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How the New York Times Blew Its Biggest Story
WorldNetDaily ^ | 2/15/2003 | Jack Cashill

Posted on 02/21/2003 1:28:13 AM PST by Swordmaker

© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

Scooped by the Washington Post on the second biggest political scandal of our time, Watergate, the New York Times had a chance to even the score. The paper had an all but proprietary lock on the most consequential political cover-up in recent American history, the case of TWA Flight 800. But the Times, alas, blew it, undone less by its ideological affinity for President Clinton than by old-fashioned journalistic hubris.

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded only 12 minutes out of JFK along the south shore of Long Island, New York Times territory to be sure. On July 18, the last day of official honesty, Times reporters were all over the place, and they were pressing for the truth.

On that day, unnamed "government officials" – most likely the FBI – told the New York Times that air traffic controllers had "picked up a mysterious radar blip that appeared to move rapidly toward the plane just before the explosion."

These officials and the Times unequivocally linked the radar to the eyewitness sightings and the sightings to a missile attack. According to the Times' sources, "The eyewitnesses had described a bright light, like a flash, moving toward the plane just before the initial explosion, and that the flash had been followed by a huge blast – a chain of events consistent with a missile impact and the blast produced by an aircraft heavily laden with fuel." As one federal official told the Times that first morning, "It doesn't look good," with the clear implication of terrorism.

This was the last day these officials were open with the media about the possibility of a missile strike. The words "radar" and "eyewitness" would all but disappear from the Times' reporting after that. Nor would the Times investigate the role of the military in the downing of TWA 800, not one paragraph, and not one word about satellites and what they might have captured.

As it happens, the Atlanta Olympics opened on July 19, the day the above stories were reported. Were the White House to acknowledge that a terrorist attack from outside the plane had caused its destruction, the FAA would have been compelled to shut down aviation on the east coast. The president, running single-mindedly for reelection on a buoyant peace and prosperity message, would have had neither. Accordingly, all missile talk ceased on that day (at least for a while). The investigation was forced into a false dialectic between bomb and mechanical failure. And the government, especially the FBI, would make the Times its unwitting messenger.

The day of the president's visit to Long Island eight days after the crash would prove to be something of a milestone. On that same day, for the first time, unnamed "law enforcement officials," most assuredly the FBI, told the New York Times that they "supported the theory that the plane was destroyed by a bomb." At a separate briefing that day, FBI honcho James Kallstrom reinforced the theory. "We know there was a catastrophic explosion," he admitted, "It was caused by some kind of bomb, obviously explosion." Yet, there was never any evidence of the same then, nor would there ever be, at least not a conventional bomb within the plane.

To its credit, the FBI pushed to the terrorist side of the equation and pulled the Times with it. The Times' article on Aug. 14 – "Fuel Tank's Condition Makes Malfunction Seem Less Likely" – was the most provocative yet.

According to the Times, investigators "concluded that the center fuel tank caught fire as many as 24 seconds after the initial blast that split apart the plane, a finding that deals a serious blow to the already remote possibility that a mechanical accident caused the crash." One official was quoted as saying that parts of the tank were in ''pristine condition.'' Said another official who insisted on anonymity, ''It is clear that whatever set off the tank did not severely damage the tank. Something else, most likely later, blew up the tank.''

There was more. Investigators told the Times that the pattern of the debris "persuaded them that a mechanical malfunction is highly unlikely." From their analysis of the debris field, these investigators concluded the following, a summary that still has all the appearance of unvarnished truth:

The blast's force decapitated the plane, severing the cockpit and first-class cabin, which then fell into the Atlantic Ocean. The rest of the plane flew on, descending rapidly, and as it did thousands of gallons of jet fuel spilled out of the wings and the center fuel tank between them. At 8,000 feet, about 24 seconds after the initial blast, the fuel caught fire, engulfing the remainder of the jetliner into a giant fireball.

"Now that investigators say they think the center fuel tank did not explode," read the Times account, "they say the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane."

If the FBI was indeed steering the Times towards a terrorist scenario, the agency was also steering it away from any talk of missiles. When "government officials" stopped talking about missile sightings, so did the Times. The paper's first article on the subject, and first serious reference in a month, occurred on Aug. 17. The article featured one Michael Russell, an engineer who witnessed the explosion from a boat. According to the Times, "His sober, understated story was one of only a few that investigators have judged credible." The Times took its story straight from FBI sources and picked up its spin as well. These few "clear accounts" like Russell's, the reader is told, have "substantially weakened support for the idea that a missile downed the plane."

