Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Day Accident?

A Russian military flight--a Tu-154--mostly carrying members of the Red Army Choir went down over the Black Sea, with the loss of all lives:

A Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, killing everyone on board, Russian authorities said.

The Russians say it was due to a technical malfunction or pilot error rather than a terror attack.

That seems a fast judgment. On Christmas day, no less.

Given that the plane had just refueled in Sochi, which the Russians went to great efforts for the 2014 Winter Olympics to secure from Islamist terror threats present in the region, I wouldn't be too shocked if security had gotten lax since that large security operation.

UPDATE: I don't think Russia is immune to this type of threat:

Federal authorities warned law enforcement agencies across the nation Friday that Islamic State sympathizers are continuing to call for attacks on churches and other holiday gathering sites.

The warning was issued after a publicly available list of U.S. churches was posted on a militants' social media site.

There was the Berlin, Germany, terror attack at a Christmas market and a Christmas Day plot interrupted in Melbourne, Australia, recall.

Accidents do happen, of course.

UPDATE: Let's not be hasty on that malfunction or pilot cause:

Earlier, a Russian official had downplayed any suggestion of a terror attack. But on Sunday afternoon, after being asked if investigators are looking into a possible terror attack, minister Maxim Sokolov said an "entire spectrum" of possible reasons is being considered.

An accident is only one portion of the spectrum of causes.

UPDATE: The line seems to be there are no indications to point to terrorism.