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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jet Plane or Missile

“Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.” — Aristotle

There has been a great deal of news covering the video of a mysterious object leaving a contrail in the evening sky over the Pacific Ocean near Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. Click here for a video and report by Shepard Smith of Fox News.

The “experts” appear to be divided on the source of the contrail. Military officials decline to issue a firm statement and aircraft experts weakly claim it was the contrail of a jet airliner. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

I would think that in five minutes the reporters could confirm whether or not it was in fact a jet plane. A simple call to the FAA air controllers at Los Angeles International Airport would verify if it was a jet plane. The FAA controllers check their radar records to see what was over Catalina Island at the time the video was shot. They would also know the schedules for all aircraft in the vanity of LAX.  Why the mystery, why contact the military and why ask “experts” who do not have the radar plots.

In 2004 Nelson DeMille wrote Night Fall, a fictional thriller based on the facts surrounding the tragic 1996 crash of TWA 800 off the Long Island coast. On July 17, 1996, Trans World Airlines Flight 800 departed New York City's John F. Kennedy international Airport en route to Paris, France, carrying 212 passengers and 18 crew members. It departed JFK at about 8:16 p.m. eastern time and was climbing through 13,760 feet when, 14 minutes into the flight it exploded and fell into the Atlantic Ocean approximately 9 miles off Long Island. All 230 people onboard were killed. This is fact.

Nelson DeMille's novel "Night Fall" is based on factual evidence. The author explores the controversy surrounding the cause of the disaster which the US government still officially attributes to a spark in Flight 800's center fuel tank. The FBI interviewed 154 "credible" witnesses - including scientists, schoolteachers, Army personnel and business executives - who described seeing a missile heading through the sky just before TWA 800 exploded. They reported a "streak of light" hitting the plane just before it blew up." Their testimony was disregarded. Today, more than eight years after the event, questions are still being raised about the accuracy of the findings - about a possible cover-up. DeMille's research is impressive. He stresses that the novel draws on published accounts, plus interviews with investigators and eyewitnesses to the crash. He says he has "tried to represent all sides of this controversy," but adds that he has taken "dramatic liberties and literary license when there is conflicting evidence." This is, after all, a work of fiction. It is up to the reader to determine the level of believability.

Bud Mitchell and Jill Winslow, an affluent couple in their thirties, are in the middle of an illicit love affair. They're set for a romantic evening at the beach. It's a rare occasion when the two can get away from their respective spouses for an entire night. They find a cozy spot below a dune overlooking the ocean at Cupsogue Beach County Park on Long Island, bringing with them wine, a blanket and a video camera. Planning to make passionate love on film, Bud and Jill are excited by the thought of watching themselves later on the VCR. Suddenly a terrible explosion lights up the sky. The sound of a tremendous explosion follows. The couple flees, taking the camera with them, as police cars speed toward the scene, sirens blaring. In the car, on the way back to their hotel, Jill discovers that the camera has captured the entire event. Jill and Bud are no longer the main feature. The date is July 17, 1996.

Five years later, July 17, 2001, the crash of Flight 800 has been officially attributed to a mechanical malfunction. Kate Mayfield and her husband, John Cory, are both members of the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force. Together they attend the fifth year memorial service for TWA Flight 800's victims' families and friends. Kate was involved in the investigation and the case still haunts her. She has never been satisfied with the resolution and convinces John, an ex-NYPD detective, to take an interest in re-opening the investigation - on his own. Since they have been strongly warned by the FBI to stay away, the rogue, anti-establishment ex-cop becomes interested. When Kate introduces her hubby to credible eye witnesses and gives him a tour of the reconstructed airplane, his interest peaks. John is a superb detective and soon learns about a possible piece of crucial evidence that was never brought to light. He is determined to discover if it still exists, and in his search begins to see signs of a monumental cover-up.

Kate and John are obviously conflicted about John conducting his own unofficial investigation regarding the possible existence of a definitive videotape showing the crash; they realize that their discovery may not only ruin their professional careers but could possibly be life threatening if there really has been a cover up involving foreign terrorists and the clandestine operatives of US Government intelligence agencies. Of course, the reader knows that they will pursue the truth whatever the price they pay personally, both because that is the sort of individuals who they are and because otherwise DeMille wouldn't be able to tell his story. And have no doubts, this would have been a wonderful story even if it were totally fiction; the fact that the author did such a marvelous job of never contradicting the known facts concerning the crash makes it absolutely riveting. The discussion of the obvious flaws in many of the wild theories that have been advanced (e.g. a military cover up of a stray missile fired as part of the naval exercises being conducted in the area that night) on occasion added to my knowledge of the events and made the story quite plausible.

If you have not read the book I strongly suggest you get a copy. You will not it be able put it down. It is classic DeMille with his wise-cracking detective doing his job of unearthing the facts. the ending will absolutely shock you.

Here are two things to consider about this “so called” jet plane theory.

I have taken hundreds of commercial jets and fro the looks of the contrails this so call jet plane was climbing at such a step angle and at a speed that the passengers must have thought they were riding an Apollo rocket to the moon. I sure would like to hear from them.

Santa Catalina Island lays 26 miles off he coast of Southern California. With the exception of Avalon, on the northeast coast the island is a barren, deserted place. the western coast is rugged and desolate. The island also lays directly under the approach path for commercial aircraft coming from the north (Seattle and San Francisco) to John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County. I have flown over it numerous times. When you cross over Catalina you are at a height of about 10,000 feet or less and your speed is around 350 knots. If you were a terrorist you could not pick a better location to launch a surface to air missile (SAM). The Russian made SAM-7 (Strela-2) has a range of 3,700 meters (12,000 feet), well capable of hitting a commercial airliner doing 350-400 knots at 7-10 thousand feet.

I became educated in the capabilities of the SAM-7 while working with the Sri Lankan Air Force during my time in Sri Lanka. You can read about it in my book Footsteps on the Land, Chapter 39.

In no way am I suggesting that this was an accidental or trial firing of a surface-to-air guided missile from Santa Catalina Island. I am not postulating a conspiracy theory and a cover up, but consider what such an act would do to commercial air travel if such a terrorist act became public. Keep listening to the reports from the Pentagon and see if they come up with a plausible explanation. As of this posting none has come forward. Click here for the latest AP report — Nov 9, 10:22 PM EST

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