New York: What Brought Down the Russian Metrojet Flight Over Egypt?

Twenty-three minutes after takeoff this past Saturday, shortly after reaching an altitude of 31,000 feet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, an Airbus A321 flying as Metrojet Flight 9268 abruptly plummeted and crashed, killing all 224 passengers and crew. The suddenness of the loss of communications, the rapidity with which the plane descended, and the size of the area across which the wreckage was scattered indicate that the plane experienced a sudden, catastrophic structural failure at high altitude. But what does that tell us in practical terms?

Given Russian aviation’s rather poor reputation for maintenance, one immediately obvious possibility was that the plane had suffered a severe malfunction. Receiving particular scrutiny was the fact that in 2001 the aircraft’s tail had been repaired after being damaged in a rough landing. This suggested a possible parallel with China Airlines Flight 611, which suffered a catastrophic decompression 20 minutes after taking off from Taipei in 2002. In that case, too, the aircraft’s tail had been fixed after a rough landing years before. When the faulty repair job failed, the airplane was ripped apart with such force that the pilots had no time to make a Mayday call.

Parallels might also be seen with TWA 800, which crashed off the coast of Long Island in 1996. In that case, NTSB investigators concluded that the plane had exploded after faulty wiring caused fumes in a fuel tank to explode, leaving the plane’s pilots no time to radio for help or try to steer the plane to safety.

On Saturday, the New York Times published a story on the Metrojet tragedy that noted that “the fuel tank on one of its planes exploded before departure from the Siberian city of Surgut in 2011, and the ensuing fire killed three people.” That makes it sound like Metrojet planes have a history of exploding fuel tanks, but that’s not really the case: What actually happened in the Surgut incident is that one of the plane’s engines first caught fire, and that fire subsequently caused the fuel tank to explode some minutes later. That is to say, fire preceded explosion, not vice versa. An engine catching fire in flight can be swiftly catastrophic — such an event downed Air France Flight 4590 in 2000 and effectively ended the Concorde’s career — but not swiftly enough to prevent a distress call.

It’s worth noting, too, that in the wake of TWA 800 industry-wide design changes were made to fix the problem, and no similar accidents have occurred in the two decades since.

If mechanical failure did not bring down Metrojet 9268, the other possibility is malice.

Apart from a handful of flights like TWA 800 and China Airlines Flight 611, planes that have blown up in air have done so as a result of either being blown up by a bomb carried onboard or after having been hit by a missile. A well-known example of the former would be Pan Am Flight 103, which was downed by a Libyan bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. An example of the latter would be Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was destroyed by a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system while flying at 33,000 feet over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

Given Russia’s recent entanglement in the chaos of Syria, there is no shortage of factions that would be happy to cause it harm, not least ISIS, which in the immediate aftermath of the downing issued a statement declaring, “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders.”

A report on the MH17 accident released last month by the Dutch Safety Board specifically cited Sinai as an area in which commercial airline routes might be in danger of attack from the ground. The possibility that a missile strike is to blame has been tacitly acknowledged by several airlines: Emirates, Lufthansa, and Air France have all rerouted their flights away from Sinai.

The thing is, it’s pretty hard to shoot down an airliner at cruise altitude. When it came to grief, Metrojet 9268 was flying six miles above the ground, well out of range of the shoulder-filed anti-aircraft missiles that have proliferated among the region’s various ethno-religious factions. To reach a target that high requires a more sophisticated type of weapon — at a minimum, a vehicle-mounted medium-range surface-to-air missile like Russia’s Buk or the U.S.-made Patriot. Such systems reach altitudes of more than 80,000 feet.

Not many players possess such weapons, however. Not only are they expensive — a Patriot missile costs $2 million to $3 million — but they are so manifestly dangerous that the great powers have been very prudent about distributing them to their proxy fighters. For all the material that ISIS has liberated from the U.S.-supplied Iraqi Army, Patriot missiles are not among them. The Dutch Safety Board report concluded that “there are no indications that point to the presence of medium or long-range surface-to-air missiles.”

