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TWA 800 - Testimony of Commander William S. Donaldson III, (ret.)
Various

Posted on 12/20/2001 5:04:28 PM PST by Asmodeus

Testimony To The Congressional Subcommittee on Aviation
of
Commander William S. Donaldson III, USN (ret.)

REAUTHORIZATION OF THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD

Thursday, May 6, 1999
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
Washington, D.C.

Mr. DUNCAN. Our third and final witness will be Commander William S. Donaldson, III, U.S. Navy retired, an aviation mishap analyst who is here to make some comments concerning the NTSB and its organization and particularly its investigation of the TWA 800 crash.

Commander Donaldson, thank you for waiting, thank you for being here with us today, and you may begin your testimony, sir.

TESTIMONY OF CMDR. WILLIAM S. DONALDSON, III, USN, RET., AVIATION MISHAP ANALYST

Commander DONALDSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I feel a little bit like a Daniel in the lion's den after listening to the testimony. If you will pardon me, let me get a little bit of water here.

I would like to-you are going to see that I am going to make some very startling comments. I know that plenty of you have read ahead. I want to make it clear that I bear no animus to anybody in the room, outside the room, NTSB, or anywhere else in the government.

In fact, my primary source of income is retirement from the Federal Government. And I have been on these crash scenes. I have picked up bodies. I have picked up pieces. I know what it is like, and it is not pretty. So I want to start that way.

I guess I also want to do a disclaimer here because some people can read my testimony as if I was either directly involved in supporting TWA's position or Boeing or any of the other parties, and I am not. I have not received a penny from any of the interested parties nor would I take it. My motive, as an individual, is to follow through with what I did in 1965 and that was swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

I have testimony that I cannot give in the open, but I would be glad, too glad to pass it on to the chairman. What I am going to show you here today, I think, will get enough people's attention. The fact is that aircraft, Flight 800 was shot down, it was the 27th civil aircraft shot down by MANPADS missiles worldwide.

It is a major aviation concern. And while all of the good offices that we have been listening here to today, the word missile is like cancer. If you are a patient in a hospital, you don't want to hear it.

I want to point out that this administration was forewarned. Right here in the State of Maryland at Westminster, October 11, 1994, a fully armed French Mistral missile was found on its tripod laid over, on the side of the road. The state police were informed by a passerby. They picked it up, and it was subsequently destroyed.

Now, an interesting aside, when one of the journalists that I have been dealing with called the NTSB about this incident, they said that it didn't happen. All it took was a phone call to Westminster and the state police to confirm that it did happen.

One other quick instance, this is not my statement, but I wanted to set the stage. I was stationed in Italy for three years on the Sixth Fleet. I know of an incident in which the Italian Federal Police managed to capture terrorists, if you want to call them that. I call them surrogates for other nations, captured them surrounding the airport with these types of missiles. It is a real threat. It is a real threat worldwide.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, this administration knew. They were forewarned. They knew it when the aircraft was shot down, and the good offices of the President were used across the Board to shut this thing down as a terrorist act.

Now, if I could, let me take a sip, this statement is about 6 minutes long, and then I will be at your mercy, sir.

Mr. DUNCAN. Go ahead.

Commander DONALDSON. Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, based on the performance of the NTSB while investigating the unexplained loss of Flight 800, I no longer believe that the NTSB is capable of fulfilling its aviation mission. Its abuse of power used to muzzle witnesses and interested parties simply to promote the administration's agenda proves that it has become so politicized that the Board itself has become an aviation hazard.

The solution would be to recast the NTSB as an independent body staffed only with aviation professionals and overseen by a joint committee of Congress. At a minimum, the current leadership should be replaced and portions of title 49 and title 18 used to intimidate interested parties must be reformed. Under the current law, the NTSB leadership has misled the American people. They did this through unfettered access to the media, unending pursuit of junk science theories without budgetary constraint, common sense, or air crash protocol. They have used aerodynamically impossible CIA cartoons, fraudulent videos of hydrogen-filled tanks exploding, and fear-mongering appearances by officials pitching a nonexistent flight hazard.

It all goes unanswered by parties, all very severely constrained because of their highly regulated industries. Their bottom line depends first on government bureaucracy's good will. Current sanctions invite political abuse by barring more competent independent investigations or even public statements by parties until after the NTSB final report.

Silence by the parties is misinterpreted by media and the public and easily exploited by partisan politicians. In this incident 15 weeks before the 1996 election, Mr. Clinton had motive to cover up a missile attack that he had clear forewarning of as early as October, 1994.

The abuses are unprecedented. An author of three books and his wife, James and Elizabeth Sanders, are now felons convicted in Federal court for receiving worthless passenger seat fabric. Captain Stacey, a no-nonsense TWA Flight 800 crash investigator, gave them this material for analysis. He admitted in court that he had lost all faith in the integrity of the NTSB and FBI and didn't believe his action was illegal.

As a past fleet nuclear war planner, it is disappointing that the same Justice Department that allowed our trillion dollar special weapons technology to be compromised by China because it refused to wiretap a spy before the election, didn't blink when a Federal judge found Jim Sanders suffered unconstitutional searches and seizures or blush when Mrs. Sanders, shackled behind the back, was dragged through a media circus on the way to arraignment. She lost her airline career, her house fighting the charges, and now faces the possibility of a 10 year prison sentence. Her crime was a phone conversation with Captain Stacey that neither party understood to be illegal.

This rabid behavior to get Stacey and Sanders with the arrest a week before NTSB's public hearing was planned for maximum intimidation. In fact, Mr. Hall wanted Linda Kunz, another exceptional TWA crash investigator, arrested after she pointed out NTSB employees were changing passenger seat location data to conform to NTSB's theory. Linda had the presence of mind to use two state police officers to photograph evidence.

TWA attorneys sent Mr. Hall a letter citing these facts, but she was still forced out. Acting as defense consultant for Mr. Sanders, I asked him for photographs of the few remaining parts of the center wing tank, left side body wall. When the trial judge allowed photographs during discovery, I viewed those pictures and determined the few military experts that examined the cash debris were right.

The number two main tank exploded into the center wing tank, not the other way around. I then called the NTSB and left a voice mail message asking where to find the microscopic fracture face-edge analysis of these side wall parts. I received a call back from the attorney informing me that it hadn't been done.

Ladies and gentlemen, the analysis wasn't done because it would prove the loss of the aircraft was caused by an explosive event in the number two main tank. I informed that attorney that if the NTSB final report comes out without an analysis of the side wall edge metal and without warhead detonations in the number two main tank and missile shots at that same tank recommended by the military in their report, he could expect me to file criminal malfeasance and misprision of felony homicide complaints.

Every time NTSB officials have spoken publicly about TWA 800 they have lied or shaded the truth.

I will close with physical evidence of one of the bigger deceptions. At the same time Mr. Hall's letter to the editor was published in the Wall Street Journal in April of 1997, titled, It Wasn't A Missile , he was playing-I am sorry-he was paying for the covert recovery of the very missile parts that he denied existed.

The Scallop boat, Alpha Omega, found and discarded overboard the first stage of the shoulder-fired missile in October of 1996 two miles from Flight 800's explosion point. This is near the spot where Islip's radar recorded a boat traveling away from the exploding aircraft at 30 knots.

Through questions submitted for us by this committee, and we are thankful to Mr. Traficant and his office, we forced the FBI to admit that they failed to identify that boat. As Mr. Hall's letter was being being written, Special Agents Hanson, Petry, Bowen, Lane, Francis, Pica, Mauzey, and Bokal were manning the four scallop dredgers scouring the ocean bottom for missile parts.

My assistant, Tom Stalcup, up here is up from Florida State. He is chasing a doctorate degree in physics, and he is helping me here. If you could hold up that manual.

Here is the FBI trawler operations manual replete with diagrams of missile parts and an operational order with highlighted instructions to hide these parts from crew and other interested parties. Boeing, TWA, and the Congress of the United States are other interested parties.

And the map that Tom has got here, here is a precision map used by these men clearly indicating the primary purpose of the operation was to recover missile parts.

I want to take an aside here. There were three items that were considered special interest. One of them, Mr. Sherwood, was that last pump that the NTSB was looking for. The instructions in that manual applied to it as well as the missile parts. In other words, if it was found, I cannot sit here and tell you in good faith that the American people know it yet. But I can't say the obverse, either.

Most of the area dredged did not have the crash debris but instead fell within the assumed range of a Stinger missile from the explosion point. The existence of this map is one of the several reasons Mr. Hall wouldn't let the Navy supervisor of salvage take questions at the public hearing.

I have access to 119 eye witnesses on 18 boats, 4 aircraft, and 31 locations ashore that surrounded the missile launch. None of these witnesses were allowed to testify at the NTSB hearing. Instead they played a laughable depiction of a noseless 747 climbing 1,700 feet, an aerodynamically impossible event.

Even so, it hardly would appear to be streaking like a flare or a rocket as described by these witnesses.

The sad thing is that the media bought it because it was a slick video and perfect for television. Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to hold special hearings in the lost of TWA 800, take the actions recommended to reform the NTSB.

That concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy to answer any questions.

Mr. DUNCAN. Do you want to go ahead? Well, I was going to let you go ahead first, and then I got the message that maybe you want to wait a few minutes. Well, Commander Donaldson, let me ask you a couple of things. I spent 7-1/2 years before coming to Congress as a criminal court judge trying felony criminal cases. I have seen and heard and read about many overzealous Federal law enforcement officers and Federal prosecutors who have broken rules and been guilty of prosecutorial excesses.

While that is not true in the majority of the cases, it is true far too much. Then also, I know that many, many judges who try criminal cases very much lean toward the prosecution. It is just easier that way, and the fact is that most people who are tried, a very high percentage of them, are guilty. So I am a little skeptical of the prosecutors and some of the judges and so forth.

I still have great faith in the judicial system because all of the defendants are allowed to have lawyers who generally fight really hard for them. Then also after 7-1/2 years of trying jury trial cases, I have become convinced that in about 98 or 99 percent of the cases the juries come back with the right decision because they are called in at random, and it is pretty hard to convince 12 ordinary citizens with their common sense that somebody is guilty if they are really not. All you have to do is have one on there that you don't have to convince.

What I am wondering about is, I noticed in the material that you submitted to us that you were a consultant to the Sanders and their lawyer or lawyers. What I am wondering about is how-why do you feel they were convicted? I am sure that all of these questions that you have raised--

Commander DONALDSON. They were guilty. That is my point. They were guilty of the fact that they actually had these small two and three square inch pieces of fabric.

The law-I am not sure when it was changed, but it was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony. It is because of the actions of the Congress, I am supposing, or whoever allowed that change. What you have done is transfer power to people that want to abuse a captain-Captain Stacey.

Let me tell you what he had to do. He was the real target. He was the toughest TWA investigator in the field, in the hangar. He was getting sick of the investigation, and he risked the last 5 years of his career, which would cost him a million dollars out of his own pocket, if he lost his job. But he took that risk anyway.

Well, Sanders, who wrote the book wouldn't turn on him. So Sanders ends up with a worse deal. They are going to prosecute him with a felony and let Stacey, the captain, off with- he still hasn't been sentenced, but he is still going to keep his job. My point is this: It is the power that you gave this Board or, in this case, the Justice Department, I guess, to-really, there is no reason to even have the law except to stop people from pilfering things.

When you turn it against the best investigator that TWA had in the field and that is used to throw him out of the investigation, it is a wrong application of law. Technically, that jury-I walked out of there thinking that the jury was going to nullify it, but they didn't. I guess that is the best way that I can answer

Mr. DUNCAN. So you think that the jury felt that even though the Sanders had no real criminal intent or motives--

Commander DONALDSON. I believe firmly that neither party had any idea. If you were the senior captain of TWA and you see that stuff was going that upset him, you see a red stain on seats that you think is suspicious. It may or may not-I am not standing here saying that that proved that there was a missile that hit the airplane.

That is not what the military said, and I am going their way now. The point is the fact that they set that crash scene up like a nuclear weapon depository. They had an outer defense system which was manned by the local police and the FBI in the hangar. A guy like me going in there- and I go right to the parts. If Stacey could have walked out legally and gone to an analysis group and handed stuff to them on his own under his own recognizance, nobody would have ever been in trouble.

