EN — LARRY ROMANOFF: False Flags and Conspiracy Theories — Chapter 3 – KAL Flight 007 and TWA Flight 800

November 03, 2023



False Flags and Conspiracy Theories




False Flags and Conspiracy Theories

Chapter 3 – KAL Flight 007 and TWA Flight 800

By Larry Romanoff


Seymour Hersh, journalist, Soviets Thought They Were Downing Spy Plane, Report Says (August 25, 1986). Source

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Korean Air Lines Flight 007


KAL 007 was a scheduled Korean Air Lines flight en route from New York City to Seoul, Korea, via Anchorage Alaska when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace and was shot down by a Soviet aircraft west of Sakhalin Island, in the Sea of Japan on September 1, 1983. All 269 passengers and crew aboard were killed, including a member of the US Congress. Maybe. Here are two reports on the event, one being a CNN “anniversary story”[1] another a Wikipedia statement of “alternative theories”. [2]


At about 10 minutes after take-off from Alaska, KAL 007 began to deviate from its assigned route and headed directly toward Russia’s Sakhalin Island, the location of a top-secret Soviet military installation. American officials claimed the aircraft had suffered a failure of its navigational electronics, its transponder, autopilot, and external communications. In short, the aircraft had no way of knowing where it really was or that it was off-course, and had no ability to receive communications or warnings to inform that it was entering restricted Soviet airspace. Soviet aircraft were launched to intercept Flight 007 and identify the intruder. The Russians made repeated attempts at radio communications, gave repeated warnings, and fired warning shots, but were apparently ignored. A Russian aircraft flew near Flight 007 and waggled its wings, which is a universally-understood instruction to land, but this was also ignored. Finally, the Russian aircraft were given permission to fire on the intruder.


RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft the USAF converted Boeing 707 that closely resembles the KA 007 Boeing 747. Source


From this point, the truth becomes very hazy. In the end, the only practical conclusion that fits the facts is that the US deliberately sent a passenger aircraft to overfly and to spy upon a top-secret Russian military base, calculating incorrectly that the Russians would not have the courage to fire on what appeared to be an American civilian aircraft. Due to the inconsistencies, misstatements, obvious falsehoods, conclusions contradicted by hard data, and the simple fact of a story that lacks the ring of truth, the saga of Flight 007 has been the subject of continuing controversy and has spawned a number of what the officials denigrate as “conspiracy theories”. Many of these are based on the suppression of real evidence such as the flight data recorders, unexplained details such as the role of a USAF RC-135 surveillance aircraft in the vicinity at the same time, and on a vast amount of political propaganda that was disseminated at the time.


For one thing, the official (US) version of events states that the aircraft “had an unusually high ratio of crew to passengers”, since an extra flight crew was ‘deadheading‘ to Korea. This claim was proven false. Evidence was released – then quickly suppressed – that when Flight 007 landed in Anchorage its civilian pilots and flight engineers were replaced by a military crew. Next, public investigation focused on the fact that Flight 007 was far off course, in a restricted military area and refused to communicate. One needs little knowledge of commercial aviation to recognise that something was very wrong here, and not due to electronics failures. Commercial airliners have multiple redundancies for all critical systems, double and triple backups for most systems, including power supply. It simply is not possible that the aircraft was totally ignorant of its location, whether or not the autopilot conveniently malfunctioned as claimed. If nothing else, every aircraft contains a simple magnetic compass, which alone would be sufficient to inform the crew of its incorrect heading. But according to the official narrative, “The simple fact of crew error, combined with continued inattentiveness, appears to have put the Boeing airliner on a collision course with disaster.” The official claim itself is clearly false. A large passenger aircraft suffers multiple total failures of all navigation and communications systems, but the crew suffered from “continued inattentiveness”. In other words, in such a critical situation where death was imminent, an experienced professional aircrew paid no attention at all to where they were or where they were heading.


KAL 007 was well off its course (red line), instead of following the red dotted line. Source


It was virtually impossible for a civilian airliner to accidentally go astray and unnoticed in one of the most militarily sensitive and constantly-monitored areas of the world during the Cold War. There were powerful and long-range land and sea radar arrays in both Alaska and Russia that would have tracked KAL 007 as it crossed through the NORAD prohibited flight zone and approached and entered Soviet territory. Moreover, there was at least one US RC-135 reconnaissance plane on a spy mission in the area, and it would have been fully aware of Flight 007s position and could have warned it of danger, or at least have informed its own military or civilian controllers. It was probably near enough to Flight 007 to be in visual contact, and would certainly have been monitoring the Soviet ground communications. Another curious fact is that Flight 007 did not suffer a communications failure as claimed, because it was in almost constant communication with its “sister aircraft”, Flight 015, and was using the latter to relay its communications to Tokyo.


