INCIDENT AT SAKHALIN: The True Mission of KAL Flight 007 by Michel Brun

INCIDENT AT SAKHALIN: The True Mission of KAL Flight 007

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Brun, a French-Canadian pilot with a bent for aeronautical forensics, is the latest to challenge official explanations of the disappearance of Korean Air Lines flight 007 (with 269 aboard) during a 1983 run from Anchorage to Tokyo. The jetliner was officially said to have been shot down by a Soviet fighter after straying off course over Sakhalin Island. While Brun's very different conclusions are little short of sensational, his presentation is deadly serious, even pedantic and pedestrian. Drawing on such records as have been made available by the Japanese, Korean, Russian, and US governments plus his own investigations, Brun offers a painstaking rundown of the doomed plane's last hours in the unfriendly skies over the Sea of Okhotsk. Focusing on remarkable discrepancies between his own findings and authorized statements, communications transcripts, position reports, wreckage sites, salvage efforts, and allied evidence, he asserts that KAL 007 was downed off the shore of Honshu, not Sakhalin, during a battle between American planes (dispatched in aid of an ill-advised scheme to spy on a Cold War enemy or test its defenses) and their Russian counterparts. Brun goes on to argue that both Moscow and Washington determined it was in their best geopolitical interests to hush up the deadly clash that claimed KAL 007 as an innocent victim even though it was flying the equivalent of a diversionary mission; the conspiracy of silence later permitted the Reagan administration to level dramatic charges against the erstwhile Soviet Union with doctored tapes at the UN without fear of Soviet retaliation. To his credit, the author does not claim that his admittedly speculative scenario provides the final word on the fate of KAL 007. In light of the post-Soviet availability of KGB and GRU files, however, he makes a credible, compelling case for a multinational inquiry into the true circumstances of the puzzling crash.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1996
Page count: 340pp
Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows