Some truths CNN reveals only accidentally. One such truth Anderson Cooper shared on the night of July 17. In speaking about the shoot down of Malaysian airliner MH 17 earlier that day, Cooper referred back to “July 17, 1996, when TWA Flight 800 was shot down off the coast of Long Island in New York.”
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TWA Flight 800 was fresh on Cooper’s mind. Two days earlier, Cooper hosted a CNN special report on the subject, “Witnessed: The Crash of TWA Flight 800.” To understand the depth of media-government complicity, it is useful to compare “Witnessed” with two prior videos. The Downing of TWA Fli...
One is the ironically titled, “No Survivors: Why TWA 800 Could Happen Again.” CNN created this special report for the tenth anniversary of the crash in 2006. The second is a fifteen-minute video produced by the CIA in 1997 that we will call “Zoom Climb.”
“Zoom Climb,” the theatrical highlight of the FBI investigation, was designed to negate the stubborn testimony of the eyewitnesses. An animated sequence in “Zoom Climb” shows an internal fuel tank explosion blowing the nose off the 747. According to the video’s narration, TWA 800 then “pitched up abruptly and climbed several thousand feet from its last recorded altitude of about 13,800 feet to a maximum altitude of about 17,000 feet.”
This rocketing aircraft was alleged to look like a missile and to have confused the eyewitnesses. This animation was essential to close the investigation. Without this zoom climb scenario, the FBI had no way to explain what hundreds of official eyewitnesses had actually seen.
In the animated sequence created for the 2006 “No Survivors,” however, CNN completely eliminated the zoom climb from its explosion scenario. A year ago, I addressed this discrepancy when I appeared on CNN’s “New Day” program with the producer of “No Survivors,” Jim Polk. Polk, who spoke before me, implied that there was but a single eyewitness, a helicopter pilot who said “he did see a missile before the explosion.” Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.66 Buy New $9.95
I countered, “Well, unlike what Jim says, there were 270 eyewitnesses to a missile strike, 96 of them, this is FBI eyewitnesses, saw it from the horizon ascend all the way up to the plane.”
I then asked Polk, “Why did you eliminate the zoom climb if the CIA — and what was the CIA doing involved in this in the first place — if the CIA used that to expressly discredit the eyewitnesses?
Polk admitted the CIA zoom climb was “controversial” and conceded that CNN removed it because “there’s no supporting evidence for the CIA’s animation.” In “No Survivors,” however, Polk did not bother even to acknowledge the controversy, namely that the CIA had created a bogus animation to discredit the very real testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses, and CNN knew it. “Controversial” does not do this outrage justice.
Aware, perhaps, that some viewers caught the discrepancy, “Witnessed,” split the difference between the CIA’s zoom climb and the perfectly flat trajectory of “No Survivors.” CNN did so by showing an animation produced by the NTSB three years after the CIA video to smooth out some of the absurdities in “Zoom Climb.”
In this animation, Flight 800 rises gently for about 1500 feet, corkscrews in the sky in great sweeping loops, then noses over and falls more or less straight down. Like “No Survivors,” however, “Witnessed” does not alert the American Conspiracies:... Best Price: $0.98 Buy New $3.50 viewer to the inconsistency among these videos, an inconsistency that reveals the rank dishonesty of both the CIA and NTSB productions.
“Witnessed” did, however, add some dollops of truth to the official media position. One had to do with the testimony of pilot David McClaine who witnessed the crash from an Eastwinds airliner about three thousand feet above TWA Flight 800 and some twenty miles away.
In “No Survivors,” CNN uses his testimony to support the government position. The network quotes McClaine as saying, “I did not see any missile at all.”
In fact, McClaine’s full testimony made hash out of the government position. When a few honest members of the NTSB witness group finally got to question the CIA analysts responsible for the animation in 1999, they focused on McLaine’s testimony. They did so because his testimony refuted the CIA theory.
“If [TWA 800] had ascended,” Robert Young of the NTSB witness group told the CIA analysts during this interview, “[McLaine] would have been concerned because it ascended right through his altitude.” When a CIA analyst tried to deflect the question, Young continued. “I think [McClaine] would have noticed [the climb],” he said sarcastically. “Your analysis has it zooming to above his altitude.” First Strike: TWA Flig...
In “Witnessed,” CNN allows McLaine to make the case that when he saw the explosion, “[TWA 800] went down, not up. . . . The wings fell right off the airplane right away. So how is it going to climb, or what if it had no wings?” McLaine also conceded that a missile “could have come from the other side of the airplane,” but from his position above TWA 800, he did not see it.
Young and his colleagues also grilled the CIA analysts about just how many people actually saw the purported zoom climb. “That is something that a few eyewitnesses saw,” said Analyst 1. “The guy on the bridge saw that.” The CIA, in fact, built its animation around this one individual.
On July 30, 1996, Mike Wire, a millwright who observed events from a bridge in Westhampton, had told an FBI agent exactly what he had seen, specifically “a white light that was traveling skyward from the ground at approximately a 40 degree angle. . . . the white light ‘zig zagged’ as it traveled upwards, and at the apex of its travel the white light “arched over” and disappeared from Wire’s view.” After the light disappeared, the FBI 302 continues, Wire “saw an orange light that appeared to be a fireball.”
In “Zoom Climb,” the narrator says of Wire’s testimony, “The white light the eyewitness saw was very likely the aircraft very briefly ascending and arching over after it exploded rather than a missile attacking the aircraft.”