That is correct, weakened . The Times continues to track with the FBI's spin, claiming that Russell's account of a quick flash well before the large fireball has "bolstered the idea that a bomb, and not an exploding fuel tank, triggered the disintegration of the airplane."

At this stage in the article, the FBI account, as reported by the Times, devolves into fantasy:

The winnowing of witnesses' accounts, investigators have said, involved teams of Federal agents and safety board officials. They watched for distinctive body language and listened for phrases that appeared to have been taken from newspaper headlines about the crash. Certain cues marked some witnesses as "pleasers," or people eager to say what they thought interviewers wanted to hear, said one crash investigator, who refused to be identified. Most of the accounts were embellished, with many approaching the outlandish, the investigator said.

The notion of "teams" of FBI officers and NTSB agents working together, methodically evaluating witness testimony, proved to be utterly preposterous. The NTSB was roughly excluded from the process, and the FBI was notoriously unsystematic in its interviews.

The Times adds that there were "fewer than a dozen accounts" that the FBI considered "believable enough to hold clues to what happened." In due time, the FBI would acknowledge of the roughly 750 eyewitnesses, some 270 saw streaks of light in the sky converging on TWA Flight 800, sightings that, according to the NTSB, were "generally similar to one another." The article also fails to mention the intelligence analysts from Defense Department, the ones who had reported to the FBI, "Many of the descriptions given by eyewitnesses were very consistent with the characteristics of the flight of such missiles."

Obviously, the FBI had access to more interview data than it let on when its agents told the Times that there were fewer than a dozen credible witnesses. It had all but completed its interviewing by this time. The Times, however, did not challenge the FBI data and did not bother to seek out witnesses on its own. The FBI surely recommended the one witness the Times interviewed. The major media followed the Times lead.

For all its misdirection, the FBI seems to have been struggling against the White House throughout August. On Aug. 23, the New York Times broke a headline story, top right: "Prime Evidence Found That Device Exploded in Cabin of Flight 800." This article stole the thunder from Clinton's election-driven approval of welfare reform in that same day's paper and threatened to undermine the peace and prosperity message of next week's Democratic convention.

"Investigators have finally found scientific evidence that an explosive device was detonated inside the passenger cabin of Trans World Airlines Flight 800," reported the Times authoritatively. The paper referred specifically to the traces of PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, first identified by a dog more than two weeks before.

These investigators told the Times that PETN is commonly found in bombs and surface-to-air missiles, "making it impossible, for now, to know for sure which type of explosive device destroyed the Boeing 747." The Times reminded its readers that 10 days prior the FBI had said that ''one positive result'' in the forensic tests would cause them to declare the explosion a crime. Now, however, senior investigators "were not ready to declare that the crash was the result of a criminal act in part because they did not yet know whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or a missile."

But there was a speed bump ahead. On the 25th, for the first time, the New York Times published a story with a "missile" lead. "The discovery of PETN," claimed the article, "has kept alive the fearsome though remote possibility that the airliner was brought down by a surface-to-air missile." The article steers wide of any possible military involvement and relies only on information that had already been revealed, but it showed at least a streak of independence on the Times' part that had to have worried the White House. On the next day, the 26th, the Democratic Convention opened.

On the 29th, President Clinton dedicated only one paragraph to the question of terrorism or aviation safety, and this towards the very end of a long, self-congratulatory acceptance speech:

[W]e will improve airport and air travel security. I have asked the vice president to establish a commission and report back to me on ways to do this. But now we will install the most sophisticated bomb detection equipment in all our major airports. We will search every airplane flying to or from America from another nation – every flight, every cargo hold, every cabin, every time.

The implication was clear: If the FBI had not ruled out a missile, the White House had. The president, however, could live with a "bomb" and maybe even score a few political points off of it. There was, after all, a momentum building at the New York Times for a terrorist scenario that even the White House did not seem able to not check.

The next day, the 30th, the Times explained the details of such a scenario in a lengthy piece. As reported, investigators had prepared a second-by-second computer simulation of the disintegrating plane. The simulation was based on the physical evidence, the debris field, even the radar tracking, but not any eyewitness testimony. Despite this deficiency, the simulation is still revealing. It shows that almost everything first blown out of the plane came from one area on the right side along the right wing. Two seats on the right side of row 23 had fist-sized holes in the back, and row 24 was missing altogether as was much of the material from rows 20-27. Traces of PETN were also found in this general area.

