The Art of Warfare
What is FRATRICIDE all about?
Fratricide is the act of killing our own. When a soldier
drops a bomb or opens fire on his own fellow soldiers
- it's so called "friendly fire", so don't worry - be happy;
"Friendly fire" kills friendly.
U.S. "friendly fire" pilot
loses final appeal
(CBC, 03 Aug 2004)
INDEPTH: Friendly Fire
(CBC, Aug 2004)
NEW ORLEANS - A U.S. fighter pilot reprimanded for accidentally dropping a bomb on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan two years ago, killing four of them, has lost his final air force appeal.
Last month, Major Harry Schmidt was found guilty of derelicition of duty for his actions. His punishment included a written reprimand and having to forfeit $5,600 US in pay.
Gen. Hal Hornburg did not write an opinion in Tuesday's ruling. He just check-marked "appeal denied."
Schmidt, 39, has agreed that he will never fly U.S. air force jets again, although he remains in the National Guard.
Schmidt was one of two National Guard pilots who dropped bombs on Canadian forces during a nighttime, live-fire military exercise near Kandahar on April 18, 2002.
The four soldiers – Pte. Richard Green, Pte. Nathan Smith, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer and Sgt. Marc Leger – were the first Canadians killed in combat since the Korean War. Eight others were wounded.
Schmidt maintains he was not briefed on the Canadian exercise before the flight. He says he was told in the briefing that the Taliban was active in the area.
"It does bring closure, some form of closure, because now we can go on with our lives," Lloyd Smith, father of Nathan Smith, told the Associated Press from his home in Tatamagouche, N.S.
"Enough has been said and enough has been done and the rulings, in our opinion, are suitable and adequate."
US AF won't court-martial F-16 pilots
6/19/2003 - Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (AFPN)
-- The 8th Air Force commander announced decisions regarding the Tarnak Farms “friendly-fire” cases of Majs. Harry Schmidt and William Umbach on June 19.
Neither pilot will be referred to trial by court-martial.
Program keeps pilots awake, alert
(U.S. Air Force news release)
Go-pills, bombs & friendly fire
(CBC News Online | October 22, 2003)
Michael Eugene Mullen:
American Friendly-Fire Notebook
WWI WWII Vietnam Korea
Desert Shield/Storm Panama
'Friendly fire' incident|
kills 4 Canadian soldiers
(CNN, April 18, 2002)
Kandahar, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight wounded near Kandahar on Thursday when a U.S. F-16 dropped at least one 500-pound laser-guided bomb on them during a training mission, according to U.S. and Canadian military officials.
The "friendly fire" incident happened at about 1:55 a.m. in Afghanistan, the officials said.
Two of the injured Canadian soldiers sustained life-threatening injuries, one was listed with very serious injuries and five with serious injuries, according to a statement from the Canadian Defense Ministry.
Planning for the evacuation of the dead and wounded is under way, the statement said.
"I'd like to convey to the families and friends of the injured and dead soldiers our condolences and prayers," said Maj. Bryan Hilferty, U.S. Army spokesman at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
The U.S. and Canadian soldiers were conducting a live-fire training exercise in an area about nine miles (14 kilometers) south of the Kandahar airfield, the Canadian statement said.
The soldiers were firing at inert targets in a "recognized training area," according to Maj. Jamie Robertson, a spokesman for the Canadian Joint Task Force.
Canadian military authorities said they would carry out an investigation of the incident with the cooperation of the United States.
"The details are something that need to be determined ... but certainly my understanding is that there was no hostile activity in the area that would have created this incident," said Gen. Ray Henault, chief of defense staff, at a news conference in Ottawa.
The Canadian soldiers, part of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group, have been in Afghanistan since late January as part of Operation Apollo, Canada's military commitment to the campaign against terrorism, according to the Canadian Defense Ministry.
Friendly fire from U.S. jet
reportedly kills 4 Canadians in war zone
(Associated Press, April 18, 2002)
WASHINGTON (April 18, 2002 12:42 a.m. EDT) - A U.S. fighter jet accidentally dropped at least one laser-guided bomb on Canadian forces in Afghanistan early Thursday, causing some casualties, the U.S. military said.
The Canadian Press reported that four Canadian soldiers were killed and eight injured. The U.S. Central Command confirmed there were dead and injured, but said it didn't know how many.
Navy Commander Frank Merriman, spokesman for Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said an Air National Guard F-16 dropped one or two 500-pound bombs near Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold.
He said no further information was immediately available about what caused the error. An investigation was under way.
The Canadian Press report, citing an unidentified Canadian Defense Department official, said the Canadians were on an exercise about 10 miles south of their Kandahar base when two bombs were dropped.
Two of the wounded were in critical condition while one was classified as serious, the news agency reported. Arrangements were being made to transfer the dead and wounded out of the area.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien said President Bush had called to offer his condolences and pledged to cooperate with a Canadian investigation.
"As to the circumstances of what appears to have been a terrible accident, clearly there are many questions that the families, and all Canadians, expect to answered," Chretien said in a statement.
Canadian forces are fighting alongside U.S. and European troops seeking to hunt down remnants of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization and holdouts from Afghanistan's former ruling Taliban militia.
Board of inquiry report from |
the Canadian Dept. of National Defence
Overview of Canadian military
law and courts martial
Friendly fire case: the legal saga
(CBC News Online | July 20, 2004)
U.S. Air Force Maj. Harry Schmidt, one of the pilots involved in the "friendly fire" incident that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan, was found guilty of dereliction of duty on July 6. He was reprimanded and forfeited more than $5,000 US in pay. The air force agreed to allow Schmidt to remain in the Illinois Air National Guard, but not as a pilot. Schmidt later appealed the verdict, but the appeal was rejected. He also filed a lawsuit against the air force, saying it released his letter of reprimand to the media, in violation of his privacy.
Major Schmidt made a deal in June 2004 so he could face a non-judicial hearing on the charges. The maximum penalty he had faced was 30 days of house arrest.
Legal wrangling delayed the case again and again. In late March 2004, the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals refused to supply classified information to Schmidt's legal team. The ruling also prohibited Schmidt from discussing anything that could be classified with his lawyer, Charles Gittins.