I am wasting time here--

Mr. DUNCAN. I am so limited in my time. Let me move on quickly to just a couple of other things. You submitted with your material a letter dated April 5, 1999, that you sent to Phillip M. Condit, the head of the Boeing Company, and Mr. Jerald L. Gitner, the head of TWA.

Would they not have great, great incentive to support you economically, or to go along with you or hope that you found some definite proof so that there wouldn't be any question that their company was not involved in any way or at fault in any way.

Commander DONALDSON. Mr. Chairman, I have been associated with aviation my entire life. My father was an Air Force officer.

When you get to a corporation the size of Boeing, what they are really trying to do is put the safest product out on the road that they can. I can say this with a straight face. I don't even own stock in the company. I can't conceive that a professional aircraft producer would produce a faulty product, and then when it caused the death of people try to hide it. Because every day after that they are putting billions of dollars, literally, of equipment, the same equipment in the air every day and risking millions of lives.

Sure, you are going to risk a big lawsuit. I would trust the party, particularly Boeing or any other major aircraft production outfit, to do the initial investigation and then let the government look at it the whole way, but don't let the government run it. Because in this case the government was a party. I am telling you, I can't tell you everything here that I do know, but I know this administration had extremely urgent pressure to change the subject before the election.

Mr. DUNCAN. What did you think about what Chairman Hall said, that if there was some sort of conspiracy, it would have had to have involved hundreds or even thousands of people.

Commander DONALDSON. Mr. Traficant made the same point very eloquently.

The best way to explain that is if you don't have access to the evidence, you don't have a conspiracy. You don't have to hide anything. What happened here-you have to look at this from the top. The administration, and I mean the White House, by using the Justice Department with a thousand agents in the field- in fact, I think they might have even bumped the NTSB people trying to get to the scene with FBI agents.

The FBI agents went in there with a flood. What they did is they clamped the lid down on these eye witnesses. I have got two air crews that I want to get to and I can't find. They are so damned scared probably because of what the FBI told them when they interviewed them that they are not going to talk to somebody like me.

So Justice took the entire weight of eyewitnesses off the Board. I am going to tell you when you talk to them eyeball to eyeball, it takes two or three of them to convince you. Mr. Al Gipe, all of 14 miles away-he is the chairman of his own board. He is an engineer. He was a World War II gunnery officer. He gave me a perfect description of a Stinger missile launch. He gave me the angle that it rose from the surface. He gave me the time of flight. When I matched it up against what the military was saying happened to the airplane, it was dead-on.

Mr. DUNCAN. When you have an incident like this, do you think this was some sort of terrorist group? I mean, somebody usually claims credit for something like this.

Commander DONALDSON. Yes, sir, and I think the credit was there. If you would check closely, there was an Arab newspaper in Washington and one in London that received a communique about 6 hours before 800 was shot down. It was a really weird one. They took credit for the Riyadh bombing using some new name, they always come up with a new name, which had happened in November of 1995. And then in two sentences they took a shot at President Clinton calling him silly or something.

And then they said the American people are going to be shocked at where we attack next, where and when we attack next, we are going to attack at dawn, and isn't dawn near? The airplane went down at 8:30 at night but in Mecca, it was dawn. And it was dawn the next day. That is a coded-there are people in this-I don't want to get-take too much of your time, but the bottom line is the President of the United States is the most informed person in the world. I am sitting here personally telling you that I believe that he knows things that he hasn't been honest to the American people about, about Flight 800.

Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much. Mr. Lipinski.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Commander, is it your view that if the administration, the Justice Department, the National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, the FBI, if they said that this was a missile attack that it somehow would have been detrimental to the reelection campaign of President Clinton?

Commander DONALDSON. I do, sir, because you have to make the connection. Obviously, in the first administration there were a lot of events, Waco and other things that were terrorist events not connected directly with this. But in this case, I believe that the media would have figured out pretty quickly that there had been an advanced warning.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Advanced warning to who?

Commander DONALDSON. To the administration, the government.

Mr. LIPINSKI. In this newspaper that you are talking about?

Commander DONALDSON. No. I am talking about, for instance, the missile that was found in Westminster was right under an airway. That missile, all that had to have been done was set it up right and fired as an aircraft went over it.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Yes, but we have an awful lot of aircraft flying in and out of this country. I don't know how we would have known that it was going to be this plane that was going to be attacked.

Commander DONALDSON. That is not what I meant. I am sorry, sir. I do know that. When I say the ''event,'' I didn't mean Flight 800 specifically. I meant that the threat was there, and I do believe that there was an attempt by the administration thinking that-I believe they thought there were at least three missiles in the country. The London Times, in August, right after the crash, 5 or 6 weeks after the crash--

Mr. LIPINSK. Let me assume that the administration thought there were three missiles in the country. For the sake of argument I will give you that. I don't understand why if a TWA American plane is attacked by a missile that that is detrimental to the President's reelection campaign. I don't understand that. What is the connection there?

Commander DONALDSON. Because he is the commander in chief. There are only a few agencies that would have privilege to this information. Those are the agencies like CIA that provided that video.

Mr. LIPINSKY. Why would he want to cover it up? How does it hurt his reelection chances if people know that the plane was shot down by a missile? I don't understand that.

Commander DONALDSON. What you have to follow up is what is the game plan. If the surrogate state was Iran, which I believe probably was, you are not talking about Kosovo. We are talking about a nation with 40 million people, with their mind set challenging them could make the situation a lot worse than it was leaving it alone.

Mr. LIPINSKI. But you are saying that the cover-up is because it was advantageous to the administration, to the President, to cover this up, not reveal to the American people that it was a missile to enhance his reelection campaign, correct?

Commander DONALDSON. To allow the campaign to go as it was going.

Mr. LIPINSKI. It would seem to me that if I was President of the United States and if a U.S. plane got shot down by a missile from some surrogate that was representing Iran and I had that information, based upon the history of this people in this country and the way that people react, I would certainly announce that to everyone here showing that this country is under attack, and it usually enhances the person that is in office as far as all of the public opinion polls go.

And he probably could have even gone out and shot a few more rockets into Iran that would have increased his popularity with the American people. That is the connection that I can't make. I don't know why the President of the United States would choose to cover this up in an election campaign when, it would seem to me that based upon our history, it has always been advantageous for the president of this country to be under attack during a presidential election campaign.

Commander DONALDSON. Let me make a quick analogy with Pearl Harbor. Twice as many civilians died on Flight 800 as died at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. I think the number was 111 civilians. There were almost 2,000 military or whatever.

But the point is-an attack like this is not just a normal terrorist attack. That is a major act of war. And all of a sudden you are running up a-you are getting me to speculate on what the President should or shouldn't have done. I am just telling you that I have other information that I can't talk about that I can relay to you in private.

I think that I can prove to you that he was extremely personally agitated, and he wanted to control the event right away. That gives me a seque into something that I didn't have in here, but it is upsetting to me as an American. The reason the Navy got assigned to recover that crash debris was because the President of the United States wanted control. I know that for a fact.

Mr. LIPINSKI. The reason that who got assigned to it?

Commander DONALDSON. The Navy. The Navy should have never been involved in that. The reason is Weeks Marine had capability on scene the next day.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Who had?

Commander DONALDSON. Weeks Marine, Inc. They had the biggest of salvage equipment on the East Coast, anywhere in the Atlantic. They were there. They could have supported 50 divers the next day.

Mr. LIPINSKI. So you are saying that the President wouldn't-we haven't figured out yet why this would be advantageous to the President for a story not to come out that it was a missile. In fact, my position is it would have been advantageous to him for it to come out. You, for some reason, don't believe it would be.

But now you are telling me that the President put the Navy in charge of recovering the pieces from the crash because he could control it; correct?

Commander DONALDSON. Yes. Let me tell you that was egregious because it meant the bodies stayed underwater an extra week. It meant that the wreckage was underwater for much longer than that. Weeks Marine was capable of-they were superior to the Navy's ability. Not only that, but the entire debris field had been mapped by Captain Debow on the Ship Rudy. He told me, in testimony to me, that within 11 hours of being on the scene-and he was there at dawn the next day, he had radioed in to NTSB all major debris locations, had the general debris fields outlined.

That means if-Weeks Marine, with some of the biggest lifting and salvaging equipment in the world, was there. They got there and they anchored. They sat there for 3 days after the FAA had contracted them and after the Coast Guard had contracted them verbally to start the salvage. That mission was aborted, and all of these families were told that we are doing everything that we can do to bring them up.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Let me ask you-you already stated here that the Navy is in on this conspiracy and the National Transportation Safety Board is in on this conspiracy--

Commander DONALDSON. I am not saying-I don't have proof that anybody is in on the conspiracy. What I am saying is people are following orders. There is a chain of command that comes down from the White House.

Mr. LIPINSKI. If there is conspiracy, there is more than two people saying that it was a missile so it is a conspiracy. I am just trying to establish how many people you think might be in the conspiracy.

Commander DONALDSON. I am not an attorney. I tell you what, I would duck the conspiracy question.

I can tell you that the only military experts that did a report put seven recommendations out to the FBI, and the first one was to fire live warheads in the number two tank. The second recommendation was to fire live missiles and inert missiles at the same tank.

The reason is there is 45 square feet of missing forward spar in front of the number two tank and there is also an indication that the whole left wing was overpressurized from that hit. There were no fragment hits in the aircraft because the missile detonated inside 6 feet of fuel. Within 2 feet, these little fragments are going to stop in the fuel.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Excuse me, Commander, but how many military air crashes have you participated in as a lead investigator?

Commander DONALDSON. Lead investigator, one or two.

Mr. LIPINSKI. How many overall?

Commander DONALDSON. Because of the way that the military is structured, I have supervised probably a dozen. I go through and critique in the superior-the wing safety officer, for instance, reviews every squadron crash in detail--

Mr. LIPINSKI. So as lead, one or two, and you were involved in 12 other ones. Have you ever participated in an official investigation of a civil air crash?

Commander DONALDSON. No. Mr. LIPINSKI. Who funds your research?

Commander DONALDSON. No one has funded my research. I have had direct reimbursement for bills for rental cars and for motels, and that is about it, through Accuracy in Media.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Accuracy in Media?

Commander DONALDSON. Right.

Mr. LIPINSKI. They are interested in your theory, apparently?

Commander DONALDSON. In fact, I came to them when I saw the Navy being tagged in Mr. Sanders' book for shooting the airplane down. I have run too many missile exercises. I have been a fleet observer. I knew that that didn't happen, but I also knew that the airplane was shot down.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Your contacts in the military have given you this information; correct?

Commander DONALDSON. No. In fact, I can tell you there are two fleet commanders right now that I flew with, and purposely-I have informed them of everything that I have written. Just so they don't get blindsided, I sent them a copy.

But I can't get an active duty officer involved in this. They would get eviscerated.

Mr. LIPINSKI. So your information has come through the military?

Commander DONALDSON. Yes, it did. It came through Mr. Traficant's office on 21-page report from China Lake. It had seven recommendations on how to handle this problem if it was a missile.

Mr. LIPINSKI. Is any of that information classified?

Commander DONALDSON. No, sir. It is on my web site. Mr. Traficant was good enough, and Mr. Marconi, even though we had separated at the point, I have to applaud them. They followed through and they sent that report to me.

Mr. LIPINSKI. My time is long exhausted. Thank you very much, Commander.

Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much. Mr. Pease. Mr. Traficant.

Mr. TRAFICANT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome Commander Donaldson here. I made available to you everything that I had because at some point people were being branded as a part of a massive cover-up.

And I am not going to question your motives, but I am certainly going to question the outcome of what your analysis is, and I would like to make a few points. At one point working with us, you expounded a theory that the missile could have been from a Canadian frigate.

Hear me. Let me finish.

Commander DONALDSON. OK.

Mr. TRAFICANT. And at a second point you tried to impress our investigation that you believed it was two missiles that were involved.

Commander DONALDSON. Correct.