On that same day, the FBI announced that it had discovered additional traces of explosive residue "on a piece of wreckage from inside the Boeing 747 near where the right wing meets the fuselage." The location is critical. This is exactly where the first explosion seemed to be centered. At the briefing, the FBI did not identify the type of chemical, but "senior investigators" tipped off the Times that the substance was RDX. The Times learned that RDX was "a major ingredient of Semtex, a plastic explosive developed in Czechoslovakia that has become a favorite of terrorist bombers." In fact, one agent told the Times that finding the two ingredients together, RDX and PETN, was ''virtually synonymous with Semtex.''

The Times, which prided itself on its sources, was now being steered by the FBI agents exactly where they wanted this investigation to go – away from the "missile" and back towards the bomb, even if it meant revealing more information. If PETN alone allowed for the possibility of a missile, PETN and RDX together argued much more strongly for a bomb.

Note, too, how voluble the once tight-lipped FBI had become. Kallstrom's claim that FBI "evidence was never discussed, period" is revealed as no more than a PR strategy. So perfect is the set-up that it causes one to doubt whether the PETN and RDX had, in fact, been found in the same area.

For the next three weeks there was almost no news from the investigation. On Sept. 19, the same day that Al Gore was quietly telling the airline industry that it had nothing to fear from his security and safety commission, the Times was summoned to NTSB headquarters in Washington. The lead of the Times subsequent story reads as follows:

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, saying they are convinced that none of the physical evidence recovered from T.W.A. Flight 800 proves that a bomb brought down the plane, plan tests intended to show that the explosion could have been caused by a mechanical failure alone.

Recall that weeks before the Times had reported that "the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane off Long Island." In the interim, the evidence for an external strike had grown only stronger as more explosive residue had been found on the plane and more eyewitnesses had been interviewed. Now, however, officials were telling the public through the media that a mechanical failure brought down the airplane:

In fact, a senior N.T.S.B. official said, if there was a bomb, investigators probably would have seen ''classic signs'' of it by now, including metal that is pitted and bent by high-energy shock waves. Likewise, he said, the fact that they have not found any parts of a missile puts that theory in more doubt.

The investigators took this new direction despite an admission to the Times that "they have no evidence pointing to a mechanical malfunction." (They never would.) They claimed instead that "the failure to find proof of a bombing" had led them to re-explore the possibility that an explosion of the center fuel tank destroyed the plane.

On the next day, Sept. 20, almost surely to make some sense of its radical change in direction, the administration advanced a new story, one that proved to have extraordinary effect. The Times article on Sept. 21 well summarizes the government's argument. "Federal officials," said the Times, claimed that "the jetliner was used during a test of a bomb-detecting dog five weeks before the crash, which they said could explain the traces of explosives found in the wreckage."

The test took place at the St. Louis airport on June 10, five weeks before the crash. As the Times relates, packages containing explosives were placed in the plane's passenger cabin for the dog to find. These packages contained "the same explosives as those found by investigators after the crash."

The explanation was not perfect. For one, as the Times admitted the next day, "The packages were not placed in the same place where the traces were located." Then, too, the records found in St. Louis failed to mention the tested plane by tail number or gate.

Despite these limitations, investigators admitted that the dog exercise "deepened the mystery of whether the plane exploded because of sabotage or mechanical failure." The effect of this discovery was powerful. The Times summed up its impact: "For some investigators the revelation of the bomb-sniffing dog amounted to a stunning setback." The Times quotes one investigator as saying that the news hit him like ''a punch in the gut.''

Don Van Natta, who pursued this case diligently for the Times, admitted to me during a phone conversation in August 2001 that the dog training revelation sidetracked his pursuit of the terrorist angle. It likely confused Van Natta's sources within this highly-compartmentalized investigation, the ones who, weeks before, had been "absolutely convinced" that something other than a mechanical problem had caused Flight 800 to explode.

Unfortunately, the Times had been seduced by its sources. It did not bother to check whether the Flight 800 plane had, in fact, been the one on which the exercise took place. If its reporters had done even a cursory investigation, they would have learned that the Flight 800 plane was filled with hundreds of happy Hawaii-bound passengers at the very same time that the police officer was tracking his dog through an entirely empty 747 sitting right next to it. "Time" was the only identifying variable the officer ever recorded.

Times' reporters might also have learned with just a bit of snooping that the training aids did not match the residue found on the plane either in placement or in substance. The dog-training story was, in fact, a knowing fraud, the ultimate red herring of the investigation.

