Kremlin Announces Russian flight Downed by Bomb

Russia last night announced the results of its investigation into the Sharm el-Sheikh plane crash in Egypt. It was a bomb. Traces of explosives were found.

Alexander Bortnikov, the chief of the country's FSB domestic security agency, said that a bomb equivalent to 2.2 pounds of TNT exploded on board the aircraft, according to the Kremlin.

"You can definitely say that this is a terrorist act," he told a meeting of Russia's Security Council on Monday.

Russia is offering a $50 million reward for information on the perpetrator(s.) And, Putin said in his announcement, Russia has no intention of letting up on its airstrikes in Syria. [More...]

"Our air operation in Syria will not just continue — it must be strengthened so the criminals understand retribution is imminent," Putin said, according to the Kremlin's statement.

Where did ISIS get the know-how to make a non-detectable bomb? Was it from Ibrahim al-Nasiri, the AQAP bomb-maker who reportedly later pledged allegiance to Al Baghdadi? Or did they just follow the instructions al Qaeda published in its Inspire Magazine, to lure lone wolfs to make them on their own? Russia yesterday referred to the bomb as one that was homemade.

Which reminds me of what AQAP said after the September 3, 2010 Dubai plane crash and the UPS cargo plane went down (Statement 29):

“Praise Allah and prayer and peace upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family and companions:

We in al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula celebrate to the Ummah and give it the pleasant news and the anticipated surprise: Allah has graced us to bring down a jet that belongs to the American Company UPS, and that was on Ramadan 25th, 1431, corresponding with September 3rd, 2010, after taking off from Dubai International Airport.

We dropped down the jet that belonged to the American Company UPS, but the media of the enemy did not attribute the work to us as we were secretive about the operation in order to do it again, and this time we did this with two devices; one of them sent through UPS and the other through Fedex; both American companies.

And we wonder: why didn’t the enemy show what had happened to the UPS jet that was dropped down? Is it because the enemy wasn’t able to uncover the reason for the jet’s collapse, or did the Obama Administration want to hide the incident in order to not show its security failure, especially that the operation was [shortly] before the American midterm elections?

And we say to Obama: we pointed three attacks to your planes within one year, and we will continue Allah-willing to direct our attacks on the American interests and the interests of America’’s allies.

And as both operations enjoyed success, we intend on publicizing the idea for our Mujahideen brothers in the world, and broadening the circle of applying it to include the civilian airplanes in the West plus cargo airplanes. So, O’ enemies of Allah, await the good news of what [may] harm you.

And our Sheikh Usama bin Laden, may Allah protect him, said: "and if our messages to you could be carried through words we wouldn’t have brought them to you in planes.”

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    They Have People Detained... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 01:07:49 PM EST
    ...that work at the airport.  There is a good chance they didn't make a non-detectable bomb, just a normal bomb that airport employees helped work its way on-board a plane.

    Two employees of Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh airport have been detained for questioning over the crash of a Russian airliner that killed all 224 people aboard, two security officials and an airport employee said on Tuesday

    "Seventeen people are being held; two of them are suspected of helping whoever planted the bomb on the plane at Sharm al-Sheikh airport," said one of the security officials, both of whom declined to be named.

    The second security official said CCTV footage showed a baggage handler carrying a suitcase from an airport building to another man, who was loading luggage onto the doomed airliner from beneath the plane on the runway.


    Egypt denies (none / 0) (#19)
    by smott on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 09:50:57 PM EST
    Anyone has been arrested

    It would be bad to wake up to (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by fishcamp on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 01:44:45 PM EST
    a $50M bounty on your head, and have Vladimir Putin looking for you.  Who's not going to turn him in?  He's toast.

    OTOH (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 02:17:43 PM EST
    It's not totally outside the realm of possibility that ISIS recruits a couple of volunteers (just as they recruit suicide bombers) to "take the fall" so that ISIS can get their hands on the money, using as the "informant" someone who is not at all known as being in ISIS, so that the Russians would cough up the reward.

    The Russians have a history (none / 0) (#5)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 02:25:48 PM EST
    of vetting supposed informants the way I vett a trout in between the time I catch it and cook it and eat it.