Bombs, on the other hand, are easy to obtain. Less than a pound of explosives smuggled into the baggage hold is enough to provide a fatal blast. (Pan Am was destroyed by just 11 ounces of Semtex.) And there is certainly no shortage of motivated parties who might want to punish Russia for its recent decision to commit air and ground forces to the Syrian civil war. The drawback to a bomb, of course, is that they can be thwarted by security measures. One would expect, given the volatility of the region, that airport security in Sharm El-Sheikh would be tight. But in the past year several breaches have been reported.

In the immediate aftermath of an air tragedy it’s often difficult to separate fact from rumor, and Metrojet 9268 has been no exception, with various Russian and Egyptian officials making conflicting claims. Monday afternoon, however, came what seems like a significant development:

A senior defense official told NBC News late Monday that an American infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and in the same vicinity over the Sinai where the Russian passenger plane crashed. According to the official, U.S. intelligence analysts believe it could have been some kind of explosion on the aircraft itself, either a fuel tank or a bomb, but that there’s no indication that a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down.

That same infrared satellite would have been able to track the heat trail of a missile from the ground.

If the report is true, then a Lockerbie-type scenario becomes overwhelmingly the most probable.

That being the case, Metrojet 9268 could well be seen as chickens coming home to roost for Russian president Vladimir Putin, who in the past has shown staggering indifference to civilian casualties. He is widely viewed as being responsible for the bombings of two Moscow apartment blocks in 1999, which killed 300 people and were used to provide pretext for the Second Chechen War. More to the point, he is widely viewed as bearing responsibility for the downing of MH17. If we have entered an era in which civilian airliners have become fair game, no one is more responsible than he.

Note: this story originally appeared in New York magazine.


143 thoughts on “New York: What Brought Down the Russian Metrojet Flight Over Egypt?”

  1. How does one protest, if silent? Why hijack a 777-200ER with 227 pax & 12 crew only to remain silent in your protest? Doesn’t make any sense.

    In the days just afterwards, it was reported that the a/c climbed to 45 thousand feet after the Agari turn back. The Malaysians quickly discounted this as false…who knows.

    The only cell phone call known to have come from MH-370, came from F.O., Fariq Abdul Hamid’s cell, although there was no verbal communication, just a brief connection that was then lost. As if it were a tease of sorts, or an attempt to shift blame & create more doubt & confusion.

    Also, the lack of debris, to me, is the hardest fact to accept. Makes no sense what so ever. Which to me, points to a controlled ditching. What else could explain the lack of debris?

    I’m beginning to wane at the thought of her ever being found. The Air France flight with only a 40 mile search area took a year and a half. One can only hope…..

  2. @Chris

    The Fariq phone connection has never been confirmed by a reputable source. Likewise the climb to 45,000 is in the hearsay category. If you want to be credible, don’t site hearsay. Provide references.

    The fact that the aircraft was silent does not mean that negotiations were not taking place between parties on the ground. Negotiating via an insecure VHF radio channel would not be done by anyone sensible.

  3. @Chris in Dallas

    “How does one protest, if silent? Why hijack a 777-200ER with 227 pax & 12 crew only to remain silent in your protest? Doesn’t make any sense.”

    he planned to land somewhere but failed the approach under pressure, we don’t know what was the situation in the plane, was he alone in the cockpit or with five other people sitting over his head who knows

    if he succeeded he would have made fools of malaysian government that searched south china sea at the time having no idea he overflew the whole country (remember that was prior to reviewing radar records), while in real world he wouldn’t achieve lot if any(although that’s subject to debate), it might have sounded good in his head

    “Also, the lack of debris, to me, is the hardest fact to accept. Makes no sense what so ever. Which to me, points to a controlled ditching.”

    yupp failed approach -> controlled ditching is what I(&DennisW) think happened

    thus only a flaperon found

  4. @StevanG
    be sure I am shocked the same as everybody else with Paris, but reason why I am posting things about climate change and transcendence just here is that is matter of fact, that the lost plane kicked in me some deep thinking about where could be real truth, if in media headlines or in something public but not always pushed in front, something even few years back, so feeleing trends, and if you have this before eyes, then can be possible to predict somehow, which is also happening, it seems; but the terror things… although afraid little bit if we together arent enlinghtening here something too soon, there are things we ALL need to do together for sure

  5. @falken

    Maybe it has to do with the fact that global temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years despite the fact that atmospheric “contaminants” have continued to soar. Don’t mistake climatology for science.