In a statement released by Gittins in the summer of 2003, Schmidt said: "It is clear that I cannot and will not receive a full and fair hearing" in a non-judicial proceeding which is heard by a senior U. S. Air Force officer.
Schmidt faced two counts of dereliction of duty for not making sure he was dropping a bomb on the enemy and for disobeying air controllers' instructions to "standby" while information was verified. The formal counts allege that he "failed to comply with the applicable rules of engagement" and "willfully failed to exercise appropriate flight discipline over his aircraft."
Schmidt was originally charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts of assault. Schmidt's wingman, Maj. William Umbach was originally charged with four counts of aiding and abetting manslaughter, and eight counts of aiding and abetting assault.
Umbach agreed to accept a reprimand and retire from the Air Force.
When it decided to proceed with the dereliction of duty charges on June 30, 2003, the Air Force dropped the original charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault against Schmidt.
On June 19, 2003, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the U.S. 8th Air Force, who reviewed the case, decided that both pilots should receive non-judicial punishment. That meant the Air Force had decided not to court martial the two National Guard pilots who were charged in the incident outside Kandahar, Afghanistan on April 18, 2002. As well as the four Canadian soldiers who were killed, eight others were wounded when Schmidt dropped a 250-kilogram laser-guided bomb from his F-16 on the night-time live-fire military exercise.
Schmidt maintains he was not briefed on the Canadian exercise before the flight. He says he was told in the briefing that the Taliban was active in the area.
The ruling came after an Air Force "Article 32" hearing – the equivalent of a preliminary hearing in Canada – was held at Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier, La., in January 2003.
If Schmidt had faced the manslaughter charges, he could have received up to 64 years in prison. The dereliction of duty charge means Schmidt could face up to six months in jail.
The accident sent Canadians into mourning. Nearly two weeks later, the official mourning came to an end with an emotional memorial service in Edmonton.
Of the eight Canadian soldiers injured in the bombing, six returned to Canada the following week. The two others were treated for minor injuries and remained with their unit in Afghanistan. The unit, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, has since returned to Canada.
U.S. Army Handbook: |
Fratricide Causes and Effects
Field Manual FM 8-10-7
- Chapter 7
Fort Knox: Combat ID System Tested
A NEW Battlefield Combat Identification System designed to minimize "fratricide" on the battlefield was recently tested in simulation at Fort Knox, Ky.
The BCIS uses a millimeter-wave, transponder-receiver system that, for the test, was integrated into the current laser system used by armor crewmen to engage targets. "The wave seeks platforms that have been equipped with a receiver to match that system, and tells the crewman if they are looking at a friendly vehicle," said Jim Johnson, test director.
Operational Risk Assessment & Management:
Fratricide Reducings (Appendix A)
Gulf War: Fratricide at Umm Hajul
This is Bo Friesen's sad story about a fratricide incident that occurred during the Ground War, and the subsequent attempt by several senior officers in Bo's chain of command to cover it up. Moreover, these senior officers hung Bo out to dry for the incident in a pathetic and unethical attempt to cover their own tracks. This is a powerful and well-written account which will leave you both sad and angry. On January 28 1999 Bo informed me about his new web site. If you are interested in fratricide and so called "friendly fire" you should visit it and read Bo Friesen's story as well as his introduction and additional comments on that. Thanks Bo!
Bo Friesen: Fratricide at Umm Hajul
A Desert Storm Friendly Fire Incident and Cover-Up
Fratricide ... the act of killing one's brother or sister ... or, in the case of war, one's own soldiers. According to the Department of Defense, twenty-four percent of the 146 American battle deaths during Operation Desert Storm were by "friendly fire." A further fifteen percent of the 480 wounded were by our own troops. This article is dedicated to a fratricide that occurred at a small airfield called Umm Hajul, located about 150 kilometers southwest of Basra, Iraq. Sergeant Douglas "Lance" Fielder met his fate there several hours before sunrise on February 27, 1991 at the hands of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. (Full text)
Iraq: Deadly Mistaken Identity - How could
American warplanes shoot down two U.S. helicopters
By Richard Lacayo. Reported by J.F.O. McAllister and Mark Thompson, Washington
TIME Domestic April 25, 1994 Volume 143, No. 17
As the two helicopters sliced through the blue skies over northern Iraq last Thursday morning, a U.S. Air Force AWACS reconnaissance plane picked them up on radar. The AWACS crew immediately radioed a pair of U.S. F-15C fighters and asked them to take a closer look. Though there had been no reported violations of the no-fly zone over northern Iraq since January 1993, Iraqi helicopters had been a problem in the past, when Saddam Hussein used them to suppress the Kurdish rebellion that erupted after the Gulf War ended in 1991. The crews of the F-15Cs twice flew past the copters and identified them as Russian-made Hinds flown by the Iraqi military. The fateful, terse order came back from the AWACS to fire. Moments later, the blasted helicopters, each of them struck by an air-to-air missile, plummeted to the ground.
. . . Lives lost to friendly fire are a devastating cost of battle. Almost one-fourth of the 148 American combat deaths in the Gulf War resulted from accidental assault by their own side. The Pentagon established a Fratricide Task Force to develop ways to avoid such accidents. Even during the war, however, when hundreds of planes representing more than two dozen allied nations filled the skies, none of those deaths involved aircraft firing upon one another. Some military analysts believe that deadly misjudgments are made more likely by battlefield technology that hands over decisions to computers. Defense officials acknowledged that last week's mishap is likely to hamper efforts to improve the capability of new U.S. weapon systems to fire on an enemy from far away. "We were just really beginning to push beyond-visual-range technologies," says an executive at McDonnell Douglas, builder of the F-15C. "This is going to put a brake on that." (Full text)
InfoWar - RISKS - 15. 76.
RISKS-LIST: RISKS-FORUM Digest Monday 18 April 1994 Volume 15 : Issue 76
[Sources: various press reports in The New York Times and other papers, 15 Apr 1994 and 18 Apr 1994.] "Friendly fire" (also called fratricide, amicicide, and "misadventure") is not uncommon. An item by Rick Atkinson in The Washington Post (15 Apr 1994) noted that 24 percent of the Americans killed in action -- 35 out of 146 -- in the Persian Gulf war were killed by U.S. forces. Also, 15 percent of those wounded -- 72 out of 467 -- were similarly victimized. RISKS noted earlier the British Warrior armored vehicles that, mistaken for Iraqi T-55 tanks, were zapped by U.S. Maverick missiles, killing 9 men and wounding 11 others. Atkinson's article noted that this is an old problem, citing a Confederate sentry who shot his commander, Stonewall Jackson, in 1863, during the Civil War; an allied bomber that bombed the 30th Infantry Division after the invasion of Normandy in July 1944; and a confused bomber pilot who killed 42 U.S. paratroopers and wounded 45 in the November 1967 battle of Hill 875 in Vietnam. The old adage was never more appropriate: With friends like this, who needs enemies? The Black Hawk incident also brings back memories of the Soviet shootdown of the Korean KAL 007 flight and the Vincennes' shootdown of an Iranian Airbus.
Ray W. Burgess, P. G.M., Louisiana and SCRL member.
From The October 1993 Louisiana Freemason
"Friendly fire" is when those on your side are the ones who are shooting at you. Often times people are wounded and killed by "friendly fire." In the Civil War during the Battle of Chancellorsville, General "Stonewall" Jackson was wounded and subsequently died, when fired upon by a North Carolina regiment, a unit of Confederate skirmishers serving as outguards. In this case "friendly fire" cost the life of a famous general and could have affected the outcome of the battle. Throughout the Civil War, there are many other instances of mistaken identity, whereby "triendly fire" caused casualties among one's own forces.
Following the euphoria of Desert Storm, the American public was shocked to learn how many casualties sustained bv the American army, were the result of "friendly fire." Thirty-five of the 145 killed and 72 of those wounded were the result of "friendly fire." Seven MIAI tanks and 20 Bradley fighting vehicles were lost to "friendly fire." (full text)
The Air Campaign
Gulf lesson one is the value of air power...was right on target from day one. The Gulf war taught us that we must retain combat superiority in the skies...
Shared Situational Awareness
Shared situational awareness provides everyone with the same near-real-time picture of their relative battlespace. The company commander can see on his digital display where each of his elements are located, to include those out of the line-of-sight. In the same manner, the battalion commander can track his platoons, the brigade commander his companies, and the division commander his battalions. By means of a distributed database, the division can also portray the location of any single vehicle transmitting its position. By conversion to a network structure, the leader on the ground can also follow the progress of the units across his lateral boundaries, as well as those to his front, regardless of their unit affiliation. Maneuver operations can be more tightly synchronized while the instances of fratricide can be greatly reduced. At the same time, intelligence obtained from multiple sources is rapidly fused, analyzed, and transmitted, with enemy icons appearing on the same visual display.
Functional requirements for the brigade commander, executive/operations officer and command sergeant major are the same as above, plus have the ability to: Provide access to all available databases, directly to both B2C2 (or its equivalent) and ATCCS.
It is important to note the friendly location requirement includes units across adjacent boundaries, in a different combat radio net and possibly belonging to a different parent unit. The urgent need for this information in a near-real-time manner reduces the incidence of fratricide and better coordinates cross-boundary fire and maneuver. It is also a major factor in determining the architectural requirements and procedures to transfer position/location data. (Full text)
GAO - Operation Desert Storm:
Investigation of a U.S. Army Fratricide Incident
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated the February 27, 1991, fratricide incident during the Persian Gulf War.
MICOM Functional Support
for Operation Desert Shield / Storm
NETSTORM - Chapter 5
With the help of the STINGER PMO, the Redstone Technical Test Center, and BDM International, the G&C Directorate sponsored a proof of principle demonstration of air-to-ground IFF at Redstone Arsenal. This display utilized in-hand STINGER IFF interrogators and several antenna configurations for heliborne applications. The use of a fixed wing IFF interrogator was also demonstrated. The directorate provided DARPA with a detailed discussion of early demonstration findings and the fratricide problem on 20 February 1991. Within 15 days of the DARPA request, the G&C Directorate had successfully designed and demonstrated three IFF configurations.
Although the Army missile and rocket systems deployed to SWA commanded the bulk of media attention throughout the Persian Gulf conflict, without the wartime support provided by the functional elements at MICOM ... (Full text)
Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow
Cluster Munitions as Inhumane and Indiscriminate Weapons
Prepared by Virgil Wiebe, International Law Consultant
9Lt. Col. Gary W. Wright, "Scatterable Munitions = Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) = Fratricide," U.S. Army War College Study Project, AD-A/264/233/C.2, March 22, 1993, p. 38.
USAMHI Iraq - Desert Shield/Storm
RefBranch dv 15th ed, Oct 93
A Bibliography of MHI Sources Contents
- INFANTRY UNITS Hillman, James L. "Task Force 1-41 Infantry: Fratricide Experience in Southwest Asia." Student paper, AWC, Apr 1993. 48 p. Arch. Examines 3 incidents within.
One Hundred Hours
Date: 7 Mar 1996,
On 24 February, when ground operations started in earnest, coalition forces were poised along a line that stretched from the Persian Gulf westward 300 miles into the desert. The XVIII Airborne Corps, under Lt. Gen. Gary E. Luck, held the left, or western, flank and consisted of the 82d Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the French 6th Light Armored Division, the 3d Armored Cavalry, and the 12th and 18th Aviation Brigades. The Vll Corps, under Lt. Gen. Frederick M. Franks, Jr., was deployed to the right of the XVIII Airborne Corps and consisted of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), the 1st Cavalry Division (Armored), the 1st and 3d Armored Divisions, the British 1st Armored Division, the 2d Armored Cavalry, and the 11th Aviation Brigade. Between them these two corps covered about two-thirds of the line occupied by the huge multinational force.
Command and control, as well as protection against fratricide, were accomplished with the transmitting device Budd Light, named for its inventor, Henry C. "Budd" Croley of the Army Materiel Command. Consisting of infrared light-emitting diodes snapped onto the tops of commercial batteries, Budd Lights were placed on vehicle antennas in varying numbers to distinguish command or guide vehicles from others. Easily visible up to 1.2 miles through night vision goggles, the purplish glow of 10,000 Budd Lights enabled the 24th Division and other units to move safely at night. Other safety measures included marking all coalition vehicles with inverted V's, rather than the insignia of each participating country, in a reflective infrared paint.
