FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONARUSSIAN AFFAIRS
Sunken Russian Sub: Let the Blame Games Begin
Al Gore’s Links to Russian Zionist Syndicates
2.1 Fuerth: "Grand Marshal'" of TiM's 1993 "Hall of Shame"Aug. 19, 2000
3. TiM Readers' Feedback re. the "Kursk"Aug. 19, 2000
Quebec 3.1 "Crazy Ivan" Maneuver? Dead Men Tell No Tales
Arizona 3.2 Conquering the "Third Rome"
Phoenix 3.3 Anything's Possible
1. Sunken Russian Sub: Let the Blame Games Begin
MOSCOW, Aug. 18 - A badly damaged Russian sub has been lying at the bottom of the Barents Sea since Saturday (Aug. 12). The 118 members of its crew are probably dead by now. So some TiM readers have been asking the TiM editor if we were planning to comment about the disaster that struck the ill-fated Russian nuclear sub, Kursk K-141.
Our answer? Yes, when credible facts emerge. For now, we’ve only had the often contradictory news spin put on by both the Russian and the western sources.
But wait a minute… Credible facts may never emerge, as they never did in the cases of Pan Am 103, Waco or the TWA 800 disasters. Not to mention Vince Foster or other Clinton-related deaths. True. Which is why those controversies continue to linger despite the passage of time.
So let the blame games begin…
As of the present time (02:00 GMT, Aug. 19, 2000), “the cause of the disaster that befell the Kursk K-141 submarine is a subject as murky as the mixture of silt and water in which it now lies on the floor of the Barents Sea,” the BBC News said in its Aug. 18 lead.
We know that’s a copout. But that’s life, too, these days. One only needs to consider how many thousands of big and little lies the western public had gulped down with their prime time news shows during the 79-day NATO bombing of Serbia last year. The ease with which disinformation can be passed off as “truth” to the gullible by the savvy “lie and deny” news spinners these days is perhaps unprecedented..
The Russian Navy news spinners seem to be no exception. As soon as they admitted an accident had occurred, they put forward two possible theories - either it was a collision (with a foreign sub), or an explosion. Now they are backing the theory that it could have been both.
Vyacheslav Popov, commander of Russia's Northern Fleet, said today the submarine was damaged by an explosion that could have been caused by a collision. His comments appear to support western intelligence theories that the Kursk suffered two massive explosions - one when the submarine hit the shallow seabed, and the other when a torpedo blew up.
Wait a minute…
can’t you smell a Yankee fish in this Russian “borscht?”
A top Russian
admiral “supporting western intelligence theories?”
And at that, six days AFTER the disaster had struck, and two days
after Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin had conferred by telephone about the
situation? (on Wed., Aug. 16).
In short, we seem
to have here the makings of a new Russian-American “fish borscht,” a
heretofore unheard of dish that ought to give the families of the marooned
“Kursk” sailors additional heartaches.
Especially after today’s report by Sevodnya. The Russian daily claimed it had obtained credible evidence that suggests the nuclear submarine “Kursk” had crashed into a U.S. submersible, which then limped off to a Norwegian port.
Without citing its sources, Sevodnya reported that Russian ships had detected the presence of another submarine also lying grounded at the bottom of the Barents Sea after the Saturday catastrophe. No other Russian submersible was in the area at the time, according to Sevodnya.
The newspaper's sources, apparently military, said that the Russian Navy subsequently overheard radio communications establishing that a U.S. submarine requested permission to enter a Norwegian port, and then made its way there at reduced speed.
The U.S. Orion reconnaissance planes also flew over the area on Sunday, the Sevodnya sources added.
Experts cited by Segodnya said that only an Ohio-class strategic U.S. submarine could have survived such a massive collision with the “Kursk.” But they underlined that such a craft does not carry out surveillance missions, and had no reason to be in the vicinity when the Northern Fleet was carrying out military exercises.
