It’s way too early to know why Russian Kolavia Metrojet Flight 7K9268 crashed 23 minutes after takeoff from Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt en route to St. Petersburg, Russia – killing all passengers and crew members.
At least weeks are needed to examine the crash site and evaluate black box information, vital to understand what happened. A definitive assessment will likely take months, including reconstructing the aircraft from its shattered parts.
Comments now making headlines are pure speculation. Yet major media reports now circulating say US and UK sources claim information they have suggests a bomb planted aboard the aircraft downed it.
AP: “Bomb May Have Downed Russian Jet, US, UK Officials Say.”
The New York Times published the AP report.
Reuters: “Bomb by Islamic State likely caused Russian plane crash: security sources”
Washington Post: “Britain suspends flights from Sinai, citing bomb fears”
It’s a short leap to suspending flights to Russia or discouraging travelers from going there. Would fear-mongering follow a US airliner crash, whatever the possible cause? Normal activities always resume.
Wall Street Journal: “UK Suspends Flights from Sinai Airport, Saying ‘Explosive Device’ May Have Downed Russian Jet”
London Guardian: “Russian plane crash in Egypt may have been result of bomb, US and UK say…”
BBC: “Sinai plane crash: Bomb may have downed airliner, US and UK say”
These type fear-mongering headlines now circulate throughout the Western media – suggesting flights to Russia (on Russian or other airlines) may be hazardous.
According to UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond:
“We have concluded that there is a significant possibility that the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the aircraft…We are now advising against all but essential travel by air through Sharm el-Sheikh airport. That means that there will be no UK passenger flights out to Sharm el-Sheikh from now.”
A Number 10 spokesman said
“(t)he prime minister chaired a COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) meeting this evening to agree what steps we should take to help ensure the safety of British citizens traveling to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.”
“The meeting considered the implications of a range of information, including some that has recently come to light, which has increased our concerns that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”
“Consequently, ministers agreed…to temporarily suspend flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh with immediate effect.” The Irish Aviation Authority also suspended operations from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh airport.
CNN headlined: “Russian plane crash: US intel suggests ISIS bomb brought down jet,” saying:
“(A) US intelligence analysis now suggests that the terror group or its affiliates planted a bomb on the plane…The latest US intelligence suggests that the crash was most likely caused by a bomb planted on the plane by ISIS or an affiliate, according to multiple (unnamed) US officials who spoke with CNN.”
Britain and America have no access to crash site forensic evidence, the only way to determine what happened. So-called intelligence (real or invented) is suspect based on communications chatter. Anything can be said by anyone for any purpose. Reliability is dubious at best.
Crash site forensic and black box evidence is definitive. Other assessments are hype, especially from Washington and close allies about Russia.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper said black box information available so far indicates an engine blast, possibly powerful enough to render both aircraft engines inoperative.
“The investigation did not point yet have any links to terrorists,” the broadsheet said. Forensic evidence is being evaluated to learn if explosive materials were on the plane, or if engine blast failure was mechanical.
It’s unknown either way so far. Hyping terrorism is irresponsible. Let the evidence speak for itself once analyzed properly. So far no official announcements were made.
A Russian source said “(t)here were no signs of an explosion impact found during the preliminary examination.” An Egyptian expert added “there were no signs of external impact” found on recovered bodies.
Why the current Western hype? Russia bashing propaganda persists – part of longstanding US-led NATO policy, wanting Moscow co-opted, contained, isolated, destabilized, weakened and eventually made a US vassal state.
Timing is always significant. Moscow is successfully challenging Washington’s imperial agenda – waging real war on terror, changing the dynamic on the ground in Syria and the Middle East with potential global implications, a major geopolitical development.
US policymakers are desperate to counter it, so far with no success. Tactics include propaganda, sanctions, deploying more combat troops to Iraq, dozens to Syria illegally, and now fear-mongering – efforts to scare travelers from visiting Russia.