Even as the mystery over the Air India Kanishka bombing continues, a report released on Wednesday by a rights activist in Meghalaya suggested that the plane could have been the victim of a "Star Wars" experiment by the US.
"The plane (Kanishka) could have been the victim of the Strategic Defence Initiative or the so called "Star Wars" experiment,” said Michael N Syiem in his report titled “The Sixth Possibility”.
The laser-based Star Wars technology was launched in 1983 by the Ronald Reagan administration with the aim of protecting the US from missile attacks by erecting an impenetrable defensive missile shield across the entire North American continent.
It was quietly shelved after the Kanishka explosion in 1985.
Kanishka, the Air India flight 182 operating on the Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay route, was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board.
In his 29 page report, Syiem said that on June 23, 1985, the Americans, in their second attempt succeeded in testing their functional accuracy of the Star War technology, when Kanishka exploded mid-air into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland.
The US space agency NASA had launched the 18th flight of the space shuttle “Discovery” June 17, 1985 with the mission to determine whether a laser beam could track the a speeding missile warhead and explode it in mid-air before it could reach its target.
“There were five theories regarding the cause of the Kanishka disaster which includes: mechanical failure, mid-air collision after debris of a Soviet space rocket hit the plane, insurance fraud as per the angle of Canadian police, the alleged sabotage of Indian intelligence agencies and the bomb explosion carried out purportedly by Sikh terrorists, but none of these have been proven till date,” he said.
“The Indian government can also start their investigations on the role of the US with regards to the launching of the laser beams on that fateful morning when the Kanishka exploded in mid-air,” Syiem told journalists.
To strengthen his theory, Syiem narrated the “Tuskegee Syphilis experiment” carried out by the US on innocent human beings in the name of experiments. The then American president Bill Clinton had formally apologised May 16, 1997 for the experiment.
The infamous experiment, that ran for 40 years (1932-1972) was conducted by the US Public Health Service on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. These men from Tuskegee in Alabama were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness.
Syiem claimed that his book can act as a reference on the Kanishka incident from 1985 till date, which can be of immense use to historians and investigators to find out the truth behind the disaster.
“This sixth possibility could be just another science fiction story and could be described as absurd and far fetched. But, when in history have science and its inventions ever stopped to surprise and keep the common man in constant awe, whether it is the first motor car, the first airplane, the first atomic bomb, or the first Star Wars laser technology,” Syiem asked.
Syiem said that he will send the copy of his report to the Canadian embassy in India as the Canadian authorities in 1995 had announced $730,000 for the effort to solve the Air India bombing that killed all on board.