  6. @falken

    Wrong forum for this argument so I won’t debate you here.

    I have pretty much abandoned climate change forums. You cannot reason with hysterical people.

  7. @DennisW
    OK, I just now read the RollingStone article (posted it quickly as something looking good found by bing). Its full of new interesting things for me (at least) and last but not least there is even mentioned GPS military control center base at Diego Garcia.

    Its not hysterical at all, trust me or not… your decision.

  8. @falken

    Goodell is a known whacko. His stuff is pretty consistent. You should really research the author before aligning yourself with what they write. What you read in the popular press is probably wrong. No offense intended to Jeff, but the MH370 stuff you read should give you a clue.

  9. My hunch says an accident occurs on MH370 that causes the plane to divert. Two eyewitnesses, an oil rig worker, off vietnamese shoreline and a Briton sailor woman traveling from the Bay of Bengal to Thailand claimed to see a fireball-like spark against a pitch-black night sky. Although, the authorities dismissed them, I don’t think their testimony incredible. Something did happen on the plane and it’s not malicious!

  10. How can fire occurs on a plane traveling in the middle of the night when atmospheric temperature is very low?

    Can temperature within cargo hold rise when the outside temperature is very much lower?

  11. @DennisW
    Yes, started reading the RS article until he quoted “stuck on stupid” Al Gore, then I left the bldg.

  12. @DennisW @Susie
    Yes, thanks for good discussion. My primary source is yours Department of Defense and be sure, during our case, traversing to sources and authors is essential the same as reading everything from start to end. Too often people read only titles, may be some few paragraphs, but rarely to very end. This is it.

  13. Falken, the US DoD (and/or affiliated govt. agencies of the coalition of the willing) also claimed WMD’s in Iraq. Look where that has led us.

    In regards to climate change, if you haven’t read it, DS posted on 3rd September, 2014 a paper denying “stuck on stupid” and others some credibility. Although without a PHd in astro- physics, you may find it a hard read and even harder to argue against.

    I think this thread has ventured far off course. Climate change having nothing to do with a schweppse bomb on metrojet.

    And since the evil of religious analysis has bared its ugly head on this forum: Some of you in other countries may not have seen this, but its been highly praised for its analysis of IS and humanitarian message of tolerance and goodwill to all men and women of Islam. Without such, mankind is but doomed.

  14. extracted from Rolling Stone article for you:

    Al Gore – if you dont like him, OK, skip it but try to continue (BTW Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) for president, yeah :-D)

    Any official who draws a link between climate change and national security is guaranteed a rabid reaction from right-wingers.

    2003 Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush (“Before climate change became taboo for Republicans”)
    Pentagon published a report titled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security.”

    “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,” the report stated. “Once again, warfare would define human life.”

    McCains words…
    “If the scientists are right and temperatures continue to rise,” he said on the Senate floor in 2007, “we could face environmental, economic and national-security consequences far beyond our ability to imagine.”

    This kind of talk vanished from the party after 2008, when the GOP turned into a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

    In 2009, then-CIA director Leon Panetta quietly started the Center on Climate Change and National Security.

    house republicans prohibited the Pentagon from spending any money implementing recommendations from the latest report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    “But the intent was clear: This is going to be war.”

    Nearly every naval and Air Force base on the East Coast is vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges

    California’s epic drought has put the base’s long-term water supply into question.

    The Air Force’s early-warning radar installations, which help the U.S. keep a close watch on anything lobbed our way from North Korea or Russia, have been hit particularly hard. At one installation, 40 feet of shoreline have been lost, endangering the reliability of the radar.

    The U.S. naval base on Diego Garcia, a small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, like the nearby Maldives, is sure to vanish. Built during the Cold War, Diego Garcia gave the U.S. military a footing from which to counter Soviet influence in the region, as well as to protect shipping lanes out of the Middle East. In more recent years, this rare strategic asset has become a crucial logistics hub for sending supplies to joint forces in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. It also houses Air Force Satellite Control Network equipment used to control GPS. The ships and equipment can be moved easily enough, but giving up a military toehold in a vital but flammable part of the world is not something the military likes to do.

    “Will climate change affect the military value of the installation? Well, sure it will. The question is, does it dominate the equation? And I don’t think it does — yet.”