If the dog-training story could distract the Times, it could easily send the rest of the media pack yelping in the wrong direction. And it did. The interest of the major media in the TWA 800 story all but died on Sept. 20, 1996. Worse – perhaps to protect their own reputations – reporters would begin to turn on those who challenged the official version with a passion bordering on fury.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: airlinedisaster; clintonlegacy; coverup; fbi; terrorism; twa800; twa800list
The blast's force decapitated the plane, severing the cockpit and first-class cabin, which then fell into the Atlantic Ocean. The rest of the plane flew on, descending rapidly, and as it did thousands of gallons of jet fuel spilled out of the wings and the center fuel tank between them. At 8,000 feet, about 24 seconds after the initial blast, the fuel caught fire, engulfing the remainder of the jetliner into a giant fireball.

Hmmmm... just about what my timeline posted on another FR thread postulated.

1 posted on 02/21/2003 1:28:13 AM PST by Swordmaker
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To: Alamo-Girl; mach.08; JohnFiorentino; acehai; *TWA800_list; FormerLurker; thatdewd; eno_; Rokke
Long but interesting read... TWA-800.
2 posted on 02/21/2003 1:35:16 AM PST by Swordmaker (Tagline Extermination Services, franchises available, small investment, big profit)
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To: Swordmaker
How the New York Times Blew Its Biggest Story

Boy, if ever there was a title that can and will be continuously recycled...

3 posted on 02/21/2003 1:37:11 AM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Swordmaker

Three months before 9/11/01 Islamic calendar showed plane crashing near Manhattan

Looks like TWA-800 to me.
Agree or disagree?


4 posted on 02/21/2003 1:48:59 AM PST by ppaul
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To: Swordmaker
CORRECTION: The link below actually works this time.

Three months before 9/11/01 Islamic calendar showed plane crashing near Manhatten

Looks like TWA-800 to me.
Agree or disagree?


5 posted on 02/21/2003 1:52:13 AM PST by ppaul
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To: ppaul
I'll agree to one thing: TWA 800 was covered up. And I believe that other terrorist acts are being covered up to this day.
6 posted on 02/21/2003 2:20:38 AM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: ppaul
changing the last"a" in Manhattan made the link work?
7 posted on 02/21/2003 3:42:08 AM PST by arthurus
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To: Swordmaker
If this plane was at 8,000 feet 24 seconds after an initial explosion, how high was it when it was "hit"? A jet doesn't fly on for 24 seconds after you knock the nose and the first class section off of it, it falls.

So how high was it when it was struck? What kind of missile has a range that high? What kind of flight path has you that high so soon after takeoff? Didn't this leave from JFK?

Something about this scenario doesn't seem right to me, but I know little about commercial flight and such.

8 posted on 02/21/2003 5:38:32 AM PST by big gray tabby
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To: Swordmaker
Hmmmm... just about what my timeline posted on another FR thread postulated.

What a remarkable coincidence...

9 posted on 02/21/2003 5:40:39 AM PST by null and void
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To: big gray tabby
What kind of missile has a range that high?

Not a shoulder launched one...

10 posted on 02/21/2003 5:43:01 AM PST by null and void
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To: Swordmaker
Given the politics of NYT reporters, it's not impossible one of them was manning the SAM launcher at the time.
11 posted on 02/21/2003 5:48:31 AM PST by Man of the Right
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To: big gray tabby
So how high was it when it was struck?

13,800 feet.

12 posted on 02/21/2003 5:54:23 AM PST by null and void
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To: Swordmaker
Thanks for the heads up!
13 posted on 02/21/2003 7:29:52 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Swordmaker
it is clear to me that both twa flight 800 and the olympic park bombing were related to islamic terrorism. moreover, the 95 okc bombing is tied to islamic terror groups. tim mcveigh was the "lily white" they needed as a proxy. terry nichols' wife is philipino (abu sayaff) and mcveigh was a believer in zog...it is very likely that those 2 scumbags could find common cause with anti-semitic, anti- american gov't muslim fanatics. supposedly, john doe 2 is an iraqi, who later went on to work at , of all places, logan airport. it's clear bubba didn't want to see or hear any evil. bjs took priority. we are reaping the whirlwind for clinton's treason.
14 posted on 02/21/2003 8:01:25 AM PST by faithincowboys
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To: Swordmaker
The terrorist downing of TWA 800 was too much for the Klintton administration to handle. THus, it became a central fuel tnk thing and Klintoon could get back to important things like screwing Monica.
15 posted on 02/21/2003 8:05:05 AM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: Swordmaker
The fact that Clinton's politcal ambitions may have driven these actions makes it all too believable.
16 posted on 02/21/2003 8:24:43 AM PST by SpinyNorman
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
I'll agree to one thing: TWA 800 was covered up. And I believe that other terrorist acts are being covered up to this day.