But even more to the point, a commercial aircraft carrying hundreds of passengers over a long stretch of ocean and having just lost all its navigation and communications, would be focused on only one thing – finding a safe place to land. In this condition, the aircraft heading would assume overwhelming importance, but according to the US narrative the entire crew, having just suffered a total failure of everything except the engines and toilets, were unconcerned about their position and blithely continued directly toward the one major “deadly-force” restricted section of airspace in the entire region. The narrative also conveniently provides a large amount of technical double-talk that attempts to explain how the aircraft could have been off-course while providing false but reassuring information to the crew.


To anyone with even a bit of aviation knowledge, the explanations are nonsense, as are the US claims that the flight was “just a little bit too far off course” to receive radio communications. Another early nonsense claim by the US was that the first officer did know they were flying away from the planned course, but he remained silent because the airline’s culture discouraged questioning a captain’s conduct. Right. So, the First Officer realises the aircraft is flying directly into a forbidden military zone where imminent death-by-missile is assured, but his “culture” demands that, rather than inform the captain, he remains silent and commits suicide, killing all 300 passengers and the captain. But in any case, when the Russian aircraft drew alongside and waggled its wings, Flight 007 could have followed it to a safe landing field, the only sensible action when supposedly flying without navigation or communications ability.


In fact, there were many radar stations that would have been monitoring Flight 007, and their records would all be archived. However, according to the US, “These tapes remain unavailable to the public for national security reasons”. The US military radar installation at King Salmon, Alaska, would have provided conclusive records, but the US Department of Justice explained that the tape records from this location had unfortunately been destroyed. At first the claim was that they were destroyed 15 hours after the event, but then Justice Department lawyer Jan Van Flatern said he had “misspoken” and the tapes had really been destroyed within hours. But since the fatal end of Flight 007 was already known, why would anyone have permitted the destruction of the data? Obviously, they would not have done. Another factor is that US aircraft had been consistently overflying this same Soviet airspace, infringing on Russian territorial integrity to test the rapidity of Russia’s responses. It was a game the US played constantly on virtually all Russian borders, and especially near secret military bases like that on Sakhalin Island. When the Russians first detected Flight 007, they had no reason to believe it was anything other than yet one more US military intrusion into their airspace. In real terms, the Americans pushed their luck once too often. But in any case, the use of civilian aircraft for military purposes is hardly unusual.


Another inconsistency is that after the Soviet fighter plane fired its warning shots, the military pilots of Flight 007 radioed Tokyo and requested permission to proceed to a higher altitude, a move we are told was intended to save fuel. But this transmission was apparently made by an aircraft that had lost all its communications systems, so how could it communicate with Tokyo? It would be impossible that when Tokyo air control granted permission for a change in altitude, it would not also have informed Flight 007 that it was well off its intended course and was at the time overflying restricted Soviet airspace. And, since the aircraft’s radios appeared to suddenly be in good working order, it is surprising that Flight 007 refused to respond to the Russian ground station or transmissions from the Russian military aircraft, informing them they were violating Soviet airspace.


Even more curious is the salvage operation for the aircraft and bodies. As a point of interest, the aircraft was not destroyed by the Soviet missiles, at least not initially. Due to the numerous back-up systems, Flight 007 continued on its way for another 45 minutes before finally crashing in relatively shallow water near Moneron Island. In the salvage operation, almost no bodies were found among the wreckage, but what was found was even more of a surprise. Clothing was recovered, with buttons still buttoned and zippers still zipped, but without bodies inside them.“Something else was inexplicable to us—zipped up clothes. For instance, a coat, slacks, shorts, a sweater with zippers—the items were different, but, zipped up. And nothing inside. We came to this conclusion then: Most likely, the passengers had been pulled out of the plane by decompression, and they fell in a completely different place from where [the debris was found].  [3]


The US version was that when the plane exploded (which it obviously did not, continuing to fly for another 45 minutes before slowly crashing into the sea), the bodies “were sucked out” of the clothing due to the rapid decompression of the aircraft, a ridiculous impossibility. It is also curious that no luggage was found anywhere within the crash site and, although few bodies were recovered, the salvage teams recovered more than 100 pairs of shoes among the wreckage. Looking at the evidence, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that there may have been fewer passengers on that aircraft than the US claimed, and that the clothing and shoes were planted to provide misleading evidence in case the spy mission went wrong – as it did.


