By Douglas J. Hagmann

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.” -Winston Churchill

In a number of ways, one specific event that happened twenty-years ago next month is even more relevant to today’s political and geopolitical landscape.

It was on Wednesday, July 17, 1996, a serene summer evening when the burning wreckage of TWA Flight 800 fell into the Atlantic Ocean not far from the southern coastline of Long Island, New York.

At 8:31 PM ET, just twelve minutes after taking off from JFK airport, the lives of all 230 people on-board tragically and unexpectedly ended. The lives of their surviving family members were also forever changed. So too, was the trajectory of our nation.

We were told that following a long and exhaustive investigation, the cause of this significant loss of life was a mechanical malfunction of the Boeing 747-100, an explosion of the center fuel tank, something that had not happened before or since. The actual facts, however, point to something entirely different. Enter author Jack Cashill.

Admittedly, investigative journalist Jack Cashill was not the first or only person to pick up the mantle of investigation of TWA Flight 800 in the fall of 2000, nor did his questioning the government account come lightly. However, Mr. Cashill made up for any lost ground through his tenacious investigation and contacts that exposes not only the lie, but the mechanics of the lie. He exposes the identities of those who orchestrated and facilitated in perpetuating the lie in his forthcoming book, TWA 800, The Crash, The Cover-Up, and The Conspiracy (available for purchase here on July 5, 2016). 

I was graciously given the opportunity to read an advance copy of his book, which led to a revealing, in-depth on camera interview with Mr. Cashill that can be seen here. Mr. Cashill pulls no punches in his identification of the people involved in directing the official investigation away from the truth even before last pieces of the aircraft struck the water.

With the passing of time and his relentless investigative efforts, new information is contained in this work that must immediately become a matter of public record. Those involved in the deception must be held accountable for the sake of the victims as well as the future of our nation, for some of the people behind the cover-up either remain in positions of power or are actively seeking them today.

TWA 800, The Crash, The Cover-Up, and The Conspiracy contains new information that will leave even the most well-informed and well-read stunned. His manner of presentation is well-sourced and heavily documented. His new findings, combined with previously established facts, is capable of withstanding even the most vigorous governmental cross-examination, and should readily convince even the most hardened skeptic of the lies that have been thrust down the throats of the American public.

Sadly, though, it is due to an orchestration of deceit that the victims of this tragedy and their families have been further victimized, along with each eyewitness that night and every American citizen who cares about the truth. Even after two decades, the blood of the victims cries out for the truth, while the cries of their loved ones continue to be unceremoniously muffled by the foot soldiers of the unscrupulous and corrupt.

A Cover-Up Too Big to Contain?

From the outset, Mr. Cashill expertly destroys the myth that a cover-up and conspiracy involving TWA Flight 800 to prevent the truth from being known would take too many people to accomplish. It’s a common and legitimate argument, yet one that Mr. Cashill painstakingly and adeptly rebuts by describing how the magnitude of the TWA 800 deception actually helped protect it.

He describes how the investigation was ultimately directed by the highest people within our own government and how the flow of information was expertly controlled through the careful placement and discreet handling of agency heads. In this and other common conspiracies, it’s all about controlling the gatekeepers of the information.

Specific to the cover-up and conspiracy involving TWA 800, it should surprise no one that all roads lead directly the Clinton White House and Clinton-era newsrooms. This is a situation that has continued inside and outside of the beltway and one that has been reinvigorated and reinforced for the upcoming 2016 election.

The astute reader and honest investigative journalist will be able to see the emergence of a familiar strategy of information containment and political damage control orchestrated by the “Clinton cabal,” past and present. In this and numerous other situations potentially damaging to the political aspirations and ambitions of these serial liars and their abettors, their behavioral profile becomes clear. Tactics employed on the night of July 17, 1996, did not begin then, but much earlier. Nor have they stopped, but continue today.

Having a compliant infrastructure already in place and a captured media ready to direct an already fatigued public away from the truth, including a certain few ‘investigative journalists’ to give the false appearance of honesty, inconvenient truths can be more easily contained and managed. Under the pretext of exposing scandalous activity, the public’s attention can be diverted away from far more serious criminal actions. It’s an effective strategy used by the media, and a comfortably profitable enterprise for certain journalists and pundits willing to compromise truth for the warm glow of the spotlight, however fleeting. To them, the lives of the victims be damned, along with the truth.

Then there are the career politicians and agency heads placed in certain key political, intelligence and even military positions. Their tactics of containing the truth and misdirecting the public becomes even easier, especially if convinced that perpetuating a lie is not merely a matter of loyalty, but an issue of national security. Ending the careers of those who see through the charade or who are unwilling to assist becomes blood sport, while those who agree to play are handsomely rewarded. 

If this operational strategy sounds familiar, it should. We have seen Hillary Clinton use the same tactics in her position as Secretary of State as she dealt with the loss of life in Benghazi and her continually troublesome e-mails. Previously, it was Whitewater, the strange death of Vince Foster, Travelgate, et al. Again, the operational strategy is from the same playbook, the same set of plays, and in some cases, the same players today, some twenty years after TWA 800.

Context & Location

To fully appreciate the importance of what happened on July 17, 1996 and the events that followed, we must understand the context of events current to that era. It was just two days before the opening of the Olympic games in Atlanta and less than four months before the 1996 general election.

America had already experienced a number of terror events under the Clinton watch, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Reelection was foremost on the minds of the Clintons, their aides and supporters, and the appearance of peace and prosperity was vital.

During the previous administration, we had humiliated Saddam Hussein in Desert Storm. As it happened, July 17, 1996 was Saddam Hussein’s National Liberation Day. Iran was also emboldened by foreign policy, and other seemingly disparate events that threatened Americans sense of peace and prosperity were of political concern to the Clintons. Consequently, America’s military forces were at a high state of alert, and there was a heavy presence of naval and other military assets off our east coast.

The peace and serenity on that calm summer evening seemed to sufficiently distract most Americans away from an election campaign that convinced us we were living in a Norman Rockwell setting. In an instant on that warm summer evening, the perception of serenity was threatened by the worst aviation disaster in America at that time.

In this context and with the presidential election a long four months ahead, reality needed to take a back seat to perception to avoid disrupting the unfinished business of the Clintons and their associates. With such high political stakes, getting ahead of whatever happened that night and shaping the public account was paramount.

Evidence Manufactured, Evidence Destroyed

At 8:19 p.m. ET on July 17, 1996, TWA 800 departed from JFK enroute to Rome with a stopover in Paris. There were 212 passengers aboard along with 18 crewmembers. An additional 53 employees of TWA were also aboard, most of them deadheading back to Paris. Everything appeared normal until twelve minutes into the flight. At an altitude of 13,760 feet and about 12 miles from the southern shore of Long Island, the aircraft was destroyed and all lives aboard were lost. That much is indisputable.

But what caused this massive loss of life? An honest investigation of the evidence, including those who witnessed what happened in the sky that night, should answer this question. The necessary component is, of course, the honesty and integrity of the investigation. As it was ultimately discovered, the investigation was “managed” from the start and a false narrative was served to the American people.

There were nearly 700 eyewitnesses to what happened to TWA Flight 800 on that fateful night. Of those witnesses, 258 people saw an object ascending from the horizon to the aircraft, leaving a signature contrail in its wake. Another dozen additional witnesses saw what could be described as a missile strike and the passenger aircraft breaking up and falling into the Atlantic in about 120 feet of water.

These eyewitnesses were interviewed by the FBI, who had taken over the reins of the investigation from the NTSB, an interesting (if not telling) investigative hand-off itself. Yet those witnesses who were interviewed found that their accounts were radically different on the FBI’s 302’s, or interview reports, to represent a completely different scenario than they witnessed. No, it was not due to the much ballyhooed “Mandela Effect,” but to deliberate human intervention.

In some cases, supplemental interviews with witnesses were… wait for it… completely fabricated – created out of whole cloth. The addition of witness statements that better conformed to the government’s account streamlined the lie. In other cases, witness statements were significantly changed without the knowledge or consent of the witness for the same purpose.

Equally disturbing is the fact detailed by Jack Cashill that evidence inside the hanger where TWA 800 was being methodically reassembled for investigative analysis was deliberately mislabeled and in some cases, physically altered or completely removed. Entire seats were, in fact removed and other parts found missing.

Evidence tampering was so bad that at one point, a surveillance camera was installed by a senior NTSB investigator inside the hangar where TWA 800 was being stored and reassembled. Covertly secured footage documented recorded two FBI agents inside the hangar without authorization at 3 a.m. during the investigation. Additionally, and even more telling, the footage captured the activities of a FBI agent trying to flatten out a piece of metal with a hammer. Shaping the narrative, perhaps literally.