Like the murder of Vince Foster. Its one thing for a president to cover up something he had perhaps peripheral involvement in. Its quite another for him to have murdered someone outright for political gain. I think that far outweighs anything else. It means others can do it and then we are leading down the garden path to outright fascism as in Nazi Germany.

17 posted on 02/21/2003 9:10:04 AM PST by Samizdat
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To: Swordmaker
Some time ago, you posted an article concerning "pellets" that could be considered a missile signature that were found in the wreckage of Flight 800. You concluded, it is possible to thus identify the type of Missile, and I would presume therefore, the country of manufacture. Are you at liberty to share what knowlege you may have on this topic.

Inquiring Freepers would like to know. (At least this one) If you can"t that's fine too.
18 posted on 02/21/2003 9:29:18 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
I'll agree to one thing: TWA 800 was covered up. And I believe that other terrorist acts are being covered up to this day.

And I don't believe that Eric Rudolph did the Atlanta Olympic bombing any more than Richard Jewell did.

19 posted on 02/21/2003 9:33:31 AM PST by jpl
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To: Swordmaker
Y'know, I like Jack Cashill. But his last big story was about the innocence of James Kopp. We now know that Kopp is guilty. Sorry, but burn me once . . .
20 posted on 02/21/2003 9:37:33 AM PST by Timmy
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To: arthurus
changing the last"a" in Manhattan made the link work?

LOL
Nothin' gets by you all.

21 posted on 02/21/2003 9:51:42 AM PST by ppaul
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To: null and void
13,800 feet.

An article in The American Spectator quoted a secret CIA report that Flight 800 was at the very extreme limits of a shoulder-fired SAM, and it would have been a very lucky shot. The warhead on a missile like that is very tiny, and is intended to destroy the back end of a jet engine, and not vaporize the whole aircraft.

Also, high-bypass turbofans mix lots of cold air with the exhaust plume, making for a much less intense IR source for a heat seeker. Modern turbofans on airliners have a form of "built-in" IR protection.

But a couple of pound of Semtex, placed on the floor in the right seat row inside the plane, will decapitate it. The 747 is built in pieces, and then joined together. One joint is where the nose/first class section joins the more tubular main part of the body. Aerodynamic forces would instantly finish the job started by the explosion.

We know the crew had no warning of what was happening. Get hit by a SAM, and you at least have enough time to get out a mayday, even if you don't know what's causing all the red lights to appear. But they were flying along fat, dumb, and happy, then the entire front of the plane was sliced off. Even a large SAM can't do that, but properly placed explosives can.

I remember that Algore was talking billions for airport security, paid for by the airlines. Then all of a sudden "center fuel tank explosion" became the official answer, and millions of dollars from the airlines appeared in the DNC bank account.

22 posted on 02/21/2003 9:58:02 AM PST by 300winmag
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
I believe anybody who believes any conspiracy/cover up story is a raving and certifiable lunatic.
23 posted on 02/21/2003 10:00:44 AM PST by ACross
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To: jpl
Eric DIDN'T do that bombing in Atlanta. He just became a convenient scapegoat to justify whatever secret operations they were conducting in those mountains. And nobody can change my mind on that!
24 posted on 02/21/2003 2:22:41 PM PST by JudyB1938 (It's a wild world. There's a lot of bad and beware.)
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To: big gray tabby
If this plane was at 8,000 feet 24 seconds after an initial explosion, how high was it when it was "hit"? A jet doesn't fly on for 24 seconds after you knock the nose and the first class section off of it, it falls.

So how high was it when it was struck? What kind of missile has a range that high? What kind of flight path has you that high so soon after takeoff? Didn't this leave from JFK?

The initiating event was at 13,800 ft. The altitude of the Massive Fireball Explosion of 8000 ft. is about right for a ballistic fall, given the forward momentum of the remaining aft section of the aircraft. It does NOT allow any time for the CIA's and NTSB's mythical "Zoom climb" of the noseless 747.

The altitude was actually a little lower than normal for that particlular flight path because it had been delayed by traffic above it and placed in a lower altitude for a short time by the controllers. At the time of the incident it had started to climb again.

25 posted on 02/21/2003 6:25:12 PM PST by Swordmaker (Tagline Extermination Services, franchises available, small investment, big profit)
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To: shamusotoole
Some time ago, you posted an article concerning "pellets" that could be considered a missile signature that were found in the wreckage of Flight 800. You concluded, it is possible to thus identify the type of Missile, and I would presume therefore, the country of manufacture. Are you at liberty to share what knowlege you may have on this topic.