Just as impressive as the high-technology Army inventory at the beginning of the crisis in late 1990 was the ability of American defense agencies to answer demands from Central Command for new products. A dramatic example of this response capability came in the days before the ground war. The successful allied counterattack on the city of R'as al Khafji in the first week of February was marred when American support fire killed several CENTCOM troops. General Schwarzkopf ordered accelerated research on antifratricide methods. A joint research team, coordinated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, immediately went to work on the problem of making American vehicles and positions visible only to American armored vehicles and aircraft. Just nineteen days later Central Command distributed the results of the agency's work: On the Army side of the research effort the Center for Night Vision and Electro-Optics at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, came up with the Budd Light and over twenty other solutions to the problem, some of which were fielded before the end of the war. (Full text)
Tank-Plinking in the Gulf
Politics of War: Tank-Plinking in the Gulf
By Kemp Houck
We've Got to Do Something
Matching the range of these weapons in the Gulf were the 10-power infrared sights used by tank crews during sandstorms and under the dense smoke of burning oil wells. Even at 5,000 meters, these sights could pick out the thermal images of hit armored vehicles as bright dots on the horizon, especially as the surrounding environment cooled off at night. When the gunners sighted a dot, their gun computers would zero in the first round in less than six seconds, and then if necessary a second and a third round would be fired "until something blew up"...and a large hot spot from the resulting explosion showed up on their thermal sight. Unfortunately, the "something" that blew up might well have been another Abrams or a Bradley Fighting vehicle, according to evidence brought forward in an investigation by Congress's Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). For example, six U.S. soldiers were killed and 25 wounded on Feb. 27 when an M1A1 fired on five other M1A1s and five Bradleys because of incorrect identification; on the same day, two other soldiers were killed and nine wounded when another M1A1 fired on three Bradleys, again because of incorrect identification. In OTA's analysis of a dozen similar incidents.
Chapter 10: The Logistics of Techno-War|
© Copyright 1997 Princeton University Press
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher, except for reading and browsing via the World-Wide Web.
There was hardly any system that did not experience some operational surprise. F-16s, for example, had problems with their electronic countermeasure pods because their onboard computers were so packed with information that they could not accommodate the programming to update them for new weapons systems.25 When friendly-fire incidents started to occur, an emergency order was put through for special infrared emitting attachments to provide better identification.26 Perhaps more relevant to the future of electronics in warfare, the many laptop and desktop computers shipped out to the Gulf began to collapse under the heat, sand, and strain of operations in the theater--to the point where the United States was seriously considering treating them as disposable items.27 Ruggedized models were eventually shipped out as replacements, but that took time. Even the invulnerability of the F-117 has been called into question: "It is also debatable whether the F-117s emerged unscathed because of superior stealth technology, the effectiveness of allied air defense suppression aircraft, the incompetence of Iraqi air defense operators, or some combination of all three." 28
[¶24.] The tactical problems of sending high-tech systems against low-tech armies were prominent in the "traditionalist" position in the quality-quantity debate. The disruption of large, complex, tightly integrated, highly specialized, high-technology militaries can at times be accomplished even with relatively simple weapons. The classic examples come from the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars, in which relatively primitive opponents were able to bring down expensive, highly capable helicopters with small arms and man-carried surface-to-air missiles because low-level attacks were necessary to find the enemy amidst the ground cover.
[¶25.] Small-arms fire and other portable small weapons were still a very real threat to the expensive, high-technology aircraft providing close air support in Iraq. Fighter and helicopter pilots had to be retrained to fly their attack missions at higher altitudes, or to loiter behind sand dunes and "pop up" for attack to avoid anti-aircraft fire; the long-standing assumption in European war-gaming had been a requirement for low-level attack to avoid the presumably more serious threat from Soviet high-altitude air defenses.29 Had there been a real air war more evenly matched in electronic as well as airframe capabilities, even one not involving continual or heavy combat, the struggle for air superiority would not have allowed such free choice of gaining height or loitering whenever desired.
[¶26.] Even without serious enemy challenge, deadly surprises and close calls occurred. Tactical aircraft and tanks working in daylight hours produced an unprecedentedly high rate of casualties from "friendly fire."30 Satellites passing overhead mistakenly identified a flight of B-52 bombers as a barrage of Scud missiles. Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) had to intervene to prevent allied fighters from attacking their own returning bombers.31 And, in the few cases when tanks did become entangled in more traditional battles, close air support often had to be foregone to avoid indiscriminate attacks on friend and foe alike.
[¶27.] The success of military technology is measured by the performance of those systems for which electronics, and in particular computerized electronics, is central to performance as well as missions: intelligence and surveillance; navigation; air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles; and, above all, the ability to create, supply, inform, coordinate, and integrate the forces in the field. Although these capabilities were tested in the Gulf War, the inability of Iraq to interfere or intervene, particularly with electronic countermeasures, made it more of a field exercise than a real combat situation.
[¶28.] But separate assessments of individual weapons or systems are not really to the point. Because modern militaries are increasingly designed to operate in a computer-integrated environment when the level and intensity of conflict is high, an overall assessment of system performance is required. Given the nature and duration of the battle in Iraq, all that has been proven is that the forces we have are very successful given open skies, a preponderance of force, and minimal effective opposition.
[¶29.] Iraq had no meaningful capability at all in the critical area of electronic warfare, enabling coalition forces to move freely while keeping close tabs on Iraqi forces, particularly at night. Furthermore, the conditions of desert warfare--flat and open land free of the dense jungle cover of Vietnam or the mountainous and craggy terrain of Afghanistan--also provided little or no natural interference with surveillance, intelligence, and communications, and no place for Iraq to hide, disperse, or mask their combat forces effectively.
