Sunday, July 17, 2011

15 Years Ago...

TWA flight 800 exploded off Long Island 15 years ago today. There's not much more to say that hasn't been said... the government gave its probable cause, which if correct would represent the first such occurrence in a commercial jet aircraft in flight (none have occurred since), but strange things sometimes happen. Most have forgotten and accepted and moved on, but writers like Jack Cashill are still frustrated.

In his latest exercise of frustration Cashill points to an excellent book by Richard Miniter about KSM (a good primer in case a trial ever happens). The book contains nothing about flight 800 but the screaming message throughout is one of aviation terror, whether it be the 'planes' operation on 9/11, the failed 'Bojinka' plot, Yousef's seat bomb on a Philippine Airlines 747, the plan to crash a Cessna into the CIA complex, or their lifelong buddy Murad the pilot.

Indeed, aviation plots have dominated the terror news since the 90s, as recently as the parcel inkjet plot and the underwear guy (and a few unexplained crashes where terrorists have taken credit). Prior to the 90s, Arab terrorists had long made heavy use of hijackings going back to the 70s. At one point flight 800 was thought to be part of the same pattern, then after a dog training exercise explained away the PETN residue on the aircraft and a government animation explained away the streaks of light seen by dozens of witnesses, the big media lost interest despite the weakness inherent in those explanations.

While government investigative bodies aren't likely to weigh in on this case anymore there are a few questions not involving investigators that could still be asked. For instance, somebody could ask John Kerry and Katie Couric (video now gone from internet) and George Stephanapoulis what they meant when they called 800 a 'bombing' during the chaos of 9/11. Kerry even mentioned it again on a September 24th interview, well apart from the chaos of the day. Stephanapoulis wrote an excellent biography--published before 9/11--about his time in the White House and never mentioned 800.

Aside from those questions, which presume to point to a state sponsor, others are still inquiring. According to a Vanity Fair article, lawyers representing a 9/11 family claim that former commission attorney Dieter Snell has claimed in an affidavit there is compelling evidence that Iran helped facilitate the 9/11 plot. This was hinted in the final report but not strongly; if Snell has stronger evidence it's not being published.

And why would it? The public might demand our leaders take it further than 'the water's edge', and maybe we still aren't ready to do that yet. Some terrorism experts suggest that Hizballah maintains sleepers throughout North America that can be activated should something occur in the mother country. Responsible leaders have to plan carefully and play the game right. And of course there is always politics to consider.

Consider our presence in Libya now--reportedly as a UN and NATO member to 'protect the people' (or whatever the current rationale might be--the MSM has lately focused all their energy on bringing down Murdoch and Fox). Maybe we've actually slipped past the water's edge on this one due to al-Megrahi and other previously unmentioned horribles.

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