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Arrow Air 1285, Murder and the Lucifer DirectiveRobert O'Dowd, Salem-News.com
Army Airborne and LAPD Bomb Squad officers murdered to keep the lid shut on the Gander Air Crash.
(Gander, NEWFOUNDLAND) - Arrow Air 1285, a military chartered McDonnell Douglas DC-8, caught fire and exploded one minute after take-off from Gander, Newfoundland, killing a reported 256 Americans on December 12, 1985. There were no survivors.
The passengers were part of a 101st Airborne infantry battalion, returning from a six-month peacekeeping tour with the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai.
Two and possibly several other passengers were part of a Green Light team.1 The aircraft was blown-up by U.S. intelligence operatives to prevent Green Light team survivors of an aborted covert mission to deploy a nuclear backpack in Iraq from leaking the story of their mission to the media.2
The mission was to destroy an Iraqi nuclear weapons research facility. Something went wrong. Green Light team members were killed. Angry survivors loaded sealed wooden boxes with their dead team members into the cargo hold of the DC-8 in Cairo.
They carried with them the nuclear backpack and their story of deceit and death. While the aircraft was refueling, an American intelligence helicopter landed at Gander. Four men from the helicopter loaded a crate in the forward cargo hold of the DC-8. Witnesses saw the aircraft on fire during take-off.3
In a 5 to 4 split decision, the Canadian Air Safety Board (CASB) ruled in 1988 the crash was caused by ice contamination on the leading edge and upper surface of the wing, loss of thrust from the number four engine and inappropriate take-off reference speeds. The four professional CASB members were aeronautical engineers and pilots.
Their dissenting opinion was ice was not a factor. The crash was caused by an on-board fire and a massive loss of power, possibly caused by an airborne explosive or incendiary device.
There was no sabotage investigation or effort to reconstruct aircraft debris. Team survivors carried one or two nuclear backpacks with them on the aircraft. The aircraft debris were buried, and the crash site bulldozed over within months.
The Canadian and U.S. governments denied terrorist involvement while the aircraft burned on the ground. Lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the tissues of the dead support an airborne fire and explosion.4
LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES
The Army was less than forthright about Arrow Air 1285. They lied about the passenger count. Arrow Air had the correct count of 250 soldiers, testifying under oath at the CASB hearings to it. The Army’s official dead count was 248 soldiers and eight Arrow Air crew members.
The Army’s story of two soldiers missing the flight was a lie: One man didn’t have his passport when no passports were issued to them5 and the other was with his Israeli girlfriend when he knew that this would mean a court martial for missing the movement of an aircraft.6
The facts are 242 soldiers flew from the South Camp, near Sharm el Sheik, on two Eygptair 737s to Cairo. An argument broke out between EgyptAir and soldiers carrying a ‘package’ (possibly a nuclear backpack) on one of the Eygptair 737s. The ‘package’ was put into the cargo hold.
The other six or eight soldiers either rode with the trucks carrying the unit’s equipment and duffel bags or boarded Arrow Air 1285 in Cairo. There is no record of how the additional six (Army’s count of 248) or eight (Arrow Air’s count 250) arrived in Cairo.
A head count was taken by Arrow Air in Cairo, Cologne, and Gander. The normal rotation was 250 soldiers in and out of Egypt on three flights.
Arrow Air Captain Art Schoppaul7 observed “possibly 4 wooden boxes” loaded in the cargo compartment of the DC-8 in Cairo. He guessed their weight at 160 pounds and it took two men to load them in the cargo hold.
Schoppaul guessed the dimensions at 6 feet by 2 feet by 14 inches, “about the size of a coffin.” There was no manifest for the wooden boxes. The Army reported the wooden boxes contained aircraft parts for Arrow Air. The airline denied it.
To make room for the boxes, 41 duffel bags were removed from the cargo hold. Separation of soldiers’ clothing and equipment from them is a highly unusual act. The duffel bags were left at the Cairo airport.
At Gander, a fire burning 50 feet into the ground supports the destruction of a nuclear core from MK54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM). An American Explosive Ordinance Team (EOD) at Gander were ordered to wear their dosimeter badges (used to detect radiation levels), and Canadian firemen suffered the effects of radiation exposure, not something associated with the crash of a DC-8.8
An RCMP officer at Gander asked Capt. Tom Badcock, Canadian Forces, to look at “something strange” at the site: In Broken Arrow, Badcock wrote:
Badcock never explained what he found and its connection to his designation as the Nuclear Defense Officer. Badcock wrote Broken Arrow10when he was on active duty. He probably had to submit the manuscript for review. Any reference to a nuclear device would have been deleted from the manuscript. I called Badcock. He denied any knowledge of nuclear backpacks found at Gander.