30 Although friendly fire casualties averaged 5 percent for previous American wars, nine of seventeen British soldiers killed in action in Iraq were victims of by friendly fire. Of the American deaths, 35 of the 146 soldiers killed (25 percent), and 72 of the 467 wounded (15 percent) were friendly fire casualties (Department of Defense, Persian Gulf War, 589ff.). All of the damaging hits on M1A1 tanks turned out to be from friendlies. Despite efforts to seek new identification technologies, the report also states that the combination of longer-range weapons, low-visibility and night fighting, high-kill-probability weapons and ammunition, and the necessity to engage rapidly and (almost) automatically to survive on the modern battlefield will greatly complicate efforts to devise better methods for battlefield identification. 31 Schmitt, "Unforeseen Problems." Friendly fire losses were common even in the Second World War. However, the costs and scarcity of the new technology aircraft, and the amount of time and training their pilots receive, makes them far more valuable assets, on a comparative basis, than individual aircraft of earlier wars--perhaps one might use the analogy of losing a whole flight or wing (which is quite different in terms of effectiveness from losing a number of individual aircraft). The point is that even with the best of modern technology, such incidents still occur. The difference is that in the modern era of very expensive and sophisticated weapons and very highly trained crews, the cost of even a single incident is very high.
32 Department of Defense, Persian Gulf War; Rochlin and Demchak, "Lessons of the Gulf War"; Rochlin and Demchak, "Gulf War"; U.S. General Accounting Office, Operation Desert Storm.
33 Department of Defense, Persian Gulf War, 389.
34 "As You Were?" According to Newsweek, "America at War": "Schwartzkopf had to improvise a credible defense from whatever he could scratch up. At one point he phoned the Navy to ask what Iraqi targets the USS Wisconsin could hit with its sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles. The answer came back: zero. The Tomahawks must be programmed with electronic terrain maps to home in on their targets. The CIA and DIA, preoccupied with monitoring the Soviet Union's withdrawal of conventional forces in Eastern Europe, hadn't programmed their satellites to make such maps for Iraq. The maps didn't arrive until the end of August."
Did A Friendly Fire Missile Bring Down The 747?|
The AEGIS-CEC Theory (NEW).
The eyewitness reports of a missile still under active propulsion long ago ruled out a Standard missile from the Normandy. But the missile had to come from someplace, and the radar track indicates a launch point which does not correspond to any aknowledged launch point.
It was for this reason I postulated a SUBSAM, which as long time readers will recall, resulted in a rather vigorous drubbing at the hands of the same people who insisted that the Navy's denial of submarines in the area, even though untrue, wasn't really a lie.
The one and only argument against a SUBSAM launch was that VLF and ELF radio are far too slow for the conveying of launch data to a submerged submarine. But now we discover that a high speed laser communication system exists which allows submerged submarines to communicate with aircraft and satellites which are overhead. First deployed on USS Dolphin, such a system would allow AEGIS-CEC commands to be relayed via an overhead aircraft (such as the CEC modified P-3s) or a satellite.
Since high speed response to a cruise missile was the desired result of the CEC system, the cannister launch system would not be usable. Therefore, the USS Trepang, a Sturgeon class submarine, is not a likely platform. But the USS Albuquerque, a type 688 Los Angeles class attack sub, equipped with vertical launch tubes, most assuredly is. Now the Navy went to great pains to conceal the presence of the submarines and its possible that there were other ships in the area whoes presence is still a secret. But of the known ships in the area, USS Albuquerque, right next to the flight path (although its exact location has never been divulged) gets my vote for most likely launch platform for the missile that brought down flight 800, and a launch flash observed by Faret is perfectly consistent with this theory. The scenario that has evolved is in keeping with AEGIS-CEC. The airborne P-3 sees the target drone and links its radar data to the AEGIS control ship, most likely the Normandy over the radar horizon. The Normandy is truthfully out of radar range to the 747. But the computers respond to the P-3's radar data and identify the target drone from among the "friendly" military planes and civilian aircraft that clutter the wargame theater. The Aegis selects the launch platform closest to the target drone, the Albuquerque, and radios a data packet to the P-3. The P-3 flashes a laser over a wide area of the ocean surface, so that individual waves cancel each other out (and the P-3 was reported to be painting the ocean surface with laser beams, I recall).
Down below, a sensor on the sail of Albuquerque registers the laser light, not unlike seeing a flashlight through a ripple glass window, and Albuquerque's own computers feed the initial targeting data to an experimental SUBSAM in the vertical launch tube, then launches the missile from the vertical launch tube with compressed air. While under the control of Normandy, the missile came from another source, so again its true that Normandy herself did not fire a missile.
The SUBSAM breaks the surface of the ocean and ignites its rocket motor. It is at this point that James Sanders claims that a second data link, direct from the AEGIS-CEC to the missile, was to take place, but was interrupted by the simulated jamming of the exercise. That left the missile to acquire the target nearest its initial targeting coordinates. The problem was there were two targets, the drone, and the 747. The missile's FULLY-active (not semi-active) radar locked onto the 747.
The entire sequence of events happened within computers, at speeds far in excess of human response times, and was over before the humans watching over the exercise had time to react.
DARTS AND LAURELS: Our wartime press|
Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1991
*DART for expanding the definition of "friendly fire," to the Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Patriot; to the Paso Robles, California, Daily Press; and to the San Francisco Examiner. Among the journalistic casualties of the war in the gulf: * Patriot editor Joseph Reedy, fired after running an antiwar editorial (January 24)
headed HOW ABOUT A LITTLE PEACE?
Flight 800: Accident Or Terrorist Attack?|
- Part 3 Bogey At Seven O'Clock: Report Supports Missile Theory But Not 'Friendly Fire'
By Joey Mac Lellan for Suffolk Life Newspapers, December 16, 1998
Most of the evidence collected by the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicates that TWA Flight 800 was destroyed by one or more heat-seeking Stinger missiles, according to Commander William S. Donaldson, USN (Retired), the author of the revised 124-page "Interim Report on the Crash of TWA Flight 800 and the Action of the NTSB and the FBI." In an earlier interview, Donaldson, a member of the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP) group, said that three U.S. manufactured Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) Stinger missiles have been reported missing from Afghanistan. Under President Ronald Reagan, Afghan rebel forces began defeating Russian forces because the United States supplied them with hand-held ground-to-air missiles (such as the Stinger) to cut down on helicopter support for Russian troops.
Walking The Dog ... |
INTO THE YO-YO WARS
By William Westmiller, 12/30/98
On my childhood playground, learning the yo-yo was a major achievement, earning the performer an appreciative audience. If you could perform the trick called "walking the dog", allowing the colorful cylinder to roll along the ground while you followed, then retrieve it with a yank, you earned the broadest admiration and acclaim. I still make an occasional effort to get that toy to simply go up and down, but it remains a childish and frivolous amusement.
