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Twenty Years Later - Are We Closer to Rescue?

The meaning of empathy – “Your pain in my heart.” Caring has the power of compressing the years and making it seem but a day ago.  Throughout the years, a young man who was a boy at the time of the shoot down of KAL 007, has been seeking to know more about the fate of his mother, a passenger aboard KAL flight 007.  Now, he continues his quest, having found our website.

When you think about it, when you think about “them”, twenty years is not too long a time at all.  Twenty-two children under the age of 18 were aboard that flight.  Celita Chuapoco is now only 23 years old, “little” Stacey Grenfell is also only 23, as is Christa Gayle Metcalf.  Christa’s sister, Rita Denise Metcalf, is 27 years old.  Graham Park, 24, and youngest of them all – Sammy Ariadej, is now only 20 years and a few months old.  These are the young ones.

And what startling reversals of knowledge have taken place recently – exploding paralyzing assumptions.  We had believed that the jumbo jet had taken two missiles, exploded, and cart-wheeled to its destruction.  Now we know that only one missile had “hit” detonating, as designed, 50 meters astern, and that the plane commenced a controlled decent continually retarding its speed, leveling off at 16,424 ft. for a full four minutes, only to continue its slow decent, spiraling widely around tiny Moneron Island.  (See Escape From Destruction.)

We had believed that our precious relatives and friends – all the passengers and crew had perished by being torn apart at the missile’s detonation, or, at best (or worst) had died by painful asphyxiation, by fright, heart-attack, or by drowning (though not one body had been recovered at the supposed downing sight).  But we now know that well within the one minute of “critical useful consciousness”, all oxygen masks had dropped and passengers and crew (and most importantly, the pilot, Capt. Chun) were breathing well and were functioning.  And, amazingly, putting together all the missile’s shrapnel punctures, the total combined damage to the passengers cabin’s skin was no more than a mere 1 ¾ square feet! (See After the Impact.)

We had believed the Russians when they had said – “We could not give the precise answer about the spot where it [KAL 007] fell because we ourselves did not know the spot in the first place” (Marshal Nicolay Ogarkov).  We now know, having obtained transcripts of the real time Soviet military communiqués that they had lied to us through their teeth, that they knew exactly, within a few mile radius of tiny Moneron Island, where KAL 007 was descending, and had descended and that they had, indeed, sent out two air and naval rescue missions just 21 and 29 minutes from the moment Maj. Osipovich had launched his missiles.  (See The Rescue.)

And we now know from Top Secret memos between the top soviet brass – such as K.G.B head Chebrikov, Defense Minister Ustinov, that the Soviets deliberately deceived the U.S. search and rescue mission so that the Americans (and the world) would believe that the Soviets were likewise searching for KAL 007.  But, in reality they had already found and gutted the ditched airliner.  And we learned that the deception was carried out even to the point of arming nuclear weapons, simulating of a real attack (See Soviet Top Secret Memos and KAL 007, the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and the Great Russian Ruse.)

And we now know that it is not presumptuous to think, or audacious to state, that the Russian Federation is not so very different in some essential respects from the former Soviet Union.  We now know that it is not unthinkable that Americans and citizens of other countries could be forcibly confined somewhere on Russian Federation soil.  We have recently learned this by the specter of forced-labor timber and construction camps filled with foreign nationals slaving to pay off their nation’s debt to the former Soviet Union (up to 30,000 North Koreans are slave laborers in Russia). (See KAL 007 Survivors and the Forced Labor Concentration Camps of the Russian Federation.)  We hear that these camps are in the same Tynda and Amur River region along the Siberian border with China where we heard, some ten years ago, that our own people of KAL 007 were likely held captive—near the towns of Nerchinsk, Nerchinski Zavod and Chita as well as other unnamed places.

What we knew before about the shoot-down, the rescue and the dynamics of the decision-making, was opaque or at best, murky.  Imagination and supposition filled in the details.  Now we can see so clearly such things as the interplay of two Soviet generals, each with his own vehemence and his own preferences.  There is Gen. Valeri Kamensky, commander of Soviet Air Defense Forces of the Far East Military District with his decision for shoot down even if KAL 007 is over international waters.  And yet we see his insistence that the “Intruder” first be identified lest it be a civilian passenger plane.  And we see Gen. Kamensky’s subordinate, Gen. Anatoli Kornukov, commander of Sokol airbase with his uneasiness at the prospect of shooting down 007 while it is over international waters and we see his final acquiescence to it.  Yes, and we see his impatience and shortness bordering on insubordination at Kamensky’s insistence for prior positive identification.  (See How KAL 007 Was Lost and Escape from Destruction.)

So much detail and yet our people are still captive!

What is crystal clear to us now is that enough has transpired; enough has become transparent and lucid to warrant from us a strong revulsion at having been duped, and warrant, likewise, from us and equally strong determination and insistence that our people be brought back home safe and now.  We need, we demand, a full-blown investigation and prosecution of this affair by the highest authorities possible in the United States of America, as well as the nations of Japan, South Korea, Russia and all other affected nations and people.

Bert Schlossberg
International Director


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Last modified: March 10, 2009

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