I’ve changed my mind! It’s not just a woman’s prerogative, but an intelligence analyst’s. When the facts change I change my opinion. Since my column last week new information has come to light about John F. Kennedy Jnr’s death in a plane crash on July 16th 1999. Thursday saw the 21st anniversary of the crash, of course.
It must be recalled that my involvement in serious intelligence work only began with the Pinochet case in 1999. I had not looked at the JFK Jnr crash in depth. Last week I was responding to suggestions from Q that he was still alive, which seem to me to be far-fetched.
I was also misled, to some extent, by ‘John John’s’ poor airmanship, which seemed to me to explain the crash. With every respect to his memory I maintain that his airmanship in not sticking to the planned departure time and not having a second pilot was poor. Undertaking a night flight over water, with passengers, in a single-engined airplane, with no second pilot, limited hours on type and no instrument rating was hazardous, to say the least.
Spatial disorientation can be a real problem, not least at night. It’s particularly difficult to judge height above water at night or in poor weather. Misjudgment of height above water is thought to be the reason behind the tragic loss off the Vietnamese coast of LTV RF-8G Crusader 144624 of VFP-62, flying from the Midway class attack carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, on September 6th 1966, with the death of her pilot, Lieutenant (j.g.) Norman Bundy. (See Martin Bowman, Cold War Jet Combat, 2016, at p.210.)
My attention has been drawn to research by my old friend Sherman Skolnick, the brilliant investigative journalist out of Chicago Illinois, who sadly passed in 2006, allegedly of a heart attack. Poor old Sherman had been disabled by polio as a boy.
Not everybody was fond of Sherman, especially corrupt judges in Illinois, where the bench was almost as crooked as the federal bench, no offense to the federal judiciary intended. I liked Sherman however and have always paid serious attention to his work. I only got to know him after the Kelly Assassination in 2003 – we never worked together on the JFK Jnr Assassination, nor discussed it.
Sherman came across an internal FBI report provisionally concluding sabotage through placement of an IED in the rear luggage compartment of the Saratoga. As many readers will know there are two luggage compartments on the Saratoga, one forward and one aft.
The aft compartment would be an ideal spot to place a small IED, with a view to blowing off the empennage. Once that’s gone you’re finished. The FBI report suggests that the tail was found some distance from the rest of the wreckage. The Coastguard also reported that the wreckage was spread over a fairly wide area.
This new evidence (new to me at any rate) about the debris field is important. If spatial disorientation was the cause the plane would have hit the water intact, albeit possibly at a steep angle. We would not expect a scattered debris field. In particular we would not expect any part of the empennage to be separated from the rest of the wreckage.
Sherman also cited radar evidence suggesting a rate of descent of 6,000 ft a minute. A rate of descent that fast virtually rules out spatial disorientation, because of noise. Trust me – if you’re in a light aircraft descending at 6,000 fpm you’re going to hear it. There’s no way you’re not going to know you’re going down. Any pilot would know to level the wings and pull up.
The reported rapid rate of descent is also consistent with the loss of the empennage. With a single pilot, a huge pilot workload and upset passengers it’s unsurprising that there was no Mayday call, but the DVD typically jam radios when bringing down aircraft in any event.
I was also unaware of the extent of JFK Jnr’s political ambitions. As of the date of his murder he had not run for elected office. Unbeknown to me however he and Al Gore’s people had been in discussion about JFK Jnr going on the ticket. There was also that upcoming Senate vacancy, on which Hillary Clinton had her eye.
If he was interested in the Vice-Presidency that meant he was interested in the Presidency, in particular in a run in 2008, for which the DVD had Barack ‘von’ Obama slotted in. Unlike LBJ, JFK Jnr would not have been interested in murdering his way into the White House, so Gore would have been safe.
