Friday, May 29, 2015

The return of tin-foil hat time

The return of tin-foil hat time

It's been a while since we've had a good conspiracy theory here on Attytood -- and that's a damn shame. I think I'm like a lot of people (and many journalists, although probably not all will admit it) in that I love reading a good conspiracy theory -- but I also try to keep my BS detector tuned at a high enough level that ultimately I don't believe most of them. (And many conspiracy theories are easy to disbelieve...it was a hologram and not a plane on 9/11 -- um, yeah, right.) Of the what you'd call the major unproved conspiracy theories, I always thought there were two where there was a preponderance of evidence that the government lied in a big way (and if it makes you feel better, both cover-ups happened during Democratic presidencies.)

One, of course, is the JFK assassination -- just one piece of evidence, that fact that mob associate Jack Ruby gained access to silence Lee Harvey Oswald the day after he said "I'm just a patsy" is prima facie proof of a conspiracy, don't you think? (And don't get me started about "Umbrella Man.")

Then we have the strange case of TWA Flight 800 that blew up over Long Island in 1996. For months, the public believed the plane was struck by a missile. Why? I dunno, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that over 200 credible eyewitnesses told investigators that they saw something that looked like a missile rising from the waterline and striking the plane seconds before it exploded. Then, in what you'd have to call the "Jack Ruby" moment of the Flight 800 probe, the CIA -- think about that, the CIA! -- interjected itself with with a video to prove that the witnesses should not believe their lyin' eyes.

The government then announced that a wiring  flaw led to a fuel tank explosion, that this was simply a horrible accident. If so, all 747s should have been grounded until air travelers were assured that such an explosion could not happen again. But they weren't. It's almost as if the government didn't feel like pretending its bunk story was true. Remember that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were cruising (no pun intended) to re-election in 1996 -- a finding of a missile meant either a) an act of international terrorism that would have called for a military response at a time when "no war" was the much better political option or b) a U.S. military training exercise gone horribly awry, with a massive cover-up. Talk about an inconvenient truth!

But now, 17 long years later, is it possible to tell the truth about Flight 800?

MINEOLA, N.Y. - Former investigators are pushing to reopen the probe into the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of New York, saying new evidence points to the often-discounted theory that a missile strike may have downed the jumbo jet...

The effort to reopen the probe is being made in tandem with the release next month of a documentary that features the testimony of former investigators who raise doubts about the NTSB's conclusion that the crash was caused by a center fuel tank explosion, probably caused by a spark from a short-circuit in the wiring.

In a petition seeking to reopen the probe, they say they have "reviewed the FAA radar evidence along with new evidence not available to the NTSB during the official investigation and contend that the NTSB's probable cause determination is erroneous and should be reconsidered and modified accordingly."

Those calling for a review of the investigation include former NTSB accident investigator Hank Hughes and Bob Young, a former senior accident investigator for the now-defunct TWA. Tom Stalcup, a physicist and co-founder of a group called Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, also questions the NTSB's original findings and is featured prominently in the documentary, which is slated to air on the 17th anniversary of the crash next month.

Will the Obama administration allow for an extensive and unfettered investigation. The same White House that's all but overtly backing a member of the Clinton household to become the 45th president? We'll have to see.

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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