Mr. TRAFICANT. One, a U.S. Navy missile from an Aegis Cruiser, in fact, that was patrolling, looking for supposed terrorist activity in the region who had then identified the launch of a terrorist missile and did themselves then launch a second missile to intercept and that this went awry causing the problem.

Number three, if I am not mistaken, you maintain now it is a stinger missile that was responsible, a Chinese-made vanguard shoulder-type launch.

I just want to let you know that you were not just giving me that information. We painstakingly analyzed objectively everything that you and everybody else, including the Board, made available to us. And as an old sheriff, believe me I did that.

Now there are several things I just want to say here. Jim Kallstrom, the FBI agent in charge for 2 weeks, led this Nation to believe that there may have been a missile strike here and he was determined to get to the bottom of it. So in the beginning, the theory that somebody was covering up does not wash with me. And quite frankly, I think Mr. Kallstrom and the FBI did a great job in this investigation.

Now, we have come to learn that, yes, there was an awful lot of exclusion from this site because when the Feds took it over, they believe there could have been foul play and they put the clamps on this site to the point where they may have excluded our Board. That could never happen again.

But for there to be accusations on the competencies or integrity of Chairman Hall completely flies in the face, and that is why we parted ways, frankly, our investigation.

We have investigated everything you talked about.

Here is a point that I would like to make. Everybody that was involved communicated with us. We had nobody that closed the door except one person whose name I will present to the Chairman later who was a significant individual and had an eyewitness, supposed, account who stated to his commanding officer after the flight that he had seen nothing.

But several periods later-I forget the exact period of time-made a statement that he saw what he thought was a missile. Under hypnosis, supposedly, this revelation came about, and we further later in our investigation came to understand that he had hired a Hollywood agent and was preparing some type of activity, and we discounted that theory.

Here is the only point I want to make: 95 percent of this craft has been recovered, one of the greatest bits of investigation piece work perhaps in our history. And in that 95 percent, every expert, both domestic and international, concurs that this was an internal explosion, and there was not one iota of damage to 95 percent of this craft that has been recovered from the outside.

So we looked at a heat seeker.

We looked at a device that might explode without hitting.

We looked at the possibility of a missile entering the center wing fuel tank.

And there can be, to our opinion-and you are probably more professional and knowledgeable than we are-but from looking at the information, we find it unreliable to conclude that anything other than the center wing fuel tank and an explosion therein was responsible.

Second of all, the manufacturer clearly now agrees with the fact that it was a center wing fuel tank explosion. They don't know what the cause was. They don't know and I don't believe to this point we have truly identified the exact cause.

But the question I make to you now is with 95 percent of the plane having been recovered, with it being documented by every and all sources that this was an internal explosion-it was not caused from without-how do you maintain that it was a missile that shot down TWA Flight 800? Because we think you are wrong, sir.

Commander DONALDSON. I appreciate the comments, and I thought at the time of that earlier stuff you mentioned. What I was doing was for the benefit of the committee. I thought that I was working directly with your office; and I was feeding everything, including the Canadian theory. I interviewed an individual that had been a government official in Canada who honestly believed that one of their ships might have been involved, and I passed that information on. Now for you to sit here and attempt to discredit where I am now--

Mr. TRAFICANT. Let me intervene. I am not attempting to discredit you. I am just letting you know that everything that you presented to us was, in fact, investigated thoroughly.

Commander DONALDSON. And I want to say it was shared candidly, honestly; and I told you I didn't know all the facts. I didn't. You have to remember, especially when you are on the outside, you have got to fight, you have got to do everything you can to get to the facts. And in the last 3 or 4 months, the facts have been overwhelming.

I have interviewed these people on boats all the way around that engagement. I am as positive as I am taking my next breath that aircraft was engaged with a missile. It was seen by dozens of extremely credible people.

Mr. TRAFICANT. What particular evidence do you have--

Commander . It is in the military report that China Lake put out. There is a lot of waffling in there because it is not a popular position. The point is that in the graphics that you see a stinger missile or a copy of the stinger, SA-16, 18, Chinese Vanguard, the steering for the hot vents underneath the center wing tank. There is 450 degree air that comes out of those air handlers. The military did imaging and gave it to the FBI. The FBI agents in the field knew, I think, that they had solved the problem.

That missile was fired-I have got the military computer runs that show that there is a 93 percent probability of hit. When you fire a missile from where that dadgum radar contact was out there-I think you remember that it was your office, and I think it was you, sir, that asked the questions of the FBI and we forced them to admit that they dropped the investigation without identifying the boat that was closest to the disaster.

Let me finish, sir, if I can. I am going to tell you exactly what happened. The stinger missile has technology that as it approaches a high speed target, as the angle rate increases rapidly, it is getting closer, it suddenly will steer forward because they don't want the missile to fly through the engine exhaust plume.

The evidence appears to me that firing from that boat, with witnesses that gave me the dadgum same angle of ascent, the same time of flight for the missile, that missile was steered for the center and would have steered forward and then you jump to the China Lake report that said that in the unlikely attitude-this is their verbiage, in the unlikely chance that a missile hit coming straight in at the wing, all of this is possible.

And check-because they have-they really have put the blinders on to the damage on the left wing. None of that damage is found in normal crashes. It only occurs when there is ordnance involved. Only the left wing was overpressurized. The left side of the center wing tank was blown into the center wing tank, and the center wing tank did explode.

One of the reasons they kept the debris field secret from Stacy, didn't let Captain Stacy listen to the tape of the cockpit more than once, was because the evidence becomes self-evident to professionals. And in other words, if you don't do-if the boss doesn't say give me the best dadgum run on that left side wall you can and I want to know how much pressure was on it when it failed.

Mr. TRAFICANT. Commander, let me conclude my questioning. I don't want you to misconstrue or misinterpret any of my questions or my behavior as being critical to you as an American. I believe you are a patriot and a fine one. I believe you are very capable, and I want to thank you for all that you have done.

Commander DONALDSON. Thank you, sir.

Mr. . The last couple questions I have, just yes or no. Did you personally inspect any of the 95 percent remains of this craft?

Commander DONALDSON. No, only photographs.

Mr. TRAFICANT. Number two-I want the committee to know this-on the 95 percent recovery, which was absolutely amazing, there was not one iota of evidence of any penetration from without.

Number three, every agency that has had the opportunity to personally inspect and analyze the data and the remains of 800 are absolutely positive without doubt that it was an internal explosion that downed 800.

In furtherance, of all the eyewitness reports over a period of time, none of them saw all of it. And from all the theories that have been advanced, there has been one scientific fact that has been concluded. On or about the time of that explosion, it would propel the craft even higher in altitude; that anyone who saw this would, in fact, not know what they were looking at but would be bombarded by many different sensations as a result, the interpretation varied very much.

The FBI painstakingly moved to investigate a missile, Commander, and here is the point I am making. There was no evidence of damage from without at all. And that craft and those parts are still available.

Now, my last question to you is this: at some point we sort of parted ways, when you maintained that the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board was so off base, he was acting as a traitor.

Commander DONALDSON. I don't think I used those words, Mr. Traficant.

Mr. TRAFICANT. I think we advised you to not use those words. You were prepared to send them in a letter. That bothered us. And that is one of the areas why maybe we didn't go much further with you.

But I want to say this to you: many of the questions that you asked, nearly all of them, were included in the Traficant questions to the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, every tough question you had. So I just want to conclude by saying I don't know what the conditions are here and what the conclusion will be by this committee, but I want to say that we had one of the most exhaustive investigations in aviation history in the United States of America, Commander.

And I am going to conclude by saying this: I want to commend Mr. Hall; I want to commend the National Transportation Safety Board. I want to commend the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I want to commend the Navy, and I want to commend the Central Intelligence Agency. And I don't know if I have ever gone on record of doing any of that because I believe that it was a center wing fuel tank explosion from within.

But if there still remains any doubt, and Commander Donaldson is a worthy advocate of his theory, then I would not be opposed to any furthering investigation that would benefit his cause. Thank you.

Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, very much. Any final comments Commander Donaldson?

Commander DONALDSON. No, sir, I knew this was going to be a tough appearance. But I guess I would say just for a minute, I want to put it on record what I think actually happened. I think that somebody came in our waters. I think the boat that wasn't identified by the FBI probably contained the shooter.

I think a missile was fired, that we have dozens of people that agree with the flight time of the missile, where it came from and where it went. I think it steered for the center wing tank. I think it veered forward and entered the number two main. There is 45 square feet of front spar missing in front of that tank.

The FBI did explosive testing that is secret on that same area. The FBI took live ordnance out to those boats and showed the captain what a stinger ejecter can looks like, first stage, looked like. They did that based on testimony. When they got out there, the guy on the boat said I already found that and threw it back, and he did that in October.

I don't know what was shared by the FBI. I doubt very much. And I apologize to Mr. Hall or Dr. Loeb or anybody else if they were not privy to this information. I had to dig and dig and dig and finally just go find the people to find this out. What I am telling you is consistent with what the only military people that looked at this and wrote a report said. I would beg this committee to take seriously the seven recommendations that China Lake put on the table and spend the extra few bucks and do the test if you can. And I will be the first one with my hat in my hand; and I will do a back flip, and that is tough for a 300-pound fat guy, and I will apologize to these people.

But to do it is our duty. It isn't about people; it is about the Constitution, and it is about abuse of power. I am a citizen, not supported by anyone else. I am doing my duty. And that is all I can do.

Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. That concludes this hearing.

[Whereupon, at 1:13 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
Source

_________________________________________________________________________

From his referred to website:

Introduction
CDR. William S. Donaldson, USN (ret.), challenged the official NTSB position on the cause of the crash of TWA Flight 800 in a series of letters to James Hall, Chairman of the NTSB between April 1997 and December 2000.

Over the past four years, CDR. Donaldson worked with other Retired Aviation Professionals, including some previous crash investigators as well as persons inside the NTSB investigation itself.

CDR. Donaldson has extensive experience as a Naval crash investigator and he and others concluded that the NTSB's explanation of the Center Wing Tank explosion was not credible. With the help of these other concerned aviation professionals, CDR. Donaldson produced an extensive report on the cause of the crash. The initial Interim Report was delivered to the House Aviation Subcommittee on July 16th, 1998.

Recently uncovered information now shows that TWA Flight 800 could have been shot down by one or more shoulder-fired missiles. The FBI was briefed by military missile experts in the Fall of 1996 that Flight 800 was well within the range of a shoulder fired missile. The FBI conducted a covert dredging operation for stinger missile parts between November 1996 and April 1997. CDR. Donaldson brought this new evidence to the House Aviation Subcommittee in testimony on May 6, 1999. Unfortunately, the major media and the Congress are content to swallow the official line without question.

____________________________________________________________

Comment

The following is an italicized excerpt from Cdr. Donaldson's 16 Nov 1997 posting to the LSoft Flight 800 Forum followed by comments/questions:

"My First official aircraft crash investigation was of an accidental air to air missile shootdown of a Navy A4 in 1977".

Was there ever a second? While keeping in mind his alleged "extensive experience as a Naval crash investigator", let's take another look at the questions he was asked by Congressman Lipinski and his answers thereto:

Mr. LIPINSKI. Excuse me, Commander, but how many military air crashes have you participated in as a lead investigator?

Commander DONALDSON. Lead investigator, one or two.

Mr. LIPINSKI. How many overall?

Commander DONALDSON. Because of the way that the military is structured, I have supervised probably a dozen. I go through and critique in the superior-the wing safety officer, for instance, reviews every squadron crash in detail--

Mr. LIPINSKI. So as lead, one or two, and you were involved in 12 other ones. Have you ever participated in an official investigation of a civil air crash?

Commander DONALDSON. No.

It's unfortunate that Congressman Lipinski didn't ask him how many witnesses he ever interviewed prior to the Flight 800 disaster, how many of the Flight 800 disaster witnesses he interviewed and for copies of those interviews - which do not appear to have been made public - even in his own website.

"I have access to 119 eye witnesses on 18 boats, 4 aircraft, and 31 locations ashore that surrounded the missile launch."

Are the "119 eye witnesses" those referred to in the following?

