Tuesday, May 16, 2006

TWA 800, AA 77, 9/11 & Us

I’ve made my attitude about conspiracy theories clear over and over—I don’t like to generalize. In some cases of historical events, conspiracy questions are warranted, and have been proven sometimes. The King family has accepted that James Earl Ray wasn’t the only one involved in the murder of Dr. King. Several co-conspirators were hanged in the murder complicity of Abraham Lincoln.

Then there are the true believers, like the old African American woman I knew in college in Baltimore, during the moon shots of the Apollo program, who told me “they didn’t go to no moon! The government shot the whole thing on a sound stage. We can’t get to no moon!” I wasn’t about to argue--she was too convincing.

And there are the atheists, who find wing nuts at the helm of any talk of conspiracy, serving their own psycho-diabolical inner needs to justify the shit we’re in. One naysayer of 9/11 conspiracies, my friend Chris Dickey, of Newsweek, says in a phone commentary on the new 9/11 videos released today of the crash of AA flight 77 into the Pentagon, “Those who want to believe there is a conspiracy will continue to believe it, because they want to.”

When you watch the so-called videos, released under the Freedom of Information Act today to Judicial Watch , you see nothing new from the stills that have been out in the media of the surveillance cameras showing a quick streak and fiery explosion into the side of the Pentagon. If the official report concluded that a missile did this instead of a passenger airliner, that would be believable from the film/photos.

So what’s my point about 9/11, conspiracies, and these videos? One more quick story. TWA flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island shortly after takeoff, on July 17, 1996 at 8:45 PM, killing 212 passengers and 18 crew. I have a good friend who lives in Pennsylvania who flew secret combat missions in the Vietnam War, in fighter jets over North Vietnam. He was shot down on a mission and was rescued shortly after. He’s highly-technically oriented, and always has his good eye on what’s happening in the military world of flight development.

His first words to me after flight 800 went down were, “It was a missile.” He didn’t say it seemed like a missile, or it probably was a missile. He just stated a matter of fact, and we made the assumption that there was a major mistake made at some level of the military or whatever, and the cover up was in play. The statement “it was a missile” did not imply a conclusion of conspiracy to shoot down a civilian airliner. It didn’t imply anything other than the knowledge that the physical aspects of the crash could only have happened in a missile attack, not in an internal explosion on flight 800caused by a failure of gas canisters which became the official explanation.

What if the Pentagon explosion came from a missile? What if flight 77 went down in the Potomac, or even the Atlantic, never to be found? What if the intel powers that be found out that Al Qaeda not only used airliners as bombs that fateful day, but they had access to and used missile launchers and got lucky with one hitting it’s target—the Pentagon? What if our protective government doesn’t want the little people to know how big the attack was on 9/11, that the terrorists had missiles too, and there may be more around that they can’t find? Or maybe they don’t want to let us in on how badly they bungled the prior intel of what was going to happen?

All of this precludes any conspiracy on the part of the Bush regime to cause the events of 9/11—it does indicate a calamitous lack of competence on the part of the FBI, CIA and the rest of our intel sources. This isn’t so hard to believe—remember George Tenet’s smug sidelong to Bush about Saddam’s WMD, “It’s a Slam Dunk.” Well, it wasn’t, and 150,000 troops are coming and going out of Iraq in order to try to maintain some presence in the occupational aftermath of the US invasion due to Tenet’s elbow nudge.

I’m a long way from understanding what happened on 9/11. As I have said, there are those who know exactly what happened—the official version of the 19 terrorists with box cutters and an airplane manual in their laps; and there are those who also know exactly what happened—that the government covertly planned the whole shebang in order to reap the profits that wars bring, along with a bigger foot in the Middle East.

Neither of these views works for me. Bush, Cheney and company are not that adroit and too many loose ends hang open to have that kind of huge conspiracy actually work. Yet I’m still troubled by the idea that 19 guys on planes with box cutters caused all this devastation. Something happened on 9/11 that killed thousands of Americans and changed our society forever—I’d like to really find out the truth, and I know while Bush and his buddies are in control of the flow of information, we’re not going to find out.

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