Tuesday the Federal Aviation Administration announced plans to
require Boeing and Airbus to begin retrofitting all 3,800
commercial airline jets in the United States with systems to
protect fuel tanks from accidental explosion. Not only is this
directive an unnecessary burden for the already crippled airline
industry to bear, but this mandate is also the culmination of a
bona fide government conspiracy.
Trans World Airlines Flight 800 exploded off the coast of Long
Island shortly after takeoff on July 17, 1996. The official
National Transportation Safety Board explanation for the disaster,
which killed all 230 on board, was faulty wiring inside a center
fuel tank that sparked and ignited fumes in the plane’s center fuel
The NTSB has thereby directed Boeing and Airbus to spend
$140,000 to $220,000 per plane to equip all commercial airliners
with systems that will fill empty fuel tanks with nitrogen, making
the gasses inside them inert. This measure would be a good idea if
faulty wiring inside a fuel tank were really the culprit.
According to a 2000 NTSB study posted on the Web site
www.flight800.org, 736 people witnessed the explosion when it
occurred, mostly from the beaches on Long Island on the warm summer
night. Of those witnesses, 258 reported seeing a streak of light in
the sky that abruptly ended with an explosion.
Among these 200-plus eyewitnesses were sober and responsible
parties including a National Guard helicopter pilot and people on
Long Island with no reason to lie. Ninety-four percent of the
witnesses who saw the streak said it originated from the ocean’s
The helicopter pilot, Capt. Chris Baur, said he observed a
“pyrotechnic device” make contact with a second object in the sky
and “cause it to explode.”
Baur flew his chopper to the scene, where he discovered for
himself the second object was flight 800. But since he did not
“immediately” determine the second object to be an aircraft, his
account was dismissed as unreliable.
The dismissal of Captain Baur’s testimonial is just one of many
similar eyewitness accounts dismissed by the board. In fact, not a
single eyewitness who observed a streak of light heading toward
Flight 800 was allowed to testify before the official inquiry.
The board decided what the witnesses saw traveling toward Flight
800 was actually part of the aircraft that had already exploded.
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Another inconsistency in the NTSB’s official report of the
disaster has to do with the FBI’s discovery of the explosive
residue RDX on seats in rows 17-19 of the plane. RDX is a stable
and effective explosive substance used in U.S. Navy surface-to-air
The FBI explained away this evidence by citing an amazing
coincidence. According to an essay written by Emmy award-winning
producer Kristina Borjesson, the FBI claimed the residue was
present on the plane because the aircraft was used in an exercise
that involved bomb-sniffing dogs at the beginning of that June.
Airline logs contradict this explanation. Even if the
explanation were true, it would be fantastical to believe the
residue would be spread over three rows of seats.
Borjesson’s essay also included reports of Naval exercises
taking place in the general vicinity of the crash July 17. These
reports are admittedly unreliable, but only because the Navy
refuses to confirm or deny the presence of ships in the area that
Borjesson’s independent investigation of the Flight 800 disaster
cost her a career with CBS. The man who originally leaked to the
press news of RDX residue, Jim Sanders, was brought up on federal
charges of removing evidence from a crime scene. While Sanders was
later exonerated, both of these people were publicly ruined for
their attempts to uncover the truth about the accident’s real
I’m not claiming the U.S. Navy shot down Flight 800 on purpose.
I’m claiming the Navy shot it down by accident, covered its tracks
and now is charging the airline industry almost a billion dollars
to help cover up the mistake. I encourage people to investigate
this matter for themselves and see how much evidence there is
supporting this theory.
Hero of the Week: During the job fair last Thursday, a person
wearing a George Bush mask ran into the Lory Student Center Main
Ballroom and threw a pie in the face of the Halliburton recruiter!
Delicious! Whoever you are, congratulations for stickin’ it to the
Zero of the Week: The New York Yankees. Boo! Boo to Major League
Baseball for approving the A-Rod deal and boo to anyone who’s
excited about the trade. Until baseball’s owners and players pull
their heads out of their greedy glutei maximi and settle on a
salary cap, the game will be never more than what it is today: A
tired, predictable, ridiculous farce.
Joe is a senior majoring in history and is not a conspiracy
theorist. His column runs every Thursday.