Difference between revisions of "Korean Airlines Flight 007"

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(Assassination theory: deleting this entire silly section)
(Restoring section "shot down" by editor with an itchy trigger finger)
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The fact of the matter was the RC-135 was a virtually-windowless plane; the Soviet fighter pilots reported the contact as having multiple windows. Major Osipovich, the man who fired the fatal shot, stated he knew it was a civilian plane.  A Boeing 747, at nearly twice the size of an RC-135 and with its distinctive cockpit hump, is unmistakable for anything else in the air, and in 1983 none were in service with the U.S. military.
 
The fact of the matter was the RC-135 was a virtually-windowless plane; the Soviet fighter pilots reported the contact as having multiple windows. Major Osipovich, the man who fired the fatal shot, stated he knew it was a civilian plane.  A Boeing 747, at nearly twice the size of an RC-135 and with its distinctive cockpit hump, is unmistakable for anything else in the air, and in 1983 none were in service with the U.S. military.
  
 +
===Assassination theory===
 +
The most prominent passenger on KAL 007 was a United States Congressman from Georgia, Democrat Larry McDonald, a firey anti-communist who was recently made the president of the John Birch Society, an organization dedicated to exposing the truth of communism and the Soviet Union.  The theory goes was that the Soviets had wanted to silence McDonald, and being aware of his presence on the flight (he was on his way to Seoul for a dedication) sent the fighters aloft; it was sheer luck that the plane had drifted into Soviet airspace.  About fifteen minutes behind was another flight, KAL 015, carrying to the dedication senators Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), Steve Symms (R-Idaho), and Congressman Caroll Hubbard (D-Kentucky), all anti-communist like McDonald and also attending the ceremony in Seoul.
  
