Yesterday morning's explosive (pardon the expression) allegations by a former Mountie that the Swiss Air 111 crash in 1998 may have been a terrorist act and not an entertainment system gone haywire is something that absolutely has to be taken seriously, especially if as Sgt Tom Juby claims he was ordered to redact extensive notes he had taken regarding the leads he was following.
Many of us are young enough to remember Arrow 1285 which crashed near Gander during the Christmas 1985 holidays and just weeks before the Challenger disaster. This was a charter that was flying a large part of the 101st Airborne as well as members of other units and military police, from Cairo to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, via Cologne and Gander. What was interesting there was that the day of the crash a wing of Hezbollah claimed responsibility but that was immediately dismissed by both the Canadian and US governments. The result of the investigation was a farce: The final report was a split decision, with three members saying it was icing on the wings and two saying it was terrorism -- with a later review by an ex-Supreme didn't mince words, saying the available evidence supported neither quite credibly; indeed so damning was Justice Willard Estey's analysis that the crash investigation process in Canada was rebuilt from the ground up.
Although the evidence in the present case overwhelmingly supports the generally accepted conclusion of poorly insulated wiring, I don't think it would hurt to have a retired Supreme Court justice review the evidence just one more time. If this was indeed a practice run for 9/11 I think we have a right to know that.
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The TSB investigation has to be judged as completely inadequate- even on its own terms. It fails to look into the supposed primary cause-- current overload in the in-flight entertainment system. Even if the exact location of the shorted wire could not be determined, the in-flight entertainment system should not have been allowed to be hooked into a flight-critical circuit in the first place. Given that it was, why wasn’t it protected by adequate circuit breakers? It doesn't matter what the wires are coated with, if sufficient current is allowed to pass, the coating will break down. Note that “cause related findings”, common in other TSB reports, don’t appear in the Swissair report.
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