WSWS readers comment on EgyptAir Flight 990 disaster

The WSWS received the following letters in response to the November 19 article by Barry Grey, “Why the rush to judgment in the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990?

Excellent article on the EgyptAir crash. Corporate and Government interests clearly seem to be controlling the investigation, rather than a search for the true cause.

21 November 1999

Dear Sir,

On behalf of all those who seek the truth and justice across the globe, I thank you so much for being quite objective, logical and rational in analyzing the circumstances of the tragic EgyptAir disaster. Your objectiveness cooled down my anger over the way the American media is handling this crash. We could sense the deep-seated prejudice which goes back to the war of propaganda of the past years. Why are we always portrayed as enemies and placed in the most unfavorable light possible? It seems that the negative image of Arabs and Muslims created in the 12th &13th centuries continues to dominate the second half of the 20th century. We are not paranoid people. The vast majority of Muslims are pious hardworking people who are family and community oriented, and who place a strong emphasis on moral responsibility and accountability. We wish to live in peace and harmony rather than in warfare. Every nation on earth has some fanatics (the one responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing was an American-grown outrage not Middle Eastern after all) who are being used by some bodies to fuel the outrage and prejudice between the followers of the three faiths.

We do appreciate your attempt to spotlight some of the many possibilities that led to this disaster. As you mentioned, why haven't the investigators looked into the security systems and maintenance staff?

TWA Flight 800 in June 1996, Swissair Flight 111 in September 1998 and now the third, EgyptAir Flight 990 on October 31, 1999. God knows which is next. Hopefully it will be the last. The last comment I would like to make is this: Instead of sending a crew to Egypt to investigate and look into the pilots' records and their families why not send a similar one to Kennedy Airport to scrutinize the records of the security and maintenance staff to solve this puzzle?

Thank you Mr. Barry Grey once again and I wish you the very best. May God bless you.

22 November 1999

I too have a vested interest in this tragedy. I'm a Boeing employee. Your news organization is no different than the rest. You too are jumping to conclusions about the outcome of the investigations. You failed miserably to mention all the known facts and only the ones that would substantiate your grossly inaccurate account of the details thus far. How about the widely known one about the throttles being rolled past idle stop? Now why the heck would someone with all that experience do that for? Especially so low and so heavy. With hardly any altitude to try and attempt to go through the relate sequence. There's a question for a veteran 767 pilot. And how do you know Boeing is twisting arms in the background to persuade? That is a serious accusation in itself. So let's let the NTSB do as much as they can with what they have to work with and not hurry to crucify corporate, country or person. Facts and data you should know better than anyone substantiates any accusation.

22 November 1999

I am dropping a note because I have only today seen your site. I must say that I am deeply impressed with the writing on both the case of the boy convicted of second degree murder ... deeply and thoroughly sourced and thought out ... and the piece on Egypt Air 990.

My sense is that you actually use reporters and do some digging before you publish. The mainstream media could take lessons.

I will be back.

Getting the media to pay careful attention ... even the progressive media, I must add ... to careful sourcing and reporting is a pain. I know, since I do a good deal of work on difficult cases where it's almost impossible to get major news attention.


20 November 1999

I'm a former Boeing employee and I'd like to tell you that you're wrong. The NTSB hates Boeing's guts and takes every opportunity to drag the company through the coals.

They would do nothing to protect Boeing. Read some of the NTSB's scathing comments about TWA 800 if you doubt this.

Think: Before anything was leaked about the cockpit conversations, pilots were scratching their heads saying, “Gee, I can't imagine any reason to cut the fuel to both engines unless you were intentionally trying to destroy the plane."

Before anything was mentioned about a prayer in the cockpit, pilots were saying, "I can't imagine why a competent pilot would send a plane into a dive steeper than the standard emergency dive rate. There's no emergency that would require a steeper dive, and you risk destroying the airplane just due to flying too fast."

This doesn't mean we won't find out later that there was a failure which somehow destroyed the whole airplane without leaving any suspicious traces in the data recorder. It does mean that there is some damnably strange things going on which looked like pilot suicide (or martyrdom) before the voice recordings were obtained.

Try to do better next time.

22 November 1999

In an editorial by Barry Grey, "Why the rush to judgment in the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990" of November 19, the author uses a very tried and true/tired charge of racism. Absent real racism, this charge becomes just another in a tired and devalued litany ... and detracts from an otherwise fine editorial.

22 November 1999

Dear Barry ,

Congratulations for your conclusions. I can't believe that the involved investigators are really well intended, seeing their rush in conclusions and their lack of coming up with alternatives for the things that happened on board flight 990 before it plummeted into the sea.

Leaving the fact if the dive started intentionally or not aside, one can state that the different position of the elevators means that something was wrong with the elevators (reason why the plane was going down) and that both pilots tried to get them back in position ("Pull with me. Help me, pull with me"). Maybe only one side of the system functioned and the other side maintained its downward position, blocked by whatever! So: first both elevators went down, bringing the craft into its dive. Then both the pilots tried to recover. Only one pilot succeeded, the other one pulls and pulls, but the elevator keeps its downward position. This would also explain the different position, right?

Then, if you would be sitting aside that co-pilot, and if your plane is diving to death, and if you see him pushing the stick deliberately forwards, what would you keep on screaming? "Pull with me, pull up"? Or something like "Stop pushing! Stop doing that by God sake! What's wrong with you, stop! You will kill us all, stop with that!!!". Exactly the contrary!!!

Still, I do not understand: why no radio contact? Why no distress call?


"And the truth shall set you free"

Thank you for an honest and objective report. I will forward the link to everyone I know.

22 November 1999