I believe that article was posted by John Fiorentino, not me. However, to ascertain the provenance of those "pellets" would require the re-opening of the TWA-800 investigation. The independent investigators do not have possession of the "pellets"... just the reports. Like much of the other evidence from TWA-800 that raises questions of foul-play, it has been swept under the official rug.

26 posted on 02/21/2003 6:30:27 PM PST by Swordmaker (Tagline Extermination Services, franchises available, small investment, big profit)
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To: ACross
"I believe anybody who believes any conspiracy/cover up story is a raving and certifiable lunatic."

I'm one of the many thousands of people who has a little inside info from a family member about one of those 'lunatic conspiracy coverups'. It's nothing that will ever get outside my family. The family member involved would simply deny it. But let's just say he had a complete attitude change ever since it occurred. When something like that affects your family, you start to notice things other people overlook. You start to piece puzzles together.

BTW, did you laugh at the Tainted Blood coverup? I correspond with a mother of one of the victims. Did you laugh at the Echelon program? That was proven to be correct. Did you laugh at the Waco conspiracy? That conspiracy theory has many congress members convinced. What about the Old Left media's conspiracy to hide most of Clinton's past? Such his full and complete pardon of a drug dealer. You think it's lunatic to believe he did that as governor? Did you laugh at peoples' paranoia regarding the IRS? Gee, that was proven to be accurate as well. What did you think when J. Edgar Hoover said there was no such thing as a mafia? And when Jerry Luther Parks said he was going to be 'killed next' when he heard about Foster's alleged suicide, that was just a paranoid raving, right?

When people on the right said that Clinton was committing nuclear treason, that was just lunatic, right? Regarding, Monicagate, when Betty Currie's brother was beaten the day before she was scheduled to testify, and then he was run over by two trucks the day before her next scheduled day of testimony, that was just a coincidence.

When people talked about FBI Filegate, oh that's just paranoid rantings, right?

Yes, I can understand your belief that this is all looney tunes. I think you belong back in the 50s. You will not be able to handle all that will be coming out.
27 posted on 02/22/2003 5:07:55 AM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: 300winmag
"Get hit by a SAM, and you at least have enough time to get out a mayday, even if you don't know what's causing all the red lights to appear."

Interesting. But what about the hundred or so witnesses who made accounts that the FBI was able to triangulate? The witnesses saw something fly up into TWA 800 from many different viewpoints at the same time.
28 posted on 02/22/2003 5:15:27 AM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: ACross
I believe anybody who believes any conspiracy/cover up story is a raving and certifiable lunatic.

Where were you during the eight years of deception? I'd put absolutely NOTHING past those people, but proof is hard to come by.

29 posted on 02/22/2003 5:40:19 AM PST by JimRed
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
Interesting. But what about the hundred or so witnesses who made accounts that the FBI was able to triangulate? The witnesses saw something fly up into TWA 800 from many different viewpoints at the same time.

I can't say for certain, but I suspect self-deception on the part of many of the witnesses. Unless they sequestered themselves immediately, and wrote down their impressions, they're vulnerable to re-interpreting what they saw in light of further news/conversations, and even re-thinking the event. And it was a horrific event that would obviously be etched in their minds. Rush recently mentioned a study that showed how a large portion of test subjects were easily convinced that they remembered Daffy Duck at Disneyland when they were kids.

A shoulder-fired SAM is a tiny missile, with a small flame, and a thin column of white smoke. Depending on how far the witnesses were from the probable launch site, it might be too faint to really be seen. Also, why were these people looking at that spot in the sky anyway? The plane itself was unremarkable.

It would take at least 15 seconds for even a supersonic SAM to reach that altitude. How many people were watching that entire time? And if they weren't watching from the start, what caused them to switch to the scene? My own theory is that they saw the breakup and explosion of the main explosion of the plane, which was shooting upwards, trailing fire and debris. The human mind then provides the "reasonable" explanation, a fire trail from the ground to what they saw in the sky.

I'm not saying these people lied, but there are plenty of opportunities here for honest self-deception. From what I've read about missile hits, only a powerful bomb placed at the right location in the aircraft structure could produce the type of damaged indicated.

It would be bad enough for 800 to be taken down with a SAM. But even worse if a bomb, produced and placed by someone with expert knowledge, was the real culprit. The klinton regime quickly decided that campaign contributions from the airline industry was far more preferable than telling the American people that we were under terrorist attack. So they produced the "center fuel tank" myth, that merely stated that every 747 has always been a potential flying bomb.

30 posted on 02/22/2003 6:26:14 AM PST by 300winmag
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To: 300winmag
How many people were watching that entire time?

