Beast of the Month - January 1998
James Kallstrom, Chief FBI "Investigator", TWA Flight 800
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Among the stories of 1997 that topped the charts of Konformist readers' interest, the suppression of facts in the TWA Flight 800 explosion seems to be one with little, if any, competition. And leading the fight in suppressing the facts was James Kallstrom, head of the FBI's "investigation" in the matter, which seemed little more than debunking any evidence which would lead back to the military.
Recently, the FBI came to the conclusion of what caused the death and destruction of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people on board. The conclusion? Uh... they don't know. Nonetheless, the FBI suspended the 16-month criminal investigation, saying no evidence of foul play had been found. They then released a CIA-produced videotape which concluded that what the vast majority of witnesses saw and described as a "streak of light" was instead the plane itself before it became a fireball, rather than a missile streaking across the sky.
Gee, what is the CIA doing in this domestic affairs investigation? Good question, one that is conveniently sidestepped by the korporate media as it uncritically showed their video, which supposedly closed the case on the missile theory.
Of course, that didn't stop Mike Rivero, internet investigator, from examining the CIA simulation (and the later one by the National Transportation Safety Board) and conclude that it was a blatant fraud. Furthermore, the CIA simulation and the NTSB one differ radically, which indicates the "evidence" is nothing more than manufactured propaganda to cover other possibilities. As Frederick Meyer puts it, who was piloting an Air National Guard rescue helicopter the night of the crash when he saw TWA 800 explode, "I saw the (CIA video) scenario. It just isn't what happened. They've changed the sequence of events." Meyer is a combat veteran who had missiles fired at his helicopter in Vietnam, said he saw a streak approach the jetliner in a slight downward arc, two small but sharp explosions, and then the huge fireball that fell to the ocean.
None of this evidence dismissing by hi-tech cartoons should be too surprising: Failure Analysis Association, a California engineering company with some rather dubious connections, had previously released "independent" computer simulations of the JFK assassination and Nicole Brown-Simpson/Ronald Goldman murders which conveniently followed the often implausible pronouncements of the official story.
But that is but the beginning of the TWA 800 scandal as it has recently unfolded. Perhaps the best known recent development is the sudden "no mas" pronouncement of Ian Goddard, the leading cyber-sleuth of the accident, who is one of the most prominent voices (along with Pierre Salinger) of the theory that TWA 800 was shot down by "friendly fire" from the military. After tiring of what he viewed as harassment of himself, he announced that he was dropping his research. Soon after that, CNN (who previously ignored his name) ran as the headline story that Ian Goddard claimed to make up his evidence to further his political agenda. The claim was never made, which means the report is at best a serious error. Despite Goddard's attempt to correct their error, CNN has yet to retract, and later had Mr. Kallstrom repeat this falsehood on their network. Soon after, Salinger would announce he had given up his investigation as well, not because a lack of belief but because he had grown tired of the ridicule.
Then there is the case of James Sanders and his wife, flight attendant Elizabeth. Sanders is the author of the book "The Downing of Flight 800," which also alleges that TWA 800 was a victim of a military missile. In early December, the Sanders were charged with stealing fabric from seats recovered in the wreckage of the crashed airliner, fabric they obtained by Terrell Stacy from the TWA 800 reconstruction hanger. According to their lawyer, Jeffrey Schlanger, "They believe the removal by Mr. Stacey of the fabric was done under the authority vested in Mr. Stacey as an investigator of the crash itself. It was Mr. Stacey's belief that politics between the FBI and the NTSB were getting in the way of a prompt and full investigation of circumstances and facts surrounding the crash of flight 800 that led to his actions." The fabric, incidentally, was tested by a California laboratory, which concluded that red residue from the seat cushion contained missile fuel. The Sanders may face up to ten years in prison for their crime of trying to find the truth. You would think that journalists, who supposedly cared so deeply for the rights of The New York Times and Washington Post to publish the Daniel Ellsberg-leaked classified Pentagon Papers, would have headline stories over this comparable outrage. But the rights of a freelance journalist and his wife apparently aren't as important as those of korporate organs.
If these two case studies aren't enough, there is the mysterious disappearance of Jeremy Crocker, a 61-year-old engineer and dedicated TWA 800 investigator. Crocker was last seen Dec. 9 at the downtown Los Angeles library where he did much of his research on the crash. He never returned to his Hollywood home, and police and family members have found no trace of him other than two possible sightings a couple days after he vanished. Crocker's two sons believe his disappearance may be connected to the July 17,1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island, either that he could have become frightened by what he learned in his research and vanished voluntarily, or that he could have been killed to prevent him from sharing his findings. It should be noted that Crocker also believed a projectile knocked the airliner from the skies. He then created mathematical models and studied the aerodynamics of the crash. He had previously worked for private firms that held contracts with the Air Force and NASA in the late 1960s, having been flown to airline disasters to study the impact of crashes on the human body for research. In other words, Crocker can be legitimately labeled "an expert" in this field. Considering the possibility that he may have been kidnapped, you'd think the FBI would try to help finding him, but apparently they're too busy hunting down stolen fabric from airline seats.
Of course, none of this proves that the military shot down TWA 800 by accident. There is, after all, the strong possibility they shot it down intentionally. In any case, an Executive Order that Klinton signed precludes the Navy Divers who recovered the wreckage from the Whistleblower Protection Act for anything they might have seen on TWA 800, so good luck in finding the truth from them.
Meanwhile, as true investigators of TWA 800 get intimidated, arrested, or "disappear", Kallstrom decided to retire from the agency at the end of the month. "My time has come," the FBI assistant director and chief of the agency's New York office said in an interview. "I have to take care of my family and make sure my daughters are educated properly. I don't leave because I want to leave, but it is time for me to think about other responsibilities." His new job? Senior executive vice-president at MBNA Inc., an international bank and credit card company based in Wilmington, Delaware. "It was not in my character to leave before the TWA Flight 800 investigation was concluded. I thought I owed it not only to the bureau but to the victims' families and to the American citizens."
What Mr. Kallstrom owes is a reportage of the truth, but instead his suppression and lies have earned him a golden parachute off TWA 800. Considering the FBI's investigation came up with no conclusion as to what caused the crash, his work can at best be described as an embarrassing failure, and at worst (or, more correctly) an utter fraud. So, while he now wallows in mammon from his deceit, one can faintly hear the echo of his words three days after the accident: "A reasonable man knows the chances of this being mechanical are slim, whether it's 1 percent or 5 percent."
In any case, we salute you, James Kallstrom, as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Jimmy!!!
For further information and help:
JAMES SANDERS LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
Jim & Liz Sanders L.D.F.
Speed & Schlanger
60 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10165
Post Office Box 24825
Los Angeles, California 90024-0825
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