Number 3 September 9, 1983
IN THIS ISSUE:
Perspective: Murder Diplomacy (Part 1)
Recently three rapid-fire events took place in "murder diplomacy"--the killing of people to bring about changes in international relations. These events were the Aquino assassination in the Philippines, U.S. Marine fatalities in Lebanon, and the shooting down of a Korean 747 airliner by the Soviet Union--all within a matter of days. This is the first of two issues dealing with these events.
The "Korean Airliner Massacre": Who, How, Why
For the second time in five years a Korean Air Lines jet has flown into some of the most sensitive territory in the Soviet Union and been shot down. In both cases the intrusion has been described as "accidental, " and the Soviet Union has been accused of an attack without warning. In the 1978 incident most of the passengers survived to contradict that charge. This time, however, all 269 passengers in the Korean 747 died. The United States is mounting a massive, and so far very effective, propaganda offensive against the Soviet Union. The Korean Airliner Massacre, like the Guyana Massacre in 197 8, involved the deliberate mass sacrifice of human lives. It has transformed world opinion overnight, as expected, and is becoming a turning point in East-West relations.
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Perspective: Murder Diplomacy (Part 1)
Early last week on September 1, 1983, a Korean 747 jumbo jet was blasted out of the sky after passing over super-sensitive Soviet military sites in the Far East. From that day to this, headlines the world over have been dominated by the disaster of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (hereinafter abbreviated KAL 007).
Four days later on the evening of Labor Day, September 5, President Reagan gave a televised speech about the incident, which he called the "Korean Airliner Massacre. " That name is an apt one for such a horrible event, and NewsALERT will therefore use it as well. However, the rest of the official pronouncements of the United States Government about what happened are a patchwork of half-truths and lies which News-ALERT intends to expose for what they are.
Soviet statements, too, have created more heat than light. The mood in the Kremlin right now can be described in just one word: RAGE. The Russians feel they are being crucified for a disaster which, horrible as it was, was not their fault. They feel that their side of the story is being totally ignored--and in frustration, they have compounded their own problem by including some untrue comments in their own account of the incident. The rage of the Russian bear is growing daily, and it was reflected in the angry, tough words of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in Madrid two days ago. He warned against any repetition of this episode in terms which made some listeners blanch. Feeling backed into a corner, the enraged Russian bear is preparing to fight back for what it sees as its survival.
The Korean Airliner Massacre is even more serious and dangerous than it appears on the surface. It was not an accident, nor was it an isolated incident. It was the third of three rapid-fire events in "murder diplomacy" designed, as a group, to radically change the direction of world events. These three events were (1) the Aquino assassination in the Philippines on Aug. 21; (2) the first fatal attacks on U.S. Marines in Lebanon on Aug. 29; and (3) the destruction of KAL 007 on Sept. 1.
Of these three, the Korean Airliner Massacre is the key to creating a worldwide anti-Russian stampede in public opinion to help set the stage for other events to come. Therefore we devote this entire NewsALERT issue to an in-depth report on the Korean Airliner Massacre. This constitutes the first part of what is planned to be a two-part report on this sequence of turning-point events. In our next issue (Perspective: Murder Diplomacy--Part 2) we plan to deal with the situations in Lebanon and the Philippines, whose full impact still lies ahead.
The "Korean Airliner Massacre": Who, How, Why
The disaster which befell the Korean 747, KAL 007, has an earmark which should always stand out as a red flag as you watch events in the news. Namely: it has left behind all kinds of seemingly unanswerable questions, and the event itself appears to make no sense.
Whenever you see a major event like that in the news, it is wise to beware. You can rest assured that if you knew certain key facts, the news story would make sense and the questions would be answered. Therefore if it looks "senseless, " that is a sure sign that information is being withheld from you. Watch official statements carefully in such a situation: if they keep changing from day to day in response to questions that are raised, you can be certain that a coverup is underway. You may not be able to pierce the coverup to see the truth underneath—but you can avoid being taken in by whatever lies are being told. And if you can do that, you may be able later on to put together the pieces and understand what it was really about.
