Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, reporter Greg Evans wrote “Wing Nut Fires Latest Missiles at TWA 800,” a critique of the documentary, “TWA Flight 800” His article can be seen here: http://buswk.co/18qNdgc Our rebuttal below corrects the mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and misleading statements in the article.
“Wing Nut Fires Latest Missiles at TWA 800”
In the title of his piece, Evans refers to a “wing nut,” which, if he is referring to anyone on the “TWA Flight 800” investigative team, is inaccurate and defamatory. According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, the first two definitions of a wing nut are: “a nut with wings that provide a grip for the thumb and finger” and “a mentally deranged person.”
Bill Clinton declined an interview request for Kristina Borjesson’s missiles-did-it documentary “TWA Flight 800.”
He must be hiding something.
Evans assumes that Mr. Clinton “must be hiding something” without providing any supporting statement or proof. We made no assumptions about this or anything else in “TWA Flight 800”. We requested an interview with the president because the crash occurred under his administration and documents we procured from the CIA indicate that the CIA kept President Clinton apprised of important developments during their process of gathering and analyzing eyewitness accounts for the animation the CIA eventually produced.
At least, that’s the sort of thinking that pervades the film.
Evans provides no examples or proof to support this allegation.
“Flight 800,” airing July 17 on Epix, is a 90-minute rehash of old theories, forensic minutiae, calcified (if endlessly intriguing) eyewitness accounts and the familiar, post-9/11 demonization of naysayers.
The film’s title is “TWA Flight 800,” not “Flight 800.” Evans’s characterization of the contents of the film is inaccurate and again, he makes allegations without providing examples or proof. No theories are “re-hashed” because no theories are presented. We present only evidence, documentation and dovetailing eyewitness accounts. Evans’s characterization of the considerable forensic evidence presented in the film as “forensic minutiae” is inaccurate. This evidence includes explosives traces found all over the wreckage, inward penetrating holes into the fuselage from the outside, a large number of fractures consistent with a high-energy detonation, and FAA radar evidence of a high-velocity and sideways-moving detonation. Also, the hard forensic evidence presented and described by first-hand sources confirms the observations of an overwhelming number of eyewitnesses who describe events in the sky consistent with military ordnance.
The catastrophic jet liner explosion off the coast of New York’s Long Island 17 years ago gave rise to a durable conspiracy theory: The plane, carrying 230 people from New York to Paris, was the target of surface-to-air missiles.
In “TWA Flight 800,” we do not allege that the jetliner was a target of any kind.
Both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board conducted separate investigations, each dismissing the possibility of an attack.
This is correct as far as it goes, but Evans does not provide any details supporting the FBI and NTSB’s conclusions. As we report in our film, the FBI recused itself from the investigation after airing an animation produced by the CIA in which the CIA claimed the eyewitnesses could not have seen a missile. Internal CIA documents that we procured show the CIA knew the animation was incorrect. In fact, the scenario in the CIA animation is not only at odds with eyewitness accounts, but also with the FBI agents’ documented conclusion that there was a “high probability” that a missile was involved. The NTSB’s investigation into whether or not a missile hit the airplane was limited to looking at shoulder-fired missiles, and did not look into the possibility that a larger proximity-fused missile, which leaves very different signatures, was involved. Further, as we show in our film, much of the evidence of an explosive event causing the jetliner’s demise was altered, removed, falsified, and/or ignored.
The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the explosion was a short circuit of electrical wiring.
The NTSB never found the source of the short circuit, so their “probable cause” finding was presented without providing any hard evidence or proof of a short circuit in the fuel tank. No mid-air Jet-A fuel explosion from an internal source has ever occurred before or after TWA Flight 800. No hard evidence for a short circuit exists. In fact, the electrical system named as the culprit was pieced back together and found to be in perfect working condition, i.e. no short circuit damage. This means that the official theory for the crash is highly improbable.
Physicist Tom Scalcup — the reporter and subject of “TWA Flight 800” — sees a world of wiggle room in “probable” and questions how the NTSB findings squared with eyewitness accounts of missile-like objects streaking upward toward the plane.