Once installed in the Oval Office JFK Jnr would have been able to launch a serious investigation into the murder by the Germans of his illustrious father. I have no reason to believe that he knew about the DVD but he would have found out about them had he been elected President. There were enough people at Harvard who knew that the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK was a crock. There’s no way that ‘John John’ would have bought into that nonsense.
Intriguingly, the title of JFK Jnr’s magazine, George, may have been aimed at the late George ‘von’ Bush Snr, who played a key role in the events of November 1963. It was ‘Senior’, a.k.a. ‘41’, who arranged for the exfiltration of the three teams of shooters and then had them whacked. (If the Germans ever ask you to shoot the President, say no – it’s illegal anyway, and they invariably take the shooters out.)
There’s still for room for doubt – was the debris field as Sherman described and was the rate of descent really as high as 6,000 fpm? However, on balance, in the light of the new information I conclude that John F. Kennedy Jnr was assassinated by the DVD in order to present him joining the Democratic ticket in 2000 through the placement of a low explosive yield IED in the rear luggage compartment.
USS Bonhomme Richard
I’m hearing that the serious fire aboard the Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in San Diego was caused by sabotage. That would make sense. I’m assuming Correa/COREA Group, although it might have been the Chinese. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a group of BLM protestors carrying matches!
Deliberate sabotage of a warship in peacetime is an Act of War. The Administration should not pull its punches when the Navy’s report comes out.
Once again the fire demonstrated the US Navy’s superb damage control. No one died, thankfully, and the ship was saved, as was the USS Forrestal in July 1967, after the Correa Group’s John McCain tried to sink her. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ONI had a hand in tampering with his ejection seat.
McCain was shot down over North Vietnam three months later, of course, although sadly he survived to inflict further damage on the US and the Republican Party in particular. He ought to have been given a fair court-martial and shot, nicely, after the Forrestal fire, in which many good men lost their lives.
Sir John Kerr
Whilst the US was reluctant to use the death penalty to execute traitors during the Vietnam War, contributing mightily to her failure to win it (Secretary of Defense McNamara could usefully have been sent to the electric chair in 1964 for example), the Bad Guys were not so hesitant. Just a few months after the German attempt to sink the Forrestal their Chinese allies captured and assassinated the Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt.
Holt, a courageous man, was fully committed to supporting the Allied side in the Vietnam War. Peking and Hanoi wanted him replaced by the useless Senator Gorton, who did not so much wage the Vietnam War as dabble in it.
Holt’s assassination, absurdly, was put down to his being eaten by a shark. (How many times have you had a conversation along the lines of “I see another prime minister has been eaten by a shark” “Dang, that just keeps happening”?). This theory replaced the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy as the silliest explanation ever for the sudden death of a leader of a democracy.
The assassination of Harold Holt wasn’t China’s first interference in Australia’s domestic politics. Only the previous year they had been behind the shameful attempt to assassinate Leader of the Opposition Arthur Calwell, known for his sensible views about the Chinese. The Chinese plan was to have Calwell replaced by their man Gough Whitlam, who eventually became Prime Minister in 1972, promptly helping out the Reds by pulling Oz out of Vietnam.
Whitlam’s perfectly proper dismissal by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in 1975, after an intelligence briefing from ASIO about Whitlam’s ties to Peking, has featured in the news in recent weeks. After a dodgy ruling by the High Court of Australia, if that is not a tautology, private correspondence passing between the Governor-General and Sir Martin Charteris at the Palace has been released into the public domain.
Although the correspondence confirms that the decision to dismiss Whitlam was Sir John’s, and that Her Majesty was not involved, this has not stopped an idiot Aussie polly, if that is not another tautology with respect, Matt Thistlethwaite, from calling for a republic. According to Thistlethwaite (no, I hadn’t heard of him either), Her Majesty, Australia’s Head of State, is in some way ‘foreign’.