America's foreign policy, particularly its military policy, has degenerated to the point that it is little more than a yo-yo exhibition. Up and down, in and out, around and around it goes, with no real strategy or statesmanship. Occasional tactical conflagrations flash and spin on CNN, to no serious purpose and with no realistic objective. Just another frivolous amusement.
Our young men and women who are "put in harm's way" for the greater glory of the "last remaining superpower" are no more at risk than the fabled yo-yo wizards. Even the ground troops in Desert Storm suffered more from friendly fire than they did from Iraqi attacks. The Desert Fox operation was conducted far out of harm's way, pushing buttons on a cruiser that's outfitted more like a video game than a war machine. Push a few buttons, lob a few hundred missiles. Lots of smoke and furry replayed on monochrome green displays. Just a frivolous amusement.
What Happened to TWA 800?|
Did a malfunction cause the tragedy? A terrorist missile? "Friendly fire"?
Vol. 12, No. 21 October 14, 1996, by William F. Jasper
• Documents reveal that TWA 800 was flying through "hot" warning areas which the Navy had reserved for "official use," raising the prospect of a possible downing by "friendly fire."
Friendly Fire Shootdown?
If, indeed, that is what happened to TWA 800, then we are looking at much more than your garden variety terrorist operation. The technological sophistication, expense, and bulk of the type of missile General Partin suggests takes us into the realm of either state terrorism -- or "friendly fire."
The possibility of an accidental, or "friendly fire," shootdown should not be summarily discounted. Weeks after the TWA 800 explosion, an American Airlines pilot reported seeing a missile pass by his Boeing 757 while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Boston. The pilot, whose name has not been released, said that the incident occurred while he was flying over Wallops Island, Virginia, on August 29th. The island, which is about 220 miles south of the TWA crash site, is home to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, which has a program for unmanned research rockets. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the event, has not said how close the "missile" came to the airliner, but on September 11th NTSB spokesman Peter Goelz stated that the rocket posed "no danger" to the American Airlines jet.
In 1988, the missile cruiser USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf. All 290 persons on board were killed when the Airbus A300 was hit by two radar-guided missiles. More recently, 14 American service personnel were killed in April 1994 when their helicopter was shot down over Iraq by U.S. jets, in one of the most notorious "friendly fire" cases.
According to the August 28th issue of Aerospace Daily, "TWA Flight 800 was vectored about 15 miles northwest of a so-called 'hot area' off Long Island activated by the military as an exclusion zone, FAA sources and the Navy acknowledged yesterday. The zone is designed to keep aircraft departing New York safely north of any military activity, but it was unclear yesterday whether the zone was in use at the time of the crash. Spokesmen for the Navy and Coast Guard wouldn't specify for what activities the zone was activated, although the Navy said it wasn't using the area." The publication further stated:
Flight 800 was on what is called the "Betty track," FAA sources said, one of two tracks used when areas set aside for military exercises off the Long Island coastline are "hot." A spokesman for the Navy, which activates the restricted areas, said yesterday that the area known as Whiskey 105, or W-105, was activated at the time of the TWA accident but for "no specific purpose." It was simply available for use, and the spokesman went on to say that "a ship never checked in to use it." He allowed, however, that it was unclear if ships operated by others, such as the Coast Guard or other federal agencies, would have checked in....
Usually at the time of the evening when there are a lot of departures from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, W-105 and nearby Whiskey 106 are "cold," meaning there are no live exercises underway, according to an FAA source. But the warning areas can be activated at will by the military through a telephone land-line to air traffic control called the "Foxtrot" line. The evening of the air disaster, Whiskey 105 was "active" to an altitude of 6,000 feet, the FAA sources said. Controllers would have had little concern about the flight's safety since Whiskey 105 is about 15 miles southeast of Whiskey 106, where the TWA 747 eventually went down. The aircraft would have entered Whiskey 106 well above the 6,000-foot altitude warning area of Whiskey 105.
In fact, controllers would have figured that both the Betty track, and another track called the "Haple" track, were safe since both would have topped the 6,000-foot altitude warning area. The TWA aircraft reached about 13,700 feet before something went wrong.
Unclassified internal Navy and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents obtained by THE NEW AMERICAN, including the FAA's "Warning and Restricted Areas Information Log," indicate that the Navy had reserved air space from surface to flight level 10,000 feet covering a large area extending southward from warning area W-105. The reservation began on July 18th at "0100Z" -- or 0100 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Time) -- which translates to 8:00 p.m. in New York on July 17th, about the time TWA 800 was taxiing toward the runway. The reservation continued until "0700Z," or 2:00 a.m., July 18th, Eastern Daylight Time. The FAA log also shows nearby W-107 reserved during the same time period.
Were military exercises underway in those areas that night -- exercises that may have involved an errant missile? The Pentagon, after initially stonewalling, began dribbling out information confirming the presence of some assets in the areas in question. A September 4th fax response to THE NEW AMERICAN from the Navy's COMNAVAIRLANT Public Affairs office stated that "a P-3 Orion submarine patrol craft was operating at flight level 10,000 (approximately 3,700 feet below TWA Flight 800) and some distance away when the incident occurred. The P-3's crew heard radio traffic discussing the incident and offered assistance." The fax also stated that "the guided missile cruiser USS NORMANDY was conducting routine operations about 180 miles from the crash site. It was not engaged in any weapons firing evolution at the time."
The Coast Guard reported that its 110-foot cutter Adak was on "routine patrol" in the area the night of the crash, and that the Adak was the first Coast Guard vessel on the scene immediately after the 747 plunged into the coastal waters. An Air National Guard C-130 and two National Guard helicopters are also known to have been operating in the area. According to some reports, the C-130 was seen dropping white phosphorous parachute flares before TWA 800 went down. If this is true, were the flares being dropped as part of a target exercise for heat-seeking missiles? Or had the National Guard C-130 been alerted to a possible missile threat and dropped flares to divert missiles from targeting it and other aircraft in the area?