A Re-Run from 1978
News accounts have made passing references to a previous case in 1978 when another Korean jet, a Boeing 707, flew into sensitive Soviet airspace and was forced down. That precedent has been treated rather casually in most news accounts about the latest episode, as if the two events had nothing to do with one another. The fact is that the 1978 episode was the prototype for what has just happened, and set the stage for it. What happened to Korean Air Lines 007, and the subsequent Soviet charges about it, cannot be understood without knowing something about the 1978 incident. It was described in detail at the time in a tape report by Dr. Beter (AL#33).
We hope that every owner of the newly released Audio Letter REFERENCE DIGEST has consulted it in the wake of the Korean Airliner Massacre. The index heading, "Korean jetliner flight into Russia," leads you to just about the most specific back -ground information conceivable for what has just happened. For complete details, of course, we strongly urge listening (or re-listening) to AUDIO LETTER #33 itself. The fact that this information was made public over 5 years ago should help give confidence to skeptics that this information, so critical to understanding the Korean Airliner Massacre, is reliable and true.
To recap briefly, the 1978 incident involved Korean Air Lines Flight 902, en route from Paris to Anchorage, Alaska. Midway through the transpolar flight the pilot put his 707 jet into a shallow right-hand U-turn onto a course toward northern Russia. None of this was detectable by ground controllers, because the jet was out of radar range and the crew periodically transmitted falsified position reports which sounded normal. Later there were allegations that the skilled flight crew, well-seasoned in transpolar flights, had somehow just become disoriented and lost their way. This despite the fact that their 707 was equipped with the best in navigational aids--including a highly reliable, triply redundant navigation computer. Yet passengers who survived later told reporters that they had become worried when, halfway through the flight, the sun had moved from ahead of the plane to behind it!
The 1978 jet entered Soviet airspace over the highly sensitive submarine base at Murmansk, continuing onward over the Kola Peninsula with its many military installations. Soviet fighters intercepted the 707 and signalled it repeatedly, both by radio and by internationally recognized visual signals. They were ignored, and the plane flew on until it was finally forced down, damaged by gunfire. Afterward Soviet statements described the incident this way, while U.S. and Korean Air Lines statements initially gave the impression that the airliner had been fired upon without warning. Passengers who survived later flatly contradicted the "no warning" story, saying they had seen the Russian fighters pull up alongside, wag their wings and so on repeatedly before finally attacking.
This time the U.S. again alleges an attack without warning. But this time there are no survivors to contradict that story.
The 1978 Korean airliner flight into Russia was a desperate intelligence mission, using unsuspecting passengers as a ticket into Soviet airspace. Its purpose was limited to ascertaining the Soviet military alert status at a critical point in the struggle over SALT II (AL#33). Such unorthodox measures were conceived because Russia had by then completed its destruction of America's spy satellites in orbit, a process begun some seven months earlier (AL#26, 27).
After the 707 crash-landed on a frozen lake and the surviving passengers were returned home, the Russians recovered damaged electronic intelligence (ELINT) gear from the plane. They did not make a public issue of it at the time, because to do so would have interfered with their own objectives regarding the then-pending SALT II treaty. But through private channels they gave warnings against any repetition that were every bit as stern as Gromyko's words two days ago in Madrid. Now, five years later, those 1978 warnings against any more airliner intelligence missions are haunting the Kremlin.
The disastrous mission of Korean Air Lines 007 was deliberately designed to look like a carbon copy of the 1978 intelligence mission. Both times it was the same airline — Korean Air Lines. Both times the plane supposedly "strayed" to an almost impossible extent from its normal flight path, despite an expert, experienced crew and the best in navigational aids. Both flights passed unerringly over virtually the most sensitive coastal military sites in the Soviet Union: in 1978 the incursion began over the submarine base at Murmansk, in 1983 over the submarine base at Petropavlovsk. Both flights continued for long distances to pass over additional highly sensitive areas.
And: both flights ignored all warnings from Soviet fighters. Initial allegations to the contrary were proven to be lies in the 1978 episode. They are lies again this time. For example, ABC-TV Pentagon correspondent John McWethy reported on Sept. 1: "U.S. sources confirm that the Soviets did radio the Korean airliner but got no response. " Reports like that which conflict with the official U. S. story leaked out early, but were plugged up within a day or two. Yet even the carefully doctored tapes of Soviet air defense transmissions played this week on TV by President Reagan and at the United Nations contain residual hints of these warnings.