How Australia’s Head of State can be foreign is something Mr Thistlethwaite, to whom I shall copy these few modest remarks, does not condescend to explain. He may have been influenced by another with respect misconceived ruling of the High Court of Australia, Canavan & ors  HCA 45, which in effect held that two of Australia’s recent Prime Ministers, Julia Gillard, who was born in Wales, and Tony Abbott, who was born in London, were ineligible to serve.
That with respect bizarre ruling turned on a misinterpretation of s.44(i) of the Australian Constitution. British Citizens are no more ‘foreign’ in Australia than Australian Citizens are in England – we are all subjects of the same Queen. There is no way that the Founding Fathers thought that anyone born in Britain could not serve as an MP or Senator. Indeed Sir Edmund Barton, Australia’s first Prime Minister, was a British Subject by descent.
Bizarre legal decisions are by means confined to Australia. In a doozy of a decision this week the Court of Appeal managed to persuade themselves that the Bangladeshi terrorist Shamima Begum can return to Britain to argue her appeal against deprivation of British Citizenship. ([2020 EWCA Civ 918.)
In a with respect rambling judgment the lead judge, Lord Justice Flaux, who incidentally denied me permission to appeal the High Court’s decision last year disbarring me without allowing me to challenge my wrongful 2014 convictions, tried to find his way around no fewer than three previous Court of Appeal decisions, which bound the court.
I sat as an immigration judge from 1992 until 2003 and was a specialist immigration lawyer for nearly a decade before that. Appeals against leave to enter the United Kingdom almost by definition require the appellant to remain outside the country. The whole point of the appeal of course is to determine whether they have a right of entry.
Tens of thousands of out of country appeals have been heard. I presided over several hundred myself. Appellants can give evidence by video-link, if need be, and can be represented by counsel. With every respect Flaux LJ does not condescend to explain, in any detail, what relevant evidence Ms Begum could give.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) concluded, correctly, that the Home Secretary’s decision to deprive Ms Begum of her British citizenship, on the basis of her admitted affiliation to the ISIL terrorist organisation, did not render her stateless.
That is because her father was born in Bangladesh in 1958. Accordingly, as I have previously reported in this column, she was a Bangladeshi citizen by descent, under s.5 of the renamed Bangladesh Citizenship Act 1951. (Bangladesh of course was then known as East Pakistan.) Since these facts are not disputed how could Ms Begum’s evidence assist?
The nonsensical claim that Bangladesh is some sort of dictatorship and that her human rights would be violated if she were to be sent to her sole country of nationality rested on country reports of dubious value. Begum has never been to Bangladesh and has no knowledge of conditions in that country.
The government has appealed the decision and rightly so, although there is no guarantee of a sensible decision from our Supreme Court, which is even sillier than yours, no offense intended. The Court of Appeal envisaged that Ms Begum would be given a UFF, which is an EU form for travellers without travel documents, but I am far from clear that Ms Begum qualifies for a UFF.
There is no reason on the face of it why the Bangladeshi government should not extend passport facilities to Ms Begum. She is not stateless and is not a refugee. She is a captured unlawful combatant. As a Bangladeshi she is a visa national and will require a visa for entry to the UK for all purposes.
The simplest disposal would be to hand her over to the Kurds for a fair trial, followed by execution by firing squad, in the nicest possible way of course. (Ms Begum is reported to be a great believer in the death penalty.) However that is a matter entirely for the Syrian Democratic Forces in the first instance.
Response to Ian Greenhalgh
As regular readers will know I try to adopt a collegiate approach to other writers on VT. However not all of them reciprocate! I am sure that Ian Greenhalgh will not mind my having a gentle pop at him, after his personal attacks on me this week.
I am sorry to say that Ian is laboring under several misconceptions. Firstly he seems to be unaware that intelligence is capable of objective assessment. I make no claims for my own IQ, and being a shy, retiring sort of chap, have always tended to underestimate my IQ anyway. I merely report the objective assessment of my psychological profilers at the CIA and other intel agencies. I’m told the CIA’s figure is 187, and they’re not denying it.