© Copyright 2001 American Opinion Publishing Incorporated
Helmreich, Jonathan E. "The Bombing of Zurich."|
Aerospace Power Journal 14, no. 2 (Summer, 2000): 92-108.
Allied bombs were dropped in Switzerland during World War II beginning with sporadic incidents in 1943 and escalating until the accidental bombing of Zurich on 4 March 1945. The capital of this neutral country had 12 tons of incendiaries and 12.5 tons of high explosive bombs dropped by six American B-24's. For this act of "friendly fire," the US paid millions and brought court martial proceedings against the officers. Col. James (Jimmy) M. Stewart presided over the court martial. This is thought to be the first time that US soldiers were prosecuted for acts of friendly fire.
Turner, Lisa L. "The Articles of War and the UCMJ."
Aerospace Power Journal 14, no. 3 (Fall, 2000): 99-109.
This article is a reply to the article, The Bombing of Zurich, by Dr. Jonathan Helmreich in the Summer 2000 issue of Aerospace Power Journal. The article not only addresses the court martial of Lieutenants William R. Sincock and Theodore Q. Balides for the accidental bombing of Zurich, but it goes on to talk about the Articles of War that they were tried by. According to Maj. Turner during World War II, there was an average of one court martial for every eight US service members. President Truman signed the Uniform Code of Military Justice (U.C.M.J.) on 5 May 1950 as a result of the problems encountered during this war.
Fratricide at Umm Hajul - |
A Desert Storm Friendly Fire Incident and Cover Up.
On watch! in Jerusalem|
Dereliction of Duty? Soldiers' Stories
"Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, I am strong."
That was the charge levied against soldiers in an infiltration incident last week whereby two Druse Lebanese simply crossed the border between Israel and Lebanon without arousing any suspicions because IDF soldiers assigned to guard that area assumed that they were there making repairs. To make matters worse, one soldier actually gave them a ride to where they wanted to go! It was learned later that these men were seeking asylum in Israel and were not Hizbullah. Praise the Lord! Still, this incident revealed a serious flaw in the Israeli security mechanism. This came on the heels of another tragic accident that occurred during a training exercise when one soldier was killed and another seriously injured when a grenade was not handled properly and it exploded inside the soldier's tank.
Then, on Saturday night soldiers from the IDF elite fighting unit, the Duvdevan unit, set out to capture a lone terrorist, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. More than 100 soldiers took part in the raid, completely surrounding the house, but when Abu Hanoud and another terrorist in the house, Nidal Daglas, threw a grenade and opened fire, mass confusion took hold of the soldiers of the Duvdevan unit. Shots rang out in all directions. Among the 100 who engaged in what should have been a successful mission were three young soldiers, St.-Sgt. Niv Ya'acobi (20), St.-Sgt. Liron Sharvit (20) and St.-Sgt. Ro'i Finsteiner-Even (21) who never made it back. The initial news report stated that the three had been killed when they were ambushed during the raid; however, a later report revealed that they had been the victims of "friendly fire." In addition, a fourth IDF soldier was reported moderately wounded when another soldier mistakenly thought that he was the fleeing terrorist and shot him. "The charges being investigated are inaccurate location of a secondary force, a misidentification of one of the secondary units, and inaccurate gunfire," said Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Shaul Mofaz, in what he called a "serious operational mishap." Taking advantage of the chaos that erupted Abu Hanoud slipped out of the house and fled. It was reported that the IDF quickly located him but an IDF spotter mistakenly identified Sgt. Avi Assaf as the terrorist and shot him. Assaf was evacuated to a nearby hospital where he was listed in satisfactory condition. As a result, Abu Hanoud was able to once again take advantage of the situation and flee through the bush down the side of the mountain until he reached sanctuary in the PA controlled area of Nablus. Truly the Lord has given a mandate that we are to PREPARE for war. Perhaps the above incidents will cause those in command of the IDF to ask themselves "Are we REALLY PREPARED?"
Weather Modification, Terrorism, Biological and Chemical Warfare
Protecting Yourself from Chemical Warfare Agents
Chapter 15: The Biological Threat
The only way to protect yourself from chemical agents such as nerve gases, CN, mustard gas and others when you are outside in the open is the use of a protective suit and a military grade activated carbon gas mask. The suit has to be airtight, and the mask must fit snugly and filter all air through canisters of chemicals that deactivate the chemical agent being used.
These suits and masks are used for hazardous materials handling and can be obtained from safety supply companies. The military has special chemically impregnated suits which are very expensive and difficult to obtain. When worn, these suits are hot, claustrophobic and clumsy. It is hard to manipulate equipment or to walk or run. Exertion produces more body heat, which increases the discomfort. Visibility is limited by the lens openings on the face of the gas masks which also tend to steam up. Hearing is reduced by the thick material of the hood. The clumsy handicap which this protective equipment creates was verified by military experience in combat training exercises where soldiers had to wear chemical protection equipment. The obstructed vision resulted in poor visual target indemnification and 25 percent casualties to "friendly fire."
Airtight shelters with the right carbon air filtration filters are the best protection. Maintaining a positive air pressure inside the shelter, slightly above normal pressure, insures that chemical agents will not leak into the shelter. Breathe No Evil, by Stephen Quail and Duncan Long, is probably the most comprehensive book on the subject of chemical and biological agents available to civilians today. This book can be obtained from Safe-Trek Publishing, 90 Safe-Trek Place, Bozeman, MT 59715, (800) 424- 7870.
Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan
National Press Club, Washington, DC
8 March 2001
© 1997-1999 Copyright The Hashemite Royal Court of Jordan
U.S. and allied forces have far more reason to fear landmines than feel protected by them. Since WWII, over 100,000 Americans alone were injured or killed by landmines. The first American soldiers to die in Vietnam and, later, in Bosnia, were killed by anti-personnel mines, and mines were responsible for a third of the U.S. casualties in Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf War. The tragic irony is that 90% of the landmines in these conflicts were largely of U.S. manufacture or of components of U.S. manufacture.
What is more, in today's highly mobile battlefields, landmines can rapidly become subterranean terror – "friendly fire" underground – posing a substantial hazard to the troops themselves who planted them. My two sons currently serve in the Jordanian Army. I wouldn't be here if I thought banning mines would endanger them in any way – they are among the millions we are fighting to protect.
That fight inspired a new kind of coalition activism, which brought the Ottawa Landmine Ban Treaty into force in record time – the first international arms treaty to encompass humanitarian obligations to the weapons' victims. This remarkable treaty evolved from a unique coalition: for example, the International Committee of the Red Cross; Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Minister of Canada; leading governments such as Norway, Austria, and Canada; activists from organizations such as Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation; Physicians for Human Rights; Handicap International;Human Rights Watch; Mines Advisory Group; and landmine survivors themselves, like ICBL's Cambodian Ambassador Tun Channereth, and Jerry White and Ken Rutherford, founders of LSN.
Terrorism and the Downing of TWA Flight 800
The fact that missiles were fired repeatedly in NY metropolitan airspace is key circumstantial evidence that the downing of TWA 800 was not a "friendly fire" incident. (See also Hull correspondence with FBI which involved another missile sighting prior to the TWA 800 downing.)
Air Force Special Operations Command|
World War II in North Africa and Europe
AFSOC High Operations Tempo
In March 1994, the price of freedom and the high operations tempo was paid by a 16th Special Operations Squadron AC-130H gunship, call sign Jockey 14. The aircraft was lost due to an in-flight explosion and ditching off the coast of Kenya while supporting Operation CONTINUE HOPE II in Somalia. Eight crewmembers were killed, while six survived. This was soon followed by another tragedy for the Air Force when a pair of US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in a tragic friendly-fire incident during Operation PROVIDE COMFORT III in Iraq. The 9 SOS, 55 SOS, and 23d Special Tactics Squadron were called in to play significant roles in the search, support, and recovery operations.
Newseum War Stories - Reporting in the time of conflict|
Romance vs. Reality
No questions of taste justified depriving the public sight of David Turnley's Gulf War photograph of a sergeant in a helicopter weeping beside a body bag he has just discovered contains his best buddy, killed by friendly fire. "The Pentagon did everything it could to manage the images that came out of the war," says Turnley. "I was there to document the reality." His picture almost never saw the light of day. Turnley took it when he managed to dodge his military "minder." It was only by chance that he later found his film had been held up at the censor's desk and argued for its release — an argument validated by the image's triumph as World Press Photo of the year.
The Anarchives (email@example.com)|
Romance vs. Reality
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 14:35:21 +0000 (GMT)
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Corteo a Milano dei centri sociali del 14/9/1996"
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 19, 1996
issue of Workers World newspaper
QUESTIONS ABOUT TWA FLIGHT 800: DID "FRIENDLY FIRE" BRING IT DOWN?
By Gary Wilson
Did "friendly fire" bring down TWA Flight 800? That question keeps coming back, despite official denials by the Pentagon. Did an increase in military exercises lead to this tragic accident? War preparations seem to be escalating though no war has been declared. There have been several reports of fatal military accidents during the last year, as the Pentagon has geared up its forces.
The charge that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by a missile fired by U.S. Navy ships has been heard since the time of the crash. Shortly after the crash, the Jerusalem Post reported on the possibility of a missile. It said that the French Defense Ministry had concluded that only the U.S. military had such a capability.
Hand-held Stinger missiles like those used by CIA-trained counter-revolutionaries in Afghanistan could not cause the kind of destruction suffered by Flight 800. But the U.S. Navy or Army have missiles big enough to do this sort of damage, the Jerusalem Post reported. Since that time, the question of "friendly fire" downing the TWA jet has been kept alive by TWA workers, airport workers and a lively discussion on the Internet.
Many TWA and airport workers believe a Navy missile did it. They say so-called anti-terrorist measures by the Clinton administration and Congress are political posturing, and they resent the difficulties the new laws impose. These measures will mean more work for airport employees, more hassles for passengers and blatant police-state-type repression, including invasion-of-privacy security checks on both workers and passengers. And yet there is still no proof a bomb caused the TWA crash or that any bomb has gone through already heavy airport security. On the Internet, the "friendly fire" theory has produced many credible reports. A popular one is by a "747 captain" who is "a former safety chairman of the Airline Pilots Association." This report has been cited in several news reports and quoted by the Associated Press. The Navy has even had to respond to it.
The 747 pilot says: "TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a U.S. Navy guided missile ship which was in area W-105 about 30 miles from where TWA Flight 800 exploded. W-105 is a warning area off the southeast coast of Long Island and is used by the military for operations including missile firing."
Several Internet discussions have focused on the fact that U.S. military training often involves civilian targets "in order to practice aiming at something live." The U.S. Navy routinely uses planes leaving JFK for practice targets for surface-to-air missile training.
The 747 pilot backs up his assertion of a Navy role by pointing to the fact that "the first announcement [of the crash of Flight 800] came from the Pentagon" and that the Navy "immediately sent a captain who was replaced the very next day by a one-star admiral from Norfolk." The Navy's Aegis-class cruisers are based in Norfolk, Va. A U.S. Navy Aegis-class cruiser--the USS Vincennes--fired the missile that destroyed an Iranian civilian airplane over the Persian Gulf on July 3, 1988, killing all 290 aboard. The Navy has confirmed that the Aegis-type cruiser USS Normandy was in area W-105 at the time of the crash of TWA Flight 800, the Associated Press reported Sept. 4. As if to underscore the fact that such an accident is possible, an American Airlines pilot reported that he sighted a missile off the right wing of his 757 as he flew near NASA and Navy facilities in Virginia on Aug. 29. The Dow Jones News Service reported Sept. 8, "The report fits a scenario that is one of the theories under consideration in the TWA case--that a missile brought down the jumbo jet July 17, killing all 230 people aboard."
Could the Pentagon attempt to cover up such a tragic accident? Consider another passenger jet that was brought down by "friendly fire." On June 27, 1980, an Italian DC-9 exploded over the Mediterranean. At the time, the media blamed a "terrorist bomb." Yet no proof of a bomb was ever found.
Finally, earlier this year--over 15 years after the incident that killed all 81 people on board--Italian military officials revealed what they had believed all along. The passenger airplane was shot down by a U.S. or French aircraft, both of which were chasing a Libyan fighter flying over the Mediterranean at the time.
To this day the Pentagon cites "national security" as its reason for refusing to turn over evidence to an Italian court that is investigating the shootdown.
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