An example is where the fighter pilot says: "I am going around it. I'm already moving in front of the target. " Moving in front of an intruder aircraft is part of the internationally accepted procedure for signalling when the aircraft does not respond to radio. Two or three other such hints also appear to have gotten past the tape editor, but have been explained away as meaningless. With no survivors to interfere, the official U.S. story of an attack without warning has been widely accepted. (Incidentally, use of the word "target, " if that is an accurate translation, does not necessarily imply that an attack had been decided upon. It is not uncommon for a radar blip to be referred to as a radar "target. ")
To Understand What Happened: Begin at the Beginning
The easy and certainly the popular thing would be for NewsALERT to simply join the stampede of recriminations against the Soviet Union. Certainly what happened in the skies over Sakhalin Island was horrible. But it is impossible to afix blame, as the U. S„ Government is doing, without determining how the disaster came about. The undeniable fact is that the incident was not initiated by Russia, and did not begin when a fighter prepared to attack. It all began when the Korean jet flew into prohibited airspace. That being the case, it makes a great deal of difference whether the jet's errant path was accidental, as claimed, or deliberate.
Could the Korean 747 Have "Strayed" Accidentally?
The Reagan Administration has devoted an enormous amount of effort and verbiage to the final, catastrophic moments of the flight of the Korean 747. By contrast, the entire question of how it got there in the first place was dispensed with by Reagan in his September 5 TV address in just two sentences: "The 747 is equipped with the most modern computerized navigational facilities, but a computer must respond to input provided by human hands. No one will ever know whether a mistake was made in giving the computer the course or whether there was a malfunction. "
The Reagan Administration has to insist that one of these two things happened--either mechanical failure of the navigational computer, or human error. Otherwise the contention that KAL 007 strayed off course accidentally falls apart.
That argument may sound superficially plausible, but in a case as grave as this one, that just is not good enough. Some kinds of malfunctions and errors are relatively common; some are rare; and some are barely possible to imagine but, from a practical standpoint, beyond the limits of belief. What the Reagan Administration asks us to believe about the Korean 747 disaster falls into the last category.
Navigational Computer Malfunction
The Boeing 747 is equipped with some of the most sophisticated and reliable commercial navigational instrumentation in the world. In addition to other navigational aids, the 747 flown by Korean Air Lines is equipped with an inertial navigation system (INS).
The INS is a triply-redundant computer system which keeps track of the airplane's position by measuring its movements. It consists of three identical computers, each of which independently calculates the airliner's position moment by moment. One is tied into the pilot's autopilot, another into the co-pilot's autopilot. As long as the two agree, the plane is flown according to the course calculated. Should one malfunction, this causes disagreement and the crew is alerted. The third INS computer is then introduced into the loop to cast its vote with whichever of the first two computers is still right.
The odds against two of the three INS computers failing on a single flight are extraordinarily high. Even if they did fail, no two would agree with one another, and the pilot would be forced to discontinue using INS and navigate by other means. This he would report by radio. For a failed INS to fly the 747 on a wrong course without indicating a malfunction, two INS computers would have to malfunction independently and yet still agree with one another. The odds against that happening are so astronomical as to be simply beyond belief.
The suggestion that KAL 007 went off course in the way that it did due to mis-programming of the computer is also incredible, but for slightly different reasons.. U. S. spokesmen from President Reagan on down have misrepresented the way the INS
works in a way that grossly insults the dead crew of the Korean 747 and tends to thoroughly mislead the public. As Reagan put it on TV last Monday night: "... a computer must respond to input provided by human hands. " That leaves the impression that once a tape of instructions goes into the INS, the pilot just has to hope it is right. One gets the impression that the INS just has a couple of red and green lights that say "On course" or "Off course. " Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The INS does two things. One is to keep track of the airplane's position and provide a readout of that position to the pilot. The other is to fly the plane along a pre-selected route by following instructions fed into the computer. If there were an error in programming the desired course, it would indeed send the plane off down a wrong path. But--and this is very important — the INS would also continuously indicate the 747's true position along that incorrect flight path. Over the years, in fact, mis-programming has actually happened a few times. In every case it has been caught, with no real harm done, by various backup checks that are part of aerial navigation.