Which is why “murky” is an appropriate term for what happened last weekend in the murky waters off Murmansk.
The newspaper suggested that Moscow and Washington could have agreed secretly not to reveal the incident, pointing out that Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton had a telephone conversation Wednesday, after which the Russian president gave the order to accept foreign help "from any quarter." Until then, Moscow had refused all international offers of assistance.
The U.S. military admitted after news of the accident broke Monday (Aug. 14) that two of their submarines had been in the same zone, but firmly denied that a U.S. vessel could have been involved in a collision. In the past, collisions have occurred frequently between Soviet or Russian and US submarines.
The navies of both countries continue to monitor closely each other under the seas despite the end of the Cold War, an expert from the AVN military news agency, Vladimir Urban, told Agence France Presse in Moscow. "Our submarines play a constant game of cat-and-mouse, following and chasing after each other," he said.
Indeed. The Truth in Media reported last Mar. 22, for example, that "NATO has assembled a large force of naval ships and submarines in the Barents Sea north of Russia and Scandinavia, compromising relations with Moscow, a Russian vice admiral was quoted as saying, according to an Agence France Presse report." Here's an excerpt from our story "NATO 'Retaliates' in Barents Sea:"
The Russian Navy chief, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, said on Monday (Aug. 14) that the “Kursk” had likely crashed into a vessel, perhaps a foreign one spying on it, but later suggested an explosion on board had rocked the craft.
Later? After Clinton's call to Putin?
Yet, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov confirmed late Thursday (Aug. 17) that Russian investigators now believed that the submarine had collided with a very heavy unidentified object.
So maybe the vacationing Putin had not managed to "brief" everyone? Truth is like air. It has a way of escaping in unexpected ways.
British defense analysts, Jane's Information Group, estimated that most of the Kurk crew would not have survived the explosion that caused it to sink. "It could be that 30-40% of the crew may have survived the initial explosion if it did rip open the first two compartments," spokesman Paul Beaver said.
A retired commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Eduard Baltin, suggested that the accident was a result of incompetence, bad planning and bad training, according to the Aug. 18 BBC News report.
"The Kursk is designed for the ocean, not for shallow waters. Where it was maneuvering and where it perished is completely wild - strong currents and strong winds. You can't carry out torpedo firing there," retired Admiral Baltin said.
Russian officials appear to be avoiding the suggestion that the Kursk may have simply dived too fast or too steeply and hit the seabed. The Norwegian environmental pressure group Bellona, has put forward the theory about how the Kursk could have been involved in both a collision and an explosion.
Imagine that… An “environmental” agency of a NATO country seconding the theory advanced by both the Russians and the Americans after the Clinton-Putin Wednesday tête-à-tête?
Bellona's theory suggests that the submarine collided with the seabed not another vessel. This would have caused tanks of pressurized air inside the submarine to explode, causing major damage to the superstructure, the Norwegians said. Bellona reportedly favors two theories:
First, it was a “human error.” The submarine was at a depth of 40 meters when a pilot shifted the controls to manual, accidentally steering downwards. In a matter of seconds the submarine hit the seabed and pressurized air tanks exploded.
Second, it was a “spontaneous explosion.” A tank containing pressurized air exploded spontaneously, either because oil from the compressor leaked into it, or because of a fracture in the wall.
A “spontaneous explosion?” Like that of the Pan Am 103 or of the TWA 800? Perhaps Bellona should consider changing its name to Baloney?
So what actually happened?
It may take years, if not decades, to answer that question conclusively. But some things we do know already.
One is that Vladimir Putin - yes, that “would-be savior of Russia,” who was in the process of putting her on the world powers map - simply wimped out! (see “Is Putin Putting Russia on the World Powers Map”). Another is that he sided with the American Wimp-in-Chief Clinton.
Why would Putin do a limp thing like that?
Especially after all his other military bravados in Chechnya that had put the
NATO western wimps to shame by comparison? (see "Putin
Puts Western Leaders in Their Places with a Fighter Stunt
"- Mar. 22, 2000).
Because he acted like a politician, rather than a leader. A true Russian leader would have cut his Black Sea Sochi vacation short immediately. And he would have flown up to Murmansk, or whatever the nearest port was to the location of the destitute Russian sailors, to pray to God for the salvation of the Russian sub.
A gesture like that would have shown the families of the 118 sailors that the Russian president - CARED! Even if he were not able to do anything personally to help their loved ones.
Instead, Putin chose to remain at his fashionable Black Sea Sochi vacation resort.
Why? We don’t know. We can only speculate.
President Putin said on Friday (Aug. 18), that there had been little chance right from the start to save the 118 crew of a sunken submarine, according to Agence France Presse. Speaking in the resort of Yalta, he said he had asked his defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, about chances to save the Kursk and the crew the moment he was informed about the disaster which happened last Saturday.
“The answer was 'there is an extremely small chance for rescue but it exists',” he said in televised remarks, adding there was no risk of a radiation leak.
So maybe Putin thought that, since there was little or no chance of him looking like a hero in this mishap, he'd better off staying away?
If so, it was a bad choice. A very bad choice. Because even wimps can have good political instincts. Traveling to the scene of a disaster would have been vintage "I feel your pain"-Clinton. But evidently not Putin.
As a result, the public opinion in Russia has now swung against the man whose support of the Russian military offensive in Chechnya had made his claim to fame and to the Russian presidency..
Perhaps typical of the anti-Putin and anti-American mood in Russia today was a comment by a TiM source in Moscow.
“Just look at when that submarine was made,” the source said this week. “It was in 1994 - at the height of the ‘western reforms’ in Russia. Had it been made in 1980, for example, I am sure it would have survived the collision.”
There has been no quality control in Russia’s military production ever since the western “reformers” (read western quislings) took over in 1992, under Boris Yeltsin’s vassal government, this source said, nor money available for Russia’s military to enhance its technology.
Which takes us right back to Al Gore, the Clinton administration’s point-man for the destruction of Russia, who had been holding regular heart-to-heart conferences with Yeltsin’s former prime minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, the backstabber of Serbia, about how to best destroy and/or plunder Russia, too.
Al Gore’s Links to Russian Zionist Syndicates
PHOENIX, Aug. 18 - At about the same time as having followed the “Kursk” tragedy, we received the following information about another kind of travesty - Al Gore’s complicity in the destruction of the Orthodox Christian Russia. Under the pretense of “democratic reforms,” of course.
sophisticated syndicate of billionaire crime lords and its network of
financial firms, money laundries, lobbyists, politicians and news
organizations is reportedly the real driving force behind the direction Al
Gore's campaign has taken, not the sudden urge of the Democratic Party to
assume the mantle of "integrity" and "dignity" before
an indifferent and forgetful electorate, the Spotlight reported on Aug.
Here what this publication also said about the Democratic Party's presidential candidate:
anyone noticed that the worst blot on Gore's vice-presidential record his
role in overseeing the criminalization of Russian society is never
mentioned in the [mainstream] press, never raised in Congress?" asked
Dr. Werner Kohlmann, a seasoned journalist with a Ph.D. in sociology.
is no question that as the Clinton administration's point man for Russia
and head of the top-level U.S.-Russian committee on
"democratization" and economic policy, Gore was given the key
role to guide and finance the transformation of the former Soviet
heartland into a "stable market society" after the collapse of
vice-president "failed miserably" at this task, Kohlmann said.
instead of a new generation of democratic leaders and responsible
businessmen, a clique of corrupt and violent speculators known as the
"oligarchs" grabbed power in Moscow and began to rip off
Russia's richest assets and re sources, the reports and warnings about
these crimes some from the FBI and the CIA went to Gore," he added.