"I have interviewed these people on boats all the way around that engagement. I am as positive as I am taking my next breath that aircraft was engaged with a missile. It was seen by dozens of extremely credible people."

Nearly 5 1/2 years have now gone by since the Flight 800 disaster. Yet, not one expert witness report analyst has ever agreed with Commander Donaldson's allegations about the observations of the witnesses. Not even one.

ex·pert (kspûrt) n. A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject.

UPDATE: Commander Donaldson died on 22 August 2001, several month after unsuccessful surgery for a brain tumor. His website has been continued by his brother, Bob Donaldson, who it seems reasonable to assume has the witness interviews conducted by Commander Donaldson.

The "Missile Witnesses" Myth
Sworn Testimony of FBI Chief Forensic Metallurgist William Tobin
The Untenable and Unprofessional FBI "302" Interview Procedure
Transcript of An Inept Interview of Witness Dwight Brumley


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: twaflight800

1 posted on 12/20/2001 5:04:29 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Rokke; SBeck; Criminal Number 18F; Silly; Non-Sequitur; a6intruder
FYI
2 posted on 12/20/2001 5:07:04 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
If you intend to sue the government, you don't necessarily release details of your suit until the trail.
3 posted on 12/20/2001 5:21:22 PM PST by coloradan
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To: Asmodeus;okcsubmariner
Anyone who thinks 800 was an aircraft-related failure doesn't know aviation. I am not a missle expert, but the evidence from both ends is overwhelming. Clinton diverted attention away from however necessary. By covering up OKC, 800 or bombing pill factories.
4 posted on 12/20/2001 5:26:16 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Confederate Keyester
Well considering that it wouldn't happen, I'd say none.
6 posted on 12/20/2001 6:17:20 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
A BUMP for the late Commander...
7 posted on 12/20/2001 7:07:48 PM PST by slym
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To: Asmodeus
The comments and links at the end of this piece are complete twaddle. I am so tired of people ready to spout lies about what happened to TWA 800. Especially when we know good and well what really happened (a missile hit it---119 people can't be wrong).
8 posted on 12/20/2001 8:11:23 PM PST by Houmatt
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To: Houmatt
"119 people can't be wrong"

Well, I don't know about that. How many millions voted for algore. And quite a few people actually think Barbara Streisand has something intelligent to say.

9 posted on 12/20/2001 8:28:15 PM PST by Rokke
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Houmatt
Especially when we know good and well what really happened

Really ...

How many hours did that airframe have on it?

11 posted on 12/20/2001 8:41:53 PM PST by _Jim
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To: Asmodeus
ALSO (nearly) lost in history:

Part 1 of 3

To: NTSB
From: John Barry Smith <barry@corazon.com>
Subject: Wiring/cargo door explanation/interview me
Cc:
Bcc:
X-Attachments:

 

Dear Mister Jim Hall, Bernard Loeb, Ron Schleede (Ret), Al Dickinson, Jim Wildey, Bob Swaim of NTSB, and Misters McSweeny Mr. Ron Wojnar Mr. Dimtroff, Mr. Schalekamp, Mr. Breneman, Mr. Lyle Streeter of FAA, and FBI agents at the New York office, 16 Jan 01

This is John Barry Smith responding with a rebuttal to Chairman Jim Hall of NTSB who states in a 14 December 2000 letter that the wiring/cargo door explanation for TWA 800 has been considered and ruled out. The NTSB, as represented by the Chairman, Jim Hall, and Bernard Loeb, Ron Schleede (Ret), Al Dickinson, Jim Wildey, Bob Swaim states that the NTSB has considered the wiring/cargo door explanation for TWA 800 and ruled it out based upon evidence and has corresponded with me numerous times. That evidence is incomplete and NTSB has not corresponded with me numerous times. NTSB has written me a few times with short statements of opinion telling me they are right and I am wrong. In addition, the NTSB has failed to respond to the specific absolute refuting evidence to the center tank as the initial event and have consistently refused for over four years to discuss the wiring/cargo door explanation or even meet with me to allow me to present a decade of research and analysis which has led me to conclude that the same probable cause of faulty wiring leading to a ruptured/open cargo door in flight has caused four Boeing 747 accidents, including UAL 811 and TWA 800. The actual refuting evidence to the center tank explanation and the actual confirming evidence of the wiring/cargo door explanation is listed below in response to NTSB assertions.

NTSB: "Thank you for your October 2, 2000, letter regarding Mr. John Barry Smith's assertion that the TWA flight 800 accident was caused by a wiring/switch fault in the accident airplane's electrical system, which led to the rupture of the midspan latches of the forward cargo door in flight. He asserts that this rupture precipitated the sequence of events that led to the explosion of the fuel/air vapor in the center wing tank (CWT)."

JBS: Yes, that is my assertion with the clarification that it was wiring based upon new evidence of the faults of Poly X wiring in all aircraft, and in particular, early model Boeing 747s such as TWA 800, which shorted on the door unlatch motor.

NTSB: "As you know, on August 23, 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the probable cause of the TWA flight 800 accident was an explosion of the CWT resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank. The source of ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but the Board concluded that, of the sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the CWT that allowed excessive voltage to enter the CWT through electrical wiring associated with the fuel quantity indication system.

NTSB: "As you know, on August 23, 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded..."

JBS: Concluded but not published. The final report is yet to be available to the public six months after the "National Transportation Safety Board concluded." Why is that?

NTSB: "The source of ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty,..."

JBS: The NTSB does not have an ignition source for the center tank explosion which is conclusive evidence that the probable cause of initial event as center tank explosion is not confirmed and that all other reasonable alternative explanations are plausible until ruled out by proper and thorough evaluation. A reasonable alternative mechanical explanation that has precedent and supported by official documents should be thoroughly investigated. The wiring/cargo door explanation is mechanical, plausible, supported by Public Docket evidence, has precedent in a similar type aircraft and has not been thoroughly investigated to the standard set by the precedent, UAL 811 in NTSB AAR 92/02. To say an explosion happened and not have the ignition source positively identified after years of searching and tests is to say the current explanation is incomplete and very possible not the initial event. There are three essential factors for a fuel explosion; air, fuel, ignition source; to not have all three is to admit the current explanation may be wrong. In fact, the wiring/cargo door explanation does have an ignition source for the CWT explosion; a FODDed, on fire engine number three which ignited the center tank as the disintegrating wreckage fell after the explosive decompression caused by the ruptured/opened cargo door in flight allowed the nose to be torn off. This scenario is supported by wreckage debris locations, CVR and FDR data, and the precedent of UAL 811's FODDed and on fire engine number three. The actual refuting evidence of the center tank as the initial event is the absence of any sooted material on the passengers or the fuselage forward of the wing indicating the nose came off first in a generally straight tear line followed by the explosion of the tank which sooted those parts of the fuselage aft of the leading edge of the wing. In addition, the sudden loud sound on the CVR does not match the sound of a center tank explosion as compared with a known center tank explosion CVR sound in a NTSB chart. Also, the port side just forward of the wing is smooth while the starboard side is shattered which indicates a unilateral event and not the bilateral damage that a center tank event would show. The NTSB explanation as a center tank explosion is partly right because the center tank did explode, but the NTSB has the timing wrong, it was not the cause but a symptom.

NTSB: "...the most likely was a short circuit outside of the CWT that allowed excessive voltage to enter the CWT through electrical wiring associated with the fuel quantity indication system."

JBS: So very vague as to be meaningless. A short circuit outside the CWT includes 98% of the aircraft. The wiring/cargo door explanation has precedent of bare wires in the cargo door area of the confirmed cargo door accident, UAL 811. TWA 800 wreckage has bare wires in that cargo door area:

The Systems Exhibit 9A, page 116:
"Some wires found in the section of W480 from forward of station 570 and identified as BMS13-42A had numerous cracks in the insulation. Most of the cracks in this bundle were found to expose the core conductor when examined by microscope. Only within five feet of the aft end of the W480 bundle from station 570-900 were insulation cracks found."

(Note that BMS13-42A is Poly-X wiring. Cargo door location is FS 560-670 and cracked wires discovered are within that zone. Frayed wires in that area have shorted before and caused the forward cargo door to open in flight, NTSB AAR 92/02 UAL 811. Water has been seen pouring out of a forward cargo bay of a Boeing airliner. Water and leaking electricity make a powerful conductor. Both are known to exist in Boeing cargo compartments.)

NTSB: "The Safety Board did consider the possibility that the TWA flight 800 accident might have been initiated by the in-flight separation of the forward cargo door. All eight of the latching cams along the bottom of the door were found in the latched position and, along with some pieces of the cargo door itself, remained attached to the pins along the lower door sill. There were no indications of preimpact failure of the hinge at the top of the door. Investigators verified that these cams, pins, and sill pieces were from the forward cargo door by matching the fractures to the attaching pieces of structure. This evidence indicates that the door was closed and locked at impact. Further, deformation and fracture patterns on the door matched damage to the adjacent fuselage structure, confirming that the door was in the closed position at the time of impact.

NTSB: "The Safety Board did consider the possibility that the TWA flight 800 accident might have been initiated by the in-flight separation of the forward cargo door."

JBS: Considered but not investigated nor evaluated to the standard set for confirmed ruptured/open cargo door in flight, UAL 811. The UAL 811 AAR 92/02 has a complete metallurgical examination of the entire door, latches, cams, pins, overpressure relief doors, manual locking handle, hinge, and torque tubes. The TWA 800 'consideration' of the forward cargo door consists of one sentence, Docket Number SA-516, Exhibit No. 15C, Report Number 97-82, Section 41/42 Joint, Forward Cargo Door, "Examination of the lower lobe forward cargo door showed that all eight of the door latching cams remain attached (along with pieces of the door itself) to the pins along the lower door sill." A one sentence dismissal of a plausible mechanical explanation with precedent in a similar accident by an incomplete examination of eight of ten latches is not up to the aircraft accident investigation standards set by the NTSB in previous reports.

NTSB: "All eight of the latching cams along the bottom of the door were found in the latched position and, along with some pieces of the cargo door itself, remained attached to the pins along the lower door sill."

JBS: Misleading statement from NTSB of the word "all"; there are ten latches per cargo door for a total of twenty latches. Only eight have been recovered and were attached to a cargo door sill which was found in the aft debris field. The only two references to a 'sill' in the TAGS database refer to the aft sill, none for the forward:
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"C122",,,"40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","aft cargo door - lower sill latches and locks","RF45A","L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1880",10/12/96 12:55:48,"8/05/96-70",0,0,,
8/25/96 0:00:00,,"C2155",,"C714","40 39 46.40","-72 37 27.80","FS 1810, outer frame aft cargo door panel STR 24R-28R (aft upper main cargo door sill)","RF98","16L","Fuselage","Green","FS 1810"

There are no references to any aft or forward cargo door parts in the addendum to the TAGS database, Exhibit 21F Appendix 5: "Updated Wreckage Not Included in Tags Table."

Eight is not ten. Ten is complete for forward cargo door; eight is incomplete. The two missing latches are the midspan latches, the location of which is exactly where the outward peeled ruptures occur in the forward cargo door as confirmed by photographs of the actual shattered forward cargo door wreckage of TWA 800.


"X" marks the spot of the outward peeled rupture of the aft midspan latch of the forward cargo door of TWA 800. Note hinge and red paint smears on fuselage skin above shattered door.


The large gaping hole to the left of the yellow tag marks the spot of the outward peeled rupture of the missing forward midspan latch of the forward cargo door of TWA 800. Also note red paint smears above hinge, inward pillowing of skin lower down on door pieces, and absence of most of recovered door pieces.

NTSB: "There were no indications of preimpact failure of the hinge at the top of the door."

JBS: There were indications of failure at the top of the door with red paint smears that would only occur when the door ruptured/opened in flight. These paint smears match the style of paint smears of the UAL 811 cargo door area when the door ruptured/opened out and upward and slammed into the fuselage skin above leaving door paint on the fuselage.

NTSB: "Investigators verified that these cams, pins, and sill pieces were from the forward cargo door by matching the fractures to the attaching pieces of structure."

JBS: The items only refer to the eight pieces recovered and do not refer to the two missing midspan latches. Metallurgical examination and report of those "cams, pins, and sill pieces" is absent, unlike the two AAR of UAL 811.