In the course of long flights like that of KAL 007 from Anchorage to Seoul, there are periodic check points at which the navigator double-checks to make sure the plane is on course. Reference is made to standardized aviation maps. Reading out the actual position of the 747 from the INS and plotting it on the map, the navigator would discover any deviation of the 747 from the intended course. He would then re-program the computer to correct the course, and that would be that.
How long might a plane like the Korean 747 conceivably be off course between check points, before discovering it? On Sept. 1 that question was asked of a regional vice president of World Airways in an interview broadcast by WBAL-TV, Channel 11, Baltimore. He was interviewed because, as a pilot, he has flown the route followed by KAL 007 many times. He said: "If someone makes a mistake, it could often take them as long as 30 to 40 minutes to realize by their next check point that they have made a mistake and try to get out of there. "
According to both U. S. and Russian accounts, the Russians tracked the Korean 747 for some 2-1/2 hours from the Kamchatka Peninsula, across the Sea of Okhotsk to Sakhalin Island.
That period of time corresponds to the passage of from three to five check points according to the interview just quoted. Yet the 747 did not correct its course in any way to move out of the danger zone. This despite the fact that the captain, having flown that particular route over 60 times, had to be well aware of the prohibited zone. There can be no question also that the Korean crew were well aware of the fate of Korean Air Lines Flight 902 when it flew into Russian airspace five years ago.
The "Lightning Strikes Twice" Factor
Finally, there is the fact that the KAL 007 incursion into highly sensitive Soviet airspace was virtually a duplicate of the previous incident in 197 8. Suppose we ignore all the objections raised so far and assume that both the 1978 and 1983 incidents (both of which involved INS-equipped aircraft) were due to mis-programming.
Based on actual statistics, even a single mis-programming incident would be highly unlikely; two would be extremely unlikely. But beyond that, the modus operandi of both flights was identical: assuming that either plane had just "strayed, " the likelihood that it would pass over any particular spot is small, yet both passed very precisely over by far the most sensitive sites in their respective areas of the world. The odds against this happening twice. „ . well, you get the idea. Had this month's Korean airliner incident happened, say, in May 1978, who would have believed it was an accident? The previous incident of April 1978 would have been fresh in the memory, and everyone would have made the connection.
In short, the U.S. cover story that the 747 "strayed" accidentally, while it has emotional appeal, simply does not stand up. You can expect to see all kinds of stories for awhile designed to shore up this cover story, but we say: Beware.
What Really Happened
The flight crew of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 were recruited by the Korean CIA (KCIA) on behalf of its counterpart agency here in the United States, the CIA. They were persuaded that their help was urgently needed for a special intelligence flight. They were told that ELINT apparatus would be installed aboard their 747, and that they were to fly a certain precise flight path. And they were assured that despite what had happened in the Korean 707 incident of 1978, the danger this time would be minimal. The Soviets, said the briefers, simply have too many things at stake in a number of international initiatives to risk them all over an international incident. That being the case, they were instructed not to let any jet fighters bluff them into landing during either of their relatively short periods within Soviet airspace.
When the Korean 747 took off from Anchorage that evening of August 31, the crew believed that ELINT gear was aboard. But there was no ELINT gear. Contrary to what the flight crew had been told, their trip into Soviet airspace was not to be a true intelligence mission: it was only designed to look like one. The story about an urgent ELINT mission had been used only to justify the perilous route which the Koreans were being asked to fly. They had actually been recruited for a suicide mission designed to end in the "Korean Airliner Massacre. "
When the Korean 747 passed over the Kamchatka Peninsula, it was flying roughly parallel to the normal air route but over 150 miles west of it. Soviet fighters intercepted it and identified it by its lights as a commercial airliner. The 747 crew ignored both radio and repeated wing-wagging signals by the Russian fighters. However, it was on a course aimed toward the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, so when it left Soviet airspace it was allowed to depart unscathed. There was a hint of relief in the Korean captain's radio report to Tokyo's Narita air traffic control at 2:10 a.m. : "We passed safely south of Kamchatka. " (Emphasis ours. )
The 747 continued on its straight-line course across the Sea of Okhotsk. Shortly after 3:00 a. m. , however, as it neared Hokkaido and Sakhalin Island, it banked to the right and headed due west--straight for lower Sakhalin Island. The briefers had told the Korean fliers that this last-minute maneuver would enable the 747 to slip into, through and out of Soviet airspace too quickly for the Russian defenses to react fully. They were told to expect tracer warning shots, but that the time would be far too short for the required higher authority to approve an actual attack on the airliner. Long before that could happen, said the briefers, the 747 would leave Soviet airspace and be safe.