    Well... from most perspectives, (none / 0) (#25)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 01:43:25 PM EST
    anyone who knows anything was involved.

    A lawyer could argue, but few would care.


    I Was Similiar... (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 04:49:32 PM EST
    ...except using it as some sort of income stream with bombings.

    my 2 cents, or, just common sense, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 02:44:56 PM EST

    Sooner, or later, some very fundamental decisions are going to have to be made by the advanced, civilized countries of the world. Let's face it, the Terrorists are not only winning, the trajectory of their campaign is growing exponentially.

    An airliner with several hundred passengers on board blows up, followed, in short order, by restaurants, packed with hundreds of customers, attacked by a lethal gang of murderers. If the goal of terrorism is to disrupt the lives of citizens of targeted countries so that they're afraid to conduct their lives in a normal manner the terrorists are getting ever closer to victory. One more mass murder, coming on the heels of these past two, and the normal, daily commerce that the advanced countries depend on for their sustenance may be reduced to a level we don't want to even contemplate.

    Now, I don't doubt that every possible resource the affected countries have are being utilized to hunt down the perpetrators of these outrageous murders. And then, when we capture them, what happens then? You know the answer.....nothing.
    This is the conversation we should be having.

    The two things the vast majority of terrorists have in common are: Islam, and, a source of financing. While the great majority of Muslims in the world may very well be good, decent, peace loving people, unless they stand up to the terrorists in their midst, and recapture their religion, nothing will change. But, and, totally understandably, they're afraid. So, that's one problem we have to figure out.

    The second is financing. We know who is doing the majority of financial support to these killers; most of them are our "friends." Then, to solve this second problem, the coalition of advanced countries have to put aside whatever differences they might have with each other, and stand as one in issuing an ultimatum to those countries feeding money & arms to the murderers: (1) "Cease & desist your support to the terrorists," and, (2) "join us in our effort to crush this menace once and for all, or, the alternative will be, that there is no alternative. We leave it to you to contemplate the meaning of those words."

    Just my thoughts, something's got to give. We're losing the W.O.T.

    Bingo! (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 05:28:40 PM EST
    We know who is doing the majority of financial support to these killers; most of them are our "friends".

    We decry the 14th century barbarity and religious intolerance of ISIS while the same exists in Saudi and is ignored, while they not so secretly heavily support Jihadists pf all stripes.

    Hillary knows it,

    "More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    I am sure that everybody has known it for a long time.

    When the richest most powerful player in the region, is standing on the wrong side of history and is also our best "ally", this "war" is indeed unwinable.


    Think back to life prior 9-11 (none / 0) (#7)
    by TrevorBolder on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:04:51 PM EST
    If the goal of terrorism is to disrupt the lives of citizens of targeted countries so that they're afraid to conduct their lives in a normal manner the terrorists are getting ever closer to victory.

    Travel, sporting events, cctv everywhere, see something say something.
    Now dining out in cities, going to music concerts is dangerous. I guess now, any soft target is now a potential target.

    This is a war against advanced civilization, and its rapidly changing social beliefs, that a fundamentalist segment of 1 religion is determined to stop, using any means necessary.

    It's about time we (all civilized nations embracing the future) try to eradicate it , rather than swatting at it as a horses tail goes after flies.


    Maybe life for Americans seemed safer (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by shoephone on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:22:38 PM EST
    before 9/11, but in the rest of the world, terrorism was a daily reality for many foreign citizens. In the Middle East, in India, in Pakistan...

    Bush and Cheney's invasion of Iraq was Pandora's Box. What that criminal act has unleashed was predicted by a few brave thinkers and leaders who were vilified at the time.


    For the Record... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:27:34 PM EST
    ...in America, you have a way better chance of dying from a million things beyond terrorism.

    If you don't feel safe going out here, it's your local government or paranoia.  Same with the rest of your comments, it's doesn't make sense.  The idea that you are going to eradicate an ideology, that is GWB like thinking and look where it put us, instead of some jacka$$ dictator, we have ISIS.  