    The Republican-dominated Virginia General Assembly has been hostile to discussion of climate change — one legislator called sea-level rise “a left-wing term.” Instead, the politically acceptable phrase in Virginia is “recurrent flooding.”

    Because a number of the men and women in the Virginia Legislature don’t believe climate change is an urgent issue, they don’t want to spend much money addressing the threat it poses. “They find roads to fix in other parts of the state,” says Joe Bouchard.

    For now, the Navy’s strategy is just to buy time.
    Bouchard, who was commander while the first new piers were constructed, says “they were built with sea-level rise in mind.”
    Instead, many people in the military end up talking about the climate similar to the way eighth-graders talk about sex — with code words and suggestive language.
    “We didn’t raise the piers because of climate change,” Capt. Rios tells me during my visit to the base. He doesn’t quite wink, but almost.
    “Then why did you raise them?” I ask.
    “Because we needed new piers. And as long as we were building them, it didn’t cost much more to build them higher.”
    But building higher piers is not going to save the base in Norfolk.

    Drought contributed to the escalating food prices that triggered the Arab Spring revolt in Egypt, in 2011; it also helped trigger the civil war in Syria. In northern Nigeria, a region destabilized by extreme cycles of drought and flooding, Boko Haram is terrorizing villages and killing thousands of Nigerians.

    In 2007, Russian soldiers dived 14,000 feet beneath the North Pole in a minisub and planted a Russian flag in the seabed, marking it as their turf. “This isn’t the 15th century — you can’t go around the world and just plant flags” to claim territory, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Peter MacKay, said dismissively.
    [[ for me it looks as quite funny response to Moon landing, so no worries :-)) ]]

    As Titley puts it, “Every Navy commander’s nightmare is that something happens in the Arctic — a ship full of tourists going down, a terrorist attack, an encounter with Russian military — and having to pick up the phone and say, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. President. We’d like to do something about this, but we simply don’t have the equipment to allow us to respond to the situation.’ ”
    [[ yeah, it seems clearly that Arctic is also russians business to help with, having 43:1+13 icebreakers power, as nobody can do ALL alone, they arent building spaceship to Mars for example :-)) ]]

    As the world warms, the U.S. military will inevitably be called upon to conduct more disaster relief and humanitarian-aid missions.
    “The military has many important roles,” says Sharon Burke, a former assistant secretary of defense. “But the main job is to fight wars. That means breaking things and killing people.”
    [[ !!! ]]
    But the military also prides itself on its practical-mindedness, both in times of war and of peace. Military leaders embraced desegregation long before the rest of the nation, in part because they wanted the best people they could find, no matter what color. “It’s our job to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it could be,” says Robert Freeman, a meteorologist and member of the Navy’s climate-change task force.

    Adm. Samuel Locklear III (Pacific, China, N Korea)
    “The political and social upheaval we’re likely to see from our rapidly warming planet,” Locklear told The Boston Globe in 2013, “is probably the most likely thing that . . . will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”
    What Locklear correctly foresees is that a world of climate-driven chaos is already upon us, and it’s only going to get worse. And we need to start talking about it now, because not only will the threats multiply, so will the questions we have to address. It’s one thing to plan for the invasion of Normandy Beach or the siege of Fallujah — it’s quite another to plan for being the rescue squad for the entire planet.

    Some intelligence analysts argue that U.S. military superiority will be the least significant asset in the future because no one will attack us with massive conventional force. Instead, we will be pulled deeper and deeper into smaller conflicts driven by terrorism, failed states and natural disasters. “When oceans rise, instability follows,” says Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

    At some point, climate denialism will flip into climate panic, and the demand for law and order and stability will prevail (as will the calls for quick and dangerous techno-fixes like geo-engineering to cool down the planet and stop the rising seas).

    “It’s not a question of what the military can do for climate change,” says one former Pentagon official. “It’s what climate change will do to the military and its mission.” It’s a scary notion, but that’s where we are headed.

    One White House staffer recalls walking into the Pentagon office of an Army general not long ago. “I’d like to talk to you about climate change,” the staffer told him. The general didn’t even bother to look up. “I’d like to,” he said. “But I have to write a letter to a family whose son has died.”