The only time I’ve ever been examined by a psychiatrist was at the urging of those idiots, no offense intended, at the CPS, who came up with the delusional idea that I was insane. The nice lady psychiatrist who saw me clearly realised that her time was being wasted as well as mine. She thought my IQ was about 185 but expressed no view as to the IQ of prosecuting counsel. Trust me, her estimate would have been a long way below 185! I’ve never been treated for so much as depression.
Ian is also laboring under the impression that I was actually guilty of the two offenses of which I was convicted. The jury in the bomb hoax trial were tampered with and the trial itself was unfair, with every respect to the learned trial judge, Judge McCreath, who very sensibly retired early. The jury were lied to repeatedly by the prosecution, that is to say the conviction was obtained by deception.
As planned, I was hampered in my attacks on prosecution witnesses, several of whom were involved in tampering with the evidence, by the indecent images conviction, which was a complete crock. We now know that the images in question were not downloaded from the Internet, as claimed by the CPS, but transferred from another device.
The memory stick to which they were transferred may have looked like mine, but was in fact manufactured several months after I was supposed to have commenced downloading the images. The Dell laptop to which the device was connected turns out not to have been mine, indeed it seems to have been acquired in Canada, after my arrest, after efforts to tamper with the date/time stamps on mine failed.
Unsurprisingly neither the memory stick nor the laptop used to convict me had either my fingerprints or DNA on them. No doubt frightened by the impact this would have on their case, in an egregious abuse of process, Thames Valley Police took care to suppress the negative fingerprint and DNA reports from the CPS, myself and the court. I only found out because they told MI5. (They didn’t realise I had better access to ‘Box’ than they did.)
Ian is right that Mossad decided against supporting me in 2014. However that’s not the whole story. I had my supporters in Mossad and the agency later played a key role in passing intercept data from the NSA to MI5 during the latter part of the ‘von’ Obama administration. (Direct contact only became possible after President Trump took office.)
Every judge in the indecent images case has either retired early, or, in the case of Judge Karen Holt, been indicted. It is likely that the Court of Appeal judges who decided against me will have to stand down as well, no offense intended. The damage to my reputation has proved to be temporary, indeed the making of false accusations is about to backfire spectacularly.
No doubt Thames Valley Police, the CPS, the Cabinet Office and GO2 were hoping that I would be murdered in prison. The first attempt was foiled by MI5, who quietly arranged for the ISIL terrorist in question’s cell to be raided. (There was an unusual delay in taking me to prison after I was sentenced, which seems to have been down to a battle over which prison I was going to be sent to.)
I was then forced to share a cell with the gay serial killer Stephen Port, but he turned out to be quite a nice serial killer. At any rate he didn’t murder me, indeed he didn’t even try. He’s still the nicest serial killer I’ve ever met.BA 747-400
British Airways, sadly, has announced this week that it’s retiring its remaining 747s, all Dash 400s. The 747 is an iconic aircraft and it’s sad to see them go. Virgin Atlantic has already retired its fleet, so this means the end of 747s on the British register.
The distinctive hump in the nose reflects the 747’s origins as a competitor in the USAF’s CX heavy airlifter project, the competition eventually being won by the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, another great airplane. The USAF wanted front-loading, hence the need to place the cockpit up high.
The 747 was rushed into service less than a year after its first flight, with a major design flaw, a lack of bulkheads protecting the empennage, which eventually cost the lives of over 500 people on JAL Flight 123. This tragedy was triggered by an improper repair, but loss of the rear pressure bulkhead should not have led to the loss of the aircraft.
The Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofans on early aircraft also proved to be unreliable. The 747 really needed more testing and development, but most of its flaws were eventually cured. TWA 800 of course was shot down by the Iranian Navy and its loss was not due to any fault with the plane. It won’t be long, sadly, before the only 747 you can fly on is a freighter.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.