    I am seriously concerned with people who can look at history and see that everything we have done in the ME has either failed or made the situation worse, and think it's time to go back and this time, we will be victorious at eradicating terrorism in the ME.


    I couldn't help hearing (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 11:57:17 PM EST
    a little bit of Frank Sinatra in your final line...

    Or Maybe... (none / 0) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:13:36 PM EST
    ...we re-evaluate our presence in the ME.  As far as I can tell it's been less effective than the war on drugs, if anything we are responsible for much of it, from installing American friendly leaders to a feeble attempt at installing democracy to the constant and ineffectual presence in countries that do not want us there.

    They clearly don't like it and our solution every time, ramp it up.  The idea that we can win is absurd since I doubt there isn't a person alive who can define what a realistic American win would be in the ME.  It sure as hell isn't 'destroying ISIS', beyond being ridiculous, if history is any indication, it will simply usher in worse enemies.

    ISIS is the culmination of decades and decades of bad foreign policy in the ME, IMO.


    That may well be (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:33:04 PM EST
    But, today and for the foreseeable future, the reality on the table: ISIS.  

    Do you want to have a conversation with ISIS? What kind, if so?  

    By any standard, ISIS has not only announced its intent to dominate with its caliphate on a broad world level, but also has demonstrated its single-mindedness in taking its jihad beyond the Mideast.  That is where we are now ....

    While I do think that longterm thinking and consideration of the type that you advise makes sense in the process, the actuality of death & destruction & determined expansion by ISIS cannot be "what iff-ed" away.  Sad, I know; but, really true.


    I Will Proimise You This... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 03:51:15 PM EST
    ...military intervention will not cure the ME of extremism and we will have a conversation about how the 2015 plan, whatever it is, didn't work.

    I would like the US to say out of affairs on the other side of the planet.  That is what got us into this mess and it's what has kept us there and it's also why it's growing rather than shrinking.

    Is it too much to ask that the United States learn a lesson from our constant meddling in other countries affairs that almost always leads to some sort of failed military intervention ?


    There is NO immediate "cure" (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 05:28:23 PM EST
    Nor is there a magic incantation that anyone has suggested, Scott.

    What we may be dealing with for some time is "buying time."  From what we've all seen in early 21st century military engagement, there aren't any permanent victories of the classic definition ... but, in a way, maybe we sort of believe that there are or can be.

    An interesting essay in TPM by Josh Marshall today: Basically, we tie ourselves in knots and rules of our making by focusing too much on past actions ... while it is one thing to learn the lessons of past misadventures and failed actions, it is quite another to so limit any needed action from fear of not having all the answers.  Marshall notes that some situations should be/need to be addressed sooner rather than later ... and that, while we should try to minimize mistakes and false assumptions as much as we can, we sabotage ourselves by imposing artificial limits such as requiring the-perfect-plan-wrapped-in-a-bow before risking a move off dead-center.  

    What Marshall reminds the reader, ultimately, is that the timely military strike--e.g., powerful & coordinated (ala French response OR troika of France, Russia, U.S.)--may not be a cure or an end itself BUT that it can "buy time" by degrading the target enough to build a stronger response the next time.  In this unavoidable ISIS situation, I'm thinking that Marshall's commentary makes sense.


    A consideration (none / 0) (#17)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 05:45:13 PM EST
    I forgot to say that: Yes, it is preferable and most sensible to stay out of the avoidable entanglements that we have previously wrapped ourselves in so readily.  Here, tho, I would argue that some involvements are unavoidable ... such would be the situation if we tried to withdraw from a major portion of world activity that ISIS is marching on even now.  

    The world is small as the reality of travel, new forms of communication, advances in technology take hold.  Just as real as the climate change that effects all the earth and us with it, that is how globalization is defining us.  I don't think that isolation or the illusion of isolation is durable today for the US ... 200+ years ago, it was necessary; and, the oceans gave us that respite to grow; but, giant clashes of powerful forces as the expansion of ISIS means cannot really be avoided for long.


    I Do Not Equate... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 10:01:40 AM EST
    ...staying out of their business with isolationism.  