    [[ !!! simply, far more important things to do here than warfare and conflicts victims …
    question is, where and why ISIL issues grew so quickly and how to deal with them – TOGETHER is the best option, the same as climate defense – common sense approach or not? ]]

    some historic speech for you too

  15. @falken
    My intention is never to be rude or disrespectful toward you. Your guts to be undeterred by your broken English, your YouTube fixations, your multi-layered, faceted descriptions of governental relationships….all these strive from your desire to make the world a better place and I commend you for that my Russian friend. On the MH 370 front, it looks like har-har Hardy’s location specs have predictably bitten the proverbial dust today,

  16. Mike Chillit reports today that the ATSB is choosing – without a word of explanation – to FURTHER widen the gap between where they are searching (now south of s40) and where either their own fuel limit or expert drift analysis can support.

    We need transparency, and we need it now.

  17. @falken

    “but reason why I am posting things about climate change and transcendence just here is that is matter of fact, that the lost plane kicked in me some deep thinking about where could be real truth, if in media headlines or in something public but not always pushed in front, something even few years back, so feeleing trends, and if you have this before eyes, then can be possible to predict somehow, which is also happening, it seems; but the terror things…”

    I have hard time comprehending this and why would it be connected with MH370 or any plane.

    The reason I mentioned your post is that terrorists often use coded messages on sites and blogs(even using PS4 CoD game in these lataest attacks) and this wasn’t your first time mentioning climate change(= something completely unrelated). I know it’s your benign posting but it might raise an eyebrow of some FBI clerk that stumbles upon it, and Jeff certainly wouldn’t like them knocking on his door asking for explanation.

  18. @Sharkcaver

    I thought Steel’s paper was very well done. Unfortunately it has been blasted by a number of climatologists who could neither understand it nor critique it.

    I have not read a single substantive comment relative to an error in the paper. Just a bunch of climatologist drivel (what climatologists do best) about how they considered and are aware of such things. A bunch of BS really.

  19. @sharkcaver
    Thanks for the video link, it has been glaringly simple for a long time now. There seems to be a ying-yang of over under simplication in this world that prohibits people seeing things for what they actually are. People instead now wait to be told because there are literally millions of opinions to be had daily, most of which are not worth the brain they came from.
    @all It will be interesting to see who will step up now that the ATSB search has almost completely failed

  20. Meanwhile: Fugro ships today spent some time searching even more implausibly beyond the ATSB’s own fuel limit – without a word of explanation. (It is also a bizarre decision in light of the best information we have on the flaperon’s freeboard; I will be publishing something on this very soon).

    Either their fuel limit is bunk – in which case,
    A) why haven’t they issued an update, and
    B) why not begin the westward expansion right ON the 7th arc?

    …or they are not currently searching for the plane.

    The official story has fallen apart.

  21. @Brock

    We (you and I and others) have been dancing around the notion (actually inescapable conclusion) that 9M-MRO terminated far to the North of the current search area.

    I have summarized my conclusions in a different blog (linked below) than I used previously. The previous blog owner went weird on me and shut the blog to new posts.

    As time marches on, the Northern flight path continues to be reinforced. It would be great if the French would publish something relative to the forensics of the flaperon damage and the pathology of the barnacles. I am not holding my breath.

  22. Back to basics. If you trust the current data….IGARI makes the most sense as a coordinated turn and comm shutdown that signified the beginning of a process which would quickly reveal itself.

    Whether the turn in darkness was noticeable to pax, the live maps were no longer viewable and the SAT phones no longer operable

    Would denying passengers and crew communication ability outside the plane have been enough?
    Would oxygen have been cut-off from the cabin here?

    What was the preparation for the reaction of ATC to the radar disappearance?
    A plan for an eventual scramble? If not, why? Was there info, or someone lessening the odds of them getting blown from the sky?

    After this turn, they are now committed, committed to what?

    Pilot Zaharie’s political statement?
    Terrorists threatening Petronas Towers?
    Hostages for money?
    Cargo for money?
    Cargo for destruction?

    Why the choice to re-cross back over the northern part of Malaysia, to fly NW to ultimately fly South instead of flying directly South crossing small part of Indonesia?

    Primary radar diversion?
    Least dangerous terrain?
    Heading toward a target?
    Stalling for negotiation time?

    Why after an hour on this path does the plane commit to a nothing but water southerly end flying for 5+ add’l hours?