Quite a few, actually. I spoke personally to Mike Wire, arguablly the witness most believed by the FBI/CIA/NTSB to be credible, judging by the efforts made to distort his account by the production of the infamous series of "cartoons." After speaking to him I have no doubt that he saw exactly what he described. And he did not discribe an airliner climbing and shedding parts. He described a missile.

31 posted on 02/22/2003 11:50:26 AM PST by acehai
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To: 300winmag
I remember an early hearing on C Span. Traficant really stood out, saying, "Something stinks." He payed particular attention to the RDX chemical that was supposedly put there to test bomb sniffing dogs. [They later changed that lie to the lie about an orange glue. And Traficant caved. I think we all know why he caved now.]

Most ofthe congress critters were blaming it on bad wiring, calling for legislation to rewire every US commercial jet! They later backed down on that lie, thank God, before they scrambled the wiring of all our commercial jets and caused more deaths due to that lie.

The investigator that was replaced kept trying to insist that commercial jet fuel is not as dangerous as military grade anymore. The one who replaced him admitted he wasn't as knowledgeable but kept trying to push the military fuel stats on everyone.

What a joke that hearing was. But we are simply nuts, right? Like that other poster said. Believing in this stuff makes us daffy. Well wrap me in tinfoil. I can't stomach all these changing and overlapping lies they spoon fed us.
32 posted on 02/22/2003 12:58:46 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: acehai
The triangulation of eye witnesses that was mentioned in that c-span hearing was prety impressive. They considered that it might be 'after the fact,' but the witness accuracy could not be explained away that easilly. But frankly, whether it was a bomb inside the plane or a missile outside the plane is not the primary question. The primary question is, did the US government lie to us? Why did they lie? Do they still lie? And how often?
33 posted on 02/22/2003 1:08:00 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: 300winmag
I can't say for certain, but I suspect self-deception on the part of many of the witnesses.

You can't say at all. Why would they delude themselves? Certainly they did not get any accolades for their testimony, no rewards; they got nothing but accusations of being mistaken, drunk or deluded from the investigators.

Rush recently mentioned a study that showed how a large portion of test subjects were easily convinced that they remembered Daffy Duck at Disneyland when they were kids.

Strange you should cite that Rush broadcast... because it somewhat makes your point stronger. Rush actually said "Bugs Bunny" not "Daffy Duck".

A shoulder-fired SAM is a tiny missile, with a small flame, and a thin column of white smoke. Depending on how far the witnesses were from the probable launch site, it might be too faint to really be seen. Also, why were these people looking at that spot in the sky anyway? The plane itself was unremarkable.

The test firing of a MANPADs missile in similar conditions showed that it was indeed visible and matched what many of the witnesses reported. The other point to be made is that it may not have been a "shoulder-fired SAM." A short time before the downing of TWA-800, a tripod mounted anti-aircraft missile was found set-up, ready to fire, on a Long Island road... it would have had greater range and produced a greater explosion. My understanding was that this particular model required two to three men to transport, set-up and fire.

The number of people looking in the right direction to see the event is not surprising. This is one of the most densely populated areas of the United States; to have just 600-700 eyewitnesses is a low number from the millions of potential witnesses in the area. Many people were on the beach, partying on seaside patios, etc.

It would take at least 15 seconds for even a supersonic SAM to reach that altitude. How many people were watching that entire time? And if they weren't watching from the start, what caused them to switch to the scene? My own theory is that they saw the breakup and explosion of the main explosion of the plane, which was shooting upwards, trailing fire and debris. The human mind then provides the "reasonable" explanation, a fire trail from the ground to what they saw in the sky.

Actually, a Mach 2.2 velocity anti-aircraft missile would make the ground to impact in under 10 seconds assuming an arcing trajectory. Actual reports of eyewitnesses put it at about 8 seconds. Many of the eyewitnesses claimed to have noticed a "flare" or "fireworks" like object rising at some point in its flight and then paid attention to the rest of the event.

The CIA and NTSB cartoons that show the plane "shooting upwards, trailing fire and debris" could not have happened. The radar track, the math, and physics do not support such a scenario. The MOST the plane could have climbed after decapitation of its nose was under 200 feet. Had the plane climbed as depicted in either of those cartoons, it would have taken between 8 and 16 seconds to reach the peak altitudes (NTSB-15,300ft, CIA-17,600ft) the two "official" scenarios propose. The fall from the additional altitude would equal the climb time... and then you add the fall time from the original event altitude. We know WHEN the last radar return showing the wreckage of TWA-800 on the screen occurred. Since there were no further returns after that, the main body of wreckage was in the Atlantic Ocean. IF the plane had climbed at all, there would have been between 3 and 7 ADDITIONAL radar returns in between 16 to 32 seconds additional "flight" time. There WERE NO MORE RADAR RETURNS. Therefore, the "Zoom climb" did not and could not have happened.