    Getting US troops off of muslim lands is not exactly separating ourselves from the world, it's being respectful of the desires of sovereign nations.  We have never viewed other countries sovereignty with the same lens as we view own.  I doubt the US would like a foreign military base here for every country we have a foreign base in which is around 200.

    There is a price to pay for us presuming the role of world police, some people don't feel they need policing and don't have the military might to take us on directly, so we get the only tactic available.

    Your argument, well better laid out, is the same argument Jim makes here nearly daily.  I see TL's newest xenophobe agrees with you as well.  This rationalizing us into another Iraq or Afghanistan is something that we will do, and like every other ME engagement, we will accomplish nothing but making it worse.  I suspect, just like Jim, somehow that will get rationalized into some sort of accomplishment when in fact, as we all know was a massive failure to the highest degree.  Rinse and repeat best describes our foreign policy in the ME.

    Fighting an ideology with guns and bombs is just about the dumbest thing we can do, even Josh Marshall understands that the old ways are not right ways.  For the record, you reading JM explains so much, but it is interesting in that Obama is clearly trying to keep us out, yet two of his biggest apologizes, you and Josh, aren't on the same page.  I guess you are just digging in for President Clinton knowing dang well she will have us neck-deep in the ME.

    Also, France is using it's heavy hand, how many innocent people have they killed in Raqqa, a city of 200,000. I bet my bottom dollar the French killed more innocent people in that attack then died in Paris.  What is the thinking here, they kill innocent people so we will kill even more innocent people, so long as we get some terorizers ?  They just created more refugees and more people who are going to hate the west, but hot damn if they don't feel good about getting a handful of terrorists that may or may not have had a part in the Paris attacks.

    Right now world wide, muslims lives are held in the same degree as black lives here, maybe even to a less degree.  We would never 'strategically' bomb a city of 200,000 black folks to get a handful of murderers.  This won't end well if we insist on killing innocent brown people.

    Bin Laden wanted us in a war, we jumped right in, it was an epic failure, and here we go again giving these murders exactly what they want, a war with the west.   Rinse and repeat.


    The execution of two men announced (none / 0) (#26)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 01:54:41 PM EST
    by ISIS today ... one from China and one from Norway.  

    Well ... Scott, your sociologically=based argument makes sense and--in a macro-historic  way--is a very strong one. In the short run, in the intermediate run, we will have to disagree about the how and why of ISIS now.  Right now, ISIS actions evidence that it and its followers do not care in any way--since, as they reiterated in the execution statement today that all who do not accept/believe in their version of Islam are infidels, as are the countries they inhabit, and must be dealt with accordingly ... whether it is the US or any other nation, ISIS has ramped up and is setting on a course to carry out the killing-of-infidels (trans. All of us)

    Maybe after the world addresses the crisis of ISIS there will be--and should be--the opportunity/time for negotiation and discussion of the whys and wherefores, the significant background of a group that has turned into madmen.
    Unfortunately, the time now looks to be a time for the world leaders to address a collective response to stem the tide of ISIS destruction ... if only for a time.


    BTW, I am no xenophobe (none / 0) (#27)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 02:04:22 PM EST
    I simply and strongly disagree with you about our assessment of what is happening with regard to ISIS (which, another btw and as President Obama has repeatedly said, is not a sovereign nation state.)

    Let us not insult each other even as we strongly disagree.  Frankly, your attempt to align me with local jim, does you a disservice in that regard.

    I'll say again: This is the first and only situation in my lifetime where stepped-up military response by world nations working together would be just and acceptable to me.  (WWII was before my lifetime ... but, that is the only war in the 20th century that fits the category of necessary and just, imo.)


    Never Said You Were a... (none / 0) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 03:27:16 PM EST
    ... a xenophobe, I don't think that, only noted that TL's new xenophobe approved of your words.

    As well as I never said ISIS was a sovereign state, I mean seriously, I said the US has military bases/troops in sovereign nations, muslim nations, and that muslims don't like it one damn bit.

