Thursday, November 9, 2006
This week I received a communication from retired United Airline Capt. Ray Lahr. It contained two items of great interest – one dollop of good legal news and one unexpected and truly incredible report.
The legal news concerned Ray's success in Los Angeles District Court after years of "long and lonely and expensive" effort. Judge Howard Matz had succinctly mandated that "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) shall produce to plaintiff the material set forth in Exhibit A and the National Transportation Safety Board shall produce to plaintiff the material set forth in Exhibit B." Significantly, the judge also authorized Lahr attorney John Clarke to file for fees and costs. This is a definite win.
Lahr has been suing for release of the information that the two agencies in question had used to produce their notorious zoom-climb animation subsequent to the 1996 downing of TWA Flight 800 over Long Island – animation that was used to discredit the testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses, many of them military and aviation personnel. Lahr sees this animation as the Achilles' heel of a consciously skewed investigation, and in this he is correct.[To see the CIA/FBI "zoom-climb" video as posted on You Tube, Click Here - The Archivist]
Lahr also sent me a CD review of the case titled merely "TWA Flight 800 Crash Evidence Review," which I will hereafter refer to as "the Review." Before I finished reading it, I sent Lahr an e-mail, which read in part:Brilliant work on your explication. I am only halfway through it, but I am totally impressed. Everything else that has gone before it is the work of amateurs, mine included.
The message I got back from Lahr, however, floored me. He did not write this report. He received it anonymously in the mail. I was stunned. The Review in question is the most sophisticated piece of investigative reporting that I have ever read on this or any other crash.
The unknown author likely put years into this work. He surely comes from within the aviation community, which may explain his desire for anonymity. He argues crisply, patiently and comprehensively. He provides ample illustration of his contentions and rarely, if ever, does he exceed his knowledge base.
Most impressive is his knowing synthesis of all the available evidence – radar, eyewitness, physical, audio, GPS, debris field – to recreate in detail the flight taken and damage done by each of the missiles fired at TWA Flight 800. What is more, the author uses only the evidence that was available to the National Transportation Safety Board to reach conclusions that they should have reached with the same data.
The Review author believes that based on the debris field alone, "the administration would have known within the first two weeks after the crash that missiles brought down the aircraft." Although prudent in his accusations, he strongly suspects that the long delay in recovering the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder indicates that the decision to misdirect the investigation "actually occurred the night of the disaster." With this conclusion, I fully concur.
No one who reads this Review can doubt for a moment that the government has engaged in a massive misdirection in the gathering of evidence. Every major media outlet owes it to its audience to assign its best technical writer to read and review this work. The one CD includes the entire NTSB report as well.
To make things simple, I will happily provide a copy of the entire Review to any interested major media party. The author asked that the information be shared. Interested observers, who are willing to identify themselves, can obtain a pdf copy of Part I of the Review by contacting me through my website, Cashill.com.
In the weeks to come, I will break down the information into manageable chunks. For now, allow me to summarize the author's approach. The Review is divided into four parts. Each of the first three parts is dedicated to the destructive path of one given missile.
In the way of example, the author argues that the first of the three was a large surface-to-air missile launched from 16 to 22 miles west of the crash site. The missile approached the aircraft on a descending track from the rear and struck it without exploding. The author is very specific in his detail, to wit, "This impact broke the horizontal stabilizer pitch trim jackscrew in tension and caused the aircraft to pitch upward." Not all the writing is this technical, but where specifics are needed, the author does not shy from providing them.
The fourth part, and the one least supported by existing evidence, is dedicated to other unidentified objects in the sky that night. The author makes the public relations mistake of calling them UFOs. What he means are unidentified aircraft. They do not come from outer space. I will call them UACs.
In the book "First Strike," James Sanders and I argue that a UAC may very well have been in the mix, and that UAC may have been a terrorist plane. The author, too, believes that a UAC was in the mix as well as three missiles, but he does not believe that the UAC was a manned aircraft. He makes a compelling argument that the UAC information that the FBI gathered was so hot that it was simply not allowed in to the official record. Every now and then, however, some information bled in accidentally. The most obvious example of the same was a photo taken by Linda Kabot that seemed to show a slender cylindrical object flying away from the scene of the crash.
Wisely, the author refrains from saying who fired the missiles or launched the aircraft, although the evidence strongly leads away from anything but a highly sophisticated military operation. It is possible that terrorist involvement may have gone no deeper than warnings given and credit claimed. Someone in Washington knows just how deep that involvement was.
The author argues that an independent panel from outside Washington is essential to conduct a new investigation. "Otherwise," he contends, "the same insider influences in both political parties, who have prevented the truth from being revealed previously, would control the investigation's outcome."
In the best of all possible worlds, Ray Lahr's case may just crack open the official door.
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Jack Cashill is an Emmy-award winning independent writer and producer with a Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue.