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Korean Airliner Atrocity -- the Soviet shootdown of KAL-007 over international waters on September 1, 1983, after it had overflown the Kamchatka Penninsula and Sakhalin Island while incompetently off course.
This tragic event -- nearly 300 people were killed -- lends itself to students of conspiracy thinking because both leftwing, rightwing, and no-wing nuts, and Western stooges and tools of Soviet disinformation, and 'The Nation' magazine (and the NY Times), and paranoid North Americans imagining the DC gummint had betrayed surviving passengers trapped in a Bolshie GULag, fastened onto the event like an army of barnacles.There were even two made-for-TV Hollywood 'docu-dramas' (Angela Lansbury was in one-- Donald Sutherland was the 'CIA spook' who confessed to her it was a US gummint plot).

A number of anti-Reagan fanatics funded some programs to convince relatives of the victims to blame the US government, and go on national TV and break down in anguish denouncing the CIA, and otherwise freak out over phony conspiracy arguments -- all for a greater ideological 'good', these fanatics must have imagined. I thought it was atrociously cold-blooded and cynical manipulation of the grief-stricken, whom the fanatics only saw as means to a political end.

Oberg Articles on the KAL-007 Atrocity
American Spectator - October 1993
Christian Science Monitor - September 1993
Air Force Magazine - November 1991



In recent years, press coverage in Moscow suggests a reversion to the Soviet-era "spyflight" accusations, and Putin has proclaimed he's had enough "history that casts Russia in a bad light", but expanded Moscow-Seoul contacts would argue against retrograde Russian officials from making a big deal of reopening this wound. Still, unanswered questions remain: how severely did the US Navy provoke Soviet air defense forces in a series of carrier-based overflights six months before the KAL-007 shootdown? Why did the Soviets choose to attack the plane over international waters? Were any bodies actually recovered and secretly cremated? Much has been revealed, but much remains hidden away.


I will be expanding this corner of my home page to include more of the materials I wrote on the aftermath -- especially the halfwitted propagandistic echoes. And I'm open to suggestions about any current websites that feature crackpot theories (or helpful analyses) about this tragedy, so I can link to them from my 30th anniversary page.


More Oberg Articles on the KAL-007 Atrocity
Murray Sayle's Articles and Letters




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