Badcock’s denial conflicts with what he told Gene Wheaton: The remains of two Special Operations nuclear backpacks were reported by Gene Wheaton who was interviewed by Matt Ehling on Declassified Radio, “Gander Crash,” August 22, 2001. Wheaton told Ehling that Captain Tom Badcock was the Canadian Gander Force Base’s nuclear officer at the crash site.
Capt. Badcock didn’t have a degree in nuclear physics. He had a B.A. from Carlton University, Ottawa, and came up through the enlisted ranks. He was serving as the ‘nuclear officer’ in the military recovery operation of Arrow Air 1285.
Wheaton reported that Badcock was called to the crash scene and “found portion of one of the nuclear devices that had not been completely destroyed.” Did Badcock tell Wheaton the truth and later was pressured to deny any knowledge of nuclear devices at the crash site?
U.S. INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVES AT GANDER
In 1985, the Israelis were concerned about Sandam Hussein developing a nuclear bomb and intended to bomb the facility. In support of the U.S. government, the Israelis were providing weapons to the Iranians as part of a guns-for-hostages exchange. As a quid pro quo, the U.S. offered to use a Green Light team to take out the facility or, at least, that’s the motive for using the team in Iraq.
There was disagreement in the U.S. government on using the team and the nuclear backpack. A stand down order was issued and ignored by the team. Team members were killed in a firefight, possibly with Israelis forces, accompanying them on the top-secret mission.
The B-54 nuclear backpack, survivors and dead troopers found their way to Cairo. The survivors were a threat to blow-the-whistle on an illegal order to deploy a nuclear bomb in the Middle East. A decision was made to prevent team members from returning to the U.S. with their dead, the nuclear backpack and a story which could have literally brought down the government.11
MK54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM)
The survivors were a threat to blow-the-whistle on an illegal order to deploy a nuclear bomb in the Middle East.
A decision was made to prevent team members from returning to the U.S. with their dead, the nuclear backpack and a story which could have literally brought down the government.12
Sergeant Todd Jennings, age 20, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 502nd infantry, who was killed in the crash, wrote a poem to his mother where he cited top secret terms “Lucifer Directive” and “Omega Deception.”
“Lucifer Directive” was an order to deploy a “weapon of mass destruction” (clearly a nuclear bomb) while “Omega Deception” meant “to shift the blame away from those who actually used it.”
“Omega Deception” was confirmed by a senior military officer in a visit with Dr. J.D. and Zona Phillips. The Phillips started "Families for Truth about Gander". Their only son was killed in the crash. The officer denied there were any nukes in the Sinai.13
How did a 20-year old Airborne trooper become aware of top-secret terms?
One possibility was one of the Green Light team members, someone he knew from Jump School, told him about a mission to destroy an Iraqi nuclear weapons research facility and blame the explosion and radiation fallout on the Iraqis. Maybe this exchange took place over a couple of beers in the Sinai. We don’t know.
Jennings is dead and so are all the Green Team members. Before he died in the crash, Jennings had the street smarts to include the top-secret terms in a poem sent to his mother, avoiding censorship and retaliation by the military. Later his mother copyrighted the poem. She had no clue that her son was privileged to an aborted top-secret covert mission that could have impeached the president.
In a video report, Juval Aviv, Israeli-American counter-terrorism expert, told Terri Taylor, KDKA-TV, investigative journalist, that U.S. intelligence operatives landed at Gander while the Arrow Air 1285 was refueling.
Four men from the chopper loaded a crate on the plane. Aviv told Taylor that he had witnesses but refused to divulge their names unless compelled to do so.
Don Devereux, retired investigative reporter who followed the Gander crash for over 30 years, speculated that the interior of the plane was engulfed in flames almost immediately on take-off at Gander, the apparent consequences of two bomb components: one containing an explosive incendiary trigger adjacent to a second holding a napalm-like substance.
The remote detonation instantly ignited and spread a deadly conflagration throughout the body of the aircraft. Devereux’s sources suggested that soda cans “placed next to each other among cases of soft drinks” contained the incendiary trigger and napalm.
