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From: Barry Chamish <


So the Space Shuttle on its 113th mission, carrying Israel's first astronaut, explodes on the Sabbath over Palestine, Texas. Too unbelievable to be accidental, right? Well, maybe it isn't. We will return. 

I had prepared my usual report from Israel and it was chock full of powerful eye-witness evidence. It was that sort of week. Now who will give a hoot about last week's news? So let's summarize what I won't report in depth and get it over with. 

* We were going to start by asking why, if two/thirds of Israel's Jewish voters chose parties from the Right, is it that Sharon is forming a coalition with the Left, guaranteeing that Peres will be back in the cabinet? And our conclusion was, obviously, that the voters wasted their time voting. 

* Then we were going to present eye-witnesses that the Green Leaf Party, which all polls showed winning 2-4 seats, lost because of mass ballot destruction. And something similar took place to Herut, before the vote counting began. 

* Like mother, like daughter. Dahlia Pelosoff Rabin is sick with cancer and not telling anyone. A close friend of hers contacted me with the information. 

* My last article included an interview with an associate of Rabin's personal bodyguard, who was called away for an overseas assignment a week before the assassination. I was told, "You got that story right. What you missed is he wasn't the only one called away on the night of the rally. Practically the whole Shabak protection unit was called to a gathering in Mishmar Hashiva that evening when we should have been on duty." 

Back to NASA, once again an acronym for Need Another Seven Astronauts. Obviously, it's too early to make a claim for sabotage, but there are some 
signs to look for and one powerful piece of evidence unknown outside Israel. 

The easy way out is to observe that just when an Israeli is on board, the shuttle disintegrates. Two of the 113 shuttle flights ended in disaster, so Ilan Ramon, we calculate after the fact, had a 1 in 56.5 chance of not returning or a 1 in 112 chance before boarding. These are high but not unlikely odds. That there were Jewish astronauts on both shuttle disasters, (a distant relative of mine, Judy Resnick died in the 1986 conflagration), is entirely explainable by coincidence. 

So let's increase the chances of improbability by noting that Ramon was in the Air Force squadron which bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 
1982, and he was on the craft on the eve of an American invasion of Iraq. There are several thousand Israeli Air Force pilots who weren't on the Iraqi mission, so Ramon's choice as the country's astronaut may not have been entirely coincidental. The Columbia explosion has the grand potential of rallying Americans against Iraq either way. Sabotage would be fine for that purpose but the images of rejoicing in Baghdad are useful as well. 

THEN, that the first explosion reported was over Palestine, Texas gets a bit spooky already. Which brings us to a peculiar NASA reaction. The space agency initially insisted that no explosion was heard from the Shuttle by anyone . What people thought was an explosion was actually debris hitting the ground. 

A few hours of TV watching proved that to be untrue. All kinds of witnesses saw the vapor trail and heard the explosion. They included a Texas senator and ordinary people like Randy Hendricks and Kim Dornak-Anderson, both interviewed on Fox News. Yet NASA continued to insist the Shuttle broke up, not exploded. The final proof of this false contention came from the Shreveport, Louisiana weather station, which taped the explosion on its radar screen. 

So why was NASA denying that there was an explosion? The only answer anyone should come up with is that an explosion means possible sabotage. There is another reason not to dismiss that option; the reaction of the astronauts themselves. The last radio transmission proves that the crew didn't suspect anything was wrong. Then came the end of transmission, suddenly. There was not a moment of fire or smoke within the cabin. No one saw a wing in jeopardy. No one felt a sudden jolt. And those are the telltale human signs of an immediate and highly traumatic blast. 

I'm not an aeronautical engineer and I'm sure there are lots of reasons why the Columbia could have exploded. However, I know that no engines were ignited because the ship was in a gliding mode. So, with no motors running and no fuel being sparked, what precisely exploded the whole ship in one gigantic blast? 

Which leads me to one concrete piece of evidence that should be very closely examined. The Israeli TV Channel Two, had a reporter and crew inside the NASA Control Center. Ilan Ramon's landing was being carried live from a number of sites and Channel Two's reporter was in the right place to hear the REAL last transmissions from Columbia. And they are not even close to what the rest of the world is being told. 

According to the reporter, one NASA message to the crew was most significant. A few moments before the end, NASA broadcast the following message. Now there is some Hebrew translation involved, so there are going to be some differences in the actual message; But the Channel Two reporter heard, "Rick, you're going to be surprised. We're starting the D-Orbit burn now." 

The reporter wisely asked why the commander of the mission was going to be surprised and concluded that the message could lead in all kinds of suspicious directions. It was the only blatant talk of alternative suspicion that I heard all night. I waited for hours through five TV networks and not once did I hear this conversation. All I heard was a warning about tire pressure, an acknowledgement, then nothing. 

But something very odd preceded the final words NASA agreed to release. And it IS a reason not to dismiss sabotage. And that may go a ways to explaining why the Homeland Security division of FEMA was placed in charge of collecting debris, backed by a beaut of a scare campaign for what will become of all who hold on to Shuttle souvenirs. 

Now for me, here's the clincher. NASA stressed that it had no idea what caused the tragedy and even noted that they may never know. However, they have totally discarded terrorism as a cause of the "accident." 

So, if NASA doesn't know what caused the disaster and may never know, how exactly do they know with such concrete certainty that it wasn't sabotage? 


My new book Save Israel, is available by writing this author at

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