"Gore stubbornly rejected them."
to diplomatic observers at the UN in New York, the vice president did
worse than merely ignore the depredations of the crime lords who became
the post-communist masters of Moscow.
sent teams of U.S. advisers and aid workers to Russia who, instead of
calling the gangster oligarchs to account, joined them and shared some of
their dirty profits," said Derek Gubbins, a former UN liaison officer
while the conversion of the former Soviet stronghold into what most
observers now recognize as a "criminal state" has turned into a
major international concern, Gore was somehow never tainted by the crucial
and possibly criminal role he played in this scandal.
is strange, but there is an explanation," said Kohlmann. "The
swindlers. racketeers and speculators who picked Russia clean and became
billionaires in the process are not really 'oligarchs.' In truth, they are
not even really Russians. They are Zionist newcomers, whose shared ethnic
links to Israel enabled them to operate as an efficient and brutal
organized-crime syndicate at the highest levels of business and
of the richest and most notorious oligarchs, Mikhail Fridman, Roman
Abramovich, Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky travel on Israeli
passports, although they also claim Russian nationality, the Spotlight
was the Israeli backdrop to this vast crime scene that made Gore go along
with the swindles and scams of the Kremlin kleptocracy and the shameless
graft that greased them instead of ordering the oligarchs' arrest. And
it's easy to see why. A crackdown on this Zionist syndicate in Russia
would have earned Gore nasty attacks back home in the U.S., both in the
press and in Congress, where subservient apologists for Israel set the
tone," explained Gubbins.
were other political advantages to letting the crooked cosmopolitan
financiers rake in vast fortunes while stealing Russia blind, diplomatic
In early l996, as the corrupt and debauched administration of Russian President Boris Yeltsin faced
certain defeat in approaching national
elections, Gore's trusted right-hand man, National Security Adviser Leon
Fuerth, met with three leading "oligarchs" at the Davos economic
summit conference in Switzerland.
the Clinton administration's entire Russia strategy built on support of
Yeltsin, Fuerth urged the three Moscow magnates, who by now controlled,
among other assets, most of the Russian media, to throw all their weight
and lavish financing behind the Yeltsin campaign.
did, and it worked," recalled Kohlmann. "Gore, in heavy
political debt to Berezovsky and his fellow-financiers, felt compelled to
act as the protector of the oligarchs."
now the oligarchs find themselves in even more urgent need to buy
"protection" from Washington to make sure that whoever follows
Gore as vice-president will be just as willing to condone their dominant
role in the "new" Russian economy.
the vital economic base the oligarchs maintain in Israel, where billions
of their rakeoffs are banked and "sanitized" every month, is
also threatened. International pressure is rising to curb Israel's
recent months, both Gusinsky and Berezovsky, now bitter rivals, repeatedly
visited Washington to mobilize high-priced lobbyists, to hold hushed
conferences with the leaders of the Israel lobby, and to make sure that
whoever takes over after Gore as the next vice president after November
and thus takes charge of U.S. policy toward Russia will be an
understanding and protective ally of the Moscow mafia just as Gore was.
return, the Moscow money magnates are reportedly offering some tempting
inducements to the U.S. candidates.
"Their message seems to be: We elected Yeltsin. We can also help elect the next American president. We can offer lavish financing, and the discreet means to funnel millions into your campaign coffers here in the United States... without anybody being the wiser," explained Kohlmann."
TiM Ed.: Except for the 260+ million Americans, perhaps?
For what it's worth, Serb TiM readers may take note that Leon Fuerth, Al Gore's right hand in foreign policy, has been among the most vociferous anti-Serbian voices in Washington. Fuerth was the person whom the Clinton administration, under Al Gore's supervision, had charged with administering the genocidal sanctions against Serbia.
2.1 Fuerth: "Grand Marshal" of TiM's 1993 "Hall of Shame"Aug. 19, 2000
PHOENIX, Aug. 19 - It was Leon Fuerth whom we inducted into the Truth in Media 1993 "Hall of Shame," upon our return from a sanctions-ravaged Serbia, as the "Shame Parade's Grand Marshall."