LAPD BOMB SQUAD MURDERS
Collateral damage included the murder of two LAPD Bomb Squad officers in a booby-trapped pipe bomb to prevent one man from blowing-the-whistle on incendiary devices sold exclusively to the CIA directly involved in the Gander crash.
The patsy was an African American Hollywood make-up artist who owned the garage where the pipe bombs were found. This man was convicted of murdering the two officers, dying in California’s notorious Susanville’s prison in May 2009.
Incendiary devices sold exclusively to the CIA were traced to the explosion by Arleigh McCree, head of the LAPD Bomb Squad. McCree and Ron Ball, his partner, were murdered by a booby-trapped pipe bomb several weeks after McCree reported his finding to the federal government.
Ron Ball’s partner was absent on February 8, 1986. McCree filled in for the missing team member. Was this a set-up or a coincidence? No one ever asked the question. The pipe bombs were in Morse’s garage. He had a hot temper. He was an African American. The two LAPD Bomb Squad members were white men. The case was switched from LA County to Orange County, a friendlier environment for the prosecution.
Acting on a tip, the LAPD discovered two pipe bombs while searching Morse's garage for a gun believed to have been used in an attack a few days earlier on an official of the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Union Local 706. The pistol was never found, and one eye witness said that the man fleeing the shooting scene was a thin Latino who drove away in a Volkswagen. Morse was a big African-American man who drove a Cadillac.
Morse said he knew nothing about the pipe bombs and lacked the technical capability to create master and slave pipe bombs to fool professional LAPD Bomb Squad officers.
Retired LAPD Detective Captain Robert Michael posted comments on a Canadian website in February 2017 that two of his fellow officers’ deaths were involved in the Gander crash of Arrow Air 1285.
Michael didn’t name the officers but it’s reasonable to assume that he meant Arleigh McCree and Ron Ball. Efforts to contact Michael were unsuccessful.
There’s a creditable allegation that Arleigh McCree, who traced explosive debris from Arrow Air 1285 to an Arizona plant and the CIA, was murdered by a booby-trapped pipe bomb, and Donald Lee Morse was the patsy.
McCree was an internationally bomb disposal expert. The idea that a Hollywood make-up artist could fool McCree is more than a stretch. It would require a sophisticated effort by intelligence operatives to compile evidence to convict Morse.
The evidence included:
Convincing evidence. But, was it planted by CIA operatives?
Donald Lee Morse had no military background in bomb disposal or making. His only crime was that he was a bona-fide bragger. He told people in fits of anger that he could make a bomb. This information was available to CIA operatives. When the order can to take out Arleigh McCree, intelligence operatives used Morse as a patsy.
The explosion was blamed on McCree’s defective wire cutters, not on a booby-trapped pipe bomb made by intelligence operatives to kill the only man who could connect the CIA to the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Gander.
Morse was convicted of the murder of the two LAPD Bomb Squad officers. Morse appealed the conviction; his sentence was reduced from life without the possibility of parole to 33 years to life for each death to be served consecutively, not concurrently. Morse would have to serve a minimum of 66 years in prison. In effect, this was a death sentence.
Morse denied that he made the bombs and given his skills, he didn’t have the technical capability to make the pipe bombs without killing himself in the process.
The master bomb exploded when McCree used his wire cutters to cut one of the wires from the master pipe bomb to a 9-volt battery. That was the prosecution’s theory. McCree had used his wire cutters for years without any incident.
The court was unaware that McCree had reported incendiary devices sold to the CIA caused the explosion of Arrow Air 1285 and the motive for killing this officer.
It's possible to booby-trap a circuit so that if a wire is cut to a bomb, the device will explode. The most straight forward type of circuit that cannot be interrupted at any point in the circuit is a collapsing circuit. A collapsing circuit makes the bomb explode when a wire to battery is cut.
There’s no question this could only be done by an accomplished explosive demolition expert, not by Morse who lacked the necessary expertise and raison d'etre. The prosecutor cited McCree’s ‘uncoated’ wire cutters as the trigger for the explosion.
McCree’s findings were contained in a report to the federal government, possibly to the CIA. Had this information been known to the defense attorney, it would have supported McCree’s death by a booby-trapped pipe bomb, not by Morse but by government operatives.
On the day of McCree’s funeral, four men showed up at his home to retrieve a classified document. Mrs. McCree told Devereux that “two were ex-military officers…both with apparent links to the CIA, as she recalled.”