 +
The theory specified that the Soviets knew of McDonald's activities and wished to silence him, despite the pretense of several more tempting targets on the other flight.  There is no known evidence that the Soviets were even aware that McDonald was on the plane at all.  They would find out after the news broke the story on September 1.
 +
 +
'''==The Case for Passenger Survival and Abduction=='''
 +
 +
'''1.''' Contrary to the Interceptor pilot's report that "the Target is destroyed", the Russian Federation handover of the original real-time communications of the shootdown show horrified Soviet commanders viewing, and relating what they are viewing, KAL 007 leveling out at 5,000 meters (at 18.31) and continuing at that altitude for over 4 minutes (18:35), turning north, approaching tiny Moneron Island (4 1/2 miles by 3 1/2miles), and then making a spiral descent.
 +
 +
'''General Anatoly Kornukov (Commander of Sokol Airbase on Sakhalin):'''
 +
Well, I understand, I do not understand the result, why is the target flying?  Missiles were fired.  Why is the target flying?  [obscenities] Well, what is happening?
 +
 +
'''Lt. Col. Novoseletski:'''Well, what is happening, what is the matter, who guided him in, he locked on, why didn’t he shoot it down?
 +
 +
'''2.'''  Debriefed former Soviet military men who had served on the Soviet maritime across from Sakhalin and Moneron and who had immigrated to Israel reported that the Soviet radar stations, including those at Komsomolsk-na- Amura and Edinka, tracked KAL 007 in its spiral descent until it was 1,000 feet above sea level (the point at which Soviet radar could not capture the aircraft due to curvature of the earth). This report was conveyed to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
 +
 +
'''3.'''  Contrary to Russian insistance that they had no knowledge of where KAL 007 had come down, and had maintained lack of knowledge all through the Search and Rescue operations lasting more than two months, they knew exactly where KAL 007 was coming down, and where it had come down - over, and then near Moneron Island. Within minutes, two missions involving rescue helicopters, KGB patrol boats, and civilian ships were ordered by the Soviets to Moneron [http://www.rescue007.org/rescue.htm].
 +
 +
'''Gen. Strogov (Deputy Commander for the Soviet Far East Military District):'''
 +
The border guards. What ships do we now have near Moneron Island, if they are civilians, send [them] there immediately.
 +
 +
'''Lt. Col Novoseletski:'''Prepare whatever helicopters there are.  Rescue helicopters.
 +
 +
'''Titovnin:'''Rescue?
 +
 +
'''Novoseletski:'''Yes.  And there will probably be a task set for the area where the target was lost.
 +
 +
'''4.''' The U.S. Search and Rescue mission was prevented by the Soviets from entering their territorial water around Moneron.
 +
 +
'''Rear Admiral Walter T. Piotti (Commander of Task Force 71 of U.S. 6th Fleet)'''
 +
“Had TF [task force] 71 been permitted to search without restriction imposed by claimed territorial waters, the aircraft stood a good chance of having been found.”
 +
“No wreckage of KAL 007 was found. However, the operation established, with a 95% or above confidence level, that the wreckage, or any significant portion of the aircraft, does not lie within the probability area outside the 12 NM area claimed by the Soviets as their territorial limit.”
 +
 +
'''5.''' Former Soviet Divers reported in Izvestia (Dec. 1991) of their visit to KAL 007 at the bottom of the sea, beginning 8 days after the shootdown and were amazed that out of a passenger plane carrying 269 people, there was only one torso. (Reports to Israel Research Center were that passengers and crew were abducted and then KAL 007 sunk to simulate an aircraft having crashed into the sea)
 +
 +
'''Diver Viyacheslav Popov'''
 +
“I will confess that we felt great relief when we found out that there were no bodies at the bottom. Not only no bodies; there were also no suitcases or large bags.
 +
 +
“I did not miss a single dive. I have quite a clear impression: The aircraft was filled with garbage, but there were really no people there. Why? Usually when an aircraft crashes, even a small one... As a rule there are suitcases and bags, or at least the handles of the suitcases.”
 +
 +
'''6.''' The Soviet's own recording (from '''KGB head V. Chebrikov and Defence Minister D. Ustinov to Premier of Soviet Union Y. Andropov)''' of their deception of the U.S. fleet and the world, confirming that while they were pretending to search and while they were harrassing the U.S. fleet [http://www.rescue007.org/photo_essay.htm], they already knew where KAL 007 was, had already boarded her, and had secured for themselves the sought after "Black Box":
 +
 +
"Simulated search efforts in the Sea of Japan are being performed by our vessels at present in order to disinform the US and Japan. These activities will be discontinued in accordance with a specific plan...
 +
 +
"...Therefore, if the flight recorders shall be transferred to the western countries their objective data can equally be used by the USSR and the western countries in proving the opposite view points on the nature of the flight of the South Korean airplane. In such circumstances a new phase in anti-Soviet hysteria cannot be excluded.
 +
 +
"In connection with all mentioned above it seems highly preferable not to transfer the flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) or any third party willing to decipher their contents. The fact that the recorders are in possession of the USSR shall be kept secret...
 +
 +
"As far as we are aware neither the US nor Japan has any information on the flight recorders. We have made necessary efforts in order to prevent any disclosure of the information in future.
 +
 +
"Looking to your approval.
 +
 +
"D.Ustinov, V.Chebrikov
 +
 +
"____ December 1983"
 +
 +
From Top Secret Memos disclosed in 1992 by Boris Yeltsin and published in Izvestia, #228, Oct. 16, 1992.
 +
 +
 +
'''7.''' There are credible but as yet unconfirmed reports of survivors in the former Soviet Union, including Democtratic Congressman from Georgia '''Larry McDonald''' [http://www.rescue007.org/faq.htm#10] [http://www.rescue007.org/survivors_of_kal_007.htm]
  
 
==Conclusions==
 
==Conclusions==

Revision as of 21:43, 20 December 2007

Korean Airlines Flight 007.

Korean Airlines Flight 007 was a scheduled passenger flight from New York City to Seoul, South Korea between August 31-September 1, 1983 when it was attacked and shot down by fighter aircraft of the Soviet Union after straying into Soviet airspace near the Kola Peninsula and Sakhalin Island. The deaths of 269 passengers and crew combined with massive Soviet deception as to the location of the crash site provoked international outrage, and may have been a catalyst leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union itself as a political entity.

The Flight

KAL 007, a commercial Boeing 747-230B jumbo jet (registration number HL7442) departed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on August 31, 1983, stopped at Anchorage, Alaska for refueling at 3:00 AM local time, then departed on the final leg to Seoul-Kimpo International Airport in South Korea.

KAL 007's flight plan was to take it southwest from Anchorage to Japan, staying over sea with the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands far to the west, then cross Japan's mainland to South Korea. Based on radar information it was determined that KAL 007 had in fact strayed off-course too far west, placing it directly over Soviet territory more than once.