Here's an excerpt from the TiM Bulletin 93-12, published on Nov. 19, 1993:
And here's a complete list of the November 1993 "Hall of Shamers:"
Following the publication of our 1993 "Hall of Shame" list, the CNN president, Tom Johnson (highlighted in red above), objected strenuously to winding up on it. Over the next several months, however, he and his reporters provided ample additional justification for it.
Here's, for example, an excerpt from our TiM Bulletin 94-04, published on Apr. 10, 1994:
Later that year, this writer met with CNN's Ralph Begleiter for breakfast in Washington, DC. By that stage, he had left the position of the State Dept. reporter, and assumed the job of being CNN's global affairs commentator. Here's an excerpt from this writer's diary notes about that meeting:
"He (Begleiter) said (in a non-confrontational manner, smiling) that he really dislikes organizations, like the "TRUTH IN MEDIA," or others that monitor and report on the accuracy of the media. He alleged that none of the distortions of the truth are done deliberately.
Trying to respond also in a non-confrontational way, I said, "you may find it hard to believe, but a lot of my good friends are actually reporters." I then described my correspondence with P.S. (a former Associated Press reporter) from August 1992, on that subject, supporting a similar view.
"But there are exceptions," I said. "One of them is that dark haired lady that roams around the world... what's her name?"
I pleaded for help, not being able to recall her name right away.
But Begleiter wasn't about to help me. "You remembered everybody else's names, some quite difficult," he said.
the reporter's name came to me. "Christiana
Amanpour!" I said. "My
trouble with that name is that get her first and last names mixed
up," I explained. I
continued by saying that her reporting was especially bad not only because
she lied, or mouthed off the Muslim PR lines, but because she distorted
the picture by omitting the salient facts about the Serbs."
people do that in business, too," he said, defending his colleague.
course," I agreed. "As
a matter of fact, in business, that's called good salesmanship.
But you (the media) are by your own declarations of independence
and objectivity in the truth business."
Begleiter was smiling again, so I went for the jugular.
(the media) should, therefore, be judged by different yardsticks than
sales people. After all, when
a salesman comes to your door, you know that he is after your wallet.
So you behave accordingly. But
people tend to believe what they read (or see on TV).
They look to the news media to provide impartial information or
education. When a reporter distorts a picture of an event, he breaches
that implied trust.
Begleiter was still smiling, but tacitly. It seemed he had no further comebacks."
3. TiM Readers' Feedback Re. the "Kursk"Aug. 19, 2000
3.1 "Crazy Ivan" Maneuver? Dead Men Tell No Tales
QUEBEC, Aug. 19 - We received the following comment from David A. Kyne, a graduate student of law in Quebec:
you again for your most recent update of the TiM bulletin. I was
particularly interested in your reference and (short) discussion of the
matter of the Russo-Soviet "boat" down on the Barents seabed.
Yours is the only on-line medium which has attempted to treat this
issue to date. I have found nothing on-line which attempts to really
consider what happened in the Barents (Sea) this (or was it last) week.
am not a "submariner." I do not work nor write for "Jane's
Fighting Ship's" a British print media "glossy" which
presents reasonably accurate reviews of the nautical at sea
"strength" of the world's navies. However, I do believe that
your suspicions with regard to what went on in the Barents (Sea), which
resulted in the loss of an first rate Soviet attack submarine and her crew
demands much closer examination; nautical, strategic and
the sea, an American submarine would tend to follow its Soviet quarry by
trailing it a few hundred yards, or even a feet hundred feet off the
starboard quarter, or below and to the right of the Soviet boat.
Soviets developed a rather unsophisticated method of repelling, or
"putting off" an American “boat” which a Soviet “boat”
knew, or suspected of following it. To force the American sub to reveal
itself and thus destroy its ability to conduct silent surveillance of the
Russian vessel, the Soviets developed an technique known (to the
Americans) as a "crazy Ivan."