Related to this lack of bodies is the curious fact that another Korean Airlines aircraft, referred to as “sister flight KAL 015”, was flying only 15 minutes behind KAL 007 on its way to the same destination. A brief check of the records indicates that this was also a first of its kind, since neither Korean Airlines nor any other airline have ever operated two such long-distance flights, both with Boeing 747s, from the same departure point to the same destination, in such close time proximity, which leads one to conclude that Flight 007 was a fake flight containing only military personnel – which was why no bodies were ever found.


We need only use our heads, and think. The story was that Korean Airlines operated two weekly flights from New York to Seoul, Korea, via Anchorage, Alaska. But instead of scheduling them perhaps one on Sunday and the second on Wednesday or Thursday, KAL operated them on the same day, only 15 minutes apart. No airline in the world has ever done anything so nonsensical. And indeed, the records showed that these two flights simultaneous flights were an exception that had never occurred before and would never occur again.


Further, the records show that the civilian crew of Flight 007 was replaced in Anchorage with an entirely military crew, and in much greater numbers than necessary, hence the “unusually high ratio of crew to passengers”. From the various flight logs, what appears to have happened is that both aircraft were on the tarmac at Anchorage at the same time, the first aircraft, Flight 007 full of passengers and with a civilian crew. The second “sister flight”, KAL Flight 015, was almost surely an empty aircraft flown by military personnel, and most likely containing a large amount of espionage equipment. It is possible that while at the airport in Anchorage, the passengers changed aircraft, being transferred to KAL Flight 015. Either that, or the aircraft swapped the transponders which automatically identify each flight. One of the flights – and we cannot know which one – continued to Korea with its complement of passengers and civilian crew, while the second aircraft with its military crew continued on its mission of espionage toward Sakhalin Island. One aircraft departed only minutes behind the other.


Another curious fact is that the investigation of the crash was quickly taken out of the hands of the NTSB and given to the International Civil Aviation Organization, who had no expertise whatever in crash investigations, having done only one in its entire life – a political move arranged by the US for the purpose of absolving Israel of shooting down an innocent civilian aircraft. But the NTSB was ordered to halt its investigation and turn over all material – originals and copies – to the US State Department. Eighteen months later, the State Department claimed it had done no investigation because it had no expertise or facilities. The advantage of anchoring the investigation with the ICAO is that it is removed from US press freedom and the media cannot gain access to its records. Perhaps a greater advantage is that the ICAO is almost entirely a political organisation under the control of the US, and its reports typically contain only what is politically expedient to the US government and its agencies.


After the incident, there was also a major PR campaign conducted by the Americans, which was riddled with falsehoods and misinformation. The US State Department arranged for the production of a video to be aired at the United Nations, which dramatically “proved” that the Russians deliberately – and knowingly – shot down a civilian airliner and that “at no point did the pilots raise the question of the identity of the target aircraft”. However, the Americans had cleverly manipulated both the radio and radar data to display only the information that would make the Russians appear to be evil. It was revealed much later that both the Russian ground station and the Russian aircraft made repeated attempts to contact Flight 007, and it was obvious from the transcripts that the Russians genuinely believed they were firing on an American spy plane. But the PR damage had long since been done. One Soviet journalist later claimed that this US video was the biggest propaganda blow ever suffered during the Cold War, one from which the Soviets never fully recovered.


White House Deputy Special Assistant Alvin Snyder with President Richard Nixon before his resignation speech in 1974. Source


Alvin Snyder, who was the director of television for the US Information Agency, and responsible for the construction of the misleading propaganda video, finally told the story of this US misinformation campaign in 1996, thirteen years later, and of the part he played in constructing the video for the US State Department. He blames his employers for providing him with incomplete information, but admits today that “The story of Flight 007 will be remembered pretty much the way we told it in 1983, not the way it really happened.” [4] He claims that US officials involved in the coverup told him that monitoring data was intentionally withheld from the tape he made for the UN, that he was given only selective information – some of the pilots’ words and none of the comments of the ground controllers. He tells us now that “Those full conversations reveal that the Russians believed the intruder aircraft was an American RC-135 reconnaissance plane, many of which flew routine missions in the area.” And he claims further that one former State Department official told him “Although untrue and unfair, it intimidated the Russians. We gave them a beating”. It was only in 1993 that the International Civil Aviation Organization released their report on the investigation of the incident and permitted at least some of the truth to emerge. Regardless of the number of military or civilian personnel aboard Korean Airlines Flight 007, the essential truth is that yet one more time the US, in its morally-deformed arrogance, sacrificed some considerable number of lives, simply for political and military gain. Again, this wasn’t the first time, and it wasn’t the last time.