    I didn't align you with Jim, just pointed out that you both are taking the same view point, which is people who don't want to intervene are isolationists.  You choose to call me an isolationist and I pointed out the only other person to do so was Jim.

    I actually pointed out for a good reason, that maybe if it was pointed out, you might not toss it around so freely.  It's not my view and I find the term derogatory.

    For the record, I would be all in if I thought our military to put an end to the horror show.  I don't object to military force, my issue is that I don't for a minute think we are going to be productive in the long run, just like France wasn't productive in bombing Raqqa, it was a feel good move with little thought of the ramifications.  Which is what our intervention is going to be, like Iraq, a feel good moment, right until we realize we are in the middle of an unwinnable situation, again, and that there is a good chance what we just did, made it worse.


    I (none / 0) (#28)
    by FlJoe on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 02:23:58 PM EST
    think the both of you are correct.
    Anne:ISIS you are correct is a clear and present danger to the entire globe and military operations should be undertaken.

    Scott: I agree this should not be our battle, we are not uniquely qualified to go in on the ground,  and for many reasons US ground troops are a rather poor option compared some others, internal politics playing no small part.


    Thank you, FlJoe (none / 0) (#29)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 02:40:09 PM EST
    I agree with your take here.  And, I very much appreciate your mediator instincts.  

    One minor addition: Your (hopefully) successful mediation involves Scott and Christinep.  In any event, thanks again.


    For (none / 0) (#30)
    by FlJoe on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 02:49:01 PM EST
    some reason I always get you two messed, I knew    
    I was responding to you and I sure intended to type Christine. Not the first time I've done this, sorry.

    Hey, it's ok (none / 0) (#32)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 06:38:22 PM EST
    Actually and even tho Anne & I can feistily disagree from time to time, I sort of like her :)

    I've always felt (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve13209 on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 01:38:34 PM EST
    that the loss of a single plane cannot be stopped. Either by bomb or sabotage or ground to air missile.

    The laxness of the baggage component of air travel is pretty obvious in hindsight.

    Oh they will have to now... (none / 0) (#20)
    by smott on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 09:54:20 PM EST
    ....think about adding security not just to every ramp rat but perhaps every single maintenance access flap on the aircraft. Unbelievable cost and headache.
    Imagine you can't open a maintenance flap to adjust a screw without three people signing off on it.

    However you measure the costs (none / 0) (#21)
    by smott on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 09:57:47 PM EST
    Of what's going to have to begin happening now, ISIS is winning.

    And then you've got the Equptian culture where, even  with all that added security, you hand some slag a 20quid bill and he lets you bypass the security.

    It's over for Egypt. This is the bulk of their GDP, and they've shot their foot off.


    they've shot their foot off. (none / 0) (#23)
    by TrevorBolder on Wed Nov 18, 2015 at 05:42:31 AM EST
    No, they didn't. ISIS did with full knowledge and intent.
    Also heard on the news that Paris hotels have had 50% cancellations.
     ISIS may not be winning, but they are drawing blood

    well . . . (none / 0) (#13)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 04:44:34 PM EST
    I think that ISIS may discourage belly dancing as we see in this youtube video . . .  so I will suggest we begin our search there for persons resposible for the destruction of the Russian plane.

    I learned my dectective work from Gru when he was working for the anti-villian league uncover at the mall . . .

    Further clarification (none / 0) (#18)
    by smott on Tue Nov 17, 2015 at 09:49:19 PM EST
    TNT was not identified as the explosive.  TNT was merely used as an equivalence metric.
    per Pprune:
    They didn't say it was TNT, they gave a TNT equivalent, which is the standard for measuring the performance of different substances. In general it's called Relative Effectiveness Factor. TNT has a REF of one.

    There is still no identification of the "explosive residue".

    Further the U.S. Govt is not accepting this at the moment:
    http://sputniknews.com/world/20151118/1030293580/us-wont-recognize-a321-crash-terror.html#ixzz3rnUUA 1eS

    Nor will the Egyptians even call it a criminal event.

    It's pretty damn strange. To say they have Found explosive residue, they would have to know what it is and how to ID it.

    But nothing so far in that front.