NTSB: "This evidence indicates that the door was closed and locked at impact."

JBS: Absolutely false logic and refuted by the incomplete recovery of evidence and absolutely refuted by photographic evidence of the actual wreckage of the few recovered door pieces which show outward petal shaped ruptures, paint smears, and the location of wreckage debris in the ocean that indicated clearly the forward cargo door ruptured in flight as the initial event and separated in pieces which created the entire shattered area around the forward cargo door on the starboard side. The port side opposite the cargo door is smooth and unshattered which refutes the center tank explosion as the initial event since a 'center' event would cause equal bilateral damage, not the severe unilateral damage on starboard side, the cargo door side. A latched cargo door sill in which the rest of the door is shattered and tossed to the wind is not a door which is closed and locked at impact. The actual confirming evidence that the forward cargo door opened in flight is the photographs showing the outward peeled ruptures at the two midspan latches, the engine blade in the right horizontal stabilizer, and the sudden loud sound on the CVR which matches a previous ruptured cargo door in flight on a similar type aircraft.

NTSB: "Further, deformation and fracture patterns on the door matched damage to the adjacent fuselage structure, confirming that the door was in the closed position at the time of impact."

JBS: Absolutely incorrect and proven by photographic evidence. There is no "door'; there are dozens of pieces of the door with most of it still missing and unrecovered as shown by photographs and the recovered wreckage database. To say a 'door' is "in the closed position" when the manual locking handle has not been recovered and examined to determine if it in the proper position and stowed is to give a worthless opinion about the status of a door. A latched cargo door sill in which the rest of the door is shattered and tossed to the wind is not a door which is in the closed position at the time of impact. The few pieces of the forward cargo door which were recovered were found many hundreds of yards apart from each other according to wreckage plot and indicate the door did not shatter upon impact but before impact. The TAGS database lists all the pieces of the forward cargo door which were recovered and constitute less than 50% of the door and confirmed by the wreckage reconstruction: (Note 'white' tag which means it was later changed and contradicts the Chairman's statement below.)
8/4/96 0:00:00,,"B155",,,"40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","forward cargo door lift",,"L22","Fuselage","Yellow",
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B189",,,"40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","FS 540-580 STR 24R-30R with top right corner of forward cargo door","RF3D","L21","Fuselage","Yellow","FS 540-580",
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B221",,,"40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","small section of upper forward cargo door","RF3E","L21","Fuselage","Yellow",
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B223",,,"40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","FS 600-720 STR 24R-26R with rear top part of forward cargo door","RF3C","L21","Fuselage","Yellow","FS 600-720",
8/8/96 0:00:00,,"B334",,,"40 39 04.70","-72 38 26.80","forward cargo door segment","RF3M",,"Fuselage","Yellow",,
8/26/96 0:00:00,,"B2015",,,,,"metal strap with internal cargo door switch for forward cargo door; FS 560; WL 164; RBL 96",,"L21","Fuselage","White","FS 560",
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B2029",,"B223","40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","forward cargo door segment","RF3N",,"Fuselage","Yellow",
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B2101",,"B223","40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","aft pressure limiting door forward cargo door","RF3K",,"Fuselage","Yellow",,
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"B2102",,"B223","40 39 04.30","-72 38 27.20","forward pressure limiting door forward cargo door","RF3L",,"Fuselage","Yellow",

There are no references to any aft or forward cargo door parts in the addendum to the TAGS database, Exhibit 21F Appendix 5: Updated Wreckage Not Included in Tags Table.

NTSB: "You indicate that Mr. Smith claims that "only eight [of 20 door latches from TWA flight 800] have been recovered, and they are all from one sill found in the aft debris field" and that "[t]he only cargo door sill found in the aft fuselage debris field belongs to the rear cargo door, and is not the forward cargo door sill." The forward cargo door was found in the "yellow" wreckage recovery zone, which contained the nose portion of the airplane and pieces of the fuselage forward of about station 840. The aft portion of the airplane, including wreckage from the rear cargo door, was found in the "green" wreckage recovery zone, which contained most of the airplane wreckage, including pieces of the fuselage aft of about station 1000. Therefore, Mr. Smith is incorrect in asserting that the only recovered cargo door pieces were those from the rear cargo door."

NTSB: "The forward cargo door was found in the "yellow" wreckage recovery zone, which contained the nose portion of the airplane and pieces of the fuselage forward of about station 840."

JBS: The 'forward cargo door' was not found anywhere. It was shattered into many pieces (one found in 'white' zone) as shown by the reconstruction photographs and less than 50% of the total door was recovered as shown by the TAGS wreckage database. The important pieces to determine if the cargo door was properly latched/did not rupture in flight are missing to include the manual locking handle, and the two midspan latches. None of the recovered pieces of the forward door were sooted which refutes the center tank as initial event since the forward door is very near the center tank. There was only one cargo door sill recovered and it was found in the aft debris field.

In addition, the color of a tag was changed even though the piece landed in a different color zone which depicts the actual landing location of the debris.
"DOCKET NO. SA-516
EXHIBIT NO. 211
NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Appendix 8: Tag Renumbering Procedure
(5 pages)
TWA 800 Tags System Procedure
Tag Re-Numbering
OTECH CAJ 9/25/96
Applicability:
When a tag number needs to be changed. Primarily reason: when the tag alpha designator (A B C or X
Y Z) or color code (RED, YELLOW, GREEN) is found to be at odds with the debris field in which the
object was actually found. Such tags are referred to as "out-of-area" tags.
Re-tagging may also be necessary for debris field locations which cannot be verified. If database
validation processes indicate that existing tag location information is not verifiable, then re-tagging to
WHITE will be accomplished using this procedure and associated documentation.
For those situations where documentation indicates that re-tagging would revise the debris field
location (i.e., the tag color should be changed), back-up documentation will be maintained to support the
re-tag action."

JBS: At odds with the debris field? The debris field is reality. Pieces landed where they landed for a physical reason. Sophisticated location techniques were used and latitude and longitude locations were logged as the pieces were retrieved. Where the pieces landed is of paramount importance and to administratively change the landing location is very misleading and nonexcusable. The pieces were found to be at odds with the debris field only using the center tank as the initial event. The original location of the debris field pieces make sense when using the wiring/cargo door explanation to explain why fuselage pieces forward of the wing landed where they did. (The overall debris appraisal was made by Docket Number SA-516, Exhibit No. 22A, Trajectory Study, page 3: "The wreckage distribution shows that parts were initially shed from the area just forward of the wing.") The center tank is not 'just forward of the wing' while the forward cargo door is. The center tank is aft of the leading edge of the wing and thus parts were not initially shed from that area which means it was not the initial event.

NTSB: "Therefore, Mr. Smith is incorrect in asserting that the only recovered cargo door pieces were those from the rear cargo door."

JBS: A completely wrong and ignorant statement by Chairman Hall of NTSB. I never said and do not assert now that "the only recovered cargo door pieces were those from the rear cargo door." In fact, I refer over and over to the forward cargo door pieces; they are conclusive proof that the forward door ruptured in flight. To say I assert "... the only recovered cargo door pieces were those from the rear cargo door," is to show conclusively that the NTSB does not understand the wiring/cargo door explanation, has not seriously considered the explanation, has not discussed the explanation with me, and is content with confused thinking about it.

The wiring/cargo door explanation does refer to the recovered pieces of the aft cargo door (also to many other parts of TWA 800) and asserts that the only cargo door sill of two which were on TWA 800 when it took off was found in the aft debris field and is most likely that of the aft cargo door, a door which is identical in size, function, and parts to the forward cargo door. All pieces of the aft cargo door recovered are listed below; (Note that that there are more pieces recovered for the aft door than for the forward door and no 'white' changed tags.)

8/4/96 0:00:00,,"C111",,,"40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","aft cargo door cutout (#1860)/seats/fuselage",,,,"Green",,.
8/5/96 0:00:00,,"C122",,,"40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","aft cargo door - lower sill latches and locks","RF45A", "L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1880",
8/21/96 0:00:00,,"C644",,,"40 39 46.89","-72 37 26.59","aft cargo door lower aft section","RF45F","L15.5","Fuselage","Green","FS 1910",
8/25/96 0:00:00,,"C2155",,"C714","40 39 46.40","-72 37 27.80","FS 1810, outer frame aft cargo door panel STR 24R-28R (aft upper main cargo door sill)","RF98","16L","Fuselage","Green","FS 1810"
8/9/96-37" ,,"C2133",,"C673","40 39 47.04","-72 37 26.90","aft cargo door fragment","RF45G","L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1810",
8/25/96 0:00:00,,"C1080",,,"40 39 46.40","-72 37 27.80","FS 1900-1940 aft cargo door surround, STR 41R-44R","RF45E","L 15.8","Fuselage","Green","FS 1900-1940",
8/4/96 0:00:00,,"C2252",,"C114","40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","FS 1820-1840 STR 23R-27R with aft cargo door hinge","RF30A","L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1820-1840"
8/19/96 0:00:00,,"C2336",,"C932","40 39 47.36","-72 37 27.71","FS 1780-1840 STR 38R-46R forward lower corner of aft cargo door cut-out","RF54E","L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1780-1840",
8/4/96 0:00:00,,"C2340",,"C112","40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","FS 1810-1836 STR 27R-30R, forward right upper corner of aft cargo door","RF99","L16","Fuselage","Green","FS 1810-1836",
8/4/96 0:00:00,,"C111",,,"40 39 46.90","-72 37 27.90","aft cargo door cutout (#1860)/seats/fuselage",,,,"Green",,
8/21/96 0:00:00,,"C644",,,"40 39 46.89","-72 37 26.59","aft cargo door lower aft section","RF45F","L15.5","Fuselage","Green","FS 1910",

There are no references to any aft or forward cargo door parts in the addendum to the TAGS database, Exhibit 21F Appendix 5: Updated Wreckage Not Included in Tags Table.

NTSB: "You also state that Mr. Smith asserts that "all ten locking latches, the manual locking handle, the viewing ports, and two 'overpressure relief doors' have not been fully accounted for in the investigation and are not in the wreckage database." The Safety Board recovered and accounted for all of the closing hardware for the forward cargo door. All ten of the closing cams and pins are in the recovered structure database and are physically located on the reconstructed portion of the airplane. (A metallurgical report on the forward cargo door discusses only the eight latching cams and pins on the bottom of the door and does not discuss the two alignment pins and cams on the sides of the door.)

NTSB: "The Safety Board recovered and accounted for all of the closing hardware for the forward cargo door."

JBS: Absolutely not true: 'all the closing hardware' is missing from all of the wreckage pieces databases, from the public docket, from examination and evaluation in Exhibits, and the actual wreckage reconstruction. In fact, all of the forward cargo door has not been recovered, accounted for, or evaluated, with less than 50% recovered and those few consist of 'segments' 'pieces' and 'parts.' The closing hardware is extensive and included, torque tubes, bellcranks, manual locking handle, ten cams, pins, latches, and overpressure relief doors within the door. To claim that all closing hardware for the forward cargo door was recovered and accounted for is a falsehood.

NTSB: "All ten of the closing cams and pins are in the recovered structure database and are physically located on the reconstructed portion of the airplane.

JBS: There is no documentation that of the twenty identical closing cams and pins, the alleged ten belong to the forward cargo door and not the aft. There is no documentation of the missing two midspan latches from the forward cargo door being found. There is no evaluation of the condition of any of the cams and pins of either door. In the entire wreckage databases there is no report of any 'cams' nor 'pins' in the recovered structure database. The two midspan latches of the forward door are not physically located on the reconstructed portion of the airplane as proven by photographs.


12 posted on 12/20/2001 8:46:40 PM PST by _Jim
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To: coloradan
"If you intend to sue the government, you don't necessarily release details of your suit until the trail."

Introducing so called "surprise" evidence at the time of trial was common practice until the early 1950's when Legal Discovery Proceedings rules began becoming the rule rather than the exception.

13 posted on 12/20/2001 9:25:11 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Houmatt
"The comments and links at the end of this piece are complete twaddle. I am so tired of people ready to spout lies about what happened to TWA 800. Especially when we know good and well what really happened (a missile hit it---119 people can't be wrong)."

Which comments?

Which links?

The tinfoil hatters have accused everybody who has disagreed with them for nearly 5 1/2 years of being "liars".

There were no "missile witnesses", not even ONE.

There was no missile, not even ONE.

From the outset the tinfoil hatters have been been purveyors of the impossible. That's why they've never been able to get even one expert witness report analyst to agree with them and why the entire U.S. Congress has turned their backs on them.

14 posted on 12/20/2001 9:49:35 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Houmatt
"119 people can't be wrong"

You're parroting Donaldson. Have you ever seen his witness interviews? If not, do you want to?

It used to be "260 some witnesses can't be wrong" when Kallstrom's lieutenants were parroting him in their mantra to FBI Chief Forensic Metallurgist Tobin. Source.

15 posted on 12/20/2001 10:05:37 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: _Jim
_Fed, cargo doors fall down. Missiles go up. Witnesses saw things go up. That would tend to put a damper on the cargo door theory. Not to mention how the nose gear doors were blown inward, nor the red residue, nor the Mach 2 things recorded on radar exiting the plane to the south in the first few radar sweeps after the initiating event.
16 posted on 12/20/2001 10:09:44 PM PST by coloradan
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To: Asmodeus
"Nearly 5 1/2 years have now gone by since the Flight 800 disaster. Yet, not one expert witness report analyst has ever agreed with Commander Donaldson's allegations about the observations of the witnesses. Not even one."

As you have pointed out, the FBI 302 reports are totally inaccurate representations of what the eyewitnesses told the FBI agents who questioned them. Why do you think ANY "witness report analyst" could gain any knowledge at all from a report written from flawed, and in some cases, bogus 302s?

The fact is that the only " expert witness report analyst"s that have analyzed the reports are FBI analysts who would be unlikely to undermine their employers assertions. The NTSB "eyewitness" group was disbanded after the FBI made it plain they were not to talk to the eyewitnesses and were required to rely on the 302s.

You have a one note criticism of Commander Donaldson's theories based on your flawed analysis of when and where in the timeline of various witnesses they reported the "big boom"... on this you ignore every other piece of evidence.

You challenge people to fit eyewitness reports into the big boom... but those very reports are taken from the flawed 302s. GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT... especially if the garbage was manufactured to fit one scenario, the official one.

Asmodeus, if it wasn't a missile, WHAT do you claim brought down TWQ-800? The Center Wing Tank spontaneously exploding? The cargo door hatch scenario? Meteor? Spit?

17 posted on 12/20/2001 10:31:17 PM PST by Swordmaker
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To: Asmodeus
No witnesses? No missiles? Do you actually believe that just with a wave of a hand you can make all that go away? Donaldson aside, what about James Sanders? What about Jack Cashill? What about the witnesses? Do you want to accuse them of hallucinating, hysteria, or just plain lying? Why is it the NTSB has NEVER given a firm, official cause for what happened on TWA 800? Why were the aforementioned witnesses told when they said they saw something go up and hit the plane that it was falling debris (now debris falls UP? *THAT'S* impossible!)? Why did the CIA alter the flight pattern of TWA 800 for their crash animation simulation?
18 posted on 12/21/2001 6:06:40 AM PST by Houmatt
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To: Swordmaker
"As you have pointed out, the FBI 302 reports are totally inaccurate representations of what the eyewitnesses told the FBI agents who questioned them. Why do you think ANY "witness report analyst" could gain any knowledge at all from a report written from flawed, and in some cases, bogus 302s?"

302 reports may or may not be accurate representations of some things said by those interviewed but they are never complete or reliable, are not "witness reports" and are not evidence of what was said or wasnt said.

You did not support your allegation that some of the FBI's 302's are bogus with any evidence or reference source URL's. Can you? If so, please extend the readers the courtesy of doing so.

"The fact is that the only "expert witness report analyst"s that have analyzed the reports are FBI analysts who would be unlikely to undermine their employers assertions."

Not so. Click here.

"You challenge people to fit eyewitness reports into the big boom... but those very reports are taken from the flawed 302s. GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT... especially if the garbage was manufactured to fit one scenario, the official one."

The "big boom" Massive Fireball explosion was by far the most dramatic of the rapid fire sequence of fiery events in the sky and it was seen by virtually all of the witnesses including those who did not see the immediately preceding fiery streak. Expert witness interviewers know the importance of getting oriented to where and when the major events took place. Others don't. But Kallstrom succumbed at the outset to his knee jerk reaction that zoom+boom=missile shootdown and on that basis alone sought and got authority from Louis Freeh, Janet Reno and the White House to conduct a criminal investigation of the disaster and seize control from the NTSB, thereafter wasting the better part of $40,000,000 in his wild goose chase.

The tinfoil hatters had the same knee jerk reaction that zoom+boom=missile shootdown as dramatized by the graphics they came up with, such as the following that appeared in most if not all of their websites in which the unmistakable "big boom" Massive Fireball explosion immediately follows the fiery streak.

The "Zoom+Boom=Missile Shootdown" Fantasy

Please extend the readers the courtesy of quoting from The "Missile Witnesses" Myth what you relied on for your allegation that it was based on FBI 302 reports.

19 posted on 12/21/2001 10:20:12 AM PST by Asmodeus
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To: coloradan
"cargo doors fall down. Missiles go up. Witnesses saw things go up."

It was the perception of some of the witnesses that the fiery streak ascended. Not all. Fred Meyer, for example, perceived it to be nearly horizontal but "gradually descending", as dramatized in his own press graphic.


20 posted on 12/21/2001 10:46:41 AM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
It was the perception of some of the witnesses that the fiery streak ascended.

About a hundred people saw the streak rise from the surface. Cargo doors don't do that.

The diagram you provided is a picture. In two dimensions. It is impossible to rule out a given 3-D trajectory based on a single 2-D rendition. For example a plane flying directly overhead, passing through the exact zenith, can only "decend" towards the horizon after passing the zenith, no matter which direction it flies, since you can't get any higher than straight up. This is even true if the plane is gaining altitude as it flies - it will still be flying towards the horizon, "down," after passing the zenith.

It's an elementary consequence of perspective.

If you really wanted to know what the full 3D trajectory of the streak was, you would combine multiple witness accounts, complete with bearing lines and so forth, and plot out what the entire 3D trajectory had to be, in order that each individual witness saw what they saw, from where they were.

But for some reason, neither the NTSB nor the FBI seemed interested in doing this. Why do you suppose that is?

In fact, only Goddard and Donaldson seemed to have taken any interest in this; they made such plots but the FBI and NTSB didn't. Why do you suppose that is?

21 posted on 12/21/2001 3:52:34 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
The following is from Donaldson's own website:

"Of the 183 who observed a streak of light, 102 gave information about the origin of the streak. Six said the streak originated from the air, and 96 said that it originated from the surface. Of the 96 who said it originated from the surface, 40 said it originated from the sea and 10 said it originated from land. One hundred and twenty-eight witnesses reported an immediate end to the streak, 85 described it ending in an explosion, 32 said it ended in a fireball, and 11 said it ended in a flash."

Now if eyewitnesses are always reliable, and we should take their testimony as gospel, how come there are so many variances in just the 183 who said they saw "a streak." And what about the 550 witnesses who reported no such thing?

22 posted on 12/22/2001 9:47:56 AM PST by Rokke
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To: Rokke
"Of the 183 who observed a streak of light, 102 gave information about the origin of the streak. Six said the streak originated from the air, and 96 said that it originated from the surface."

This is from when they first noticed it. The (very) few who said it "originiated" from the air may well have simply missed the beginning. But those who reported that it originated from the surface (the vast majority) are not likely to have all seen something only airborne, and hallucinated a surface origin.

"Of the 96 who said it originated from the surface, 40 said it originated from the sea and 10 said it originated from land."

This could easily be explained by the horizon visible to those witnesses. If the view of the ocean is obscured, or if tehy misjudged the distance to the streak, they could easily place the origin on land even if it were from the water. Note that several thought it was a "firework" - which only goes a few hundred yards up into the air. If they were actually seeing a missile that ascended nearly three miles into the air, they will correspondingly infer that the launch site is that much closer. In any case, an investigator trying to determine what actually happened doesn't look at two contradictory statements and says "therefore, they are both wrong;" and it is unreasonable to imagine that any witnesses correctly understood the full 3D trajectory of a very unusual object that lasted only some few seconds. Instead, an investigator should try to triangulate each sighting, and construct for himself the full 3D trajectory of the object which these people saw. But as I mentioned, neither the NTSB nor the FBI had any interest in doing this; only Donaldson and Goddard actually attempted to do this. Why do you suppose that is?

"One hundred and twenty-eight witnesses reported an immediate end to the streak, 85 described it ending in an explosion, 32 said it ended in a fireball, and 11 said it ended in a flash."

All of these things are consistent with a missile whose rocket engine burned out before impact, which was an explosion.

Now if eyewitnesses are always reliable, and we should take their testimony as gospel, how come there are so many variances in just the 183 who said they saw "a streak."

Perspective and incorrectly inferring the 3D trajectory. The streak was so far away from most of the witnesses that they had essentially no accurate depth perception - however, they might have made assumptions about the scale of the event and (incorrectly) reported deductions based on these assumptions. Better would to for an investigator to filter out just the pure observations from each witness, and try to fold them into a consistent scenario that checks with all the observations. But again, the NTSB, FBI and for that matter CIA seemed only interested in discrediting the witnesses, leaving the job to Donaldson and Goddard. Why do you suppose that that is?

And what about the 550 witnesses who reported no such thing?

You have got to be joking! Of course not all witnesses saw the entire event - only those who were looking in the direction of the flare would have seen it at all. Those who weren't but who saw the explosion obviously doesn't either rule out a missile nor contradict the testimony of those who did see a streak.

23 posted on 12/22/2001 11:39:41 AM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
I've got two points:

1. How many people are able to see a 6 foot long pole flying 10 miles away at 13,000 ft at dusk (no smoke or flame since its motor had burned out)
2. Just within this small sub-group of 182 witnesses you've got several significantly different descriptions of the same event. The eyewitnesses argument states that eyewitnesses can't be wrong. Well, even within this small subgroup of 733 witnesses to the event, several must be wrong. Which ones?

24 posted on 12/22/2001 11:53:06 AM PST by Rokke
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To: Rokke
1. How many people are able to see a 6 foot long pole flying 10 miles away at 13,000 ft at dusk (no smoke or flame since its motor had burned out)

What does it matter how many can or can not see such a thing? Many of the statements speak of a "flare" "streak" or "firework" that a large majority saw "rise from the surface." What were they seeing? And why didn't the FBI or NTSB try to determine the 3D trajectory, or even the originating point, by triangulation.

It wouldn't matter if nobody could see supersonic pole 10' long, 10 miles away; they did see something. What was it?

2. Just within this small sub-group of 182 witnesses you've got several significantly different descriptions of the same event.

Why yes. The ones who were to the north said it was to the south, and the ones who were in the south put it towards the north. So, "some say it was south and some say it was north. Therefore, they saw nothing and the case is closed." Right?

The eyewitnesses argument states that eyewitnesses can't be wrong.

Wrong. Even if some are wrong, there is still a consensus about what they saw, unless all of them suddenly had a mass delusion. Even if each witness is only right 10% of the time, if there are 50 witnesses who simultaneously report a given event, there is a 99.48% that it actually happened. In this case, there are 96 witnesses who reported that the streak "rose from the surface." Here's the calculation.

Well, even within this small subgroup of 733 witnesses to the event, several must be wrong. Which ones?

It's far more likely that the 6 who said the streak originated in the air were mistaken, than the 96 who said it originated from the surface.

But even for those 6 people who saw it originate in the air, any which described it as a "streak" were probably not describing a 747 "in various stages of crippled flight" since the angular velocity of a 747 nearly 3 miles up, 10 or more miles away, is not nearly enough to look like "a streak."

So, the question remains, what did the witnesses see?

25 posted on 12/22/2001 12:41:33 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
"What does it matter how many can or can not see such a thing?"

It matters when people say they have seen something they couldn't have.

"It wouldn't matter if nobody could see supersonic pole 10' long, 10 miles away; they did see something."

Donaldson says it was a stinger or other shoulder launched missile. Nobody can see a six foot long missile at 10 miles. Therefore, if they say they saw something, it was not a stinger, thus debunking Donaldson's theory.

"Wrong. Even if some are wrong, there is still a consensus about what they saw"

Donaldson's summary is based on NTSB sample of 458 witnesses. Of those, 339 witnessed the fireball, but only 183 witnessed a streak of light. Of those, only 102 offered information as to the origin of the streak of light. Of those, only 40 said the streak of light originated from the surface of the sea. Only 40 people of 339 who witnessed the destruction of TWA 800 support Donaldson's claim. That is hardly a consensus.

"angular velocity of a 747 nearly 3 miles up, 10 or more miles away, is not nearly enough to look like "a streak."

When was the last time you witnessed an aircraft breaking up in flight? Drop a burning object from 13,000 ft and what do you think it would look like as it accelerates toward the Earth.

"what did the witnesses see?"

They saw a 747 self destruct over the Atlantic Ocean.

26 posted on 12/23/2001 12:44:01 AM PST by Rokke
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To: Rokke
It matters when people say they have seen something they couldn't have.

Not many reported seeing an object; most reported seeing a glow. Thus, what they reported is consistent with seeing the exhaust, not any missile itself. FWIW the sun can glint off small metal objects to be seen from miles away. To that extent the cargo door theory has some merit, except that the streak ascended, not descended.

Donaldson says it was a stinger or other shoulder launched missile. Nobody can see a six foot long missile at 10 miles. Therefore, if they say they saw something, it was not a stinger, thus debunking Donaldson's theory.

This is really quite a simple point that you are pointedly ignoring: what most people reported was self-luminous. Hence, it wouldn't have been a missile any way, it would have been missile exhaust. People can see road flares from ten miles away - but not when they aren't lit. (Are you going to tell me that it's impossible to see an object an inch in diameter and a foot long, from ten miles away now?)

Donaldson's summary is based on NTSB sample of 458 witnesses. Of those, 339 witnessed the fireball, but only 183 witnessed a streak of light.

Not everyone saw the beginning of the event.

Of those, only 102 offered information as to the origin of the streak of light.

...based on each witness's individual deduction of the 3D trajectory, based on each witnesses individual assumptions about how large the scale is. By chance have you correlated the location of each witness with whether they thought it came from land or sea?

Of those, only 40 said the streak of light originated from the surface of the sea. Only 40 people of 339 who witnessed the destruction of TWA 800 support Donaldson's claim. That is hardly a consensus.

It is a remarkable consensus given that you are taking each witness's statment as a stand-alone, finished, diagnosis. You are not allowing any combination of statements or any triangulation nor any other deduction - you are placing the burden of solving the entire scenario on each witness individually. Nevertheless, 40 separate people independently, and without benefit of the knowledge of others, conclude that an object rose from the surface of the sea. Every one of those 40 people saw something grossly inconsistent with a spontaneous self-destruction of the plane, and inconsistent with the cargo door theory, and the bomb theory.

You don't know what was in the foreground of those who reported the object rising from the surface of the land, but these people too, saw something completely at odds with the spontaneous explosion scenario also.

So the questions remain, what did these people see? and why didn't the FBI or NTSB attempt to triangulate the sightings?

When was the last time you witnessed an aircraft breaking up in flight?

I don't need to have seen one to know that they won't go any faster than planes in normal flight. A 747 3 miles up and 10 miles away lumbers across the sky quite slowly. Even if one were spitting out fire, sparks and explosions I don't think the overwhelming majority of people seeing it would describe it as a "flare," "streak" or "firework."

Drop a burning object from 13,000 ft and what do you think it would look like as it accelerates toward the Earth.

Why, it would look like it was dropping - falling out of the sky! You even used the word "drop" yourself! Many witnesses reported "orange flames falling" - consistent with the plane breaking up in descent, and you would expect this whether a plane spontaneously exploded or was destroyed by a missile. So these parts of the witness statements are not interesting because they do not enable one hypothesis to be distinguished from another.

Hence, we turn to those witnesses who saw something ascending rapidly from the surface because their statement allows us to eliminate several hypotheses: spontaneous explosion, bomb, and cargo door. Having eliminated these, what remains? Missiles.

They saw a 747 self destruct over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sorry, those don't ascend from the surface, rapidly. Can you tell me what does?

27 posted on 12/23/2001 5:41:40 AM PST by coloradan
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To: Rokke
By the way, when Vandenburg Air Force Base launches missiles, the plume and exhaust trail can be seen for hundreds of miles - not tens of miles. Are you going to try to tell me that this is impossible, because those missiles are too small to see from such a distance, especially at night when there's no light to see them with?
28 posted on 12/23/2001 5:54:09 AM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan; Rokke
Goddard and Donaldson both alleged that a missile intercepted Flight 800 at 13,800 feet at 8:31:12 and shot it down.

Here's where Donaldson contends the point of impact on the 747 was:

Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, very much. Any final comments Commander Donaldson?

Commander DONALDSON. No, sir, I knew this was going to be a tough appearance. But I guess I would say just for a minute, I want to put it on record what I think actually happened. I think that somebody came in our waters. I think the boat that wasn't identified by the FBI probably contained the shooter. I think a missile was fired, that we have dozens of people that agree with the flight time of the missile, where it came from and where it went. I think it steered for the center wing tank. I think it veered forward and entered the number two main. There is 45 square feet of front spar missing in front of that tank.

If a missile exploded inside a full fuel tank, wouldn't it have resulted in an immediate and huge explosion then [8:31:12] and there - [13,800 FEET]? Goddard seems to have thought so as evidenced by his following animated graphics:

There were no credible witnesses to more than one HUGE explosion, the Massive Fireball. Note that ALL the Massive Fireball explosion altitude estimates by the Airborne witnesses were far below 13,800 feet.

Goddard and Donaldson have both left a long paper trail documenting their inept analysis of Flight 800 witness reports. As an example, Goddard's star "missile shootdown" witness at one time was Sven Faret - until it was pointed at to Goddard that all of Faret's observations of fiery events were below Faret's own flight altitude of 8500 feet.

Donaldson was so carried away with his inept analysis of witness Fred Meyer's report of what he saw that Donaldson made him a Board Member of Donaldson's "Associated Retired Aviation Professions" aka ARAP and made joint appearances with him on numerous talk shows - while never apparently noticing that Meyer did not and could not have seen a "shootdown" of the airliner at 13,800 feet at 8:31:12 only 3-4 seconds before Meyer saw the Massive Fireball explode in the 747's descending wreckage at about 5500-7500 feet at about 8:31:47 - and about 2-3 miles distance horizontally from where the 747 was when it started coming apart.

The paper trail of Goddard and Donaldson, Flight 800 witness report analyst legends in their own minds, speaks for itself as does the fact that no expert witness report analyst has ever agreed with them, not even one.

ex·pert (kspûrt) n. A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject.

29 posted on 12/23/2001 11:24:40 AM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
The witnesses claimed their sightings were not consistent with the NTSB's analysis. Given that fact, what actually happened to the plane if not what the NTSB represented?

You posted a spiffy animation showing something rising from the surface. What was that object?

30 posted on 12/23/2001 11:34:50 AM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
"The witnesses claimed their sightings were not consistent with the NTSB's analysis. Given that fact, what actually happened to the plane if not what the NTSB represented? You posted a spiffy animation showing something rising from the surface. What was that object?

In the case of the portrayal of an actual missile in Goddard's animated map, it was a figment of Goddard's imagination. There were no credible witness observations of an actual missile - just fiery events. Then the inevitable tainting of the witnesses commenced [input from other sources], as it always does. Click here

31 posted on 12/23/2001 12:02:25 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
Nearly 100 people saw something rise from the surface. What did they see?
32 posted on 12/23/2001 12:18:02 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
"Nearly 100 people saw something rise from the surface. What did they see?"

That's a second hand allegation of fact.

You know how to provide the readers with quotes from witness reports and the supporting reference source URL's for the quotes.

In short, let's all see the witness reports you're supposedly relying on along with your quotes specifiying precisely what you're supposedly relying on in each of them.

33 posted on 12/23/2001 1:29:55 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
Rokke was kind enough to cite the number that 96 witnesses saw the streak rise from the surface, relaying Donaldson's analysis. If you seriously doubt the validity of this claim, why don't you take it up with Rokke?

It's kind of comical that you yourself insist on URLs for each statement, when the NTSB for years withheld the witness evidence entirely, even though they are required by law to release it.

Here's a witness statement that says the explosion was "white" first, and then an orange fireball. Why white first? Interview. I have an explanation. Do you?

34 posted on 12/23/2001 2:00:48 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
"Here's a witness statement that says the explosion was "white" first, and then an orange fireball. Why white first? Interview, I have an explanation. Do you?

The NTSB Exhibit 4A explained it years ago and it's been on the internet since at least 30 January 1998 when it was posted in the LSoft Flight 800 Forum. It states in part as follows:

* One hundred twenty-eight witnesses reported an immediate end of the streak, 85 described it ending in an explosion, 32 said it ended in a fireball, and 11 said it ended in a flash.

* Of the 201 witnesses who said they saw an explosion, 39 said they saw 2 or more explosions. Of the 39 who said they saw more than 1 explosion, 11 said they saw 2 explosions, and one saw 3 explosions.

* Of the witnesses who said they saw an explosion, 38 reported it was orange, 17 said it was red, 16 said it was orange/red, 7 said white, 7 said yellow/orange, 2 said yellow, 2 said yellow/red, 1 said orange/red, and one said it was white/yellow/orange.

Click here for NTSB Exhibit 4A in its entirety.

Get it? Witnesses routinely have differing perceptions of what they saw.

The witness statement you referred to is what sounds like a snippet of radio or TV recording of a woman (no video) with eileen.daly.eye above the screen. My own transcript of what she said was as follows but since the tinfoil hatters routinely accuse those who don't agree with them of being liars engaged in a criminal coverup of "the truth", be sure to double check it, make any corrections you believe to be appropriate and present the readers with your own transcript - and your own analysis of what she described.

"My son was standing on the beach and he says 'oh look, an explosion' and we turned and what looks like fireworks that were in the sky was the first impression of what you saw, it was like a big white splash and then all of a sudden it turned into the big orange fireball, brokeoff into two pieces and a large fireball about, you know, a big rectangular fireball going - stretched from the the sky down into the water . ."

Do you contend that she saw the [1] fiery streak [2] ascend from the surface?

Where are the rest of the reports and your quotes from them of the "nearly 100 people" who you allege "saw something "rise from the surface"?

You're off to a pathetic start. Imagine my surprise.

35 posted on 12/23/2001 6:26:59 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
I asked a question: why the white flash, when the fireball was orange? I said I had an explanation. What is yours? This lady saw the fireballs as orange. What did she see that was white? I'll get to the rising from the surface later.
36 posted on 12/23/2001 7:34:39 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan; Rokke; All
Read my last posting again and see if you can figure it out for yourself.

This is too good not to be shared here too although not related to this thread.

"The shoe salesman who sold the terrorist the lethal shoes declined to talk to reporters."

37 posted on 12/23/2001 7:44:27 PM PST by Asmodeus
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To: Asmodeus
Yeah, I've figured it out: You're ignoring evidence by saying that witnesses can't be trusted to accurately report what their own lying eyes showed them, therefore, they saw nothing and there was no missile, which just goes to show you how unreliable witnesses are. QED.
38 posted on 12/23/2001 7:47:05 PM PST by coloradan
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To: coloradan
The calculation you link to in post 25 assumes that the probabilities are independent. While the witnesses are independent, what they are watching is not. For example, 10 people claiming a magician pulled a rabbit out of a hat doesn't mean that it actually happened that way.

This is not to say I don't agree that I doubt the witnesses or that at least one missile was involved.

39 posted on 12/23/2001 8:45:07 PM PST by Tymesup
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To: Tymesup
The calculation you link to in post 25 assumes that the probabilities are independent. While the witnesses are independent, what they are watching is not. For example, 10 people claiming a magician pulled a rabbit out of a hat doesn't mean that it actually happened that way.

To the extent that many independent witnesses report seeing a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat tends to refute a hypothesis that there is not one scintilla of evidence of a rabbit. True, they might not be able to put together the entire, correct, detailed scenario of how the magician did it. But should the NTSB (National Tricks and Subterfuge Bureau) categorically state the "card trick theory" is favored and that was no evidence of a rabbit at any time, and that therefore the witnesses must have been drunk, you may reasonably suspect that something is up.

This would appear to be the case with the missile theory and TWA 800 - except that there are also the matters of Mach 2 debris exiting the plane just before breakup, and the red residue and misrepresentation in court about it, and a secret evidence room for the FBI, and shrapnel removed from the victims, and some mysterious, fleeting radar hits prior to breakup, and the nose gear doors being blown inward and being among the first things off the plane, and fist-sized holes in some first-class seat-backs ... and the fact that aviation fuel puts out matches, and so on.

40 posted on 12/23/2001 9:04:06 PM PST by coloradan
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To: Asmodeus
As HAL says to CMDR Poole in '2001' : "I'm sorry Frank, I'm afraid you missed it."
You didn't bother to read the report itself.. you never saw the fact that the FBI interviewed all witnesses and that they won't talk to anyone now. Did you read that? Isn't reading fundemental? You get really sarcastic with anyone who won't go along with the trial ballons of "The Navy did it" and "Faulty wiring". Now, if the wiring thing were true, wouldn't ALL 747's been grounded? They weren't. This means something. Figure it out. If the Navy did it, a ship commander would have been canned and in Levinworth. Again, nothing. This means something, figure it out.

Gee, I've also noticed that when anyone with any ties to the military says anything against you're accepted theory.. you pull out your 'expert' graphic.. Where's YOUR experts with proof of a Navy/wiring fault that isn't politically motivated or sanctioned by Bubba himself? Now that's two mil types I know of that are saying 'missile'. I'm inclined to trust mil types (Having been one myself and knowing the capabilties of a Stinger) over anything Clinton(Traitor! Provable!) sanctioned. Here, take this compass and this magnet and go navigate those trees over there. Don't stop until you find the wiseman.

41 posted on 12/24/2001 8:39:51 AM PST by Darksheare
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To: coloradan
Let's also not forget that:

The Navy originally denied they were in the area.
The Death on the High Seas Act was suspended so that families of the victims could collect more damages.
Boeing received a large contract shortly thereafter, enabling them to buy one of their competitors.
Monica Weaver and Larissa Uzupis, two teenagers who died in the crash.

42 posted on 12/24/2001 1:25:35 PM PST by Tymesup
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To: Asmodeus
Thank you for posting those animations. You claim that they are "a figment of Goddard's imagination." With the links you used I was able to find the page you lifted them from but did not share with us.

At that page we discover the that animations include the witnesses sketches. I followed several of Goddard's links to the original witness reports and found the sketches there as he shows them. These witness sketches show the opposite of what you want us to believe, they show us that witnesses said the streak came from the surface. How could you have overlooked this detail?

Asmodeus, you try to make yourself out to be a witness expert and yet you managed to confuse the witness accounts with "Goddard's imagination." It seems it's your arguments that are a "figment of imagination."

43 posted on 12/24/2001 9:15:48 PM PST by VectoRama
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To: Asmodeus
"Yet, not one expert witness report analyst has ever agreed with Commander Donaldson's allegations about the observations of the witnesses. Not even one."

FALSE! You Sir are the most incompetent "analyst" I've even seen! Look at this....

Having followed the link to the official report of witness 649, I found it contained a letter from a real expert witness analyst from the Suffolk County Police Department (Douglas S. Matulewich, Deputy Inspector, Commanding Officer, Marine Bureau) who was employed to determine if TWA 800 witness accounts indicate that a missile was involved. Inspector Matulewich along with an agent from the Defense Intelligence Agency triangulated several witness accounts and concluded this,

Witness Expert: "I became involved in a joint effort to determine the possibility of a missile shooting down TWA flight 800. The objective was to determine if the observations of eye witnesses could be plotted on a chart to determine a location from which a missile was shot. ... The above Latitude and Longitude locations INDICATES THE CENTER OF AN AREA THAT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO BE SEARCHED AND AT A MINIMUM A ONE (1) nautical mile area should be searched for the remains of equipment that would launch a portable missile. The possibility exists that the equipment was discarded and now remains on the ocean floor." From official NTSB report.

All caps are in the original. You can read that on page 265 of 446 of the pdf file in the first link in this reply. There is it Asmodeus, an expert inspector who reviewed the witness accounts and concluded that they are enough like missile witness accounts to justify a massive search for residual missile parts. How could Asmodeus have overlooked this detail if he is the master analyst he implies and is sufficently versed in this case to render such strong opinion? It seems that Asmodeus capitalizes on what people don't know, either that or his tin-foil hat is getting too tight.

Now get this, the expert analyst Commander Donaldson found evidence of the FBI's search that was recommended based on the expert conclusion that the witness accounts support a missile strike. If the expert analysts and the FBI believed what Asmodeus believes they would never have recommended and conducted such a massive search of the ocean. It seems that Asmodeus' beliefs expose him as the real tin-foil hatter.

44 posted on 12/24/2001 10:35:50 PM PST by VectoRama
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To: VectoRama; Coloradan; Rokke
See http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/579114/posts?page=441#441
45 posted on 12/27/2001 11:25:56 AM PST by Asmodeus
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To: VectoRama
Senator Charles Grassley "A January 1997 ATF report, which will be discussed today, showed that the cause of the crash of the TWA Flight 800 was a mechanical failure. The FBI did not want that report out. It tried to suppress it. The FBI feared that if the case became a criminal case and went to court, the ATF report would be discoverable through Brady doctrine and might help exculpate the potential suspects.

But the FBI had the cart before the horse. You cannot start suppressing information when there is no crime. The vast majority of explosions like TWA are due to accidents, not to sabotage. For the FBI to assume first that an explosion is sabotage reveals its lack of experience in dealing with explosion incidents. Indeed, the FBI rarely investigates explosions and fires. Other law enforcement agencies, most notably the ATF, investigate many explosions and have lots of experience.

The proof is in the pudding. The ATF called the cause of the crash correctly, 10 months before the FBI did. In fact, it is fair to say that the FBI hindered the investigation and the public's and the families' right to know, and in the process, in my view, the FBI risked public safety."

_______________________________

The FBI's own Chief Forensic Metallurgist and other experts told Kallstrom the same thing less than 2 months after the crash:

GRASSLEY: When did you arrive at the hanger in Calverton, New York where the plane was being reconstructed?

TOBIN: I arrived on August 4th of 1996.

-----

GRASSLEY: Within 30 days of arriving at Calverton, what was your professional assessment of as to whether the cause of the crash was a bomb?

TOBIN: It progressed from an inclination of viewing the earmarks as possibly a bomb, but it changed rather quickly to confirmation within my mind that there was no indication of a bomb and unlikely to be that of a missile within the first 30 days.

-----

GRASSLEY: At some point, did the bomb techs agree with yours and the NTSB's assessment that the cause of the crash was not a bomb?

TOBIN: Yes, Senator. I would estimate that probably four to six weeks -- after about four to six weeks, we were all unanimously or near unanimously on the same page. And all being the bomb techs, the National Transportation Safety Board and the metallurgy or the material science interests in the FBI laboratory. We were all unanimously -- we were united in our observations and conclusions that there was no bomb or missile damage evident on those aircraft parts.

GRASSLEY: The term four to six weeks brings you to what date on the calendar approximately? Just approximately.

TOBIN: My guess would be mid September, early to mid September.

_______________________________

Having parlayed his unprofessional knee-jerk conclusion at the outset, that zoom+boom=missile shootdown, into authorization from Louis Freeh, Janet Reno and the White House to seize control of the investigation from the NTSB along with a blank check, James Kallstrom kept his cop mentality neck bowed and barged ahead with more futile wild goose chase efforts to prove he was right.

FBI Assistant Director Schiliro: "It should also be pointed out that the main 92 foot reconstruction project of the plane's fuselage was initiated at the insistence and urging of the FBI to identify possible patterns of damage or directional forces in a three-dimensional perspective, despite the repeated objection and reluctance of many NTSB senior managers to take on such an investigative project."

"It was also at the urging of the FBI that the evidence collection effort continued after the cessation of diving operations on November 3, 1996 due to weather conditions. The FBI contracted for the services of four (4) scallop trawlers to literally ``rake'' the ocean floor for aircraft debris from November 1996 until the end of April 1997. Each trawler operated 24 hours a day, weather permitting, and was staffed by two FBI Special Agents who painstakingly separated sea life from manmade objects and ensured a proper chain of custody."

"Through such arduous and thorough efforts, the FBI and the NTSB and its parties were afforded an unprecedented opportunity to conduct further forensic and engineering analyses which assisted in the overall decision making process."

Translation: Kallstrom fell on his face in his efforts to prove that zoom+boom=missile shootdown.

Click here for the sources of all the above quotes.

_______________________________

James Kallstrom's clones, the tinfoil hats, have continued his efforts to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear with more of his zoom+boom=missile shootdown.

Commander Donaldson: . . . . the loss of the aircraft was caused by an explosive event in the number two main tank. [Underlined emphasis added]

-----

Commander DONALDSON: I think a missile was fired, that we have dozens of people that agree with the flight time of the missile, where it came from and where it went. I think it steered for the center wing tank. I think it veered forward and entered the number two main. There is 45 square feet of front spar missing in front of that tank. [Underlined emphasis added]

As Portrayed In This Animated Graphic

But Donaldson made the same blunder James Kallstrom earlier did. He succumbed to his knee jerk reaction that zoom+boom=missile shootdown of Flight 800 at 13,800 feet at 8:31:12.

The "boom" is aka the Massive Fireball explosion. It was informally calculated to have been approximately 2000 feet in diamater. It was by far the most dramatic fiery event in the sky and seen by virtually all of the witnesses - including those airborne such as witnesses Faret & Wendell who saw it explode below their own flight altitude of 8500 feet, flew over to the smoke cloud it left and thereby determined that its clearly defined top was at 7700 feet. Source

Their report also includes the following interesting addendum:

Feb 97: Addendum:
Time has passed, the mystery of the downing of Flight 800 still eludes us. (probably not all of us). Until all data is evaluated, we’ll have to wait for the official facts. From an idealistic view, there is no reason to think otherwise. (what a perfect world we live in). Since Ken & Sven made this report public, we have heard many opinions on our sighting. We saw what we saw and report it as such. We have nothing to gain or loose. It is apparent that some aviation experience is required.

There is one fact that bothers us, however. No mention is ever made of the fact that the explosion was at 7500 feet! We do not dispute the fact that something happened at 13,800 feet, but what happened after that. There is 5000 feet unaccounted for.

We would like to emphasize:
We approached the black-gray smoke cloud on the west side. We were at 7700 feet and were at the top edge of the cloud. The cloud center was at 7500 feet. There were 2 small bumps atop it. There was no smoke or smoke trails above it. It was still lit up a little by the sun, clear above.

We don’t know why this has never been discussed in any scenarios.

_______________________________

Compare their report on the altitude of the Massive Fireball explosion with the following and note the Massive Fireball explosion altitude estimates of the other airborne witnesses:

NTSB Exhibit 4-A Airborne Witness Matrix

You say:

"Now get this, the expert analyst Commander Donaldson found evidence of the FBI's search that was recommended based on the expert conclusion that the witness accounts support a missile strike. If the expert analysts and the FBI believed what Asmodeus believes they would never have recommended and conducted such a massive search of the ocean."

Expert witness report analysts don't succumb to knee-jerk reactions that zoom+zoom=missile shootdown.

Expert witness report analysts would determine the altitude of the boom.

ex·pert (kspûrt) n. A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject.

The proof is in the pudding.

http://www.100megspop3.com/bark/800MslWitMyth.html

46 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:20 AM PST by Asmodeus
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