eagle never arrived because Atlantic Fleet Commander Admiral Carl Trost refused to follow Navy Secretary's orders, and Anchor Express Exercise immediately got caught in devastating but expected avalanches which killed 17 Norwegian engineers. It was all just as well, though, as KGB Chief Viktor Chebrikov had announced on the morning of Palme's assassination that it had uncovered the plot, and taken appropriate counter measures. If Washington and London had succeeded in triggering the showdown with conventional weapons - what they attempted on several occasions - the result would have been devastating to us all, as the Soviets had 82 nuclear-armed SS-23 missiles in East Germany and Western Russia which the vaunted Western intelligence knew nothing about.
Little wonder that when the scope of the whole cock-up began to emerge, and the political atmosphere between Reagan and Gorbachev began to change dramatically at the Reykjavik meeting in October 1986, Morison was released early from prison. It was a far different matter with the Walker gang and Pelton, however, Admiral William Studeman, a former NISC chief and the current director of the Naval Intelligence Service, writing an affidavit for the trial of one of the former in California in late September 1986, claiming gratuituously and falsely that Pelton's spying had presented the Soviets with war-winning possibilities in any showdown with the West. Of course, Studeman did not explain what war he was referring to.
Studeman was the driving force in Navy ranks behind the whole confrontation that Secretary Lehman sought, directing the attack submarines in the latest Ivy Bells Operation, having CNO James Watkins coordinate the planned attacks with the British MOD, and seeing that Admiral Frank Kelso's Sixth Fleet in the Black Sea tried to make up for the absence of the KH-11 (No. 7) satellite. (For sanitzed details about the whole fiasco, see Gregory L. Vistica, Fall from Glory: The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy, p. 213ff.)
Of course, while America lost the satellite on Challenger, it had the capability to make more, and once the problems with launching the space shuttles safely were solved, it sent two more KH-11s into orbit in 1987 and 1988, and a more advanced one, called LACROSSE, into space on an orbit which flew over the Middle East all the way to North Korea, as this was the area of concern with the USSR and the Soviet bloc going down the drain. China was now the hot target, especially after its leadership intensified and institutionalized its repression of dissent after the forceful clearing on Tiananman Square on June 4, 1989. The new Bush administration was most interested, though, in keeping on talking terms with Beijing, "constructive engagement", because of what it had planned for Iraq, and the now independent oil-producing nations of Central Asia.
Despite the Chinese crackdown, Washington wanted to persuade the Chinese leadership to ease up on the protesters, especially on the Uighur, Muslims, in Xinjuing province where vast new deposits of oil were discovered, and worked to persuade Congress not to invoke sanctions on Beijing but to maintain China's most favored nation status in trade as bargaining chips. In return, China's Foreign Minister Qain did not block Washington's UN approach to punishing Saddam for his invasion of Kuwait.
And by this time, Admiral Studeman had managed to become NSA's director, and was interested in what KH-12 satellites could really do rather than make them simply survivable in the event of a Soviet attack - what the previous director General William Odom was obsessed with. Studeman was able to work easily behind the back of his nominal superior, DCI Judge William Webster, who had been selected to clean up the Agency's image after the Iran-Contra scandal.
While the world was occupied with the Gulf War, Washington pulled a surprise on the troublesome Chinese by causing an earthquake in Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, on June 20, 1990 - reminiscent to what the Russians had done 14 years earlier in North China. The 7.7 quake on the Richter scale killed or injured 370,000 people, and opened up the area to outside disaster reconstruction, especially by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - a consortium of Chinese, Russian and Central Asian interests which hoped to open the whole country to free trade and global capitalism. The quake rendered the monoply that the Hans were trying to maintain throughout China through the military, state petroleum companies, and state-run construction firms completely untenable.
While Washington's role in the tragedy escaped completely unnoticed, Jeffrey Richelson, the professor who had tried to help Morison in his espionage case, published an article, "The Spies in Space, in Air and Space magazine, which raised all kinds of questions about its possible role - what NSA tried to quash by classifying the article 'SECRET', and Representative Geroge Brown tried to make light of by bringing up the matter in Congress on November 26, 1991. By this time, Richelson had become a leading authority on America's satellite capability, having written many books on the subject, especially The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology which showed that it was involved in much more than just trying to find "The Manchurian Candidate".
Richelson, after having explained the role various KEYHOLE satellites had played in some confrontations and wars, declared: "And still others become the catalyst for further collection efforts and eventually for action political, diplomatic, or military." While he did not indicate what ones had been involved in military follow-ups, he did give this operational scope to them: "Satellities search for signs of new nuclear reactors or missile deployment in countries that buy arms and nuclear technology from China, including Algeria, Iran, Palestine, Saudia Arabia and Syria."
It did not take a space scientist to figure out that this country was the apex of the growing axis of evil, and that Washington may well have taken counter action against its increasing threats - what the Chinese, unlike the Iraqis who laid fiber optics cables to protect the security of their messages, using micro wave communications had made crystal clear.
Richelson concluded his article by surprisingly discounting the effectiveness of digital-imaging reconnaissance vehicles in countries which had very cloudly weather, very secretive regimes, and took effective countermeasures against their intrusions, making one wonder why the NSA was going for broke with the new LACROSSE program when China was the only regime which presented these problems.
The answer was supplied, it seems, by an obscure Chinese chemist Zhonghoa Shou working for the Hangzhou Quality Control Institute, and investigating the effects of climate change on its fishing when the deadly earthquake struck. Shou predicted it 18 hours before it happened, though the area had no history of such quakes. He based his prediction upon the unexpected cloud which developed from the eventual epicenter, and the consequent fracturing of the surface which developed from it. It seemed as if some huge rock was being stressed by external forces, causing the cloud to steadily appear, and as the process intensified, the geoeruption commenced, ultimately resulting in the devastating earthquake.