Soviet sub would suddenly perform a sharp diving turn to starboard,
immediately in the path of the approaching American vessel. To avoid an
deep sea collision the American would have to boost his power, push his
props to maximum revolutions (which would, of course, create a lot of
sub-surface noise and enable his Soviet counterpart to determine his
location), and break off the surveillance for a few hours, or even days.
Until he was able to once again "pick up" the Soviet boat and
begin the "game" again.
the "Kursk" suffered damage to her starboard quarter, forward of
the conning tower, this may suggest that she had attempted the maneuver
described supra. But with catastrophic results. Perhaps the American
skipper, unwise in the manner at which the Soviets put their crews and
boats at risk, did not react fast enough, and collided with the Soviet
reports of sub-surface "explosions" should be noted. But their
significance is ancillary to the matter of how the Kursk ended up on the
seafloor. The Kursk, due to
her size and the purpose for which she was intended, would carry an
arsenal of SAM's in vertical silos forward of her conning tower (12 to 20
in total). As well as forward launch torpedoes stacked horizontally in
bays up near her nose (as many as 50).
a submarine is a floating arms dump, like a battleship or a destroyer,
structural "redundancies" would have been built into Kursk to
prevent an accidental catastrophic "false launch" of a missile
or torpedo destroying the vessel. The silos are armored. If a (non)
nuclear missile detonated in the silo, Kursk would sustain
"relatively" heavy damage. But she would not go to the bottom.
And would probably be able to proceed either to the nearest
"friendly" base for repair.
same may be said for her forward torpedo bays. Two or even three of her
torpedo ordnance could probably "go off" accidentally without
necessarily destroying Kursk. Although she would sustain substantial
internal damage in the immediate area as well as some loss of life. The
"sub-surface explosions" while they should be noted, are
therefore peripheral, rather than central, to whatever happened in the
question must be asked, therefore, did an American boat, conducting
surveillance of the Kursk and the rest of the Russian fleet on the surface
accidentally ram Kursk? And are the Americans and Russians covering up a
potentially destabilizing "incident"?
were one or two or more American ships directly involved (jointly - with
the Russians) in whatever maneuvers were being conducted in the Barents
(Sea) this summer? Joint "maneuvers" of the sort might seriously
disturb "patriotic" Americans. And not just the retired
don't believe for a minute that the Russians (or the Americans) want to
bring those guys to the surface. They don't want a bunch of traumatized
Soviet submariners, dirty, injured or dying, telling their shipmates
topside that an American submarine ran them down.
American government under the morally bankrupt Clinton administration
doesn’t want American citizens to know that Russo-American relations
(may) have reached an disturbing level of "convergence."
either side wanted to save those guys they'd all be in a Russian Naval
Hospital in Murmansk by now. The goddamn submarine herself could be lying
in a floating drydock in Murmansk port by now!
the "Glomar Explorer" (a CIA/Hughes Corporation
"asset") raised the entire mid-section of a soviet boat (it
weighed about 150 tons) from the floor of the Indian Ocean about 25 years
ago? And that ship was four miles down.
it's Oklahoma City, Waco, or TWA 800, the old seafaring adage applies in
all of these unfortunate cases: "Dead men tell no tales!"
for the souls aboard "Kursk!" May God have mercy upon them!
David A. Kyne, bac., (hon), maitrise
3.2 Conquering the "Third Rome"
ARIZONA, Aug. 19 - We received the following feedback from M.V., a former U.S. Navy officer, now based in Arizona, whose identity is known to TiM:
was another Potemkin Village. His confrontational style has mellowed glaringly since his election. As Russian soldiers continue to die in Chechnya, little or no effort is being made to destroy the remaining resistance.
