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Demise of the TWA 800 cover-up?

Posted By Jack Cashill On 08/08/2001 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Editor’s note: James Sanders, a former police officer turned investigative reporter, co-writes this report with Jack Cashill. Sanders is the author of “The Downing of TWA Flight 800″ and “Altered Evidence,” among other books.

The scene: WABC Radio, New York. This is where Rush Limbaugh made his reputation and where Sean Hannity and a host of national talk radio personalities hold court Monday through Friday.

The time: Saturday, Aug. 4, about 6 p.m. We walk through the enormous 17th floor studio. Here is the “golden EIB microphone” through which Rush once communicated to his more than 20 million listeners before moving to Florida. We will not reach that many on the John & Paul weekend show – the first national establishment media personalities willing to explore the Flight 800 issue – but no audience in America is bigger at this time of day.

Kudos to John and Paul, brave souls both, for accepting this challenge. Expectations are high. Whistleblowers, we are told, are coming forward to provide the hard evidence we need to prove beyond doubt the criminal cover-up of the Flight 800 investigation.

The producer takes us into an empty studio for a briefing. The first part of the four-hour program will be a review of known facts for the listening audience. Paul Angelides and Mike Wire, two highly credible eyewitnesses, will represent those hundreds of other eyewitnesses who have been marginalized by the government. Among the other insults borne by those bold enough to speak out are “stupid” and “lowest of the low” – and these from prominent federal officials.

Don Nibert is to follow. Don’s daughter, Cheryl, was one of 16 high-schoolers and five chaperones from the forever-saddened small town of Montoursville, Pa., to die on that tragic flight. Unconvinced by government explanations, Don brought expert witness Glen Schulze to the NTSB to discuss the missing 4-seconds from the flight data recorder. Glen Schulze will join us as well.

Three retired commercial airline pilots, each with significant aircraft crash investigative experience, will also appear. There will be much information to squeeze in before the red meat is offered up – the whistleblowers with first-hand knowledge – that missile-fire brought down Flight 800.

At the briefing before the show, we are told that the lineup is still in flux. Sensitivities within the world of intelligence require a continuing embargo on at least part of what the whistleblowers promise to deliver. We continue to hope for a limited exposure of anxiously awaited documentation.

Over the next three hours leading up to show-time, the seemingly enormous suite of offices and studios at our disposal grows smaller and smaller as additional witnesses, bereaved family members, lawyers, public relations specialists, and various board ops and button pushers crowd in to observe the coming show.

There is lots of kibitzing about “friendly fire” versus “terrorist.” This is not the argument that we, Cashill and Sanders, want to pursue. The goal of our partnership from the beginning has been to present compelling evidence of illegal obstruction within the government investigation. Indeed, as we have shown, virtually all salient evidence has been altered, destroyed, lost, withheld or even manufactured.

Throughout our shared investigation we have stuck relentlessly to what we can prove. This has made our work all the more threatening to those who oppose our investigation. They would love to discredit us. This we know. The argument as to who pulled the trigger only gives them ammunition and removes the focus from where, at this stage, it belongs.

John and Paul are committed to the proposition that terrorist missile-fire is the only reasonable explanation for the loss of TWA Flight 800. We know that our e-mail will question us as to why we do not balance the terrorist position with evidence of friendly fire. But again, this is one fight we choose to avoid – at least for now.

A last minute briefing by the hosts diminishes hope of any meaningful whistleblower activity on the program. We remind the hosts that the show has promised a good deal more than it is about to deliver. Not to worry, we are told. Documents are in hand that will dramatically move the issue forward, even in the absence of warm bodies from within government.

Now, it is show time.

The pace is fast. Witnesses, experts and family members deliver a hard message, one that stuns the uninitiated in the audience. Our side has enough talk show exposure to avoid the mind-numbing minutiae that we, in private, love to discuss. The first three hours are almost at an end when the hosts shove a pile of documents over to Sanders during a commercial break.

Sanders scans the documents and asks where the hot document is. A four-page document is identified. Sanders reviews it and tells the hosts that they have a problem. The document does not support what is supposed to be revealed in the last hour of the program. In the middle of these intense few moments, the advertisement ends and the microphones go live once again.

It is a long, painful 10-minute countdown to midnight and the next break. When that break arrives, there are only seven minutes of news and ads in which to identify the problem and solve it – or find something else to fill the final hour of the program.

The hosts storm into the control room where the producer holds court. Has an incomplete set of documents been faxed to the hosts? Or perhaps the wrong documents? Left unsaid inside the control room is the ever-present concern that these documents have been sent by someone who intends to destroy the hosts’ credibility after the documents are used on-air.

The producer begins to dial the phone. He’s not a bashful person. In fact, he is a take-charge sort of guy even by the hyper standards of New York City.

A mad scramble ensues. The producer searches for the right phone line to Mr. X, who is supposed to possess the documents that have to be in studio before John and Paul can assure the listeners that the information in their possession is powerful.

Seven minutes of advertisement fly by in about 15 seconds. The hosts, adrenaline pumping, fly back into the studio and improvise while the producer, amazingly, reaches through the phone lines and throws an anti-terrorist expert into the breach while the scramble continues to obtain the requisite documents needed to move the Flight 800 issue forward before the show ends.

The hosts, on air, have said they will identify the Stinger-type missile that brought down Flight 800. The serial number will be revealed. The documents in-hand cannot do that. Had those documents been quoted on air, the well-oiled disinformation machine would have had ample fodder to discredit those who challenge the government, most notably the stalwart hosts and ourselves.

The disaster is prevented, but the documents providing accurate serial numbers do not appear through the fax machine. The program ends.

The claim has been made on establishment media – WABC radio, New York – that devastating documentation of terrorist missile-fire does exist. Will the documents be forwarded to the talk radio hosts?

Will the documents, if provided, be able to withstand scrutiny in a civil court setting? Has the cover-up really begun to unravel from within?

Or has a new disinformation effort, seen so many times in past cover-ups, been narrowly avoided. We will not have to wonder long. The answer will soon be obvious. The WorldNetDaily audience will be the first to know.

 


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