The only problem left to be explained was the source of the external forces, as the area was not known for having volcanoes either. Were they the energy caused by tectonic plates scrapping across one another, a new volcano suddenly appearing, or man-made rays steadily burning a hole through the earth's crust at Hangzhou? The last seemed the only possible explanation as techtonic plates do not meet there, and there were no signs of a new volcano.
To head off Shou's claims from becoming widely known, he was allowed to come to California in May 1993, and while he was studying the history and evidence of its earthquakes - thanks to the assistance his daughter Wenying, an accomplished biologist, supplied from her grants - the Clinton administration became involved in its own program of earthquake-making, as I explained in my last article. By this time Studeman had taken over the actual running of the CIA, having become its Deputy Director, and was anxious to come up with something big - what the President wanted too because of his growing domestic scandals - to neutralize the expected fallout from the unfolding Ames spying scandal.
Studeman apparently made the arrangements for the test quake in Australia's Great Victoria Desert in 1993 from the US Navy station on the North Cape - what American Secretary of Defense William Cohen did for real in Turkey on August 17, 1999. Clinton had to be shown that quakes could be controlled - not having been introduced to what the Soviet and Americans had done for fear of difficult complications - before he agreed to the attack in the Straits of Mamara. Cohen had done everything he could to deflect suspicion from Washington for having caused the Izmit disaster by claiming that it was something one could only expect from unknown terrorists.
In August 2000, after NSA had yet postponed again its launch of its latest LACROSSE satellite from Vandenberg Air Base - neither the National Reconnaissance Office, its manufacturer, nor the Air Force discussing its 66-foot nose cone and its orbit in any way - the NRO did issue a shoulder patch to commenorate all its orbiters in a most menacing way. It was entitled - "National Reconnaissance Office - We Own the Night", and represented by an Owl's face - and underneath it were the four vehicles transversing the globe, with two going along a line from Africa to Russia, and the others crossing the Middle East towards China - striking back with boomerangs.
A boomerang is an Australian native instrument which recoils on its user with deadly consequences - a most telling depiction of what the Americans had been up to in Down Under's desert, and were handing back to the axis of evil with devastating results. One of the obiters had a black boomerang - the LACROSSE one launched in 1988 - while the others were white, indicating that it was the one which applied the deadly payback in Hangzhou and Izmet. Within the Owl's face above the obiting satellites was a white covered mesh, hiding apparently a black stinging antenna.
By this time, Shou had gotten photographs from EUMETSAT's meteorological satellites, and was explaining past earthquakes in terms of his hypotheses, and making highly accurate predictions about new ones, based upon them. IndoEX, a European agency examining the weather in the Indian Ocean area had been much more forthcoming with its photographs of various earthquake sites than the Pentagon's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program had been with its.
Shou predicted on December 22, 2003 an earthquake in Bam within 60 days - a city which had not apparently experienced a serious one in 2,500 years, and did not have any active volcanoes in the area - because of the emerging, unexplained cloud along a growing fault. The earthquakes struck early in the morning of the 26th, 2003, killing 26,271, injuring another 20,000, and leaving 60,000 homeless. The citadel was first struck with a 4.4 earthquake at just after 4 a. m., causing all the residents to flee their homes, but they then went back to bed and the deadly quake struck an hour and a half later - just the time required for the obiter to go around the globe. The 6.6 quake melted all the clay houses on the surface, causing them to collapse completely around its victims, preventing them from breathing.
Of course, the Indian Ocean tsunami was caused by an unprecedented, undersea earthquake - what was triggered again, it seems, from the US Navy Base on Australia's North Cape, so there was apparently no cloud for Shou to base a prediction upon, so he missed its coming.
But Shou was back in business just before the one in Pakistan occurred, predicting accurately yet another one, but "...everyone," according to scientific sources, "ignored his mail as 'not significant'." The earthquake took place in an area where one was hardly expected, and shook the area with unprecedented consequences, causing the seismic zoning to be changed to a major threat area. It occurred later in the morning than the Bam one, at 8.52 a.m., while people were up and preparing to go to work, and taking them completely by surprise. "I've never seen such devastation before," remarked Jan Egeland, the UN's relief coordinator.
By this time, the fourth and fifth LACROSSE satellites had been launched, the fourth on September 9, 2003 to replace the first deadly one, and then the fifth one on April 27, 2005 - on a course between the ones which went over Russia and those over China. This apparently put it right over the North Frontier of Pakistan when the earthquake struck.
Little wonder that Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC), hit the overhead when he heard about its launch in April. He thought that Congress had killed the program after the fourth one had finally been launched, but the House and Senate Appropriations Committees had continued funding its construction behind the back of the SIC in order to satisfy the employment demands of constituents. The program, Rockefeller angrily declared, "is totally unjustified and very wasteful and dangerous to national security."
Of course, he did not explain how and why an apparent intelligence satellite could be dangerous to national security. In the past, no one ever considered their role dangerous, whether it had been answering the question of the alleged "missile gap" with the Soviets during the 'sixties, eavesdropping upon them during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the buildup of Saddam's forces on the Kuwaiti border in preparation for its invasion in 1990, and the like. A dangerous satellite can only be an offensive weapon of war.
And one can well imagine why the scientific community did not take Shou's predictions seriously. If taken seriously, scientists would be probbing the skies to see where the LACROSSE satellites are going, and where earthquakes may well be developing so that appropriate countermeasures could be taken - like shooting them down, and warning the populations threatened.
Is the scientific community ever going to give up its chorus of denial when it comes to what Washington is up to?