Planned (dashed line) and actual (solid line) route of Korean Airlines Flight 007, September 1, 1983

Soviet air defense forces had tracked the aircraft when it first entered airspace over the Kamchatka Peninsula, attempting first to use radio; fighters were scrambled and fired several bursts in front of the plane's nose. Due to the lack of tracer rounds in the Soviet fighter's ammunition, the pilot of KAL 007 was unaware of the bursts. The fighters were ordered back to base when KAL 007 left Soviet airspace over the Sea of Okhotst.

When KAL 007 re-entered Soviet airspace, this time over Sakhalin Island, fighters were again scrambled with orders to "destroy the target." Here are the orders to destroy KAL 007 and the stalk of KAL 007 by Maj. Gennady Ospiovich in his Su-15 TM interceptor [1]. At 18:26 GMT two air-to-air missiles from an SU-15 Flagon piloted by Major Gennadi Osipovich were fired at the jumbo jet (Here is the combined U.S. electronic intercept and Soviet military communications of the actual shootdown [2]), causing it to spiral down from 35,000 feet and after a 12 minute flight crash into the sea near Moneron Island. Here are the transcripts of the Soviet Search and Rescue orders [3] There were no survivors.

American response

Initially the news flashed in the early morning hours of September 1 would report that KAL 007 had disappeared over the Pacific; it would be a matter of hours that the world would know something more ominous. President Reagan, vacationing at his California ranch, would cut it short and fly to Washington. Just before boarding Air Force One, Reagan hinted that the actions by the Soviets were somewhat worse than their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979: "While events in Afghanistan and elsewhere have left few illusions about the willingness of the Soviet Union to advance its interests through violence and intimidation, all of us had hoped that certain irreducible standards of civilized behavior nonetheless obtained," he declared. "But this event shocks the sensibilities of people everywhere...What can we think of a regime that so broadly trumpets its vision of peace and global disarmament and yet so callously and quickly commits a terrorist act to sacrifice the lives of innocent human beings?" [4]

Secretary of State George Shultz would have a meeting in Madrid, Spain later in the week with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko on the subject of arms control. For the previous few months the Reagan administration felt that things were opening up between the United States and the Soviet Union; the shooting of KAL 007 set things back. Instead of talking arms control, Shultz made heated demands of Gromyko as to what happened to the plane. Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and at the behest of Reagan, placed a large television in the Security Council and played the recorded tapes of the fighter pilots and ground control for the world to hear:

"I see it, visually and on radar . . . The A.N.O. [air navigational lights] are burning. The [strobe] light is flashing . . . What are instructions? . . . I'm dropping back. Now I will try a rocket . . . I am closing on the target . . . I have executed the launch. The target is destroyed."

The Soviet delegation had their backs turned towards the screen even as they repeated the Tass statement on the loss of the plane.

Reagan would spend much of two days drafting a carefully-prepared speech which he presented on national television September 5. Calling it a "crime against humanity" that had "absolutely no justification, either legal or moral," he used the speech as an indictment of the Soviets in the court of public opinion, using the word "massacre" six times to describe it. Reagan asserted in a key passage "This attack was not just against ourselves or the Republic of Korea. This was the Soviet Union against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere." [5]

Searches for the remains of the plane, believed lost in the waters to the southwest of Sakhalin Island, proved fruitless; U.S., Korean, and Japanese search vessels were harassed continually by Soviet vessels.

Soviet actions

The Security Council Meeting at the United Nations as covered by Time; the photo shows a stunned council listening to the recorded tapes of the Soviet fighter pilots.

The Soviets were tight-lipped about the affair for two days. Their only response was through the Tass news agency, in which it was stated that the plane was on a spying mission and was shot down after crossing over their territory.

Then from the Kremlin came the order: the Soviets officially declared that KAL 007 was on a spy mission, and as a spy plane it was deliberately shot down. All of the talk of innocent passengers lost was dismissed as "hulla-balloo", and they said that they were prepared to do it again.

Thinking that they may have made a bad public-relations impression, on September 9 Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, the Soviet Chief of Staff, went on television to give the Kremlin's view of what happened, repeating the spy plane story, but insisting the plane had been warned to land first. Tracing the plane's route with a pointer on a map behind him, he explained that ground controllers had mixed KAL 007 with a U.S. reconnaissance plane, and the order to shoot it down came not from the Kremlin, but from a far east commander in a military decision, raising a question as to whether or not the Soviet civilian leadership had actual control over its military, and leaving the world to wonder if this "hair trigger mentality" could result in a major conflagration. [6] Needless to say, Ogarkov's television appearance did little to absolve the Soviets of responsibility.

