I was browsing the documentaries on Netflix last night, checking to see if there was anything new and worthwhile that I hadn’t seen. I noticed there was a relatively recent film called “TWA Flight 800.” Huh, I thought to myself, isn’t that the one where the fuel tank supposedly blew up because of faulty wiring, but also the one where a bunch of people claimed they saw a missile in the air around the same time?
Yeah, that’s the one.
Honest to God, I was just going to watch a few minutes to see if it was worth saving for later, and I stayed up watching the whole damned thing.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am not a conspiracy theory guy. I just don’t think people can keep secrets forever. And this film convinces me that this view is correct. Because this was a conspiracy, and people aren’t keeping their mouths shut.
Granted, a documentarian has a wealth of tools at his or her disposal to shape perceptions. Indeed, the documentarian who doesn’t use these tools will probably make a really boring film. But there are ways of shaping perception that reveal hidden truths, and there are ways of shaping perception that conceal and mislead. Do the film makers of “TWA Flight 800” have an agenda? Absolutely. But it’s hard to come away from watching the film without feeling that it does reveal hidden truths, and that the concealment and misleading has come from the official government account.
One thing that bolsters the film makers’ credibility are questions they don’t ask: They tell us that in addition to the National Transportation Safety Board—normally the lead investigative agency on air crashes—the FBI was heavily involved in the investigation from the get-go. The point is raised but the question of why this would be so is left for the viewer to ask.
Similarly, the film focuses on bolstering the case that a missile—or missiles—brought down the plane. But the film makers spend almost no time on the question of whose missile it was or who actually fired it.
In news coverage of the event, to my recollection, any time witnesses who claimed to see a missile were mentioned, the coverage was slanted to convey the official line: that if they had seen a missile—which government sources assured us they hadn’t—then “the missile they didn’t see” was presumably a shoulder-fired missile that fell into the hands of terrorists.
But because the film makers don’t ask the questions I mention above, I immediately asked and answered them myself:
Why was the FBI immediately and heavily involved? And if there was a missile, whose was it and who fired it? The most likely answer I came up with, given what the film tells us, is that the FBI was immediately involved because the U.S. military inadvertantly fired the missile, and the FBI was there to cover it up.