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Originally posted by Zaphod58
At the time of the shoot down, it was widely believed that the Soviets mistook the Boeing 747 for the US Air Force RC-135 (based on the Boeing 707) that was operating in the area. The Soviets claimed that the 747 was flying with no lights on at the time. The pilot of the Su-15 that fired on them later said he knew it was a Boeing, as it was lit up. He saw two rows of windows (upper deck and lower deck), as well as strobes and navigation lights.
There were also claims that the US deliberately used the 747 to spy on the Soviets, as Kamchatka is one of the most vital military bases of the Soviet (now Russian) Navy.
The question now is, why did the aircraft go so far off course in the first place. Was there something on board that made the INS drift (this really isn't hard to do with the old INS units. We used to mess with crews that annoyed us and park them over a metal grate on the ground, and it would skew their alignment to hell and gone)? Did the crew simply forget to switch from Heading mode to INS mode on the autopilot?
Another question is, did the Soviet government deliberately target the aircraft to get at Representative McDonald? Or did he know something and was trying to get to Russia without anyone knowing what he was doing, so he helped them to target the aircraft to fake his death?
There are many questions that 30 years later don't even start to have an answer, and it appears that we may never get those answers. At least not for many more years.
"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."
1976, in the well of the House.
In 1983, Cold War tensions between the US and USSR had escalated to a level not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis because of several factors.
These included the United States's Strategic Defense Initiative, its planned deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe in March and April, and FleetEx '83, the largest fleet exercise held to date in the North Pacific.
The military hierarchy of the Soviet Union (particularly the old guard led by Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov and Soviet Defense Minister Dmitry Ustinov) viewed these actions as bellicose and destabilizing; they were deeply suspicious of Ronald Reagan's intentions and openly fearful he was planning a first strike nuclear attack against the Soviet Union.
These fears culminated in Operation RYAN, the code name for a secret intelligence gathering program initiated by Andropov to prepare for the nuclear sneak attack which he believed Reagan was plotting.
Aircraft from USS Midway and USS Enterprise repeatedly overflew Soviet military installations in the disputed Kurile Islands during FleetEx '83, resulting in the dismissal or reprimanding of Soviet military officials who had been unable to shoot them down.
On April 20, 1978, Soviet air defense shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 902 (KAL902) near Murmansk, USSR, after the civilian aircraft violated Soviet airspace and allegedly failed to respond to Soviet interceptors.
Soviet air defense initially assumed the plane was part of Soviet marine aviation, but then mistakenly identified it as part of the United States Air Force.
When Captain Alexander Bosov, pilot of the Sukhoi Su-15 that brought down Flight 902, saw Chinese characters on the tail of the Korean aircraft, he attempted to convince his superiors on the ground that the plane was not a military threat. Despite this, Vladmir Tsarkov, commander of the 21st Soviet Air Defense Corps, ordered Bosov to take down the plane.
The Su-15 opened fire, killing two of the 109 total passengers and crew members aboard Flight 902. The plane then made an emergency landing on the frozen Korpijärvi lake near the Finnish border.
Originally posted by kathael
reply to post by Zaphod58
I wasn't even born yet, soo..
Originally posted by _Del_
It was a different world to be sure. The Russians didn't tip toe through the tulips very well. The threat of imminent war was, on occasion, very real.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Drunkenparrot
I'm not entirely sure that it was anything more than coincidence that he was on the plane, but with his record, and the fact that he was considering a Presidential campaign, it's entirely possible someone went after him.
Avraham Shifrin, a self-declared KGB expert, claimed that according to the investigation of his research centre, KAL 007 landed on water north of Moneron, and the passengers successfully disembarked on emergency floats. The Soviets collected them and subsequently sent them to camps (with the children "separated from their parents and safely hidden in the orphan houses of one of the Soviet Middle Asian republics"). McDonald in particular was supposed to have gone through a number of prisons in Moscow, among them the Central Lubyanka, and Lefortovo.
...a letter sent in 1991 by senator Jesse Helms, while he was ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, to Russian President Boris Yeltsin requesting information about the fate of KAL 007, including, in a list of questions, a request to know the whereabouts of any survivors and their camp locations, and requesting also to know of the fate of Larry McDonald, indicates that Helms took the abduction theory seriously.