Flight of the RC-135

During the early-morning hours of August 31-September 1, a United States Air Force RC-135 was engaged in a mission to gather electronic intelligence, flying a "racetrack" course at sea off the Kamchatka Peninsula. For hours the Soviets were aware of this flight, having picked it up on radar while in its inward track (i.e. the track closest to the coastline) before it would disappear from the radar on its outward track. The racetrack course was repeated several times during the night until KAL 007 arrived on the scene, following closely the inward track of the RC-135; since the jumbo jet did not veer off course as the Soviets expected it to do (assuming they thought it was the RC-135), they had an opportunity to intercept it.

The RC-135 was manufactured by Boeing, and is a military variant of the civilian 707 passenger jet. Configured in several versions, this aircraft was used to conduct airborne surveillance from the 1960's through to the mid-1990's, and many were on routine patrols in the western Pacific Ocean monitoring Soviet activity.

Seymour Hersh, writing in his book The Target is Destroyed, mentioned what was called "psychological operations" (PSYOPS) programs carried out by the United States against the Soviets. These programs included massive naval exercises and simulated attacks carried out in proximity of critical Soviet bases. This, combined with the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) initiated by President Reagan, Cold War tensions rose to high levels. Just a scant four weeks from the KAL 007 disaster, operation Able Archer was conducted by the United States and its European allies; a reflection seen on Soviet radars was interpreted by many to be an actual first strike by intercontinental balistic missiles. Only the interpretation by a Soviet general that it was in reality a computer glitch from a malfunctioning satellite prevented a possible nuclear war.

Conspiracy theories

Spy plane theory

Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov on September 9, 1983, giving the Soviet version of the shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007

According to this theory, KAL 007 was "bait" used by the United States to test Soviet response to a flight intrusion into their borders; the RC-135 would be listening in on the response, while the civilian plane would expected to be released from any forced landing, its crew claiming innocence due to being "lost".

The fact of the matter was the RC-135 was a virtually-windowless plane; the Soviet fighter pilots reported the contact as having multiple windows. Major Osipovich, the man who fired the fatal shot, stated he knew it was a civilian plane. A Boeing 747, at nearly twice the size of an RC-135 and with its distinctive cockpit hump, is unmistakable for anything else in the air, and in 1983 none were in service with the U.S. military.

Assassination theory

The most prominent passenger on KAL 007 was a United States Congressman from Georgia, Democrat Larry McDonald, a firey anti-communist who was recently made the president of the John Birch Society, an organization dedicated to exposing the truth of communism and the Soviet Union. The theory goes was that the Soviets had wanted to silence McDonald, and being aware of his presence on the flight (he was on his way to Seoul for a dedication) sent the fighters aloft; it was sheer luck that the plane had drifted into Soviet airspace. About fifteen minutes behind was another flight, KAL 015, carrying to the dedication senators Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), Steve Symms (R-Idaho), and Congressman Caroll Hubbard (D-Kentucky), all anti-communist like McDonald and also attending the ceremony in Seoul.

The theory specified that the Soviets knew of McDonald's activities and wished to silence him, despite the pretense of several more tempting targets on the other flight. There is no known evidence that the Soviets were even aware that McDonald was on the plane at all. They would find out after the news broke the story on September 1.

==The Case for Passenger Survival and Abduction==

1. Contrary to the Interceptor pilot's report that "the Target is destroyed", the Russian Federation handover of the original real-time communications of the shootdown show horrified Soviet commanders viewing, and relating what they are viewing, KAL 007 leveling out at 5,000 meters (at 18.31) and continuing at that altitude for over 4 minutes (18:35), turning north, approaching tiny Moneron Island (4 1/2 miles by 3 1/2miles), and then making a spiral descent.

General Anatoly Kornukov (Commander of Sokol Airbase on Sakhalin): Well, I understand, I do not understand the result, why is the target flying? Missiles were fired. Why is the target flying? [obscenities] Well, what is happening?

Lt. Col. Novoseletski:Well, what is happening, what is the matter, who guided him in, he locked on, why didn’t he shoot it down?

2. Debriefed former Soviet military men who had served on the Soviet maritime across from Sakhalin and Moneron and who had immigrated to Israel reported that the Soviet radar stations, including those at Komsomolsk-na- Amura and Edinka, tracked KAL 007 in its spiral descent until it was 1,000 feet above sea level (the point at which Soviet radar could not capture the aircraft due to curvature of the earth). This report was conveyed to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

3. Contrary to Russian insistance that they had no knowledge of where KAL 007 had come down, and had maintained lack of knowledge all through the Search and Rescue operations lasting more than two months, they knew exactly where KAL 007 was coming down, and where it had come down - over, and then near Moneron Island. Within minutes, two missions involving rescue helicopters, KGB patrol boats, and civilian ships were ordered by the Soviets to Moneron [7].

