The lamestream media are hedging on initial speculation that Thursday's crash of Egyptair MS804 into the Mediterranean Sea was caused by bomb planted by Islamic terrorists. They point to the paucity of scorch marks and other signs of fire on fragments of debris found so far, as well as the erratic twists and turns of the aircraft moments before it dropped off the radar screens. This morning, however, the mojo wire brings two new pieces of information which, taken together, point the finger of suspicion squarely at followers of Mohammed.
First we have a report from the New York Times that "EgyptAir was aware of threats to security, including one scribbled on plane". Two years ago, vandals daubed the Airbus with a graffito reading: "We will bring this plane down".
The Times, always politically corrected, says those words weren't a jihadist threat, but a protest against Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the Egyptian president who seized power in a coup. Egyptair didn't see it quite that way, and fired a number of staff with alleged Muslim Brotherhood sympathies in 2013 as part of a general purge of suspected Islamists after the military takeover.
Fast forward to November of 2015. French police said that in the weeks following the Paris attacks, graffiti such as “Allahu Akbar” were found daubed on EasyJet and Vueling planes at the Paris and Lyon airports. The discoveries raised fears that a bomb could be planted on a plane at an airport in France, but EasyJet and the French authorities insisted at the time there was nothing to worry about. Although they acknowledged that such graffiti had been found on a number of planes in the months before the terror strikes, Inspector Clouseau played down any link with the attacks.
Over to London, now, whewre The Telegraph quotes an unnamed commercial pilot with a major European airline that parts of MS804's data log suggested that windows in the right side of the cockpit were blown out by an explosion inside the aircraft. The pilot, who flies an A-330 (similar to the downed A-320) told the paper, "It looks like the right front and side window were blown out, most probably from inside out."
The pilot suggested the smoke detectors may have been set off not by a fire but by fog which filled the cabin as it lost air pressure in the moments after the explosion. The data he referred to were taken from the plane's ACARS system, which sends short transmissions from the aircraft to receivers on the ground.
Three different warnings showed there were faults in the windows next to the co-pilot, suggesting they could have been blasted outwards by an onboard bomb. That does not mean the explosion came from the cockpit, but indicates the right side of the plane was more badly damaged than the left. Until investigators find the plane's black boxes, the ACARS data are the only clues as to what was happening aboard MS804 in the last minutes of the fateful flight. Walt will update the story as more information becomes available.