    If the diversion was a timely stall for hostage or cargo negotiation, political demands, did the negotiations fail?
    Was it calling a bluff, making good on a threat if terms were not accepted?
    If the target was Petronas Towers why weren’t they hit and why then fly to SIO

    Was it preparing to land on a remote island as a political statement?

    Or was it always following the chosen process for planned destruction?

    If pax and crew disabled, would comms have been intentionally turned back on now when heading to SIO? They were never used so why would they? Or was it unintentional caused by a possible power re-boot?

    Did this plane fly for 5 hours, in the darkness, without interruption, without detection until it could fly no more? And when it lost it’s ability to fly, did someone guide it until death? And why again?

    Primary radar will never be released and we should have accepted this a long time ago, makes perfect sense. How can a country justify the risk?
    239 lives, vs. national security, not going to happen. Underwater transcripts, the same.

    So it really all points to Inmarsat, is it real, is it accurate, is it possible to fake? Why did Malaysia sit on it for a week while the world searched elsewhere? Why did the guy who crunched the numbers die suddenly after it was released? Why did the US step in and confirm the data was there and then commit to absentia?

    Why the overwhelming reluctance to set the record straight whenever possible? A plane and 239 people disappeared, how do the countries involved justify their indignity?

    It is beyond baffling that France supposedly holds for over 90 days the only alleged shred of evidence This sent to one of the most sophisticated labs in the world for this testing, testing that could provide critical answers to the search. After more than 3 months, zilch. How do you justify not issuing an official statement of any kind regarding this? If the testing involves several months or more, why not issue that statement?

    And why did the ATSB continue to pour millions of dollars into a search that had pending evidence related to it? If they have been given no information that may heavily impact their search, why would they continue without it?

    If you don’t trust the data, the plane most likely crashed or was accidentally shot down in the SCS, currently the ripest water spot for military posturing and dominance.

    Could it have been trapped by a blown COBRA exercise?
    Did the completely detailed never released cargo manifest contain cargo that dictated destruction?
    During the almost 9 hours of KL idle time before flight, provided ample opportunity.
    Hard to imagine the E/E bay, (which contained crew oxygen and cockpit remote lock controls) couldn’t be breached during this time

    The only real plausible implication of Z, if he could not contain anger from Ibrahim jailing.
    Holding safe landing of plane, pax and crew for Ibrahim release.
    If he wanted plane comms terminated and wanted off radar while he negotiated this independently it would explain the comms disable.
    If you disregard data and turn back, he most likely was swept into the far less innocuous COBRA exercises,
    or he lost his communication ability to negotiate
    and was the victim of a scrambled jet firing a missile responding to a renegade plane

    And what of the transmission to RR from the Trent engines with integrated ACARS at only the basic and not upgraded level?

    In fact the motivation for full and candid disclosure by all

  23. Sisie Crowe/Dennis – if the barnacle analysis has not been shared with the ATSB by now then something is definitely amiss. If it has, why the secrecy?

  24. @Matty-Perth
    This email was dtd 10/25 from ATSB, others have followed indicating nothing changed
    Dear Ms Crowe,
    Thank you for your email. The ATSB has been advised of that report. We have requested information from the French Judicial Authorities on the technical examination of the recovered flaperon and are awaiting their results.

    Thank you for taking the time to share the information with us.

  25. Susie Crowe – That’s an outrageous situation, and it adds to my long held suspicion that we aren’t watching the main game. It’s not a crash investigation and it never was. Unbelievable. MH370 looks to be a live national security issue.

  26. @matty

    “it adds to my long held suspicion that we aren’t watching the main game”

    Nor is the ATSB apparently.

  27. @Matty – Perth

    you seem to be really obsessed by Russians 🙂 hell they couldn’t predict Ukrainians would send the civilian aircraft their way to earn some propaganda points yet you think they are capable of pulling MH370 disappearance 😉

  28. StevanG – more than ever I feel that something happened there(MH370). The line up of suspects is not that long.

  29. @Sharkcaver & falken
    Thanks for the link to that great Waleed Aly video. BTW, our PM here in Aus. has just delivered a speech including very similar sentiments.

