First they said the downing of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 was most likely due to Russia’s “notorious” regional airlines, which supposedly are rickety and unreliable. The Egyptian government denied that terrorism is even a possibility, with Egyptian despot Abdel Fatah al-Sisi proclaiming:
“When there is propaganda that it crashed because of Isis, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt. Believe me, the situation in Sinai – especially in this limited area – is under our full control.”
However, it soon came out that the person in charge of Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where the Russia plane had landed before taking off again, had been “replaced” – oh, but not because of anything to do with the downing of the Russian passenger plane! As the Egyptian authorities put it:
“Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that runs Egypt’s civilian airports, says airport chief Abdel-Wahab Ali has been ‘promoted’ to become his assistant. He said the move late Wednesday had nothing to do with media skepticism surrounding the airport’s security. Mahgoub said Ali is being replaced by Emad el-Balasi, a pilot.”
Laughable, albeit in a sinister way, and yet more evidence that something wasn’t quite right: after all, everyone knows the Egyptian government does not have the Sinai, over which the plane disintegrated in mid air, under its “full control.” ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the crash hours after it occurred, is all over that peninsula.
Still, the denials poured in, mostly from US government officials such as Director of National Intelligence James “Liar-liar-pants-on-fire” Clapper, who said ISIS involvement was “unlikely.” Then they told us it couldn’t have been ISIS because they supposedly don’t have surface-to-air missiles that can reach the height attained by the downed plane. Yet that wasn’t very convincing either, because a) How do they know what ISIS has in its arsenal?, and b) couldn’t ISIS or some other group have smuggled a bomb on board?
The better part of a week after the crash, we have this:
“Days after authorities dismissed claims that ISIS brought down a Russian passenger jet, a U.S. intelligence analysis now suggests that the terror group or its affiliates planted a bomb on the plane.
“British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said his government believes there is a ‘significant possibility’ that an explosive device caused the crash. And a Middle East source briefed on intelligence matters also said it appears likely someone placed a bomb aboard the aircraft.”
According to numerous news reports, intercepts of “internal communications” of the Islamic State/ISIS group provided evidence that it wasn’t an accident but a terrorist act. Those intercepts must have been available to US and UK government sources early on, yet these same officials said they had no “direct evidence,” as Clapper put it, of terrorist involvement. Why is that? And furthermore: why the general unwillingness of Western governments and media to jump to their usual conclusion when any air disaster occurs, and attribute it to terrorism?
The answer is simple: they didn’t want to arouse any sympathy for the Russians. Russia, as we all know, is The Enemy – considered even worse, in some circles, than the jihadists. Indeed, there’s a whole section of opinion-makers devoted to the idea that we must help Islamist crazies in Syria, including al-Qaeda’s affiliate, known as al-Nusra, precisely in order to stop the Evil Putin from extending Russian influence into the region.
In a broader sense, the reluctance to acknowledge that this was indeed a terrorist act is rooted in a refusal to acknowledge the commonality of interests that exists between Putin’s Russia and the West. The downing of the Metrojet is just the latest atrocity carried out by the head-choppers against the Russian people: this includes not only the Beslan school massacre, in which over 700 children were taken hostage by Chechen Islamists, but also the five apartment bombings that took place in 1999. The real extent of Western hostility to Russia, and the unwillingness to realize that Russia has been a major terrorist target, is underscored by the shameful propaganda pushed by the late Alexander Litvinenko, and endorsed by Sen. John McCain, which claims that the bombings were an “inside job” carried out by the Russian FSB – a version of “trutherism” that, if uttered in the US in relation to the 9/11 attacks, is routinely (and rightly) dismissed as sheer crankery. But where the Russians are concerned it’s not only allowable, it’s the default. A particularly egregious example is Russophobic hack Michael D. Weiss, who, days before the downing of the Russian passenger plane, solemnly informed us that Putin was “sending jihadists to join ISIS.” Boy oh boy, talk about ingratitude!
This downright creepy unwillingness to express any sympathy or sense of solidarity with the Russian people ought to clue us in to something we knew all along: that the whole “war on terrorism” gambit is as phony as a three-dollar bill. If US government officials were actually concerned about the threat of terrorist violence directed at innocent civilians, they would partner up with Russia in a joint effort to eradicate the threat: that this isn’t happening in Syria, or anywhere else, is all too evident. Not to mention our canoodling with “moderate” Chechen terrorists, openly encouraging them to carry on their war with Putin’s Russia. Our “war on terrorism” is simply a pretext for spying on the American people, and most of the rest of the world, and cementing the power of the State on the home front, not to mention fattening up an already grotesquely obese “defense” budget.
With the belated admission that the downing of the Russian passenger jet was an act of terrorism, we are beginning to hear that this a tremendous blow to Putin’s prestige at home – something no one would dare utter about Obama’s or Cameron’s “prestige” if the Metrojet had been an American or British passenger plane. They say it’s “blowback” due to Russia’s actions in Syria, with the clear implication that it’s deserved. And yet, according to US officials and the usual suspects, the Russians aren’t hitting ISIS so much as they’re smiting the “moderate” Islamist head-choppers – the “Syrian rebels,” as they’re known — who are being funded, armed, and encouraged by the West.
If that’s true, then what kind of blowback are we talking about – and from which direction is it coming? Given this, isn’t it entirely possible that Metrojet Flight 9268 was downed by US-aided –and-supported “moderates,” who moderately decided to get back at Putin?
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
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You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.