In all such instances, it is obvious that the objective was to remove or change the evidence to better fit the official account of the Clinton White House.

Such evidence tampering also seems to potentially include the “black boxes” of TWA 800. Jack Cashill describes the strange circumstances surrounding not only the recovery of these vital instruments, but the analysis of the data they held. Oddly, the boxes reportedly contained no useful information that would shed any light on the cause of the crash.

While Mr. Cashill declined to speculate on the cause for insufficient or missing data, others have suggested activities far more nefarious that includes the recovery, editing and replacement of the data recorders to be found later. As improbable as this conspiracy might appear, circumstances indeed suggest something did happen in the days before the boxes were recovered.

The altering, removal and tampering of evidence by agents of the government is well documented and beyond dispute. Yet none of those involved in this practice were ever investigated themselves, except one. Terry Stacey, a 747 pilot and an investigator on-site at the hangar where TWA 800 was being stored, developed serious concerns about what he was witnessing with the investigation. To that end, he sent a small bit of foam from one of the seatbacks that appeared to contain explosive residue to author and investigative journalist James Sanders for testing at an independent lab.

Testing of this bit of fabric was critical in determining the presence of explosive residue consistent with a missile tearing through the plane. This residue was found on parts of the aircraft’s wing and on the seats in a confined area, and ended up registering positive in independent testing. Such findings were consistent with the numerous accounts of a missile strike.

Faced with a possible breach in their official narrative with the release of their findings, the Clinton Department of Justice vigorously pursued Stacey and prosecuted Sanders to regain control of the official account of the event. Not even the ultimate Clinton fixer and unofficial custodian of inconvenient archived documents, Sandy Berger, received such treatment. But that’s yet another perverse aspect of this most amazingly brazen saga.

Climb, Zoom, “to the Moon, Alice”

It’s unlikely that the majority of readers will pick up on my reference to Jackie Gleason in the above sub-heading, but one thing is abundantly clear. A visual rendition of the mid-flight break-up of TWA 800, created by none other than the folks at the Central Intelligence Agency, was rolled out for public consumption. Not quite ready for either prime time or inclusion at Cannes, it was dutifully peddled to a slumbering public by a complicit media.

While referencing Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners might seem a bit obscure, I contend that it is no more obscure than a more recent reference to another feature presentation tied to Hillary Rodham Clinton. I redirect your attention to 2012, to the pre-planned and well-organized attack of the CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, when the Clinton State Department sent their carnival barker Susan Rice to all of the Sunday morning talk shows to cite an obscure Internet video as the motive for the attack that killed four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador.  Again, we find a Clinton in the mix of credits and at the end of the investigative trail, along with the fingerprints of the current head of the CIA, John Brennan.

This animation explains how deceptive the lyin’ eyes of multitudes of witnesses can be. Furthermore, by believing in this animation, we were forced to completely reevaluate certain basic laws of physics and aerodynamics. Here, the CIA showed the irrelevance of gravity and the myth of physics by claiming that the body of the 747 managed to climb around 3000 feet after a catastrophic event ripped the nose from the plane.

The CIA created film never made it beyond trailer status and aside from a few cult followers and media pundits, was considered a flop unworthy of widespread release. Its role in this investigation complete, it has been relegated back to the dustbin of history, except by those hold-outs who receive their salaries from taxpayers or those in the media who continue to promote the B-Roll from Benghazi.

What Difference Does It Make?

At this point, you might be questioning the relevance of an event that took place 20 years ago to current events and the present state of affairs.

There is, of course, the obvious Clinton connection, especially since Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be the presumptive nominee on the Democratic ticket for this November. Beyond that, however, the benefit of time and the investigative work of Jack Cashill provides us with a roster of other individuals involved and the positions they hold today. Some have been amply rewarded with prime political appointments after providing their complete cooperation in the TWA 800 investigation, while others have become pernicious pundits peddling their prevarications on both sides of the political paradigm, compliments of a complicit media.

One thing, however, should remain perfectly clear. The lives of 230 people were snuffed out on July 17, 1996, and the lives of their families and loved ones were forever changed. With every passing anniversary, they are being victimized again by those who refuse to tell the truth about the events of that night and in the days, weeks, months and years that have followed. There are people alive today who know the truth and still do the right thing.

As we have seen since that night in July 1996, history is repeated. There have been more victims and more lies, all for the sake of politics, money and power. We must not let the victimization continue, for it will only get worse. Only when one looks back with intellectual clarity will the future become much clearer.

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