Gen. Strogov (Deputy Commander for the Soviet Far East Military District): The border guards. What ships do we now have near Moneron Island, if they are civilians, send [them] there immediately.

Lt. Col Novoseletski:Prepare whatever helicopters there are. Rescue helicopters.

Titovnin:Rescue?

Novoseletski:Yes. And there will probably be a task set for the area where the target was lost.

4. The U.S. Search and Rescue mission was prevented by the Soviets from entering their territorial water around Moneron.

Rear Admiral Walter T. Piotti (Commander of Task Force 71 of U.S. 6th Fleet) “Had TF [task force] 71 been permitted to search without restriction imposed by claimed territorial waters, the aircraft stood a good chance of having been found.” “No wreckage of KAL 007 was found. However, the operation established, with a 95% or above confidence level, that the wreckage, or any significant portion of the aircraft, does not lie within the probability area outside the 12 NM area claimed by the Soviets as their territorial limit.”

5. Former Soviet Divers reported in Izvestia (Dec. 1991) of their visit to KAL 007 at the bottom of the sea, beginning 8 days after the shootdown and were amazed that out of a passenger plane carrying 269 people, there was only one torso. (Reports to Israel Research Center were that passengers and crew were abducted and then KAL 007 sunk to simulate an aircraft having crashed into the sea)

Diver Viyacheslav Popov “I will confess that we felt great relief when we found out that there were no bodies at the bottom. Not only no bodies; there were also no suitcases or large bags.

“I did not miss a single dive. I have quite a clear impression: The aircraft was filled with garbage, but there were really no people there. Why? Usually when an aircraft crashes, even a small one... As a rule there are suitcases and bags, or at least the handles of the suitcases.”

6. The Soviet's own recording (from KGB head V. Chebrikov and Defence Minister D. Ustinov to Premier of Soviet Union Y. Andropov) of their deception of the U.S. fleet and the world, confirming that while they were pretending to search and while they were harrassing the U.S. fleet [8], they already knew where KAL 007 was, had already boarded her, and had secured for themselves the sought after "Black Box":

"Simulated search efforts in the Sea of Japan are being performed by our vessels at present in order to disinform the US and Japan. These activities will be discontinued in accordance with a specific plan...

"...Therefore, if the flight recorders shall be transferred to the western countries their objective data can equally be used by the USSR and the western countries in proving the opposite view points on the nature of the flight of the South Korean airplane. In such circumstances a new phase in anti-Soviet hysteria cannot be excluded.

"In connection with all mentioned above it seems highly preferable not to transfer the flight recorders to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) or any third party willing to decipher their contents. The fact that the recorders are in possession of the USSR shall be kept secret...

"As far as we are aware neither the US nor Japan has any information on the flight recorders. We have made necessary efforts in order to prevent any disclosure of the information in future.

"Looking to your approval.

"D.Ustinov, V.Chebrikov

"____ December 1983"

From Top Secret Memos disclosed in 1992 by Boris Yeltsin and published in Izvestia, #228, Oct. 16, 1992.


7. There are credible but as yet unconfirmed reports of survivors in the former Soviet Union, including Democtratic Congressman from Georgia Larry McDonald [9] [10]

Conclusions

The "black boxes" that were the data flight recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were hidden away for nearly ten years after their recovery by the Soviets, during which time they employed their own spin as to the nature of the flight. So damning was the black box evidence against them that they had hoped it would never see the light of day. Even Mikhail Gorbachev during his period of "glasnost" ("openness") kept assuring investigators that the black boxes did not exist.

A military memo boasting of the secret would make it's way into the hands of maverick reformer Boris Yeltsin, leading to the discovery of the black boxes as well as the top secret reports about them by the Soviet Defense Ministry. Yeltsin would release both the reports and the black boxes to the International Civil Aviation Organization through the United Nations by January, 1993. Final report of the data was released by ICAO on June 14, 1993. [11][12]

Korean Airlines Flight 007 was a flight that had simply gone off course in the wrong place and at the wrong time. A minor careless discrepancy by the plane's pilot combined with Soviet paranoia helped to end the lives of 269 passengers and crew.

See also

References

External links

Video links