    @Matty – Perth
    “MH370 looks to be a live national security issue.”
    Agreed. Probably time to put our trust in our various nations’ security services and consider whether we are helping or hindering with our quest for truth and transparency here. My sympathies to the NoK who are probably unlikely to get the answers they seek.

  30. @AM2 @Sharkcaver @Matty @all
    The Waleed Aly video link was open intact in tab for few days so I forgot why and from where just because I was away for 3 days together with friends at theirs music show and so link was reposted again by me as coincidence. Traversing again to full PMRC hearing video, it is great as a whole – and there are few final words of John Denver. All these musicians defending freedom in lyrics did great work for us and many others followed them. May be it is really crazy again, but it is never enough to repeat it all over and over. Listen the songs and imagine…

  31. @AM2: Re: “quest for truth and transparency”. I deeply respect your position, but disagree strenuously. It is principled, practical and patriotic to fight for truth and transparency.

    Open government is our best chance for peace and security. This used to be the West’s core strength.

    I’m not suggesting for a minute military secrets or criminal investigations be compromised (even though I was pulling for “The Fugitive”, I was cool with the Marshal lying to the press). But we’re talking about 239 souls who have disappeared. What if this were war games gone horribly wrong? Counter-terrorism measures applied in error? Gross negligence causing mechanical or security failure? Or worse? We have a duty to seek the truth.

    If intelligent, caring citizens take the view you ask us to consider, there will be no limit to the degree of incompetence, corruption, or worse that can be swept under the rug of “national security”. I think a fairly strong case could be made that we are already well down this slope.

  32. @Brock

    there was no any war games nor that could be hidden from the world, I’m quite sure this was the act of an individual

  33. I am with Brock.

    I am struggling to keep my balance standing or walking on the rug for all the bulges off stuff swept under it.

    The broom sticks are staring us into our faces: The deafening silence from the US and French. The weekly non-info from the ATSB. The incomplete and edited “for better readability” INMARSAT logs, the non-release of the Malacca straights radar data, the gag orders on the Australian press on matters involving Malaysian officials at the center of this quagmire. The list goes on and on.

    I have a deep aversion to trust “authority” on the basis of “because they say so”. I’d ask them to give us the raw facts (as far as possible without compromising security or investigations). By all means, let them tell us their analyses, interpretations and assessments. I’d like to make my own mind up on whether to trust them or not on those, based on the raw facts.

    If there is info to be witheld, i’d say, we are at least owed some explanation of why, for the witholdings justification. The silence and secrecy just doesn’t cut it.



  34. @Brock & MuOne
    In many ways I share your opinions, including
    “Open government is our best chance for peace and security.”

    If this is “war games gone horribly wrong” or some combination of equipment failure/freak weather event/incompetence/negligence or hijack by pilot for political purposes etc. I would certainly agree that we (the public) and the NoK need to know what happened and the companies/govts/bodies involved need to take responsibility and put in place measures to reduce the chance of recurrence. However, my gut feeling now is that this is an even more serious event. The lists do go on and on (as you say); the flaperon’s discovery (and subsequently stalled or cancelled? investigation) and China’s long silence combined with their recent offer of $20 million (and a ship?) to fund the search both leave me feeling very uneasy.

    Somewhat tangential: it is interesting to see what Malaysia is purchasing and not purchasing with their defence budget.
    New Straits Times article 27 Oct.
    “However, in the light of the disappearance of flight MH370 since last year, the budget proposal did not call for the purchase of equipment specifically to improve the defence radar system as well as assets which could come in handy in search and recovery process like the P-3 Orion or P-8 Poseidon.”
    Also, it seems that Malaysia is not at this stage purchasing 18 fighter jets as expected, for which the French firm Dassault’s “Rafale” was a contender.

  35. The bombed apartment blocks in Russia were in Moscow, not St-Petersburg. The AF Concorde crashed because of a fire, which was caused by a mechanical tear of the fuel tank by a piece of the aircraft’s tyre. Had it not run over a piece of debris left by a preceding aircraft, the Concorde would have had an uneventful flight – it was actually a pretty safe airplane.

  36. @Andrew, Thanks for catching that error about the apartment bombings. You’re right, too, about the Concorde fire being due to debris rather than a mechanical problem with the aircraft itself, but I think the point still stands, namely that accidental fires can bring down aircraft (though that’s not what seems to have happened here).

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