The proper spelling of Dr. Stalcup’s name is S T A L C U P. The NTSB’s “probable” cause determination is not only challenged by Dr. Stalcup, but also by investigators who were part of the original government investigation. This is why those investigators and Dr. Stalcup submitted a petition to the NTSB to reconsider their probable cause finding in this case. The NTSB’s findings do not square with the eyewitness accounts. This begs the question: has Evans personally reviewed all the eyewitness documents or spoken to any eyewitnesses? The “TWA Flight 800” investigative team has done both.
(For an idea of how cemented that image has become in our national consciousness, see “White House Down,” which includes an almost note-for-note recreation of the Flight 800 computer simulations available for years on the Internet.)
Here, Evans refers the reader to a fictional Hollywood feature film for a “note-for-note recreation of the Flight 800 computer simulations.” In “TWA Flight 800,” the investigators used the NTSB’s own simulation software to plot the actual path of TWA Flight 800. This is the first animation that actually follows the FAA radar tracking. No government simulation has achieved this.
“TWA Flight 800” chronicles a dogged, two-year effort by Stalcup and several former crash investigators to convince the NTSB to reopen the case.
This statement is inaccurate. Dr. Stalcup and the former crash investigators did not conduct the investigation to “convince the NTSB to reopen the case.” The investigation was conducted to review and present the forensic evidence, hard evidence, documentation and eyewitness accounts that show what happened to TWA Flight 800. Only after this exhaustive work was completed did the investigators decide to petition the NTSB to reopen the case.
Stalcup’s interviews with like-minded witnesses are, indeed, fascinating — miniature case studies of people convinced of what they saw and burdened by nearly two decades of being dismissed as little more than self-proclaimed UFO abductees.
It is precisely because so many eyewitnesses don’t know each other and yet give such similar accounts that they are compelling. In the case of TWA 800, the distortion and altering of the eyewitness accounts, threatening of eyewitnesses and prohibiting them from testifying at the NTSB hearings, are all violations of both FBI and NTSB practices and procedures. These unprecedented violations are documented in our film by first-hand sources and internal government documents. The obvious question here is: why did these violations occur?
Evans’s characterization of the eyewitnesses as people “burdened by nearly two decades of being dismissed as little more than self-proclaimed UFO abductees” is inaccurate and defamatory. Again, his statement begs the question: how many FBI 302 witness documents has Evans reviewed and how many eyewitnesses has he personally interviewed?
“I thank you very much,” says one woman, through tears, to Stalcup. “It’s very frustrating that nobody gives a shit anymore.”
The woman Evans described is not an eyewitness. She is a victim’s family member, thanking Dr. Stalcup at a family member briefing on the team’s findings.
But the film doesn’t seriously question whether 17 years of telling (and hearing) the stories hasn’t merely reinforced faulty accounts — a Safety Board member who raised the possibility years ago remains vilified as a “Mr. Fix-It” for…who, exactly?
Here again, we refer Evans to the original eyewitness accounts in the FBI 302s that were provided right after the crash and the statements key eyewitnesses make later. The FBI agents who conducted early eyewitness interviews and recorded them in the 302 summary documents provide detailed accounts of what the witnesses said. Those witnesses provide very much the same information today as they did then. Most significantly, from a review of the FBI’s initial interviews, the original NTSB witness group Chairman determined that 96 out of 102 witnesses who saw where a streak of light originated, said it rose off the surface. Prior to this, lead FBI agents originally assigned to determine what the eyewitnesses saw, and who interviewed these witnesses personally within days of the crash, determined that there was a “high probability” that a missile was involved.
The Safety Board investigator Evans is referring to is former NTSB Eyewitness Group Chairman David Mayer, who replaced the witness group chairman who compiled the statistics mentioned above. David Mayer grossly misrepresented the eyewitness accounts in his sworn testimony during the final NTSB hearing on the crash in an attempt to disprove that the eyewitnesses saw a missile. Using the earlier FBI 302 accounts and the eyewitnesses’ own accounts, “TWA Flight 800” shows exactly how Mr. Mayer misrepresented their accounts. In the film, Mr. Mayer is referred to as “Mr Fix-it” by Hank Hughes, the NTSB’s senior accident investigator at the time, because Mayer “fixed” the eyewitness accounts as well as “fixed” or changed evidence tags which gave the impression that certain pieces of wreckage had fallen into recovery zones other than the zones in which their original identifiers placed them. Falsely showing certain key pieces of wreckage as having fallen in certain zones is, according to Mr. Hughes, “technically illegal.” Changes like these appeared to have been done, according to top TWA investigator Bob Young, to fraudulently bolster the official theory of what happened.