Russia could easily invade neighboring states in its pursuit of Chechen rebels. Instead, Putin has obviously decided to go along with a war of attrition which Russia must lose.
He is similarly not interested in popularity since, in the Western-style Russian "democracy," a president can rule even when his approval ratings are in single percentage digits! Yeltsin is a perfect example of that.
Interestingly, sharp attacks and critical comments of Putin in the Western press have long subsided. And his actions with the likes of Gusinsky, and now with the submarine, seem to suggest a different Putin. The ultimate test in the true relationships between him and the West will become apparent after the elections in the US.
That relationship will be directly reflected on what happens in Yugoslavia. Perhaps Putin is a Yeltsin in disguise -- he talks to talk but he doesn't walk to walk.
On the issue of Zionist newcomers to Moscow, let's not forget that Peter, Paul and Mary took Rome. (TiM Ed.: And that Moscow is known as the "Third Rome"). The Russian Troika (plus Mikhail Gorbachov) is no different that the one that sits in the crucial centers of power in Washington - Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and William Cohen (plus Joseph Lieberman). There is no multiculturalism here!"
M.V., Arizona (whose identity is known to TiM)
3.3 The "Kursk" Tragedy: Anything's Possible
PHOENIX, Aug. 19 - We received the following feedback from another former U.S. Navy officer, whom we shall identify only as "Robert," but whose identity is known to TiM. This Robert prefaced his comments to TiM with a disclaimer that said, "I'm no expert, but I did make 8 patrols in that region, and would be glad to answer any (unclassified) questions you might have. (We're not called the Silent Service for nothing! -:)."
So, here you go... here's Robert's "unclassified" answer to our question about what he thought had actually with the Russian "Kursk" sub.
have been caused by a number of things, including those you mention in your article - hitting the bottom, etc. The possibility that Kursk hit an old WW II mine has been raised; not a bad scenario, I think. seismographic evidence indicates two explosions, one small one followed by a much larger one. The first could be the mine, the second the torpedo.)
We've received info from a Russian Sierra-class skipper that the Russianshave stopped using their more modern torpedo due to costs. (Silver content batteries; probably also presents a pilferage problem.) The torpedoes in use require a somewhat different launching method that expels a great deal of air into the torpedo room; according to this source, the boats have taken to leaving two and even three compartments back from the torpedo room open to help deal with the pressure. Combine this habit (if all this is true) with any sort of incident in the torpedo room and you've just sunk your boat.
Let me address some of the ideas you've posted:
Collision with another boat. Like they said, only an Ohio-class could survive (and inflict enough damage on the Kursk). It's not likely one would have been snooping about there. I'm not a big fan of this theory; nothing I can really articulate, either. It just doesn't "feel" right.
Collision with the bottom. Certainly plausible. (Don't know where you heard anything about an operator switching the system to "manual", but if they were doing a practice torpedo run, all the steering and diving systems should have been in manual. Periscope depth in those conditions demands a human operator.)
Anyway, those conditions place a huge demand on the hydraulic systems. It's certainly possible that the system was overheated and/or pressure-deleted, which would cause the system to shift to a back-up mode. If of the type I'm familiar with, should this happen with an inexperienced/tired/ill operator, it can present a few moments of difficulty to sort out what's happening and adapt.
Given the shallow water, were Kursk going fast enough, those few moments could have easily been long enough for her to hit bottom.
Ruptured high pressure air tanks. If Kursk is designed following standard modern sub practices, it's unlikely in the extreme that this would sink her. An inboard explosion that ruptured the pressure hull could have ruptured those tanks, which would then have done serious damage to the superstructure (free-flooding exterior)
If true, this boat had "major construction flaws." Quality control possibly. Note, though, that while relatively "new", the Kursk, if it were being operated at the sort of pace that occurred during the Cold War, was actually reaching the point where it was ready for a serious yard period to conduct repairs."
Also, check out... Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Christianity Under Siege," "Silence Over Persecuted Christians", "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail," "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"