The third man was an LAPD representative and the fourth man a locksmith. She was excluded from the room while the search went on for several hours. Mrs. McCree said they left without telling her what they found.
In 2017, Canadian authorities told us that the crash was caused by ice, despite the logic of the minority CASB’s dissenting opinion and the rejection of the majority’s ice theory by retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Willard Estey (1988) who concluded that “no reasonable hope exists that we will find a cause for this enigmatic tragedy.”14
Our allegation is mass murder of hundreds of Airborne troopers, murder of two LAPD Bomb Squad officers and conviction of an innocent party. There is no statute of limitations on murder. A covert operation does not shield those involved from prosecution for murder of the two LAPD Bomb Squad officers.
Under international law, Canada is responsible for investigating the Gander air crash, including the allegation that U.S. intelligence operatives were involved in destroying the aircraft.
2Charles Byers, former owner of Accuracy Systems Ordinance Corporation, New River, AZ, provided information that incendiary devices and napalm chemicals planted in soda cans were used to remotely destroy the DC-8 aircraft in Gander on take-off. Byers’ company sold the incendiary devices exclusively to the CIA. Byers’ information was confirmed by Don Devereux, retired journalist who followed the Arrow Air 1285 crash for 30 years.
Devereux worked on a decade-long assignment with NBC-TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries,” as a field producer for A&E-TV’s “Investigative Reports,” and as a consulting journalist with the syndicated “Save Our Streets,” and “Inside Edition” as well as most recently with CBS News. Devereux confirmed the involvement of the CIA in the destruction of Arrow Air 1285, and the deaths of two LAPD Bomb Squad officers linked to the Gander crash.
3 Jubal Aviv, American-Israeli counter-terrorism expert, told Terri Taylor, KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, PA, in a video tape interview that an American intelligence helicopter landed at Gander while the aircraft was refueling. Aviv said he had witnesses to men from the helicopter loading a crate into the forward cargo.
Aviv refused to disclose the witnesses’ names unless compelled to do so. Avis reported that the sealed wooden boxes loaded on the aircraft contained the bodies of American commandos.
4 Dr. Cyril Wecht in Tales from the Morgue reported that toxicological reports from AFIP (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) showed lethal levels of carbon monoxide in “more than four dozen of the soldiers was at 70 percent or higher—a level that is considered highly lethal,” p. 168-169. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of fire. The AFIP autopsies reported the soldiers were dead on impact so they had to breath in the CO in the airborne aircraft.
5The peacekeeping soldiers in the Sinai were issued Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) ID cards.
6Missing movement of an aircraft though neglect (the lessor charge under UCMJ Article 87) would mean a court martial a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year. Missing movement through design could result in dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.
7 Captain Schoppaul was the pilot on the first leg of the flight from Cairo to Cologne.
8 Interview and notes from Don Devereux.
9Capt. T. C. Badcock, Broken Arrow, Al Clouston Publications, St. John’s, NF, Canada, 1988.
10In United States military nuclear incident terminology, Broken Arrow refers to an accidental event that involves nuclear weapons, warheads or components that does not create a risk of nuclear war.
12 Devereux, op.cit.
14 Les Filotas, Improbably Cause: Deceit and Dissent in the Investigation of America’s Worst Military Air Disaster, p.419.
Robert O’Dowd, Salem-News.com Military Reporter is a disabled Marine Corps veteran who served on active duty for 52 months with the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in the 1960s. At Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA, he was assigned to Marine Wing Services Group 37, “Spook Corner,” the area where CIA proprietary C-130s, offloaded cocaine in the 1980s and 1990s. After the Marines, Robert graduated from Temple University with a BBA in accounting. He held several financial management positions with the Department of Defense, including Deputy Comptroller, Defense Contracts Management District (DCMD) Mid-Atlantic. Retiring from the Defense Department, Robert teamed up with Tim King, Marine veteran and founder of Salem-News.com, to write about the environmental contamination at US military bases, and the health effects to veterans unknowingly exposed to toxic chemicals. Robert wrote several years as the Environmental and Military Reporter for Salem-News.com (Salem, Oregon). The environmental contamination story at El Toro led him to the sensational murder and government cover-up of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow, the sabotage of Arrow Air 1285, a military chartered DC 8, other murders and the trafficking of cocaine into El Toro, the fuel for the crack cocaine epidemic. You can write Robert at email@example.com
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