In addition to the time, we know the triangulation of the radar returns and therefore know the locations of the last radar return... it is consistent with where the plane splashed down. Had there been an arcing climb as per the CIA/NTSB cartoons then the plane would have splashed down a mile or more farther east than it did.

The radar returns, their positions, and times, the location of the main body of the wreckage, and the time of splashdown are ONLY consistent with a ballistic fall from the initiating event that broke the nose off the plane at 13,800 ft. with little or no climb.

34 posted on 02/22/2003 4:32:01 PM PST by Swordmaker (Tagline Extermination Services, franchises available, small investment, big profit)
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To: 300winmag
That is a possibility, but I think the whole "shoulder-fired SAM" thing is a red herring:

If it was terrorists, they were in a boat.

If they were in a boat, they could carry all but the largest SAMs - no need for it to have been a man-portable missile. Look how much high explosive was used against the Cole.

If it was a larger SAM, issues of range and enough explosive to break a 747 in two are moot.

Terrorists - al Quaida specifically - had access to larger SAMs from Afganistan and possibly Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc. The main constraint is how self-contained the missile system is: They could probably not use one with complex ground-based radar guidance.
35 posted on 02/24/2003 5:20:59 AM PST by eno_
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To: big gray tabby
Uh, who says it was a missle?

How about a "successful" show bomber? One like....RICHARD REID?

36 posted on 02/24/2003 5:30:03 AM PST by DCPatriot
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To: ACross
I believe anybody who believes any conspiracy/cover up story is a raving and certifiable lunatic.

Whereas someone who believes the party line on TWA 800 is... gullible?

37 posted on 02/24/2003 5:54:40 AM PST by eno_
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To: shamusotoole
There was a published study of these pellets removed from the bodies of victims.

From the description, they are fairly exotic ceramic balls: translucent orange ceramic material containing aluminum and titanium. These kinds of materials are extraodinarily tough and hard. You would only use them in applications where, for example, steel just isn't good enough. Maybe where weight is a concern.

Now it's possible that these were in the sample case of an exotic cermaic materials salesman, and that a bomb or missile warhead exploded near his sample case and turned these things into shrapnel. But more likely they were part of a missile.

Based on other discussions on FR, these are probably not part of the warhead's shrapnel, but, rather, part of the missile's other components.

An interesting speculation was that because these balls are so exotic, they probably did not come from a Soviet (much less North Korean) missile. Which boosts the "friendly fire" theories. On the other hand, governments like Iran, Iraq, etc. could buy European missiles, too.
38 posted on 02/24/2003 6:05:55 AM PST by eno_
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To: Swordmaker
"It shows that almost everything first blown out of the plane came from one area on the right side along the right wing. Two seats on the right side of row 23 had fist-sized holes in the back, and row 24 was missing altogether as was much of the material from rows 20-27. Traces of PETN were also found in this general area."

IMO, this was the most revealing data released during the whole investigation. It has never been logically explained. The fist size holes are a perfect description of the results of a missle warhead detonation damage.

39 posted on 02/24/2003 6:39:45 AM PST by Bryan24
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To: eno_; Swordmaker
My money has always been on the 30-35 Kt. "mystery" track as the source of the "mechanical problem" that doomed all those poor folks. Any idea what happened to the next half- hour of radar tracks? Did it turn back toward the coast or did it continue South-easterly? Or, do you think this is a "red herring?"
40 posted on 02/24/2003 9:26:38 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: eno_
Would this rule out Mistral as a potential source? (Mistral=Tungsten pellets)
41 posted on 02/24/2003 10:05:25 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: shamusotoole
As far as can be determined from non-classified sources, tungsten and other simple, tough, heavy stuff is the material of choice for shrapnel in warheads. IF (and that is stilla big IF) this stuff came from a missile, it probably did not come from a warhead. I'd be thinking about the joints that hold the vanes that steer the missile, or something along those lines.
42 posted on 02/24/2003 10:19:48 AM PST by eno_
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To: faithincowboys
We must understand - when all of this was going on - x42 was more interested in RETAINING HIS POWER than he was in protecting America.

I dare say - we are seeing the exact same attitude from the democrats today.
43 posted on 02/24/2003 10:26:22 AM PST by CyberAnt ( Yo! Syracuse)
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