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Global Roundup

The Real Story?

The official denials are coming fast and furious. No, TWA 800 was not shot down by "friendly fire." But here is the story e-mailed to WCN on September 12, 1996, at 1:07 a.m. by a former Safety Chairman for the Airline Pilots Association:

"TWA flight 800 was shot down by a U.S. Navy guided missile ship which was in Area W-105. W-105 is a Warning Area off the Southeast coast of Long Island used by the military for missile firing and other military operations. . . . (The Navy) was conducting practice firing up over the top of a Navy P-3 radar plane, which was on a Southwest heading over the top of the TWA 800. Evidently the missile is supposed to go over the top of the P-3, and the accuracy of the missile is being measured by instrumentation in the P-3.

"A USAir flight coming from the Southeast descending towards Providence, R.I., had been cleared to 21,000 feet and the TWA 800 aircraft restricted to 13,000 feet. The air traffic controller requested the USAir flight to turn on his landing lights so that TWA might see them and identify him. At that point he would clear the TWA flight to continue the climb. The P-3 was a non-beacon target flying Southwest in the controlled airspace almost over TWA 800 and made no calls to ATC. After the explosion, he continued his flight and then called ATC and asked if they would like him to turn around and assist with the 'accident.'

"You will remember the first announcement about this accident came from the Pentagon. The spokesman mentioned that they were sending the Navy to the crash site. They immediately sent a Navy Captain who was replaced the next day by an Admiral. That Admiral is still on the scene.

"The FBI has conducted at least 3,000 eyewitness interviews, and the NTSB has not been able to be a part of these interviews nor have any access to their contents. It has been a cover-up from the word go. The NTSB is there in name only. . . .It would appear that (Bob Francis') job is to make sure that nothing is said that would give away 'THE BIG SECRET.'"

"Friendly fire" is a continuing dilemma and catastrophe of national armed forces. But viewed globally, all killings in national wars are "friendly fire," since humans killing humans is "friends" killing "friends."

$256.6 Billion For "Future Wars."

In signing a military authorization bill Sept. 23rd for $256.6 billion for 1997, $11.2 billion more than he requested, President Clinton said that "This bill makes good on our pledge to keep our armed forces the best trained, best equipped fighting force on earth."

In a brazen irony, the same bill contains a provision to toughen Federal laws against stalking, making it a crime to cross state lines for the purpose of harassing someone.

Are not the armed forces of the United States "stalking" the people of the world across national borders everywhere? Clinton even makes the preposterous claim that the bill "gives us the technological edge to prevail on the battlefields of tomorrow."

Do the American people want a leader who is already thinking about "winning" future wars instead of preventing them? Would that a law existed for treason to world peace.

Until that longed-for day, only humanity sits in judgment.

Ban the Bomb

The contrast between individuals and states is nowhere more apparent and deadly than in the nuclear debate. Since 1945, when the United States tested its first A-bomb, 2045 nuclear test explosions have been sanctioned by governments worldwide. At the same time, millions of concerned individuals have been campaigning against nuclear weapons and their testing. As states haggle among themselves, attempting to forge treaties which would ban all nuclear explosions worldwide, the citizens of the world, who would pay the highest price in a nuclear conflagration, are given no legitimate say in the debate.

In mid-September, over 115 nation-states, with Australia leading the way, sought United Nations' approval for a pact banning all nuclear explosions worldwide. The so-called Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty cannot take effect until all 44 countries with nuclear arms or power stations have ratified it. (It is ironic that India, the country that gave the world the prince of nonviolence, Mahatma Gandhi, is opposed to the treaty.)

Unfortunately, treaties between sovereign states are not law. They are static documents, unenforceable and breakable at any moment.

Both Albert Einstein and Andrei Sakharov, the "fathers" of the nuclear age, argued that only a world government could control the forces of nuclear power. Competitive armed states cannot control an absolute weapon.

Insanity is defined as "extreme folly, senselessness, foolhardiness." Do not national leaders aptly fit the definition in regard to their half-century-long gamble with nuclear weaponry?

Friendly Skies?

Plutonium for nuclear reactors, recovered from used fuel and purified for re-use in reactors, now travels by ship from depots in Europe and Japan. Some of these shipments go through the Caribbean and into the Panama Canal across Central America, and onward across the Pacific.

Astonishingly, the International Atomic Energy Agency is now considering new standards for packaging plutonium for shipment by airplanes.

The Nuclear Control Institute and Greenpeace, the international environmental group, oppose this idea, claiming that the hundreds of expected flights in the next few years may result in a crash that would endanger millions on the ground through exposure to the highly toxic plutonium.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets standards for aviation worldwide, believes the proposed standards "need further study." Indeed!

It's a Buyer's Market

The overall market for arms in the developing world fell to $15.4 billion last year. Russia outsold the United States and France, its main client being China. Russian arms sales rebounded after the breakup of the Soviet Union, growing by 62 percent last year-from $3.7 billion in 1994 to $6 billion in 1995, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The developing nations-which do not include the U.S., Russia, Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand-accounted for more than half of all arms purchases worldwide last year. While China still holds "developing world" status, it sells weapons to any state which seeks them-such as missiles to Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia-even if that means violating international accords on arms transfers.

So much for the lawless world community.

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