The film suggests that new analyses of radar evidence points to a “high velocity” explosion, rather than the NTSB’s finding of a “low-velocity fuel-air explosion.”
At least, that’s Stalcup’s conclusion — as reporter, star and senior scientific advisor for the documentary.
The film offers no dissenting interpretation of his facts, or even outside acknowledgement that his facts are facts.
The radar evidence is hard evidence. The radar data indicates debris flying perpendicular from the airplane at speeds of Mach 4 (four times the speed of sound) or better. Dr. Stalcup’s physics training makes him more than qualified to perform simple speed calculations from two separate sets of radar data that confirm the event. His straightforward analysis was fully vetted by other qualified scientists and several former airline crash investigators. It can be reviewed by anyone within the petition submitted to the NTSB on June 19, 2013, a copy of which can be found here.
The film presents and documents other evidence of a high-velocity explosion, as do certain NTSB exhibits. The key point Dr. Stalcup made in the film has yet to be challenged by anyone: that the officially proposed low-velocity fuel-air explosion cannot account for the very high speed debris recorded by two separate radar sites.
Also, corroborating the radar evidence discussed above and matching the eyewitness statements is the fact that explosives traces were found all over the airplane. This is not according to Dr. Stalcup, this is according to the FBI agent responsible for that testing who appears in our film, Mr. Bob Heckman. In the documentary, Heckman says that there were “multiple” explosive hits. Further confirmation comes from Hank Hughes, the NTSB’s own senior aviation accident investigator who confirmed that the “high degree of separation of parts” in TWA’s interior (which Mr. Hughes reconstructed) indicated an ordnance explosion “outside the airplane.” The “outside acknowledgement” that Mr. Stalcup’s facts were facts, came from the government’s own investigators of the crash.
Nor does the documentary attempt to explain how a cover-up that would require hundreds of participants could remain secret for 17 years.
The documentary “TWA Flight 800” names the names and shows the faces of the individuals most responsible for misleading the public on the true cause of the crash. It also presents first-hand accounts of intimidation and threats on the part of the FBI and NTSB toward those with information that challenges the results of the official investigation.
Besides this documented intimidation campaign, there was a multi-pronged disinformation campaign, partly run out of the CIA. A CIA team led by principal investigator Randy Tauss (who worked with the NTSB’s David Mayer) took care of misinforming the public about what the eyewitnesses saw by producing an animation that has since been discredited. FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom’s team steered the NTSB towards looking into only one type of missile: shoulder-fired. A shoulder-fired missile was not likely to have caused the crash. Based on the evidence, the most likely missile type was a proximity-fused missile designed to explode at a significant distance from its target.
Kallstrom’s team met with military engineers at China Lake and obtained sample items with shoulder-fired missile damage. There is no record of these engineers providing the FBI with damage signatures created by proximity fused missiles.
With sample pieces containing “pock marks” from shoulder-fired missiles in hand, NTSB investigators such as Metallurgy Group Chairman Jim Wildey began looking through the TWA 800 wreckage for similar damage.
Early during the investigation, a CIA official [name redacted] from the Office of Weapons Technology admitted in an internal CIA email we obtained that a shoulder-launched missile was most likely not to blame.
When investigators found no evidence of telltale shoulder-launched missile “pock marks” left on the wreckage, they stopped pursuing this avenue of investigation, instead of looking for signatures of other types of missiles that create different damage patterns.
In fact, the evidence indicates that a proximity fused missile (which does not create pock marks) caused the crash. Proximity fused missiles leave inward penetrating holes in their targets as well as widespread explosive traces, both of which were found throughout the TWA Flight 800 aircraft.
The NTSB Final Report clearly states regarding their missile investigation that only a shoulder-fired missile was considered. So the NTSB did not consider the possibility that a proximity-fused missile caused the crash.