While most of this speculative chatter has been confined to story comment sections, local conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill has taken to the airwaves with a novel idea: The Malaysian Airlines mystery dovetails nicely with the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996.
That Paris-bound TWA flight blew up in the air shortly after takeoff from J.F.K. International Airport just off the shores of Long Island. The disaster is accompanied by an alluring conspiracy theory that says the plane was shot down by the U.S. Navy, either by accident or on purpose, and that officials succeeded in covering it up.
Much of the impetus for the TWA shoot-down theory rests with eyewitness accounts of some type of flashing or shooting red light that seemed to approach the jet just before it exploded in the evening sky. The implication: The red light was a missile honing in on the aircraft. Other peculiarities in the subsequent investigation have raised the hackles of conspiracy theorists. The "official story" is that the plane suffered some devastating electrical malfunction that sparked a fuel-tank explosion.
Cashill, a conservative author and
[Cashill emailed us to say he's not the publisher. That's Joe Sweeney. Cashill, according to his website, is executive editor of the magazine.] of Ingram's
magazine, is a devoted TWA conspiracy theorist, having written a book on the matter. He has been an enthusiastic proponent of other conspiracy theories, many of dubious quality. He questions the authenticity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate (debunked) and thinks that Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers wrote the president's autobiography Dreams From My Father.
Cashill once hilariously stuck out his neck for the idea that a photo of Obama sitting on a park bench in New York with his maternal grandparents was a hoax, which would lend credence to the theory that he was actually spending his time being radicalized in Pakistan during the early 1980s. Cashill quickly had to walk back the claim when he realized he was taken by a clumsy bit of Photoshop
KMBC Channel 9, presumably looking for a way to localize a gripping international news story, looked to Cashill to weigh in on a segment that aired on Monday.
While there are some good reasons to question how and why the TWA flight blew up midflight, it's puzzling to understand why Cashill has already connected it to the Malaysian Airlines incident when nobody has any clue what happened to the missing flight.
The TWA flight blew up for many to see; the Malaysian Airlines flight is nowhere to be seen with little credible evidence to suggest what happened.
The lack of clear answers days after the Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared from radar screens, coupled with bizarre and contradictory statements coming from Malaysian authorities, has made fertile ground for elaborate speculation about the fate of the jet. Was it hijacked? Shot out of the sky? Did slow decompression cause everyone aboard to pass out while the plane flew aimlessly into the ocean somewhere? Was the flight done in by some type of mechanical failure?
The fulcrum of Cashill's Malaysian Airlines conspiracy, according to the KMBC report, is that Malaysian authorities are throwing out misdirection to the public when they actually know where the airplane ended up. Cashill says authorities want to alter data in the plane's black box (a device that records flight data to provide clues to investigators in the event of an incident) to cover up some type of embarrassment. He thinks that's what American investigators did to the TWA flight's black box.
"I would bet now they know where the plane is and what happened to the plane, but they want to retrieve the black boxes, find out exactly what happened and then get the [story] straight before they release any information," Cashill told KMBC.
Blind bets without definitive knowledge grease the rails of conspiracy theories.
The intriguing and ongoing mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370's disappearance near Vietnam has generated a cottage industry of freshly minted amateur avionic experts who confidently express their hidden genius about what happened to the plane.