It was a convincing argument, but it was a lie.
Russian air defense radar had been tracking the plane continuously as it flew across the Sea of Okhotsk. Its sudden turn toward Sakhalin Island convinced the Russians that this was no ordinary airliner. Fighters had already been scrambled just in case, and they closed in fast. They radioed the 747, buzzed it, wagged their wings at it, flashed lights at it. There was no response except a series of turns reflected in the constant maneuvering described by the pilots in the tapes released by the White House. Ground control insisted that this airplane was behaving like a belligerent, not an airliner, and demanded re-verification. In response, the fighter pilots repeated several times that its navigational and strobe lights were operating. (On this point, the Soviet claim that the lights were out is not true. ) Finally tracer warning shots were fired past the 747 by one of the half-dozen fighters which had been scrambled; this is deleted in the White House tapes, which follow only three of the fighters. The 747 flew on without response. Just 60 seconds before it would have left Soviet airspace, two heat-seeking missiles were fired which blew the 747 out of the sky.
The Reason for the Korean Airliner Massacre
For months now, the Andropov Kremlin has been applying increasingly effective pressure on the Reagan Administration to stop stalling and start bargaining on arms control. Early last May, for example, Andropov offered to destroy substantial numbers of missiles in the European theater, including many of the newest SS20's, if the U. S. would agree to some formula to forego deployment of new missiles in Europe. We mentioned this offer last June in our complimentary Interim News Alert #4. The Reagan Administration downplayed and ignored it as meaning something else. So, late last month Andropov repeated his offer in words too explicit for anyone — even the U.S. State Department —to twist. The Europeans were interested.
With talks on European missiles scheduled to begin Sept. 6, the Bolshevized Reagan Administration was being backed into a corner. The last thing it wants is true arms control of any description: that's why the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is now headed by a man, Kenneth Adelman, whose avowed strategy is "sham" arms control "for political purposes" (Interim News Alert #4). Public opinion was pushing the U. S. toward some accommodation with the USSR. Solution: change public opinion. That is what the Korean Airliner Massacre was devised to accomplish. It was an aerial version of the deliberate mass sacrifice of human lives staged by the U.S. Government in the Guyana Massacre of 1978 (AL#40). The echoes of Guyana even include the killing of another congressman: in Guyana it was Leo Ryan, this time it was Larry McDonald.
The Korean Airliner Massacre and its aftermath have been orchestrated according to a very precise timetable. On September 6 the Euromissile arms control talks re-convened in Geneva for a critical, perhaps make-or-break session. The same day, the European Security Conference convened in Madrid to ratify hard-won agreements intended to improve East-West relations. And on that very day, tapes of the Korean Airliner Massacre were played at the United Nations. As recently as a week earlier, September 6 had been looked forward to as a hopeful day for peace. Instead, the Korean Airliner Massacre twisted it into a day of angry confrontation.
The Korean Airliner Massacre is to be only the first half of a White House one-two punch to totally derail arms control efforts and redouble preparations for war. The second punch is to be a public blast soon, using half-truths and outright lies, that the Russians are cheating on existing arms control agreements. It will be designed to take full advantage of the ugly mood created by the fate of Korean Air Lines Flight 007.
At Point Mugu Naval Air Station on Sept. 2, President Reagan blasted the Russians in the words: "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 that sacrifices the lives of innocent human beings?" If those words apply to a rapid but wrong defensive decision by the Kremlin, then they go double for those who arranged the incident in a coldly premeditated manner. Nothing was condemned by our Lord Jesus Christ more than hypocrisy. We would not want to be in President Reagan's shoes.
Next scheduled issue: Sept. 23, 1983
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|Peter Beter News Alert 3: The "Korean Airliner Massacre"|