Thursday, February 19, 2009

..or your lying eyes

From the Daily Times February 19th:

A spokesman for the US embassy in Pakistan told The Times:

“No. No. No. No. No. We unequivocally and emphatically can tell you that there is no basing of US troops in Pakistan,” he said. “There is no basing of US Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, none, on the record and emphatically. I want that to be very clear. And that is the answer any way you want to put it. There is no base here, no troops billeted. We do not operate here.
From The News on February 18:

Two pictures of an unidentified flying strip in Balochistan — bearing the coordinates 27 degrees 51 minutes North, 65 degrees and 10 minutes East — prove that Pakistani ground was being used, at least until 2006.

Both the pictures are still available on Google Earth, which maps every corner of the world through a satellite and internet users can zoom in to see every detail, even cars parked in front of their drive ways. The pictures on Google Earth are not live but the satellite updates them after every few months.

The first picture of the drones on the Pakistani soil, taken in 2006, has three drones, all Global Hawks. The picture has coordinates and they can be vaguely read as 27 degrees, 51 minutes North; 65 degrees, 10 minutes East. These coordinates place the strip not far from the nearby Jacobabad airbase which is around 28 degrees north, 68 degrees east.

The strip, which is around 2,800 metres long, is close to the town of Wadh in Kharan district which straddles the Sindh-Balochistan border. Also, the grab shows the infrastructure surrounding the airstrip and the V-shaped structure towards the bottom left of the picture is in fact a hanger.

The image shows three Global Hawks on the ground and these are similar to the ones operated by the US defence department. These are high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and their endurance is such that one is known to have flown from Edwards Air Force Base in Los Angeles County to an airbase in Australia — the flight lasting 22 hours. Also, a Global Hawk set the world endurance record for unmanned flight on March 1, 2001, when it flew for over 30 hours — also flying out from Edwards Air Force Base.

A closer analysis of the more recent Google Earth picture (labelled ‘2009’) with more or less the same coordinates as the ‘2006’ picture (differing only by a few minutes) suggests that several new structures have been built since 2006.

The hanger has been completely built and has an interesting configuration, much like a clam. An expert who saw this picture suggested that “what appeared to be anti-missile” cannons could be seen deployed around the hangar area and the parking bay section away from the main strip. On the other (western) side of the airstrip (though not seen in the ‘2009’ picture) are also what seems to be living barracks built within what appears to be a perimeter wall or enclosure.
However, a comparison of the ‘2006’ and ‘2009’ pictures clearly shows that the airstrip in question is the same — especially given that the latitude and longitude coordinates are almost identical — differing by a few minutes in both cases.

No comments: