Skip to comments.TWA Flight 800 - "CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS A LIE? I CAN'T"
Posted on 02/28/2002 9:31:30 AM PST by Asmodeus
AIM Report: 2002 Report # 03 - CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS A LIE? I CAN'T
By Reed Irvine
|2002 Report #03||February 25, 2002|
| CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS A LIE? I CAN'T
My by-line is on this article because it involves some very sensitive conversations that I have had and opinions about them that are best discussed in the first person. I am revealing the name of the Navy master chief who last November told an acquaintance of his that on the evening of July 17, 1996, he was on the bridge of the USS Trepang, a submarine that was practically underneath TWA Flight 800 when the plane exploded and crashed into the sea.
His acquaintance, whose name I wont disclose because it adds nothing to the story, had called me the night before on a line in my office that had been used to take calls for the TWA 800 Eyewitness Alliance generated by an ad placed in The Washington Times on August 15, 2000. He shared our views about the cause of the crash, and we had a good conversation. The next morning he called again to tell me that he had just run into a casual acquaintance who was a retired Navy petty officer. Because of his discussion with me the night before, he brought up TWA 800. Here is an edited partial transcript of our conversation. [H for him and I for me]
H: Have you ever heard of the submarine Tripanga?
I obtained Beers phone number from information and found him willing to talk. In our taped interview, he was somewhat more guarded than he had been with his acquaintance. He said he didnt want to do anything that might mess up his retirement, but nothing was said about the conversation being off the record. I told him that I was with Accuracy in Media and recommended that he visit our Web site, where he would find a lot of articles we had written about TWA 800. The following is a partial transcript of the taped interview. I did not begin taping at the very beginning of the conversation. The transcript begins where the taping started. This was Thurs., Nov. 15 at 10:00 a.m.
B: I told everything, you know, when the Navy came on board with everybody else on my submarine.
I called Randy again the next morning, Friday, Nov. 16. He asked me to call him back Monday morning, Nov. 19. I did, and I found myself talking to an entirely different person. The confident, courageous master chief had been transformed into a quivering moral coward. He said he had talked to his skipper over the weekend and that he had been reminded that he had signed certain papers when he retired from the Navy. Whoever it was that he had talked to had scared him to death. He feared that he was going to lose his retirement because of what he told me. He claimed he had spoken off the record, but I told him that was not so and that was very clear from the tape that I had recorded.
I said I didnt want to hurt him and that there was no way the Navy could rescind his disability pension because he told the truth about what he had seen on the evening of July 17, 1996. Something had obviously gone wrong and they had successfully covered it up, but that too was wrong. It would be a scandal if they tried to deprive him of his pension because he had helped expose an illegal, immoral cover-up of a mistake that had cost the lives of 230 people. Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, who tried very hard to pin the blame on terrorists, told me several times that if it turned out that the Navy was responsible he would spearhead a demand that the officers behind it be court-martialed.
I told Randy that he had a moral obligation to go public with what he knew and to help us expose the cover-up. I cited the example set by another chief petty officer, Kathleen Janoski, who was in charge of photography for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Dover Air Force Base. She had found and photographed the perfectly round hole, about the diameter of a .45-caliber bullet, in the top of the head of the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. She had also photographed what was called the lead snowstorm inside his skull that showed up on the head x-ray. She took photos of the x-rays that were up on a light box, and it was a good thing that she did, because the one showing the lead snowstorm was destroyed. The colonel in charge rejected recommendations of three lieutenant colonels that an autopsy be performed on Browns body.
Kathleen Janoski had put her job at risk when she was still on active duty. She was relieved of her duties, and she feared she was going to be court-martialed. But she nevertheless shared her photos with Chris Ruddy who reported on the suspicious hole in the top of Ron Browns head and the lead snowstorm in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. I suggested that he ought to show as much courage as she had. Kathleen Janoski retired and is drawing her pension.
Nothing I could say had any effect. He explained that he had lost his job, and although his wife was working, they would be in deep trouble if he lost his pension. I can sympathize with him, but there are whistleblowers in the government who risk their jobs by exposing wrongdoing. If we want to encourage more government employees to follow their example it would make sense to reward the whistleblowers and punish those who see the wrongdoing but seal their lips and close their eyes. I couldnt budge Randy Beers, but one of the significant things about that conversation was that he did not deny the truth of anything he had told me when we first talked.
When Pierre Salinger held a press conference in March 1997 and declared that TWA Flight 800 had been shot down accidentally by a U.S. Navy missile, this former presidential press secretary, U.S. Senator and ABC News correspondent, was mercilessly attacked by his former colleagues in the media. They accused him of peddling unsubstantiated Internet gossip. Salinger said that his information had been confirmed by a source who had a friend whose son was in the Navy. The son was said to have called home and told his family that we shot down the airliner. Salinger said the father did not want to be identified, fearing his son would suffer retaliation for disclosing information the Navy wanted to keep hidden. That, of course, was dismissed as hearsay.
We succeeded in verifying that Randy Beers was a chief petty officer on the Trepang and that he was the ships corpsman. We verified that Lt. Michael Leitner, with whom he drank Diet Pepsi on the Trepangs bridge on the evening of July 17, 1996, was also a member of the crew. What Beers said about the Navy ships in the area that night and the exercise that was being conducted confirmed what we already knew from the radar data obtained by the Flight 800 Independent Research Organization, FIRO, and what Jim Kallstrom had told me about the three Navy vessels on a classified maneuver.
I wrote a column about what Randy Beers had revealed, but I did not include in it his name or the name of his submarine. Finding someone in the Navy who was willing to talk as freely as he did was an important breakthrough. He was the answer to those who were sure that the Navy could not have been responsible for shooting down TWA 800 because it would have been impossible to keep a secret like that when so many Navy personnel would have known about it. In the five and a half years since TWA 800 was shot down we heard stories about Navy personnel who had told family or friends that the Navy did it, but we were never able to make contact with them.
The response to the column was encouraging even though it did not get the attention of the big media. I was persuaded by the e-mail I received that we should reveal Randy Beers name and the name of his submarine. The Navy had claimed that the Trepang was 117 miles from the TWA 800 crash site. The exposure of that lie and the fact that it took so long for someone on the sub to expose it should have shaken up those who have so confidently insisted that a secret like that could not remain hidden for long. However, I was surprised to get a few responses from individuals who completely missed this important lesson. The claim that the Navy couldnt have done anything wrong because someone would have revealed it, dies hard.
My last conversation with Randy Beers was on February 5. I wanted to tell him that I was going to reveal his name, and I left a message saying it was important that he call me. He did. He first asked me if I was recording the call. I wasnt and I said so. He then said that he was so upset that he had experienced trouble sleeping for two months. But he had found a solution to his problem. He told me that he was notorious for telling tall tales and that all that he had said about where the Trepang was and what he had seen was false. He claimed he just made it up.
He said the submarine was at its homeport in Groton, Connecticut that night, not beneath TWA Flight 800 when it was blown out of the sky. He said he didnt know anything about any exercise that was taking place and he had never heard of W-105, the large area off Long Island that is regularly used by the military for testing and training. He said at least twice that this was his story and he was sticking to it. That is a gag line that says, in effect, I am lying but dont expect me to admit it.
The transcripts of his conversations with his acquaintance and me have been printed out because they are the best evidence that he was not lying. He had no reason to lie to either one of us. What he says and the way he says it has the ring of truth. It is consistent with what we know from other sources. I asked him for references who would attest to his propensity to lie. He gave me one name, someone who had served on the Trepang. He doesnt know where he is now. The office manager of the firm where he worked for over a year attested to his honesty.
The fact that he was worried sick when we had our second conversation and was virtually begging me not to report what he said shows that the idea of claiming that he had told tall tales had not yet occurred to him. If he were a habitual liar, he would not lose a lot of sleep worrying about his lies. Unfortunately his stratagem casts a cloud over his credibility, giving the media an excuse for ignoring anything he says. We are printing a list of the officers and petty officers who were on the Trepang in 1996. We will try to locate and question them and FOIA their FBI 302s (interview reports). Your help is invited.
LEADING PETTY OFFICERS
Sorry, it was not friendly fire.
Yes, it was some kind of missile.
We are at WAR and it is not appropriate to start flaming the current administration
which has to mop up all the effing stinking excrement that Clinton left behind.
Our federal agencies have lost all credibility.
Yeah. Sure. Just like the one hundred or so "unreliable" witnesses that saw a missile go up and hit TWA 800.
IMHO, we are being scammed about AA 587. By the same government people who scammed us about TWA 800.
Reid is the SECOND SHOE BOMBER.
b) I am as big a fan of the present administration as anyone, but the only way to clean up the lack of credibility in the White House, is to stop covering for the previous occupants and be HONEST with the people who elected them. sorry.
b) sometimes the truth is really nasty and the populace has the right NOT to know;
c) the current administration is busy getting down to business; and
d) W has no interest in causing any more scandals. It's called "CLASS."
It's hard to believe in big conspiracies requiring many conspirators. It's much easier to believe in small conspiracies requiring only a few conspirators.
When the government controls the agencies doing the investigating, and the conglomerates control the news media doing the reporting, it isn't hard at all. They've officially maintained the coverup on the JFK assassination for the past 40 years. They're still planting TV programs showing cartoons of TWA 800 breaking up due to a center fuel tank explosion.
Makes one wonder if they finished their diet pepsis before or after.
Here's Reed Irvine's original hot scoop:
You might read TWA 800 "It wasn't terrorists. It couldn't have been."
By the way, TREPANG's weapons shipping hatch, and parts of her crews mess and enlisted berthing are in the Submarine exhibit in the National Museum of American History.
The 637 Class boats had very small vents, and no bow planes. A "Crash Dive" would be ordering the vents opened before you left the bridge (see #3).
2. How long does it take to crash dive.
It could take a couple of minutes.
3. Is the top of the sail (where Beer says he was standing) called the bridge.
4. Would the OOD normally be accompanied only by the Corpsman on a surfaced submarine.
Normally there would be the OOD and one lookout.