“The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining supercapitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control…. Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.” — Rep. Larry McDonald. Source


Another curiosity about this event is that one of the passengers on Flight 007 was American Congressman Larry McDonald who was an outspoken critic of much of the establishment and considered by the political Right Wing to be “one of the most dangerous people in America” – at least to them. McDonald despised and denounced the “hidden government’s” Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission, and regularly exposed their One-World Government plans. In 1976 he was on record as stating, “The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining super-capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control…. Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.” McDonald was a surgeon who had organised a private intelligence network that apparently threatened to rival that of the CIA, had announced plans to campaign for President of the US, and was apparently a great threat to the plans of George Bush senior and of other powerful men hidden deep in the establishment. McDonald was on his way to Korea with two other Senators, Jesse Helms and Steve Symms, to jointly establish another link in his worldwide intelligence network. It would seem worthy of note that the other two men were transferred aboard Flight 007s “sister aircraft”, leaving him to go down with the ship. Washington at the time was swirling with suggestions and allegations that the powers behind the throne were happy to sacrifice McDonald if the opportunity arose.


Any reader performing even the smallest amount of research on this event, other than reading the “official story”, will have no choice but to conclude that most portions of the official story make no sense, contain physical impossibilities, and repeatedly strain credulity. Moreover, the transfer of the investigation to the ICAO is just begging for claims of a fraud and a coverup. And slowly, after many years, the truth is being revealed.


TWA Flight 800



TWA Flight 800 took off for Paris from Kennedy Airport in New York City on July 17, 1996, and crashed just 12 minutes later off the coast of Long Island, killing all 230 people on board in one of the deadliest aviation accidents in US history. The official explanation given by the NTSB was that the crash was caused by a spark that ignited a gas tank explosion, but there were serious doubts about a conspiracy and a cover-up from the very beginning. The entire investigation and aftermath of the tragedy were riddled with inconsistencies, fabrications, intimidation of witnesses and the apparent suppression of evidence. Many branches of the US government and the main US media made extensive efforts to silence both witnesses to the disaster and critics of the accident investigation. Many witnesses were threatened by government officials and many reporters lost their jobs and saw their careers in ruins when they persisted in pursuing the story.

There were so many problems with the official story that provided fuel for the cynics and skeptics, that it is difficult to know where to begin. For one, Boeing engineers uniformly testified there were no electrical contacts inside the fuel tanks and so the spark theory was a physical impossibility. For the record, and you can check this with any aircraft engineer, nobody – I repeat, nobody – would be so foolish as to design an aircraft with electrical flash points in or anywhere near a fuel tank. To do so would be suicide.


FILE – In this Nov. 19, 1997 file photo, FBI agents and New York state police guard the reconstruction of TWA Flight 800 in Calverton, N.Y. Flight 800 exploded and crashed July 17, 1996 while flying from New York to Paris, killing all 230 people aboard. Former investigators on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 called on the National Transportation Safety Board to re-examine the cause, saying new evidence points to the often-discounted theory that a missile strike may have downed the jumbo jet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File. Source


For another, more than 200 witnesses claimed to have seen a missile launched from one of the US naval vessels that were carrying out secret manoevers in the area at the time, streak toward Flight 800, and explode in close proximity to the aircraft. Suspicions were further heightened when, in the ensuing investigation, those 200 witnesses were not only specifically excluded from testifying, but were forbidden to appear at the enquiry. When a public outcry forced the authorities to permit these individuals to bear witness to what they saw, they were not permitted to provide written statements but to give only oral testimony – which was not recorded – the interviewer simply making casual notes. Witnesses to an event are normally requested to write and sign a complete statement, after which they may be debriefed or interrogated further, but their written statements form part of the permanent record. But in the case of Flight 800, there were no written witness statements; the FBI agents took only verbal statements which were not recorded, then made whatever written notes they cared to make, notes which the witnesses were not permitted to see. This event was so complex that specific accusations of government malfeasance and cover-up extended to the hundreds.


From the testimony, it appears to have been a proximity detonation rather than a direct strike and explosion, that brought down the aircraft. It is a known fact that in water a proximity explosion can often produce far greater damage than a direct hit, and for this reason some torpedoes are constructed to explode prior to contact with a target. It is quite possible the US Navy was experimenting with such a device for use in the air, and used a civilian airliner in their test. From the testimony of eyewitnesses, the explosion(s) they saw were near the aircraft, but that the aircraft itself did not explode.Some have speculated that the US Navy “accidentally” fired a missile at the aircraft, but that is not possible. If it were indeed a Navy missile that brought down Flight 800, the targeting was deliberate, not accidental. Military hardware has too many safeguards for an event like this to be an accident. It isn’t as if we have a panel full of buttons, where a careless sailor pressed “missile launch” instead of “double espresso”. If it were indeed a Navy missile that brought down the aircraft, the act was deliberate, and this wouldn’t be the first time.


April Oliver

From all reports, it certainly appears that the FBI, CIA, US military and the US government eliminated all those whose testimony would contradict their official narrative. A Fox News reporter testified that the station’s General manager insisted they alter their stories or be fired. The company offered these reporters a full year’s salary and $200,000 in “consulting jobs” on condition they never discuss how Fox covered up the story. After declining, they were fired. April Oliver, a CNN reporter, claimed that CNN willingly helped to kill the story after receiving pressure from Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Special Forces staff. She claimed she and her co-producer “were branded journalistic felons” and were fired.


One investigator related how he obtained a small piece of the aircraft and took it to an FBI lab to test it for the presence of nitrates – proof of an ordnance explosion. The lab tested the sample and found it positive, then made a phone call. He claims that within a minute, three FBI agents appeared in the lab, confiscated his sample evidence, claimed the machine had “frequent false positives”, and physically escorted him from the premises. A CBS news reporter also obtained a small sample of the aircraft and took it for testing. The FBI immediately claimed she had false and stolen evidence, and a few weeks later she was fired. Testimony from one eyewitness: “The FBI came to talk to me. It was almost abusive. They took me into the back room. They said, “Well, we heard that you saw something. Tell us what you saw.” I told them what I saw, and they looked me straight in the face and said, “You did not see that. You saw nothing”. Testimony from another eyewitness: “They said to her, “Well, you have your papers in to become an American citizen, don’t you?” And she said, “Yes.” And they said, “Well, if you want to become an American citizen, you’d best be very quiet about this.” And she said, “And so, I kept quiet, and I never spoke about it.”


Pierre Salinger


“The missile theory was given early credence by Pierre Salinger, President John Kennedy’s former press secretary, who reported that the Navy was testing missiles off the New York coast at the time. Salinger was one of the strongest supporters of the missile theory, claiming he had seen proof that the Navy shot down the 747 and then attempted to cover it up. Salinger was widely condemned for expressing his views, the FBI, CIA and US military attacking him so viciously that he decided to abandon America as a place to live and moved to Europe.”


One of the persons interviewed in the immediate aftermath was a senior US military officer who apparently stated, “I’ve been in the military for 30 years. I know a missile when I see one.”


There is much more, but this is the gist of the story. There are three elements that are damning in this tale. One is the sheer number of people in various locations who swear they saw a missile streaking toward the aircraft and exploding prior to contact. The second is the astonishing amount of what appears to have been forcible CIA and FBI suppression of the testimony of the witnesses. Only oral statements were permitted. No witnesses were permitted to testify at the enquiry. Witnesses were threatened and told “You saw nothing.” Reporters were threatened and lost their jobs for relating witness testimony. The third is that the investigation was removed from the authority of the NTSB and turned over to law enforcement and espionage agents, this being a first in the history of the United States. If you recall, the investigation of Korean Airlines Flight 007 was also suddenly and inexplicably removed from the authority of the NTSB and turned over to the ICAO – who had never done a flight crash investigation. Something similar occurred when Russia was accused of shooting down a civilian airliner (Malaysia Airlines Flight 17) over Ukraine – the US inexplicably turned over the investigation to Holland who had little experience and no authority in the matter. In each of these cases, the result was to remove the contents of the investigation from access to the US media or FOIA requests, thereby eliminating any possibility of the facts becoming known.


And so on. None of this happens in a real investigation where authorities are searching for the truth. We will not likely learn what really occurred on that day, but those challenging the official story do not deserve the label of “conspiracy theorists”.



Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chap. 2 — Dealing with Demons).

His full archive can be seen at

https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/  + https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

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[1] The downing of Flight 007


[2] Korean Air Lines Flight 007 alternative theories


[3] KAL 007: The Russian Explanations for the Missing Bodies



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